Imagine playing tetris with the Philadelphia skyline as a backdrop.
An oversized game of tetris played on the side of the Cira Centre, across from 30th Street Station, is one event planned for Philly Tech Week 2014. More than 140 events will take place across the city between April 4 and April 12. The annual celebration of Philadelphia’s tech community — which is expected to attract 25,000 participants — is coordinated by Technical.ly Philly, a local media organization that focuses on technology and innovation in Philadelphia.
The Technical.ly team is focused on involving more university students in Tech Week this year, according to Technical.ly Philly Events Coordinator Corinne Warnshuis .
“One of the main reasons that we moved Philly Tech Week from the end of April to the beginning of April was that it was a hard time for students, being finals week,” she said. “We really wanted to engage students in some of the awesome opportunities and events, so we pushed it up.”
The Technical.ly team believes the Tetris event planned for Saturday and Sunday nights will help bring in the students they are seeking.
Brian James Kirk, Technical.ly’s co-founder and director of business development , also sees Tech Week as a way to engage a larger population. “It’s not just the people who come to the outdoor festival we’re hosting, but literally people who drive by on I-95 seeing this happen and tweeting about it,” he said of the Tetris event.
Early video game Pong was animated on the side of the Cira Centre during last year’s Philly Tech Week. The larger-than-life interactive game was originally the brainchild of Drexel University Associate Professor of Digital Media Frank Lee , who is also co-founder of the Drexel Game Design Program.
“He had this vision for playing a video game on the side of the Cira Centre as an art installation that could intermix civic engagement and public arts, something on a large scale,” Kirk said. He added that the Pong game brought together Philly Tech Week’s sponsors, including building developer Brandywine Realty Trust.
While Philly Tech Week exhibits the achievements of the city’s growing tech scene, organizers also strive to attract the attention of the Philadelphians who don’t have access to internet or mobile devices. Technical.ly Philly hopes to expose that population to new technology by bringing them together with the city’s tech innovators.
“One of the other major goals of Tech Week is to engage the broader community into the week,” Warnshuis said. “A big issue that we cover in our daily coverage is bridging the digital divide and bringing access to other communities that are underserved.”
Philly Tech Week 2014 will feature events in several neighborhoods organized by about 100 organizations, including presentations by local community and business leaders. The events fall under six categories: Dev, Civic, Media, Business, Access and Creative.
One of the kickoff events, the Philly Robotics Expo, will be hosted on campus at the Singh Center for Nanotechnology throughout the day on Friday.