Dozens of Young Digital Innovators Show Off Their Work at Emoti-Con!, hosted by Parsons

Best Pitch and Crowd Favorite- The Dining Band, a location- and temperature-sensitive wrist band to assist the blind or visually impaired with eating; designed and developed by high schoolers Zainab Oni, Jose Parra, Omar Abreu, Omar Nasr, Winston La, Youssef Saab, and Edvinas Pavliukoit through their work with MOUSE. Photo courtesy of MOUSE Squad.

On Saturday, June 2, one hundred tweens, teens and educators from across New York gathered at Parsons The New School for Design for the 4th Annual Emoti-Con! digital media and technology festival. They were there to share ideas, to talk to each other, but most of all, to show off their truly astounding digital creations.

Among the participant were representatives from Parsons Scholars, a scholarship initiative designed to offer Parsons’ multi-year college preparatory program to New York City high school students from underserved neighborhoods. The Parsons Scholars team presented on their interdisciplinary work with Beyond Bullets, a New York City nonprofit organization that visits schools throughout the five boroughs, facilitating discussions and educating students about gun violence.

The 2012 Emoti-con winning projects included: The Dining Band, a location- and temperature-sensitive wrist band designed to assist the visually impaired with eating (winner of both Best Pitch and Crowd Favorite); the T.A.P. project, a series of assistive technology inventions that offer easy solutions to everyday tasks involving fine motor skills (Most Innovative); and a multimedia documentary about New York City’s controversial “stop and frisk” program (Most Potential for Social Change).

Judges this year included Parsons alumnus Mark Edwards (software engineer at The Huffington Post, former systems designer at The American Museum of Natural History), Naveen Selvadurai (co-Founder of Foursquare), and Jeffrey Yohalem (lead writer for the award-winning video game, Assassins Creed: Brotherhood).

Emoti-con was planned and lead by a group of youth. They had a little help, however, from groups like GlobalKids, Inc., MOUSENew York Public Library and Parsons The New School for Design.  Other organizations that participated in the event include Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum with DreamYard, Girls Write Now, Institute of Play and WNYC Radio Rookies. All organizations are members of Hive Learning Network NYC, a network of 39 non-profit organizations —museums, libraries, media and more— dedicated to creating new digital learning opportunities for youth.