by Jamie Aranoff, WTOP-10 TV
German Virtual Reality Company, Crytek has announced a sponsorship with Oswego State providing virtual reality research opportunities and human-computer interaction graduate programs.
VR [Virtual Reality] First is an initiative to integrate virtual reality and create labs in higher education institutions nationwide. The aim of VR First is to link schools to a global network of virtual knowledge and research.
The need for jobs in the virtual reality market is rapidly opening, said Dr. Jolanda Tromp, a visiting professor at Oswego State. “Experts are needed to help with improvements to the hardware and there are a multitude of application areas opening up, such as big data visualization, explorations of the microbiology world, medical training, health & safety training for hazardous environments, college education programs of all sorts, fashion, journalism, marketing, to name a few,” said Tromp.
Oswego has joined a partnership of schools including Purdue University, Oklahoma State University, University of Florida and many others spanning six countries.
The Academic initiative with Crytek has allowed for the creation of a virtual reality lab in the Shineman center, with five state of the art virtual reality headphones. In addition, all headsets will be complete with Crytek’s software development, CryEngine.
Virtual reality is a computer-generated program that is viewed from specific headgear with a screen securely placed in front of users’ eyes. Virtual reality’s specific draw is that the program allows for users to feel as though they are in a three dimensional location, which is a dynamic shot allowing the image in front of a users eyes to move in sync with a user.
“It’s becoming affordable, the technology is improving and the headsets are smaller and more comfortable to wear,” Tromp said in a press release.
Last Spring, students in Tromp’s graduate virtual reality course divulged into the myriad of opportunities that are presented with the technology. It is applicable not only to the science and technology fields but medical, marketing, psychotherapy, space travel, journalism and more.
“There is a need for software development talent in this field,” said Tromp.
Many students of varying majors and studies are provoked by the new technologies, and their opportunities in the job field.
“It’s becoming cheaper and more common to produce headsets and I really feel as though the ideology of being able to interact with interact with virtual technology paves a way to new technologies I can not even begin to fathom,” said Sophomore computer science student, Joseph McGee.
In addition to the practicalities among many different fields, one Oswego student has taken the technology and applied it to pain management.
Second-year graduate student, Ryan Kikta is using virtual reality to bring patients undergoing medical treatments to feel as though they were in a non-medical location.
“It’s a green technology, it saves resources and time. Its flexibility is incomparable” said Tromp on the ability to use the technologies in different settings.
For students interested in the vast world of virtual reality technology, Tromp is teaching a graduate level virtual reality course again in the upcoming spring semester. The virtual reality lab is available for students to propose projects for, and to collaborate with companies off campus, some even providing opportunities for internships.