OMSI Showcases Autovation: Innovation Plus Auto Tech

New collaboration between industry and academia rolls into museum

Portland, OR (June 5, 2012) – What do you get when you cross innovation with automobile technology, harnessing the brainpower of local students and the resources of local industry? The Autovation display at The Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) is a perfect example. This new permanent feature will debut in the museum’s engineering-themed Turbine Hall June 12.

Autovation is a collaboration between OMSI, Dick Hannah Dealerships and Washington State University Vancouver’s Creative Media and Digital Culture program. As part of OMSI’s educational focus on the areas of Innovation & Engineering and Energy & the Environment, it is designed to highlight how advances in automobile technology have improved safety and increased fuel efficiency.

“We are delighted to play the role of hub between industry and academia and display their work for the benefit of the general public” said Mark Patel, OMSI’s vice president of marketing, retail and sales. “This innovative showpiece will allow visitors to see the automobile in a whole new way.”

Visitors will see a full-sized automobile unibody mounted dramatically in an elevated position. Though this structure is stripped down to its bare bones, the vehicle’s “inner workings” come into view with the help of state-of-the art AR (augmented reality) technology. The students of WSU Vancouver’s CMDC program not only conceptualized the exhibit piece, but designed and developed all of its interactive components, which entailed coding, programming and media production.

Program Director Dene Grigar of WSU Vancouver’s CMDC said “I am so proud of these students who worked tirelessly to deliver such an amazing piece to be enjoyed by OMSI visitors for years to come. This experience will be invaluable as these students pursue related careers.”

Visitors can point built-in iPad viewers or even their own smart phones at key areas of the car to bring it to life. Pointing at the hood, for example, they’ll suddenly see an animated, 3-D engine appearing to float in space. They can touch prompts on the screen to see more detailed views and to access information on topics like advances in fuel injection or in transmission design. Similar “hot spots” trigger virtual images and information in the passenger compartment and in the rear wheel area.

Making the project possible is locally owned Dick Hannah Dealerships, who provided funding and resources such as the unibody around which the exhibit piece is structured.

“The technology in automobiles is changing rapidly and our funding of the exhibit provides an opportunity for Dick Hannah Dealerships to share today’s innovations at OMSI through an exciting locally created learning experience” said Kent VanArnam, director of marketing for Dick Hannah Dealerships.

About Dick Hannah Dealerships

Family owned since 1949, Dick Hannah Dealerships is dedicated to providing excellent customer service, maintaining a positive and productive work environment, and conducting business in a way that promotes the highest principles of integrity and ethical behavior. Dick Hannah Dealerships features franchise auto dealers selling both new cars and used cars through their Acura, Chrysler-Jeep-Dodge-Ram, Honda, Hyundai, Kia, Subaru, Toyota-Scion and Volkswagen Dealerships. Dick Hannah Dealerships is setting the standard for environmental best practices for automobile dealerships. Teaming up with the National Arbor Day Foundation, Dick Hannah Dealerships plants a tree with every car they sell. Now, more than 65,000 trees have been planted. To learn more, visit www.dickhannah.com.

About the CMDC

The Creative Media & Digital Culture program (CMDC) at WSU Vancouver integrates critical thinking, creativity and computing skills with course work in the arts, humanities and social sciences to offer a broad-based, interdisciplinary degree that prepares students for a culturally diverse, technologically complex 21st century.

WSU Vancouver brings world-class education, research and service to the citizens of Southwest Washington. The campus is located at 14204 NE Salmon Creek Ave., east of the 134th Street exit from either I-5 or I-205, or via C-Tran bus service. WSU Vancouver offers 19 bachelor’s degrees, nine master’s degrees, two doctorate degrees and more than 37 fields of study. Learn more at www.vancouver.wsu.edu.

About OMSI

Founded in 1944, the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) is one of the nation’s leading science museums, a world-class tourist attraction, and an award-winning educational resource for the kid in each of us. OMSI is located at 1945 SE Water Avenue, Portland, OR 97214. For general information, call 503.797.4000 or visit www.omsi.edu.

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