Academy of Art University is Using AR to Report Residents Feelings in the Tenderloin, But What’s Next?

The Academy of Art University (AAU), is a private college located in San Francisco, California. Formerly known as the Academy of Art College. It was founded in 1929 by Richard Stephens. The school currently has 283 full-time teachers, 1154 part-time teaching staff, and 12,600 students. AAU has received regional accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges in 2007.

AAU is an accredited member of the National Association of Schools of Art and Design, along with a few other accreditations that are degree specific. A fun fact about AAU, it has the largest privately owned art and design school in the United States.

AAU has many famous graduates like, Jason Sperling he graduated the school of Advertising in 1993, Deanne Fitzmaurice won a Pulitzer Prize in 2005, Denise Cherry, and Tom Luedecke was the lead designer on Kobe Bryant’s line of Nike shoes.

The school is the first to be invited to New York fashion week biannually. The school has no shortage of accomplishments and accolades. They are adding to their success story with the creation of a new application called Tenderfeels created by AAU students. They participated in an event sponsored by Tech in the Tenderloin and the San Francisco Salvation Army Kroc Center.

Tenderfeels is an augmented reality (AR) app that allows residents of San Francisco’s Tenderloin to share their emotions in real time while walking the streets. The Tenderloin is known for being a terrifying place to live. Many of AAU’s students like in the area and know firsthand how scary it is living there.

The app offers the user five different emotions: angry, disgusted, joyful, and happy. It works kind of like a Pokemon Go but for your feelings. Along with documenting resident’s feelings, there’s also space to explain the cause of the emotion at that particular place and time.

The creators of the app plan on using the information gathered and reported it back to schools and the government. The vision is that the power’s that be will take the data to impact positive change in the Tenderloin.

I’m grateful to of had the opportunity to visit San Francisco a few times while my sister was there going to grad school there. It is a beautiful city, with breathtaking cites. I even spent some time in the Tenderloin and experienced first hand some of those scary streets AAU students have to walk through.

I think, Tenderfeels is a great idea and right on track and on time. I can see the be benefit it will have for the residents. But more importantly, I see an enormous impact this kind of work has on a student’s mind. The most valuable learning a person can have is when they can apply the information they’re learning into real-life situations. AAU has taken that a step further by offering students a way to use their education to impact social change. That kind of knowledge never leaves you; instead, it inspires you and your community.

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