Throughout 2017 VRFocus has talked at length about the developments in virtual reality (VR) throughout the whole spectrum of industry and public services, and yet the message way back when we began in 2014 is exactly the same as it was as we approach the end of 2017. There is far more to VR and immersive technologies than videogames and videogames alone.
The field of healthcare for example has seen a number of developments, including in recent weeks surgeons using mixed reality (MR) and Microsoft’s Hololens in order to consult during a procedure. You can find out all about that here in our interview with those involved.
One thing we have definitely seen gathering pace is the influx of VR, MR and augmented reality (AR) into various fields of education. Particularly when it comes to colleges and universities embracing the possibilities of the technology and introducing new courses in the subject as well as new ‘virtual labs’. This year alone there’s been projects from Singapore and China to Norway. Facilities opened in Kingston University in London, Beuth University in Berlin, whilst in American there’s been heavy investment by the University of Nebraska, the University of California, Berkeley, the University of Maryland, Oakland University and many more. Even within Sunday’s weekly rundown on VRFocus of available roles relating to immersive technology, The VR Job Hub, we’ve seen a steady increase in academic roles in the teaching, administrative and research areas.
Another UK based institution that has invested in immersive technology is Birmingham City University which recently welcomed a delegation from two of India’s leading creative companies to learn more about how the university is training the next generation of VR professionals, and with the hope of exploring potential partnerships in the future. It was Birmingham City University that announced, back in June this year, the development of new AR medical software that’ll help doctors view patient data among other items.
Members of mobile network operator JIO Studios, the world’s biggest data start-up company and animation studio philmCGI spent time at the campus this week, Digital Media Technology (DMT) Lab as part of a visit that was organised by the UK’s Department of International Trade. Both companies are interested in what doors the new technology can open with philmCGI in particular is looking to expanding its services to offer both VR and AR.
Anand Bhanushali, Founder and Managing Director of philmCGI, said:
“Birmingham City University has state-of-the-art media facilities; it is no wonder so many Indian students want to come to the UK to study!” Exclaimed Anand Bhanushali, Founder and Managing Director of philmCGI. “Today we have discussed a number of opportunities for collaboration, such as STEAM-based problem solving. Lots of innovative solutions can be developed when applying fresh minds to companies such as ourselves.”
“Birmingham City University and indeed the wider West Midlands is at the forefront of digital media technology and our active researchers ensure our students are best equipped for future careers in image and audio processing, digital media distribution and mixed reality systems.” Said Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Julian Beer, “At the same time, we are enabling our industry partners, who benefit from the new knowledge we are generating in this rapidly growing field. We are delighted at this opportunity to share knowledge and experience with our friends from India and we hope that from this visit we are able to build further institutional links with the country.”
The event was hosted by the University’s recently-established India Innovation Group, comprising academics and staff who have a direct connection to or an interest to India in terms of collaboration, industrial and educational links, or who have joint projects currently in development.
The platform of VR education continues to develop at pace and VRFocus will no doubt be bringing you more updates regarding it very soon.