The Verizon Connected Futures Prototyping and Talent Development program, in partnership with NYC Media Lab, supports development of new media and technology projects from universities across New York City, linking students and faculty with industry experts.

NEW YORK, New York—January 24, 2017—In partnership with NYC Media Lab, Verizon has awarded $200,000 to university teams for the creation of new prototypes within three topic areas: augmented and mixed reality, conversational interfaces, and the Internet of Things. Eleven projects by faculty and students from Columbia University, Cornell Tech, City University of New York, The New School, New York University, School of Visual Arts, and Pratt Institute will participate in the program.
Verizon launched the Connected Futures Prototyping and Talent Development program, now in its second year, to invest in cutting-edge prototyping in emerging media technologies. The program began with a call for applications on September 22, 2016 at NYC Media Lab’s annual Summit, which hosted stakeholders from the Lab’s consortium of NYC universities.
Representatives from Verizon and NYC Media Lab visited campuses in an eight-week recruitment process that culminated in a competitive applicant pool. Selected teams were chosen based on their vision for prototyping within one of Verizon’s chosen topic areas. As the prototype development phase of the program proceeds through April 2017, participating teams will receive feedback and mentorship with the goal of fostering an ongoing relationship with Verizon.
“Our program with NYC Media Lab continues to demonstrate that media and technology experiences have a bright future in the hands of these innovative students and faculty,” said Christian Guirnalda, Director, Open Innovation at Verizon. “We are excited to enable their creativity through deeper support and mentorship from the ThingSpace and VR/AR teams in our second year.”
 "We are excited to participate in the Verizon Connected Futures II program with NYC Media Lab to develop leading edge AR/VR/MR projects,” said Christian Egeler, Head of AR and VR Product Development at Verizon Labs. "Selecting the winning teams was a challenge this year due to the innovative and competitive projects submitted by the talented faculty and students; a very good challenge to have.”
“Verizon developed ThingSpace to provide an end-to-end IoT enablement platform that gives developers a single source to prototype, test, connect and monetize their applications. The entire stack is built for flexibility and we are excited to extend it to the teams participating in the Connected Futures program.  We look forward to mentoring these innovative students in the coming months."  said Thierry Sender, Director of IOT Product Development
“NYC Media Lab is grateful for the opportunity to connect Verizon with technically and creatively talented faculty and students across NYC’s universities to advance new technologies and ideas that will change they way we interact with one another, with information and with the world around us,” said Justin Hendrix, Executive Director of NYC Media Lab. “We are thrilled to see diverse disciplines coming together- especially so many projects focused on augmented and mixed reality, a primary focus of NYC Media Lab-  to develop prototypes in response to Verizon’s challenge.”
Additional support for this challenge includes matching funds from The New York State Center for Advanced Technology in Telecommunications and Distributed Information Systems (CATT) at the NYU Tandon School of Engineering.
“For a second year, CATT is pleased to support prototyping and talent development with NYC Media Lab and Verizon," said Shivendra Panwar, Director of CATT. "Through this collaboration, CATT is participating in the growth of the digital media and technology industry, which now makes up nearly 10% of New York's economy.”
The full list of selected teams are highlighted below by topic area, project name, and affiliated university.
Augmented and Mixed Reality:
School of Visual Arts (MFA Interaction Design) and Columbia University Data Science Institute
Elushika Weerakoon, Paola Rangel, Uijun Park, Kuo Zhang
Kiwi is a mobile application scanner for physical textbooks that enhances the reading experience for high school students.
NYU Interactive Telecommunications Program
Mithru Swarna, Roi Lev, Ondina Frate, Joakim Quach
mYx helps creators make storyboards for new immersive media.
Cornell Tech (M.S. Connective Media) and Parsons School of Design (MFA Design + Technology)
Andrew Mendez, Iris Qu, Jasmine Oh
Blend equips advertisers with tools that enable easy curation of AR markers and immersive advertising experiences.
CUNY Graduate School of Journalism
Sandeep Junnarkar, Jere Hester
YOU ARE HERE is an immersive journalism experience using augmented reality to tell NYC stories, melding past and present from a street-level view.
Parsons School of Design (BFA Design + Technology)
Kate Wallace, Danny Dang
Zer is a news platform aiming to engage generation Z with substantial news through augmented reality, virtual reality and mobile games.
Conversational Interfaces:
Columbia University School of Engineering and Applied Sciences
Wanyi Xu, Jacob Sniff
Kiko uses face tracking techniques to create cartoon animation based on the real-time face expression and movement of users.
Columbia University School of Engineering and Applied Sciences
Jie Feng, Svebor Karaman
EyeStyle is an AI powered software service to find similar fashion products from an image.
Cornell Tech (MBA) and Parsons School of Design (MFA Design + Technology)
Tosin Adeniji, Priyal Parikh, Lydia Li
Iris is a smart device that turns any surface into a screen, allowing personalized content to follow you wherever you are in your home.
Internet of things:

Columbia University School of Engineering and Applied Sciences
Gregory Kollmer, Aykut Aksit, Troy Jackson
Palmos is improving landslide monitoring and prediction with a wireless network of vibration sensors and machine learning
Expressive Clothing
Cornell Tech (M.S. Connective Media)
Chumeng Xu, Clara Shim
Expressive Clothing enhances social information processing using fashion technology and IoT.
Remo Haptics
Pratt Institute (Masters and NYU Tandon School of School of Engineering
Evan Huggins, Caitlin Sikora, Aaron Nesser, Rebeccah Pailes-Friedman
What if clothing communicated movement in real time? Remo Haptics is a subtle guidance system that augments learning with direct haptic input.

About NYC Media Lab
NYC Media Lab connects digital media and technology companies with New York City's universities to drive innovation, entrepreneurship and talent development. A public-private partnership launched by the New York City Economic Development Corporation, NYC Media Lab funds seed projects that foster collaboration across a range of disciplines and runs The Combine, an early stage accelerator for emerging media and technology startups.
About Verizon Labs
Formed in 2013, Verizon Labs is a technology Center of Excellence aligning researchers, strategists, engineers, designers and domain experts from across all areas of the Verizon business. Verizon Labs’ unique approach begins with intricate examination of groundbreaking science and technology capabilities, processed through a rigorous application of insights and engineering, and transformed into new business capabilities and future markets. With 1500 employees in 11 locations worldwide, Verizon Labs has a startup culture, with fast-moving, cross-functional teams working side-by-side, bringing all areas of expertise to bear developing Verizon’s advanced technology solutions and next-generation products.
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