The Fall 2017 Faculty / Staff Learning Community on virtual and augment reality kicked off with its first meeting on Monday, September 11. Thirteen faculty and staff attended from a variety of departments across campus including: computer science, environmental studies, art, management, engineering, the MakerE, Office of Sponsored Projects, and the Center for Sustainability and the Environment.
The meeting began with introductions and a discussion of what people would like to see from a VR/AR system, especially in education. Key questions were raised about:
- The appropriate workflow for teaching VR technologies to students. How should we approach teaching students to use VR given the complexity of current VR development tools?
- How can VR or AR be used in conservation to help preserve endangered spaces, or document spaces that are disappearing?
- 3d models already exist for some areas but we need to know how to transfer those models into VR programs so they can be explored by researchers and students.
- Medicine is one of the fields that is aggressively adopting VR technologies to facilitate the training of health care professionals. How can Bucknell build on existing relationships with Geisinger to help out or learn from these developments?
- Can VR/AR technology be used for visualizing data about climate change or earth history? Have any applications already been developed for this topic?
- Can physical models, in fields such as geology, be replaced or supplemented by VR/AR content?
- How can VR/AR be used for simulation in fields such as business or management?
- How do we create, or find, engaging VR/AR content?
We also discussed the VR/AR equipment that Bucknell has purchased for faculty, staff, and student use. We currently have the following equipment on campus:
- Oculus Rift, installed in the MakerE in Dana Engineering.
- HTC Vive, installed in the Digital Scholarship Center in Bertrand Library.
- Microsoft Hololens.
- Richo Theta 360 camera
- Samsung Gear360 camera
Other topics mentioned were reaching out to alumni who may be interested in VR/AR technologies, reaching out to other stakeholders in the community, as well as speakers whom we may try to contact for more information and presentations to the group.
Future meetings will take place on Mondays at 4 p.m. in the DSC and at other times as scheduled.