DM Students Celebrate GVU 20th Anniversary

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Celebrating its 20th anniversary, the GVU Center is a cross-disciplinary center dedicated to the advancement of the interaction between people, computers, and information. The Digtal Media program occasionally works on projects in conjunction with the GVU, creating and developing new digital media forms. To commemorate the GVU’s 20th anniversary and to celebrate its intellectual connection with the program, five Digital Media PhD students created a project called Ascent, which aims to transform an every day physical space into one of entertainment and exploration.

PhD students Mariam Asad, Paul Clifton, Tom Jenkins, Andrew Quitmeyer, and Rebecca Rouse tethered weather balloons with attached video cameras above the Technology Square Research Building, which houses both the GVU center and the Digital Media Program. These cameras moved up and down the balloon line and captured a 360-degree panoramic view of Midtown Atlanta. The real time video streaming was then projected inside one of the TSRB elevators, which allows Ascent participants to view the city as they ride the elevator as if they were perched on the balloon cluster above the building, while also listening to original music composed by Brendan Padgett.

Andrew Quitmeyer, one of the PhD students who helped bring Ascent to life, explains why this project is important to the Digital Media program. “One of the difficulties of our field is demonstrating the potential of digital media as an expressive form to a broad audience,” he says. “The simplicity of the concept of Ascent makes it easy for the public to wrap their minds around even though the underlying technology and engineering is quite byzantine.”

Georgia Tech’s Digital Media program offers students opportunity to create unique and engaging projects like Ascent by connecting them with centers like the GVU.

“The GVU is a terrific organization for our program to be involved with since it gives us access to the tools and minds of researchers from a broad spectrum of different fields,” Quitmeyer says. “Most importantly though, the GVU takes these diverse individuals and puts them into challenge in which nobody has expertise or is truly cofortable. The GVU has always been an important bridge connecting our own weird little community in Digital Media with the latest research and technical challenges in many other emerging fields.”

For more information on Ascent, please visit the project website.