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No cows to milk in tech center



Published: Thu, August 30, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



But, the center will feature a caf & eacute; where fairgoers can have a cup of coffee and access the Internet.

By IAN HILL

VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER

CANFIELD -- Are you tired of the same old thing at the Canfield Fair? Not interested in sheep shearing or cow milking? Afraid that if you eat another elephant ear, your heart will stop?

Then Mark Makoski thinks you may want to visit the fair's technology center, located in the old fine arts building behind the fair administration building.

"We wanted to find something other than the same old thing that will help us draw a broader audience," said Makoski, a fair board member who helped set up the technology center.

The 155th Canfield Fair opened at 8 a.m. today.

Internet caf & eacute;: This year's technology center will feature an Internet caf & eacute; staffed by 4-H members. Fairgoers can stop at the caf & eacute;, have a cup of coffee, and access the Internet on one of several computer terminals. 4-H Club members will be staffing the caf & eacute; to answer questions about the Internet.

In addition, area high schools will hold robot competitions each night at the center, and the Mahoning County Sheriff's Department will have a new cruiser on display.

The cruiser features a computer system that allows sheriff's deputies to access detailed information about criminals and people in traffic stops, including driver's license photos.

"It's something people can see without getting pulled over by the sheriff's department," Makoski said.

No 'Battlebots': He added that fairgoers shouldn't come to the center at night expecting to find high school students involved in robot competitions like on the television show "Battlebots." The show features remote-controlled robots fighting each other until one is destroyed.

Instead, Makoski said the fair's competition will feature robots that are designed by high school students to complete simple tasks, like placing a ball in a cup.

"These kids worked too hard on these things to go out there with chainsaws," he said.

Participating schools include Chaney High School, Girard High School, a school from Indiana and three schools from Pennsylvania. The "playing field" for the competition was created by students at Warren G. Harding High School.

Companies' displays: Makoski added that several computer and wireless companies also will have displays in the center. Last year, which was the first year for the center, the displays were designed to showcase technology that was currently available.

Makoski said that this year's displays will feature technology that will be available in the future.

"We're looking at how things are going to be," he said. "This will be something new, moving forward and keeping up with the times."

Makoski also said that in the next few years, he wants the center to offer more interactive technology that will help fairgoers overcome their "technophobia" -- or fear of touching technology you don't understand.

"A large portion of our population has technophobia," he said.

hill@vindy.com




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