Lethbridge College names local VR_AR Association president as research chair

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Lethbridge College has appointed the president of its local VR/AR Association chapter as its first research chair for virtual and augmented reality (VR/AR).

Quick read

➨ Lethbridge College alumnus Mike McCready will serve as the first president’s applied research chair in VR and AR

➨ McCready will work to identify how VR and AR can benefit enterprise and create solutions to implement it in those businesses

➨ Lethbridge College has established a strong presence in VR and AR, setting up a new programme and hosting an immersive tech conference

➨ The college aims to set up a VR and AR ecosystem in South Alberta

The story

Lethbridge College alumnus Mike McCready, who has instructed in the multimedia production programme since 2015, will serve as the first president’s applied research chair in VR and AR.

As part of his year-long appointment, McCready will work with the college’s Centre for Applied Research, Innovation and Entrepreneurship to deliver its new VR and AR certificate programme, and develop an immersive technology ecosystem in South Alberta, Canada.

McCready will work to identify how VR and AR can benefit enterprise and create solutions to implement it in those businesses. He also serves as president of the Alberta chapter of the VR/AR Association.

He said: “One of my responsibilities will be connecting with non-VR organisations—tourism, trades, healthcare and many more—and showing them the potential of this technology in their workplace.”

 “I want to identify opportunities and problems within industry that VR and AR technology could help solve. The potential for this technology is really unlimited.”

Lethbridge College has established a strong presence in VR and AR. In 2018, the college hosted Merging Realities, the world’s first VR/AR conference to be available entirely in VR.

Earlier this year, the college held the second annual Merging Realities conference and also hosted the Virtual Reality Global Forum at the INVENTURES conference in Calgary.

Students in the college’s multimedia production and interior design technology programmes have learned basic VR and AR design, while VR design is also at the centre of the new architectural animation technology syllabus.

Immersive tech has also been used as a training tool in the college’s wind turbine technician programme, and the Centre for Teaching, Learning and Innovation is working to implement it as an instructional tool in other trades, agriculture and health programmes.

“Our future is really as limitless as our imagination,” McCready continued. “Once industry catches wind of this applied research programme, that will start driving the industry forward. That’s what will make this program and the research that we’re going to be doing successful. We already work well with industry—they have a good relationship with us, and we have a good relationship with them.”

Dr. Kenny Corscadden, associate vice president of research at Lethbridge College, said: “When people think about virtual reality, we want them to think about Lethbridge College. This is an area that has very high growth potential and we want to build industry capacity in our region. If we develop this properly, the grads in our VR/AR programme will have ample opportunity to work in the industry without leaving southern Alberta.”

Pictured and Image credit: Mike McCready / Lethbridge College