The Operations and Information Management (OPIM) Department welcomed MIS students for the semester with a party on Friday, September 23rd. The welcome party gave MIS students and those interested in the major the opportunity to meet each other, while enjoying ice cream sundaes and learning about the department’s new technology.
Multiple stations were set up for different virtual reality experiences including Google Cardboard, Gear VR, and the HTC Vive. Other stations included a 3D printing demonstration and an Internet of Things display.
Representatives from the Information Management Association (IMA) were at each station to give students more information on the different pieces of technology.
The OPIM department brought in the new technology for experimental purposes, getting students acquainted with the technology aspect of MIS, and just for fun, said Tyler, a student volunteer in the MIS department.
Many students migrated toward the various virtual reality systems. For most students, this was the first time they had ever used virtual reality technology and they were fascinated by how it worked.
As part of the Internet of Things display, The Amazon Echo, named Alexa, was programmed to operate other devices in the room including light bulbs and air monitors. Alexa took commands and answered questions from students, such as playing a specific song or identifying the weather forecast.
Items created by the 3D printer were on display, while the printer was actively creating new pieces. Students were able to see the process and the end results.
There were three different types of virtual reality devices. The most complex system is the HTC Vive, which is a fully immersive experience. Tyler said that it feels like you are physically in the game versus just seeing it. He said that the Google Cardboard VR and the Gear VR operate by following the user’s head and eye movements, while the HTC system operates by all of the user’s physical movements.
Alex Martinez, a junior MIS student said that he has been interested in virtual reality for the past few years but never actually used the technology before the meeting.
One MIS student in attendance said that she is not super technological but she likes to learn about it. She said she wants to understand how it works to bridge the gap between business and technology. She said it was interesting to figure out how the different systems worked.
The event was a great success with over 60 students and faculty in attendance. The department will be holding workshops on the different technologies throughout the semester. The first workshop will be on Friday, October 14th, with a focus on virtual reality.