Ithaca Mayor Svante Myrick ’09 was transported to Mexico City, Mexico on Thursday by visiting the Portal at Cornell, speaking about U.S. international relations during the Trump presidency with political consultant Luis Daniel Perez Vazquez.
“In the age of Trump — which is an age of people putting up walls and deciding that national identity is more important than your identity as a human being — anything that can bring you face to face with somebody who is very different from you and makes you feel like you have more in common than what separates you is a good thing,” Myrick said, in an interview with The Sun.
A Portal is essentially a gold space – more often than not a shipping container but they come in numerous forms: inflatable rooms, repurposed huts, a single screen, even a bus. Walk inside and generally you’ll find an NEC short-throw projector, Biamp Devio microphones and Community loudspeakers. Behind the scenes Zoom videoconferencing is at work. All manufacturers are working as sponsors of the project.
A hackathon set to be held next week is bringing together students and medical workers in Baltimore and Gaza City.
It won’t involve travel. Instead, the key to link lies within a gold shipping container.
Known as Portals, the retired cargo transport vessels allow groups of people from different sides of the world to sit down for a conversation.
The proposition next to the radiant, gold-painted shipping container is simple and inviting. "Portals" the sign reads. "Step inside and engage people around the world, live, as if in the same room."
From a sun-drenched quad on Johns Hopkins University's Homewood campus, Portal visitors are transported—with the help of a floor-to-ceiling video screen and immersive audiovisual technology—to a location outside Erbil, Iraq, where four men sit inside another Portal.
A Portal equipped with audiovisual technology that makes immersive, real-time, cross-continental conversations possible was installed on Decker Quad at JHU's Homewood campus on Monday.
As technological innovation develops at a blistering pace, it has fundamentally altered how conflicts develop and play out, and how peacebuilders prevent and mitigate violence. Throughout history, technology has driven warfare and international security. To take one example, the development of nuclear weapons led to the doctrine of mutually assured destruction as the prevailing norm of the Cold War era. For centuries, however, most of this technology was only available to states. Today, individuals are empowered by technology to have a voice in international affairs and instantly connect with people on issues of convergence, according to USIP and technology experts speaking at PeaceTech Lab’s annual summit on May 8.
Imagine: Dancing next to a life-size figure, your iPhone blaring a favorite tune. But the person facing you isn’t there. She’s thousands of miles away in Iraq, tucked in a room much like yours. And yet together, you share a moment.
Or imagine this: Turning a $3 webcam into a microscope that can film the universe blown up large. In a lab, you tinker with little pieces of technology until the focus is just right and your camera records the minutiae you want it to see. The world is your oyster, in all its detail and design.
At Greenwich Academy, two teachers have pioneered initiatives that make both of these hypotheticals a reality. And last week, they dodged a nor’easter for a few days in Austin, Texas, where they shared their knowledge at South by Southwest.