Arkansas Tech joins the virtual reality trend

Arkansas Tech University is joining the trend of colleges and universities using virtual reality for education.

This past summer, Tech purchased an HTC Vive Pro Virtual Reality system. This system is located on the third floor of the Ross Pendergraft Library and Technology Center.

“The virtual reality system is expected to be ready for use by the end of September,” Tim Land, computer support specialist in the Office of Information Systems, said.

Once the virtual reality system is set up, students will have a chance to test out various apps and programs on the device.

According to Forbes magazine, by the year 2021 more than half of the colleges and universities in the United States will use virtual reality for education. Indiana University has already installed 10 to 30 student stations with virtual reality capabilities.

Forbes also noted this growing trend has been aimed at giving students an advantage in education.

Tech’s purchase is to fulfill the vision of the technology center as a place to “expose people to up and coming trends in technology such as VR,” Land said.

“One way students can experience the virtual reality for educational uses is by using the Google Earth feature that lets you experience places like Venice in a whole new way,” Land said.

The HTC Vive Pro is a fully immersive virtual reality system that offers 360 degrees of vision and detailed graphics, according to vive.com.

Students are excited about the possibilities with virtual reality.

“It will be very interesting to see the educational opportunities with the device,” Clay Watts, a computer science major from Greenwood, said.

“VR brings a completely new way to experience, interact, and play with your friends, and we’ve only just scratched the surface,” VREAL chief executive officer Todd Hooper said.

Additional information on the HTC Pro Vive is available by contacting Tim Land at (479) -964-0569.

Bradley Stall

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