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Should your institution move into the Augmentarium future?

By Ron Bethke, eCampus News Assistant Editor, @eCN_RonB
December 9th, 2015

The University of Maryland, College Park, is leading the way in studying the innovative applications of augmented and virtual reality across a wide range of fields

Augmentarium-virtual-reality

Researchers at the Augmentarium – a unique computer visualization laboratory at the University of Maryland, College Park – are exploring the future of virtual and augmented reality as it relates to public safety, health care, STEM education, the visual and performing arts, and more. Photo by John T. Consoli

The potential applications of virtual and augmented reality in a host of disciplines–including education, science, medicine, the arts, entertainment and industry–are massive, say large institutions like the University of Maryland (UMD), whose Augmentarium serves as a potential instrumental model for innovative research facilities and universities looking to make their impact on the future.

On Wednesday, December 2, 2015, eCampus News was invited to take a tour of UMD’s Virtual and Augmented Reality Laboratory, also known as the Augmentarium, where I was given the opportunity to test out the University’s breakthroughs with the fledgling technology firsthand.

The Augmentarium was initially launched in December 2014 thanks to a 1 million dollar National Science Foundation (NSF) Major Research Instrumentation award, coupled with support from the College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences and UMD administration.

Due to continual advances in graphics processing units allowing for a smaller size that consumes less and less power, as well as improved camera technologies, UMD says the time has finally arrived for quality virtual experiences to be delivered at a low cost.

Delivering on the promise of quality, the University of Maryland Institute for Advanced Computer Studies was named a center of excellence by NVIDIA, a world leader in designing and manufacturing graphics processing units for computer gaming and academia. The University says it has also been a leader in improving large-scale image processing technology for cameras since the 1960’s.

Now, the spearheading institution says it is primed to be a leader in testing the limits of virtual and augmented reality.

(Next page: The technology behind the Augmentarium; tangible benefits)


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