On the trail at UMass Lowell, Baker is upbeat

LOWELL — There was no mistaking it: on a 40-minute tour of a gleaming new University of Massachusetts Lowell technology center, gubernatorial hopeful Charles D. Baker was upbeat.

Baker, who launched his bid with a promise that voters would see a more authentic version of himself this campaign than during his failed 2010 effort, was full of earnest interest as he questioned tour guides about the building’s facilities on one of his first official days on the trail.

“What are those for?” he asked Vice Provost for Research Julie Chen, pointing to a series fume hoods.

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“What is that?” he asked Tom Ferraguto, the nanofabrication lab director, who was holding what looked like a thin black spandex cap.

One of the companies using space in the building had come up with the Reebok CheckLight, a wearable impact sensor to help figure out whether someone might have gotten a concussion, Ferraguto explained.

“You can hit your head against the wall if you want to try it,” he offered with a smile.

“I’m running for governor: I am hitting my head against the wall,” Baker replied with a laugh

After the tour, Baker lauded the public-private partnerships that had led to the creation of the facility, officially the Emerging Technologies and Innovation Center, which opened in October, 2012.

“This is the kind of thing we should all root for,” Baker said. “Because what they’re really doing here is creating a platform to do a lot of the research and the intellectual property development that can be applied by other firms into products and jobs and sustainable business models and I think it’s really cool.”

Asked what he was going to do differently than during his 2010 bid, Baker gave an answer befitting the technology that surrounded him.

“I’m definitely going to spend a lot more time with the receiver on and a little less time with transmitter on this time,” he said.

On the Democratic side, Attorney General Martha Coakley has also pledged to revamp her campaign style after her failed 2010 bid for Senate, showcasing a warmer, more accessible strategy. Coakley was set to spent part of Wednesday morning campaigning in Lowell as well.