Due to current NDA limitations, some project details are unable to be shared at this time.
“What can the future of cultural spaces look like in a post-pandemic world?”
In answer to this question, this year’s recipients of Centre for Digital Media’s Gerri Sinclair Award for Innovation in Digital Media used revolutionary AI technology to build an installation that can recognize human emotion.
Team 4149 + i is a multi-disciplinary project team composed of Valentina Forte-Hernandez (Project Manager, Product Owner), Julia Read (UI Lead, Creative Consultant), Courtney Clarkson (UX Research/Design), and Vlad Ryzhov (Technical Lead). During the final project term within the Master of Digital Media program, the team was briefed by a Canadian art organization to design an interactive installation for an upcoming exhibition.
Through a series of remote user tests and ongoing iterations, the team defined an installation that provides a rich narrative for a breadth of visitors to enjoy. The team’s prototype allows visitors to interact with an AI that can read facial expressions and gauge related human emotional states. Developed mid-pandemic and designed for a touchless environment, the installation guarantees each visitor a playful experience mapped to their individual emotions. By the end of the 13-week term, 4149 + i delivered a fully designed and functional Unity application, along with installation specifications and requirements, to the client for future implementation.
Due to the COVID 19 pandemic, 4149 + i implemented the entire project remotely, utilizing digital whiteboard tools, daily video calls, and consistent communication to successfully collaborate on this project. Remote working provided an additional challenge but also an ample opportunity to hone the interpersonal skills required for success in the digital media field today.
Courtney summed up the team’s experience of shifting to remote work and project delivery: “Our small but feisty team charged towards every challenge with passion. From our deep research-dives into possible AI themes, to our attempts to test a low-fidelity prototype over Zoom, our team pushed forward on a seemingly endless supply of enthusiasm and humour.”
About the Gerri Sinclair Award for Innovation in Digital Media
The Gerri Sinclair Award for Innovation in Digital Media, valued at $2,000, is granted annually to a graduating student or team of students of the Master of Digital Media Program (MDM) for creating a digital media product, process or innovation that has great potential. The award was established at Simon Fraser University in 2010 by Microsoft Corporation with a generous endowment of $50,000 to recognize Gerri Sinclair’s innovative approach to digital media education in her role as Founding Director of the Master of Digital Media Program. Students are nominated by faculty members and the recipients are selected by a committee chaired by the Director of the MDM program.