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Florida International U Launching Immersive Studio

student wearing VR headset

A Florida university will be launching an immersive lab for its students, to help them learn how to work with augmented and virtual reality. Florida International University's College of Communication, Architecture + The Arts (CARTA) will open the new Immersive Studios for Altered Reality (iSTART) at its Biscayne Bay campus, in time for the fall semester.

Initial plans for the facility include an immersive theater and lecture room, an "experiential room," an extended-reality (XR) lab and an "engagement zone." The program will give students opportunities for internships and mentoring in companies that are developing augmented reality and virtual reality products.

The space is being designed, constructed and operated by iSTAR Enterprises and funded through what the university called a "a significant gift" from Lee Caplin, who serves on the Dean's Advisory Board for CARTA. Caplin co-founded Penske Media, which produces Variety magazine and Rolling Stone magazine.

iSTAR Enterprises itself is a joint endeavor being run by Caplin as well as Brian Schriner, dean of CARTA, and Travis Cloyd, an adjunct professor and mixed-reality producer.

"The future is now and XR is impacting every area of our lives from esports to hospitality to architecture and further," said Schriner in a statement. "iSTAR is an essential part of keeping our students ahead of the XR curve by providing the tools to lead in their industry with the innovation and global-facing focus we are known for as a university."

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal and Campus Technology. She can be reached at dian@dischaffhauser.com or on Twitter @schaffhauser.

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