Wednesday, April 5, 2017

The School of Architecture has recently invested in an HTC Vive Virtual Reality (VR) system. Starting April 5, the headset will be available to students who are interested in taking the system for a test drive. Currently, the VR has several demo programs that will provide unique educational opportunities for architecture students. Robert Miller, director of the School of Architecture said the school pursued the technology because, “Technology continues to shape the way we see, measure, and understand the built environment. VR is one of many frontiers that will impact our profession and, as a school, we need to introduce it to our students and learn what it can do.”

The headset has the ability for students to explore models of buildings, with one view presenting the building as a model that can be manipulated and the second view as a person walking through the building. Planned for next semester, students will be able to upload their own digital models and be able to explore them as if they were life-size.  Several other applications will also provide students with the opportunity to push their creative limits. A Google Earth program will allow students to view cities from across the globe and stand in front of some of the world’s greatest monuments. A 3D paint program will allow students to draft projects on a life-size scale and explore different ideas for models in a more tangible way.

The system will be set up in the Heliodon Room (CAPLA 205A), students will have the ability to reserve the room for 24 hours. Students can reserve the room from the School of Architecture Office in A203. Before the VR headset was available for student use, faculty and staff within the college had the opportunity to experience it. The VR headset received outstanding remarks from everyone who had the opportunity to try it. Everyone at CAPLA is excited for the students to get the chance to incorporate this new technology into their work and for the future possibilities VR technology can bring. Senior IT Manager, Lucas Guthrie comments that “Virtual reality is another important tool that provides students a way to immerse themselves in their design. While it is still in its infancy, VR can already provide insight, evoke emotions, and stimulate creativity. As VR continues to integrate with rendering, planning, and architectural software, its capabilities and uses will grow.” 

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