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Photos: Cisco goes to university

Cisco Systems is searching for broadband's killer content and throwing cash at university students to find it.
By Bill Detwiler, Contributor on
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Dan Scheinman

Dan Scheinman, senior vice president of Corporate Development for Cisco Systems, believes that new innovations in broadband content will come from university campuses rather than corporate boardrooms. That's why Cisco is partnering with MTVU, MTV's broadband channel geared toward university students, to create a grant program that will dish out $250,000 a year to students experimenting with new and innovative applications for broadband users.

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NYU grad students

Graduate students from New York University's Interactive Telecommunications Program are creating a mobile game called Snagu. Using camera phones, players go on a scavenger hunt where the game provides the "tag" via a text message and players scramble to find the image. The pictures are then uploaded to a community site where people vote on the best shots and the players are rewarded with points. Snagu will go into testing this summer and is planned to launch in September.

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Brown University undergraduate students

Undergraduate students from Brown University are creating a comic book/rock opera set in a postapocalyptic world. An animated rock group called Tower 8 guides viewers on the journey. The Tower 8 Web site employs fully animated music-videos, flash animation, character blogs and photos, creating a virtual reality for the band to exist. From left to right: Gavin Brown, music composer and producer; Michael Ashton, animator and visual effects developer; Danny Cannizzaro, animator; and Sadie Barchini, singer.

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UCLA grad student David Harris

David Harris, a graduate student at UCLA's film school, is developing an interactive Web site called "How do I say this?"--a cross between an Ann Landers advice column and improvisational comedy. The site allows students to post dilemmas involving friends or family members where they seek advice from an online community. The advice accumulates, is voted on, and helps shape a personalized video acted out by puppets, animated characters or costumed actors. The user can then send the video anonymously to a friend and the friend can respond. Other users will be able to stream the video from MTVU's Web site or download it as a podcast. Harris is using the $25,000 grant to create the first four episodes.

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