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State High TSA
State College Area High School Chapter Webmaster Entry. Read about our chapter, STEM Education, and Augmented Reality
Team 2098-901 Team A

About our Chapter


The Technology Student Association (TSA) is a non-profit organization that promotes education in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). TSA provides competitions in over 60 competitive individual and team events for high school and middle school students throughout the nation. There are three divisions of TSA competitions: Regionals, States, and Nationals. At each conference, members compete in events that range from traditional engineering and math challenges to fashion design, music production, and public speaking.


Three boys standing with their first place trophy at the national TSA conference

Pictured above: Some of our members after recieving their first place trophy for Tech Bowl


Our chapter meets once weekly, where students get together and work on their projects with the help and support of their advisors. Students are also encouraged to meet with their teams outside of school to work on their projects. Our chapter has been the home to hundreds of students over the course of several years, and has been the host of several state officers.



Chapter Officers

Each year, six students are elected by their chapter to serve as officers. Students in the chapter elect a President, Vice-President, Secretary, Treasurer, Reporter, and Sergeant-at-Arms.

This year, we are lucky to have the PA State Sergeant-at-Arms, Caroline Sparrow, as a member of our chapter.

Mouse over or click the images to find out about our officers

Chapter Advisors

To help keep us organized and on task

Mr. Greg Wilson:
Mr. Wilson works as a Technology Education teacher, and teaches classes on 3D modeling. After school, he helps the chapter with all of our events, answering any questions that we have.
Six students standing together in downtown Nashville
Pictured above: Some students enjoying the sites of Nashville after a hard day's work at the 2016 National Conference.

STEM Education


Science

Most of the freshmen at State College Area High School take Earth Systems Science or Biology. After they complete these two courses, most will take either Physics or Chemistry, but many other science courses are offered. All core sciences have an advanced or regular option, and physics is offered as an AP.
The following is a complete list of all the science courses offered at State High:

  • Advanced Biology
  • Advanced Biology Electives
  • Advanced Chemistry 1
  • Advanced Chemistry 2
  • Advanced Earth Systems Science
  • Advanced Earth Systems Science Electives
  • Advanced Engineering Technology
  • Advanced Genetics
  • Advanced Molecular and Cellular Biology
  • Advanced Oceanography
  • Advanced Physics
  • Anatomy & Physiology
  • AP Physics 1 +
  • AP Physics C
  • Chemistry 1
  • Environmental Science 1
  • Environmental Science
  • Integrated Chemistry and Physics
  • Physics 1
  • Research Science & Engineering
  • Strategies for Biology

Mathematics

Most students will take either one of the Algebra 1 courses, or Geometry when they enter their freshman year. This allows most of the students at State High to finish their senior year with either Pre Calculus, Calculus, or Statistics. All math classes are offered at the College Preparatory, Advanced, or AP level.
The following is a complete list of all the math courses offered at State High:

  • Advanced Algebra 2
  • Advanced Geometry
  • Advanced Honors Precalculus
  • Advanced Precalculus
  • Advanced Topics Math
  • Algebra 1
  • Algebra 2
  • AP Calculus AB
  • AP Calculus BC
  • AP Computer Science
  • AP Statistics
  • College Preparatory Algebra 1
  • College Preparatory Algebra 2
  • College Preparatory Geometry
  • Functions and Trigonometry
  • Intro to Calculus
  • Precalculus
  • Seminar Math
  • Strategies for Algebra 1

STEM Electives


CTC Courses

The CTC (Career and Technical Center) electives are designed for students who wish to meet an education requirement for a specific objective. The STEM related CTC courses are broken down into the following categories:

  • Accounting and Finance
  • Agricultural Science
  • Architectural Drafting and Design
  • Automotive Technology
  • Building Construction
  • Cisco Networking Academy
  • Engineering

Technology Education

State High also offers more electives directed specifically towards Technology Education:

  • Advanced Computer Engineering Graphics
  • Computer Engineering Graphics 2
  • Computer Graphics 1
  • Video Media Technology
  • Woodworking

STEM Clubs


State College Area High School offers students many opportunities to participate in STEM related activities outside of the school day as well. These clubs usually go into all fields of STEM, but are generally focused around one of them. Each of these clubs are given opportunities to compete against their fellow members, and sometimes other schools.
  • TSA: Students learn about STEM related opportunities and apply and integrate these concepts in intracurricular activities, competitions, and related programs.
  • Envirothon: Students think critically about problems and solutions facing the environment and their roles in the natural world
  • HOSA: State High Health Professions Team, compete in medical competitions
  • Math Club: An organization of various math related activities. Home of the GEM seminar.
  • Rocketry Club: Students build, design, and fly rockets
  • Science Olympiad: 23 different science based events encompassing different fields of science

Augmented Reality

The Gateway To the Future

What is Augmented Reality?

Oxford Living Dictionary defines augmented reality as “A technology that superimposes a computer-generated image on a user's view of the real world, thus providing a composite view.” In layman’s terms, augmented reality, or AR, is the blending of the physical and digital worlds. Technology to land planes in low to zero visibility conditions, to overlay geographically relevent information onto a phone’s camera, and to layer different realities for game play are all examples of AR. Augmented reality technology signifies the next step in digital intelligence.

Essence of the technology

Augmented reality aims to seamlessly blend the virtual and physical world, a difficult task. Advance AR technology utilizes multiple sources of data to form a coherent image. This data must be processed in real time and includes sound, video, GPS, and graphic creations. AR technology is making its way into the world in multiple forms, such as Magic Leap. Magic Leap is a secretive startup that raised 542 million dollars with Google as its main investor. Microsoft HoloLens is an AR headset created by Microsoft that allows the user to interact with the information that it projects. Google Glass is another example of an AR headset that had less success than the HoloLens.

Each AR device has certain requirements to be able to operate. Each AR device requires specific hardware in order to work, such as a processor, a display, and input devices (sensors). The processor handles input and monitors output to keep things running smoothly. The display is what allows interaction with the real world. Displays for AR come in a variety of types. They include but are not limited to, optical projection systems, computer monitors, handheld devices, and worn display systems. There is a wide range of ways to interact with AR. Some basic types are head mounted, like the Microsoft HoloLens, and Google Glass. A HUD, or Heads Up Display, like those used in the helmets and cockpits of fighter jets. Other more inventive types of displays are contact lenses and a virtual retina display (both of these are still in development). The most common of all displays are handheld devices such as smartphones and tablets. The specific sensors that provide information for the software to turn into an AR experience are cameras, accelerometers, GPS, and Solid State Compasses. The software that is used to complete the AR experience must be fully encompassing to be able to process the input data and the output data while creating a viable and enjoyable experience.


Current Uses

Gaming Applications

Augmented reality (AR) is currently being used for an overwhelming plethora of applications. The release of Pokémon Go last summer brought AR to the public. The game, which briefly was the focus of popular culture, was created in part by Niantic, a maker of phone apps that utilize AR technology. Two other apps created by Niantic include Ingress (a similar concept to Pokémon Go where physically walking in real life moves your character around in the game and you travel to points of interest for items in the game) and Field Trip (a traveling app that alerts you when you are near an interesting location).


An image of a Pokeball


Navigation

Some GPS and navigation systems are being enhanced by and based off of Augmented Reality, which makes it easier for travelers to get from one place to another. The most popular version of AR navigation apps is Wikitude Drive, which is currently in beta testing. By using the phone’s camera paired with the GPS, the users can see a live updated route of what is directly in front of the car. Examples of software include AR GPS DRIVE/WALK NAVIGATION and Churchill navigation systems. These are featured in handheld devices along with aiding search and rescue and law enforcement personnel.


Military

The Heads-Up Display (HUD) and Head-Mounted Display (HMD) are typical examples of augmented reality when it comes to military applications of the technology. HUD is used by pilots, which entails a transparent display directly in front of the pilot. This allows the pilot to see information regarding altitude, airspeed and the horizon bar, in addition to other critical data. HMD is used by ground troops, and it is able to provide critical data, such as enemy location within their line of sight. This technology is also used for training simulations.


A man wearing a tacticle helmet
Pictured above: An example of an HMD headset used by a ground trooper.

Medical

Medical students use AR technology to practice surgery in a controlled environment. These visualizations aid in explaining complex medical conditions and situations to patients. Augmented reality also reduces the risks during operations, as surgeons are given an improved sensory perception. This technology can be combined with MRI or X-ray systems to bring every piece of data into a single view for the surgeon. The concern being that the projected image and actual physical position of the tissue would not be lined up. Irreparable damage could be caused if the equipment does not perform as advertised. This can affect the exact positioning required for augmented reality to work.


Maintenance and Repair

Augmented reality is also being used for Maintenance and Repair purposes. A mechanic making repairs to an engine can see superimposed imagery and information in their actual line of sight while wearing a headset. Complex procedural repairs can be broken down into a series of simple steps. Simulations can be used to train technicians which can significantly reduce training expenses.


Text translation app on an iPhone

Pictured above: A feature in Google Translate that instantly translates whatever you point your camera at.


Saftey Concerns

Potential safety concerns of augmented reality fall into two categories, physical and intellectual. Physical threats include but are not limited to: kidnapping and mugging, in addition to running into trees, lamp posts, walls, other people, and cars both running and parked. For example, while playing the popular game Pokémon Go, players have been robbed at gunpoint, stumbled upon dead bodies, run into various objects, and have been hit by cars. All of these safety concerns stem from the main characteristic of AR which requires that the user constantly shift focus from the real world to the piece of technology being used. If too much focus is given to the piece of technology, then the user pays little to no attention to their surroundings. When the user pays little or no attention to their surroundings, that is when they stop noticing objects and events around them which they can then run into, this can occur while using any form of AR, not just games.

Intellectual threats are a little harder to pin down and will create legislative and enforcement issues. Fake news has been a hot subject this past year. Imagine if it was always there, always spinning the story one way or another, always one message being broadcast over and over again. What will the subliminal marketing and constant presence of AR do to the intellectual freedom of humans?


An image displaying augmented reality

Future Uses

As time goes on, the technology will continue to improve exponentially, developing new ideas and abilities. Devices used for augmented reality, such as HoloLens, are expected to become more compact and intelligent. Navigational uses will improve to become more accurate and precise. The potential applications of AR can be discussed for hours on end. AR could be used in archeology, potentially allowing archaeologists to recreate archaeological sites, like the Roman city Pompeii, as they might have appeared thousands of years ago. Augmented reality could also be used in architecture, projecting structures onto a geographic location, which would make the creation and design process of structures much simpler. This is similar to the current use of AR, geo-referencing construction sites. Currently, it allows city planners to visualize buildings before building them. AR could have many uses in emergency situations. It could change with live updates, which would improve with how the technology is deployed during emergencies, and could change how information is gathered. The future holds an endless amount of possibilities for AR.