By Alex Maurer
Every semester at UMKC’s School of Computing and Engineering (SCE), students apply their skills and knowledge to their hands-on Capstone Senior Design Project. For computer science seniors Eric Lytle, Zach Wolf, Jarren Back, Cameron Knight, Eric Wilson, and Alex Mammele, this capstone project afforded them the opportunity to work with the innovative technology of the HoloLens. Teaming up with the School of Computing and Engineering’s Recruitment staff, these seniors designed an app that can be used in high school and middle school classrooms throughout the Kansas City area to showcase the exciting and cutting-edge work of SCE students.
Through the use of the programming language Unity, a language that will be introduced into computer science classes in SCE this spring, they developed an app that provides a mixed reality for users that combines augmented and virtual realities. With this app, users can spatially map the environment they are standing in and incorporate holograms that interact with their actual environment. In this case, UMKC’s mascot, Kasey the Kangaroo, will chase after objects that the user can “throw” into their environment. This gives the user a fun interactive experience with the environment they live in (augmented reality) and the objects created within the app (virtual reality).
Due to the recent release of the HoloLens, these students were presented with the unique challenge of not only programming the app, but researching and discovering how to create successful programming and code through a trial-and-error process. While this process proved tedious, Eric Lytle noted that the “exploratory programming” of this app was one of their favorite experiences with this project as it allowed them to develop new skills and knowledge, and be at the forefront of technology. Not only did this exploratory programming provide a unique experience for this group of students, it also stands to create new opportunities for future SCE students who seek to further develop the app and create new uses for the HoloLens.
Learn more about the HaloLens at: https://www.microsoft.com/microsoft-hololens/en-us
View the HaloLens in action at SCE: https://www.facebook.com/pg/UMKCSCE/videos/?ref=page_internal