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THON being introduced at Penn State Children’s Hospital by students via augmented reality

Penn State students are making a positive difference in the lives of people with the use of augmented reality. Katherine Finneran, a Penn State student, is among a group of many others like her and is responsible for an innovative idea she came up with last year.

Finneran, who is a PR major, witnessed the use of augmented reality first-hand during her summertime internship at Showtime Networks. It made her wonder if the immersive technology form could be implemented in synchronicity with the Penn State Dance Marathon.

Functioning as a media relations captain for this year’s THON, Finneran contemplated that augmented reality is a mode of exposing children undergoing pediatric cancer at the Penn State Children’s Hospital to THON. The children who will not be able to partake in the event at the Bryce Jordan Center during February 15-17, will be able to witness it through virtual reality. Finneran was previously associated with dancer relations committees and donor/alumni relations committees for the event.

Thon implements student built augmented reality app for 2019 dance

Thon has a new augmented reality app so children in the hospital can still experience the Penn State dance marathon. Story here:

Geplaatst door Centre Daily Times op Zaterdag 9 februari 2019

Finneran expressed that combining advanced technology with the student charity felt like an ideal combination to her.

Anne Papandreas, majoring in sophomore biobehavioral health, and serving as THON co-captain under Finneran, worked with her to take the lead. She carried the responsibility of bringing in six prospective student talents with prior augmented reality experience, from the College of Engineering and the College of Information Sciences and Technology.

Finneran revealed that the students have expressed substantial interest to participate in the project. According to her, the others, who are full-time students like her, were quite enthusiastic about contributing to the project. Finneran explained how she appreciated the efforts of her fellow students, who put all efforts in to make the experience accessible for children who cannot attend.

The team of six students who were responsible for the effort included computer science sophomore Isabelle Biase, computer science junior Tyler Spagnolo, computer science sophomore Kevin Gardner, applied data sciences sophomore Sydney Wehn, industrial engineering senior Ruchi Patel, and data science sophomore Zack Deible.

An AI (artificial intelligence) tool was created by Biase and Spagnolo, who proactively supported the others. The tool was created to assist Penn State students in seeking out the path to their ideal jobs, with the Nittany AI Challenge. Aspire, the team comprising of these six individuals, finished among the top three teams of 2018.

Biase stated that his most prominent motivation to embark on a career in the domain of computer science was to bring positive change with innovative technology. Utilising the augmented reality application for THON, Biase intends to create considerable impact through utilising technology for THON’s objectives.

the Nittany AI Challenge influenced Spagnolo to step into projects with potent and robust missions, like the THON AR app. The project has inspired Spagnolo to create a positive impact in the lives of people and has brought about renewed self-assurance.


With all the efforts put in, the AR-based project will be showcased in February.


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