ASU Emerge crowds explore intersection of technology, athletics
ASU's Wells Fargo Arena was filled with sports fans this past Friday, but not to cheer on the Sun Devils' latest basketball game — or any traditional game for that matter. It was for the latest Emerge festival, which this year explored what sports might look like in the year 2040 — a future where technology and athletics are intertwined.
Visitors tried on gadgets that make movement easier, challenged an artificial-intelligence cheerleader to cheer them on as they played Tetris, tested their problem-solving skills in a Rube Goldberg room, faced off against wheelchair rugby players, watched two expert eSports teams take each other on (with the action projected on the scoreboard in the middle of the arena), took part in a Fantasy Football Draft Party (set in 2040) and more.
People participate in problem-solving activities during ASU Emerge on Friday, April 29, at Wells Fargo Arena in Tempe. This year's theme was The Future of Sport, which explored how technology and athletics might intersect in the year 2040.
An ASU e-sports team competes in a League of Legends tournament during ASU Emerge. ASU cheerleaders were on hand to rally the teams, and visitors in any part of the arena could watch the competition, thanks to the video-game action being shown on the scoreboard screen over the center of the basketball court.
Children participate in an exhibit during ASU Emerge on Friday, April 29, at Wells Fargo Arena. This "visitation from the future" (what the Emerge calls its activities and booths) also allowed visitors to design their own games of the future.Photo by Ben Moffat/ASU Now
Roller derby players participate in a match during ASU Emerge on Friday, April 29, at Wells Fargo Arena. The players, whose light-up outfits seemed a nod to Tron, kept on the move, circling the concourse.
A roller derby player has fun during a free moment at ASU Emerge.Photo by Ben Moffat/ASU Now
Shane Boyd (left) of the Arizona Rattlers and Mistie Bass of the Phoenix Mercury participate in an Arizona Storytellers series during Emerge. ASU's famous "Curtain of Distraction" (see at left) also came into play during the evening's stage performances.
An ASU technician helps a child try on a jet pack during Emerge. The jet pack, which is designed to help people run faster (not fly), was created in ASU professor Tom Sugar’s robotics lab on the Polytechnic campus. Visitors got the chance not just to try it on, but to run while it was powered up.
People participate in the "Game of Clones," a cancer simulation that involved role play with scientists from the Department of Psychology and the Biodesign Institute — dressed as characters from HBO's "Game of Thrones" — who are working to understand how cancer cells behave. Players acted as cells and divided and grew according to rules.
Some envision a future where climate change affects what games we play. At Emerge, people could participate in "Cistern," a post-apocalyptic game in which water is the prize. It was a sort of tag game, featuring a convoy and raiders trying to steal their water. The game organizers also set up shrines to the "Water Man" and refugee camps along the upper concourse.