Every year, xREAL partners with campus faculty and the larger community to create, produce and assess innovative immersive projects that redefine teaching and learning and advance the public good. Our lab student assistants and interns engage in hands-on, project-based research to create project assets with mentorship from Lab faculty fellows, staff, and academic partners.
xREAL has partnered with the MUVE Lab at the University of New Mexico to develop a multiplayer educational game using the Unreal Engine 5. “Reconnections” will help players build empathetic connections with the environment and ethical environmental stewardship. The game is part of an experiment conducted by the MUVE Lab which tests whether learning to solve cooperative tasks selflessly increases feelings of interpersonal connection, empathy for others, overall well-being, and positive attitudes toward the environment. Reconnections will be available in 2023 on the Oculus platform.
Prof. Kristi Papailler (Theatre Arts) is leading the "Inaugural Poets" project in which theatre students use MoCap technology to create a virtual poetry performance and explore a groundbreaking MoCap curriculum. Our future MoCap Studio will support the study of motion, VR embodiment, and 3D perception with motion capture (MoCap) technology.
Led by a multidisciplinary team, the VR-taught Exercise Physiologist Certification Preparatory Course provides the knowledge and skills necessary to prepare individuals as Certified Exercise Physiologists (EP) recognized by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) and the United States Registry of Exercise Professionals (USREPS).
The course uses a multiplayer VR environment designed with Unreal Engine 4.26 and an embodied intelligent virtual agent to demonstrate how to conduct a battery of health-related physical fitness assessments correctly. The virtual agent uses a custom Google DialogFlow API for Unreal Engine 4 and motion capture (MoCap) technology to simulate socially-appropriate reactions.
Dr. Ahlam Muhtaseb and Lab alumnus Naim Aburaddi (Ph.D. student, University of Colorado, Boulder), with creative support from xREAL Assistant Director James Trotter, are using decolonial media theories and 360-degree journalism to chronicle the everyday experiences of Palestinians in Gaza and promote their self-representation. This project continues Dr. Muhtaseb and Mr. Trotter's work to document experiences of Palestinian displacement from a decolonial lens, as in this first-person immersive view of the Shatila Refugee Camp.
Dr. Fadi Muheidat (Computer Science and Engineering) is training a rule-based nature language processing (NLP) algorithm to animate a socially-aware Embodied Conversational Agent (ECA), "Cody," impersonating a patient. The ECA will help future nurses engage in a real-life simulation of how to teach a patient the basics of a COPD long-term management plan.
In Prof. Rob Ray's (Art and Design) design classes, students use extended reality to improve their ideation and prototyping skillsets and develop interactive experiences. For instance, in DES 4610 Virtual Reality, students learn about the histories, terminology, and theories of virtualization. They also discover how virtualization technologies solve problems, create knowledge, and connect humanity in the arts, humanities, engineering, medicine, science, and journalism fields. In the laboratory section, students conceptualize, storyboard, and prototype augmented reality experiences using Google Scene Viewer and Apple Quick Look frameworks. Students also develop interactive virtual reality experiences using Mozilla Hubs (WebXR) and Unreal Engine (VR).
Using 3D modeling and 3D printing, assistive technologist Kevin Cleppe creates multiperceptual 3D models that help students with disabilities create mental maps of the objects they learn about in class.