Innovative ideas wanted

Students utilize the Magic Leap One headsets in the XR Garage located in the College of Engineering.
By Janette Neuwahl Tannen

Students utilize the Magic Leap One headsets in the XR Garage located in the College of Engineering.

Innovative ideas wanted

By Janette Neuwahl Tannen
The Office of the Provost is seeking proposals for projects that will harness Magic Leap technology to bolster learning or research.

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 to 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 AbovitzMagic Leap’s mixed reality technology allows users to blend digital content with their own physical environmentLast 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, called 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. “That will undoubtedly lead to great successes.”  

UM Information Technology’s Director of Innovation, Max Cacchione, leads the XR Garage on the fifth floor of the McArthur 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@miami.edu. To learn more or apply for the grants, visit: https://innovate.it.miami.edu/rfp