Newspaper, TV stories feature New Media student COVID projects

Apps and games made by New Media seniors have won acclaim in newspaper and TV stories that profile how they responded to COVID-19.

Impressed at the creativity New Media students displayed in the face of a global pandemic, the Bangor Daily News and WABI-TV interviewed seniors about apps to connect students and teachers and to help plant gardens with augmented reality.

Nina Mahaleris describes the remarkable range of New Media capstones in The Bangor Daily News:

One year, a student who was also a ski instructor made an app that collected drone footage of skiers that could give them real-time feedback.

Another former student scanned small critters like ants and water bears using an electron scanning microscope to create 3-dimensional models of them and translate that into a phone app that let users experience the animals up close.

But unlike in years past, students’ projects this year are geared toward helping users deal with the reality of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Students respond to what is in their lives,” [New Media professor Jon] Ippolito said. “And right now, their lives are incredibly impacted by COVID-19….The projects they’ve created are a testament to their resilience and creativity during the global pandemic.”

–UMaine students develop virtual games and phone apps to help users cope with the pandemic

WABI-TV story on New Media capstones, December 2020“The stress of COVID-19 and other obstacles of everyday life have prompted a few UMaine seniors to develop new apps and activities to help us all adapt,” reports Emily Tadlock in a story for CBS affiliate WABI-TV:

“At a time when we can’t see each other face-to-face and go about or normal lives, it can be hard to feel connected to other people. We spend more time on a screen than we do talking to our neighbors or our family maybe. But, we can also turn that on its head and make apps and other digital innovations that help us connect to other people during this difficult time,” says Ippolito.

These tools can help users de-stress, learn new hobbies, entertain themselves and perform tasks made more difficult by the pandemic.

Senior John Baker is developing a website to improve professor and student interactivity. He says, “Mostly for the benefit of engaging with students, getting to know students a little bit better, especially in a time where it seems like that’s a big problem.”

Called Professorly, the website will help match students to classes that match their interests and allow professors to showcase their courses.

Senior Claudio Van Duijn is solving everyone’s landscaping problems with his app AR Gardens. He says, “It allows you to look through your phone’s camera and design gardens for your home.”

You can place 3D digital plants in your yard or in planters for a visual and then purchase those plants and items through the app. Van Duijn says, “The idea was to create an app that would be fun for the user. It would allow them to get out doors with their family.”

“These are people who are not content to just write papers and check boxes. They actually want to make things and it’s really exciting to see them do that,” says Ippolito.

UMaine New Media seniors develop novel tools tackling stress, COVID-19 lifestyle”