New Releases - Virtual Reality Development Lab

The Virtual Reality Development Lab (VRDL) from Digital Tech Frontier (www.wecantakeyouthere.com) is an authoring tool that promises to revolutionize classroom learning. It consists of digital cameras, editing software and VR equipment that allow students to create VR environments which they can explore and collaborate on with other classmates. Students can explore ready-made virtual environments for places such as Machu Picchu and the Hoover Dam, or they can create their own custom environments. Working collectively, students must first import images from the provided software, or take photos with a fish-eye lens. Using the VRDL software, students then "stitch" the images of their environment together to create one six-faced cubic panorama. The resulting QuickTime VR movies are linked to create a virtual tour where "hot spots" can be added with media files and additional materials. The environments are completed with interactive maps and environmental sounds that students can add to enhance the setting. In order to present their work, students only need to post their environments on the Web so that they are accessible from any desktop, notebook or projector.

This article originally appeared in the 02/01/2004 issue of THE Journal.

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