The Purdue Polytechnic Institute will be home to one of seven new VR First labs at universities in the United States and Canada.
Launched by Crytek in January, the VR First Initiative seeks to promote grassroots research and development in virtual reality by providing state-of-the-art hardware and facilities at academic institutions around the world. VR First participants have full access to Crytek’s CryENGINE software alongside the latest technology required for VR development. The overarching goal of VR First is to nurture new talent in VR development and create a global community equipped to embrace this field of technology.
David Whittinghill, assistant professor of computer graphics technology, will implement the initiative at Purdue in his Games Innovation Lab. Graduate and undergraduate students will have access to new equipment, such as Leap Motion hand sensors, and Oculus Rift and HTC Vive VR headsets. Students will be able to learn the technology and use it to create their own virtual reality projects as part of Purdue’s game development courses, he said.
“The CryENGINE software automates a lot of the thorny technical aspects of creating VR games and simulations,” Whittinghill said. As part of the VR First program, his lab will have access to the software’s source code to help teach his students.
The other VR First university partners are Carleton University, California State University Monterey Bay, Rochester Institute of Technology, University of Florida, University of Southern California – School of Cinematic Arts, and Vancouver Film School. The program was launched at Istanbul’s Bahçeşehir University earlier this year.