AR/VR Research and Development Program for Undergraduates

The UW Reality Lab Incubator is a program to provide undergraduate students with opportunities to research and develop AR/VR technology with broad-reaching impacts. The program is overseen by the Director of Research and Education, John Akers, who works closely with each team to ensure projects can be successfully released to the world.


  • Mentor teams of undergraduate students in the development of novel AR/VR applications
  • Engage undergraduate researchers with the greater UW and Seattle AR/VR industry
  • Allow students to grow their skills before moving on to top AR/VR companies
  • Generate research and applications that continue to be impactful after leaving the Incubator program

Getting Involved as a Student

Are you a UW Seattle student interested in working on a project in the Reality Lab Incubator? Fill out our candidate form and be added to the list of potential candidates we use when we recruit for new projects.

Getting Involved as a Project Holder

Think you have a project that would be a good fit for the Reality Lab Incubator? Describe your project to us and we'll consider it for future student teams.

The Space

The UW Reality Lab Incubator program is housed in a dedicated space for undergraduate teams to work with cutting edge AR/VR devices such as the Valve Index and the Magic Leap One. Project teams have unlimited access to the space to share ideas and test each other's work.

Current Projects

Virtual Field Geology
Team Members: Max Needle, Jacky Mooc, Andrew Wang

The Whaleback Anticline Virtual Tour and Training Camp is an immersive experience to give students access to the unique geological site known as the Whaleback Anticline within the Bear Valley Strip Mine near Shamokin, Pennsylvania. The application allows users to explore the site on the ground or through the air, and learn about the area through interactable tour stops featuring puzzles and quizzes.

The immersive experience also features a robust stereonet measuring system that simmulates the types of measurements that geologists take when physically visiting geological sites. Users can take measurements of the orientations along the fold and generate stereonets that accurately reflect the true trend and plunge of the Whaleback Anticline along the Earth's surface.

AR Epidural Steroid Injections
Team Members: Zezhong Yang, Boe Zhou, Bosco Tong

In collaboration with Barbara Kozminski from UW Rehabilitation Medicine, students are investigating the use of augmented reality to replace the use of X-rays during steroid injections along the spine for pain relief. The full pipeline includes converting MRI and CT scans to full 3D reconstructons of the patient's spine, which is then overlayed on the patient using an AR headset during the procedure.

Past Projects

Team Members: Kirit Narain, Rishabh Patted, Maxime Sutters, Samuel Vanderlinda

GuitXR is an AR application to help guitarists to learn faster and elevate their mastery. Visualize chords and music tabs as holograms floating in front of the player, providing a hands-free experience by advancing the tablature when the correct note is played via pitch recognition. Experienced guitarists and beginners alike will also be able to pick up new songs and advanced techniques more easily by following visual indicators on the strings of their physical guitars, alongside potentially helpful guidance such as optimal handshapes. Designed for the Magic Leap One headset and a 3D printed controller to put the controller on teh neck of the guitar.

Event Horizon: Coorperative VR Game for 2 People
Team Members: Caelen Wang, Devika Baliga, Elana Hummel, Timo Lahtinen

Event Horizon is a two-player cooperative VR game that takes place on a damaged space station. Two players, each with different abilities, must find each other and then work together to fix the space station, so they can continue on their intergalactic journey.

Superhero Ninja: Make-A-Wish & Virtual World Society Collaboration
Team Members: Marc Arceo, Natalia Abrosimova, Corey Seaman, Lily Zhao

A virtual reality game built completely custom for a Make-A-Wish Kid, turning their designs into an immersive experience. Superhero Ninja is a collaboration between the UW Reality Lab, the Make-A-Wish Foundation, and the Virtual World Society, bringing together student developer together with professional game artists.

Chefing: Interactive AR Cooking
Team Members: Xiao Liang, Yuansi Li, Xinran Lu, Crystal Lam

An augmented reality cooking application that guides users through step-by-step instructions of recipes on a Magic Leap headset. Chefing provides users with an intuitive and enjoyable culinary experience.

The application leverages a cloud-based object detection model to enhance the user experience in a variety of ways. Users can receive recipe suggestions simply by lookin at the ingredients in their kitchen. Chefing also recognizes the utensils and appliances in the kitchen to guide users through any recipe.

Superfly: Emergent Gameplay through VR Locomotion
Team Members: Rory Soiffer, Christie Zhao, Terrell Strong, Nini Le, Hongjun Jack Wu

Superfly experiments with different forms of locomotion and movement within virtual reality to create new gameplay experiences in a procedurally generated city. Customizable comfort settings have been added (incuding dynamic field-of-view, controller-based snap turning, and a virtual nose) for players to modify their experience and reduce the impacts of simulator sickness.

AR Dental Imaging
Team Members: Yaxuan Zhou, Paul Yoo, Yingru Feng

Visualization of optically based dental images for therapy monitoring of dental decay. This project culminated in an article published in a Special Issue of the IET's HealthCare Technology Letters Journal

AR Note Taking
Team Members: Eugen Jahn, Dylan Stockard, John Akers

Projecting digital documents and images onto physical pieces of paper for note taking and sketching purposes. A spin-off mobile application of this project is available for free on the Google Play store under the name Trace AR.

AR Bathymetry
Team Members: Peyton Lee, Aaron Oh, Brennan Stein, Michael Ji

Visualizing underwater topography with an augmented reality headset.


Please direct any questions about the UW Reality Lab Incubator to the Director of Research and Education or