UCSD opens country's first virtual reality lab

LA JOLLA, Calif. (KGTV) — It may seem like a typical computer science classroom at UC San Diego, but it’s the first virtual reality lab to open in the country. 

“I can interact with these tools and grab things, touch things,” said Connor Smith.

Smith, a third-year student at the University, said he’s passionate about creating interactive virtual reality worlds. 

“Would you rather read a history textbook or would you rather go back in time and experience history as if you were there,” said Smith. 

He said he puts on the goggle-like devices and it transports him to a different place - one he created. 

“Virtual reality is the future, augmented reality comes right after,” said Professor Jurgen Schulze. 

Schulze teaches the undergraduate students how to program, design and develop a new world. The class officially launched in May. It started with 30 students, and it has expanded to about 300 students.

“Being inside a world they design is a unique experience for them,” said Schulze. 

Smith said his passion project is creating a world where people can feel what it’s like to have certain eye disorders. He said once people put on the device, it helps them feel what other people are experiencing. 

“It facilitates empathy so that people can understand what it's like to live with a perspective of someone who does have disorders,” said Smith. 

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