MSU’s Digital Scholarship Lab first of its kind in the US

The state-of-the-art DSL, which includes a 360-degree immersive visualization room, will open at Michigan State University’s Main Library on Feb 5

Michigan State University Libraries and the College of Arts & Letters partnered to build the 10,000-square-foot Digital Scholarship Lab (DSL), which, besides the 360-degree immersive visualization room, will feature a virtual reality room with VR headsets, instruction space, meeting rooms, offices, and a dedicated room for digitization projects.

The 360-degree room, an Igloo Vision design, can accommodate up to 15 people at a time and will offer flexible applications for all disciplines in teaching, learning, and research. It is designed for multi-disciplinary use and has a software platform that allows for easy display of a number of visual formats.

The virtual reality room will feature four VR headsets, two Oculus Rifts and two HTC Vives. There also will be workstations throughout the lab with high-speed computers and software to support sophisticated design, and data analysis to facilitate cross-disciplinary collaboration.

“Stepping inside one of these spaces is a little like stepping inside a giant VR headset.’

The potential research and teaching applications of the lab include the following: history classes can use Google Street View to explore architecture from around the world; art history classes can engage in the process of an archaeological dig from the lab; interior designers can make their designs come to life; and game developers can develop and display their video games in a fully immersive environment.

“Stepping inside one of these spaces is a little like stepping inside a giant VR headset,” said Peter Halliday, Head of Communications for Igloo Vision. “And, because entire teams can get inside, it’s always a shared experience, so it’s ideal for collaborative teamwork, research projects, and training.”

Headquartered in the United Kingdom, with offices in New Jersey, Los Angeles and Toronto, Igloo Vision is a shared VR company that creates immersive projection spaces that can display any 360° or VR content. The company has worked with a number of European universities, including Loughborough University and Brighton University in England and Mid-Sweden University.

Details on open consultation or making an appointment can be found on the Digital Scholarship Lab website.