Heard on the Hill: Spencer Research Library taking suggestions for North Gallery; researchers, voice-assist company aim to reduce distracted driving; KU business dean named to Freightquote.com board

Your daily dose of news, notes and links from around Kansas University.

• The Spencer Research Library is taking some suggestions on what to do with one of my favorite spaces on campus, according to the library’s blog.

They’re apparently doing some thinking about the North Gallery. They’ve got a few photos up on the blog, but not the one I was hoping for. My favorite part of the room is the view of the nearby Campanile and surrounding area. It’s quite a sight.

With the consolidation of the public spaces of Special Collections, Kansas Collection, and University Archives in the early years of the 21st century, and the continuing desire to provide a more interpretive context for our collections in general, we are considering how best to program this stunning space as a true gallery,” wrote Beth Whittaker, the library’s director. “An enthusiastic group of Museum Studies students recently completed a project to explore bringing diversity and experience into the space through an interesting array of physical and virtual exhibit ‘stations.'”

She said she’s open to suggestions on the blog.

• Researchers at the KU Center for Design Research will work with a voice-command service company to come up with technology that will mitigate distracted driving, according to a KU statement.

The company, Voice Assist, is based in California and will use the its voice-command service to let drivers make calls, send and respond to texts and emails and post to social networks, all by voice command.

Students and researchers at KU will study the technology to determine its usability and impact to driver safety and hands-free legislation.

They will report back to the company later in the year.

• I spotted on Wednesday that Neeli Bendapudi, dean of the KU School of Business, has been named to the board of Freightquote.com.

Joining her there? Gary Forsee, the former Sprint executive who also served as president of the University of Missouri system from 2008 to 2011.

So hopefully there won’t be too much talk about scheduling basketball games or anything.

The site claims its users can quote and compare freight rates for hundreds of regional and national freight carriers.

• It’s been a long, long time since I’ve broken out the KU faculty and staff directory and solicited a tip from someone directly by closing my eyes and pointing to a random name, so let’s go, Jan Akers, administrative associate senior in the chemistry department. Tell me something I don’t already know at ahyland@ljworld.com.