LMC Alumnus Innovates Children’s Storytelling with Augmented Reality Puzzle

Chapter One

Humans have communicated with storytelling for thousands of years, and it's one of the most effective ways to share knowledge and information. However, as the world becomes more technologically advanced, LMC alumnus Karl Kim, a 2016 Computational Media graduate, feels like it's losing something.

"The speed of the development of technology is very fast. So, sometimes I feel like we're missing something — that core of the storytelling," Kim said. He's using his unique perspective on storytelling as seen through a digital media lens to innovate the ancient practice.

Chapter Two

Georgia Tech's School of Literature, Media, and Communication (LMC) fosters a maker culture among its students, emphasizing a hands-on approach that inspires alumni like Kim to go out of their comfort zone and follow their creativity wherever it leads when they graduate.

The computational media curriculum spans three Colleges at Georgia Tech — Computing, Design, and the Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts — making it one of the most diverse programs on campus. Students in the program "choose their own adventure" through the curriculum from 12 possible thread combinations.

"Computational media students are given a rare opportunity to cross the traditional boundaries that divide today's academic disciplines," said Yanni Loukissas, associate professor of digital media at LMC. "They learn to stand with a foot in different worlds."

This gives them big advantages when they graduate. By studying cultural practices in the arts and humanities alongside the latest computing capacities, computational media alumni leave campus “prepared to make a contribution that's technologically innovative and culturally meaningful," Loukissas said.

(Image: Students getting creative in LMC's Expressive Machinery Lab.)

Chapter Three

That is precisely what Kim hopes to do. He said the experimental game design class with now-retired Professor of the Practice Krystina Madej, where he learned about physical and digital combined interaction, inspired him to build his new interactive story puzzle.

"I didn't come to Georgia Tech thinking, 'I want to make a children's game,'" Kim said. "But I found this kind of storytelling perspective here, and I think the turning point for me was Professor Madej's classes that had me looking at stories from children's perspective."

In Kim's project with partner Julie Puech, The Bear Who Touched The Northern Lights, children put together hand-drawn puzzle pieces. Then, they play through the animated story with an augmented reality app, making decisions for the little bear to help it overcome obstacles and complete its journey.

Chapter Four

"I wanted to do something more than just tell a story," Kim said. "I wanted to experiment with creating a richer experience. There are so many mountains and so much out there to enjoy. I wanted to share these feelings of exploring, adventure, and encountering uncertainties by borrowing the eyes of the tiny little bear who wants to see the northern lights."

His Computational Media degree allowed him to do just that.

Interested in learning more? Check out LMC’s B.S. in Computational Media, explore the Augmented Environments Lab, or learn how Georgia Tech students and faculty are going back in time at the Pickrick restaurant site.

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