Exploring Virtual Reality

The Operations and Inform14632561_10207418788043762_504026393_oation Management (OPIM) Department kicked off the first in a series of technology workshops that they will be holding throughout the semester. The first workshop was held on Friday October 14th, showcasing the department’s virtual reality (VR) technologies.

Earlier in the semester at the MIS Welcome Party, students and faculty were given a brief look at virtual reality and other technologies available in the OPIM Department. Each workshop will go into more depth regarding each piece of technology.

This workshop was designed for those who may be new to VR or experienced users who would like to learn more about the resources available to them in the OPIM Department. Professor Jon Moore said he wants to promote interest in these new technologies and to provide a way for those interested to learn more about them.

The department capped the workshop at 20 participants due to limited space in the Gladstein Lab, where the VR equipment is located. All of the spots were quickly filled via online registration prior to the workshop. Professor Moore was happy to see how enthusiastic people were to participate. Students in attendance said that they signed up for the workshop to learn more about the different VR systems, how they were developed, and what they are being used for.

The workshop featured three different kinds of VR systems, including Google Cardboard, Gear VR and the HTC Vive, a fully immersive system. The HTC Vive was the main attraction, w14689296_10207418781563600_590417507_oith students lined up to try it out. The Vive featured a variety of experiences, for both entertainment and education.

One of the educationally focused games allowed users to virtually enter and interact with the human body. It taught users about the different parts of the body as they navigated through, interacting with different parts of the cell, DNA, proteins and more. Professor Moore said that one feature allowed users to see what diseases and infections look like on the inside, providing a more realistic learning experience.

One student, Sarah Burdick said that it was cool to visually see and interact with what she had learned in science classes. She said it made science seem much more interesting to learn.

The VR technology in the OPIM department is being used for recreation and experimental learning, Professor Moore said. Moore teaches a class at UConn called Gamification in Business, in which he hopes to utilize VR technology. He said that the department hopes to incorporate these technologies further into the curriculum in the near future. The department is actively looking into how businesses are using virtual reality technologies in order to prepare students to use these types of technologies in real-world situations.

The next workshop will be an introduction to 3D Printing on Friday, October 28th. Interested individuals can sign up here to reserve a spot.