On Thursday, November 21st, OPIM Innovate hosted a rotational virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) workshop for UConn’s Management and Engineering for Manufacturing program (MEM). Here, students from Professor Mousumi Roy’s MEM3221 class were tasked with brainstorming ways in which either VR or AR can be integrated into the manufacturing process.
In order for OPIM Innovate to accommodate all participating MEM students, the same workshop was given three different times throughout mid-November. Stations were set up around the Innovate Lab to accommodate several people at once, featuring devices such as the Google Cardboard headset and the Oculus Go. The most popular of all virtual reality devices was the HTC Vive. This wired headset allowed students to participate in Valve’s The Lab, an immersive experience with various minigames showcasing the potential of VR.
After participating in all stations, students became more comfortable with VR and AR technology. This led to the insurgence of ideas for MEM applications and an enthusiasm for innovation. Daniel Castillo (MEM ‘19), for example, informed me that VR would be a great way to start training incoming manufacturing personnel. “It can teach us how to program and utilize on-site machinery,” he said. “Since we don’t all have access to these machines in schools, VR is a great alternative.”
Two other students, Nick Porebski (MEM ‘20) and Ben Zekowski (MEM ‘20), informed me of their ideas for VR applications in computer-aided design (CAD). “Students could view and interact with a draft of their design in real-time,” Nick said. “And, since you don’t have to print the material,” Ben added, “it could save on time and cut costs.”
We thank the MEM department for their interest in the OPIM Innovate initiative and to all the students who participated in this event! For any innovation inquiries, please feel free to consult the Lab, again!