Erasmus University Rotterdam opens an Immersive Tech Space to boost education, research, and external collaborations, by responsibly implementing tech like VR, AR, MR, and holography.
On January 16, Ed Brinksma officially opened the Immersive Tech Space, as part of the Erasmus Data Collaboratory, at the Erasmus University Rotterdam Woudestein campus. The immersive Tech Space brings together EUR academics, students, support staff, and practitioners from industry and government. Here users, supported by immersive tech engineers and (gamification) experts, can experiment, visualize, and collaborate across domains. It is a space to educate/learn, research, and engage with stakeholders, through immersive technologies. VR, AR, MR, and holography are used as new vehicles to increase understanding, embrace other perspectives, and come to new types of collaborations that boost innovation, and therefore create societal impact.
Roles of the Immersive Tech Space (ITS) at EUR
1. Connecting, engaging, and inspiring. In this space, we can stimulate and explore new ways to engage our academics, professional staff, and students with our external world. It fosters collaborative activity and increases creativity and engagement and can be used as a new medium for communication with customers (in an organizational context), citizens (for cities), or patients (within healthcare).
2. Supporting Education. The space enables education in novel, inclusive, and sustainable ways. It houses an XR classroom and acts as a playground for students and professors. ErasmusX is initiating the use of immersive tech for soft skill development for students, with the ambition to further facilitate the use of these technologies as part of the curriculum. Research into immersive education is also an essential part of the offering, to further explore the educational value of these technologies. ECDA will start an educational program for professionals on the crossover between immersive tech and AI. These programs are important to increase data, AI, and immersive tech literacy on campus, and among external partners. Knowing which critical questions to ask and how to use them responsibly, are key to preparing our (new) generations for working with these rapidly developing technologies.
3. Supporting Research & Innovation. Here immersive technologies can be used at the outset of research projects and innovation programmes, to clarify complex concepts, stimulate scientific experiments, and get a better understanding of the challenges that stakeholders encounter. Next, it can also help to explain research findings more intuitively, and through gamification elements, present results in a more engaging manner. The space also serves as a place to inspire academics to start using these technologies as research tools.
The Immersive Tech Space is initiated and realized by the Erasmus Centre for Data Analytics, ErasmusX, and researchers from various faculties of Erasmus University Rotterdam. Various EUR and Convergence initiatives around data, AI, and immersive tech will be supported here, like for example the Erasmian Language Model (LLM) and education for the Deepcell project. For more information see: https://ecda.eur.nl/immersive-tech-space/
The Immersive Tech Space is part of the Erasmus Data Collaboratory and is situated in the Polak building on the EUR Woudestein campus. The Data Collaboratory is one of the Houses of AI, as initiated and supported by the Convergence of Universities. This hub is an innovative home for initiatives around data, AI, and Immersive technologies at the Erasmus University Rotterdam.
Grand Opening Immersive Tech Space
During the Grand Opening of the Immersive Tech Space, various experts and supporters of immersive technology within education, research, and application by industry or government, will give inspirational talks and demos. Topics covered include the advantages of immersive education and blended learning, how AR can boost inclusivity, increasing citizen engagement through digital twins and metaverse, and showcasing impactful industry applications with holography.
During the official opening ceremony of the Immersive Tech Space, Desiderius Erasmus, the patron of our university, will be brought to life digitally and the first official holography room on campus will be launched.
Afterwards, there will be diverse immersive experiences, so everyone present can try out the immersive technologies themselves. The visitors will be able to explore how it is to study and understand customers in a VR store, practice medicine by using AR, see how easy it is to create live deep fakes, and experience immersive art.
Prof. Dr. Ed Brinksma, President of the Executive Board of the EUR: “I am very proud that the Immersive Tech Space, as part of the Erasmus Data Collaboratory, is being realized with the involvement of Erasmus Centre for Data Analytics (ECDA), ErasmusX, EUR support staff and diverse external partners. In this space of endless worlds, our academics and students can collaborate in completely novel ways, that offer opportunities to address wicked problems (or work on societal challenges) from different perspectives while speaking the same visual language through immersive technologies.”
Jos van Dongen, Director Erasmus Data Collaboratory at ECDA: The Immersive Tech Space brings together our academics, our immersive tech and data engineers, and students with external partners and stakeholders, to truly engage and collaborate via immersive experiences within their domains, especially within innovative projects that require an interdisciplinary approach.
Vanessa Abel, Programme Director ErasmusX: If it is true that we remember 10% of what we read, 50% of what we see and hear, and 80% of what we experience, then immersive learning has just become vital for the current and next generation students, cultivating a deep connection with knowledge to shape adept professionals for a dynamic and complex world with all of its challenges.
For more information:
Marta Stachowiak-de Wit: Marketing & Communications Lead at Erasmus Centre for Data Analytics: firstname.lastname@example.org
Jos van Dongen: Director Erasmus Data Collaboratory at Erasmus Centre for Data Analytics
Simeon van Eijl: Innovation & Tech Manager/Project Lead Immersive Tech at ErasmusX
Vanessa Abel: Programme Director at ErasmusX