On September 23, 2022, the much-anticipated Digital Futures Interdisciplinary Research Facility (“DF”) celebrated its grand opening. Dr. Diego Cuadros (A&S Geography & DF Digital Epidemiology Lab) noted that “DF is more than just labs and tech. It's a lively town square. On any given day, you might find a workshop on artificial intelligence, a discussion on climate change, or an expert from halfway across the globe sharing insights.” Reflecting on his first year at Digital Futures, Alejandro Lozano Robledo (DAAP Design & DF Future Mobility Design Lab) explains, “Being selected to establish a research lab at DF has been amazing. This has exposed me to a multitude of new paths and applications of my work that I wouldn’t have considered otherwise.”
Dr. Cuadros went on to say “By plunging spatial health data into a 3D virtual realm, Ming Tang (DAAP Architecture and DF XR/VR Lab Director), myself and our students are pioneering a new way to view and understand health trends and outbreaks! It’s like moving from reading about a landscape to actually walking through it. If it were not for being co-located in DF, we likely would not have ever even met - much less be collaborating on new methods of data modeling, simulation, visualization”.
UC’s DF building is prominently located on the Dr. Martin Luther King Avenue & Highway 71 Interchange. Here, researchers are developing new research collaborations with one another and partners in government, NPOs, and industry to research, develop and apply tech-forward solutions to society’s greatest challenges.
Dr. Kelly Cohen (CEAS Aerospace & DF AI Bio Lab), has said, “Since getting selected to be lead a Digital Futures Lab, I have not only interacted with several contacts that otherwise I would never have met, but there are also new possibilities for research for my team.” Due to the multi-disciplinary nature of the building, there is always something happening to broaden your horizons.
In the DF building, you will not only find established researchers. You’ll also find staff leading labs and shared facilities such as the high-bay, the DF AR/VR Lab, and the Creative Media Suites. There are non-profit partners co-located amongst the faculty and staff, and of course, there are the many UC students from all around campus, conducting research with their DF mentors and with one another. Dr. Cohen noted, “Here, my students get the unique opportunity to work collaboratively on real-world. DF is an amazing platform for my mentees to succeed.” For Alejandro, the “exciting and fearless” atmosphere at DF pushes his students to excel, as he observes that “his students get a fantastic experience: They hone their knowledge and skills by working on projects in their area of specialization while sitting right next to and socializing with students specializing in a completely different field”.
The intended consequence of co-locating in DF is convergent research and novel collaborations which lead to ground-breaking ideas, methods, and applications. Earlier this year, Digital Futures was visited by Dr. Erwin Gianchandani, the U.S. National Science Foundation’s assistant director for Technology, Innovation and Partnerships (TIP Directorate). He was truly impressed by the DF program of research noting that it’s not only the interdisciplinary nature of the program of research but also, the ‘vibe’ and culture of collaboration. As he was walking from lab to lab in DF he literally asked, “where did you find all these amazing people?!” The response – “right here at UC”.
Celebrate with us at the Digital Futures Grand Opening 2.0!
To celebrate the great accomplishments that our researchers have achieved in just one year, Digital Futures is hosting a Grand Opening 2.0. Please join us
for an open house at 12 pm on Friday, September 22nd
and celebrate! Food trucks will provide food (on us!) while supplies last. There will be live music, prizes, free snacks, and a raffle to win a UC football-themed prize. There will also be a Flashpoint Series panel discussion at 3 pm entitled “The United States of Artificial Intelligence.” Sign up for the panel here
; seats are limited.