For Nicholas Oxford, creativity on a class project has led him to a job as a software engineer at Peloton, the high-tech exercise equipment company.
“I cannot believe how lucky I am,” said Oxford, who receives a Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies in media entrepreneurship this week
During an internship with the company in 2019, Oxford used the Creative Media Industries Institute (CMII) volumetric stage, which converts real life objects into 3D images, to create an augmented reality experience using a Peloton stationary bike.
“Historically, this was done by someone making a 3D model of a person, and then animating it by motion capture,” Oxford said. “Think black suit with white ping pong balls. Now with volumetric, you can capture a real-life person and put them into any 3D scene. This makes for much more realistic and life-like virtual reality and augmented reality experiences.
“After one class I knew instantly of the value of volumetric, and how much of a niche field it was.”
With the help of James Martin, a professor of practice at CMII, Oxford was able to capture the motion of a model on a bike, then display the image on a Peloton logo using a smart phone. The project helped display his ability to use various coding programs and augmented reality software and caught the attention of Peloton employers, he said.
The experience helped him realize he had a talent for coding, and he set aside his previous goal of becoming an investment banker.
“CMII is one of my favorite places in the world,” Oxford said. “For me, it’s the combination of unique and cutting-edge physical hardware and the culture of ‘Try anything your imagination can come up with’ that has made it such a special place for me.”
For Oxford, the journey to graduation wasn’t easy. During his college years, he battled mental health issues, moved from Boston to Atlanta and had to cope with his step-father’s suicide.
“College, for me, has been a time of great struggles and achievements,” Oxford said. “I have learned more from my biggest failures then my biggest successes.”
Oxford first attended Babson College in Boston, more than 1,000 miles from home. He struggled adjusting to the cold climate and the school and eventually dropped out to start his own business. Later, his investors voted him out, essentially firing him from his own business and forcing him to move back to Atlanta.
“I was basically without any direction and I felt great pain from the firing. Looking back, it was the best thing that could have ever happened to me.”
After a few months, Oxford knew he had to go back to school. Georgia State was the only university he applied to.
“From the energy of my classmates, to the experience of going to school in downtown Atlanta, I loved it from the get go. I have had an absolutely crazy path to Georgia State, but I wouldn’t change a thing,” Oxford said.
Oxford said he’s thrilled to begin the next chapter of his life at Peloton.
“There is no other job I would rather have, and I love what I do,” Oxford said.
— Story by Horace Holloman. Video by Melanie Fan. Photo courtesy of Nicholas Oxford.