By Roza Panos
Quincy University is more technologically advanced than most people realize.
Over the summer, Jiang Li, associate professor of computer science, hosted a workshop for teachers. At the workshop, he taught them about upcoming technology at QU, specifically virtual reality, which is a computer-generated environment that people can explore and interact with. Virtual reality allows people to become part of a virtual world and manipulate a series of actions.
Currently, computer science majors are using the school’s new virtual reality lab.
One such major, Alan Duncan, is using the lab to work on his senior project along with his group members. They are using Google Cardboard, which pairs with smartphones and a Microsoft Kinect sensor, to track body movement.
“Our goal is to create an interactive environment that you can move around in and interact with your smartphone,” Duncan said.
He hopes this opportunity will not only help them grow but also show more people how rewarding and exciting computer science can be.
“Virtual reality is fun when you make certain things achievable,” Duncan said.
Nathan Schell, who is also a senior computer science major, is impressed with QU’s recent technological advances. In addition to the new lab, QU has a 3-D printing lab and an Amazon Echo.
Next semester, Schell hopes to see the virtual reality lab a fully integrated part of QU.
“It’s nice being on the front end of technology and to have access to something most people don’t know about,” he said.
Schell thinks that if students were informed about QU’s technological advances, it would spark some interest.
Li agrees; virtual reality is not just for computer science majors.
“I’m trying to collaborate with the Art Department, especially with graphic design majors because I think they would be interested,” he said.
Li hopes to see the computer science program grow by adding new concentrations, giving students an opportunity to get into the front ends of software engineering areas and possibly building their careers.
Even though this program is still in the works, Li and his students are excited to see the program grow and hope that many more projects become reality.