See What College Students Are Doing With Virtual Reality
Virtual reality is here and everybody is talking about it. If you’ve ever tried on a VR headset or seen a 360-degree video on Facebook or perhaps played a game with the headsets on, you’ve already experienced the rave of virtual reality. The quality of your experience, however, depends on which headset you used.
Virtual reality will take you deep into an alternate reality and virtual environments where you will experience a 3D rendition of games, stories and other experiences. The Oculus Rift created by Facebook is one of the headsets that have made the virtual reality technology more accessible to commercially. Journalists are now using this technology to package some exciting new content.
What the Students Are Doing
College students all over the country are also experimenting with this technology and its applications from clubs to design labs and hackathons. These students come from a variety of schools ranging from the University of South California to the University of Minnesota and Southern Methodist University.
One of the bigger showcases for this technology held in April when the University of Southern California and its Virtual Reality Club (VRSC) hosted its annual festival and demo day. During this event, projects were show cased to panels and they had The Walt Disney Company as the sponsors. Students from all over the country from different schools travelled to the University of California to attend this event. The judges were industry professional from a host of related companies like NVIDIA, Google, Maker Studios, Industrial Light and Magic X’s lab.
Winners from four categories of the competition were all winners of a share of the prize money which was $25,000. The four categories included 360 live action videos, 360 Animation, Gaming and immersive augmented reality. These categories spread across health care, gaming, journalism and interactive design.
The president of VRSC, Lindsay Townley says she was inspired to get involved with the club last year after starting her thesis project on a 3D virtual reality dance film. When she discovered that USC already had resources for those interested in the technology, she joined in and she went on to mentor some 50 USC students who were split into four teams for the festival.
“This is the future,” Townley says of virtual reality. “It’s not oversaturated. It’s new. Everyone who is 55 years old is on the same level as everyone who is 22 years old.”
Students Create “Recall. A VR memory project.
One of the projects from one of the teams was called “Recall” and it is designed to help people memorize information faster by using the technique of association. This project was executed by USC junior Lucas Ferrer and graduate student Jyotsna Kadimi along with student engineers and designers. With this program, users can upload documents to recall and pieces of information from these documents are then spread out all over colorful virtual reality rooms. When the user moves around these rooms and engages with the information, the association and subsequent imprint to memory begins.
“Recall is a virtual reality mind hack where you can learn digital documents better than if you learned them the old fashion way,” Ferrer says.
“VR gives you this ability to do whatever you want because it’s such a new medium,” Kadimi says. “It could be just pure gaming, it could be a research thing, it could be storytelling, or it could be something for training.”
This is just one of the many ways in which the virtual reality technology can be utilized outside of the norms like games and entertainment and the possibilities are almost endless.