Florida International University
Florida International University (FIU) had a goal to encourage research and learning between colleges and disciplines. They decided to introduce virtual reality (VR) tothe campus due to its flexibility in providing a broad range of applications. However, they wanted to prove their solution’s value as quickly as possible. They partnered with Mechdyne Corporation to integrate the I-CAVE (Integrated – Computer Augmented Virtual Environment) solution. Combined with a dedicated student team to develop content, the I-CAVE was providing value within one short month. From its inauguration in late January to mid-February, FIU was leveraging the solution with their own content, demonstrating to thousands of local middle and high school students, and exposing as many students as possible to the technology.
The I-CAVE is a five-sided, hexagon-shaped CAVE solution. The system stretches nearly ten feet tall, and sits at 18 feet wide and 19 feet long, accommodating FIU’s minimal space requirements. Students, faculty, and researchers create and manipulate VR content, including a 15th-century recreation of London’s Globe Theatre. Colleges across campus utilize the technology, supporting all different kinds of students in their disciplines:
- Computer science seniors create content for a capstone project
- Architecture students develop models
- Computer graphics students explore demonstrations on different techniques
- Meteorology students evaluate hurricane data
- Firefighters from the Academy for International Disaster Management train in VR on different tactical scenarios
- Local K-12 students experience VR, including the London Globe Theater recreation
Even with FIU’s early and astounding success, the I-CAVE is just the beginning for VR. FIU plans to open a design and manufacturing lab that will allow students to print in 3D. These technology resources are becoming more and more available for students and researchers around the world, all in the hopes of creating a unified, technology-driven, and forward-thinking workforce.