The Maryland Blended Reality Center supports multiple education and outreach efforts, including:
CompSciConnect Summer CampWe are committed to improving diversity and inclusion in computer science. In collaboration with the Maryland Center for Women in Computing, MBRC organized Computer Science Connect (CompSciConnect), a series of summer day camps for middle students–particularly girls–to learn and explore new fields of computing. CompSciConnect gives students the opportunity to see the many ways in which VR and AR can be applied, gain hands-on experience in problem solving with VR and AR, and create applications with the help of graduate and undergraduate student mentors. The goal of this camp is to remove hurdles and dispel misconceptions that turn students away from the field, by exposing them to a variety of areas within computer science. CompSciConnect launched in 2012 with 14 participants. Today over 120 students participate each year.
Undergraduate Major in Immersive Media DesignThe newly launched Immersive Media Design (IMD) major was the brainchild of MBRC Director Amitabh Varshney. The major represents a unique collaboration at the University of Maryland between the College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences (CMNS) and the College of Arts and Humanities(ARHU), preparing students to excel in creativity and innovation using the latest digital tools and technologies. It is the first undergraduate program in the country that blends art with computer science to encompass a wide range of immersive media applications.
Undergraduate FIRE CourseInspired by the idea of combining classical art with new technologies, we organized a First-Year Innovation and Research Experience (FIRE) course through UMD’s partnership with The Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C. In this course, students utilized MBRC equipment–including the former Augmentarium–to enhance the art museum experience using AR, VR and other emerging technologies.