SITC students create program for virtual reality headset

Posted February 24, 2014

By Tommy Evans
Article from The Optimist

Students from ACU's School of Information Technology & Computing are in the process of 
creating a program for the virtual reality headset, Oculus Rift.

The Oculus Rift is a next generation virtual reality headset that provides 
a 360-degree environment as opposed to the standard 90-degrees that a 
television game offers. The goggles provide a view that is only limited by 
where the user is looking, allowing the users peripheral vision to become 
the limit to what can be seen. The Oculus Rift also reacts to head turning, 
allowing users to look around the virtual world just as they would in 

Dr. Brian Burton, assistant professor of information technology, used his 
development funds to purchase the Oculus Rift development kit for the 
Digital Entertainment Techonology (DET) class project.

"This is really the bleeding edge of digital entertainment technology," 
Burton said. "For students to be able to work on a project like this adds 
incredible value to their degree."

Burton said several companies are interested in his department's work with 
the headset, and that the students working on this project will enter the 
job world with incredible experience.

The students are creating a short film that encompasses a 270-degree view. 
The viewer will be able to turn their head and watch different parts of the 
film that are happening simultaneously.

Tim Holt, a junior DET major from Plano, is excited to have the opportunity 
to work with cutting-edge technology.

"To be a part of this project is mind-blowing to me," Holt said. "If this 
project turns out to be a success, there is a chance that we could be some 
of the first people in history to make a real life 270-degree film."

Dr. Burton sees much potential in the educational application of the Oculus 
Rift and similar technology.

"This technology could be used to simulate heart surgery or allow the user 
to witness a chemical reaction without the real-world risk, while retaining 
all the educational benefits," Burton said.

Burton hopes the project will be done by FilmFest, but because of the 
complexity of the technology, the completion date is still uncertain.

"Either way this goes, we will be able to learn and take away a lot from 
this," Burton said. "If the project is a success, it will have been an 
incredible task to work on. If we don't complete it, we will still have 
learned a lot about this technology."

Learn more about the School of Information Technology & Computing

Learn more about the Oculus Rift


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