Utah Valley University announced on Tuesday that it has received funding to complete its new mixed reality digital media program. The grant will be used by UVU’s College of Engineering and Technology to continue to find STEM-related applications for virtual reality and augmented reality.
Additionally, UVU will use this funding for its new mixed reality and simulation curriculum, which falls under UVU’s Department of Digital Media. Classes for this program are scheduled to begin in the fall of 2022.
“The Rocky Mountain Power Foundation grant is for Microsoft HoloLens 2 augmented headsets, which allow users to work with objects placed virtually in a physical space,” reads a UVU press release. “Mixed reality technology involves the blending of the physical and digital worlds, freeing users from screen-bound virtual reality experiences, such as headsets that block out the physical world.”
This initiative and curriculum was led by Michael Harper, Marty Clayton, and Paul Cheney, all of whom are digital media professors at UVU.
“The next decade of extended reality technologies will form the foundation for the next 100 years of our technology-based world,” Harper said in a press release. “Without the help of our partners like the Rocky Mountain Power Foundation, we could not have accelerated our capabilities to achieve these goals. We are extremely grateful for their help and vision as we create incredible opportunities to learn STEM and emerging technologies for our students. »
UVU offered two pilot Mixed-Reality Essentials courses, one last fall and another this semester, with approximately 30 students participating in the courses. In the future, the university plans to offer similar courses to high school students who are concurrently enrolled at UVU, as well as mixed reality training workshops for local high school teachers.
“I love that our program was able to give students the opportunity to experience cutting-edge technologies that can improve our current reality,” UVU digital media student Chelsea Hansen said in a press release. “Of all the devices, the HoloLens 2 really caught my eye because it fulfilled my childhood dream of holographic reality – something that I think isn’t too far off from consumer use.”
The Rocky Mountain Power Foundation is the philanthropic arm of Rocky Mountain Power. The Rocky Mountain Power Foundation provides grants to nonprofit organizations in Utah, Idaho, and Wyoming specializing in education, STEM, community betterment, environmental stewardship, arts and culture, and safety and well-being. In 2021, the foundation awarded more than $1.5 million in grants to local nonprofits.