Issue 2 / 2021
Research at New York University
Issue #2 | 2021
Also in This Issue
Zoom In: Touch and Go
When COVID-19 laid siege to New York City this past spring, Tandon professor of civil and urban engineering Debra Laefer teamed up with Global Public Health assistant professor of social and behavioral sciences Thomas Kirchner to help track the spread of the virus with their DETER project. Armed with an NSF Rapid Response Research Grant, they swiftly hired a team to record what people touched as they exited NYC hospitals and urgent care clinics. “Our assumption is that anybody coming out of these [high-risk facilities] posed a COVID transmission risk to the larger community, and therefore the decisions that they made were very important,” says Laefer. The investigators’ goal: to collect highly detailed 3D data on surface vectors that can be used to improve disease tracking as well as to predict and mitigate patterns of exposure to COVID and other viruses. To read more about how NYU researchers are working to help limit the suffering caused by COVID-19, visit On the Frontline.
Zoom Out: Virtual Vanguard
While much of the theater world struggles to find a way for the show to go on, the Brendan Bradley Integrative Technology Lab couldn’t be more remote ready. The groundbreaking Tisch Drama class was already using social VR as a medium for performances when the pandemic hit. Under the tutelage of Michelle Cortese, guest instructor and VR design lead at Facebook, students honed their scripts and used Oculus Quest headsets provided by Facebook to customize their pieces, find avatars and costumes, and hold rehearsals. The shows then went on, via streaming service Twitch.