Skeen Library’s VR/AR & Drone Room
February 2, 2022
The VR/AR Drone room was brought to the NMT campus through a collaboration between the Skeen Library staff and Dr. Mostafa Hassanalian from the Mechanical Engineering Department.
The VR/AR Drone room has much more to offer than just virtual and augmented reality systems that its name refers to. The room also contains a flight simulator, drone cage, and mini drone museum showcasing current and past projects that Dr. Hassanalian and his students have worked on. Each system has multiple capabilities that help many majors across campus, not just mechanical engineering students. For instance, some of the VR technology has been useful to petroleum engineers, as it lets them virtually visit different sites that they generally wouldn’t be able to go to.
The idea for the VR/AR Drone room originated in 2017 when Library Director Dr. David Cox began his position. He noticed an increase in the use of technology in education and thought that a VR/AR room would be a perfect fit for the library. However, at the time, the library lacked the resources to create such a room. Fast forward to 2020 when the world shut down and so did NMT’s campus. Dr. Mostafa Hassanalian, who conducts research on drones and flying animals/insects, had an idea to make his drone cage accessible remotely. Remote access would allow students to connect to and maneuver drones from a safe distance to other people. Dr. Hassanalian’s very clever idea just needed a place to bring it to fruition. The Skeen Library was able to offer Dr. Hassanalian a space in their “Donkey room” in exchange for bringing all this amazing technology into the library.
It is now 2022 and the VR/AR Drone room has been completely open and running for a little over a year. The room was included on a tour for prospective students and parents during Exploration Day festivities. It is also open to any professors or students interested in having a look around or using the plethora of technology available within the room. If you are interested in visiting the VR/AR Drone room, you have multiple options. There are multiple events offered throughout the school year that grant open access to the room. People who would like to visit the VR/AR Drone room can obtain access by signing up at Skeen Library's libcal website. Additionally, students and professors alike can email Sophia (firstname.lastname@example.org) for access to the room.