Innovation Studio

man holding a headset over his face

Build Immersive VR Experiences

Explore AR Applications

Create Compelling Data Visualizations

Mapping Using Drones

Come check out our studio and explore cutting-edge technology and how you can incorporate them for your research and instruction across the Social Sciences. Our goal is to foster a community of scholars driven by curiosity and a desire to implement new and exciting tools that push the creative boundaries of academia. We are located in Public Affairs Room 2035 and are open for scheduled visits!

How we can help

With Instruction

showcase what zoom looks like on a laptop

  • Find the right tools and immersive content to facilitate engaging discussions with students
  • Teach technical workshops (data visualization, mapping, 3D modeling, etc.) without the need of prior coding experience
  • Design modules to illustrate theoretical concepts

With Research

  • Find alternative and interactive ways to display your data
  • Put together ethical experiment proposals that use safe virtual environments
  • Brainstorm ideas that leverage existing toolkits from the lab and open source software

We also offer consultations regarding publication-ready figures, charts, and how to best visualize your data. For inquires, please submit a ticket here.

What is XR?


XR or Extended Reality is the umbrella term that covers all forms of computer-altered reality

VR or Virtual Reality includes all immersive experiences that take place in a digitally created world. This requires a head-mounted device (HMD) that allows you to enter a different environment such as looking around in a jungle while seated in your chair at home.

AR or Augmented Reality describes any data or computer-generated content that is superimposed on our physical world. Imagine using the IKEA Place app to see how a piece of furniture would look in your living room before purchasing it.

MR or Mixed Reality takes it one step further and allows you to interact with the overlay of virtual content. The HMD constantly registers the physical environment so that you can interact with both virtual and physical objects in a relational manner.


Why should we adopt XR now?

  • Can increase learning engagement during these unprecedented times using social interactions
  • Appeals to a wider range of cognitive learning styles
  • Blended learning (enhancing face-to-face teaching & learning with online components) achieves better student outcomes than either face-to-face or online alone ¹
  • Make abstract concepts concrete through simulations that are not limited by the physical world
  • Offers alternative forms of assessment that evaluates students’ critical thinking/analysis skills and knowledge retention rather than memory
  • There are now more low-code platforms that make it easier for non-programmers to place objects and animations into virtual environments and create content


¹Barbara Means, Yukie Toyama, Robert Murphy, Marianne Bakie, and Karla Jones, Evaluation of Evidence-Based Practices in Online Learning: A Meta-Analysis and Review of Online-Learning Studies (Washington, DC: US Department of Education, January 2009).


Unreal Engine Megagrant (ongoing for VR applications)

Web Technologies for Social Scientists Workshop 4/8/21

This workshop led by resident statistician Neal Fultz, will introduce…

Discipline-Specific Use Cases

While these experiences are inherently multi-disciplinary, they have been organized by subject matter to illustrate the different possibilities and applications.

“The Fundamental Attribution Error, as coined by Stanford Psychologists, describes how we blame others when bad things happen to them, but blame the external situations when bad things happen to us. There is a misconception that losing one’s home is due to who you are and the choices you make. Becoming Homeless: A Human Experience seeks to counter this irrational tendency.
In this immersive virtual reality experience from Stanford University’s Virtual Human Interaction Lab, spend days in the life of someone who can no longer afford a home. Interact with your environment to attempt to save your home and to protect yourself and your belongings as you walk in another’s shoes and face the adversity of living with diminishing resources.”

Visiting Lost Archaeological Sites in VR

Virtual Speech

Give your students the opportunity to practice presentation skills, job interviews and networking in realistic VR scenarios. We’ll provide you and them with instant, actionable feedback to ensure an efficient learning experience.

Photogrammetry Using Drone Scanning

Build 3D collections of historical objects and recreate historical spaces or experiences such as this:

I am a Man

This free VR app gives people an experience of history and the ability to walk in the shoes of a Civil Rights participant who fought for freedom and equality during the civil rights era. It provides the user a personal understanding and deeper awareness of the struggles of these marginalized people. It uses historical film, photographs, and voice narration of actual Civil Rights participants – altogether creating a new type of interactive-documentary experience.

“Yawarani is a VR180 film created in collaboration with the indigenous community in Yawarani to preserve their sacred culture and the wisdom of their elders.” – Outside TV


Project Empathy

Recommended for small seminar discussions

Altspace VR – web browser compatible

List of public events you can join & participate in

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Blending Research and Instruction in Data-Generated Environments

The intent behind creating an additional node on our campus’s diverse network of research labs is to replicate the collaborative working model that progresses interdisciplinary research. We want to leverage the space as a safe environment to make mistakes, play with content, and inspire the next generation of data-driven social scientists. In the hopes of bridging the gaps of technical knowledge between faculty and students, and across our 18 departments, please consider partnering with us as we embark on this new journey together. 

Current devices found in the lab:

  • VR Headsets
    • 1 HTC Vive Pro Eye
    • 5 Oculus Quests
  • Cleanbox CX Series
    • Decontaminates 1 VR Headset in 60 seconds with UVC light
    • Cleanbox products have been independently lab tested to kill 99.999% of bacteria, viruses, and fungi
  • Drones
    • Mavic Mini
    • Mavic 2 Pro
  • 3D Scanners
    • Artec Leo
    • Artec Spider

  • Zmorph VX 3-in-1 Printer
    • 3D printer
    • Laser engraver
    • CNC router (cut through wood, aluminum, etc.)
  • Screen Share
    • Microsoft Surface Hub
    • Mersive Solstice Pod
  • Computer
    • VR-Ready Workstation
  • Motion Capture
    Faceware Indie Mocap System

Please fill out this form or contact Joy Guey ( to schedule a time to reserve the space.