Inspiring creativity and innovation in the nation’s capital

First-year IMFA student Qinyu Ding shows a young museum guest how to use a Microsoft HoloLens, allowing him to experience the wonder of augmented reality during the second ACCelerate Creativity and Innovation Festival in Washington, D.C. Photo: Zevensuy Rodriguez/University of Miami

By Lorena Lopez

First-year IMFA student Qinyu Ding shows a young museum guest how to use a Microsoft HoloLens, allowing him to experience the wonder of augmented reality during the second ACCelerate Creativity and Innovation Festival in Washington, D.C. Photo: Zevensuy Rodriguez/University of Miami

Inspiring creativity and innovation in the nation’s capital

By Lorena Lopez
An academic festival featuring projects from schools belonging to the Atlantic Coast Conference was held at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History.

For the second year, teams of students, faculty, and staff from several schools and colleges at the University of Miami filed into the National Museum of American History, where they showcased unique projects to more than 50,000 museum visitors at the ACCelerate Creativity and Innovation Festival. 

The teams were among more than 400 innovators from the 15 Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) institutions who showcased leading-edge work. But the weekend was  more than your typical science fair presentation for UM. The teams had the opportunity to not only meet and talk with like-minded scholars, but to also present the University as a frontrunner in the fields of of technology and innovation—and visitors loved everything the U had to offer.  

Crowds swarmed around student and faculty-led projects that had previously only been user tested within the University. They received valuable feedback on their projects that they will bring home to cement their ideas and take it to the next level.  

“The best part of the festival has really been all the people,” said Mackenzie Miller, a first-year M.F.A. student in the School of Communication. “Everyone’s together at this crossroad of design and technology and it’s refreshing to meet so many people working on similar things.”

Three projects were featured from the University during the festival—two from the School of Communications’ Interactive Media program and one from the School of Nursing and Health Studies. The Frost School of Music’s American Music Ensemble performed during the festival. 

Nursing featured the Infant Healthcare Training Simulator, which opened a window on the simulation training that nurses receive to care for the tiniest of sick patients. The School of Communication showcased Top Suits, a mixed-reality solution students designed to provide astronauts a hands-free option for working in outer space, and  SwampScapes, another interactive media project which took museum visitors on a virtual 360-degree tour of the Everglades and allowed them to create their own swamp symphony. 

As visitors passed by the booths throughout the weekend, excitement and questions about the showcased technology and research were never-ending.  From the youngest visitors to the Smithsonian to fellow ’Cane alumni in the D.C . area, everyone was eager to interact with UM’s student and faculty exhibits . 

“If you asked a kid to draw you a picture of an innovator before visiting the festival, they probably couldn’t do that.” said Jeffrey L. Brodie, co-chair of the festival and deputy director for the Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation, located at the museum. “Now if you ask them, they can, and no two will look the same. And it’s all because of the conversations they had with scholars and students this weekend.”