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Technology fair showcases 'opportunities for the future'

August 24, 2012|By CALEB CALHOUN | caleb.calhoun@herald-mail.com
  • Jonathan Young, left, explains the DaVinci, a robotic assisted laproscopic surgical device, to Thomas Matchette at the 2012 Tri-State Technology Fair held in the Career Programs Building at HCC.
By Ric Dugan/Staff Photographer

Imagine if you could control the television, lights, locks, thermostats and security systems in your home with one remote-control device.

You can, according to Wired Technologies, which had such a device on display Friday at the 2012 Tri-State Technology Fair at Hagerstown Community College’s Elliott Center.

Wired Technologies, a company that provides home audio/visual installation services, was one of more than 30 vendors displaying their wares at the fair.

The company’s Control4 provides a controller that allows users to control virtually any device in a home or business automatically. The controller can be a remote or even a smartphone or iPad.

“It’s like smart-home technology,” Wired Technologies co-owner Kenny Castro said. “You can control one light or the whole house.”

Users can control devices when they are away from their homes with certain programs.

“I can dial into my house and see the state of my system,” Castro said. “It will work as long as you have an Internet connection.”

Various forms of technology, including cybersecurity, medical technology, biotechnology, and home audio/video/automation technology, were on display at the fair, which was sponsored by Herald-Mail Media and HCC.

“There is a need to showcase emerging technology starting to impact our area,” said Theresa Shank, dean of continuing education and business services at HCC. “It’s the things you hear about, but don’t have a concrete idea how it affects you.”

Students from Washington County Technical High School were on hand to raise awareness of the threat of cybersecurity. To display how dangerous it can be, they set up a sample computer with a sample wireless password and then hacked into it from another computer.

The students are part of the computer repair and networking program at the high school.

“Even if you have a secured Wi-Fi, we can crack into it,” said Brian Tew, 17, of Boonsboro, who is a senior at Washington County Technical High School. “Your wireless router isn’t always going to be safe. You need to use a complex password.”

Other students from the program were at the fair to check out the technology.

“We wanted to see what they have to offer, and we’ve seen a lot of cool things,” said Erik Winger, 16, of Hagerstown. “There’s a lot of different things to show how far we’ve come in technology.”

Sarah Kubala, 16, of Hagerstown, said she went to the fair to look at what’s in store for the future.

“It looks like we’re stepping into the future,” she said. “Everything’s pretty cool. I wanted to look at opportunities for the future.”

Three medical-technology vendors from Frederick Regional Health System were set up along the wall next to each other in Room 211. One displayed a robot that surgeons can use to perform surgery with only minor incisions.

The robot, called the da Vinci Surgical System, is at Frederick Memorial Hospital, and can magnify the inside of the body as well as provide different instruments that the surgeons can control for surgery. It is designed and built by Intuitive Surgical.

“We enable surgeons to take what is traditionally open surgery and offer their patients a minimally invasive approach,” said Jonathan Young, intuitive surgical clinical sales manager for Greater Washington, D.C., in Maryland. “The surgeon’s hands are translated into the tips of 8-millimeter instruments.”

The surgeon performs the surgery from a “cockpit,” looking through a lens, and attendees were able to use the instruments on display. More than 2,000 of the robots have been sent to more than 1,000 hospitals, Young said.

He said the robot was put on display at the fair to inform people that it can be an option.

“If patients understand the benefits of robotic surgery, they start asking for it,” Young said. “The biggest epidemic is patients not understanding their options when facing surgery.”

Josh Rosenberry, 24, of Needmore, Pa., said the robot was one of his favorite displays.

“It’s neat how they can do surgery without ever really touching you,” he said. “I’m here looking to get into the school’s alternative-energy program, and I’ve always been interested in technology.”

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