The Stevens XR Lab is dedicated to providing the entire Stevens community the opportunity to explore virtual reality (VR), mixed reality (MR), augmented reality (AR), 360-degree video and other extended reality (XR) technologies.
The XR Lab offers a space for interdisciplinary innovation, research and learning regardless of school or discipline.
What is the goal of the XR Lab?
The goal of the XR Lab is to encourage participants from all fields of study to explore how extended reality can support learning, research and other pedagogical and curricular goals by bringing together people, technology, resources and space. Students and faculty new to extended reality can come to the Lab to experience XR technology, while those familiar with it may book lab space to work on projects.
What can I do in the Stevens XR Lab?
Faculty and students can use equipment, explore new technology, work on extended reality projects, and consult with the XR Lab staff.
Division of Information Technology
Samuel C. Williams Library Building, Lower Level
XR 1: Room B13
XR 2: Room B08
XR Lab Team
Wei Li, Associate Director of Learning Technology
Valerie Dumova, Senior Instructional Designer and Technologist
Katie Ng, Student XR Lab Support Specialist
Katherine Shagalov, Student XR Lab Support Specialist
XR Lab Equipment
At the Stevens XR Lab you have access to such cutting-edge technology as the Meta Quest 3 and Meta Quest 2, HoloLens 2, HTC Vive Pro 2, VR-ready development computers, and more. A full equipment list is available here.
XR Lab Collaborations: XR in Instruction
Exploring CRISPR-VR in Undergraduate Biology
The XR Lab has collaborated with Dr. Denver Baptiste, Lecturer, Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, to offer undergraduate biology students the opportunity to explore how CRISPR technology can be used to fix mutations in the gene that causes sickle cell anemia. Hundreds of students have traveled inside cells and tissues to experience an immersive VR simulation of sickle cell disease and CRISPR genome editing technology.
Connecting Online Students with Social VR
The XR Lab is collaborating with Dr. Thomas Lonon, Teaching Associate Professor, Stevens School of Business, to offer online graduate students the opportunity to engage more deeply with each other, with their instructor and with the university by attending class in social VR. Students in the Stochastic Calculus for Financial Engineers course come together in a virtual reality classroom on the ENGAGE platform as avatars, to meet their classmates, ask questions and work on problem sets.
Visualizing Crystal Structures in Virtual Reality
Since the fall 2023 semester, the XR Lab has collaborated with Dr. Sarah Goodman, Teaching Assistant Professor, Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science, to offer more than 300 undergraduate Design with Materials students the opportunity to visualize crystal structures in virtual reality (VR). In the past, students would practice labeling crystal planes in 2D, but viewing and labeling these structures in VR offers the opportunity for them to interact with the planes in 3D, which facilitates understanding and visualization of these structures.
XR Lab Collaborations: XR in Senior Design
HoloLens 2 Mixed Reality in Senior Design
Collaboration with Dr. Biruk Gebre, Research Engineer and Lecturer, Department of Mechanical Engineering
Watch the recording of the 2022 XR Faculty Showcase to learn about how Dr. Gebre used the HoloLens 2 in Senior Design to view SolidWorks models in mixed reality.
Teaching with Extended Reality (XR) Faculty Showcase
Using immersive extended reality (XR) technologies, students and instructors can explore, learn and teach in places and in ways that extend beyond the physical world. Every spring, the XR Lab presents a showcase by instructors who have incorporated XR technologies into instruction or research.
Faculty Showcase 2024
Details coming shortly
Faculty Showcase 2023
On April 24, 2023, Dr. Pin-Kuang Lai (Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science) and Dr. Denver Baptiste (Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology) shared how they incorporated virtual reality (VR) into instruction, in collaboration with the Division of Information Technology’s XR Lab. Watch the recording to learn about the impact of XR technology on student learning, as well as best practices and recommendations for using immersive technologies in instruction.
Faculty Showcase 2022
On April 21, 2022, Dr. Paola DiMarzio (Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology) and Dr. Biruk Gebre (Department of Mechanical Engineering) shared how they incorporated XR into their Fall 2021 courses. In collaboration with the Division of Information Technology’s XR Lab, Dr. DiMarzio and Dr. Gebre each successfully piloted the use of XR technology in their courses, with a combined total of more than 120 students. Watch the recording of the 2022 Showcase to learn about the impact of XR technology on these students.
What Is Extended Reality (XR)?
Extended reality (XR) is a term that encompasses augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), mixed reality (MR) and 360-degree video.
Augmented Reality (AR)
Augmented reality (AR) overlays digital objects or information on top of the real world. Users can view these objects by viewing the real world through AR glasses, or through a device such as a phone or tablet. A popular example of AR is Pokémon Go, in which players capture digital creatures called Pokémon, which they can see in the real-world environment using AR.
Virtual Reality (VR)
In a virtual reality (VR) experience, the user is completely immersed in an alternate world. While wearing a VR headset, the user no longer sees or experiences the real world around them. For example, in one popular VR experience the user walks a plank suspended 480 feet above a realistic city street. Users can experience VR using headsets like the Meta Quest 2.
Mixed Reality (MR)
Mixed reality (MR) combines augmented reality with virtual reality, allowing virtual objects to interact with real world objects. In mixed reality the user can move around a virtual object, and it stays in position like a real object would in the real world. Users can experience mixed reality using a headset like Microsoft's HoloLens.
360-Degree Video and Photos
360-degree videos and 360-degree photos let the user look around in any direction while viewing the video or photo on a PC, mobile device, or headset such as the Meta Quest 2. For example, Google Street View enables users to interact with 360-photos of views of many streets around the world. National Geographic's YouTube channel features many 360-degree videos such as Endangered Penguins of South Africa – 360.
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