VaIL ’07

I recently got back from my keynote talk at the Visual and Iconic Languages conference at the University of New Mexico. The conference went very well, and a lot of very interesting conversation was had in a very short (1.5 days) amount of time. People seemed to enjoy my talk on visual language grammar, so hopefully some good will come of the event. Personally, I seem to have made some good contacts for potentially promising future works.

As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve been told that my talk may be posted online. If that’s the case, I’ll be sure to link to it.

One of the most interesting talks was given by Alan Stillman, who is the CEO and founder of a company called Kwikpoint. They make sheets of paper filled with simple images on it, designed for communicating with people when you can’t speak the language. They were originally designed for travel, though now they’re being used by the military in Iraq and Afganistan.

Originally I was doubtful of how effective this sort of thing would be, but he showed a great video of soldiers’ testimonials saying how these guides helped them save people’s lives, both military and civilian. And, hey, who am I to argue with very tangible success like that? He was also a very nice guy, and we’ve talked about my maybe doing some advising for them. I certainly hope that happens, since they really seem to be making a substantial difference.

And, just cause it’s a great photo, here’s me and the conference organizer, Sunny, taking in some New Mexico flavors…


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