Current Projects

XR Museum Experience

August 2022 | Madison Whittle, Lilith Chen, Carolina Wheeler, Jake Ogorek, & Jonathon Reilly

Utilizing Innovative Technology to Bring Specialized Museum Exhibits and Tech Optimism to Rural Communities in South Central Kentucky

South Central Kentucky (SoKY) is a region consisting of ten counties: Allen, Barren, Butler, Edmonson, Hart, Logan, Metcalfe, Monroe, Simpson, and Warren. Around 299,945 individuals live in SoKY, and with approximately 16 museums in the region, an estimated 66,694 individuals are left without a museum or historical site in their respective counties. To combat this phenomenon, the Western Kentucky University Extended Reality Lab demonstrates that it may be possible to bring historical and cultural experiences to SoKY, introduce innovative technology to rural communities, and promote tech optimism.

VR Campus Tour

June 2022 | Carolina Wheeler, Jonathon Reilly, & Ivy Bowers

Virtual Reality Campus Tour Using 3D Modeling and Scanning

With this project, we aim to produce a realistic and interactive tour of some of Western Kentucky University’s oldest buildings, both in their present state and at the time of their construction. To achieve this, the tour is developed in Unity 3D game engine. This work serves as a proof of concept for larger scale projects involving true-to-life interactive virtual reality environments, especially those concerning the reconstruction of past sites. These are an important development because of their potential for use in educational settings and in the community recognition of past events.

Eclipse Mobile App with NASA

August 2022 | Travis Peden, Joey Jackson, Lance Warfel, Jaylin Smith, & Madison Whittle

Eclipse Totality Megamovie Application

On April 8th, 2024, spanning from Texas to Maine, we seek to involve millions of citizens in an “Eclipse Megamovie”. In 2017, a similar project was produced with over 1000 citizen scientists, and we seek to do this on a significantly larger scale. As a team, we are developing a user-friendly application for smartphones that will utilize camera tech to take a series of photos and videos of the Eclipse, all of which will be sent (along with the timestamp and precise location) to NASA for analysis and compilation. The app is planned to be tested during the Southern hemisphere hybrid eclipse of April 20th, 2023, and the US annular eclipse of October 14th, 2023, and released in advance of the April 8th, 2024 Eclipse.

LiDAR Scanning and VR
Recreation of Cave Systems

January 2022 | Austin Costello, Cole Johnson, Michael Putman, Nicholas Clayton, Will Herring, Alyssa Putman, Jonathan Batts, Emma Young, & Zachary Mers

UAV Cave Mapping and VR Experience

The purpose of the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) Drone Team is to map the inside of caves and implement the data into virtual reality to eliminate the need to physically enter the caves. The drone will collect point cloud data from its surroundings using a LIDAR sensor, which will be stored in a Raspberry Pi. The simultaneous localization and mapping (SLAM) algorithm will be used to keep track of drone’s location. Once the LIDAR data is created, it is uploaded to a database. The LIDAR data will be processed and converted for image processing and LAS point cloud creation that will be used to create the mesh implemented in the virtual reality program. That mesh will be added with more detailed texture and image. The image will then be implemented into virtual reality to recreate the cave environment.