Virtuhoma hosted to bring VR/AR into the classroom

VR/AR from Flickr

Mobile headsets like the one pictured above are used to immerse users in virtual and augmented reality. 

Many researchers from different fields gathered in Jorns Hall on Friday to discuss the future of virtual and augmented reality and how it can help with research.

This past January, Virtual and Augmented Reality Coalition of Oklahoma organized a VR/AR Hackathon where multidisciplinary teams competed to solve a given problem. VARCO collected the data and presented their work in research conferences.

This symposium called Virtuhoma was used as an outlet for discussing their findings from the data collected during Hackathon and brings together other researchers working in areas of VR/AR in Oklahoma.

Tilanka Chandrasekera, the primary collaborator for the Mixed Reality Lab, said this event should hopefully build a better bridge between technology and education.

“This symposium will be used to bring a very intellectual group together to talk about VR and AR,” Chandrasekera said. “These speakers will talk about how VR is not only affecting education but the entire world.”

There to talk about the future of VR/AR and how it will affect businesses and universities was Vinay Narayan, Vice President of Product and Operations of HTC Vive.

Narayan talked about how he made HTC’s VR program more popular and how VR/AR can improve research and education.

“AR and VR is a natural way to process information,” Narayan said. “For example, with AR with the proper AI program we can see where people enter stores and which aisle is the most popular and where people decided they have enough and walk out.”

Many professors came to the event to see how VR/AR can change their teaching tactics. For Elizabeth Pober, Director of the Division Interior Design and Associate Professor at the University of Oklahoma, talked about how VR changed her students’ life.

“Implementing VR to my classes was a game changer,” Pober said. “First students were designing things on a 2D sheet of paper and making mistakes because they couldn’t see if their designs were the right size, but with VR students can see a real scale of their designs to see just how off their measurements was.”

Greg Clare, a design associate professor, is excited to see what VR can do on the merchandising side of things.

“I can’t wait to see how VR affects online shopping,” Clare said. “One there will be more jobs because of the people programming it. And consumers can online shop just by putting on a VR headset and shop like they would regularly would in a real store.”

Chandrasekera said that technology is the future and that it is important humanity utilize the full potential of technology.

“Everything in the future will use VR and AR to some extent,” Chandrasekera said. “It’s important to understand what these technologies are capable of doing or at least know what they are.”