Today when we hear about the immersion of the Virtual Reality Industry, we mainly hear about it’s potential as a entertainment medium. Virtual Reality will allow us to immerse ourselves in movies or let us telecommunicate with our friends face to face, and even enhance the way we game. These are all great reasons to order your VR headset today, but what can it do for education? How will it allow us to understand the world around us, better than we have before? This brings me to a research facility, that has been employing VR for educational purposes before it’s mass appeal to the consumer market.
The Allosphere Research Facility has been established since 1997, where “a team of digital media researchers at UCSB has been fostering a cross-disciplinary field that unites science and engineering through the use of new media.” The crown-jewel of the facility is the Allosphere itself. It was conceived by Professor JoAnn Kuchera-Morin to create a unique way to discover truths about the micro- and macro-worlds around us. From having a birds-eye view of the universe to a worms-eye view inside a atom. Allosphere stretches 30 feet in diameter and sits inside a 3 story anechoic( echo free) cube. This “allows for synthesis, manipulation, exploration and analysis of large-scale data sets in an environment that can simulate virtually real sensorial perception.” Basically the IMAX to the max.
To complement the Allosphere, various other research facilities surround it, using the data collected from it. This includes the tranLab, Experimental Visualization Lab, Four Eyes Lab (research in imaging, interaction, and innovative interfaces), the PluriLabs (research sound and image synthesis, multi-channel & audio projection), Systemics Lab (research in robotics), Simulation and Animation Lab, and Vision Research Lab (research in multimedia signal processing and analysis).
The Allosphere can allow students, scientists, engineers, and professors to dive in and travel through the human brain, using AlloBrain. It also implements the Schrodinger equation as a immersive 3D model, letting scientists control all quantum parameters of the physics simulation, dubbed “Hydrogen Atom”. Researchers have the ability to fly “through the 2000 atom lattice, navigating by the sonification of the atomic emission spectra oxygen and zinc.” I don’t even understand what some of that means, but I know it does provide students and scientists alike the ability to visually see how molecules interact with each other at the atomic level. This is how the virtual reality facility Allosphere has assisted the genius and curious minds of the modern age.
Their research has also been able to help corporate, industrial and academic entities through partnerships on collaborative projects. I mean honestly, who wouldn’t want to use the cutting-edge Allosphere to their advantage. If you are curious to learn more or want to contribute to the cutting edge technology, go ahead and contact them.