NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Forget your old boring science lab — Brooklyn’s new RLab is paving the way for the future.
It’s short for “Reality-Lab,” and it’s helping both students and startups design products which will change the world.
Immediately after putting on a virtual reality headset, PhD student Sebastian Herscher felt like he was transported into a movie that he created.
“Instead of seeing a spaceship on a screen, you are in the spaceship as the movie is going along,” he said.
The NYU student’s dream is to design a VR theater. With the help from the new RLab at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, he and many other students are able to come up with state of the art technology.
“We want to see thousands and thousands of people working in virtual reality and augmented reality, because we know right now we have the job openings,” NYCEDC President and CEO James Patchett said. “We just need to make sure people have the skills.”
The RLab is the first city-funded virtual and augmented reality center in the country. The idea is to support startups, talent development, and innovation. One group was designing a virtual reality software so people with physical disabilities can paint using a headset and their voice.
“Patients who usually have some weakness in their arms or missing an arm,” NYU graduate student Raksha Ravimohan.” They can go to a while other place and create art.”
The lab also features a motion capture system.
“It’s a 16 camera, massive motion camera system that does triangulation of retro-infective markers,” RLab Technical Director Todd Bryant said.
In layman’s terms, you can wear markers that look like ping pong balls and get tracked. Bryant turned a member of CBS2’s crew into an avatar.
“We do fun things, we do performance art, we do showcases all the time with student work,” Bryant said.
The software can also provide medical assistance, like enhancing physical therapy for patients.
“People can actually be more engaged with their compliance of their exercise,” Bryant said. “Things that can be very boring or repetitive tasks can be quite fun.”
The city’s Economic Development Corporation provided more than $5.5 million to start up the RLab, which is still expanding and should be completed some time next year.