Welcome to the X_Realm: Design Innovation's Newest Extended Reality Lab
X_Realm, a new extended reality lab located in the DI HUB, is set to become Design Innovation’s newest space in the spring 2023 semester.
Located in the lower level of the DI HUB, the violet-lit interior of the X_Realm entices passersby to enter and experiment with the augmented and virtual reality devices inside. Filling the space are three XR consoles with HTC Vive Pro 2, HTC Focus 3, and Microsoft HoloLens XR headsets, as well as an XR content creation workstation hosting programs such as Unity and Unreal. The entire space will be available to DI Collaborators by appointment, opening up endless possibilities for creative and practical projects.
“It's important that students understand how [XR] technology works so that they are able to use it in their future careers. It's also important to have an XR Lab in the DI HUB because there are so many ways to connect XR to unique collaborative projects, or to develop new ways of solving problems that are really interesting,” said Chris Holthe, director of the Design Innovation Hub and Ecosystem.
Whether it is finding new ways to work with people with disabilities, creating applications for mental health educational simulations or just wanting to play the latest immersive video games, X_Realm will be available to a diverse audience of collaborators.
“This space is meant to be both fun and educational,” Holthe said. “So we plan to host a lot of workshops on different [XR] applications…so people, if they haven't used XR before, can come and test out this equipment, see how it works, and really feel immersed in a virtual environment. Beyond that, if anyone is interested in developing really interesting projects for an XR space, this is a great place to do that, too.”
J.R. Campbell, executive director of the Design Innovation Initiative, said the addition of the X_Realm will expand the conceptual and experimental capabilities of the DI Hub.
“The addition of the X_Realm in the DI Hub builds on the open access and makerspace mindsets that stand at the core of the Design Innovation Initiative,” Campbell said. “The X_Realm space is open for any student, faculty and staff member at Kent State to utilize as a means to explore, collaborate and solve messy problems through the use of immersive tools.”
Anyone interested in accessing X_Realm can do so by signing up for a DI Hub orientation and becoming a DI Collaborator. Being a DI Collaborator gives you access to the many spaces and technologies available throughout the DI HUB and ecosystem. X_Realm will be open to the university community starting January 17, 2023.