UMD Tech Incubator

The Incubator is a machine learning innovation hub at the center of the University of Maryland campus. It will be home to a handful of Capital One associates and 20-30 student interns per semester to work on C1 business initiatives and drive research innovation. In collaboration with Capital One’s Center for Machine Learning and Workplace Solutions, PXD designed the look and feel of the space, as well as a feature wall - the main visual element in the space merging data visualization and physical design.

 
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Design Approach

We started from the perspective of the people working in the space. We identified key values and the tone and vibe to give the space an identity. As a result, we delivered impressive features in the space while meeting practical use requirements as a flex space for project work, speaker presentations, and workshops.

 
 
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KEY VALUES - HOW IT SHOULD FEEL

  • Collaborative - This a space designed specifically for coworking

  • Tech Forward- Shifting the perspective of C1 from stuffy bank to tech company

  • Flexible- As an adaptable open workspace the mobile furniture can be reconfigured to meet project needs, presentations, workshops, etc.

 

TONE / VIBE- DESIGN PILLARS TO LADDER UP TO

  • Ownership - We wanted to create a space where the interns and associates that work in the incubator feel like it belongs to them. People are happier to spend more time in a place that is theirs.

  • Celebrate - The work being done in the incubator and the people that are doing it are important to Capital One, customers, and associates. The goal of this space is to elevate the people and their work, creating a stage or platform to share and celebrate that.

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OTHER DESIGN ELEMENTS

  • The muted grayscale colors of the incubator allow the space to be a backdrop for the students and associates to add their own add color and character.

  • Our accent color: Magenta was selected because it is an “artificial” color. It does not exist within the spectrum of light, but rather as a construct of how our brains perceive a combination of red and blue light. This plays into the Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning focus of the incubator.

 
 

Feature Wall

To further the space’s emphasis on machine learning as well as the theme of ownership, PXD concepted and fabricated a feature wall. This feature wall includes content that we developed in partnership with the Data Visualization team and current UMD students. The content is intended to be updated by the residents of the space.

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Tech Incubator Logo by Scott Jemielity,  Animation by Matthew Wilson
We designed the logo inspired by a mix of circuit board design and neural nodes. The animation evokes the movement of current through circuits alluding to electrical and neural circuits, illuminating the Tech Incubator literally and figuratively.

Game of Life: Redux by Cheng Xu and Janak Dadhaniya
The visualization is a stylized version of Conway’s Game of Life. The Game of Life is an example of a cellular automata which has been theorized as a way to solve for artificial intelligence. The tiled structure of this visualization was inspired by the UMD Tech Incubator logo.

 

Transactions Visualization by Erin Michet with support from Chris Hoffman, Alana Washington, Cheng Xu, Scott Ackerman, Matthew Wilson
This visualization was created with data from a single month of anonymized credit card transactions, and simulates a single multi-year cardholder account’s lifespan.

Particle Visualization by Erin Michet and Cheng Xu
This was created to be an ambient visualization, subtle and abstract to not distract the people working in the space. It is intended as an inspiration/experiential and show a variety of visualization techniques in contrast with other visualizations on the feature wall.

 

Additional ANIMATIONS: WHERE THE BUFFALO ROAM / WTBR.TV