Discover how 3 units will showcase some of UAB’s unique expertise at The World Games Plaza

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TWGBanner492x369The World Games represents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to showcase UAB on a global stage — and transforming our residence halls and Commons on the Green into the Athletes’ Village or serving as the official medical provider for Games athletes and spectators aren’t the only ways to shine a spotlight on the best of UAB.

Every day from 3-9 p.m. July 7-17, nearly 20 units from across the enterprise will host tailored, hands-on activities for visitors to the new World Games Plaza, located at Birmingham’s new City Walk BHAM near Protective Stadium and the Uptown district. The activities will highlight the best of what UAB has to offer — whether that’s in the classroom, the lab, the clinic or the conference room.

“The activities planned for The World Games Plaza don’t just showcase UAB’s unique opportunities in education, health care and career-building — they are an example of the creativity and imagination of our faculty and staff, who demonstrate their commitment to the UAB mission through their willingness to volunteer at the Plaza and promote our institution to visitors and Blazers alike,” said Pam Benoit, Ph.D., provost and senior vice president for Academic Affairs.

Keep reading to learn how UAB Libraries, the School of Health Professions and the School of Optometry plan to engage Plaza visitors and best represent the university, all while telling their own unique story about the institution, its mission and its shared values — and the role their units play in them.

Experience Tech in the Modern Library, July 7

Visitors to UAB Libraries’ activity at The World Games Plaza will be able to utilize virtual reality headsets and 360-degree cameras to explore some of UAB’s most interesting spaces, such as the view of University Boulevard and campus from the fourth-floor balcony of the Lister Hill Library of the Health Sciences and the wood-paneled entrance to the UAB Archives, also in Lister Hill — enabling them to step outside the world of the Plaza and experience campus life from a student’s perspective.

The Libraries’ activity also will showcase some of the more complicated requests from faculty and students for 3D modeling and printing from UAB Libraries, which is home to several printers. Models include replicas of human organs, research specimens, engineering prototypes and more.

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Left, 3D-printed dragons made in UAB Libraries; right, click the image to see a snippet of a virtual view from Lister Hill's balcony.

“We are pleased to share these examples of the exciting new applications for extended reality and interactive technology we are learning about in the UAB Libraries," said Dorothy Ogdon, associate professor and head of Emerging Technology and System Development for UAB Libraries. “This work is key to our continued support for the information and technology literacy-related activities that have always been a core part of library services.

“We encourage our visitors to continue their explorations of the UAB Libraries by visiting our digital exhibits and collections online. We hope to inspire anyone who enjoys our demonstrations to plan a virtual or physical visit to their local libraries to learn more about ways libraries support information and technology literacy in their communities.”  

Also on display:

  • The many uses of Adobe Creative Cloud tools to augment reality and facility interactive, personal experiences
  • Web-based software tools that UAB Libraries utilizes to transform historic materials from fragile documents into interactive digital experiences

Play Accessible Video Games, July 10

At the School of Health Professions activity space, Plaza visitors will have the unique opportunity to test two accessible devices utilized by the school’s Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center on Recreational Technologies, or RecTech, in partnership with the Lakeshore Research Collaborative.

One device is a first-of-its-kind accessible gaming controller that can transform traditionally sedentary videogames into active experiences that utilize full-body motion. The controller is wheelchair-accessible and can connect to any Windows PC or Xbox game.

The second piece of equipment is RecTech’s exclusive exercise hand bike, designed specifically to focus on the needs of people with physical disabilities. Built with disconnected hand pedals attached to two separate hub motors, the device can accommodate varying levels of resistance or assistance to the operator’s two upper limbs — enabling users or therapists to make adjustments for personalized rehabilitation training protocols. The equipment also is connected to a virtual biking environment, keeping users engaged in the experience.

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Left, RecTech's exclusive exercise handbike; middle and right, the accessible gaming setup designed to utilize full-body motion.

“Visitors won’t want to miss this,” said Tracee Synco, Ph.D., director for Community Engagement in the School of Health Professions. “It is the first time the RecTech team is giving people access to use their adaptive equipment and see their technological advancements in a public venue — this is where sports, science and technology intersect to make exercise accessible and fun for everyone.”

Test Your Own Sports Vision, July 13

This interactive experience from the School of Optometry will enable visitors to test their vision, eye-hand coordination and game-ready skills. Not only will participants be tested on how well they see in each eye, they also can try out sports-vision enhancement techniques — many of which are available only regionally through the school, such as an Oculus-based sports vision enhancement platform created by the team optometrist for Washington, D.C.-area sports teams such as the Commanders and Nationals.

Optometry students also will demonstrate UAB’s research into amber-colored contact lenses and their effects on enhanced vision on and off the field — introducing visitors to Optometry’s unique role supporting UAB Athletics with eye and vision care year-round. In 2021, Optometry collaborated with UAB Football wide receiver coach Collin Lisa and wide receiver Trey Shropshire to develop sports vision enhancement techniques for UAB Football. These students will be on-site at The World Games Plaza to teach the techniques they created.

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From left: Dustin Scott, former UAB Football player and current School of Optometry student, demonstrated amber contact lenses used to enhance vision; click the image to watch UAB Football Wide Receiver Coach Collin Lisa work with Trea Shopshire on eye-hand coordination using techniques demonstrated by Optometry; and BlazerVision conducted vision tests on UAB student-athletes.

“UAB Eye Care is thrilled to highlight what Optometry adds the UAB Sports Medicine team,” said Kathy Weise, O.D., professor of optometry. “We love providing both acute eye care and comprehensive eye exams to our UAB student-athletes.”

In partnership with the UAB Department of Ophthalmology and UAB Sports and Exercise Medicine, the School of Optometry also is the official eye care provider for The World Games, in addition to the United States Football League and Birmingham Legion FC, the USFL, The World Games and Birmingham Legion FC.

“We apply the same vision-maximizing techniques to our local kids from peewee to high school: See better, play better. The World Games Plaza will enable us to focus on the next step: letting Optometry test your eye-hand coordination skills to elevate your game,” she continued.

Also on display:

  • A visual acuity chart for vision-testing
  • Easy-to-navigate sports vision-testing techniques using tennis balls, hula hoops and Nerf darts

There’s more happening at The World Games Plaza

Visit UAB’s World Games website to see a complete schedule of Plaza activities hosted by more than a dozen other units, from UAB Admissions and Human Resources to Live HealthSmart Alabama, UAB Arts in Medicine, the College of Arts and Sciences and many more.

Want to make sure you remember to visit the Plaza? Sign into the Campus Calendar with your BlazerID and password and click the “I’m interested” button at the top right to receive reminder emails straight to your inbox.