Building Better AR and VR – USC Viterbi

Playbook cofounders JD LeRoy and Skylar Thomas (Photo/Courtesy of JD LeRoy)

Playbook cofounders JD LeRoy and Skylar Thomas (Picture/Courtesy of JD LeRoy)

Digital and augmented actuality have the potential to revolutionize how we use and work together with expertise for the higher. With functions starting from gaming and leisure, to healthcare, retail, tourism, navy coaching, training, and extra, VR’s and AR’s potentialities are limitless.

Nevertheless, designing for the immersive realm could be difficult, time-consuming and irritating because of the complexity of the coding concerned. Merely put, product designers all too usually discover that their two-dimensional abilities do not translate to immersive three-dimensional environments.

Members of the startup Playbook imagine they’ve an answer. Ryan Mitchell, a senior at USC Viterbi majoring in pc science; and JD LeRoy and Skylar Thomas, each seniors within the USC Iovine and Young Academyare constructing an intuitive, code-free design instrument for AR and VR experiences.

On Wednesday, April 27, that imaginative and prescient was ok for Playbook to win the twelfth annual Maseeh Entrepreneurship Prize Competition, or MEPC, USC Viterbi’s premier enterprise mannequin competitors. Crew members additionally took dwelling the grand prize of $50,000, cash they plan to allocate towards creating a prototype and hiring workers.

“MEPC helped us refine our worth proposition and talk it to our numerous stakeholders,” Playbook CEO & cofounder LeRoy mentioned.

Twelve groups participated on this yr’s MEPC, which kicked-off in December. Every group obtained a $500 grant from USC Viterbi’s Office of Technology Innovation and Entrepreneurship for buyer discovery, together with convention and transportation charges.

The sphere was whittled down to 6 finalists on April 8. Groups competed for $50,000 in money and greater than $50,000 in free authorized and enterprise companies provided by D.L.A. Piper: $20,000 for the MEPC champion, $15,000 for second place, $10,000 for third and $5,000 for fourth place.

“MEPC is probably an important expertise enterprise mannequin competitors in Southern California,” USC Viterbi Dean Yannis C. Yortsos mentioned.

MEPC Lead Instructor Denise McKenzie (Photo/Marc Ballon)

MEPC Lead Teacher Denise McKenzie (Picture/Marc Ballon)

Added Denise MckenzieMEPC lead teacher and an teacher for USC Viterbi and the NSF I Corps Program: “The aim of MEPC is to assist engineers assume like entrepreneurs and help scholar groups that want to construct corporations. I feel it is essential to help the notion of getting analysis and concepts out of the lab and into the market place in order that society can profit.”

MEPC was based in 2010 because of a $1 million endowment from entrepreneur Fariborz Maseeh. To deliver extra enterprise training to the competition, USC Viterbi companions with the Lloyd Greif Center for Entrepreneurial Studies at USC Marshall.

MEPC winners
The 2022 MEPC winners embody:

2nd Place: NullaNet: Extremely-low-power AI for the clever edge

third Place: MicroMaternal: Decreasing preventable childbirth-related deaths by way of the improved analysis of preeclampsia in low useful resource settings.

4th Place: Apsy: Creating the next-gen AI to construct reasonably priced elegant customized apps

examine: On a mission to finish preventable cervical most cancers dying

Unithrifts: Making a mannequin of round consumption at establishments of upper training with sustainability and affordability on the forefront

Over the previous 4 months, the USC Viterbi student-led MEPC groups labored to good their enterprise fashions, partnered with mentors who guided and suggested them, and attended workshops on subjects like buyer discovery, mental property, and pitching to buyers. The IN-LA Node of the National Science Foundation Innovation Corps (“I-Corps”) program offered the workshop curriculum.

The periods have been led by MEPC’s McKenzie; Hovig Tchalian, an assistant professor of medical entrepreneurship at USC Marshall’s Lloyd Greif Middle for Entrepreneurial Research; and rob schoebenan adjunct professor of entrepreneurship additionally at USC Marshall’s Lloyd Greif Middle.

Tchalian mentioned he was “most impressed by the ingenuity and specificity of among the ideas the scholar groups offered.”

Schoeben mentioned lots of the scholar groups got here to grasp that “resilience, flexibility and iteration are keys to success. That is true in a contest like MEPC and much more true within the aggressive entrepreneurial market. It was rewarding to see groups come to grasp how the sport actually works.”

MEPC members mentioned they benefited significantly from this system, particularly the workshops.

“They offered us with priceless info and a talent set about buyer discovery, making ready a advertising pitch, and steps for organising an organization in a extremely aggressive market,” mentioned NullaNet’s Amirhossein Esmaili, Ph.D. ECE ’21.

Nick Enriquez, a junior biomedical engineering main and member of MicroMaterna mentioned MEPC taught him and his teammates “to method the identical concept and scenario from a number of views, technical, monetary, industrial. Now we have discovered nice worth in it.”

An illustrious historical past
Over the previous decade, MEPC has launched a number of promising corporations.

The 2021 MEPC winner, Watershield, created a bio-inspired water barrier, manufactured from silicone-based polymers that adhere to the pores and skin with out using any chemical irritants, to offer most cancers sufferers with a extra comfy, infection-proof bathe expertise.

The 2020 MEPC winner, GrayMatter Robotics, makes use of AI to create good and quickly deployable robotic assistants to automate excessive combine manufacturing duties, bettering high quality of life for industrial employees, and growing productiveness. The 2019 victor, AIRBOND, now referred to as Apogee Composites, designed a less expensive, extra environment friendly technique to produce carbon fiber composite supplies for the aviation and different industries.

AesculaTech, the 2016 runner-up, develops and manufactures a platform of temperature-responsive good supplies to be used in medical gadgets, together with the remedy of dry eye. After MEPC, AesculaTech obtained an invite from Y Combinatorthe famed Bay Space enterprise incubator.

Second Spectrum, the 2013 winner, analyzes huge information for insights into sports activities efficiency, comparable to what constitutes good protection and offense in basketball. At the moment, NBA groups obtain Second Spectrum optical monitoring information, which powers next-generation analytics.

Playbook’s chief expertise officer Thomas mentioned he hopes that his burgeoning firm can sooner or later be a part of the illustrious ranks of profitable MEPC alumni.

“We’re going fulltime with this,” mentioned Thomas, including that Playbook expects to shut its first spherical of seed funding someday this month. “We need to grow to be the go-to design instrument for augmented and digital actuality.”

Revealed Could fifth, 2022

Final up to date on Could fifth, 2022

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