Last August, I began researching and reporting on the state of virtual reality research at Triangle universities, a process that has finally culminated in a cover story for the INDY this week. As Google Glass and the Oculus Rift head to market, it seemed like a timely moment to explore this long-running interest of mine, and I discovered that the Triangle is a hotbed of VR and AR innovation. My story is anchored by DiVE, or the Duke immersive Virtual Environment, an expensive CAVE system that completely immerses the user in virtual worlds; I was also lucky enough to get my hands on a prototype of the Oculus Rift.
Even 3,000+ words is not much space to try and get across the incredibly complex history and rapidly developing present of VR technology, which speaks to the vitality of the topic. Thanks to DiVE’s Regis Kopper, David Zielinski, and all the other researchers who talked me through their work and showed me around their labs–and to the INDY art department for doing such a bang-up job of working around the difficulty of photographing virtual environments.