Student builds enormous iPad-like table device

[Original Article]

The “CreaTable” is a one of a kind interactive table top display designed and built by Noel Kawano, an electrical engineering student at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. The CreaTable resides in the Laboratory for Advanced Visualization and Applications or LAVA belonging to Computer Science Professor Jason Leigh.

Leigh and two co-investigators just got a grant from the National Science Foundation to build the best data visualization and virtual reality system in the nation. He designed the current top system called the CAVE2 when he was at the the University of Illinois at Chicago.

The University of Hawaiʻi’s new system will be called the Cyber-enabled Collabration Analysis Navigation and observation Environment or CyberCANOE. That’s where the CreaTable and Kawano come in.

Jason Leigh and Noel Kawano

From left, Computer Science Professor Jason Leigh and CreaTable designer Noel Kawano

Over the summer, Leigh asked him to build a coffee table for the LAVA lab, but not just any coffee table. Something that would be suitably interactive and would inspire creativity in the lab’s students.

Kawano rose to the occasion, designing the CreaTable using autocad and building it out of extruded aluminum pieces in three days.

“It was kind of like a learning experience for me and I also built something really cool for the lab and Jason’s students,” said Kawano.

While the CreaTable is definitely cool, like an enormous iPhone with a huge touch screen that angles on gas shocks, it’s serving an even greater purpose.

“The fundamental knowledge that he learned to build this table is exactly what we need to build the new CyberCANOE,” said Leigh.

Kawano will be going from this summer project to helping to design and build the best data visualization and virtual reality system in the nation. Fitting, really, when you understand the vision for the CyberCANOE.

“If you think of the really hard problems in the world today, it’s not about just the chemistry problem or the physics problem or the biology or the education problem, it’s really all these things interconnected,” said Leigh. “And so the CyberCANOE sort of provides that platform for these other disciplines to think differently, work together in different ways that they never thought of before.”

More on the CyberCANOE