The Educational VR /AR /MR Initiative

VR/AR/MR/360

The Educational VR /AR /MR Initiative

A mobile VR /AR /MR lab, passing through ten universities and hackathons during one year.

How many times during your life will you experience the birth of a new media? It´s been about a year since HTC announced the release of the consumer version of the Vive, the first widely available, affordable, high quality Virtual Reality experience. Now, a year later, it´s apparent that the future indeed looks different – a fluid hybrid between the real/physical and virtual worlds. Some actually say it´s as big of a change as the arrival of the internet in the 90´s!

An exponentially increasing interest around the globe, has resulted in a plethora of developer versions, of a wide range of devices now being available. This urges artists, designers and programmers to become early adopters and start inventing VR /AR /MR experiences right now. But often there is a lack of both expertise and funding, within educational institutions and the independent scene alike. MTG Technology and MTG Studios, who saw the same problem, approached me and expressed an ambition to aid in accelerating the speed of development within this field.

Since 2010, I´m teaching at eight to ten higher educational institutions and universities each year. My subject of expertise is audiovisual production, with an emphasis on synesthetic integration of sound and vision, as well as (projective) Augmented Reality, i.e. video projection mapping, resulting in immersive environments. Since 2016, I´m also teaching VR and during 2017 I´m adding (head mounted) AR to the curriculum.

Our discussions led to the idea that with financial support from MTG Technology and MTG Studios, I will set up a mobile AR/VR lab. This equipment will pass through ten educational institutions, as well as informal environments such as hackathons, during one full year. It will be used during my established courses, but the lab will stay open 24-7 and be freely used between the classes.

Aiming for diversity and gender equality, we will create interdisciplinary teams and foster sociocultural learning, by bringing together people from the fields of art, design, programming, sound/music production, 2D/3D motion graphics, game development, hacking, and more. We´ll also have an active connection with the world of enterprise, and not least with the local and international cultural scene.

An important cornerstone is openness, in meeting, creating and sharing. Therefor (most) everything we make is considered open source, under the MIT university agreement. The knowledge we create together will be seen as free for all the students, participators, and the AR/VR community to continue to learn from and build upon, even after the courses and hackathons. We hope that collaborations and acquaintances will continue to live on afterwards, acting as a catalyst.

In other words, the goal of the project is quite open. We simply do believe that putting these tools and guidance in the hands – and minds, of bright students and independent producers alike, we will surely arrive at new understandings and finding new ways forward, which would otherwise have been unattainable.

During the year, we´ll post regularly about our work on social media, so stay tuned via Instagram or Twitter!

Joel Dittrich, Audio/Visual Artist & Associate Professor/Senior Lecturer, 03.03.2017

Hardware

Microsoft HoloLens, Meta Vision 2, HTC Vive, Leap Motion, haptic suits, motion capture systems, Structure 3D scanner, Fly 360, Kinect, Gear VR, Google Cardboard, Asus ROG GTX 1060/6, Alienware GTX 1080/8, etc.

Software

Unity 3D w/ PlayMaker, C# in Visual Studio, Unreal Engine w/ Blueprints, Cinema 4D Studio, Maya, Sculptris, MudBox, Blender, Adobe CC, Quixel Suite, Mettle, Ableton Live, Skanect, etc.

Institutions – more to be announced

Beckmans College of Design, Hochschule der populären Künste, Berghs School of Communication, etc.

This project is made available, and supported by

MTG Technology and MTG Studios (funding), VR_Sci Fest/Färgfabriken (exhibition), Martin Söderblom/The NTI College (advisor), Berghs School of Communication (hackathon space), etc.