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UB Partners Day features virtual tour of waterfront

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WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley
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UB's virtual reality images of future waterfront

By Eileen Buckley

http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/wbfo/local-wbfo-906643.mp3

Buffalo, NY – UB Partners Day was held yesterday in downtown Buffalo. The event celebrates the University's key partnerships with businesses, civic and government organizations. It featured about 45 exhibits and workshop sessions. WBFO'S Eileen Buckley checked out a state-of-the-art virtual reality tour of the City's waterfront.

Click the audio player above to hear Eileen Buckley's full story now or use your podcasting software to download it to your computer or iPod.

A computerized image helps simulate proposed structures for Buffalo's Inner Harbor project. It was part of a workshop called "Enhancing the Economic Development of Buffalo's Inner Harbor through the Use of Virtual Reality".

Tom Furlani is director of UB's Center for Computational Research.

"Our part of the whole project is to provide the technology that allows them to convene this information easily to the public and to the stake holders," said Furlani.

The high tech, virtual reality images offer a 3-D interactive high resolution simulation where participants can tour the Buffalo Harbor by foot, car or bike.

Furlani said the computerized Inner Harbor images provide a very useful tool for the planning and design of the future of Buffalo's Waterfront. It even provides a sliding time scale. It moves forward into the out years. But Furlani realizes citizens might be skeptical about any completion of the waterfront. His advice, be patient. "We do a lot of projects a lot of projects with the Department of Transportations all over the country, Florida particularly and New York State, and 19 years is the average it takes for a project, from the time it is conceptualized to the time it is finally built," said Furlani.

The exhibit booth featuring the virtual reality computer images was very active Wednesday. Attendees were interested in what the City's waterfront could potentially look like. UB says it's computer generated photos provide a glimpse of the future that even Google Earth can not provide.