Zoom Innovation Lab utilizes student partnership to enhance virtual communication

In October 2022, ASU and Zoom announced a five-year strategic partnership and unveiled the Zoom Innovation Lab at Creativity Commons on ASU’s Tempe campus. One of several projects launched through Zoom’s partnership with ASU.

The current commercially available version of Zoom runs on a 2D interface, with real-time video superimposed on the screen in a gallery wall-like structure. ASU student employees at the Learning Futures Collaboratory It plays an important role in reinventing the code behind the plugin.

Now called Zoom 2.5D, the plug-in’s function is to integrate Zoom’s 2D interface with 3D virtual reality and simulated universes such as the metaverse.

Dan Munnerley, Executive Director of Learning Futures at ASU, said: “Perhaps the largest project to date from the collaboration so far has been a 3D plug-in built for the Zoom software.”

Using Zoom 2.5D, people in the real world can connect with virtual avatars. The plugin builds on what Munnerley says is a “pair programming project” where students will work with Zoom engineers or programmers.

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Zoom 2.5D was first demonstrated at the Zoom Innovation Lab launch event in October. It is expected to be commercially delivered in universities across the country by the end of the year.

The partnership was born out of a pandemic when ASU was forced to work virtually due to a lockdown in early 2020. The university soon became one of the largest users of Zoom software, Munnerley said.

The university decided to deepen its relationship with the Munnerley organization, calling it a “reciprocal agreement”.

The cornerstone of this first contract is to make the most of Zoom’s intellectual property for ASU’s student population.

in return as part of a reciprocal agreement Student staff at ASU’s Learning Futures Collaboratory, an ASU Enterprise Technology initiative that fosters creativity and collaboration, will partner with Zoom to develop new projects and technologies.

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“(ASU Enterprise Technology) is centralized,” Munnerley said, meaning programs are centralized. Students from a variety of schools are often included. At Learning Futures, the student staff ranges from studio art majors at the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts to nursing and health sciences at the Edson College of Nursing and Health Innovation.

Annie Davis, director of communications for Enterprise Technology, said the Zoom Innovation Lab is “cross-institutional, often providing technology and IP to other enterprise innovation labs.”

This cross-institutional approach allows for diversity in the projects being developed under this partnership. In partnership with The Luminosity Lab at the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering, a major project is underway. It uses technology enabled by Zoom Innovation Lab, a telehealth application that uses Zoom’s video interface to enable remote and instant consultations.

At the Herberger Institute, the Astrological Sciences program, offered in conjunction with the School of Earth and Space Exploration, uses augmented reality and 3D technology from Zoom Creative Studio to explore art-based investigations of models of extraterrestrial life.

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Joshua Thompson, technology studio manager at ASU’s Learning Experience, said this is just one of many programs and courses using the technology.

“Our goal is to leverage technological innovation through Zoom Creative Studio to enhance the learning experience,” Thompson said.

It is open to all ASU students from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM on weekdays. Students can coordinate a visit. Private Consultation or even conduct experiments using the Zoom Innovation Lab’s technology assets.

Editing by Annie Graziano, Jasmine Kabiri, Anusha Natarajan and Luke Chatham.

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