Monday, 12 February 2024
This year’s cohort of second year Product Design and Manufacture students at the University of Nottingham are the first in the country to benefit from a brand-new virtual reality (VR) classroom that revolutionises the teaching of VR software.
Based in the university’s Engineering Science and Learning Centre (ESLC), the classroom enables remote viewing and communication between lecturers and students in a way that’s never been done before. Containing 40, high image quality VR headsets, 35 of which are tethered overhead to individual high-power PCs with the remaining five consisting of more traditional desk-based systems with display screens, students can choose the way they want to learn and experience VR.
In addition to the in-situ technology, 90 wireless headsets are available to loan to students. These can be used in any location so that they can continue their studies outside the classroom. There is also staff and student access to several 3D scanners and 360 stereoscopic cameras.
Professor Joel Segal, Head of Mechanical Materials and Manufacturing Engineering (M3) in the Faculty of Engineering, said: “While many universities, including us, have existing VR labs, these are nowhere near the scale of our newly unveiled facilities, which will provide our students with access to cutting edge tools and technologies unlike anything else on offer across the globe."
We have a desire to be at the forefront of technology in teaching and we’ve already been making strides in this area in recent years in our smaller VR labs. Now, however, we have the opportunity to take the lead in the UK and further build our reputation for producing engineers that are ready to shape the real world.
The room can also be used flexibly for other teaching purposes as, when not in use, the headsets can be raised into the ceiling space.
Another aim of the facilities is to allow real time collaboration across international campuses, as Nottingham’s Ningbo campus has its own VR lab, so that students from across the world can work together in labs or in design-based exercises.
Professor Sam Kingman, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for the Faculty of Engineering, said: “The virtual reality classroom is an incredibly exciting addition to our teaching facilities as we continue to position ourselves at the forefront of VR teaching. We believe that great minds don’t think alike, which is why we want to provide our students with a truly unique experience."
We’ll also be working to create custom environments and objects that are suitable for teaching a range of engineering and architecture subjects as we widen our remit in the coming years to allow students from other courses access to the VR classroom.
To find out more about the Faculty of Engineering, please visit: www.nottingham.ac.uk/engineering/index.aspx
More information is available from Simon Harrison, Faculty of Engineering, at email@example.com, or; Danielle Hall, Media Relations Manager at the University of Nottingham, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 0115 846 7156.
About the Faculty of Engineering:
Made up of six departments – Architecture and Built Environment, Chemical and Environmental Engineering, Civil Engineering, Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Mechanical, Materials and Manufacturing Engineering and Foundation Engineering and Physical Sciences – the university’s Faculty of Engineering is home to more than 5,600 students and 800 staff.
The faculty, which has educated engineers and architects for more than 140 years, was the first in the country to be accredited with an Athena SWAN Gold Award for excellence in advancing gender equality across higher education and research and is home to multiple state-of-the-art facilities, including the recently opened £40m Power Electronics and Machines Centre (PEMC).
With research at its heart, 20 research groups are undertaking pioneering projects for a sustainable future across several themes – including net zero transport, sustainable energies and the built environment, advanced manufacturing, and healthcare technologies – and has delivered a positive impact in more than 20 countries. The faculty’s research has benefitted 500 companies and three governments and has also directly created jobs for around 3,000 people across the world.
Notes to editors:
About the University of Nottingham
Ranked 32 in Europe and 16th in the UK by the QS World University Rankings: Europe 2024, the University of Nottingham is a founding member of the Russell Group of research-intensive universities. Studying at the University of Nottingham is a life-changing experience, and we pride ourselves on unlocking the potential of our students. We have a pioneering spirit, expressed in the vision of our founder Sir Jesse Boot, which has seen us lead the way in establishing campuses in China and Malaysia - part of a globally connected network of education, research and industrial engagement.
Nottingham was crowned Sports University of the Year by The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2024 – the third time it has been given the honour since 2018 – and by the Daily Mail University Guide 2024.
The university is among the best universities in the UK for the strength of our research, positioned seventh for research power in the UK according to REF 2021. The birthplace of discoveries such as MRI and ibuprofen, our innovations transform lives and tackle global problems such as sustainable food supplies, ending modern slavery, developing greener transport, and reducing reliance on fossil fuels.
The university is a major employer and industry partner - locally and globally - and our graduates are the second most targeted by the UK's top employers, according to The Graduate Market in 2022 report by High Fliers Research.
We lead the Universities for Nottingham initiative, in partnership with Nottingham Trent University, a pioneering collaboration between the city’s two world-class institutions to improve levels of prosperity, opportunity, sustainability, health and wellbeing for residents in the city and region we are proud to call home.