Projects

More than 30 teams made it to the showcase stage of the Campus of the Future competition, held on October 26. From that group, three were chosen to receive a share of $30,000 in award funding set aside for winners.

The following ideas were declared “best of show” in the contest:

First Place: University of Michigan Mobile Learning Labs

The campus of the future must break free of its institutional and geographic barriers to branch out into surrounding communities, create experiential learning options for students, engage individuals with limited access to higher education and provide space for interdisciplinary collaboration to solve local problems. The proposed solution is to create pop-up learning labs. To test this idea, this team proposes to develop a pilot pop-up lab in Ann Arbor with the opportunity to operate at three scales. At the room scale, the lab will take the form of interactive gatherings between town and gown. At the building scale, the lab will function as a live-in learning community. At the campus scale, the lab will serve as an interactive, engaging set of satellite spaces around campus.

Second Place: The Virtual Reality Online Campus

In its mission statement, U-M pledges “to serve the people of Michigan and the world through preeminence in creating, communicating, preserving and applying knowledge.” Developing a Massive Open Online Course enhanced by virtual reality/augmented reality technology will help the university meet this goal and position itself as a leader of emerging trends in education access and availability. VR/AR technology, in the form of hand-held, phone-based headsets, offers unique opportunities for the graphic representation of research findings, making otherwise dry material seem more engaging and relatable. This content can be enhanced through room-scale, in-class enrichment exercises. The proposal will also shape the future of the university on a campus-wide scale, by expanding its reach far beyond the geographic boundaries of the institution.

Third Place: U-M Satellite Campus on Mars

The University of Michigan Bioastronautics and Life Support Systems (BLiSS) project team believes that if human civilization is to succeed in space, then the University of Michigan must be a leader in the endeavor. This project will develop a design for a U-M campus on Mars, as it might appear during the university’s tricentennial in 2117. This design would include but not be limited to the engineering of buildings; suggested scientific research to be conducted on the planet; curriculum considerations; and student life, health and recreation ideas. Input from students, faculty, staff and alumni (especially those employed at leading space agencies and organizations) will be used so that the widest possible worldview can be incorporated into the Mars campus design.

Read the University Record story.

The remaining projects included the following, searchable by alphabetical order or by category.

  • Adjacent

    The Campus of the Future is dependent upon greater capacity to build and scale entrepreneurial efforts across its campus. To realize this vision, this project has created a mobile app called Adjacent: a virtual incubator to help student entrepreneurs from different disciplines meet and collaborate while providing alumni entrepreneurs continued access to the valuable guidance and network of the university. Using location-based technology, Adjacent allows people to see what ideas, skills and resources are right around them. Gamification and an intuitive user experience make the process of starting a company more approachable, lowering the barrier to entry for non-traditionalists. On the back end, Adjacent gives the university valuable data into how and where innovations are happening, which allows them to better target valuable resources.

  • Beyster Bluepath

    About 285 million people are estimated to be visually challenged worldwide. Yet buildings, cities and maps are designed with sighted users in mind, making navigation challenging at best and dangerous at worst. This project is building a mobile application that can provide audio navigation instructions. The application—currently being tested in the Beyster Building on North Campus—would elicit user input via voice commands in natural language, locate the user within a building and then provide turn-by-turn instructions to the destination. This solution currently fits into the room and building scales, but the prototype could be scaled further to cover every U-M building, ensuring campus-wide impact in the near future.

  • Fathom

    Team FATHOM envisions a world where all learners can experience quality education and receive helpful, immediate feedback whenever and wherever. We introduce the ultimate digital studying platform that acts as your personal studying/learning mentor. FATHOM’s technology capitalizes on cutting edge technology such as artificial intelligence (A.I.) to address critical educational issues (systemic, student, and content barriers) and provide students with the ability to enhance their studying processes, foster application and practice-driven learning, and cultivate smart studying habits. Ultimately, our technology will incorporate three key features: (1) Ability to analyze and evaluate students’ note-taking methods, automatically highlight and paraphrase key points through smart labelling, and make recommendations on improving one’s note-taking structure based off research-proven methods; (2) Auto-generate relevant practice questions (short answer, multiple choice, current/relatable events, cases, etc.) derived from user-created content and public database; (3) Integrate productive studying habits tools and frameworks (Pomodoro and Feynman techniques, focus timer, digital distraction minimizer, sleep tracker, etc.) into students’ studying sessions. Our team is working towards revolutionizing the future of education. Check our deliverables (prototype/mockup, etc.) out at the Showcase Event!

  • Find Your Ditto

    Almost 20 percent of U-M students have registered some form of chronic physical condition or mental challenge with the university. Such illnesses often take their emotional toll, causing sufferers to experience anxiety and depression at rates 50 percent higher than the general population. And those feelings can lead to isolation. To combat this situation, this project proposes Find Your Ditto: a mobile platform that helps these students connect with on-demand, in-person peer support from “dittos” fighting the same battle.This network of peers can provide relief—e.g., a simple “me too” over coffee at the union—at the touch of a button and serve as an adjunct to the university’s existing counseling and psychological services system.

  • Gwdyion

    No adequate medium currently exists to facilitate the study three-dimensional academic material. This project’s solution is to develop an augmented reality platform that allows users to project and interact with such content, as if it were occupying the real world with them. Students and professors will be able to easily upload, view and share 3-D content. It can be sorted by course, section or any other relevant grouping, and accessed on any device with an Internet connection. This room-scale project will have university-wide benefits. The platform, which runs smoothly on common smartphones (IOS and Android), can also integrate seamlessly with current teaching strategies.

  • Move

    Most students rely on buses or bikes (in good weather) for commuting. But are they the only answers? This project proposes the development of Human Powered Vehicles (trikes) for campus-wide use. The HPV would be a hybrid, with a 500W solar-chargeable motor to negotiate hills as well as straightaways. The body would be an enclosed polycarbonate shell to protect drivers from the weather as well as collisions. A mobile app would locate the nearest trike and enable reservations. After riding, a student could drop it off at the nearest charging station. The advantage of using a trike over a bike is that a trike would be more stable and safer and impervious to the seasons. The final deliverable would be a working prototype.

    Categories: Mobile Apps Mobility

  • Sahbi

    Imagine moving to a foreign country, where you are expected to not only get used to a strange culture, but also learn a strange tongue. To ease that process, this project proposes an app called Sahbi (the Arabic word for “friend”). The application’s goal is language development for English as Second Language students. (Sahbi is currently focused on native Arabic speakers, but can be tailored to other languages such as Spanish and Chinese.) It is free, customizable to each student’s needs and provides additional online resources/suggestions for future activities. Sahbi combines writing, oral communication, vocabulary skill building, and promotes cultural assimilation all in one app. It is also available to students outside the classroom, ensuring access to an expert with a click of a button.