The CAVS (Center for Advanced Vehicular Systems) Mixed Reality Studio located in the Mitchell Memorial Library's MaxxSouth Digital Media Center offers patrons an opportunity to learn, play, create and explore in a trendsetting new way.
Funded by a generous donation from CAVS, the mixed reality includes two HTC Vives, three Oculus Rifts and two Hololenses. The Vive and Oculus Rift are virtual reality devices that will completely immerse a person in virtual worlds they access through various software programs. The Hololens is an augmented reality device, meaning a person will see their actual environment combined with virtual aspects created by the software program they use.
In addition to the seven devices, the studio also offers two computer workstations with software programs designed to let patrons create their own virtual reality programs. The development computers provide students with the ability to build their own virtual reality and augmented reality experiences. The computers offer Unity, Visual Studio, and 3D Studio Max which allows students to create VR/AR tools, develop software, and create art assets. With growing interest in VR/AR applications for education, training, real-time assistance, and entertainment, the mixed reality studio makes publicly available the tools and systems students need to build their skills in these areas.
The studio is open to individuals and can also be used by professors to enhance their teaching.
VR Course Integration
The following are examples of faculty currently working with the Media Center to incorporate the use of the technology into their courses.
Taze Fullford, Associate Professor, Landscape Architecture
The Landscape architecture classes created designs using Sketchup, and then used the Microsoft Hololens to view their designs. This allowed students to see their designs as they would look to scale. It also allowed the students to envision what their project would look like if it were actually constructed. The Hololens gives students an idea of what their project will look like without have to spend the time and money needed to build physical models.
Dr. Stephanie Lemley, Associate Professor, Department of Curriculum and Instruction for Special Education
Dr. Lemley had her students be trained on the virtual reality systems and use the Apollo 11 experience in her Integrating Literacy Instruction class. The idea behind having the students experience virtual reality is to get an idea of how it could be used in the classroom. The idea being that students could learn or experience things in new ways. For Example, instead of just reading or watching a movie about the Apollo 11 moon landing, students could virtually experience the landing, and it could possibly lead to higher retention. Dr. Lemley’s class also explored other ideas of how virtual reality could be used in the classroom.
Dr. Kristin Javorsky, Associate Professor, Department of Curriculum and Instruction for Special Education
Dr. Javorsky is having her students go through the Virtual Reality training so that they can get an idea of how VR works. After going through the training, Dr. Javorsky is going to have her students do projects about how virtual reality will be useful for them in the elementary school classrooms.
Dr. John Rodgers, Department Head, Geosciences
Dr. Rodgers has brought visiting groups from the Caribbean to use the Virtual Reality Lab. The idea being that these students have an idea of what Mississippi State has to offer so that they can incorporate similar technologies on their campus. Dr. Rodgers has shown the students Google Earth where they can visit their hometowns, he has also shown them the coral reefs in virtual reality which can be helpful in their research.
Dr. Jenna Altomonte, Assistant Professor, Art
For Dr. Altomonte’s course Altered States, the DMC is training her students using the Oculus Rift training program “First Contact.” After the students are more familiar with the VR environment, they will begin to experiments with art applications like Tilt Brush, Oculus Medium, Oculus Quill and Google Blocks.