See McMaster University’s nuclear reactor through a virtual reality app

A new Virtual reality app from McMaster University is offering a 3-D tour on a mobile phone. McMasterVR: Nuclear Facilities App

A new mobile app is offering a unique look into McMaster University’s nuclear reactor.

The McMasterVR: Nuclear Facilities app is simple to download like any other app from Google Play or the Apple AppStore, and allows users to see what’s in the bowels of the reactor.

With the app, you can see the reactor’s glowing blue core, the control room and other service areas of the facility, which produces medical isotopes like I-125, used to treat prostate cancer.

The McMasterVR: Nuclear Facilities App allows users to view ‘factoid pop-ups” during a smart phone tour.

The virtual reality app can be viewed and functions with the naked eye, but really shines when paired up with a Google Cardboard VR headset.

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Not only can one navigate through the facility by pairing up a green dot with arrows, but users can see and hear interviews with reactor staff and experts, and view pop-up factoids about what the reactor does.

McMasterVR: Nuclear Facilities App. McMasterVR: Nuclear Facilities App

Karin Stephenson, the manager of commercial operations at the reactor, said in a release that the app offers an opportunity to expand its outreach by allowing viewers to “see things you can’t otherwise see.”

“This could be an important way to communicate how safe the reactor is, and the wide range of things we do,” Stephenson said.

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The new app was developed by Josh Mitchell, who was also responsible for a unique anatomy and physiology VR app used by students study for their final “bell ringer” exam.

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Mitchell, a graduate of McMaster’s software engineering program, worked with Stoney Creek’s ASI Group which specializes in underwater imaging, inspection and maintenance.

Along with a McMaster team that included president Carmelo Sferrazza and engineer Alissa Van Overbeeke, an underwater camera system was designed that could capture 3D footage of the core and 360-degree images of the reactor.

Stephenson says if you want to have a tour of the real thing, that is still possible since the reactor only operates at a low 5 megawatts.

“We still encourage everyone to take a reactor tour,” says Stephenson, “But this [app] is something a little extra.”



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