Edge Hill University has unveiled the CAVE, the UK’s first super immersive 3D virtual environment as part of its new £13m Technology Hub.
The four-screen CAVE (Computer Augmented Virtual Environment) will offer students and businesses the chance to fully immerse themselves in a virtual room.
Using real data to replicate reality, users will be able to experience real life scenarios in 4k resolution, anything from emergency situations to complex surgery and lab reactions.
The CAVE is just one part of the low-carbon building which has been built thanks to £3m of support from the Lancashire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP).
Housing state-of-the-art biotechnology laboratories, big data servers for research and a Harvard style lecture theatre, the building will also house a programmable child-sized robot and giant 3D interactive teaching screens.
The Technology Hub aims to be a key resource not just for 600+ students but also employers across Lancashire and beyond, including those in the food manufacturing and digital creative industries.
A ‘Tech Sandpit’ will bring together students and business to discuss challenges and ideas which can then be developed using expertise from across computer science and biotechnology.
Budding entrepreneurs will also be able to tap into the skills and knowledge of the University and local industry in ‘The Hatchery’, a working space for new business ideas.
Mark Allanson, Pro Vice-Chancellor at Edge Hill University, said:
“Having this dedicated facility for technology shows the University’s commitment to technological innovation, computing and bioscience and reflects our success in producing employable, highly skilled graduates who contribute to the regional economy and beyond.
“These cutting-edge facilities and systems are an asset for the whole community and will help strengthen our partnerships within business and increase our research capabilities. Our collaboration with Lancashire Enterprise Partnership will help us to focus on regional skills needs.”
As well as catering for growing numbers of undergraduates the Technology Hub will open its doors to schools in areas where pupils are unlikely to enter higher education and/or study science, technology, engineering or math subjects.
Chair of the LEPs Growth Deal Management Board, Graham Cowley, said: “The LEP is investing around £30m in a network of new, modern training facilities which will enable thousands of local people to improve their employability and provide the skilled workforce needed to achieve our ambitious strategic plan for growth.
“We’ve prioritised investing in key areas of the economy such as the creative and digital sector, which already employs tens of thousands of people, is growing rapidly and is beginning to experience skills shortages.
“Supporting world-class facilities such as Edge Hill’s Technology Hub will ensure we have a pipeline of graduates with the cutting-edge creative and digital skills needed to help transform Lancashire’s economy and drive growth for years to come.”
The Tech Hub will be officially opened (19 October) by entrepreneur and former Chairman, President and CEO of world-leading technology company ARM Holdings, Sir Robin Saxby.
Facilities located on the third floor, the bioscience research laboratories, equipped for state-of-the-art investigations into animal and human samples will open later in the year.