SciVista Partners with the NMC to bring Virtual Reality to NM Universities
In 2021, SciVista began a partnership with the New Mexico Consortium (NMC) in order to bring Virtual Reality into the major New Mexico universities where students, professors, researchers, and faculty could capitalize on all the benefits that SummitVR™ and Virtual Reality can provide to higher education.
SciVista is a New Mexico based Virtual Reality (VR), data visualization software company that has spent the last 3 years developing a platform called SummitVR™. This platform visualizes everything from 3D models to advanced simulations all within a collaborative and fully customizable virtual environment.
SummitVR™ is a platform that can be useful and applied in just about any industry. Adopting VR enhances collaboration, immersion, active participation, memory retention, cost savings, advanced workflows, and learning via dynamic perspectives. VR allows for networked collaboration in simulated environments where participation in the real world is either preferred or not possible.
With the support and advocacy of NMC’s CEO Steve Buelow and his team, SciVista and the NMC were able to invest in an internship pilot program that included a total of 6 interns; from the University of New Mexico, New Mexico State University and New Mexico Tech.
The NMC provided funding for the program including equipment (VR Headsets and VR Ready Laptops), SummitVR™ Licenses and support for student mentoring by the SciVista development team. The internship was conducted over 16 weeks with interns contributing over 900+ hours of design and development efforts using the SummitVR™ data visualization platform.
Interns supported during the spring of 2022 include:
Noor Mamlook, New Mexico State University, Seeking MS in Computer Science, Graduating August 2022
Though Noor had never used the software previously, Noor expressed interest in learning Unity, the underlying engine for SummitVR™. She was able to build from scratch an entire solar system environment that allows users to view and navigate within the Milky Way. She developed controls that allowed for Real Scale so that users can see accurate relative rotation speeds and distance of planet orbits as well as a Viewable Scale to allow users to easily see all planets closer, and in context of one another (much like a science fair project). She incorporated a custom skybox to immerse the user within her scene and provided labels to help users identify individual planets. This development will be used to create environments for SciVista clients interested in space exploration such as Q Station in Albuquerque.
Bryan Carrillo, University of New Mexico, Seeking BA in Game Design and Animation, Prospective Graduation 2024
Bryan came from a gaming background and brought notable creativity and design to his project. He developed a camera toggle system that uses several virtual cameras within the VR environment to allow users to output a camera’s view to the desktop and to a smaller screen reticle. He also designed and built his entire environment within VR. This functionality has been on our roadmap at SciVista and requested by several clients who work in education. The system will be extended to our desktop mode in the future releases of the SummitVR™ platform.
Brenden Herkenhoff, Earned BS Mechanical Engineering, New Mexico Tech, Seeking Ph.D. Mechanical Engineering, Prospective Graduation 2024
Joshua Gutierrez, New Mexico State University, Seeking BA in Computer Science, Prospective Graduation 2023
Though Josh and Brenden came into the internship from different universities, they both worked together to implement component selection tools for highlighting and selecting individual parts of a model. They designed the custom shaders for the visual translucent effects and selection as well as integrating text and part numbers for users to identify individual pieces of the model both visually and with textual information. Such a tool can greatly enhance the workflow of CAD and other 3D modeling. Josh enabled significant development within the Unity Inspector (a non-code section within the Unity Engine that allows other developers to control aspects of a script without coding). This effort allows not just those proficient in code, but artists and other digital designers to come in and change visual aspects and grouping of the Component Selection script. Design like this is team oriented and promotes better and more efficient development efforts. Brenden worked on creating custom 3D slider elements as well as incorporating knowledge from SciVista tutorials during the internship to create custom blend shapes and animations on the slider he developed. He scripted some of the first tactile buttons for the platform. When his tactile buttons are pressed using collisions, they visually react via press and release. This development has also been on our roadmap and requested by many clients. Such efforts will be incorporated in future SummitVR™ releases.
James Montoya, New Mexico Tech, Seeking BS then Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering, Prospective Graduation 2024
Matthew Neves, New Mexico Tech, Seeking BS in Mechanical Engineering, Prospective Graduation 2023
James and Matt worked together to build a Constrained Position/Rotation Movement System that allows for more precise movement changes on individual 3D models within the VR environment. Because the SummitVR™ platform offers an infinite space it’s sometimes hard to align objects via unrestricted movement, however with this functionality users can precisely rotate or position an object along the X, Y, Z axis to place objects exactly where the user intended. The team was successful in making the system widget-able i.e, any object in the scene can be constrained if the constrained movement system is paired to it. This too is client requested functionality that will be easily integrated into our new UI release at the end of June, 2022.
To learn more about SciVista and SummitVR™, see their webpage at: https://www.scivista.com/