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Cohort 2 Launch Projects Revealed

Date: January 17, 2020

In collaboration with GIX’s Consortium, which includes companies like Microsoft, T-Mobile, Roobo, and Vulcan, graduate students formed interdisciplinary teams to develop high-impact projects that address local and global challenges. The Launch Project enables a thorough exploration, development, and prototyping of a solution to a unique problem in partnership with a Consortium member. Below is a selection of Launch Projects from Cohort 2.


5% of careers are derailed for reasons related to emotional competencies, including the inability to handle interpersonal problems, adapt to change, and elicit trust. Success, in many careers, is heavily dependent upon the ability to communicate, empathize and connect with others. Without emotional awareness, the ability to receive others’ emotions, people often have difficulty finding work and performing their jobs.

After computing on the cloud, a pair of off-the-shelf smartglasses provide haptic and visual feedback to wearers so that they are aware of their conversation partner’s emotions in real time. After the conversation, users can review the collected data on a mobile app for learning purposes.


The Uniband  project helps patients with Parkinson’s disease acquire aggregated insights that combine their tremor intensity changes with medication intake, diet, and physical activities.  Each year, roughly 60,000 Americans are diagnosed with the disease, but there is no sustainable service or product that allows individuals with PD and their doctors to consistently track their progress over time. The team developed a tremor tracking device and companion mobile app.  Users wear a wristband which tracks their tremor. As a result, the solution provides an insightful data report of tremor intensity changes to individuals with PD and their doctors to aid in understanding of the disease.

Speak Fun

The Chinese language learning market is increasing rapidly as Chinese parents want their children to start learning English at an earlier age (3 – 8 years old). According to our interviews and surveys, Chinese parents pay the most attention to their children’s listening and speaking abilities. These parents, accustomed to the internet and technology, are open to new language education forms such as online courses, language learning apps and remote tutoring.

The app contains a backstory and interaction designed to introduce and teach words, allow children to practice, and then evaluates their progress. We leveraged insights from our user research, like learning with peers, creating social attachment and controlling the game with voice instead of touch. Pudding, the robot and the main character of our app, starts by telling a story and teaching a set of new words. A virtual peer shows the children how to play the games. The child then controls their character to overcome obstacles by pronouncing the right words. This interactive speech practice encourages children to apply what they have learned in context. The children are evaluated on their learning via quizzes. We proved that our solution leads to effective learning with user evaluation (2 new words per 10 min). Compared to tutors (> $50 per hour), our app costs less and is accessible anywhere.

Microsoft A-Eye

In partnership with Microsoft’s AI for Good team, students created a low-cost and portable retina camera with AI image enhancement to expand access to ophthalmologic care. Designed for users who are not medical professionals, it utilizes unique software and hardware techniques to capture high-quality fundus images at a low cost eliminating the need for ophthalmologists to perform retinal imaging.

Microsoft Gaia Cam

In partnership with Microsoft’s AI for Good team, the Gaia Cam is an integrated system of IoT devices that use computer vision devices to collect data on plastic waste in rivers. By deploying multiple devices along rivers, the team expects to build a map of plastics flow along rivers and eventually locate pollution sources based on data analysis. The project is open source in order to encourage anyone to participate and refine the project.

T-Mobile Arrow

A cross-floor augmented reality navigation application to demonstrate the capabilities of the 5G network. The goal is to reduce friction in the T-Mobile Park stadium experience, elevate the T-Mobile brand value, showcase 5G technology, and make spectators feel special. However, the app turned into a scalable solution that can be applied to any campus or building.

T-Mobile 5G Retail Experience

Team Dragonfruit devised a proof concept for an augmented reality (AR) mobile experience that teaches retail customers about 5G’s capabilities and offerings in an engaging, two-part game.  The game showcases the low latency of 5G, promotes T-Mobile stores as a fun place to be, and teaches retail customers about the benefits of 5G and T-Mobile’s 5G-related product and offerings.


Robot Factory

Over one million computer science jobs will remain unfilled in the united states in 2020. No formal curriculum or education plan exits to close these gaps in this expanding industry. GIX students created a narrative-based game that uses gamplay to teach programming logic and computational thinking. Players can meet or socialize in simulated or augmented reality environments.