Congratulations to the four teams of FIA Innovation Spark Grant winners on their inspiring projects!
The FIA Innovation Spark Grant Competition winners presented their final presentations on May 5, 2017. Members of the four winning teams were named FIA Innovation Fellows and shared up to $10,000 per team in stipends and expenses to carry out their projects aimed at using virtual and augmented reality to address real-world challenges.
Altogether, these four teams include 16 students and five faculty mentors from eight UMD colleges and schools. The teams consulted with some FIA and outside partners during the course of their work.
Learn more about the spark grant competition here.
Inside a Washington, D.C. Food Desert: Developing a Method for Combining Virtual Reality Video with Motion Graphic Data Visualization
- Jennie Aguilar, Philip Merrill College of Journalism
- Naema Ahmed, Computer Science, College of Computer Mathematical, and Natural Sciences and Philip Merrill College of Journalism
- Camille Chrysostom, Philip Merrill College of Journalism
- Kelsey Hughes, College of Information Studies
- Josh Davidsburg, Philip Merrill College of Journalism (Faculty Mentor)
- Sean Mussenden, Philip Merrill College of Journalism (Faculty Mentor)
The Food Desert Team developed an innovative storytelling method combining Virtual Reality video and motion-graphic data visualizations, to allow those who experience it to develop a deeper understanding of the challenge that poorer, African-American families in some Southeast Washington, D.C. neighborhoods face in easily obtaining nutritious food. In addition to releasing a proof-of-concept story on “food deserts” in Southeast Washington, they produced a digital “how-to” guide to help others build on their storytelling method.
Memory Loci: Merging Simonides’ Method of Loci with Virtual Reality
- Ashish Uppala, Decisions, Operations and Information Technologies, Robert H. Smith School of Business
- Meir Snyder, Economics, Colleges of Behavioral and Social Sciences
- Brian Servia, Computer Engineering, A. James Clark School of Engineering
- Vineet Shah, Computer Science, College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences
- Neil Sehgal, Heath Services Administration, School of Public Health (Faculty Mentor)
Decades of cognitive psychology research has established that how knowledge is structured in memory moderates the ability to retain, recall, and apply it, with mnemonics as a powerful memory enhancing tool. One mnemonics device is the method of loci (MOL), which emphasizes association and spatial/visual recall to improve memorization. Team Memory Loci outlined their vision for a virtual reality educational platform where users build, share, and explore customizable memory palaces to teach or learn anything they desire, and started to develop a platform demonstrate their ideas.
The Rest of the Story: Credibility and the Three60 Reporter
- Tom Hausman, Journalism (Multi-Platform), Philip Merrill College of Journalism
- Hannah Klarner, Philip Merrill College of Journalism
- Jordan Mess, Computer Science, College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences
- Abby Mergenmeier, Journalism (Multi-Platform), Philip Merrill College of Journalism
- Evan Golub, Computer Science, College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences (Faculty Mentor)
The Rest of the Story team explored how 360degree photos and videos could be used to create augmented news articles that allow the reader to see “The Rest of the Story” and how they might be used to improve trust in the credibility of photojournalists. They also explored how these technologies might help readers become more media literate (increasing the awareness of how an article might not provide a full context).
Social Training for Autism using Augmented Reality (STAAR)
- Swanand Bhave, Telecommunications and Engineering, A. James Clark School of Engineering
- Kimberly Martin, Hearing and Speech Science, College of Behavioral and Social Sciences
- Gregory Schuler, Library and Information Sciences, College of Information Studies
- Wenxin You, Special Education, College of Education
- Vinita Atre, Human-Computer Interaction, College of Information Studies (Student Team Consultant)
- Gulnoza Yakubova, Special Education, College of Education (Faculty Mentor)
Team STAAR developed an Augmented Reality (AR) app to demonstrate how to teach socially appropriate behaviors to adolescents with ASD. The team created age-appropriate social interaction scenarios with students from the Barrie school, and examined the effectiveness of the AR app with adolescents with ASD.