Innovation Outside the Classroom

AIMS has many opportunities for innovation outside of the classroom. Through study abroad opportunities, programs and events, students can extend their growth and development past the classroom setting.

Digital Innovation Centers

The AIMS/Entrepreneurship Institute’s Digital Innovation Centers offer a semester­-long immersive experience for Miami students in San Francisco or Cincinnati. Each semester, a cohort of students lives, works, studies, plays and embeds themselves in the heart of global innovation.

Design Thinking in London

AIMS students and engineering students have been heading to England as part of the London Design Interactive Workshop for a number of years.

In the most recent trip, fifteen students were led by Dr. Michael Bailey-Van Kuren, C. Michael Armstrong Professor of Engineering and Interactive Media. During the workshop, students lived in the trendy Borough of Camden and explored the city, including the Design Museum. Students traveled on their own on weekends, exploring many European destinations.

Primarily, the students worked with Birkdale Paediatric & Adult Neuro Clinic in West London under the direction of Farshideh Bondarenko, developing new devices to assist the therapist-patient interaction.

In order to focus on the needs of the therapist and the patient, the students learned and applied a design thinking-based process. Three teams were formed to tackle different aspects of the therapist's needs: cycling therapy, gaze tracking and web based communication. All three teams progressed from assessing user needs to developing functional prototypes in 4 weeks.

The cycling team developed a modified therapy cycle that could track patient applied forces to the left and right pedal. The forces provided inputs to control a character in a laptop-based video game. The game was designed to increase patient engagement in the cycling activity.

The gaze tracking team also developed a game for the iPad that would assist in eye-hand coordination, as well as developing a tracking system. The tracking system was comprised of a set of lightweight glasses that triggered an infrared sensor when directed at the sensor. The sensor device would then light up so that the therapist and patient would know that the desired gaze was obtained.

The third team identified a need for a new web community to bring therapists and designers together in order to solve more problems in the field. They developed a new website that facilitates crowdsourced problem-solving through problem solicitation, idea generation, and iterative prototyping of solutions.

Contact Dr. Bailey-Van Kuren for information about upcoming workshops.

Global Game Jam

AIMS is one of the host schools for the international Global Game Jam since 2009 and is one of the premier sites in the region. The Global Game Jam is an international game design event that takes place at dozens of sites around the world, simultaneously. High school students, undergraduate students, graduate students, and industry mentors work together on site for a weekend. Samples of recent projects from the Game Jam are available at aimsgamescenter.com.

Game Developers Conference (GDC)

The Game Developers Conference (GDC) is an annual event held in San Francisco made up of attendees from throughout the game industry.

Each year, Miami University students are invited to participate in the GDC mini course where students receive credit hours to prepare for and then attend the conference. GDC is one of the premiere professional interactive media experiences we can provide AIMS students. Students typically love their experience at GDC as it is both eye-opening and invigorating. The conference is a high energy event filled with game design and development celebrities, presentations, workshops, tutorials, career expo and fantastic opportunities to network with people in all the facets of gaming – from developers to journalists, artists to academics. The event is organized around thematic summits.

Students who attend the mini course are required to join a pre-event meeting, prepare appropriate materials for the event, and attend the event. They will receive free lodging, but airfares and passes are bought by the students themselves. Participating students present and write about the experience once they return. More information can be found at aimsgamescenter.com.