DSU shows off new Madison Cyber Labs building

MADISON, S.D. (KELO) – Thanks to smart devices, some of you operate your homes just with the sound of your voice. It’s like telling something to a personal assistant, but have you ever stopped to wonder how that technology works and if what you say stays between the two of you?

Those are a few of the questions Dakota State University researchers are trying to answer, and they have a brand-new building to do it in.

For the first time, we’re getting a look inside DSU’s $60 million Madison Cyber Labs, also known as, “MadLabs.” The computer-sciences and cyber-security center will add to the school’s tech focus.

One of the spaces looks just like an operational kitchen, and it functions based on voice commands. Actually, it’s a lot like the smart kitchens many people have in their homes. However, there’s a lot more cooking in this one. Researchers will use it to study how each machine uses electricity and shed some light on how smart devices and appliances work.

“They’re researching connectivity, so what devices are speaking to each other and who else they’re speaking to,” Sarah Olson, program assistant, said.

There are at least 14 labs like this one all over the new MadLabs facility at DSU in Madison, South Dakota.

“As you can see, some of these devices you might have in your home. But do you really know what they’re doing in your home?” Olson said.

The brand-new building will allow undergrads, grad students and faculty opportunities to research and solve problems.

“This is really going to put us on the map,” Olson said.

We took a little trip through this open space. Professor of economics Daniel Talley says this design will accommodate collaboration and all sorts of gizmos and gadgets.

“It’s designed to be adaptable and so it will be able to adapt to the new technologies, bring them in here and be able to figure the best ways to harness them,” Talley said.

Grad student Giridhar Reddy is studying information systems and analytics and says MadLabs will also allow students to better work with businesses and other tech companies.

“We act like a catalyst for innovation technology and finding solutions for industry problems and research. Here, we are ready to collaborate with small-scale industries and large-scale industries,” Reddy said.

MadLabs marks a new beginning for DSU, and Olson says we’re getting a window into the future for this tech and cyber security hub.

“This is very exciting, not just for DSU, but for the community and the state of South Dakota,” Olson said.

Major private donors T. Denny Sanford and Miles and Lisa Beacom gave a total of $30 million, on the condition state government provided $10 million and Dakota State seek another $20 million from federal sources.

The building is expected to open at the end of the year.

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