Friday 3 May 5-7pm
IMRC (Innovative Media Research and Commercialization center)
Step into a bee swarm, travel back in time, or shrink down to the size of an ant in works of augmented and virtual reality created by New Media seniors.
This year’s annual New Media Night features immersive worlds into which visitors can step physically or virtually, from labyrinthine games to reenactments of natural or historical landscapes, to audio representations of social groups.
Twelve of the students included in this annual festival were selected for the CUGR Student Symposium at the Cross Center in April, and six have won prizes for their innovative research.
Among the augmented reality works is Annie Hepburn’s tower viewer built for the state park in Kittery. Tourists who look through her coin-operated binoculars can “turn back time” to visit buildings that have since vanished and galleons that once set anchor in the bay, all based on vintage photographs from the period. Kaleb Traverso-Penn offers a VR tour of the UMaine campus, while Haley Campbell’s augmented packaging lets customers at a store see “inside” a package with their phone camera.
Ian Donnelly’s capstone lets visitors get up close and personal with ants, tardigrades, and other microscopic life forms. Based on 3-D models of these critters he made with a scanning electron microscope, Donnelly’s VR world shrinks you to Lilliputian dimensions to examine them in detail as they tower over you.
Paul Kurnick and Sam Woodward apply flocking algorithms to create a virtual bee swarm. It may seem safer to explore than an actual hive, but their virtual world switches between a landscape filled with flowers, fruit, and humming insects and a post-bee, barren wasteland to give viewers of visceral sense of importance of pollinators on local flora. Matt Loewen’s capstone evolves its own artificial life forms, which scamper across a synthetic landscape to find food and avoid predators.
Working with spatial engineer Nimesha Ranasinghe from the School of Computing and Information Science, Cullen Shortt augments the experience of watching a video with other senses besides sight and sound. A 3-D printed wearable worn on the user’s collar delivers smell, breezes, and hot or cold depending on the scene depicted in moving images.
Meg Carpenter puts a spin on the “dungeons” in Dungeons and Dragons games by mapping one onto the physical space of the IMRC. Players venture into nearby rooms looking for clues they can scan and coins they can trade–all with the smartphone in their pocket.
Based on data she gathered from hundreds of women about how they feel about their bodies, Sarah Seitz generates musical compositions whose rhythms echo her subjects’ daily lives. Her capstone Data Queen won the top prize in Arts at the 2019 Student Research Symposium.
Music is also the focus of an interactive installation in which visitors produce new chords depending on how they congregate in the space, as well as the new app for the campus radio station. Other works educate viewers about bullying and hidden illnesses, or follow a single blueberry on its journey from field to table.
Refreshments will be served. For more information, contact Jon Ippolito (jippolito AT maine DOT edu).