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 IU Trident Indiana University

Virtual Reality STEM Education Workshop

Project Leads: Chauncey Frend and Jeff Rogers

Advanced Visualization Lab (AVL), Visualization and Analytics, UITS Research Technologies

Using the Oculus Rift VR system
Figure 1. A boy from LaPlaza is immersed in his creation. He is wearing one of IU's Oculus Rift head-mounted virtual reality systems.

La Plaza (Indianapolis Latino Community Building Non-Profit) brought 20 young boys to participate in a two-hour workshop hosted by staff from the Advanced Visualization Laboratory. The boys were introduced to basic 3D graphics and virtual reality. They designed and built their own virtual racecourse, then experienced their simulations using state-of-the-art virtual reality hardware and software. This workshop was one among several workshops for La Plaza. The other sessions were hosted by faculty from the IU School of Informatics and Computing.

Experiences such as this excite and motivate young people toward careers in engineering, computing, and technology. This particular workshop gave boys participating in the La Plaza program the opportunity to learn and utilize professional tools and directly engage with experts in the field of virtual reality.

The School of Informatics and Computing recruiting staff organized the visit. AVL staff created and tested the materials used for this activity. Technologies utilized included Unity 3D as well as IU's Oculus Rift and Virtual Reality Theater. Unity 3D helped sponsor the workshop by donating temporary software licenses.

IU's Advanced Visualization Lab is funded through the Office of the Vice President for Information Technology; is a unit of UITS Research Technologies; and is affiliated with the Pervasive Technology Institute. For questions about this project or to request a consultation, please contact