Virtual Campus Reality Using Oculus Rift
Virtual reality has been expanding by leaps and bounds in the world of technology and Computer Science. In keeping with the latest trends, a student at the University of Maryland has come up with a fantastic idea.
Mike Mandl, a senior Economics major at the University of Maryland, has decided that he will help his university become the pioneering school to feature virtual reality. He plans to accomplish this with a long term plan the details of which he does not wish to disclose until absolutely finalized. But Mandl has combined forces with VisiSonics – a startup company that has been founded by the university’s Computer Science faculty. Researchers and entrepreneurs belonging to the department also pitched in to make VisiSonics a reality. Mandl and VisiSonics plan on bringing in the latest prototype of Oculus Rift’s virtual reality headset and launching a virtual tour of the McKeldin Mall. They are hoping to release this virtual tour on the university’s website by the end of this semester; with full 360 degree audio and video experience. Mandl and VisiSonics claim that this tour will be like experiencing the real thing.
To start with the project, VisiSonics went to the mall and using their $65,000 camera which supports 5 omni-directional video cameras and 64 microphones, recorded a session of 30 minutes. This session shows students walking in between their scheduled classes in the mall. Mandl pitched this idea to his Computer Science professor (Amitabh Varshney) after he met with representatives from VisiSonics at a speech being given by Oculus Rift’s CEO Brendan Iribe. This speech took place on the campus of the University of Maryland on the 12th of September, which was basically to give Iribe a platform to announce his donation of $31 million to the university’s Computer Science department.
Both Mandl and VisiSonics believe that virtual reality will become more and more integrated into everyday life with the passage of time. Suppose for a minute that you want to check out the university. You slip on Oculus Rift’s headset for virtual reality and are immediately taken to the University of Maryland, no matter where you’re sitting in actuality. You can turn your head and see students walking by, interacting with each other, rubbing the famous statue’s nose and even get a view of the library building. Potential students can visit the McKeldin Mall without ever having to leave their home. Virtual Reality Times will report any progress on this project and about Oculus Rift’s usage in the university.