University of Pretoria intros Immersive Technology Lab

Staff Writer
By Staff Writer, ITWeb
Johannesburg, 17 Apr 2024
University of Pretoria unveils new VR lab.
University of Pretoria unveils new VR lab.

The University of Pretoria (UP) has unveiled its Immersive Technology Lab at the Department of Information Science.

The facility is part of the university’s Faculty of Engineering, Built Environment and Information Technology.

In a statement, the institution of higher learning says the facility marks a milestone in its journey towards integrating advanced immersive technologies into its curriculum and research initiatives.

It notes the lab has its roots in the early integration of virtual reality (VR) technology within the department in 2013.

The acquisition of early VR headsets allowed Honours students to immerse themselves in the forefront of technological innovation, says the varsity. It notes that as the appeal of VR grew, the lab evolved into the Virtual Reality and Interaction (VRI) Lab, formally inaugurated in February 2018, to accommodate a larger cohort of students.

The university says the lab has been instrumental in helping BIS Multimedia students familiarise themselves with VR equipment and equipped them with essential digital skills.

According to the statement, the lab serves multiple purposes – introducing staff and students to immersive technology, providing a platform for students to develop immersive experiences, investigating the integration of immersive technology into pedagogy and fostering transdisciplinary collaboration.

Previously, the university launched a Digital Capability Laboratory in 2022, which was built to equip the institution’s students with “future-fit” digital skills. These skills include digital literacy and computational thinking, technical skills, digital project management and digital business analysis.

“The VRI lab has enabled students to excel in developing VR research applications and games. Its infrastructure has also supported Masters students in crafting applications, showcasing the technology's potential in academic research," it concludes.