August 20, 2019
The Blended Reality program at Yale, an applied research project supported by HP, is now in its second year. This year, the program has moved, under the direction of principal investigator Johannes DeYoung, to operate within Yale’s new Center for Collaborative Arts and Media (CCAM).
CCAM’s mission is bringing Yale students and faculty from across disciplines to collaborate on projects that explore the limits, possibilities, and concerns engendered by new fields of representation, such as augmented and virtual reality. The center provides support for Blended Reality researchers through a range of activities: hosting graduate fellow workshops on virtual reality tools and techniques; sponsoring guest lectures by visiting artists who create work across the mediums of augmented and virtual reality and other 3D technologies; and by offering a motion capture lab, media editing suites, equipment loan, technical consulting, and other services required by the Blended Reality research teams. Of particular note was the April 2018 Virtual Reality Showcase that featured work by Blended Reality researchers as well as other students who were introduced to virtual reality techniques through CCAM’s teaching outreach.
CCAM faculty are expanding the project beyond Yale’s borders. Over the last year, Blended Reality project work appeared in an exhibition organized by faculty member Justin Berry at the New York Based Essex Flowers gallery (August 2018) and at the Frankfurt Germany B3 Biennial of the Moving Image (November 2018). In August of 2018 aspects of the Blended Reality research will be presented at the IEEE Games, Entertainment and Media conference in Galway, Ireland.
As the Blended Reality program enters its third year, CCAM faculty are leading research into fundamental challenges and opportunities of blended reality experiences, such as embodied navigation and sound-based linguistic landscapes. Our research builds bridges between the arts and sciences, fostering a cross-disciplinary and collaborative body of work demonstrated by this year’s project teams. We count as a major success the number of undergraduate and graduate student thesis projects this year that used blended reality technologies. We also note the growing interest from faculty looking to incorporate these technologies into their classrooms. As we close out our second year and head into the third, we look forward to continued success and growing interest across the Yale community.