University of Washington Establishes Reality Lab VR Center in Seattle
Virtual Reality is no longer the stuff of novels and movies. The technology is moving into the mainstream, and now it’s getting a boost from academia—with the support of Big Tech. Google, Facebook and Huawei all recently kicked in $2 million each to fund a new VR and AR (augmented reality) research lab at the University of Washington campus in tech hotspot Seattle.
The lab will push breakthrough research in the field ahead while educating innovators on the possibilities of the exciting technology. The new facility will be located in the university’s Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering and serve faculty, grad students and undergrads studying computer science, graphics, 3D computer vision and other fields related to VR.
The goal of the lab is to find new applications for AR and VR beyond just entertainment and gaming—such as learning new languages or facilitating better remote communication. One of the center co-leads, Steve Seitz, says there are many advancements needed to move VR forward, such as tools for creating content, infrastructure for streaming 3D video content and security controls. The lab will create new courses and a place for UW students to develop new VR applications. The sponsoring companies will provide students with access to their own emerging technologies and test new ideas with the students. An advisory board will provide guidance on the lab’s activities.