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Inside ­sc's Crazy Experimental Vr Lab

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VR headset at the Institute for Creative Technologies

USC's Institute for Creative Technologies explores training and learning opportunities for virtual reality and other technologies.

Credit: The Verge

The technologies and techniques developed at the University of Southern California's Institute for Creative Technologies, launched in 1999 with a $45-million grant from the U.S. Army, have made a significant impact in several realms. For example, the Wide5 virtual reality (VR) headset developed by a company started by Mike Bolas, head of ICT's Mixed Reality Lab, helped to inspire the current rush to develop commercial VR headsets. ICT also employed Oculus founder Palmer Luckey for a time after he inquired about the Wide5.

In addition, ICT researchers created the Light Stage, a geodesic dome containing lights and cameras used to create three-dimensional replicas of human subjects, which have been used behind the scenes in films such as "Avatar" and "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button." The technology earned its creators an Academy Award. Researcher Albert Rizzo developed a VR-based treatment for soldiers suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder at ICT, in part drawing from the video game "Full Spectrum Warrior," which also got its start at ICT.

Current projects at the lab include developing systems that enable drones to track and interact with moving objects, and Project BlueSpark, a joint initiative between ICT and the U.S. Navy to create a VR simulation of a ship's bridge.

From The Verge
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