Innovative ideas wanted

University of Miami  faculty  and staff with ideas for how to integrate Magic Leap’s mixed reality into their classes or research should  submit their  pitches  t o the provost by the end of the week.   

"We are looking for clever ideas that will  bring  digital worlds from the arts, humanities, sciences, and medicine into our physical world and enhance discovery and learning  in  our community, ” said Jeffrey Duerk, UM’s provost and executive vice president for academic affairs.  

The Office of the Provost  is offering grants  of  up to $10,000 for faculty and staff members who submit a one-page proposal describing their idea  by November 1 . Faculty who already have a technical expert or programmer who can help them bring their idea to life is preferred , but overall, the provost’s office is looking  for novel ways to  conduct  research or  improve  student learning using mixed reality.  Awards are expected to  be announced by early December. A  second, larger round of grants  may be available  in 2020, Duerk added.    

Founded by UM alumnus  Rony   Abovitz ,  Magic Leap ’s  mixed reality   technology  allows users to  blend digital content with the ir own  physical environment.  Last fall, Magic Leap and UM entered into a collaboration where the University would serve as a pilot location for the company to experiment with its  first-generation  headsets, cal led Magic Leap One. As part of the collaboration,  each college was given  some of the  headsets for faculty and students to use with the goal that the UM community would develop  Magic Leap  applications.  So far, several ideas have been developed, but the provost hopes this  latest  request will generate more.  

"Faculty have responded enthusiastically to the information sessions ,” said Jean-Pierre Bardet, vice provost for strategic projects. "T hat will undoubtedly lead to great successes.”   

UM Information Technology’s  Director of Innovation,  Max Cacc h ione ,  leads the  XR Garage  on the  fifth  floor  of the M cArthur  Engineering  Building , which is one of the places faculty, staff and students can experience Magic Leap’s technology , in addition to the  Magic Leap Lab   on the third floor of the   Otto G.  Richter Library. Cacchione  and his team of  seven student programmers have been helping faculty and students develop their own ideas  for how to integrate mixed reality  throughout the fall.   

"We hope to see applications for prototypes that can be later leveraged for grant applications,” Cacchione said. "These are prototypes that would be part of scientific publications for future grants.”  

To discuss an idea with the XR Garage staff, e-mail  innovate [at] miami (p) edu. To learn more or apply for the grants, visit:  innovate.it.miami.ed­u/rfp  


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