A North Fairbanks basement room has undergone numerous transformations over the years, serving as a movie theater, offices, and production studio. Today, it is home to the Study of data visualizations and experiences (DEV Studio), which helps members of the Dartmouth community integrate extended reality technologies with interdisciplinary research, teaching, and learning.
The DEV Studio was established by a few teams at the Berry Library shortly before the pandemic and is now part of Information, Technology and Consulting. According to Juan Bell, the director of Data Experiences and Visualizations Studio, “It’s a place where people can ask interdisciplinary questions and really play with technology in interesting ways.”
With a built-in balcony, large open floor space, movable furniture (turquoise and green upholstered chairs and tables have casters), the studio easily transforms to meet classroom and research needs. Classes have come to test virtual reality software, give presentations using motion capture technology used to create animations like in Avatar.
Bell explains that virtual reality uses digital constructs designed to completely nullify senses. Meanwhile, augmented reality integrates digital constructions with the physical world. Extended reality can refer to any technology that amplifies how we see our surroundings.
The DEV Studio also offers training for XR technology as well as referrals for related classes and campus resources. The mission includes promoting pedagogical innovation alongside technological innovation by fostering collaborations among industry representatives, teachers, students, researchers artists librarians.
One-day conferences sponsored by DEV Studio convene industry representatives teachers students researchers artists librarians exploring XR-related topics. Last fall’s conference explored spatial data in research and teaching. The longest-serving student employee Andrew Chen ’24 says he’s impressed by his peers’ deft use of technology such as motion-capture 3D animation.
DEV Studio was developed with support from various organizations including Office of the Chancellor Dean of Faculty Office Neukom Institute for Computational Science Leslie Center for Humanities Magnuson Center for Entrepreneurship Information Technology Consulting, Dartmouth College Library and the Dartmouth Design Initiative. It is alleged to be, DEV Studio merges technology and humanities in exciting ways.