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[ICF 2019] The Future is now at Geeklab

OCT . 22 2019
Peking University, Oct. 22, 2019: Peking University celebrated its International Culture Festival on October 19, under the theme of "A World without Borders, the Future is Now". Nestled amongst the sights, smells and sounds of the ICF’s iconic country booths was a different kind of experience: the Geeklab Special Experiences, showcasing cutting-edge technology.

The Geeklab Special Experiences put diverse technologies on display. Visitors attracted by the queuing crowd discovered five stations.

Station one was a laser engraver. With a flicker of red light, unique signatures and designs appeared on blank cards as if by magic. Within seconds, visitors had souvenir cards to take home.

Lei Yuntong, an undergraduate student in computer science, explained the inspiration behind the printer.

“After Geeklab learned that the laser printing technology was used to create keyboard letters on the Mac, we saw an opportunity to utilize it in another way.”


PKU’s famous Boya Pagoda being laser printed onto a souvenir card

Station two featured a robot hand, which imitated the hand gestures of PKU students with remarkable realism. The Geeklab team designed the hand during the 2019 Baidu Development Summit and spent a full month bringing it to life. The secret to the arm’s abilities lies within a camera-data processing system, transforming visual information into motion.


Shaking hands with Geeklab’s robot

Station three was a motion-sensing projector. With nothing but a white board on the table, visitors were able to ‘play the drums’ with their hands. The creation was a combination of technological sophistication and nostalgic playfulness. Lei Yuntong envisioned that this kind of creativity could lead to a world without computer displays and keyboards, “where both can be used remotely on a flat surface”.

Station four featured a perler bead workshop, bringing back nostalgic memories through the creation of pixel art. Visitors sat around a table filled with trays of tiny beads, copying colourful patterns or designing their own. With nothing but an iron, the heat-activated beads would fuse together to form a piece of art.

Station five was a participatory art piece. Visitors used wire to create shapes of their choice, which were then welded together to create a golden 3D structure. These stations reflected Geeklab’s creative imagination by combining technology and dedication to form art. Overall, a fusion of technological and artistic creativity was on full display at the Geeklab Special Experiences.

This was not the only Geeklab event at the ICF. Over at the Geeklab itself was the "AI + Art" exhibition. The exhibition is located away from the vibrant energy of the country stalls, deep underground in a quiet and quaint area of Peking University. Entering the exhibition was an experience in itself with its dark atmosphere.

Inside, the art installments are nothing short of avant-garde. The combination of lighting, video, and sound created an environment that is open for interpretation by the individual, a form of abstract art. In addition, the creations were founded with an interdisciplinary approach that was categorized into four themes of "circularity", "coalescence", "living beings", and "origins".


Entrance to Geeklab

Reported by: Kairun Daikoku, Cherry Zheng
Edited by: Zhang Jiang