Virtual reality on display at UALR

Members of the central Arkansas community recently had a unique opportunity to test prototypes and cutting-edge technology as they took a walk through virtual environments at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock George W. Donaghey Emerging Analytics Center.

The Emerging Analytics Center, headed by Director Dr. Carolina Cruz-Neira, is home to a group of faculty, staff, and students performing virtual reality, visualization, and interactive technology research.  

During the open house tour Oct. 16-17, attendees chatted with EAC visionaries, digital innovators, and engineers, some of whom pioneered the technology on display.

The two-day event drew people from a variety of backgrounds, including UALR graduate Linda Johnson, who brought her grandson Max and his friend Nathan, both fifth-graders.

“It was wonderful,” Johnson said. “I would like to see more things like that.”

Multiple virtual reality projects were available for visitors to explore. Attendees had the opportunity to try an Oculus Rift device, and a helicopter flight simulator allowed visitors a chance to interact with a prototype developed for training helicopter pilots.

In one of the rooms, participants saw examples of virtual and augmented reality applications for the medical field, and in another area, they were drawn into immersive spaces with interactive interior design and a walk-through of plans for a revamped University Avenue near the UALR campus.

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