Fascinating Informatics: Augmented Reality

Swiss Youth in Science at PwC's Experience Center

Stay updated on the augmented reality research project our ambitious students are running together with the digital experts at PwC's Experience Center. 

Dylan Gonzalez

Tutor for the study week, Experience Center, PwC Switzerland


Monday, 17 September

Look back

A while back, when a bunch of enterprising young students applied to take part in the Fascinating Informatics study week, chances are they didn’t really know what to expect. Sure, they got to specify their preferred location, but that was about it. No wonder they were a bit cautious and nervous when they arrived at PwC’s Experience Center in Zurich early on Monday, 10 September. What would their task be? Would they be up to it? Would they master the challenge of planning and delivering an ambitious project under huge time pressure?

You bet they did! You only have to watch the reactions of the student’s mentors in the video to see just how delighted they were with the team’s performance over the week. Anyone who attended the finishing event on Saturday, where all 25 participants presented their projects, could also see what a magnificent effort everyone had put in – and how much they’d learned and developed, both technically and personally, over a short but incredibly intense week. 

Given the job of creating an augmented reality app to enable staff at a logistics centre to view the contents of unopened boxes, the team of four students at the Experience Centre soon got over their shyness. After an introduction to their new workplace, they got right down to the creative task of designing, building and then finally testing the app. Nervousness soon gave way to curiosity and the sheer fun of working with other like-minded people. In the process they got to know some exciting new tools and processes for digital creation, and invaluable experience working in a team to create a working solution under major pressure. 

So the takeaway? A thoroughly enjoyable and rewarding experience, both for the students and their mentors at PwC’s Experience Center. When given the freedom to create their own solution they more than rose to the occasion and proved that talent, dedication and communication – and a bit of expert guidance − can make incredibly exciting things happen.

Take a look back throughout the past week and see what the students were up to each day and how they progressed!

Friday, 14 September

Posters, PowerPoint, and PIZZA!

It’s the last day before the final event. We took care of some last-minute changes to the project, including the interface and fixing some bugs. The students can be really proud of themselves and what they've accomplished so far: they've created even more than was expected of them.

We also completed the poster today. It’s really beautifully designed by the students to explain more with pictures than with words, and you can clearly see the statement of the problem and the solution.

Swiss Youth in Science at PwC final round

In the afternoon all 25 students taking part in the study week gathered at the Experience Center. Before getting down to work on their presentations, everyone was welcomed with goody bags from PwC Switzerland.

Swiss Youth in Science at PwC final round
Swiss Youth in Science at PwC final round
Swiss Youth in Science at PwC final round

The work part of the day finished with the students preparing and rehearsing their talks for tomorrow, including a PowerPoint presentation. We’re all looking forward to the final event and the opportunity to show people what we developed. But first we have a very important item of business to take care of: on Friday night everyone’s off to eat pizza to celebrate a successful study week!

Curious about what the students achieved? Then please join us tomorrow for the closing event, from 9.30am to 12 noon at PwC’s Experience Center at Rieterstrasse 6 in Zurich.

Swiss Youth in Science at PwC final round
Swiss Youth in Science: work hard, play hard
Thursday, 13 September

It's the final countdown

Since today was the last day of implementation, our students hurried to finish their project and made the final changes.

We continued to work on the blueprints for the warehouse. We’ve finished the blueprint for demonstrating the app, and we’ve already started creating posters for the final event next Saturday. All in all the students are excited at the prospect of presenting what they’ve made and seeing what the others have come up with.

The project has been a good opportunity to experience the development and creation process, and the students have learned some important lessons about what it means to work in a team.

Here’s the problem we were setting out to solve in the first place:
a logistics centre stores various items on behalf of its customers. These items are packed and then recorded with an image.

Since the staff at the logistic centre have to search for items manually, it would be a great help for them to be able to use augmented reality to look at the contents of a package.

See what Varvara's experience has been so far and her thoughts for the closing day that is coming up on Saturday.

Swiss Youth in Science at PwC do research
Swiss Youth in Science at PwC do research
Swiss Youth in Science at PwC do research
Swiss Youth in Science at PwC do research
Wednesday, 12 September

Two steps forward, one step back: but still on track

With so much happening it’s important for our students to reflect on what they’ve learned so far in the project. So we started the day off with a discussion of what we’d accomplished yesterday and what we were going to try and achieve today.

After that we mainly worked on developing the augmented (AR) application further. It got more challenging than we thought because unexpected code problems occurred. In the end we were able to resolve most of the issues and start the final stage of development, involving creating a space to test the AR web app.

You might be wondering what Fabrice is doing on the floor. He’s actually marking out a blueprint for the warehouse where the AR app will be used.

More from the Experience Center tomorrow.

Swiss Youth in Science at PwC do research
Swiss Youth in Science at PwC experiment
Swiss Youth in Science at PwC hack their way through
Tuesday, 11 September

Spaghetti Tower

Today we kicked off with a quick warm-up game called 'Spaghetti Tower' to boost our brains and dexterity. The goal was to use a limited amount of raw spaghetti and marshmallows to create a bigger tower than the opposing team. After an unlucky first try for both teams, they ultimately managed to build two stable towers at their second attempt.

This small experiment helped us learn how to make positive use of our mistakes and experience and work closely together as a team. Based on this achievement we were able to start strong into our AR project.

After a lively morning session in which we discussed project planning, the five of us began with the installation of the AR app we’re using for our project. We’re excited and looking forward to the upcoming development phase.

Curious how the students got on in their first two days? Check out this recap video to get some impressions of their activities and hear from Leonie - one of the four participants!

Swiss Youth in Science at PwC
Monday, 10 September, Summary of the first day

First exciting day is over already.

As we described in this morning’s entry, most of the day was taken up with an introduction to the week ahead.

I explained what we do in our Experience Centers and what the goal is for PwC in general. The students were also introduced to the eight emerging new technologies we work with. We looked at their benefits and the challenges they involve, and presented them to each other.

We finished the day by installing the programs we’ll be using during the week, and with a brief introduction to the things we’ll be developing with the students in the next few days.

Fabrice, one of our four students talked about his first day’s impression. Watch the video below to find out more about it.

Monday, 10 September, Kick-off

Today’s the big day: the Fascinating Informatics study week kicks off. 

Our head of marketing and communications Jan-Hendrik Völker Albert is here to welcome our four students to the Experience Center.

There’s a lot to get through this week! So after a tour of the Experience Center, an introduction to the theme of emerging technologies and the technologies used in the study week, it’s straight down to work.

Today the students will tackle the first implementation block: basic project set-up and development, and setting up the web server.

Sunday, 09 September

Looking forward

PwC’s Experience Center gladly awaits our four ambitious student’s that take part at our Study Week «Fascinating Informatics» in collaboration with Swiss Youth in Science. Looking forward diving into the world of Augmented Reality tomorrow.

Experience Center
PwC's Exprience Center and its coffee place
PwC's Exprience Center with its nice desks



Collaboration with Swiss Youth in Science

The SJF (Swiss Youth in Science) foundation is dedicated to promoting talented young people and the vital attributes that drive innovation in Switzerland: curiosity, creativity and problem-solving. Every year it holds a national competition to select and promote around 100 young talented people. Young people doing outstanding work also have the chance to win a special prize sponsored by PwC Switzerland, which this year takes the form of participation in PwC Switzerland’s breakout session at the SEF (Swiss Economic Forum).

In September we join forces with the SJF to host the fascinating informatics 2018 study week. Under the guidance of experts from PwC Switzerland, participants will spend six days at PwC's Experience Center engaging with eight emerging technologies and learning how to translate some of them into customer-centric solutions.


Contact us

Bettina Schmid
Corporate Responsibility, PwC Switzerland
Tel: +41 58 792 1909