PARTNERS: Verizon Envrmnt; NYC Media Lab
GOAL: Design and prototype functional and innovative products and services using cutting-edge VR/AR and AI technologies
APPROACH: Now in its third year, the Verizon Connected Futures program is a partnership between Verizon and the NYC Media Lab that invests in cutting-edge prototyping and forms a pipeline between the city's universities and the company while seeking out the next generation of talent.
After an eight-week, citywide recruitment process, 12 teams of students from five New York City universities were chosen on the basis of their vision for prototyping within one of Verizon’s chosen areas of inquiry: AR design and marked tracking, social VR/AR, and the intersection of AR and AI.
Teams presented their prototypes to a panel of expert judges in a final Demo Day.
OUTCOME: Students from Parsons, Columbia University, New York University, Pratt Institute, and The School of Visual Arts were given the opportunity to create new products and services using VR/AR and AI technologies. The teams worked with guidance from Verizon Envrmnt, which builds immersive experiences for leading companies in advertising, digital media, professional sports, and retail, to apply extended realities towards solving real-world problems.
Over six weeks, students evaluated the way technology mediates social relations and shapes our experience of the world. They looked at how virtual and augmented reality (VR/AR) experiences can facilitate multi-person communication, how voice assistants and "chatbots" can be used in VR/AR environments, and what design concepts can be used to help AR reach broad user adoption.
The innovative solutions the teams from Parsons created included:
- An augmented reality experience that allows parents and students to engage with the Common Core system (LiftAR)
- A virtual reality training experience that serves as a space in which people with social anxiety disorders can practice simulated real-life situations (Vrbl)
- Artificial intelligence software that analyzes video footage to improve future spatial planning (Fish Eyes)
- An augmented reality clay set for children which can be used for an AR game (Dreamine)
The New School continues to be a hub for researching, experimenting, designing, prototyping, iterating, and producing sustainable projects that keep pace with today’s evolving business challenges. As companies look to engage the next generation of innovators, we provide a dynamic, collaborative, and idea-driven environment for addressing what affects the media and technology industry.