Welcome to the UoB Virtual Reality Society! Starting off as a small society in the first term of 2019, UBVR initially consisted of only 3 members. Having noticed a gap in knowledge around the use of immersive technologies, despite its growing use and relevance in various industries, we founded the Virtual Reality Society.
We aim to provide an opportunity for all students to learn about the world of virtual reality and develop your skills by working on interesting XR (extended reality) projects. Our Society is open to students from all disciplines and this is reflected by the diverse backgrounds of our current committee members.
The current President and Co-Founder of UBVR, Ramsha and the Industrial Liaison Officer, Marie are both recent Mechanical Engineering graduates, while the Vice-President, another Maria, is doing a PhD in Chemistry. Our Treasurer Arushi is an Electrical Engineering student, and the Social Secretary, Nikhila is in her final year studying Medicine. Both our Events Representative Ryan and the Unity Lead Michal are first-year Computer Science students. We are all joined by our interests of VR applications!
We started the year off building relationships that would provide a strong foundation for our society, and UBVR became a part of the EPS Community as one of the (now) 42 societies! We also partnered up with the Higher Education Futures institute (HEFi) at the University, a team that aims to optimise student learning by providing innovative and research-intensive teaching. Through this partnership, we established our very own lab within the new Collaborative Teaching Laboratory (CTL) building, named the Immersive Technologies Lab. This will be used as a Maker Space to allow all our members and students to experiment with and learn more about immersive technology through fun activities and projects.
We had a lot of ups and downs that came along with 2020, including the global pandemic and the entire committee graduating in the same year, which brought all planned society activities to a temporary halt. Utilising that time to expand our committee, we decided to renovate UBVR for the upcoming 2020/21 academic year.
The autumn of 2020 heralds a fresh new start for the Virtual Reality Society. Our renewed mission is to provide a platform for students, academics and external organisations to work collaboratively on innovative and immersive applications. Starting the year off with a virtual social event, we played the popular online game Among Us whilst getting to know our new members on the Discord platform. We received amazing feedback and boosted our members' active engagement, who also expressed interests in virtual reality!
We then held our first speaker event in collaboration with the Extended Reality Society and the Radiology Society at the University of Leeds, called “XR in Radiology”. The speakers included a diverse team from Imperial College London who worked on a pioneering project to develop a medical simulation using interactive holograms, which allows radiology trainees to learn new skills using augmented reality headsets. This was followed by a talk by Justin Sutherland, the Co-Founder and CEO of a medical VR start-up company called Realize Medical that develops advanced 3D modelling, visualization and communication tools that can be used to enhance patient care. The event allowed students to learn more about VR and XR applications in-depth, and what we can do with the technology in the modern society. If you missed the event, you can still watch the recording here on our brand new YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCpL-r8X66vWvWiU8Sid4HVQ.
Lastly, we celebrated Christmas together with yet another Games Night social playing CodeNames and Scribble l.o (basically online Pictionary)! We hope to have many more fun events in the upcoming term, as well as regular workshops teaching our members how to build using the Unity software, and competitions to test their skills!
Keep an eye out on our social media platforms below and if you are interested in joining the Society, sign up using the google form below:
See you soon!
To find out more about UBVR, visit their website www.birmingham.ac.uk/eps/ubvr.