Tech or Treat, hosted by the University of Connecticut’s OPIM Innovate, happened on Oct. 30, from 6 to 8 p.m. in the School of Business building.
Tech or Treat marked the closing event for the Month of Discovery, a month filled with opportunities for students to immerse themselves in events learning about research, creativity and innovation. It also marked the last event for students to earn points if they participated in Discovery Quest — a gamified part of the Month of Discovery.
Tech or Treat had four stations for students to enjoy: 3D pens, virtual reality, a haunted robot corn maze and drones. In the spirit of Halloween, OPIM Innovate wanted an event where students could experience the magic of creativity and innovation, while also getting in the Halloween mood. There were drones decorated as ghosts as well as spooky decorations displayed all around. They also provided cookies and candy for students to enjoy while exploring each station. Costumes were also welcomed for whoever wanted to dress up and spooky music was played.
Fun at each of the four stations included manuvering drones through an obstacle course of hanging hula-hoops or manuvering a robot through a corn maze. Not even an hour into the event, all the stations were packed with students.
Audrey Larson, a fifth-semester junior majoring in materials science engineering and one of the student managers at OPIM innovate said this is the second year they have held this annual Halloween event and that this year, they added the robot corn maze station and had double the candy. She said events such as Tech or Treat allow students to learn about OPIM Innovate’s technologies while also having fun.
Abhinav Baral, a fifth-semester student majoring in analytics and information management and a member of the explore team at OPIM Innovate said, “This was essentially a fun event to get more people in the lab, like a relaxing thing, since Halloween is on a weekday.” He continued to mention how the whole lab has an abundance of resources and is a great place to check out. “We are trying to bridge that gap between classroom learning and practical things that you will need in the corporate world or whatever you go into,” Baral concluded.
While the Month of Discovery has officially ended, OPIM Innovate is not going to stop planning and creating events for students. Larson and Baral mentioned that students can expect a 3D printing and virtual reality competition very soon. A glimpse of the 3D competition is that students will have to design boats, and then there will be weights added to them to see if they sink. What a challenge! For the virtual reality challenge, it will be bracket-style and there will be food and snacks for participants and little trophies for the winners. Stay tuned!
To see what OPIM Innovate has to offer visit https://innovatelabs.uconn.edu/. To see OPIM Innovate’s upcoming events such as the 3D printing and virtual reality competition see their calendar on their website at https://innovatelabs.uconn.edu/events/.