Explore Virtual Reality!

CIS and the libraries have made a virtual reality workstation available, for you to explore this new technology. It’s located in the Design Studio (main floor of the library, overlooking Chicago Hall) and includes a dedicated computer, VR goggles and handsets, and a number of VR apps/games that you can run. If you need help getting started, there’s usually a staff or student employee nearby who will be happy to help.

There are currently (as of April 26) about 3 dozen VR apps installed on the station. Some are educational, some are creative tools, and some are just for fun. Come by and try out a few!

If there’s something you are interested in but don’t see below, please email librarystudio@vassar.edu in order to add it to the collection.

Archery simulation
The player will start with a practice scene to shoot the arrows against moving circular arrow targets. The player can switch at any time by saying “Arena” to the “Arena” scene, where enemies would be running towards him/her. If they player survives for 90s, then free teleportation will be unlocked and he/she can enter the free teleportation scene to give more freedom in maneuvering enemies.

BBC Home- A virtual Spacewalk
Throw yourself into the void 250 miles above Earth in this award-winning VR spacewalk inspired by NASA’s training program and the astonishing experiences of its astronauts. Home – A VR Spacewalk puts you at the centre of the story, taking you on an emotional journey while delivering beautiful, heart-stopping, and memorable moments.

Welcome to the newsroom of the future. You’re at the center of the story, with CNN’s latest breaking videos, headlines, and news notifications at your fingertips. This futuristic space is alive with the latest news and stunningly immersive 360 videos from CNN bureaus around the planet. Go to the front lines with our reporters and understand the story from the inside out. It’s virtual reality, at the speed of news.

Coco VR
Coco VR is Pixar’s stunning debut into virtual reality: an adventure into the beautiful Disney-Pixar film, Coco. You can choose either a single or multi-player experience, and follow the magical alebrije into the luminous world of Coco filled with lovable characters and beautiful settings from the film.


Coral Compass: Fighting Climate Change in Palau
Tribeca Film Festival 2018 Official Selection
There’s been no shortage of apocalyptic images lately, from massive hurricanes in the Caribbean and Texas to California’s deadliest wildfires ever. Scientists say global warming has magnified the impact of disasters like these. Still, some legislators deny the impact of climate change or oppose restrictions on carbon emissions. If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a virtual reality experience is worth 1,000 pictures. Could virtual reality change their minds? In this 360 experience from Stanford University’s Virtual Human Interaction Lab, travel to Palau, a small island nation in Micronesia, home to coral reefs that draw visitors from around the globe. See and experience how Palau is adapting to climate change to combat its effects on their reefs and economy. In the clear, warm waters surrounding Palau, exist resilient coral reefs and the will of a people fighting to keep it alive.

Crow: The Legend
Starring John Legend, Oprah Winfrey, Constance Wu (Crazy Rich Asians), Tye Sheridan (Ready Player One), Diego Luna (Rogue One: A Star Wars Story), and Liza Koshy. Created by the director of Madagascar and the Emmy-winning animated films Invasion! and Asteroids! In this interactive animation, Crow is the most admired animal in the forest with his magnificent colors and beautiful voice. But when the very first winter arrives, can Crow make the personal sacrifices needed to save his friends? Official selection of Cannes Le Marché du Film and Venice International Film Festival.

Dead and Buried
Step into a world full of gunslingers and ghosts in Dead and Buried. Grab your Touch controllers and become the best gunslinger in the wild west in this multiplayer action shooter. Battle it out in the old saloon. Rob a runaway train. Team up with other bandits and defend against hordes of ghastly creatures. Finally, you can live out your wild west fantasies thanks to virtual reality.

Dreams of Dalí
Enjoy the remarkable marriage of art and technology in “Dreams of Dali”, a virtual reality experience from The Dalí Museum (St. Petersburg, FL), as you explore Salvador Dalí’s 1935 painting “Archaeological Reminiscence of Millet’s ‘Angelus’.” Immerse yourself in the world of the Surrealist master like never before in this encounter, venturing into the towers, peering from them to distant lands and discovering surprises around every corner. This award-winning VR experience has garnered visitor acclaim, online praise and international recognition through a multitude of industry awards, including the prestigious Cannes Cyber Lion GOLD; a Webby People’s Voice award; and a Facebook Silver award for Innovation, among others.

Echo Combat VR
In Echo Combat, you will play as a futuristic battle-ready robot armed with an array of weapons and abilities as your team of four competes against the opposition in high-speed objective-based zero-gravity mayhem! Echo Arena now supports parties of 15 players and 5v5 private matches, with 5 more slots available for spectators! In the Arena, your team will face off against the competition in a zero-gravity clash of robotic glory as you glide, boost, and punch your way to scoring goals in a breathtaking virtual arena. After you’ve scored your goals and delivered the payload why not just hang out in the Echo VR lobby, where you’ll find practice areas to hone both your disc shots and blaster shots.

Epic Roller Coasters
In Epic Roller Coasters, you’ll get the same feeling of a real roller coaster with a high level graphics, physics-based simulation and multiplayer rides. Here you’re allowed to take selfies during the ride and share them in your timeline. You can also take the control of the cart in Race mode and compete for a Leaderboard position!

Face Your Fears
Face Your Fears is an experience that exposes you to terrifying scenes based on common fears and phobias. In Skyscraper, a player stands on the ledge of a skyscraper in the middle of a big city. When looking down, a giant robot is climbing up towards the player. In the Haunting, players experience the fear and excitement of being a little kid in bed in a room where things are not what they seem. What starts with a creaking house and distant thunder, crescendos into frightening moments that build up based on where the player is looking (or not looking).  GIPHY World Welcome to the strangest place you’ve never visited,

Here, you are a GIF GOD, with the power to create and destroy whacked-out, trippy GIF filled worlds and then fly through them like a bird. The GIPHY assistant will be your faithful companion on this adventure and he’s got your back serving up any GIF you dare to search for. Then use magical tools to paint GIFs everywhere. Once you’re done, record a GIF and share it with your friends!

Imagine a future where chemistry and the nano-scaled world are no longer difficult to understand. Imagine having the ability to build your own molecular structures out of thin air or explore the intricacies of a DNA strand or understand what medicine looks like at the molecular level.

Nefertari: Journey to Eternity
In Egypt’s legendary Valley of the Queens, lies Queen Nefertari’s tomb, one of the modern world’s most detailed windows into ancient Egyptians’ journey towards the afterlife. Now, state-of-the-art technology has made it possible to digitally scan Nerfertari’s tomb with millimeter accuracy. For the first time ever, step inside the fabled tomb and immerse yourself in the story of its art, history, construction, and mythology through interactive elements.

Oculus Medium VR
Oculus Medium VR is a revolution in 3D asset creation and Oculus Medium is the premiere VR creative tool. Sculpt, model, and paint in an immersive environment. Use intuitive hand gestures and head movements for natural tactile interactions with your sculpts. Whether you’re a total beginner, aspiring creative, or professional artist, quickly and easily create 3D objects and expressive works of art.   Create organic characters with 8 tools like Clay and Move on the Tool Tray. Kitbash hardsurface models with over 300 stamps. Organize and light your scene with up to 100 layers and 8 lights. Export your asset as an OBJ or FBX. 3D print your model, use it in your favorite game engine, or bring it into another program for special rendering, compositing, and painting work. Share your sculpt to your Medium gallery, to your Facebook news feed as a 3D model, or to your Oculus Home.

Pick-up League Hockey
Pick-up League Hockey is a full-featured multiplayer hockey game using realistic physics and motion controls to create an immersive game that puts you right in the rink with up to 5 other friends! Created by a hockey enthusiast, PULH aims to be the most customizable multiplayer hockey game in VR with plans for player-selectable jerseys, stick skins, and more!

Quill is the VR illustration and animation tool built to empower artists and creators, whether to create final art or as a production tool for concept creation aid. It is designed to be intuitive to artists. It’s expressive, efficient and comfortable to use over a long period of time. Quill allows users to paint and animate in virtual reality on an infinitely scalable canvas – with rich colors and intuitive tools. Quill is designed to be expressive, precise and to let the artist’s “hand” come through clearly – whether that’s a watercolor style, pencil style, oil painting style or other. Non-creators can download Quill to experience amazing illustrations in our pre-loaded showcase and have an experience completely unlike viewing a painting on a wall in a traditional gallery.

Robo Recall
You used to push lead with a pencil, but now you’re pushing it with a gun. A recent barrage of defective, homicidal robots has created openings in RoboReady’s perpetually underfunded and suddenly swamped Recall Department. Thrown into the fray as a Recaller, you must rely on your wits, reflexes and a vast arsenal of weaponry to eliminate the robot uprising.   Robo Recall is an action-packed VR first-person shooter with visceral Touch gameplay and an in-depth scoring system. Earn the high score by using creative combat tactics and skill shots as you teleport through city streets and rooftops in an awe-inspiring ballet of bullets. Tear apart your interactive robot foes and use them to fend off the enemy onslaught. Unlock, customize and test weapons before taking on advanced challenges that put your newfound skills to the test!

Sharecare VR
Sharecare VR is a real-time simulation of the human body. Sharecare VR allows anyone to freely navigate and explore an anatomically accurate 3D model of the human body, its organs, and their natural function. Visualize how your body works. Explore organs and systems in a fully immersive 3D environment. Customize physiology and simulate diseases. Personalize the human body to represent YOU. The unprecedented power of Sharecare VR allows customization to display diseases in varying states of severity. By adding treatments, Sharecare VR helps visualize and understand medical options.

Skeet: VR Target Shooting
A VR skeet-shooting simulator. Play six different modes, with unique online leaderboards. Lightgun games were a childhood staple. We wanted to recreate some of that fun in a true VR experience. Featuring six modes and four guns (Over Under, Side By Side, Pump Action and Tommygun), and online leaderboard.

Sketchbox is the #1 Design and Collaboration tool for AR/VR. We built Sketchbox for designing experiences, exploring ideas and working with 3D content. Work together with your whole team in Sketchbox, and feel like you’re in the same room, even if you’re on different continents. Perfect for collaborative design sessions, presentations, and design reviews. Instantly start a VR meeting. Sketchbox fits into your workflow so we support most 3D formats. Use powerful creation tools to bring your ideas to life, and easily add annotations. Explain complex interactions easily.

Sketchfab VR
Teleport yourself to Rome, hold a beating heart, or walk among dinosaurs. Open Sketchfab VR to discover a showcase of explorations through remote places, fantastic creatures, game worlds, cultural heritage, science and other wonders. Sketchfab is the platform to publish and explore a million things in 3D and VR. With a community of over half a million creators, it is the largest library of user generated VR content in the world. We selected some of the best experiences for you – discover them now!

Spider-man Homecoming- VR Experience
For the first time, you can suit up as Spider-Man and see what it’s like to be the world’s favorite superhero. Learn the ins and outs of your brand new Stark Industries upgraded web shooters and master different web types as you race to complete fast-paced targeting trials – but you’ll have to learn quickly… The Vulture is on the loose and coming for you. Sling high above the city in a dramatic confrontation before pursuing Spidey’s deadliest enemy.   Based on the 2017 film, the Spider-Man Homecoming VR Experience is a fun and thrilling first-person look inside the world of your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man.

The Body VR
The Body VR is an educational virtual reality experience that takes the user inside the human body. Travel through the bloodstream and discover how blood cells work to spread oxygen throughout the body. Enter one of the billions of living cells inside our body and learn how the organelles work together to fight deadly viruses.

Tilt Brush
Tilt Brush lets you paint in 3D space with virtual reality. Unleash your creativity with three-dimensional brush strokes, stars, light, and even fire. Your room is your canvas. Your palette is your imagination. The possibilities are endless.


Toybox, a fan-favorite demo experience, is now available to play at home! This is one of the best ways to showcase the power of social interaction in VR. Light fireworks, drive tanks in zero gravity, and interact with a variety of gadgets and games with a friend—wherever they are.  Wonderful You Academy award nominee Samantha Morton presents an interactive virtual reality experience, immersed inside the womb.

Wonderful You uses the latest scientific research to reveal remarkable stories from the development of your senses; Touch, Taste, Smell, Sound and Sight. Meet your unborn self. Tickle your feet, play sounds in the womb and release odours into the amniotic fluid.   A few weeks before you are born you can smell what your mother can smell, taste what your mother tastes and you now have a memory for music. And as you spend most of the time asleep, music becomes part of your dreams.


A ticket to Anywhere

by Matthew Slaats

In my first week at Vassar, some three years ago, I attended a meeting with one of my colleagues in ACS and a faculty member to discuss some options for incorporating digital material into his teaching. The faculty member had been collecting images, audio and video during multiple trips to Asia as a part of his research. The reason he had come to ACS was to think about ways in which both he and his students could use this material as a way of expanding their knowledge and experiencing distant places. My response came in the form of a question: “So basically you want to give the students a ticket to anywhere?” Meant more as a rhetorical comment than as a criticism, I was thinking about the possibilities for providing meaningful experiences to students. In this case, the goal being to give them a sense of place, modeling a lived experience, or providing something that establishes a deep memory. This experience has remained vividly present even to this day with ideas of a contextually based pedagogy continually evolving. 

Since the turn of the century, Art Historians have been using images as a way of addressing the visuality of the material they teach. Long at the vanguard of using media, they have established a tradition through sustained experimentation. This is a tradition that values the balance of decoding the semiotics of visual material with rigorous texts to provide a broader context for the time period, artist thinking and influences. In this mode of learning, the instructor provides a broader, more comprehensive understanding/picture to situate information.  Now with the pervasive use of images by historians, economists, and even English professors, an understanding has been built for the value of an image to reference and support the information that is being provided. With the explosion of other forms of media (video, audio, the web) and viable options for interactivity, these experiments will only continue to grow.

So, I return to this idea of Contextual Pedagogy. If I had to define the term, it would be a form of teaching that takes students outside the classroom they are sitting in and allows them to access vast worlds in radical new ways. It is highly dependent on digital media and interactive software, which takes a tremendous amount of time and effort on the parts of both faculty and those supporting the development of the technology. Yet it produces a much more expansive mode of comprehending material.

Over the next year, I will be speaking with faculty members, researchers, and technologists who are aggressively exploring these avenues.  May it be Google Earth, image-based VR, mobile gaming, or the iPad, I want to further explore possibilities for engaging in these dynamic moments of learning. It is my hope to clarify further the boundaries of these practices, the theory behind their use, and their relevancy on the liberal arts campus.