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VR Program Wins NAB Innovation Challenge

Top three were announced at NAB Futures Conference

It was all treat and no trick for the three winners of the first Pilot Innovation Challenge, which were announced Oct. 31 during the NAB Futures event in Pebble Beach, Calif. First prize went to Robinne Burrell and Trina DasGupta of Redflight Media Innovation for a VR program, “In Your Shoes.”

The Pilot Innovation Challenge sought to recognize creative ideas that “leverage technological advances in the production, distribution and display of engaging content,” per NAB’s press release. The organization said it received more than 150 submissions, which was narrowed to a top 10 before a panel of five judges determined which three best answered the prompt question “How might local television and radio broadcaster engage their communities with next generation content on any device?” The top three chosen by the judges presented at NAB Futures and voted on by the conference attendees.

Emerging on top was “In Your Shoes,” an immersive storytelling platform that utilizes virtual reality to document the lives of multiple people involved in a single situation or issue. Second place was awarded to Jordan Sales, Elise Hackney, Alberta Lin, Eric Asencio, Mike Le, and Claire Lohn of Texas A&M University for their History GO app, which utilizes augmented reality to display facts and videos about an area. Chandra Clark from the University of Alabama won third place for “The News Call,” a DVR-type phone service that calls a user at a predetermined time with preprogrammed customized news.

First place received $20,000, $15,000 for second place and $10,000 for third place to assist with prototyping their concepts. The winners also receive access to broadcast executives at future NAB events including the NAB Show and the Innovation Celebration at NAB Show New York. Shown in the photo, from left: NAB President/CEO Gordon Smith; Robinne Burrell and Trina DasGupta of “In Your Shoes”; Elise Hackney and Jordan Sales of “History Go”; Chandra Clark of “The News Call”; Pilot Executive Director John Clark