“Virtual Wonderland” at UA Little Rock

The "Cave" at the 2017 UA Little Rock EAC VR Showcase "Virtual Wonderland"

The UA Little Rock’s Emerging Analytics Center recently showcased the work of students and faculty in a “Virtual Wonderland” open house. This open house was free to the public and was held on April 7 – 8 at the EAC on UA Little Rock Campus.

The EAC staff includes 15 students ranging from freshman undergraduates to Ph.D. students. The department has seen rapid expansion under the leadership of its director, Dr. Carolina Cruz-Neira. Cruz-Neira has been securing funding for research and in development of projects for business, government, and consumer use.

Virtual and Augmented Reality, though very similar, each possess unique capabilities suited to certain real-world uses. Virtual Reality, VR, is typically used in conjunction with a headset, and is used to create and enhance a simulated reality. Augmented Reality, AR, uses layers of computer-generated stimulants to enhance existing reality and increase interactivity.

While VR is a self-contained world of its own, AR is an augmented version of the world we live in.

The open house hosted over 150 people. The more high profile guests included members of local media, corporate representatives, healthcare professionals, and politicians including Little Rock Mayor Mark Stodola. Sen. Tom Cotton visited the center during a personal tour on April 12, and participated in interactive demonstrations of some of the EAC’s newest technologies.

On display at the “Virtual Wonderland” were 12 different exhibitions showcasing the wide variety of projects the EAC has developed, including a virtual cadaver, a virtual zoo, and a military-grade helicopter simulator.

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