Peru Inka Engineering Expedition Unfolds Live at Smithsonian Thanks to Interactive Video Streaming Services from Newcom International

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Tele-engineering technology gives students, public real-time, interactive access to valuable field research on ancient Inka Road.

Engineering researchers transport tele-engineering equipment to high Andean Mountains of Peru. Courtesy Clifford Schexnayder

With this kind of tele-engineering technology, students and researchers located anywhere in the world can see and interact with field researchers and share in their findings as they are discovering them.

A historic Inka Engineering Expedition now underway in the high Andean mountains of Peru will be video cast live to visitors at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian, thanks to a joint expedition by universities from the United States, South America, and Asia. NewCom International, a global communications company specializing in unified video, voice and data solutions, has been tapped to provide satellite services and facilitate streaming video from the expedition in the Andes back to the Smithsonian.

The ten-day research expedition, which kicked off July 11 following a successful trial run last year, is being funded jointly by the National Science Foundation and the Smithsonian. Students and researchers from Virginia Tech, Iowa State, University of Colorado, and North Carolina State, as well as from institutions in Peru, Argentina, Chile, and Asia, are collaborating with Native scholars from the National Museum of the American Indian to learn the engineering secrets behind the ancient Inka road and bridge system that stretches over some of the country’s most rugged terrain. A research team of archeologists, anthropologists, and engineers will help students explore how ancient Inka engineers handled hydraulic and geotechnical issues, as well as overall construction of their structures without the use of iron tools, the wheel, or stock animals.

Along the way, the team will conduct live video casts using a laptop computer, an antenna, and a modem that will be connected to the Internet via satellite and streamed at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian in Washington D.C, as well as to researchers at the participating institutions. On July 19 and 20, museum visitors will be able to interact with the expedition team in the Andes of Peru and ask questions about their findings.
Cliff Schexnayder, an eminent scholar at Arizona State who helped spearhead the expedition and has been leading the charge to utilize tele-engineering applications, said the video casts facilitated by NewCom International enable researchers to bring the excitement and power of the field into the classroom.

“It’s difficult and costly to facilitate engineering expeditions – particularly to places as remote as the Andes Mountains in Peru. As a result, very few researchers and students get the opportunity to experience this kind of hands-on learning,” notes Schexnayder. “With this kind of tele-engineering technology, students and researchers located anywhere in the world can see and interact with field researchers and share in their findings as they are discovering them.”

Wayne Smith, project manager for the Smithsonian, says the interactive video casts from the Inka Engineering Expedition will help educate staff at the Smithsonian and will be instrumental in the development of an Inka exhibit that will be unveiled three years from now. But he says the video casts also provide a valuable interactive exhibit for visitors on July 19 and 20.

“I think museums in general are trying to figure out new ways to be more relevant and real to visitors," notes Smith. “With these live video casts, visitors will able be able to see and participate in discussions with these field researchers as they uncover secrets about the ancient Inka civilization and one of its most impressive engineering achievements.”

To prepare for this year’s expedition, NewCom underwent several comprehensive field tests last year with the universities and the Smithsonian to ensure the project's success. A team from the Inka Engineering Expedition also underwent training at NewCom's facilities to understand how to activate the service while on the expedition.

"They are literally following in the footsteps of the Inkas," notes Jaime Munera, Director of Product Development and IT for NewCom. "The road is very steep and rough in places and burros are being used to carry the tele-engineering equipment that is being set up along the way. This expedition is an exciting project that demonstrates how communication technology can be used to vastly improve and expand educational opportunities and we are honored to be a part of it.”

About NewCom International
NewCom International specializes in unified voice, video, data and content solutions for the global marketplace. At NewCom, we work to enhance security, foster education, advance health care and promote economic growth throughout the world. Using integrated satellite, fiber, microwave and Wi-Fi networks as the foundation, we deliver bundled solutions that combine high quality communications services with rich online content and cutting-edge applications. Our bundled approach ― which includes high-level engineering support, systems design, installation, project management and monitoring ― ensures our clients receive the cost-effective, turnkey solutions they need for virtually any government or enterprise application. Our dedicated network operations center, world-class teleports and global support staff are at the heart of the services we offer―providing a one-stop shop for your critical communications needs. For more information, please visit: or contact us: sales(at)newcominternational(dot)com

About the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian
The National Museum of the American Indian is the sixteenth museum of the Smithsonian Institution. It is the first national museum dedicated to the preservation, study, and exhibition of the life, languages, literature, history, and arts of Native Americans. Established by an act of Congress in 1989, the museum works in collaboration with the Native peoples of the Western Hemisphere to protect and foster their cu


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