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Philip Kendall - Lecture Theatre Operating Manual

The Raymond and Beverly Sackler Lecture Theatre Operating Manual

Version 0.0.5 - 2000 Mar 17


The Raymond and Beverly Sackler Lecture Theatre is the Institute of Astronomy's new state of the art lecture theatre. However, due to some the advanced features used in its design, it may not be possible for speakers who are new to the lecture theatre to make full use of the facilities available. This manual is an attempt to allow the full productivity of the theatre to be available to all users.

If you have any comments on this manual, or have questions which are not answered here, please e-mail Philip Kendall.

How do I...?

Due to the advanced design, it is not always obvious how to accomplish some tasks in the lecture theatre. This section hopefully gives clear and concise instructions as to how accomplish the more common tasks.

How do I open and shut the curtains?

To operate a set of curtains, go to the set you wish to move, and find the three bare wires hanging out of the wall. You can now close the curtains by touching the bare white wire to the bare red wire (just touch and release) or open the curtains by touching the white wire to the blue wire.

This process is completely safe and has not caused anybody to be electrocuted yet.

How do I turn the main lights on and off?

To turn the lights on or off, walk up to the back of the lecture theatre, and find the control box which is hanging on a bit of wire coming through the window. By pressing the button labelled '1', you can turn the lights on and off. The other controls on the box have the following effects:

How do I control the air conditioning?

There is no direct manual control over the air conditioning. Simply shut the doors to the lecture theatre and a computer (running Human Air Quality Logic software, version will automatically detect the number of people in the room, whether they are asleep, and then calculate how warm they wish to be to provide an optimal learning environment.

The only problem so far encountered with this system was by Dave Gittins, who tried to leave a lecture early. When trying to open the door, the announcement "I'm sorry, Dave. I can't let you do that" came over the speaker system. This is thought to be just a temporary glitch in the software, and is not a cause for concern at this stage.

How do I turn the desk lights on and off?

This feature is not available at this time (note that the control on the touch-screen keypad labelled as having this effect does not accomplish this).

How do I operate the slide projector?

This feature is best accomplished by using a PhD student to turn the projector on and off when necessary.

How do I use the video recorder?

The video projector is controlled by a remote control handset; to order to play a video tape, place the tape in the VCR and press the 'play' button. Note that, for optimal viewing quality, the lecture theatre lights must be off. This then means that the 'play' button is not easy to find, so it is advisable to bring a torch or other portable lighting device so that you can find the button.

How do I turn the microphone on and off?

The current design of the lecture theatre does not allow this from any of the control panels, in case this is done accidently and anyone attempting to use the microphone does not realise this fact. If you really want to do this, it is possible to disconnect the microphone by unplugging it, just below where it joins the stand. This is a non-trivial task, and all attempts to do this so far have required the use of at least one post-doc and five PhD students.

What does ... do?

There are many advanced control systems in the lecture theatre, and without practice the use of these can be rather complicated. This section hopefully explains the use of some of these.

The touch-screen keypad

The touch screen keypad on the front desk is a full user interface exclusively for raising and lowering the white screen. In extensive tests, it was found that this system was far more efficient and cost-effective than the traditional methods used for this purpose.

The projector hanging from the ceiling

The main effect of this device, when not being used to show a video, is to display a series of vertical lines on the white screen (see the section on the touch-screen keypad for how to operate this). All slides and OHP transparencies to be used in the lecture theatre must be designed to work with this feature. The projector also has the feature of creating a loud noise at all stages that it is on, which was designed to stop people in the lecture theatre from falling asleep. Unfortunately, it also stops everybody from hearing anything the lecturer is saying, but it is hoped that this will be improved with in time, possibly by getting lecturers with louder voices.

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