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Villanova University to Display Cutting-Edge Virtual Reality Technology at Franklin Institute Showcase

Villanova University to Display Cutting-Edge Virtual Reality Technology at Franklin Institute Showcase

Villanova University’s expertise in virtual reality technology will be on display Oct. 25 at a Franklin Institute Virtual Reality Showcase. The Franklin Institute is hosting an exposition of some of the most cutting-edge virtual reality technologies, with leaders across various industries displaying their innovative uses of virtual reality and explaining how this technology is changing the world. Frank Klassner, PhD, professor of Computing Sciences and director of the Villanova Center of Excellence in Enterprise Technology in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, along with assistant professor Edward Kim, PhD and computer science student researchers, will be sharing examples of virtual reality projects developed at Villanova.

The showcase will take place Tuesday, October 25, from 7- 10 p.m. at The Franklin Institute. For more information, click here.

Villanova is home to a unique virtual reality CAVE facility (CAVE Automatic Virtual Environment), which provides viewers with an immersive experience viewing and interacting with 3D virtual-reality worlds, 3D big-data displays, and 3D models of real-world locations and objects. The CAVE, housed in Falvey Memorial Library, was funded by a $1.67 million National Science Foundation (NSF) grant. Its central campus location allows the facility to be a university-wide resource, research tool and interactive classroom accessible to all students and faculty.

While other CAVE facilities exist, the size, scope and use of Villanova’s CAVE distinguish it from most others. Villanova’s Immersive Studies CAVE is an 18-ft wide by 10-ft deep by 7.5-ft high enclosure, within which as many as 20 viewers can interact with a virtual world. The Villanova CAVE is unique in that it contains an extendable projected ceiling, meaning it can be operated to project on either three walls and a floor, or three walls and a ceiling. The facility is being used to supplement classroom learning and, this semester, is being utilized by 18 different classes across the University. In addition, the CAVE is used to support faculty research projects, as well as to collaborate with academic and industry researchers around the world.

“Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, and Mixed Reality are beginning to mature into powerful tools for enhancing so many aspects of life such as emergency planning, surgical procedure training, entertainment, education, and product testing,” said Dr. Klassner.  “There are also many ways of implementing these experiences, and this exhibition and our presentation will help the public appreciate the variety of technologies—from head mounted displays to stereo projection systems like the Villanova CAVE—currently being used to achieve them.”

Dr. Klassner—who directs the University’s CAVE facility—will put on display a single-screen version of the Villanova CAVE at the Franklin Institute Showcase. He, along with two computer science students, will deliver a presentation on the use of virtual reality technology and showcase examples of several projects developed at the University, including:

  • Crisis events in Anesthesia: This work in progress, by Dr. Kim, aims to create an assessment-based virtual reality simulation to train and prepare anesthesiologists to manage complex critical clinical situations. Patient care requires teamwork and team communication in complex and dynamic environments must be trained, implemented, and assessed. Nearly 70% of medical errors occur as a result of poor team communication.  The end goal of the technology is to enable an anesthesiologist to interact with other colleagues around the world in a virtual operating room.
  • Island Exploration: This virtual environment was created by a Villanova graduate student, Spandana Edara.  Special detail was given to the environment and camera effects to create a surreal virtual experience on a large scale.  Franklin Institute visitors will be challenged to search the expansive world and try to find the key that unlocks the door off the island.
  • Space Spies: Space Spies was created by a Villanova graduate student, Agdel Irlanda, in the Unity3D game engine. The game was inspired by the classic spy vs spy comic popularized in the 1970s and 1980s.  To play, exhibit visitors will need to search for pieces to repair a space ship before they can fly off of the planet.

About Villanova University’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences:  Since its founding in 1842, Villanova University’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences has cultivated knowledge, understanding and intellectual courage for a purposeful life in a challenged and changing world.  With 39 majors across the humanities, social sciences and natural sciences, it is the oldest and largest of Villanova’s colleges, serving more than 4,500 undergraduate and graduate students each year. The College is committed to a teacher-scholar model, offering outstanding undergraduate and graduate research opportunities and a rigorous core curriculum that prepares students to become critical thinkers, strong communicators and ethical leaders with a truly global perspective.

About Villanova University: Since 1842, Villanova University’s Augustinian Catholic intellectual tradition has been the cornerstone of an academic community in which students learn to think critically, act compassionately and succeed while serving others. There are more than 10,000 undergraduate, graduate and law students in the University's six colleges—the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the Villanova School of Business, the College of Engineering, the College of Nursing, the College of Professional Studies and the Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law. Ranked among the nation’s top universities, Villanova supports its students’ intellectual growth and prepares them to become ethical leaders who create positive change everywhere life takes them. For more, visit