Ontario’s economy grows when college graduates can transform the future.
Alongside colleges across Ontario, Centennial College participated in the annual College Day at Queen’s Park on April 1, 2019 to demonstrate how the college experience can contribute greatly to Ontario’s economy. As one of Canada’s top colleges for research, innovation and entrepreneurship, Centennial exhibited its investment in applied research with a display of two of WIMTACH’s several innovative virtual reality (VR) projects.
“I’m proud that everyone got the opportunity to see the value of [Centennial] College investing in applied research initiatives and projects,” explained Dr. Purnima Tyagi, Director of WIMTACH.
For the event, Dr. Tyagi was joined by WIMTACH industry partner and award-winning digital media production company Shaftesbury to display one VR headset that demonstrated two 360 VR experiences, both of which the two companies developed together.
The first demonstration was an immersive VR game designed to induce calm in pediatric patients. Named, “Bubble Bloom”, the game allows users to engage an undersea coral garden and blow bubbles at passing fish. It is driven by adaptive artificial intelligence (AI), allowing it to adjust to induce a state of relaxed calm. Currently, WIMTACH and Shaftesbury are working together to develop the AI game algorithm to more accurately assess and control patients’ stress levels.
The second demonstration, which was completed with WIMTACH in February 2018, was Darken VR promotional experience that takes participants through the Sci-Fi world of Darken. The VR environment was also streamed to a screen at the exhibit. Visitors of the booth included Ann Buller, President of Centennial College, David Carter Whitney Assistant Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Employment and Advanced Skills Development Employment and the Honorable Merrilee Fullerton of the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities.
While it wasn’t on display, the collaborative nature of WIMTACH projects was front and centre. With employment opportunities from WIMTACH, Centennial College students can serve as Subject Matter Experts and assistants to WIMTACH industry partners, enhancing their knowledge from the comfort (and convenience) of the campus. It’s learning they wouldn’t otherwise get.
“[These kinds of projects] give students opportunities to solve real industry challenges while completing their studies at Centennial College, and they also demonstrate how industry-academic partnerships are beneficial to everyone.” Dr. Tyagi said.
Since WIMTACH serves both digital health companies and hospitals, students get to make a difference using unique equipment. Partnerships like the one between WIMTACH and Shaftesbury opens doors; Not only are students able to gain experiential learning and technical skills training, they are able to apply the knowledge they gain inside the classroom outside in the real world. Applied research projects, then, can serve as the beginning of the careers of students. These lessons are invaluable to the growth of Centennial students into exceptional innovators and problem-solvers.
It’s no wonder that as of February 2019, WIMTACH has engaged over 325 students. Those with the opportunity to work with WIMTACH gain skills that complement their classroom knowledge and increase their job-readiness level. Industry partners get to see the value of these students up close and decide to invest in Ontario’s economy by investing in Centennial College students and their ability to innovate.
For more information about WIMTACH, please visit www.wimtach.centennialcollege.ca