Engineering Program Acquires Virtual/Augmented Reality Systems

Dimond High School’s Engineering Program has recently acquired virtual reality and augmented reality systems (VR/AR) for students to use and interact with.

VR is a device that you put on over your head, covering your eyes, that simulates a virtual world.

AR is just like VR, but it uses the existing environment to overlay an image or object.

For example, Pokemon Go uses AR technology and Playstation is starting to release VR for video games.

Wade Roach, one of the engineering teachers at Dimond, is the teacher in charge of the VR and AR systems.

Roach said, “We got VR and AR to be prepared to develop information technology (IT) solutions on new platforms that society will be using in the future, and to get kids excited about computing and programming by using technology that they appreciate.”

Dimond has two types of VR systems: the Oculus Rift, and the HTC Vive. Dimond also has two AR systems, the Hololens by Microsoft.

Allen Koch, a senior at Dimond, helps out Roach with the VR systems.

Koch said, “I have used many different types of VR and AR systems including the Oculus Rift, the HTC Vive and the Hololens by Microsoft. [Mr.] Roach asked if I would help him with the systems to ensure the best quality use.”

While the systems are expensive, are VR and AR worth all the money and effort being put into them?

The cost of VR and AR is very expensive, and they constantly need updates.  For example, the Hololens by Microsoft is around $4,000, and Dimond has two of them.

Koch said, “ VR is quite undeveloped at this moment, but has the potential to be something great. I would get one at home, but I would only use it for gaming purposes.”

VR and AR can be used for educational purposes and just to have fun.

Koch said, “VR and AR is worth all the money because of how many applications there are to play and use. People will have tons of fun using the systems and can learn from them.”

Roach said, “Our district Career and Technical Education (CTE) department used state CTE funds to purchase the equipment for the IT pathway.”

Students will start using these systems in the spring semester classes.

Roach said, “It will be used in the IT Pathway at Dimond as a development platform and to expose students to these technologies.”

Students across Dimond are excited to get their hands on this new technology.

Ian Laprise, a senior at Dimond, is excited to use the systems and learn from them.

Laprise said,”I hope [Mr.] Roach teaches us how to use the systems to help use with the evolving technology. I also hope he lets us get games for the systems to play in our free time.”

Laprise continued, “VR is going to be everywhere in the future, and AR is already being used for phone applications like Pokemon Go. Learning how to use VR will help everyone in the future.”