Not just another brick in the Library wall

Not just another brick in the Library wall


After two years of development, construction, and system set-up, the Discovery Wall at the center of the first floor Auraria Library is close to setting sail for faculty and student use.

Gayle Bradbeer, User Support, Science & Engineering Collection Development Librarian, and Niraj Chaudhary, Library Information Technology Manager of the Auraria Library,  have spent the last week straightening out kinks in its usability.

“They are from Sharp. The model is PNV601. The 601 indicates 60 inches, so we have nine of them here, arrayed in three-by-three integration, and they are the most advanced [LCD] monitors out there,” Chaudhary said. “It’s advanced because of the size of the bezel. So, when you see a picture [on all screens], this is not going to affect viewing much. The bezel is only 0.2 inches, which is amazing.”

Wall area construction—monitor/computer/green transparent dry erase board—was completed at the end of July by the Kiewit Building Group. As a subcontractor, 5280 Digital came in and connected the system—fulfilling the IT portion of the project.

“About a year ago… we had a prototype built by the Metro [State] IT group; we had it here in the library for several weeks. It really wasn’t entirely satisfactory because it wasn’t big enough. All it did was look at Google [Earth],” Bradbeer said. “The idea behind the Discovery Wall is that we want to have several learning capabilities of what we can do here.”

“We also want time for what we call exploration and discovery, using a variety of things from Google Earth programs for looking at Mars, the Moon, and Earth,” Bradbeer said. “We’d also like to add some other programs like ArcGIS and a number of other mapping programs. We’d also want to have time for people to explore a wide variety of video supply databases.”

The third type of usage is during set scheduled times for either faculty teaching class, students conducting presentations with a microphone/PowerPoint, special sessions about learning, or any variety of general information lectures.

The Discovery Wall is strung to a 3DConnexion 3D Mouse, allowing users to pan, zoom, and rotate 3D imagery by pushing, pulling, twisting, and tilting its cap a fraction of an inch to explore viewed objects/maps. By its side is a Leap Motion sensor device that detects hand and finger motions, allowing for no hand contact with the monitors.

Tuition funds from multiple departments of CU Denver, Metro, and CCD contributed to the construction of the Discovery Wall, unofficially estimated with a price tag between $110,000 and $120,000.

“We haven’t done anything like this before, and no one else has, that we know of,” Bradbeer said. “We want everyone that wanders in here to know that our campus is more than just a set of classes.”

Bradbeer and Chaudhary are optimistic that the Discovery Wall will be fully-functional by the end of December and available for students and faculty by the 2014 spring semester.