State awards Wright State University $538K for virtual-reality job training

Wright State University has won a $538,563 state award to buy virtual-reality equipment for workforce development.

This equipment will help teach everything from anatomy to science and engineering.

The Ohio Department of Education approved the funding for the workforce development award that will enable the university to purchase displays that will immerse students in virtual worlds through computer-generated 3D images, according to a release.

“With this money we’re buying one of those full-scale, walk-able displays,” said Thomas Wischgoll, professor of computer science and engineering and director of the Advanced Visual Data Analysis (AViDA) group.

“It tracks where you are and recreates your perspective, so it feels like you are really going through that world,” he said.

Wischgoll said multiple people can be immersed in the display at the same time, enabling them to interact with each other.

“From an instructional perspective you can use it to explain things to other people, and students can see what you see.”

The equipment will help train students for jobs following graduation, and local companies are now making use of virtual reality.

“Wright State’s proposed cyber-enabled interactive and virtual training program will give the new generation of workers the requisite experience that our company seeks – the experience in remotely specifying the machine control parameters and producing parts,” said Anil Chaudhary, president of Applied Optimization in Fairborn.

Once the equipment is purchased, several weeks will be needed to install and test it.