SCI alumna Maria Harrington has recently created technological tools to help people explore nature through virtual and augmented reality. Her virtual reality game, called Virtual UCF Arboretum, provides users with an opportunity to explore the University of Central Florida’s arboretum, which contains 274 acres of natural habitat. She has also created an augmented reality tool called AR Perpetual Garden App, which allows users to transform any space into an Appalachian flora garden through a smart phone or tablet. These tools are helpful in supplementing science lessons for teachers and to provide stress relief to people who are isolating because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Harrington received a PhD in Information Science from SCI in 2008. She is currently an assistant professor of digital media in the University of Central Florida’s Nicholson School of Communication and Media in the College of Sciences. Her research interests include development of digital media knowledge artifacts from human-computer interaction, user-centered design, and data-visualization perspectives.