VR allows for new education opportunities

Laynee Merrill
Ashley Ternus tries out the Oculus Rift VR system, while Dr. Todd Young observes from a computer.

Halleigh Hawkins, Staff Writer

The Fred G. Planetarium at Wayne State College is bringing more opportunities to students by incorporating virtual reality to further education in the health field.

The Oculus Rift, a game quest that specializes with virtual reality, is available for use in the Planetarium. Dr. Todd Young, a professor of physics and astronomy at WSC, said the Oculus Rift and Oculus Quest were purchased for the purpose of helping students look into the human body. WSC and University of Nebraska Medical Center are combined in this field, so they decided to work together in the form of technology.

“This was prompted from two points of view,” Young said. “UNMC, with which we do a lot of work with the pre-health professionals and stuff like that. They’re really getting into this stuff, into VR and 3D, and different visualizations of the human body and so forth.”

Having this opportunity open to future health professionals is something that student Taylor Olnes says shows how helpful virtual reality really can be.

“I was skeptical at first because I didn’t know what virtual reality was capable of in terms of educational use,” Olnes said. “But now I realize what it can do and how helpful it can be.”

Young said it is important for students to get the experience even before they attend UNMC. He said the future of virtual reality at WSC is growing and the two colleges could potentially be doing real time collaborations on a human body.

Olnes said she is grateful that WSC is trying to provide students with real experience and prepare them for what is to come.

“UNMC is known for being an innovative and top medical school,” Olnes said. “I’m glad Wayne State is trying to prepare us for our education post-graduation to the best of their ability. I don’t think many pre-health students know of this tool. But I know that those who do find it to be a great study tool are in the Planetarium a lot to use it.”

The Planetarium is open for students to use and has more to offer than just anatomy. There are space games, history tools, and even beat saber is available to play. If you are interested in using the Oculus Rift, contact Young at the Planetarium to set up a time.

Laynee Merrill
Ashley Ternus tries out the Oculus Rift VR system, while Dr. Todd Young observes from a computer.