OIT’s Research Computing Support Group Receives a New HTC Virtual Reality Headset

January 31, 2017

Student in Vizlab

   (A student using the new HTC Vive in the UTSA Advanced Visualization Lab (VizLab).)    

In spring of 2017, UTSA students can look forward to a new virtual reality headset located in the UTSA Advanced Visualization Lab (VizLab). Robert "Lyle" Hood Ph.D., a faculty member of Mechanical Engineering, the UTSA College of Engineering (COE), purchased an HTC Vive to donate to the Office of Information Technology's (OIT) Research Computing Support Group (RCSG).

The HTC Vive is a virtual reality headset developed by HTC and Valve Corporation. According to VR Hardware, "the headset is designed to utilize ‘room scale’ technology to turn a room into 3D space via sensors, with the virtual world allowing the user to navigate naturally, with the ability to walk around and use motion tracked handheld controllers to vividly manipulate objects, interact with precision, communicate and experience immersive environments."

Director of Research Computing Support Brent League elaborated on how important it is that students take advantage of this educational tool. Different educational applications will be available, allowing students to study the human body. Students will be able to view the inside of the human body and see how blood cells function. Other virtual reality apps allow students to study geography with Google Earth, view real life images for art majors, and much more.


(Screenshot of the "Physiology of the Eye" educational app available for students.)

The RCSG is working to ensure the technology resources available are beneficial to all students and are used as teaching tools to create collaborative learning methods for all majors.  The technology and resources are available at no additional cost to the UTSA community and are also open to the non-UTSA community. There are several other resources available through the VizLab including:

  • The VizWall - VizLab's 14.4' by 6' tall visualization wall.
  • SHAMU - the largest HPC cluster at the University.
  • NEMO - a smaller HPC cluster for the VizLab.