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State Fair 2019: Connecting Minnesota with U Research

Woman participates in research with help from student researcher

Photo: UMN/Chris Cooper

Parades, music, animals, and a cornucopia of foods skewered on sticks—the Minnesota State Fair provides no lack of variety to fill your summer day. Amid the entertainment and festivities, the University of Minnesota invites fairgoers to round out their trip with something a little different: contributing to world-class research.

Every year, the Driven to Discover (D2D) Research Facility allows fair visitors to devote a bit of their day to learning about U of M research and helping advance efforts to improve our health, well-being, and environment. During this year’s fair—which starts on Thursday, August 22, and continues through Labor Day on September 2—researchers will welcome visitors of all ages and demographics to volunteer for one of 54 ongoing studies.

For participants, the D2D facility is one way to directly participate in improving the world around them. For researchers, it’s an opportunity to reach a more diverse group of participants, meet study recruitment goals more quickly, and provide undergraduate and graduate students with valuable research experience.

Participate in D2D Research

Interested in volunteering for a study? This year’s projects range in subject from ways to control invasive carp to interactions with handheld robots; below are a few examples. See the complete schedule and full list of study descriptions to plan your visit. Volunteers typically spend 10 to 20 minutes participating and will receive a small gift in return.

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Girl participates in research with help from student researcher
UMN/Chris Cooper
  • Why Did the Chicken Cross the RCI?—Nichole Morris, PhD, and Curtis Craig, PhD, want to teach you about a new type of roadway intersection designed to improve traffic safety and reduce crashes.
  • Dine or Dash?—Melanie Firestone and Craig Hedberg, PhD, want to know how interested you would be in seeing the results of health inspections at Minnesota restaurants.
  • Lend a Hand for 3D Scans—Linsey Griffin, PhD, wants to take a 3D scan your hand to help improve the fit, function, and design of gloves, tools, and countless other products that your hand touches daily.
  • Top Drone—Courtney Hutton and Evan Suma Rosenberg, PhD, want your help navigating a drone through a mixed-reality obstacle course using some of the latest technology to discover which interface is the most effective.
  • Brains on a Stick—Jeff Wozniak, PhD, aims to learn more about brain research by scanning kids’ brains and testing their IQs.

Visit the D2D Research Facility site or contact d2d@umn.edu for more information.

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Researchers next to the D2D Research Facility at Highland Fest in St. Paul
The D2D Research Facility went “on the road” for the first time this month, bringing four research projects to Highland Fest in St. Paul. Hundreds volunteered to participate in research during the event. Photo: Anne Marie Hotop.
Kevin Coss

Kevin Coss

Kevin is a communications specialist with the Office of the Vice President for Research.

coss@umn.edu

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