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ABOUT UAT
University of Advancing Technology is an elite, private college that serves its student body by fostering knowledge creation and academic excellence in an environment that embraces the young technophiles of the world. With three centers of research and a suite of technology-centered undergraduate and graduate degrees, the University is a recognized leader in technology education.

Learn More About UAT

    Mixed Reality


    You've heard of VR and AR, or virtual and augmented reality, but have you heard of MR? MR, or Mixed Reality, is the next step in human computer interaction. Let's go over some of the differences between these realities and what MR means for us in the future. Virtual reality is the act of completely submerging yourself in a virtual environment. Right now it is mostly used for...

    You've heard of VR and AR, or virtual and augmented reality, but have you heard of MR? MR, or Mixed Reality, is the next step in human computer interaction. Let's go over some of the differences between these realities and what MR means for us in the future.

    Virtual reality is the act of completely submerging yourself in a virtual environment. Right now it is mostly used for gaming with headsets such as the Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, Valve Index, PlayStation VR, etc. Virtual reality completely replaces your surroundings with fictitious ones. Placing you anywhere from the ocean to the store.

    VR005

    Augmented reality takes a physical object or space and overlays an image or object on it. You may know this in the form of Pokémon Go, the popular mobile phone game. IKEA also uses this technology to help you know exactly how a piece of furniture would look in your house, or if it will even fit! Google has incorporated some AR features into their cameras as well, allowing users to spice up their photos with some interesting creatures or objects.

    VR-in-Architecture

    Mixed reality is just that, mixed. It mixes the virtual and real worlds together. It takes augmented reality to the next level, allowing real and simulated objects to interact in real-time. Imagine creating a 3D model on your computer and then waving your hand and pulling your model out of your screen to see how big it is in the real world. Microsoft has been developing the HoloLens to do precisely that and much more. At the moment only big businesses have the funds to purchase these devices, but the future is coming and it's coming quickly!

    HCI-290x223

    Technologies like these, whether they are VR, AR, or MR are leading the way into very new fields of science. And they are allowing us to innovate in ways that were previously not thought of or impossible! Imagine surgeons being able to have an overlay of exactly where they need to cut, or engineers being able to see the hidden studs within a building without having to touch it or look at a diagram! This is the future of human computer interaction!

    -Kody Mitchell

     

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    Alumni Interview: Justin Anthony


    Justin Anthony is a Navy veteran and UAT graduate. After running across his name in the Omaha World-Herald, we thought we'd check in to...

    Justin Anthony is a Navy veteran and UAT graduate. After running across his name in the Omaha World-Herald, we thought we'd check in to see how he feels about his education and experience at UAT, as well as his career since graduation. Read on to find out more about Justin!

     

    Tell us a little bit about yourself. 

    Well, where I am from is hard to pinpoint. I spent my first early years in Colorado, moved to Nebraska for a while, joined the Navy and went all over the world, then back to Nebraska for a while. So, maybe Nebraska? I don't FEEL like I am from here, but it's the last place I've lived, haha.

    When did you attend UAT and what did you study?

    I got accepted to UAT right as I deployed to Iraq back in 2009. About 5 or 6 years later I graduated with a bachelors in Virtual Modeling and Design with a 3.98 GPA. See, it took me longer because I had to take frequent breaks due to deployments and that sort of thing.

     

    What was your favorite class?

    My favorite classes were the Data/Scientific Visualization classes with Professor Spencer (who is no longer at UAT), and the 3D modeling classes. Professor Spencer in particular pushed me to my limits, and then just beyond them. He helped me whenever I needed it, and went above and beyond to ensure I came out of these classes with something I could really use. See, I love 3D modeling, and the data visualization classes helped me put art to use in mediums other than games or movies. Those 2 classes, along with Human Computer interaction, and UI/UX courses, set me up for a new career outside of the military. Thank goodness too, because the Navy didn't help me with any of that at all.

     

    How do you think UAT is different from other schools?

    It wasn't just the knowledge and skills I gained from UAT, but a passion for technology, too. I quickly became a software engineer after graduating, putting most of what I learned to the test. Chief among these skills was the ability to learn new material quickly. I had to be able to do that to graduate, since I was 100% remote and active duty. The pace of learning stuck with me, and has been a driving factor in everything I do.

     

    What have you done since graduating? Do you feel UAT prepared you?

    With my love for tech, the ability to consume it quickly, and a passion for keeping a pulse on emerging technologies and methodologies I was set up perfectly to have a life-long career in technology. I'm not only a software engineer, but I've been developing video games, dabbling in robotics, and looking for new opportunities to do something cool with colleagues I still keep in touch with from UAT.

     

    How does the latest tech make a difference in today’s career market?
    The latest career market in relation to technology is evolving very quickly. There is a lot of demand for talent in tech fields, and although there are enough people to fill those roles, employers are becoming very competitive to get the best into their ranks. The tech field is not easy to excel in unless you're truly passionate about it. UAT will undoubtedly fuel that passion, whether it currently exists within you or not. Before I started, I just wanted to be an animator. Coming out the other side I felt more like a generalist that can dip into any arena in the tech field that strikes my fancy. There is a lot of demand for specialists, but generalists like myself are more rare, and more sought after due to their ability to lead multiple teams comprised of different skill sets.

    So, thanks, UAT.

    Thank YOU, Justin! We are proud of your service and achievements, and glad that you shared with us. As an educational institution, our best moments come from hearing that our students are successful in their chosen career path.

    University of Advancing Technology Virtual Reality degree student using VR equipment

    Have a story to share? Email marketing@uat.edu.

     


     

    At UAT, we work hard to provide a helpful transition to veterans. Advance your civilian career, complement your military skills or pursue a fresh path in advancing technology. Whichever path you choose, UAT is committed to your success. Find out more at https://www.uat.edu/military, and get started by filling out our Fast App at https://uatfastapp.com.

     

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    AR Escape Room Makes Phoenix News


    UAT students created a virtual escape room for their Student Innovation Project, and Phoenix is buzzing about it!   Max Gorden, reporter for Arizona's Family News (3TV and CBS 5), visited campus on Thursday,...

    UAT students created a virtual escape room for their Student Innovation Project, and Phoenix is buzzing about it!

     

    Max Gorden, reporter for Arizona's Family News (3TV and CBS 5), visited campus on Thursday, January 9, to learn more about AR Escape Room and the students behind this new style of game.

     
    Max_Students
     
     
    Gorden demoed the game and interviewed the team to find out how they created this new augemented reality experience in an escape room format. 
     
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    Watch the full story from azfamilynews.com: 
     
     
    New students are joining the project as it has been greenlit for another semester of Production Studios, preparing for its anticipated release potentially by the end of 2020. 
     
    Find out more about the AR Escape Room on our Youtube, and check out other UAT highlights.
     
     
    Last December, the team was also invited to demo their game at Tech The Halls, an annual event held by the Arizona Technology Council, where the students were presented with scholarships for their innovation!  
     
    IMG_5396
    Darin Palermo, Kaulana Lee , and Lyndsay Boggs at Tech the Halls. 
     
    Learn more about UAT's dedication to educate students in advancing technology who innovate for our future through its elite majors and degree offerings.
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    UAT Student Develops HoloLens VR Project


      UAT student and former student employee, Fred Hunt, has been working on his HoloLens ...

     

    UAT student and former student employee, Fred Hunt, has been working on his HoloLens VR student project for quite some time. You can absolutely see the level of dedication, work and thought that has gone into the project. We're very excited to see the end project! 

     

    Nice work, Fred! 

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    Furniture Now Includes Technology


      Everyone has seen a hologram before. This special effect typically reserved for futuristic action movies can now be found in furniture.   Daryl Garcia, a natural builder, problem solver and hands-on worker, decided to take his Student Innovation Project (SIP) to the next level by merging leading...

     

    Everyone has seen a hologram before. This special effect typically reserved for futuristic action movies can now be found in furniture.

     

    Daryl Garcia, a natural builder, problem solver and hands-on worker, decided to take his Student Innovation Project (SIP) to the next level by merging leading technology and unique furniture pieces.


    Before embarking on his SIP, Daryl mocked up a small, five-inch version of a hologram table and a hologram lantern. These small innovations gave him the idea to go big. He repurposed a spare TV, built a wooden frame to house it and used a 3D printer to create brackets to hold everything together.

     

    The science behind a hologram is simple, you just need the right tools. The TV plays an image, which is what will be projected, and a Raspberry Pi converts the image into a hologram. Anything with an HDMI port can be connected to the TV, which makes image and video options endless. In addition, the table can play music in sync with the images since TVs have built in speakers.

     

    Daryl explains that the more movement images have, for example exploding fireworks, the more interesting it is to watch.

     

    Daryl isn’t done with holograms, “It would be cool to make a dining room table and make it [the hologram] rise up out of it.”

     

    What has a SIP inspired you to do? Learn more about the Digital Maker and Fabrication degree.

     

    UAT-blog-hologramTable

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    How to Make a VR Movie


    How do you make a Virtual Reality (VR) Movie? I’m sure you’ve tested out a VR headset, whether it be a game or a short film, and thought, “Wow, this is pretty cool! But how do they do it?" How do they make it so realistic, how do they place you inside the game or the film? What goes into making a VR movie? “The biggest challenge of making a VR movie is that you never...

    How do you make a Virtual Reality (VR) Movie? I’m sure you’ve tested out a VR headset, whether it be a game or a short film, and thought, “Wow, this is pretty cool! But how do they do it?" How do they make it so realistic, how do they place you inside the game or the film? What goes into making a VR movie?

    “The biggest challenge of making a VR movie is that you never quite know where the audience is going to be focusing their attention," said Hue Henry, a virtual reality professor at the University of Advancing Technology. In traditional filmmaking, one can generally assume that the audience is going to be looking where you point the camera, but in virtual reality, the audience could be looking above, below or even in the opposite direction of the elements you want them to see. "That's why it was important that we develop a system that takes user gaze into account when deciding what direction to take the story,” Hue said.

    As a film student myself, I understand this conundrum. It is easy to focus the audience’s attention to what you want when you're pointing the camera in a specific direction, but when it comes to VR, the viewer can look anywhere they want. Realistically, the viewer is looking all over once they start watching the video. When you put a VR headset on what do you do? You turn around and look around all over, right? Exactly, I do it too. So Hue has a great point.

    According to the digital hub ThinkMobiles, Making a 3D graphic VR film has multiple forms elements:

    • Computer animation
    • 3D Modeling
    • Visual Effects
    • Product Design
    • Graphic Motion Design
    • Visualization for architecture, engineering, etc.
    • Stereoscopic 3D effects

    The ideal set of equipment you need to make a VR movie includes: Unity3D, a VR headset, a 360 degree camera and Google VR SDK.

    To start, ideally you need to know, or know someone who knows, how to use the equipment. Hire someone to help you in Unity and operate the other equipment to get the best results. Also, you can figure out how to use the equipment if you don’t have anyone to help by watching YouTube tutorials and trying different things.

    Are you a game developer interested in VR movie making? "One thing that surprised me about my experience making a VR movie is just how similar digital filmmaking and video game development can be. As technology advances, these two fields are steadily growing closer together and beginning to share technologies and areas of expertise," Hue said. This opens new doors for tech-savvy experts in either field.

    So, when thinking of making a VR movie there are steps and equipment you need to see this out. If you’re going into this process blindly, I’d do a lot of research and recruit people with knowledge on VR movie making. Good luck on your VR movie making process and have fun!

    Want to make VR movies with us? Check out our Bachelor of Science in Virtual Reality.

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    UAT Hosts 'VR for Good 2018 Summit, Sponsored By VR Voice & Baltu Studios'


    Tempe, Arizona - October 29, 2018 - On November 5 and 6, 2018, University of Advancing Technology (UAT) hosted the VR for Good 2018 Summit, sponsored by VR Voice and Baltu Studios.   A prime location for this national event, UAT’s technology-infused campus in Tempe, Ariz., is full of VR equipment, developers and mentors. The ...

    Tempe, Arizona - October 29, 2018 - On November 5 and 6, 2018, University of Advancing Technology (UAT) hosted the VR for Good 2018 Summit, sponsored by VR Voice and Baltu Studios.

     

    A prime location for this national event, UAT’s technology-infused campus in Tempe, Ariz., is full of VR equipment, developers and mentors. The event schedule boasted the industry’s best all presenting and discussing the ways Virtual Reality can positively impact society. The lineup included UAT Chief Academic Officer and Provost Dr. David Bolman.

     

     

    VR-Mayor-Mark-Mitchell-2

     

     

    UAT has been teaching Virtual Reality and sending alumni to the industry for about twenty years. The positive social impact Virtual Reality can have on the world was detailed further in a recent Study International article featuring UAT’s program. The article discusses that in addition to entertainment functions, VR can be used to, “simulate big data, create augmented reality apps…and recreate day-to-day experiences.” In the early 1990’s, UAT staff and students were working with the best VR technology of the time on immersive experiences, including an archeological site map for the Egyptian government and an architectural rendering of the then-named Bank One Ballpark.

     

    Today, UAT’s VR students begin developing in the virtual world from day one. With UAT’s year-round schedule and project-based curriculum, students can obtain a Bachelor of Arts in Virtual Reality in less than 3 years and gain real world skills along the way.

     

    About UAT

     

    UAT is an elite intimate private college in Tempe, AZ focused on educating students in advancing technology who desire to innovate in the areas of emerging technology disciplines. Living on campus, students are surrounded in a true living learning technology environment that incubates their ideas into innovations that students can patent and take to market. Students must create an innovation project to graduate.

     

    About VR Voice

     

    VR Voice has developed a unique event that covers virtual reality’s positive social impact in different industries. Our speaker line-up is committed to making change via VR/AR that promotes the greater good. Industries and organizations covering healthcare, learning and education, historic preservation, museums, government agencies, communications, news and journalism, and charitable causes are being profoundly affected by the VR/AR revolution and are covered in The VR for Good Summit.

     

    Contact(s):

    Ashley Murry Valerie Cimarossa

    University of Advancing Technology

    913-526-5249 602.390.9213

    amurry@uat.edu valerie@uat.edu

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    UAT Featured: SI News Asks, “How Relevant Is VR?"


    Study International News, an Independent news site focused on international students studying in the US, recently wrote an article about the relevancy of Virtual Reality in today’s society.   SI News explains, “According to ...

    Study International News, an Independent news site focused on international students studying in the US, recently wrote an article about the relevancy of Virtual Reality in today’s society.

     

    SI News explains, “According to TechHQ, VR isn’t just for gamers: ‘Although VR is transforming the gaming landscape, the technology also has possibilities outside of this space. Enterprise VR is a quietly successful segment of this emerging industry that perhaps doesn’t get the attention it so rightly deserves.’”

     

    It’s a short article that quickly explains the growing tech that is finding its way into a range of business verticals such as marketing, sales, education and you guessed it -- gaming. The job market continues to grow in this space as the technology progresses rapidly, which is why SI News begins the article on UAT’s Bachelor of Arts degree in Virtual Reality.

     

    VR college degrees, uat, university of advancing technology

     

     

    “To remain in sync with digital demands, many universities have upgraded course selections with a range of contemporary, technological degrees,” SI News said.

     

    “One university that’s doing just that is the University of Advancing Technology in Arizona. Through its Bachelor of Arts degree in Virtual Reality, students are transforming the standards of gaming technology and practices.”

     

    The VR program at UAT applies the design principles of gaming to serious, life-changing applications in such fields as corporate training, medical and therapeutic, military and education. This highly technical field of serious games requires the specialized education that UAT’s virtual reality development degree provides.

     

    Visit SI News to read more about the the relevancy of VR (if you don’t know already) or learn more about UTA’s Virtual Reality Degree right here.

     

     

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    Game Professors Present VR at Science With A Twist


    The Arizona Science Center is blowing up the night for a special adult-only event featuring a twist on science demos and experiments, a high energy DJ, specialty drinks and a presentation on "Animation and Virtual Reality" by UAT Game Studios Professors Jorge Portillo and Ben Reichert, who just returned from a week at E3, the Electronics Entertainment Expo in California. ...

    The Arizona Science Center is blowing up the night for a special adult-only event featuring a twist on science demos and experiments, a high energy DJ, specialty drinks and a presentation on "Animation and Virtual Reality" by UAT Game Studios Professors Jorge Portillo and Ben Reichert, who just returned from a week at E3, the Electronics Entertainment Expo in California.

     

    UAT’s VR slide show presentation, which will be held in the IMAX Theater, will include information about UAT degrees in Game Design, Game Programming, Art and Animation and Virtual Reality. Professor Portillo, who specializes in game art, will touch on the principles of animation, and other areas he teaches to students at UAT such as concept art, texturing, rigging, and 3d modeling.

     

     

    UAT Professor Jorge Portillo, Game Art and Animation
    UAT Professor Jorge Portillo, Game Art and Animation

     

     

    Virtual Reality games and concepts from UAT Game Studios will be featured showing off a few of our student’s recent game builds from Busta Worm and Call Center Simulator. Professor Reichert will also discuss trends from E3 and what the future of VR has in store for us tech lovers!

     

    UAT Professor Ben Reichert, Game Studios
    UAT Professor Ben Reichert, Game Studios

     

     

    Come out to Arizona Science Center tonight to be part of the action. Remember Science with a Twist is a 21+ only event! Buy your tickets here.

     

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    4 Industries AR is Shaking Up


    Augmented reality is much more than Pokémon Go and cool tattoo apps. It’s changing the way we do business and making work smarter. In 10 to 15 years, AR will transform nearly every industry. Everyone will rock AR glasses. Cellphones will become obsolete. But a few industries are leading the charge, including logistics, healthcare, automotive and...

    Augmented reality is much more than Pokémon Go and cool tattoo apps. It’s changing the way we do business and making work smarter. In 10 to 15 years, AR will transform nearly every industry. Everyone will rock AR glasses. Cellphones will become obsolete. But a few industries are leading the charge, including logistics, healthcare, automotive and sports.

     

     

    Image: INKHUNTER

     

    #1 Logistics

    Major companies such as General Electric are already reaping the benefits of AR. In 2017, GE attributed a 46% performance increase in warehousing and logistics to the use of smart glasses. DHL rolled out a global AR program in 2016 to streamline the picking process and reduce error.

    Professor Matthew “Hue” Henry proposed this scenario to students:

    “Imagine you’re a warehouse manager, moving and managing thousands of shipments a day. You put on your AR glasses. All of a sudden, packages headed for one truck glow orange, and packages that are supposed to go on another truck glow blue. You can easily spot a blue package getting loaded onto the orange truck and fix it. When they’re just cardboard boxes, it’s a lot harder to tell.”

    Now we can visually understand how AR enhances the transportation of goods, but it can also make receiving shipments and managing inventory easier. AR glasses can help warehouse personnel identify the best place to store merchandise and the quickest route to get it where it needs to go, sort of like a real-life game of Tetris

     

     

    #2 Healthcare

    Fewer than 20,000 Americans donate their bodies to medical research and training every year. Med schools can purchase synthetic cadavers, but they cost an arm and leg at $40,000 a pop. More hospitals and schools are turning to AR to enhance training and make surgery more precise. Imagine being able to poke and prod a 3D beating heart instead of just viewing a picture in a textbook.

    AR is also improving patient education. Multi-sensory experiences can help patients and family members better understand how diseases affect the body, and virtual healthcare assistants can help patients remember which medicines to take and when to take them.

     

    #3 Automotive

    Don’t feel like driving to the car dealership and dealing with pushy salesmen? AR allows you to test drive cars without actually getting into the vehicle. AR applications like Mobileye are making the driving experience safer by providing real-time collision avoidance.

    AR makes things easier for manufacturers too. Ford’s product designers can now test out all their crazy ideas on virtual vehicles, which streamlines the design process, saves money and encourages innovation. Porsche also implemented the use of AR glasses in its “Tech Live Look” system to help technicians reduce repair time by 40%.

     

     

    #4 Sports

    Professor Henry presented students with another real-world application of AR:

    “Imagine you’re at a sporting event and everyone in the stands has their AR glasses on. They’re all doing real-time photogrammetry of the game, so when the game is over, you have a 3D model of the game from every angle. Now those players, instead of simply watching footage, can go back and walk through the field.”

    He added: “Imagine as a fan, being able to stand behind the catcher and watch a ball game from that point of view.” How cool is that?

    Want to develop real-world AR applications with Professor Henry? Check out our VR degree program, which encompasses AR and other mixed reality technologies.

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    What is Digital Twin Technology?


    Digital twin technology involves using sensors and machine learning to build virtual systems that react the same way as the real-world version of that system. For example, combining this technology with VR will allow car makers to test engine designs without...

    Digital twin technology involves using sensors and machine learning to build virtual systems that react the same way as the real-world version of that system.

    For example, combining this technology with VR will allow car makers to test engine designs without building a physical car. Farmers will be able to try new planting layouts and polycultures without having to wait for their crops to grow. Amusement parks will be able to create massive roller-coaster-like experiences inside of storefront-sized spaces.

    Digital twins enable engineering and design teams to test and improve projects without the financial or time-based risks of doing so in the real world. They help engineers spot conflicts early on in the design process and enable them to test infinite design iterations without stopping the production process. Digital twins also use real-time, open data and can link with supply chain and enterprise asset management tools to allow teams to collaborate and work more efficiently.

    Students who have experience working with digital twins will definitely set themselves apart from their peers. Students who want to use technology to improve the world around them will also want to look into mixed reality—augmented and virtual reality—as one of the most powerful tools currently available to innovators.

    Want to tinker with digital twins and VR with me here at UAT? Check out our Virtual Reality degree program.

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    Global Game Jam Winners: 'Transmissions' Well Received


    Last weekend, the Global Game Jam (GGJ) took place around the world with UAT listed as the home base for Arizona. UAT students, alumni and local game developers attended the Phoenix Global Game Jam revving out 48-hours of game development and judges said they were impressed! The theme for the 2018 Global Game Jam was "Transmission," sparking lots of ideas of how to create a...

    Last weekend, the Global Game Jam (GGJ) took place around the world with UAT listed as the home base for Arizona. UAT students, alumni and local game developers attended the Phoenix Global Game Jam revving out 48-hours of game development and judges said they were impressed!

    The theme for the 2018 Global Game Jam was "Transmission," sparking lots of ideas of how to create a game around this.

    From UAT's Game Jam location, 29 games were submitted to the website with 17 playable games on display for judging on Sunday evening in the UAT Commons.

    Global Game Jam at University of Advancing Technology - Monster Vault Entertainment Global Game Jam at University of Advancing Technology - Monster Vault Entertainment

    "We saw completed games developed for PC, 2D, 3D, mobile, and VR including Oculus Rift and the HTC Vive. The variety was inspiring and great to see," said judge and Program Champion Derric Clark.

    You can check out the submitted games here.

    Best Overall:
    GigaBlast (VR for HTC Vive)

    Best Theme:
    Spooky Business

    Best Art:
    Weaponized Walkie Talkies

    Honorable Mentions: (strong in the voting discussion)
    Carrier Pigeon
    Choreo-Mania
    Hell’s Kitchen
    Huntia
    Malware
    O2 Critical

    Professor Clark said, "An amazing amount of content was produced in just 48 hours, seeing months of work completed over a weekend is extremely impressive. These were really great submissions, with many, many completed games. It was difficult to narrow the field down for the awards."

    Developing for Virtual Reality at the Global Game Jam Developing for Virtual Reality at the Global Game Jam

    "From a content standpoint, this was one of the best Arizona Game Jams thus far, amazing work completed and shown to judges," Clark said.

    A lot of different perspectives were taken on the theme, it was great to see the creativity kick in to produce a diverse set of games, both in content and play style.

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    VR Snowball Fight Created by Game Alumni Monster Vault Entertainment


    UAT Game Studios students and alumni from Monster Vault Entertainment Studio will demo a VR snowball fight game called Chill Out, at Arizona Tech Council's Tech the Hall's After5 Tech Mixer. Chill Out is a multiplayer virtual reality game for the...

    UAT Game Studios students and alumni from Monster Vault Entertainment Studio will demo a VR snowball fight game called Chill Out, at Arizona Tech Council's Tech the Hall's After5 Tech Mixer.

    Chill Out is a multiplayer virtual reality game for the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive developed by Monster Vault Entertainment. Up to 6 players can engage in a free-form snowball fight set in a snowy Holiday themed arena.

    Chill Out is unprecedented, as it makes use of Google's cloud computing platform SpatialOS. This game is the first persistent virtual reality title using this technology.

    Monster Vault Entertainment's focus on cutting edge technology makes them one of the most innovative tech startups in Tempe, AZ. Monster Vault Entertainment will be releasing their newest title Call Center Simulator for early access next year.

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    Augmented Reality – What You See Is... Amazing!


    Blog post written by: UAT Computer Science Professor Jill Coddington We started with Virtual Reality (VR), primarily for games but we have come so far since then. There are very definite differences between VR and Augmented Reality (AR). VR creates its own world that the user can interact with. AR uses the real world and adds to it, still allowing the user...

    Blog post written by: UAT Computer Science Professor Jill Coddington

    We started with Virtual Reality (VR), primarily for games but we have come so far since then.

    There are very definite differences between VR and Augmented Reality (AR). VR creates its own world that the user can interact with. AR uses the real world and adds to it, still allowing the user to interact.

    Today Augmented Reality (AR) is the live augmentation (directly or indirectly) of what you see and possibly what you hear. In other words, as you walk down the street, what you see beyond what is there could include pointers to restaurants, directions, traffic alerts, and just about anything else. Think of it like the Pokémon Search with seeing the Pokémon in 3D.

    This is all fine but uses are there for AR? Obviously, schools can use this for teaching. For example, seeing a heart beating in 3D and walking around it would be useful to a medical student. Medical professionals can use AR to create dashboards with many pieces of information about a patient simultaneously and also be able to rotate images to see different aspects. Construction industries have used this to show what a new building would look like on a specific plot of land – while looking at the land. It could be used on a smaller scale to see how a new addition or deck would look on an existing structure. How about a business meeting where everyone appears to be in the same room? You could see facial expressions and engage more genuinely. For products, you could place three different sofas in your living room and see which fit or looked the best. Who needs a tour guide if your AR speaks the history of the Empire State building when you gaze upon it.

    What is Augmented Reality

    This is what we can already do. What we can do in the future is unknown and will exceed our expectations but here are some of our expectations. The first thing likely to happen is the goggle will look like ordinary glasses. These are known as wearables and they will shrink in size and be less cumbersome as time goes forward. It could be that AR is delivered through a contact lens in the not-too-distant future. Screens and TVs may become obsolete. They are so defined and flat. If we used virtual reality, we wouldn’t need these.

    AR has so much potential. Everything it can do has not even been defined or dreamed of yet. At UAT, we are developing these ideas and promoting the development of AR products, uses and software though cutting-edge technology, knowledgeable faculty, and innovative opportunities for experimentation. For example, students have developed and app that touches on AR to be able to show restaurants that accommodate food allergies overlayed on a map that moves as you do. In addition, students have developed multiple games that use AR headsets that change and add to what you see in the world around you. And there is so much more yet to come!

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    Game Studies Team Provides VR Support for USA TODAY's Project "The Wall"


    Five UAT Game Studios students worked on a project called, “The Wall: Unknown Stories, Unintended Consequences,” under the leadership of USA TODAY NETWORK and The Arizona Republic. After 15 weeks of research and development, "The Wall," launched on Sept. 20.   "The Wall" is a...

    Five UAT Game Studios students worked on a project called, “The Wall: Unknown Stories, Unintended Consequences,” under the leadership of USA TODAY NETWORK and The Arizona Republic. After 15 weeks of research and development, "The Wall," launched on Sept. 20.

     

    "The Wall" is a in-depth project that provides a visual representation of President Donald Trump’s mission to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border.

     

    UAT Game Studios Program Champion Derric Clark selected students for the development team and created a special topics class called SPT 323: The Wall. Acting as a supportive team, students created virtual reality (VR) worlds modeling LiDAR terrain data in the regions along 2,000 miles of the border between the United States and Mexico including California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas.

     

     

    The Wall: Virtual Reality Project supporting USA TODAY The Wall: Virtual Reality Project supporting USA TODAY

     

     

    Initially, UAT's dev team conducted a great deal of research on the LiDAR terrain data of the regions. Then development began in Unity to create and then export the data into an interactive map for the HTC Vive.

     

    "This immersive experience encompasses virtual reality, bots, aerial and 360-degree video, documentaries, photos, podcasts, LiDAR data, exclusive reporting and an upcoming long-form film, bringing the stories of the region to life in a way never seen before," - USA Today.

     

    UAT students were responsible for were writing code for the VR worlds, programming in sound and video, designing the navigation, creating player functionality, and asset creation.

     

    A visual representation of The Wall in VR A visual representation of The Wall in VR

     

     

    Throughout the project, students remained unbiased and considered the experience from both perspectives - that of a Border Protection Officer and of the humans crossing the border. It was important to consider what the terrain would look like if the wall were to be built through a river, a mountain range and through residential areas. It was the students task to put this data in to a visual component to support a series of stories transcribed by USA Today reporters.

     

    Thanks to UAT students – Alex Gregory (game programmer), Todd Dickinson (game programmer), Mackinzey Lemley (artist), Chris Godina (game designer) and alumni Josh Milano (artist), as well as Professor Derric Clark for leading these students on this iconic project.

    For more information, visit The Wall.

     

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    Virtual Reality for Business E-commerce


    When you think of VR what comes to mind? Video games, most likely. Did you know that Virtual Reality studies can open up new careers that students may have never known existed? Businesses can use virtual reality technology to engage customers in areas like shopping for a dream home, deciding on a vacation experience or a tour of a new restaurant pre-construction. UAT...

    When you think of VR what comes to mind? Video games, most likely. Did you know that Virtual Reality studies can open up new careers that students may have never known existed?

    Businesses can use virtual reality technology to engage customers in areas like shopping for a dream home, deciding on a vacation experience or a tour of a new restaurant pre-construction.

    UAT Game Studios Program Champion Derric Clark has seen the development of VR unfold since the early 90s in his time at UAT. Below Professor Clark shares his thoughts on VR's place in business e-commerce.

    The core to the Virtual Reality experience is interactive engagement in the subject matter. The first thing to consider is how well does the content lend itself to interactivity. A mistake that can be made is trying to use VR because it's cool and new even when it does not enhance or complement the content being presented. If the content would benefit from this higher engagement and interactivity, then there can be a good fit.

    The first phase or level of a VR experience is the novelty of the experience. The Head Mounted Display (HMD,) controllers, and tech will give an application a cool, novel vibe that can be enticing to users. This will wear off but for unique experience without a lot of replay-ability, this can be a good boost to the content. You have to balance the users uncomfortableness with the new platform against the thrill of the experience. Especially for first time users. A good example would be showing off the blueprints for a new football stadium to potential investors. Having seen the end result in a cool VR format, it gives the venture capitalist a better visual of what to expect and a if their investment will be worth the payoff.

    VR in Architecture Virtual Reality tour

    The next phase is getting past the novelty of the experience and engaging VR as a platform. Using the tracking, the motion, the interactivity of using your hands in 3D space, these elements lend themselves to a deeper experience than what can be had with a controller, monitor, keyboard or mouse. Linking the platform and content together to give the user a quality, satisfying experience is better than the cool novelty of the first level. A good example may be a car dealership having a VR game of their fast new sports car that they want people to virtually test drive and want to know more in person. The game could track customers high scores and ask for an email or phone number to enter you to win the car.

    Finally, there is the embracing the strengths of the platform phase. You saw this with console games, mobile phones, etc. When technology changes the new platform has to find a way to showcase it’s strengths. For instance, early mobile phone apps were very much standard software ported to a smaller device. It was when developers embraced the platform, the tilt controls, the cameras, the touch screen, swiping, tilting, incorporating Augmented Reality, and more that the platform really took off. We could now do things we couldn’t do on a PC or other platform, we redefined what using software was, how it fit into our lives, and what the expectations were from an app on a phone. This is where VR is now, we are discovering what it can do and rewriting the rules of interaction and development, embracing what it is good at that can not be done on other platforms. This is when VR becomes indispensable and not novel.

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    On Set in 360!


    Alex Beaver's Student Innovation Project transports viewers behind the scenes and into the middle of the action for the filming of UAT Digital Video's upcoming military survival film "Instinct." Written and directed by Killian Davies, "Instinct" tells the story of a Marine helicopter pilot downed in the hostile territory of Yemen, and chronicles her harrowing journey to safe extraction by her...

    Alex Beaver's Student Innovation Project transports viewers behind the scenes and into the middle of the action for the filming of UAT Digital Video's upcoming military survival film "Instinct." Written and directed by Killian Davies, "Instinct" tells the story of a Marine helicopter pilot downed in the hostile territory of Yemen, and chronicles her harrowing journey to safe extraction by her fellow Marines.

    "Instinct" filmed in a variety of amazing Arizona locations, including Pima Air and Space Museum which was kind enough to let the UAT students use their helo simulator for crucial scenes.

    If you've ever wondered what's it's really like on a movie set, now's you're chance to experience the next best thing - make sure you watch on your headset display or on a nice big screen.

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    Give Students Technology and They Will Innovate


    Put technology in the hands of UAT students Kenny Vorseth and Ryan McDonald and watch their ideas unfold as they create new ways to use tech devices. Last year, the two-student team developed a cost-effective Head Mounted Display for Virtual Reality, using a 3d printer and materials at UAT. The goal of the project was to create an innovation but also to build a device that actually worked. The...

    Put technology in the hands of UAT students Kenny Vorseth and Ryan McDonald and watch their ideas unfold as they create new ways to use tech devices. Last year, the two-student team developed a cost-effective Head Mounted Display for Virtual Reality, using a 3d printer and materials at UAT. The goal of the project was to create an innovation but also to build a device that actually worked. The long term goal is to decrease the cost by using lower resolution screen.

    This project wowed professors so much that Kenny and Ryan were asked to show off their innovation at Tempe Geeks Night Out, to Tempe Mayor Mark Mitchell and at the Tempe State of the City Address around the local community.

    Tempe Geeks Night Out Tempe Geeks Night Out

    These community appearances gave Kenny and Ryan the opportunity to practice talking to consumers about their product. Kenny said, “This was the first time we held a demo of our device at an event. I learned to think from consumer aspect and focus on what makes my product different and unique than what’s currently out there.”

    The VR Head Mounted Display took three weeks to fully develop and they also worked in Unity to build an alien scare horror game in a Game Development class to play on their unique VR device.

    In the future, Kenny and Ryan are interested in completing a motion capture suit for VR and other VR support such as in movies and games. Stay tuned for what they create next semester!

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    Students Innovate Foot Mount for HTC Vive


    VR begins to evolve at UAT! UAT students from all different majors put their heads together to create a new adaption for the HTC Vive handheld controller. Currently the HTC Vive VR headset allows the player to use motion-tracked, hand controllers to interact in fully immersive environments. The controllers offer the ability for the user to pick up objects,...

    VR begins to evolve at UAT!

    UAT students from all different majors put their heads together to create a new adaption for the HTC Vive handheld controller.

    Currently the HTC Vive VR headset allows the player to use motion-tracked, hand controllers to interact in fully immersive environments. The controllers offer the ability for the user to pick up objects, communicate and explore different levels within the game.

    The more these students familiarized themselves with the HTC Vive, it sparked a neat idea. Because many of them played on the UAT soccer team, they were interested in finding a way to play soccer with the HTC Vive.

    Robotics alumni Greck Santiago said, “I threw out the idea and it was sort of a joke, but the team thought it was cool."

    So how was the Foot Mount made?

    Using Autodesk Inventor to design the 3D model, Greck came up with the design and sent the file to Maker Tech Mike Syfritt to print on the large 3d printer on second floor. Because Greck worked in the UAT Bindery, he was more familiar with 3D prints and he knew which files to send.

    Once it was printed, the team purchased velcro to attach the controllers together and also to your foot.

    HTC Vive Foot Mount HTC Vive Foot Mount, a Student Innovation Project

    Game Programmer Jersey Calderwood tested out the HTC Vive Foot Mount with code he wrote.

    During the project, a few members of the soccer team were injured and this innovation enabled them to still play.

    It’s awesome to see students from all different majors and skills coming together to create a brand new innovative product.

    The HTC Vive Foot Mount team consists of: Zakari Kaszubowski, Lead Environment Artist (Game Art and Animation), Jersey Calderwood, Programmer (Advancing Computer Science/ Game Programming), TJ Tapia, Environment Artist (Game Art and Animation) and Greck Santiago Programmer (Robotics and Embedded Systems).

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    Bust’a Worm: From Game Jam to Steam Greenlight


    With the popularity of virtual reality devices, such as Oculus Rift and HTC Vive, it's no surprise that UAT Game Studios students are developing games for both platforms in the UAT Game Studio. Development team Tiny Vision Entertainment created their newest VR game called Bust’a Worm for the...

    With the popularity of virtual reality devices, such as Oculus Rift and HTC Vive, it's no surprise that UAT Game Studios students are developing games for both platforms in the UAT Game Studio.

    Development team Tiny Vision Entertainment created their newest VR game called Bust’a Worm for the HTC Vive in a 48-hour Game Jam held at UAT last year.

    Bust’a Worm is a Virtual Reality game played on the HTC Vive where the player can use voice commands to change up their weapon involving spikes, fire, or ice at intimidating alien worms on the attack. Because this game was created in such a short period of time, the team decided to use a worm as the main asset in order to save time on animating arms, legs and facial details.

    This game dev team is made up of Game Programmer Jesse Rogers, Game Designers Tyler Feddeler and Valentin Preaux as well as Game Artists Josh Milano and Austin Forster.

    Tiny Vision Game Studio working on Bust'a Worm Tiny Vision Game Studio working on Bust'a Worm at a Game Jam

    Since the completion of the game, Bust’a Worm has been demonstrated to Tempe Mayor Mark Mitchell as a preview for the mayor’s State of the City Address, play tested at Phoenix Comicon, Game On Expo, Arizona Science Center’s Science With a Twist event and the UAT Experience.

    Bust’a Worm was greenlit on Steam Games! The game is in further development and will be released on steam in the future.

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