Michigan State University (MSU) launched a brand-new Digital Scholarship Lab in 2018. The 10,000 sq. ft space is the first of its kind across the US, and forms an inclusive, interdisciplinary space for technology and collaboration. As its centrepiece, the Digital Scholarship Lab (DSL) showcases a custom-built Igloo cylinder.
While MSU has always had high-quality digital and technology facilities, these haven't always been easily accessible. Some were spread across campus. Some were restricted to certain departments. Others had limited opening hours. The DSL was proposed as a central hub to provide workstations, high-end technology and virtual reality all in one space. Open late hours to reflect the realities of student life, and available for all students and faculty across disciplines.
Kristy Kellom discusses using the Shared VR cylinder for planning, design and construction focus groups
As part of the DSL, MSU envisioned the use of immersive displays. It wanted a showpiece technology that would excite students to visit this new space to access what they had never been able to before. An Igloo cylinder looked like the ideal solution.
Across disciplines, MSU students and faculty have found a range of creative uses for their Igloo since installation. There have been numerous cases of innovation, ingenuity, discovery and collaboration, including:
- History & religious studies classes using Google Earth to explore architecture and sites from around the world in 360°.
- Art history & archaeology classes can engage in the process of an archaeological dig.
- Interior designers and landscape architecture students bringing their designs to life.
- Game developers can develop and display their video games in a fully immersive environment (the Igloo is able to run both the Unity and Unreal game engines).
- Immersive art, combining the power of an exhibit with the immersion of 360° films.
For more on how MSU's students and faculty have used Shared VR, you can download the case study.
Justin Leggs talks about the shared experience inside the Igloo
Download the case study