When learning about the environment, the games offer an important alternative for people who do not have transportation and those who have mobility problems, such as the elderly who cannot easily walk along the many paths. and waterways of the Lehigh Valley, Bodzin said.
Some of the games also provide insight into the past by showing participants what the area would have looked like hundreds of years ago and recreating encounters with historical figures such as Stephen Palmer, Palmerton’s namesake and former president of the New Jersey Zinc Company.
Bodzin’s team includes about 20 students, five of whom are Lehigh Valley Social Impact Fellows from the Bureau of Creative Inquiry. The office has supported Bodzin’s work by providing paid internships, student stipends, conference fees, and space, in conjunction with LTS, on the Mountaintop campus for a VR lab, audio/podcast studio, and a video studio.
“He’s a real game changer,” Mehta said. “I am proud that we saw the potential of this several years ago and launched these projects. Now is the time to present these projects as examples and examples of how the adoption of these new technologies can lead to innovations and transformations in higher education. »
The future of XR at Lehigh
CITL is studying collaborative apps that have been developed for the Oculus that allow multiple users to be in the same VR experience at the same time.
For example, technology could be used to connect Lehigh students with other students across the country. A group of students could use the headsets to work on a prototype in real time even if they are not in the same location, Sakasitz said.
LehighSiliconValley students are exploring technology as a way to connect employees who have worked remotely. Their idea is to purchase Oculus headsets that can be used by employees to hold regular team-building meetings in a virtual environment, Sakasitz said.
“From my perspective, we need to learn how all of this technology can be used, develop a game plan for how it can be implemented sensibly, and go from there,” he said.
Getting the technology into the hands of more users is the next step, which CITL hopes to do with the new student-centric lab.
“A lot of it is the technology we already have; we just put it in a space where students can work collaboratively,” Sakasitz said. Lehigh hopes to launch the new lab in the fall.