Could Manhattan Use More Tech Attractions?


The area around the main Kansas State campus is blessed with a lot of things. There’s the incredible natural landscape, tons of outdoor activities and plenty of cultural attractions within Manhattan to cover all kinds of traditional tastes.

As a campus town, however, the one thing that it feels like the town is missing is a bit of the technology and cool gadgetry found around other campuses. The technology campus at Salina may have a little more going on around it but what could Manhattan add so as to cater for new generations of tech-savvy students?

Retro Arcade

So this may seem like a step backwards in technology at first, but retro gaming is very much in right now and it can offer more than just entertainment. Retro arcade machines were the engineering marvels of their day and collecting and restoring old machines is a mechanical project in its own right.

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Something around retro technology would be fitting for KSU students as well, given the college’s history with the development of television and radio including Kansas’ first-ever television station. Having students from the engineering courses, business administration department and others gain access into the back end of the business could prove to be an excellent practical exercise. All the while, other students and the local townspeople get a unique and entertaining alternative with a major local social aspect.

There would also be an opportunity to introduce modern equivalents in small amounts, which brings us to our next idea…

VR Hub

Unlike the more temporary novelty of things like 3D, virtual reality looks set to be the future of many different types of media. It has reached into every single aspect of business, education and entertainment with thousands of different applications. The most prominent so far has been again in video gaming and the industries around it such as online slots. It’s prominent enough in the latter that new online casinos often have dedicated VR sections for the growing range of immersive virtual casino games, and for the former, there are entire companies dedicated to creating innovative VR games.

However, beyond just entertainment, there would be plenty of benefits to creating a public VR hub within Manhattan. For college students in particular, the educational potential is huge. Students of the arts, for example, would suddenly have access to thousands of museums and other cultural institutions around the world that would be inherently difficult to travel to in person. Students from the engineering or health departments faculty could likewise access practical exercises with equipment or scenarios not readily available in the area.

The added bonus would be that the general public could benefit from all of the above and more as well and the whole thing could serve as a cultural resource for both local and world information.

AR Aggieville

We recently reported on the businesses of the Aggieville district finally getting back on their feet with an end to construction, but a real shot in the arm especially with younger patrons could be the introduction of an AR app for the area. AR, or augmented reality in full, is a way of adding virtual overlays to real-life places, often to give extra information or as part of some game.

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As has been done with other historic areas around the country, an AR app could effectively turn Aggieville into a living museum without any disruption to the businesses themselves. Designated points could give historic information, old images of the area or even video footage. Depending on how the app is set up there could also be interactive elements to it like treasure hunts or quizzes, and the best thing about it is that the cost of creating such an app these days is minimal thanks to various templates already ready-made out there.

It’s not a physical addition to the area like the other suggestions but it has proven to increase engagement both with tourists and locals in other similar districts around the country.

Those are some more modest ideas on how to introduce more technology to the region but it all comes down to the city and campus heads just how much they want to invest in the end!