Virginia Commonwealth University, or VCU for short, is the latest educational facility to install a Virtual Reality lab on their premises. This lab is known as the MHRG VR Lab (Modern Heuristics Research Group Virtual Reality Lab), and on Friday they opened their doors for the first tour of the lab by students and other university personnel.
In addition to the expected implementations of VR and AR setups at the university, the new lab offered access to a device offering advanced 3-D touch and haptic feedback. Devices like this go far beyond the basic haptics offered by current VR gaming controllers, allowing users more complete sensations of surface and substance.
There were many demonstrations on display in the VR lab, including advanced motion capture devices and a game of catch with a robot. Attendees of the opening were enthralled, and on October 8th local high school students will also be able to tour the lab. That’s one way to make students want to attend your university, isn’t it?
While not every VR Lab out there will offer setups as advanced as Virginia Commonwealth University, but these labs are becoming much more commonplace. Startups like Labster are pushing VR experiences for universities around the globe, and high-end institutions like Stanford already have places like the Virtual Human Interaction Lab up and running. There are also non-profit organizations such as VR First who are bringing VR and AR headsets to hundreds of universities worldwide, and it’s a question of time when all the schools are going to offer augmented and virtual reality content creation or visualization tools.
In addition to universities, chances are you may be able to find a VR arcade or two in your area. Since most people can’t afford to surpass the price of entry on the initial investment into, say, an HTC Vive, places like VR arcades typically offer a flat fee for time with VR devices. This allows people to experience the next level of digital interactions without breaking the bank. Is your school or university opening a Virtual Reality lab? Are there any interesting local places offering VR experiences? Comment below and let us know!