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Video: The madness on DePaul's elevators. (Video/Jessie Molloy)

#ThroughGlass: Tracking Elevator Issues at DePaul University

By Jessie Molloy
@RedLineProject

Posted: Wednesday, June 4 , 2014

While attending classes at DePaul University, students quickly master the timing and tricks of moving between campuses and getting from class to class smoothly.

However, there’s one problem on the loop campus that is virtually unavoidable -- the DePaul Center elevators.

The DePaul Center is the home of the Driehaus College of Business and the loop campus’ bookstore and student center. It has eight university occupied floors, eight elevator cars, and, for all practical purposes, no stairwells; a situation which creates quite a congestion mess during lunch hours and the periods between class sessions.

Earlier this quarter, a shutdown of the Lewis Center Elevators next door forced Building Operations and Campus Security to open the permanently locked stairways and allow student movement in them, and not surprisingly, waits for the elevators outside DePaul Center classrooms were reduced.

Inspired by this phenomenon, and four years of complaining about waiting in line, I decided to look into the problem of the DePaul Center elevators for Good Day DePaul, and I got a little help from Google Glass.

Glass was immensely helpful in gathering my footage. Since I needed shots of the elevators to effectively show the problem, and trying to set up a camera and tripod in the elevator would have resulted in more traffic and lots of student rage, being able to wear the camera on my face was the perfect solution.

There were a few drawbacks though. The first and foremost of which was the battery. The life of the device’s battery is incredibly short, so by the time I’d done several runs up and down with the elevator, it was almost depleted. Also, there is a certain amount of discomfort that comes with impersonating the Terminator, namely:

  1. Lots of curious looks
  2. Fear for the safety of the expensive headgear
  3. Embarrassment having to talk to the glasses
  4. Heat build up on the computerized earpiece
  5. Compensating coordination for the altered vision

In the end the footage I wound up getting was great, and it was invaluable to my story (which you can watch above). After my experience I can definitely see the potential for Google Glass in the journalism field when it comes to capturing video covertly or in tight/hands-free sorts of situations.

I think Google needs to work out a few of the bugs though before it can completely take off. Additionally, I would encourage people using Glass to be extremely mindful of their surroundings while wearing the device because it is a little distracting.

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