The Academy of Art University GAM students recently developed a smartphone app which they named “Tenderfeels”. The program was crafted to make neighborhoods safer. It uses Augmented Reality (AR) to reveal how a person is feeling at that moment in a particular neighborhood. They are beginning with the Tenderloin district in San Francisco.
GAM is the department of the University known as School of Game Development. Courses there include game design, programming, concept art, animation, visual effects, augmented reality and virtual reality. This is just one of many divisions of the school offering outstanding, hands-on learning experiences. The Academy of Art University is located in San Francisco, and therefore the Tenderloin district was a conspicuous place to begin. It is a community that is infamously fraught with problems such as crime and poverty.
“Tenderfeels” is a way for residents or visitors of a neighborhood to publicly communicate their feelings or state of mind as they walk through an area. The application gathers the information and shows why someone characterized that spot with a specific emotion. Other “Tenderfeels” users can see this data in real time. Augmented reality is used because it allows for an immersing view of the real world with enhanced, computer-generated elements that enrich the experience for the person viewing it. The objective is that authorities would use the information to designate very specific parts of a city that had problems that they could then begin to solve.
The Academy of Art University runs on the philosophy that artists are able to learn the competencies needed to become working professionals. Founded in 1929 by Richard S. Stephens, the school has upheld his ideals through generations. The University is also dedicated to the notion that professionals who have worked in their fields are the best teachers. For instance, the Executive Director of the School of Gaming Development is David Goodwine who has worked at Double Fusion, Electronic Arts, and PDI/Dreamworks. Other departments at the University include Art History, Fashion, Industrial Design, Web Design, and many more. The facilities are state-of-the-art and the school hosts at least seventy student shows and exhibitions a year.