Virtual learning lab fosters interactive learning environment

On the third floor of the Angelo and Jennette Volpe library, a virtual learning lab has been created.

VisCube, a virtual 3-D simulation lab, gives students a unique opportunity for a hands-on learning approach, said technical director David Brown. In a virtual simulation, the VisCube can recreate a human heart, giving students the effect of looking through the actual heart or walking through Derryberry Hall. The virtual lab was also created to help professors further their research, said Brown.

The lab has already incorporated several different majors for newly started projects.

“(Students) are putting input in from all different perspectives,” said Stephanie Scarborough, Business Media Service Center coordinator. “It really is an interdisciplinary environment.”

By using the expertise of different majors, solutions to problems can be solved faster and more efficiently.

“Too many times we look at a project and we look at a problem from our viewpoint. I’m a computer engineer, and I’m going to solve this with a computer,” said Brown. “Here, our groups are spread out over so many different majors that you can expand your viewpoint rather than being narrowly focused.”

Interns from many majors, minus nursing, are working in the lab, said Brown. However, the lab is looking for a nursing major to add to the team.

A goal of Bharat Soni, vice president of Research and Economic Development, was to bring the lab to Tech when he first started in 2013, said Brown. Since then, the College of Business and the Office of Research and Economic Development partnered together to create the lab called iCube.

The entire lab is entirely self-funded through grants, said Scarborough. From its initial beginning, the goal of the lab was to be self-sufficient within two years from its origin, said Brown.

Part of the construction for the lab has already been completed but other parts of the space are still underway. However, the rough construction of the lab is complete, said Brown. The lab is still awaiting the arrival of new furniture and more lighting for the space.

Some students have already had the opportunity to use the VisCube in the iCube space.

“This is huge. The biggest booms have been with radio, TV and then what? This is the next one,” said Karim Odeh, international business and cultures major. “I think Tech has the opportunity to be one of the first universities to make their mark on this. With the virtual reality system, Tech can be on the map. There is no reason in five years why Tech can’t be a household name.”

The projected completion date of the lab is yet to be determined. After the finishing touches are made to the lab, there will be a grand opening for all students and faculty. Currently, the lab has an open-door policy for all students that are interested.

“If students want to come in and work, then they are more than welcome to come in here and work with us,” said Brown.

Many on the iCube staff are hopeful for what the future will bring.

“What we do here is purely limited only by the imagination of the person that is coming up with the idea,” said Brown.