DC students earn best of the best recognition at Digifest

Durham College (DC) Interactive Media Design students Christopher Chai and Zachary Weaver are the proud winners of the Interaction Design category in the Best of the Best Student Showcase at Digifest, Toronto’s three-day international festival celebrating digital creativity. The students’ winning design, the fully interactive Unreal Museum Showcase, was an engaging way for participants to experience history and learning.

The unique Best of the Best Student Showcase brought together exciting work from the brightest student minds across Ontario, and at the forefront of it all was the Unreal Museum Showcase. Powered by the Unreal Engine and Leap Motion Gesture Control, users had the opportunity to explore and interact with the museum displays in an immersive, fully 3D environment.

Taking a new, extremely hands-on approach to learning, guests were encouraged to touch, manipulate and control exhibition objects at their own pace. From ancient Roman history to the fine arts, the Unreal Museum Showcase made learning a very real, very fun experience.

Requiring a partnership to operate, one user controls a pair of 3D hands with a gesture sensing device, while the other navigates the museum with an ordinary video game controller. The hands can touch and hold on to fully rendered models of sculptures, ancient weapons and other pieces, or activate media such as sound clips or videos by pressing virtual buttons within the application.

“Digifest was the first time I was able to show off something I was really proud of,” said Chai. “It was great seeing all the visitors playing about with the project, they all seemed so engaged – especially the smaller kids.”

Chai and Weaver’s Unreal Museum Showcase was one of 30 student projects from 10 institutions across Ontario, spanning categories such as graphic communication, interactive gaming, mobile app development, visual and interactive art, and web design. Hundreds of the most renowned Canadian and international designers attend the Student Showcase every year, making it an incredible opportunity for students to expose their creativity to the biggest names in their industries.

Creating and presenting the Unreal Museum Showcase was a serious challenge, but the two winners came prepared. The Interactive Media Design program gives students all the tools and skills needed to become masters in the world of animated and digital design.