By Janice Phelan, September 8, 2020
The University of Central Missouri is launching the Mixed Reality Studio, part of its Gigabit Lab, during Global Entrepreneurship Week in November. The studio aims to advance state-of-the-art technology in virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) by developing new applications and educating the next generation of researchers, developers, entrepreneurs and technologists while collaborating with industry.
The Mixed Reality Studio provides access to leading edge devices, educational programs and industry through leadership that will educate and inspire the next generation of innovation in the areas of augmented reality and virtual reality. Access to the studio will help students, faculty and industry innovators to create, develop and deploy mixed reality experiences. The studio is located at the University’s Lee’s Summit campus, housed within the Missouri Innovation Campus.
According to Joe Mullins, UCM Center for Workforce and Professional Education, the new studio will help participants from a variety of fields to explore this technology, take advantage of experiential learning and research opportunities and develop new applications, products and services.
The Mixed Reality Studio was made possible by MoExcels funding, a Missouri Department of Higher Education and Workforce Development (MDHEWD) initiative to facilitate development and expansion of employer-driven education and training programs to substantially increase educational attainment. Through the application process, UCM proposed an expansion of information technology programming at the Missouri Innovation Campus, to include certificate and degree programs.
“The development of our Gigabit Lab aligned well with the timing of available funds through MoExcels. We are appreciative of the state for making this studio possible.” said Dr. Laurel Hogue.
The MoExcels initiative helped fund nearly $18 million in workforce initiative projects to support local workforce training needs in fiscal year 2020.
The Mixed Reality Studio will support research, application development, education and workforce initiatives to help students, entrepreneurs and companies drive innovation in their industry through the power of virtual reality and augmented reality, Mullins added. The studio will also fuel innovation, education, entrepreneurship and product development through partnerships and programs.
“The Mixed Reality Studio will create a working lab for innovation unlike any other in the region,” said Jeff Danley, Director of Innovation at VMLY&R. “I am genuinely excited to see this development right here in the Kansas City metro. Students, entrepreneurs and industry professionals are about to gain access to technology that will provide them with a significant advantage when creating innovative AR and VR experiences.”
The studio will create programs to develop the VR/AR talent pipeline and build the curriculum of professional education programs while offering hands-on learning opportunities for students. In addition, the studio allows faculty to perform research and create curriculum and experiences for students at the Missouri Innovation Campus and the UCM Warrensburg campus. Plans also call for UCM to offer membership and consultative services to companies, including access to startups, projects and corporate innovation programs, providing a state-of-the-art location to prototype new solutions and launch new ventures.
In partnership with Velocity Lee’s Summit, the Mixed Reality Studio will help entrepreneurs take their business idea/concept/startup to the next level, providing advice, support, mentoring, networking and preparation for funding.
“UCM continues to strengthen Lee’s Summit as a destination for startup and innovative companies, and the addition of VR/AR to their Gigabit Lab further enhances Velocity’s ability to support the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Lee’s Summit,” said Tim Denker, Chair of the Board of Velocity Lee’s Summit.
For more information about the Gigabit Lab and Mixed Reality Studio, contact Joe Mullins of UCM at firstname.lastname@example.org or (816) 441-2861.
The University of Central Missouri operates campuses in Lee’s Summit and Warrensburg, offering undergraduate and graduate degrees as well as certificate programs, professional education courses and customized corporate curriculum.
The UCM Gigabit Lab is designed to work with growth-oriented companies and innovators to develop and market products primarily in the education, cyber, programming, training and healthcare areas. The focus is on education, cyber security, virtual reality, augmented reality, Internet of Things, workforce and healthcare applications that can be deployed to students and teachers, and incorporated into UCM degree and certificate programs, as well as the general marketplace.