The Movie Waffler How Students from the Academy of Art University Helped People with Augmented Reality | The Movie Waffler

How Students from the Academy of Art University Helped People with Augmented Reality

In keeping with its reputation, students from the Academy of Art University's School of Game Development (GAM) are developing an app that will use augmented reality technology to improve the safety of San Francisco's troubled Tenderloin District.

One of the university's main goals is to improve the community surrounding it, developing the students' creative skills in a real environment with real benefits. Art is treated as a way to interact with, and improve the world. The students learn how to use their agency to benefit the community.

The Tenderloin District has an unfortunate reputation as the poorest, most violent neighborhood in San Francisco, with 24,000 people living within only one-quarter of a mile. It's exemplary of urban decay across the United States, but it's also close to the Academy of Art University, providing the students with unique and productive opportunities to practice their skills.

The campus is located in the middle of San Francisco, close to many of the most unique parts of the city. Students have the option to use their art in a real-world environment in addition to the classroom. The surrounding district is dotted with student projects.

The students came up with the app, Tenderfeels, at a nonprofit event where they competed with other renowned schools from the area, including Stanford and Berkely. The event was sponsored by Tech in the Tenderloin and the San Francisco Salvation Army Kroc Center. Tenderfeels collects data from users and presents it in an augmented reality interface that makes it quick and easy to interpret. It's similar to Pokemon Go: Tenderfeels brings us closer to the data by laying it on a real-life map.

The app's use is simple: users choose their emotional response to a specific block of the Tenderloin District and why they felt that way, and then they use the app to submit it. Users' responses are displayed on a map that can immediately tell people what's currently going on in specific locations. The data is focused and specific and also made available to the people who can use it.

Tenderfeels is a good example of the Academy of Art University's interdisciplinary approach to problem-solving, with its use of app development, augmented reality, and other technologies. Augmented Reality, one of the technologies available for students to work with, is about gathering data and presenting it within the context where it's useful, combining information with the real environment. Augmented reality is a new frontier in technological development, and GAM at Academy of Art University is working to realize its possibilities.

Since its founding, the Academy of Art University has offered a wide variety of courses in new or budding areas, stressing innovation. This technology has applications in both schools and the workplace. Most people who have used augmented reality technology did so on phones, and they've only witnessed a fraction of what can be done. With glasses or goggles, concepts can be represented in interactive, three-dimensional renderings laid over the actual environment.