Sponsored Research Collaboration
Dec 2018


In December of 2018, the University of Southern California’s MEML (Mobile and Environmental Media Lab) collaborated with its industry partners to launch EMOVAC, the Emotion Modeling Operational Variable Automatic Computer.
Utilizing Warner Bros. and DC Comics’ Batman property, along with Intel’s networking and computing power, and AT&T and Ericsson’s 5G wireless data technology, MEML created an immersive mixed reality experience on the USC campus, set in the world of Batman. Over the course of four days, students and community members entered EMOVAC, hidden in an unused storefront at the USC University Village, and encountered their greatest fears.
MEML and its collaborators worked to consider how emerging 5G technology and VR/AR technologies could be integrated to create visceral, compelling experiences in worlds we always wished we could inhabit. From early conversations, an ambitious plan was put in motion that would combine the construction of physical sets, live performers, original sound design, professional voice actors, 3D modeling, motion capture animation, a VR/AR headset, and a 5G network.

Project Team: 

The MEML team responsible for EMOVAC consisted of faculty, graduate students, and undergraduate students from across disciplines but with a shared interest in emergent technology, mixed reality, and storytelling.

  • Prof. Scott Fisher - Project Producer/Director
  • Prof. Maureen McHugh - Narrative Designer, Social Media
  • Ben Nicholson - Project Manager, Audio Designer, Website
  • Todd Furmanski - Lead Software Engineer
  • Fidelia Lam - Audio Designer, Set Designer
  • Prof. Perry Hoberman - Art Director
  • Elizabeth Bolas - Production Designer
  • Kristina Wong - Set Design & Construction
  • Denver Kotian - Set Design & Construction
  • Dave Warhol - Software Engineer (Realtime Associates)
  • Eugen Condur - Software Engineer (Realtime Associates)
  • Daniel Batista - Animation & MOCAP
  • Mario Sotelo-Herrera - Animation & MOCAP
  • Ralston Louie - Software Engineer


  • Alex Bankier - MOCAP Performance
  • Lisa Müller-Trede - MOCAP Performance
  • Dino Andrade  - Voice of Scarecrow
  • Lex L.  -   Voice of Batman
  • Meredith Agran - Installation Actor
  •  Andreas Kratky - Installation Actor
  • Wilhelm Sitz - Installation Actor

Project Advisors:

  • Flint Dille
  • John Brennan
  • Jarrell Pair (AT&T)
  • Chris Wood (AT&T)
  • Pam Allison (Warner Bros)
  • Ames Kirshen (DC Entertainment)
  • Randy Ma (DC Entertainment)
  • Emmett Long (Ericsson)

Intel Program Officers:

  • Ken Anderson
  • Maria Benzaitis

Special Thanks to:

  • Brian Wilson (USC Real-Estate)
  • Annie Hessen (USC Real-Estate)
  • Prof. Bruce Block  (USC Cinema)
  • Claudia Gonzalez  (USC Cinema)
  • Brenda Williamson (USC Cinema)