Students from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in collaboration with Lost Points LLC, a IT and business consulting startup at EnterpriseWorks, developed an exhibit for the Orpheum Children’s Science Museum that debuted on Sept 22. (See news coverage from WCIA’s CiLiving show and the Daily Illini.)
The Champaign museum was seeking an interactive STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) exhibit. Under the apprenticeship of Lost Points LLC, UIUC students volunteered their time and talents to design and program the interactive exhibit, which makes it possible for kids to be immersed in virtual learning environments across three areas: Space, The Sea, and The Human Body.
The software allows a child to explore a virtual environment like a “green screen” by using the Microsoft Kinect and Nuvixa’s patented Alpha Imaging Technology (Nuvixa is another EnterpiseWorks startup). Lost Points LLC recruited and mentored the students, who came with little or no experience in the technologies, to develop the software in two months.
A secondary goal of the project was to enable the students from UIUC to be challenged and mentored in social entrepreneurship. Lost Points LLC taught the students how to create jobs while giving back to our local community. In addition, Lost Points LLC brought in leaders from the community to educate and share their experiences to the students.
“I see this exhibit as a way to give back to the community since UIUC and the community has given me so much,” said Suk June Jeon, one of the seniors that volunteered working as the business consulting intern on the project
Another goal of this project was to bring more awareness about the innovative technologies that were being developed in the Research Park. While the Silicon Valley and the East Coast attract students for startups, the students lose sight that they could have the same opportunity here in Champaign-Urbana. Even though Champaign-Urbana is a small community, there is a sound infrastructure and network of people that make being an entrepreneur more successful.