The Interactive Realities Laboratory (IRL) within the Institute for Simulation and Training (IST) at the University of Central Florida (UCF) researches areas within virtual environments, intelligent environments, and scientific and information visualization. The lab consists of faculty, staff & students ranging from computer science to digital media. The lab has participated in over $13 million dollars of funded research since 2000 and also collaborates closely with a number of other labs across UCF.
IST, founded in 1982, is an internationally recognized research institute of UCF that focuses on advancing modeling and simulation technology and increasing our understanding of simulation's role in training and education.
Within the IRL, we focus our research on creating better experiences in virtual environments by advancing immersive technologies (e.g. haptic approaches), in exploring the creation of intelligent environments that can adapt to the user (both in performance and in fulfilling functional gaps), and by finding new discoveries through scientific and information visualization. Our goal is not to just build another training system or visualization system, but to make the systems that are more effective at what they do. The platforms we use may be immersive virtual reality, video games, massively parallel clusters, wearable simulators, the World Wide Web or mobile devices, but these are simply interactive tools in the learning process.
The lab includes multiple servers (file, mail, web), development PCs, wearable computers, head-mounted displays, trackers (including magnetic, optical and hybrid), haptic devices, olfactory devices and equipment to support hardware development (oscilloscope, etc.). Key software packages to support development and artwork are also available in the lab. Overall, the lab contains all the infrastructure (including gigabit network with 10-gigabit uplink) to support research and producing necessary deliverables.
In 2010, the lab moved to the new Partnership 3 building where its facilities were better unified into a more flexible space that more easily supports our research projects.