UWM engineering students use holotable

Learning with a virtual reality table

This is not a scene from the next Avengers movie. It’s the Virtual Reality Infrastructure Laboratory in the College of Engineering & Applied Science.

Jian Zhao
Jian Zhao

UWM is the first nonmilitary user of this Euclideon hologram table in the United States. It’s unique in allowing multiple people to simultaneously view 3D digital objects from different perspectives, and do so without bulky VR headgear. It takes group planning, design and research collaborations to a new level.

Lab director Jian Zhao, an associate professor of civil and environmental engineering, says these factors are particularly useful when evaluating structural designs for problems. Beyond design applications, the holotable can be used for close-up, detailed examinations of existing environments – from buildings to entire cities – which are recorded using laser scanners.

The new Euclideon hologram table inside UWM's Virtual Reality Infrastructure Laboratory. (UWM Photo/Troye Fox; UWM Video/Kyle Bursaw)

In addition to incorporating the holotable into his research, Zhao is working with engineering students who are already using it in their coursework. Doing so, he says, means they’ll graduate better prepared for the workforce. Plans call for the lab to be available for faculty and students in other areas of study, too.

The lab is funded by gifts from the Associated General Contractors of Greater Milwaukee Education & Research Foundation, as well as GRAEF and the Graef, Anhalt, Schloemer Foundation.