A look at the top VR/AR projects to demo at NYC Media Lab’s 2017 Summit

From VR storytelling to AR enterprise solutions, explore new prototypes from across the City’s universities

NYC Media Lab
Sep 6, 2017 · 5 min read

On Thursday, September 28th, NYC Media Lab will convene at The New School for its annual Summit — a full day of discussions and demos, with over 100 emerging media and technology projects on view. As we prepare for the event, it’s an excellent time to reflect upon some milestones from the past year, specifically in the virtual and augmented reality space.

From Viacom’s Music + VR Demo Day, August 2017

NYC Media Lab completed several VR/AR focused prototyping projects with Member Companies, ranging from experiments in VR storytelling to supporting new startups, prototypes and hackathons. Verizon, Viacom, Bloomberg, Publicis, MLB Advanced Media, A+E Networks, and Hearst are just a few Member Companies who worked with NYC Media Lab on VR/AR projects in the past year.

The Combine, NYC Media Lab’s early stage startup accelerator program for university faculty and students, spawned 12 new companies this year— seven of which are advancing virtual and augmented reality concepts.

From Bloomberg’s AR for Enterprise Fellowship Demo Day, May 2017

At the Summit, NYC Media Lab will highlight many of these projects and discuss lessons learned along the way. A VR/AR Prototyping Showcase will to show off the best projects to emerge from the Lab. Additionally, the Demo Expo will include a VR/AR pavilion, where guests can experience the latest trends.


David Al-Ibrahim; School of Visual Arts; with collaborators Bill McQuay,Cornell Lab of Ornithology; and Dr. Eric Sanderson, Wildlife Conservation Society.

Calling Thunder explores the unsung history of New York though spacial audio and mobile VR. Interactive soundscapes compare today’s urban cacophony to the vibrant ecosystems Henry Hudson would have encountered in 1609. The narrative considers Manhattan’s past to address its future: unearthing wonder in the green pockets of our city. Read about it in The New York Times.

Evan Huggins and Rebeccah Pailes-Friedman; Pratt Institute.

Remo is a smart knee sleeve for sports training that helps adjust movement patterns for optimal performance using biosensing and haptic feedback. Remo tracks movement patterns of key body parts and delivers real-time feedback on form to improve performance immediately without interrupting the athlete’s flow, offering a fast track to the level of body awareness needed for athletes to compete at the highest level.

Sandeep Junnarkar and Jere Hester; CUNY Graduate School of Journalism.

YOU ARE HERE is an immersive journalism experience that uses augmented reality to tell NYC stories, melding past and present from a street-level view. The goal is to glean insight into issues that still resound today — and help users understand the city’s constant transformation. Working on a dual geographic and timeline framework, our app opens a virtual window into the past.

George Lamb; Columbia Business School.

StreetSmarts VR provides distributed, immersive VR training to police departments to improve officer judgement and reduce avoidable police-citizen violence. Photorealistic VR training allows the officers to experience highly realistic policing scenarios from the safety of their home precinct. Using state-of-the-practice VR game design and behavioral psychology, StreetSmarts VR delivers a premium training experience.

Jane Mitchell and Courtney Snavely; Parsons, The New School.

Ovee is an application designed for young women to take control of their sexual and reproductive health. Incorporating artificial intelligence and augmented reality, Ovee creates a safe space for women to ask and answer questions, learn about their bodies in a private setting, and engage with their health.

Will Hsu, Jing Huang, Brian Hui, Alexandros Lotsos, Tyler Mechura, and Ankit Ruhela; NYU Tandon School of Engineering.

HoloStudio is a concept for envisioning an artist studio in mixed reality, using a holographic portfolio that enables you to experience and sense art works in a new ways. This project was formed in the User Experience Design class taught by Dana Karwas.

Danny Dang; Parsons, The New School.

Are Aligned is an asynchronous collaborative VR physical game where players communicate and work together to perform a song. By having players work together to piece together the song, they can appreciate the individual stems and layers that go into the music. Read about it in Engadget.

Elushika Weerakoon, Paola Rangel, Uijun Park, Kuo Zhang; School of Visual Arts & Columbia Data Science Institute.

Kiwi is a mobile application scanner for physical textbooks that enhances the reading experience for high school students. Students can use Kiwi to collect and capture the content of their physical textbooks, allowing them to highlight, share, add notes, watch videos and experience AR.

Joo Won Park, Columbia SEAS; a hands-on workshop on Friday, September 29th.

This workshop will cover the essential knowledge of audio design for VR applications, including quaternion algebra and modeling for acoustics. Learn to create mathematical models for 3D audio scenes with practical implementation using softwares like MAX/MSP and Python


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NYC Media Lab connects university researchers and NYC’s media tech companies to create a new community of digital media & tech innovators in New York City.