Page 28 - Campus Technology, May/June 2019
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FEATURE Virtual Reality
6) Reimagining the Future
Centuries before uranium mines in the area became an environmental hazard, Church Rock, NM, was the home to the Diné, Navajo people. Now, waste cleanup efforts are driving the fam- ilies of one Diné community to seek permanent relocation to another part of their ancestral lands, a mesa without access to electricity, run- ning water or paved roads. To help the residents of the Diné Red Water Pond Road Community envision what their new settlement could look like, a team of faculty and students from the University of New Mexico’s schools of Archi- tecture and Engineering are using VR and 3D renderings to create potential scenarios to “make the design tangible and immerse the community into the plan so that they can see that their future on the mesa is within reach,” according to an article on the project.
Catherine Harris, assistant professor of land- scape architecture and art and ecology, said the various digital tours of alternate designs will help residents of the community understand the tradeoffs they’ll be making along the way in their off-the-grid move. For instance, more water col- lection requires more built space, conventional waste treatment eliminates the possibility for methane harvest, and so on. “Ultimately,” Harris said, “this project is for the Diné. It gives agency to the community so they can realize a sustain- able and thriving future for all generations.”
7) Practicing Clinical Care
Students in Western Carolina University’s (NC) School of Nursing have tested the use of VR for experiential learning in emergencies. The idea is to help community nurses gain exposure to clin- ical situations that might not occur often enough in real life, to help them become com- fortable with their responses. For an initial test- ing of the setup, participants donned VR head- sets to enter a scene in which a patient has come into a clinic experiencing an allergic reac- tion to medication that is worsening, including difficulty with breathing. The students had to
Students in Penn State Altoona’s Rail Transportation En have collected 360-degree videos of trains, railroads, ya and footage from operator’s cabs.
make rapid decisions about the patient’s care and prioritize their responses at numerous points during the simulation.
“Using virtual reality in clinical education allows learners to be involved in real-life expe- riences without real-life consequences,” said Elaine Alexander, director of a regional simula- tion center that brings educational opportuni- ties to outlying areas, in a university story.
8) Hands-on Railroading
An immersive program at Pennsylvania State University, Altoona is helping prepare the newest generation of railroaders. While stu- dents — future train engineers — still go out into the field to get practice with railroad infra- structure, railcars and locomotives, they also use an industry-grade locomotive simulator that includes a virtual welder, to let them try out track work and welding.
“We can build an entire railroad in the simula- tion and receive diagnostics from the railroad itself to see how it’s running,” said student

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