UM Virtual Reality Lab to Host Open House

Campus, community partners encouraged to come learn how to be involved with emerging technology

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi’s Virtual Reality Lab is opening its doors next week to anyone interested in anything having to do with virtual reality.

The McLean Institute for Public Service and Community Engagement has partnered with Jackson-based VR company Lobaki to introduce faculty, staff, students and community partners to the numerous, possible VR applications in their work during an open house Tuesday, June 22, 1-3 p.m., at Insight Park.

The technology can be used to teach, supplement research and enhance workforce development training. To achieve that goal, new VR content must be created, which is what the Virtual Reality Lab is equipped to do.

“We are interested in how this can have an impact in economic development in Mississippi,” said JR Love, project manager for the McLean Institute. “We want to find the people who can come to Insight Park and use these tools to develop the content that goes into these applications. This is a growing industry, and I want to see the university and the state involved in that space.”

Lobaki, which helped establish the lab and has worked with the university in the VR space since 2017, works to develop, curate and promote VR as both an educational tool as well as a growth industry and job-creation tool in the state.

The staff of Lobaki and the McLean Institute are in conversation with the auto manufacturing industry in Blue Springs and engaged with students in a number of K-12 schools across the state. Love said there is interest from the health care and tourism industries, as well.

“We believe that there is something in VR for just about everybody,” said Zack Davenport, education and special projects manager for Lobaki. “If you’re interested in innovative technology, education or VR, you should come out and see what’s available at the lab. We’ll find something amazing to show you based on your interests.”

While attending the open house, faculty, staff and students looking for VR applications within their work can speak with representatives from the Virtual Reality Lab, Lobaki and the McLean Institute.

The event is come and go; however, an RSVP is requested. For more information or to RSVP, email Mary Ellen Cobb