Next Media Conference

April 12th, 2019

The Next Media conference is hosted by the University of Miami School of Communication in Coral Gables, Florida.

University of Miami Campus

The Next Media Conference brings together creatives and futurists who are shaping the field of communication. Come and learn firsthand the ways today’s emerging technologies will affect how we communicate tomorrow. The conference has something for everyone, whether you are a designer, developer or enthusiast. Learn how AR, VR, MR, AI, biometric sensors, and spatial computing will impact us and will enter the mainstream essentially changing how we communicate, organize ourselves, and interact with the world.


Featured Speakers

Julieta Aguilera

Julieta Aguilera, Ph.D.

Immersion and scientific visualization

Julieta is an artist, designer and visualizer who focuses on articulating artistic practice within transdisciplinary collaboration. She has taught in academia and worked at design offices, museums and planetariums full time. Her professional experiences inform her research on what being in space is about, both within and beyond the senses, and in particular, on the possible roles of artists in society, where art is embedded in scientific and philosophical explorations.

What can Virtual Reality and Scientific Visualization tell us about understanding climate change? Immersive, sensory-rich media and interactive models of cosmic scale position us in space to explore relationships. And even though space may seem obvious (we live in the world, moving through space in order to sustain ourselves and life around us), the notion of reality is not necessarily the same for different people. In fact, reality itself is mostly in our heads as we navigate space noticing the effects of our actions and building models of the world in three dimensions and over time. These are spatial and temporal models, not too different from the models that astrophysicists build to understand the Universe we are immersed in at grander scales. The sensory understanding of the world, both experiential and mediated, is a form of literacy that is now required in order to personally and collectively understand and act on the consequences of human influence on the planet: climate change.

Sarah Hill

Sarah Hill

The future of meditation with biometrically controlled VR, AR, and MR.

Sarah Hill is the CEO of StoryUP XR and an interactive media tech professional with 25 years building successful platforms. Her company, StoryUP, makes “Healium”, the world’s first mobile VR/AR product controlled by a brain-computer interface. Hill is a former interactive TV news anchor/Journalist for the NBC, ABC, & CBS affiliates in Missouri. A national Edward R. Murrow, NAB Service to America, National Sigma Delta Chi, and 12 time mid-America Emmy award-winning storyteller, she spent decades reporting about the world’s negativity and trauma in 5 continents. She started working with AR filters during live TV newscasts in 2011. Hill creates with a variety of XR inputs including BCI, heart rate variability, and respiration trackers. She’s passionate about the transition of storytelling to ‘story living’ and XR’s effect on wellbeing. An alum of the Missouri School of Journalism and former adjunct faculty, her reporting has taken her team around the globe capturing stories about the human spirit in the Amazon, UAE, Congo, Guatemala, Zambia, and China. StoryUP’s roots are in virtual travel for Veterans. In 2015, Hill’s team built a program called “Honor Everywhere”, that uses Virtual Reality to allow aging Veterans the opportunity to see their WWII, Vietnam, Korea, & Women’s Memorials. A professional prankster, don't eat her powdered donuts.

Consumers aren't just watching media, they're feeling it. In this session, you'll peer around the corner at the future of interactive media with a look at how brain-computer interfaces and wearables are providing unique inputs for virtual, augmented, and mixed realities. Discover how XR therapies controlled by brain patterns and heart rate could one day replace or enhance the effectiveness of certain pharmaceuticals.

Mike Pell

Mike Pell

The Age of Smart Information

Bold, insightful, and uncompromising, M. Pell is recognized as a thought leader in the fields of Holographic Envisioning and Smart Information. Pell’s book “Envisioning Holograms” is considered a must-have for tomorrow’s most influential storytellers and explorers.

M. Pell currently leads Design for The Microsoft Garage, the company’s outlet for experimental projects and curiosity-fueled explorations worldwide. As a lifelong Designer/Coder, he has consistently been on the leading edge of design and innovation over his thirty-years in high-technology. Career highlights include creating the original Adobe Acrobat and PDF, working with Pixar to pioneer 3D type generation with RenderMan, developing a rapid design methodology called Fast Design, and being the inventor on over a dozen U.S. Patents.

Pell’s evolution from intrepid entrepreneur, to VC-backed startup veteran, to corporate man for Adobe and Microsoft has given him a unique perspective on how to combine business, experience, and technology to create breakthrough experiences. More at

By combining Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Augmented Reality (AR), we are fundamentally transforming the very nature of information, and the myriad ways we communicate with each other about anything, and everything. Deceptively powerful and stunningly beautiful, this monumental leap forward in conveying information effectively has always been right there in front of us, waiting to be unlocked, hiding in plain sight. All it took was the convergence of human ingenuity, artificial intelligence, and the rise of a medium capable of magic. Join this session to learn more about how we are all helping to launch The Age of Smart Information.

Johanna Pirker

Johanna Pirker

The Future of Learning - A world without distractions

Dr. Johanna Pirker is a computer scientist focusing on game development, research, and education and an active and strong voice of the local indie dev community. She has lengthy experience in designing, developing, and evaluating games and VR experiences and believes in them as tools to support learning, collaboration, and solving real problems. Johanna has started in the industry as QA tester at EA and still consults studios in the field of games user research. In 2011/12 she started researching and developing VR experiences at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. At the moment she teaches game development at TU Graz and researches games with a focus on AI, HCI, data analysis, and VR technologies. Johanna was listed on the Forbes 30 Under 30 list of science professionals.

In this talk, Johanna Pirker talks about the power of virtual reality technologies to support learners, especially in the digital age full of distractions. She reviews decades of research to explore different VR learning applications and shares new concepts of learning using the example of the award-winning environment “Maroon” to explore how VR can and should be used to support learners.

James Powderly

James Powderly

Second-best Practices for Spatial Computing

James Powderly is a designer and an engineer who has made empowering tools and innovative experiences on two planets and across an improbable set of domains, including: space robots, graffiti, medical equipment, architecture, DIY, fashion tech, viral media and augmented reality.

After graduating from NYU’s ITP in 2002, James worked at Honeybee Robotics building and operating the Mars Exploration Rovers’ science instruments on the red planet. He was an inaugural research fellow in the Eyebeam OpenLab, where he co-founded the Graffiti Research Lab and created DIY projects like LED Throwies and Laser Tag. James was awarded the Golden Nica and the Interactive Design of the Year from Design Museum, London in 2010 for the Eye Writer project and was featured in the Golden Lion winning Korean-Pavilion at the 2014 Venice Architecture Biennale. His artwork is currently featured in, Broken Nature: the XXII Triennale Milano 2019.

In 2012, James began working on XR wearables and fashion tech at Samsung HQ in Seoul. For the past four years, James has worked at Magic Leap leading user interaction and experience design for the Magic Leap One, the Lumin Operating System and a suite of core apps, like the Helio browser and Avatar Chat.
Twitter: @jamespowderly

“You can’t always get what you want. But if you try sometimes well you just might find you’ll get what [users] need” ~ M. Jagger

James Powderly, Director of User Interaction and User Experience at spatial computing startup Magic Leap, will careen through his vision, a set of tested design practices, a mixed-bag of bias and the healthy doses of miscalculation that shaped the Magic Leap One device - and the state-of-the-art for 3D user interaction and interface design in XR today.



  • 10:00 - Mike Pell
  • 10:50 - Julieta Aguilera
  • 11:40 James Powderly
  • 12:30 Lunch
  • 1:30 Johanna Pirker
  • 2:20 Sarah Hill


Cosford Cinema
5030 Brunson Dr.
Memorial Building Room 227
Coral Gables, FL 33124-2105


Parking is available at the Paiva Parking Garage at the University of Miami:

5615 Pavia St,Coral Gables,FL, 33146


Miami International Aiport (MIA) is 25 minutes from the conference, and Fort Lauderdale International Airport (FLL) is 55 minutes by car.


Parking is available on the University of Miami's campus. Visitors can use the Pay by Phone app.

Public Transport

The conference is a 10 Minute walk from the University Station stop .