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Iowa State Gets Virtual Reality Platform Partner

For the next two years students at the Virtual Reality Applications Center (VRAC) at Iowa State University will be working with virtual reality software from ICIDO. VRAC is an interdisciplinary research center focusing on the interface between humans and computers. Research areas include the development of computer interfaces that integrate virtual environments, wireless networking, pervasive computing, and emerging user interface devices. Examples of the research are the development of virtual power plants, game simulations, and control interfaces for unmanned aerial vehicles.

The deal with ICIDO will enable VRAC researchers to build research applications based on the company's Visual Decision Platform, providing research opportunities in virtual collaboration in a 1:1 scale, the visualization of large datasets, and new 3D user interfaces. The platform includes both software and hardware to facilitate collaborative work for locally, globally, and departmentally distributed teams.

"The VRAC is widely known for its excellent research and education in the field of virtual reality and visualization," said James Oliver, director at the VRAC. "The cooperation with ICIDO enhances our ability to involve industry closely with this research in many different ways, like the education of employees or the development of industry specific tools and applications."

ICIDO CEO Ralf Heimberg added, "The cooperation for the use of Virtual Reality Technology at the VRAC gives us the possibility to enhance the capabilities of our software and to participate at the results of the research especially in immersive user inter-face design or virtual training."

With more than $20 million of contract research in process, the VRAC currently supports the research of 40 faculty, 165 graduate students, and 115 undergraduate research assistants spanning all seven Iowa State colleges. The VRAC is also home to the C6, the world's highest resolution fully immersive virtual reality device, a 10' x 10' x 10' room in which all six surfaces are illuminated from outside by ultra-high resolution stereoscopic interactive computer graphics, creating a compelling sense of total immersion in a virtual environment.

The ICIDO system is used by companies in the automotive industry, transportation, and construction and manufacturing. Research and development partners include Germany-based Technical University Braunschweig and Universität Karlsruhe.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a writer who covers technology and business for a number of publications. Contact her at dian@dischaffhauser.com.

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