We at Unity absolutely love seeing the wide breadth of VR/AR projects students are creating at universities -- these experiences often reflect a sense of innovation pushing forward storytelling and interaction within virtual reality and augmented reality experiences.
On May 12th we had the opportunity to host nine graduate students from Carnegie Mellon University Entertainment Technology Center (ETC) for a tour and student demos at the Unity office in San Francisco. The ETC program is a premiere graduate program with an emphasis on interactive entertainment across a variety of fields. These students were part of a cohort which spent their last semester at Carnegie Mellon’s Silicon Valley campus working on creating innovative VR/AR experiences for their final project.
Students from the program were split into four teams, each creating VR/AR experiences using Unity. The videos below provide an overview of the student projects which explore topics such as character-based voice interaction, storytelling in VR, and mixed-reality.
Students started the morning with a tour of Unity’s San Francisco offices. The students were shown a presentation highlighting an assortment of experiences made with Unity spanning various industries from games, entertainment, to academia.
After the presentation, students were brought together with Unity staff for lunch. Students had the opportunity to chat with Amir Ebrahimi of Unity Labs, who provided an overview of his work developing virtual reality scene editing in EditorVR. Students also had the chance to speak with Carnegie Mellon University ETC alumnus Ted Hung, a senior mobile engineer for Unity’s Analytics team, about their projects.
Aspiring for a career in the games or entertainment industry is a common goal for many students in the ETC program. Unity Connect product managers Mark Poeppelmeier and Anthony Huang made sure to stop by to discuss how Unity Connect could help them find career opportunities with industry employers.
After lunch two groups of students had the chance to show off their experiences to Unity staff. The first experience shown was Mystique, a vibrant underwater narrative experience emphasizing storytelling and emotional connection in VR. In the experience you guide a small fish at the bottom of the ocean floor who serves as your guide during an impending shark attack.
The second student project show was SweetTalk, a VR experience exploring the use of character-driven voice interactions with a robotic cook in virtual reality. The SweetTalk team focused on crafting a novel VR experience by utilizing advancements in natural language processing and speech recognition through integration of IBM’s Watson and Unity.
For most of these students, graduation is only a week a way. Their visit to Unity provided them the chance to learn about the products Unity staff are working on, especially projects related to virtual and augmented reality.
For the Unity staff involved, it was a fantastic opportunity to connect directly with the students using our products on a daily basis -- we heard firsthand about the type of innovative experiences being created at the university level. We also learned about the core learning challenges of students working in tandem as programmers, artists, and designers to create VR/AR experiences over the course of 16 weeks.
We had a fantastic time meeting with these students and trying out their projects. We’re incredibly excited to see what amazing projects and experiences they’ll be creating in the near future as they move forward in their careers.
If you’re interested in learning more about these experiences, please make sure to check out these student projects on the CMU Entertainment Technology Center's website.