You can now experience virtual reality at Eastern Iowa Community Colleges. They just set up a state of the art virtual reality lab. Money to build the lab came from a $15 million grant that went to community colleges in Iowa. Eastern Iowa Community Colleges used part of that grant money to put in this new state of the art virtual reality lab.
Staff at the college are still getting used to some of the technology as it’s brand new this semester, and once you step inside, it’s like stepping into the future.
There’s a 3D projection studio, almost like a mini IMAX. There’s a machine that can make a screen look like a 3D image you can take apart, and a game called “Oculus Rift,” where you put on a pair of goggles and enter a virtual world. There’s also a bodysuit that captures motion with cameras and LED lights, which is the same technology they use for special effects in movies. Instructor Jim Noord says the best thing about this lab is the way it can be used for many different fields of study.
“We’ve got some students, one is a dance instructor, for instance, that wants to come in and do some of the really complex dance moves and things that they do. Golfing, tennis, if you like that, It’s all the ability to track motion… And it’s things that you ordinarily wouldn’t be able to have access to, that we’ve got here at the community college – Which is even cooler,” Noord said.
Staff and students at the college say the greatest thing about this technology. Is the skills it gives them for a broad range of careers.
“You can actually apply all of this technology… If I wanted to create a character, I could actually use our motion capture, and then from there I can actually create the model and I can actually make it walk,” Said Uriah Brock, a student at EICC who works in the virtual reality lab.
There’s an open house Wednesday from 3-6 p.m. in the virtual reality lab. That’s at Eastern Iowa Community Colleges’ Advanced Technology Environmental and Energy Center (ATEEC) in downtown Davenport, located across from the Figge plaza.
At Wednesday’s open house, they’re hoping to share all this technology with the pubilc. The open house is for students looking to go into the technology field, students in elementary, middle or high school, or anyone else who just thinks this is cool.
“This is a really great thing that’s coming to the Quad City Area, that’s in the Quad City Area…We want business and industry to see what we do, because that might just spin their mind on how they could use that in their business,” said Lori Walljasper, the District IT Coordinator for Eastern Iowa Community Colleges.
The open house is open to the public. For more information on Eastern Iowa Community Colleges, click here.