Beyond the Lab 2022
What is the Beyond the Lab program?
The Beyond the Lab program is an extension of the Humanities Lab, and more specifically faculty-student team collaborations. Beyond the Lab is designed to support students who wish to further develop their Lab’s impact outcomes beyond the semester’s end, with the mentorship, guidance and expertise of the faculty.
Beyond the Lab 2022 – Elevate AR
A team of students from the Humanities Lab Fall 2021 – Humanizing Digital Culture Lab, inspired by their introduction to "distributed, place-based" experiences in the original Lab, decided to break new ground by developing a software toolkit for creating AR—augmented reality—stories that use any elevator car as a "digital window" into another world. With funding from Seize the Moment, an initiative of Leonardo, the Humanities Lab and the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Futures Laboratory, the group aimed to ultimately publish an ElevateAR platform that any artist can use to create these immersive experiences.
Altogether, the team consisted of:
- Joshua Zito, a Graphic Information Technology MS (Branding and Visual Design Exploration, User Experience Design and Prototyping, Developer Search and Hiring)
- Daniel Tucker, an Organizational Leadership BA (Organizational Leadership, Narrative Consultation and Development)
- Jason Robinson, a Public Interest Technology MS (Product and Design Consultation, Product Management, Event Production)
- Lexi Nelson, a Digital Audiences BS (Narrative Consultation and Development)
- Shashank Reddy Baradi, a Computer Science MS (Augmented Reality Application Development)
- Tim Neal, a Computer Science MS (Augmented Reality Application Development)
With consultation and advising from:
- David Harris, a New Media Artist & Researcher (Product and Design Consultation)
- Dasha Kittredge, Creative Director of Metaforyou (Narrative Consultation and Development)
- Dr. Monica Boyd, Humanities Lab Sr. Program Coordinator (Faculty Advisor)
See below for the overview, process, and final outcome of the project.
Elevate AR began in the Fall 2021 Humanizing Digital Culture Lab as a proposal to actualize the Lab's goal of "humanizing digital culture." After the Lab's conclusion, four students from the original project—Joshua Zito, Daniel Tucker, Jason Robinson, and Lexi Nelson—applied for and were awarded a Beyond the Lab Fellowship to extend their impact outcome into a real AR application. Here, they pitched the main goal of their outcome: to "[create] an extended reality embodied gallery experience—setting curated stories from artists across the globe against the familiar rhythms of your own environment."
At the beginning of the project, the team published a video explaining the core concepts behind Elevate AR.
The team also identified three main focal areas within their project: the narrative, the design, and the engineering. These would later inform the journey Elevate AR underwent.
View a short, high-level summary of Elevate AR they created for an end-of-semester showcase here.
The students hired two developers—Shashank Reddy Baradi and Tim Neal—and two professional consultants—David Harris and Dasha Kittredge—before splitting into specialized projects. Juggling technical, administrative, logistical, and creative challenges, the team eventually succeeded in assembling story pitches, a wireframe prototype, a recognizable brand, and working iOS prototypes.
Daniel Tucker, head of Organizational Leadership, kept track of countless Zoom meetings with Elevate AR participants and recorded hours of consultant meetings to keep the project organized.
Daniel Tucker and Lexi Nelson met with consultant Dasha Kittredge to discuss narrative possibilities. They constructed three story pitches that could shine despite Elevate AR's technical and practical constraints.
View all of their story pitches here.
Joshua Zito, using illustration by Jason Robinson, explored branding for Elevate AR and eventually produced a recognizable, professional presence for the app.
View the full visual design for Elevate AR here.
Developers Shashank Baradi and Tim Neal built iOS prototypes and worked out how to solve the project's core research challenge: "the pie problem."
The video to the left shows "the pie problem" in action. The development team faced difficulties getting AR objects to stay stationary while the elevator accelerated and decelerated between floors.
The team, led by Jason Robinson, planned and built a tabling experience for the Humanities Lab and Seize the Moment Spring 2022 Impact Outcomes Showcase.
Attending both in-person and virtually, they demonstrated their latest prototypes to the public and answered questions about the process behind the project.