A new lab at the University of Central Missouri’s Lee’s Summit campus will aim to give students and local entrepreneurs a chance to explore what’s possible in the fields of virtual and augmented reality.
The launch for the Mixed Reality Studio in its Gigabit Lab is set for Global Entrepreneurship Week, which starts Nov. 16. Coronavirus concerns could delay or limit the public opening.
Money for the new equipment came through the MoExcels initiative from the Missouri Department of Higher Education and Workforce Development.
“This is all new. Before, there was no virtual reality or augmented reality equipment here,” said Joe Mullins, a consultant for the university’s Center for Workforce and Professional Education. “We are starting from scratch and trying to see where we can go with it.”
With virtual reality, once you put on the headset, everywhere you look is a created digital landscape. Augmented reality places digital objects within the real world and is perhaps most well-known through the app Pokémon GO.
Four workstations, each with its own headset, will access various platforms.
Mullins said students and faculty at the university will have free access to the lab, and professionals from the community will be able to buy time on the equipment. They’re still working out a fee structure.
The idea is for students to gain skills to create training programs and other materials using this equipment. That could mean creating a scenario where medical students work on a virtual patient or someone studying avionics could practice on a virtual engine before going to the real thing.
Mullins said he sees the lab as something that could benefit people across the metro area. Each piece of technology is