2 min read

May IT training be with you

IT training hits outer space, and how beer and wireless could come together

Tired of trying to catch the barman’s eye when your pint is running low? A high-tech beer mat that calls for a refill when a glass is almost empty has been invented in – yes, you guessed it, Germany.

The electronic coaster was created by scientists Andreas Butz of the University of Munich (the home of Oktoberfest, of course), and Michael Schmitz of Saarland University (the home of the beer bong). The Nobel Prize, as they say, is in the mail.

Apparently, the cardboard surface of the mat conceals a small, flat base-plate that conceals pressure and acceleration sensors that react to the weight of the glass and the position and movement of the coasters. The micro-sensors then pass on this information via radio link to the bar, where the signal is picked up and decoded by a waiting computer. It was not clear whether the computer would flash the bartender a $20-bill or yell obnoxious demands.

There was also no word on when these devices will hit watering holes, but one thing’s for certain: These mats should make for fun focus groups.

Far far away IT training

Speaking of fun, how’s this for an IT training idea (at least for the Star Wars buffs among us): The new Star Wars: Where Science Meets Imagination exhibit at Boston’s Museum of Science uses the six films of the sci-fi saga as a gateway to understanding new technologies.

At the Engineering Design Labs within each area of the exhibit, visitors are given engineering challenges. For example, in the “Getting Around” area, where Luke Skywalker’s wheeless transport from Episode IV is on exhibit for the first time, visitors are asked “How Would You Build a Maglev Car like Luke’s Landspeeder?” Videos of real-world speeders, coupled with accounts from engineers, help visitors explore the facets of each technology involved in creating a floating vehicle.

Sounds pretty cool, but there was no word on whether “Why Can’t You Remember How to Open the Spreadsheet Application?” or “When Will You Learn How to Turn on the Workstation Without Calling IT” would be featured in the exhibit. Of course, those questions would be more than relevant to Star Wars, Episode VII: Return of the Luddite.