My trip to the future… or maybe just North Campus

Images printed into 3D figures, hologram rooms that you can walk inside of, recording studios that can detect the sound of blood running through a person’s veins – it seems like the stuff of movies, and ones set far into the future at that, but these things truly exist. What’s more, these things exist only a short Blue Bus ride away.

This past week, our Minor in Writing class took a “field trip” to the Duderstadt Center on North Campus in preparation for Project 3. We were taken to see all the spaces available for student use, and these facilities are truly spectacular. I was extremely surprised to find that I, as a student at the University of Michigan, have access to some of newest and most innovative technologies out there, and at no cost to me except the cost of materials. On any given day, I have the ability to print in 3D, record myself in a high-tech sound booth, edit video using the most updated software, film a movie on a fully-functional sound stage, and much more.

Walking through these facilities, I was in awe – I had imagined the projects being completed there in abstract terms, but I had never imagined that we had already reached a time where these technologies were sitting in a room at my school. The level of innovation being actively pursued on our campus was stunning.

And then I realized that these things have been sitting in a library on North Campus, just waiting to be used by students. I felt as if I had wasted the past two years on campus by not using these amazing resources available to me, as if I had neglected to take full advantage of my time here. But it seemed that nobody else in the class had known these things existed either. Why didn’t anyone tell us? The University (and, apparently, people who go to North Campus) had kept a big secret, and I didn’t like being left out of the loop. One of my classmates noted that if everyone knew about it, the film students would probably be very angry about the crowds of LSA students taking up the sound stage. I guess he’s right, but I’ll still be going back and bringing my friends. Sorry, film students.

So here is my advertisement: go to north campus sometime. Ask to see the 3D printer. A dare for those who go: scream at the top of your lungs in the sound-proof booth. I’m curious to know if its actually sound proof.

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