The future of virtual reality on the ACU campus can be seen through the lenses of 200 cardboard goggles that were handed out at the SITC chapel on Tuesday.
The School of Information Technology and Computing and the Maker Lab collaborated in using the concept of the Google Cardboard virtual reality project in order to design a cost-effective, easy-to-assemble goggle for students to use.
The goggles have a simple design that makes it easy for the user to assemble in less than five minutes. The user will then slip their smartphone into the provided slot and access the virtual reality scene through the software available via an app on their device.
The idea for the VR specs came from the Google Cardboard design, which is available to download online for personal DIY purposes.
Dr. Nil Santana, assistant professor of art and design, said he thought “it would be fun to give a shot at designing our own goggles that would be easy to assemble, cost efficient and a better use of materials.”
Santana spent eight weeks working with Darren Wilson, the Maker Lab coordinator, figuring out appropriate specs for this new cost-effective design.
Systems Administrator for the School of Information Technology and Computing, Brandon Delano, who was in charge of the logistics for the project, said, “They found a way to be able to produce from 33 percent of the cardboard,” which means that they can produce three eyepieces from the same material and price that one would cost with the original Google design.
Brianna Burton, a senior DET major from Missouri, and Hannah Macune, a sophomore DET major from Weatherford, used the laser cutter in the Maker Lab to cut-out, clean and seal in manila envelopes 183 goggles that were given to students at chapel.
Wilson said he hopes the Digital Entertainment and Technology (DET) department could work on developing virtual reality tours that could be accessed by users in their living rooms after being mailed the assembly kit.
Dr. Brian Burton, associate professor of digital entertainment and technology, used the Battle of Gettysburg as an example of how virtual reality could be applied in history lessons. Burton said, “Imagine if you were actually there experiencing the battle.”
Burton said, “I would love to see ACU become one of the leaders in VR, especially from a Christian viewpoint.”
At the SITC departmental chapel where the goggles were handed out, guest speaker and the director of instructional design Berlin Fang asked if education is driving technology, or if technology is driving education.
“We’re just beginning to experiment with it, just beginning to create with it, we are waiting to see what happens,” Burton said.
For students who are interested in learning more about how to get immersed in virtual reality, the DET will be holding interest meetings on Thursdays at 6:30 p.m. on the third floor of COBA in room 301.