Advertisement

Virtual reality: UBC Okanagan first to offer ‘immersive technologies’ graduate program

Click to play video: 'Virtual reality: UBC Okanagan first to offer ‘immersive technologies’ graduate program' Virtual reality: UBC Okanagan first to offer ‘immersive technologies’ graduate program
Virtual reality: UBC Okanagan first to offer ‘immersive technologies’ graduate program – Jun 14, 2021

Monday morning at the UBC Okanagan campus, some graduate students were getting a virtual tour of the university’s actual future.

“As you go into the simulation you will be able to walk around,” Joel Thiessen tells one student as she straps on VR goggles.

Thiessen is part of UBCO’s new visualization and emerging media studio.

Using an Oculus headset and a massive monitor wall, Thiessen helps demonstrate how virtual reality or VR, will help form a new ‘immersive technologies’ program at the university.

READ MORE: Canada’s biggest walkthrough immersive attraction opens 

“Virtual and augmented reality is a really new technology for a lot of people,”  Thiessen told Global News.

“We are going to educate and train the students in this new emerging field,” said Dr. Abbas Milani from the UBC Okanagan’s School of Engineering.

Story continues below advertisement

Milani is the head of the new “CREATE Immersive Technologies’ program.

According to Milani, B.C. is a global hub for ‘immersive technologies,’ a field that has seen a big boost in demand since the start of COVID-19.

Click to play video: 'Health Matters: Virtual reality simulates the reality of diabetic vision loss' Health Matters: Virtual reality simulates the reality of diabetic vision loss
Health Matters: Virtual reality simulates the reality of diabetic vision loss – May 11, 2021

“Certainly, I think (the) pandemic, one lesson that it gave us is that the virtual world is very critical in our day-to-day business,” Milani explained.

However, the missing link has always been a university curriculum to develop skills amongst students to use the technology.

But now, UBCO is developing a $4 million program using a $1.65 million grant from the federal government that will offer a six-year master’s degree and a PhD.

“It’s the first program in the world of its kind,” Milani explained.

Story continues below advertisement
Click to play video: 'U of A team studying high-tech treatment for stuttering' U of A team studying high-tech treatment for stuttering
U of A team studying high-tech treatment for stuttering – Dec 9, 2019

“To have a new program like this and to have the opportunity to explore these technologies in an academic setting is going to open up huge potential,” Thiessen said.

That’s why 11 different UBC Okanagan faculties, including nursing, engineering and mathematics, will all access the program.

“I think this will really be a game-changer,” Milani said — even though gaming is not what it’s all about.

Click to play video: 'Virtual reality medical training' Virtual reality medical training
Virtual reality medical training – Oct 10, 2019

“What we are trying to do here is making the future, but be also part of the future and building these technologies as they develop,” Milani said.

Story continues below advertisement

The new ‘CREATE Immersive Technologies’ program is slated to start this fall.

Sponsored content