HoloLens Project Highlighted At Seattle Interactive

In 2016, nine student teams at Cornish College of the Arts created pieces for Microsoft’s mixed reality HoloLens headset. Their work was later shown at the Seattle Interactive 2016 conference.

Cornish students and their teachers were asked to present their work with Microsoft's HoloLens at the Seattle Interactive 2016. This annual conference draws the thousands of attendees from cutting-edge businesses, leading brands, and cultural beacons, based in the Northwest and around the world. Sessions cover marketing, branding, strategic development, communications, design, culture, creativity, and more.

 “Performing and visual arts students in the digital age need to understand the potential of the materials and tools that they will be using in the future,” said Cornish Provost Moira Scott Payne. With Cornish’s main campus located in Seattle’s growing South Lake Union neighborhood, the college's academic leaders has sought out partnerships with high tech businesses in the region to foster that connection.

The HoloLens project provided a chance for the seniors in art, dance, design, and theater to interact with Microsoft’s HoloLens Product Team. Together, they explored the artistic possibilities of mixed reality, where virtual objects are viewed alongside actual physical objects to create a seamlessly unified environment. “Cornish has a great reputation in the arts community for being cutting edge and pushing the envelope. We really wanted to see what they would do with this new medium,” said Ben Porter, Director of Business Strategy for HoloLens at Microsoft.

The final pieces created by Cornish students ranged  from those manufactured solely in a digital environment to mixed media to filming fellow students in Microsoft’s 360 degree soundstage. “I created a pop-up book for the HoloLens using 3D space and 2D artwork,” said Majesta Vestal, who graduated in 2016. “It seemed like such a golden opportunity to transform storytelling.”

Jeff Brice, Chair of Design, and Robin Avni, assistant professor of user experience, supervised the project. “We are always looking at how we can push the creative boundaries,” said Avni. “When you put on the headset [and look at Vestal’s piece], and hear the music and see the stars and the fireflies twinkling, it’s magical.”

All the student creations and a short film about the project are viewable at Expo16.