ETC Projects having Mike Christel as their instructor

I have taught ETC multidisciplinary project courses (36 units per course) each semester since Fall 2008, with typically 4-6 students per course. The ETC curriculum centers on these studio project courses in which students learn how to collaborate, experiment, and iterate solutions, most times for external sponsors/clients. Links below take you to the students' ETC project websites.

Mocking Birds, Spring 2017
Mocking Birds created an interactive HTML5 web experience dealing with racism. Collaborating with students and administrators from the main campus of Carnegie Mellon University, the students created an interactive video experience, Mind Field, which raises awareness to more subtle forms of racism and their impacts. Players are able to discover different points of view affected by the diverse backgrounds of the university's student body, learning about microaggression and stereotype threat in their explorations. Mind Field is a free online experience targetting undergraduates that takes about 15-20 minutes.
Client Carnegie Mellon University; taught with Ralph Vituccio

ArithMagic, Spring 2017
ArithMagic created a math-based educational iPad app: Robo Repair: Addition and Subtraction. This app focuses on practice of addition and subtraction exercises for kindergarten to second grade students. The various robots in the game are meant to boost confidence and provide motivation. The game is instrumented with digital manipulatives in the form of bolts on numerals to facilitate counting, with regrouping shown as well to scaffold the learning to higher order mechanics of tens/ones manipulations. At project completion date, the app was available for free download: Robo Repair: Addition and Subtraction on App Store (iPad).
Client Pennsylvania Intermediate Unit 1 Educational Campus at East Franklin; taught with Shirley Saldamarco

Fanfare, Spring 2017
Fanfare explored the use of handheld mobile technology in a sports venue that complements the game and enhances the fans' experience in the stadium in innovative ways. After initial explorations the student team settled on baseball, and created three prototype experiences: a between innings "connect the dots" group experience with broad appeal, a prediction game for avid fans and those that like to compete for high scores, and a collection game for more casual fans motivated by a collection mechanic. Multiple playtests informed the iterative development of these three experiences.
Client Verizon; taught with Scott Stevens

Cozplay, Fall 2016
Cozplay worked with Anki to design and develop games for the newly released Cozmo consumer robot. Over the course of the semester, the team experimented with a variety of game concepts in order to hone in on those most suited to this cutting edge robotic companion. At project completion date, 18 experiences were documented in the Cozmo SDK Forum: see results from a Forum search on "cozplay" for more details.
Client Anki; taught with Brenda Harger

OnTrack, Spring 2016
OnTrack worked with representatives of the United States of America Track and Field Foundation (USATFF) to develop Run with US!, an app promoting track and field as well as general fitness. The goal of this project was to create a high-energy, interactive track and field game that enables kids of all ages to compete in various track and field events against/with current Olympic athletes as well as their peers. At project completion date, the app was available for free download: Run with US! on Google Play and Run with US! on App Store (both iPhone and iPad).
Client USATFF; taught with Shirley Yee

True North, Spring 2016
True North created A Fine Line, an interactive experience for students at Carnegie Mellon. It addresses academic integrity, on and beyond campus life. In partnership with students and administrators on main campus, the ETC student developers aimed to create a tool for the university to educate and speak to both the practical and moral implications of academic integrity. Presented in the form of a web-based, illustrated world, the experience gives players the ability to navigate the story, and make impactful decisions within it. It creates an environment where students confront true-to-life scenarios involving academic integrity, and reflect on how they would navigate these challenges in real life.
Client Carnegie Mellon University; taught with Ralph Vituccio

ArchiTek, Spring 2016
ArchiTek produced a story-driven online experience centered on map design exercises to be used in conjunction with a GIS class taught by Prof. Kristen Kurland at Carnegie Mellon University. Prof. Kurland sought an experience more interesting to students than just text questions, but also with remediation to help students to appreciate the finer points of map design and improve their learning of the topic. The experience is available on the project website, and will be tested in future offerings of Prof. Kurland's courses.
Client Kristen Kurland, Carnegie Mellon University

Inksmith, Fall 2015
Inksmith worked on translating pre-reader children's storybooks from paper to touch screen. Rather than keeping to fixed format e-books that simply mimic the static page-flipping ability of paper storybooks, Inksmith implemented seamless transitions over lines of the story, incorporated game elements into various events of the plot, and created sequences of scenes driven entirely by child interaction.
Client Pixure Books Publishing; taught with John Dessler

Lotter-E, Fall 2015
Lotter-e developed an Android game in the Unity Engine, Air Sweeper, incorporating transformational game elements to appeal to a new generation of players. Lotter-e researched what millennials look for in a game and in a social cause, and developed a game experience that could raise money, raise awareness, and encourage players to create changes in their own life.
Client National Association of State and Provincial Lotteries; taught with Drew Davidson

Fear and Freedom, Spring 2015
Fear and Freedom produced the Unity game Jayu (meaning liberty/freedom in Korean). North Koreans are portrayed as victims of propaganda, rather than strong individuals living within the regime. Jayu is about living in a small North Korean town near the border of China. The player experiences the unusual regulations of North Korea, and learns how people confront or circumvent these restrictions. The game portrays North Korean life realistically, excluding the censorship of North Korea and the patronization of foreign media.
Student-pitch project; taught with Brenda Harger

Legato, Spring 2015
Legato was a large student team working with another student team located in Redwood City, CA. They jointly created a connected game experience: handheld device interaction along with common large screen (e.g., television). Legato targeted players who don't fall in the category of "core gamers" through simple mechanics that allow for an easy-to-learn and fun experience for the whole family in a relaxed living room setting. They developed Jelly Pirates in Space.
Client Electronic Arts; taught with Salvador Barrera

Stratos, Spring 2015
Stratos worked toward a mobile app to support health education and socialization of children with asthma. Its audience is children ages 7-11 and their parents or caregivers from diverse cultural and ethnic backgrounds. The app will help such children and parents understand they can live life normally such as attend school regularly, play sports, and socialize. The client is a part of the Allegheny Health Network's STARS /CAReS* projects which aim to determine the prevalence of asthma in this region as well as treat and educate asthmatics.
Client Allegheny Singer Research Institute/Disruptive Health Technology Institute; taught with Shirley Yee

Y.E.T.I., Fall 2014
Y.E.T.I. (Youth Experience Tundra Initiative) created an educational game transporting its players to the arctic tundra. YETI worked with Mountainview Elementary School (Morgantown, WV) to give its students an immersive experience to make them feel as if they are encountering the biome firsthand and familiarize them with the area's ecosystem. The goal is to give players a feeling of discovery, a sense of the types of life inhabiting this unique biome. The game should not only excite the players but also encourage them to explore and find out more about this amazing habitat. The students (via Xuyan Ke) released Arctic Stars: The Far North as a free app in 2014.
Client Mountainview Elementary School (via foundation funding); taught with Jessica Trybus

Bowtie, Spring 2014
Bowtie worked in collaboration with CMU's Personal Robotics Laboratory to help fulfill HERB (Home Exploring Robotic Butler) the robot's dream of becoming an actor. The Bowtie team worked toward an interface that enables his operators to manipulate various parameters of HERB's movement in real time to improvise and fine-tune his dramatic performance. The team created animations illustrating subtle changes in body language.
Client Carnegie Mellon Robotics Institute; taught with Shirley Saldamarco

Imagica, Spring 2014
Imagica aimed to bring in a whole new dimension to classroom learning in creating interactive and immersive experiences for the students of Mountainview Elementary School (Morgantown, WV), supporting collaborative learning about the amazing world biomes. The team created an aquatic experience to introduce the children to the wonders of coral reefs, giving the students a sense of touch and feel, transporting them into the virtual world of aquatic biomes. The students (via Imagica) released Hello Ocean as a free app in 2014.
Client Mountainview Elementary School (via foundation funding); taught with Jessica Trybus

Transcendence, Spring 2014
Transcendence augmented Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT) with the creation of a mobile game that teaches traumatized children about the cognitive triangle of thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, as well as how to replace negative thoughts with positive ones. Traumatic experiences can lead to recurring negative thoughts, feelings, and behaviors in children. Child psychologists in the Allegheny Health Network address this problem through TF-CBT. The team's work led to the release of the app TF-CBT Triangle of Life by Allegheny Health Network in 2014.
Client Allegheny Singer Research Institute/Disruptive Health Technology Institute; taught with Scott Stevens

GameGrid, Fall 2013
GameGrid worked with Creative Labs at Indiana University to promote system thinking design through an educational game for upper elementary and middle school youth. They developed Water+, an educational game helping children gain understanding about how systems work and encouraging creative expressions of colored water in 3D pipes. This game was taken to commercialization and released as an App Store app, Water Bears by Schell Games in 2015.
Client Creative Labs at Indiana University; taught with Salvador Barrera

PlayStation Ignite, Fall 2013
PlayStation Ignite worked with Sony Computer Entertainment to produce five prototypes of innovative new game ideas over the course of the semester. The students had only three weeks to develop each prototype from conception to realization. The goal of this project was to discover new and interesting ways to think about games, be it through character, story, and mechanics, as well as documenting the development process as it relates to rapid game design and implementation.
Client Sony Entertainment Corp. of America; taught with Dave Culyba

CardioActive, Spring 2013
CardioActive produced an exergame, a unique yet fun and rigorous game promoting exercise. This game, Webz of War is deployed in a demonstration center by TATRC, who is researching exercise games that people will actually use and want to keep using.
Client Telemedicine and Advanced Technology Research Center

Impact!, Spring 2013
Impact! was a project working towards inspiring young minds to pursue science and engineering as a career. Initiated by DARPA, this is a multi-year project working in conjunction with many different institutions and organizations. The end product will be a series of multiplatform games for Pre-K to third graders that inspire interest and teach basic concepts in the field of science. This team created the HTML5 game Helios.
Client DARPA ENGAGE; taught with Scott Stevens

neuraltone, Spring 2013
neuraltone worked with Dr. Lori Holt of the Center for Neural Basis of Cognition. Dr. Holt is conducting research about how the brain categorizes complex audio patterns and how that process relates to perceiving linguistic sound categories. A simple video game, developed in-house, can be used to train players to better recognize different sound categories far more effectively than traditional explicit feedback-based training. This project created a new game with which to conduct this training research, a game with greater engagement, while retaining the effect of implicit sound categorization learning that occurred in the original game.
Client Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition

Older ETC projects, which can be looked up to various degrees of success in the ETC website under past projects, that were taught by Mike Christel include:


For further information, contact Mike Christel. This page last modified May 18, 2017.