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Ron Dearing UTC Invests in Virtalis VR

Ron Dearing UTC Invests in Virtalis VR

Less than a term old, the Ron Dearing University Technical College (UTC) in Hull has just invested in a range of VR technology from Virtalis.

As well as Visionary Render software and the 4.5m wide ActiveWall display system, the UTC, which educates 14-18 year olds in Digital Technology and Mechatronics, is also installing six Virtalis ActiveDesks, with three based on the z-Space 3D monitor and three centred round Head Mounted Displays (HMDs)

Vice Principal Steve Willacy, Principal Sarah Pashley & Vice Principal Mark Ollerenshaw pictured with the 1st cohort of students on the opening day of the Ron Dearing UTCVice-Principal, Steve Willacy commented: “VR is a key technology for us and these systems have been paid for by Green Port Hull – our regional growth fund.  The fund works closely with Hull University and our Founding Partners:  KCOM, RB, Siemens Gamesa, Smith & Nephew and Spencer Group.  The University, our Founding Partners, their supply chain and their customers all use this technology, so it is vital our students are exposed to it too.”

Ron Dearing’s Founding Partners are involved with the school at all levels, from leadership and governance, to curriculum design and delivery, to supporting students as Business Mentors, to offering work experience and internships, to providing additional funding to enable the UTC to purchase industry-standard equipment and recruit staff experts to teach students how to use it.  So far, the new UTC has 200 students, but when full, it will reach 600.

”We went with Virtalis not only because some of our Founding Partners are Virtalis clients”, said Willacy, “but because it was important to us that CAD models from different CAD software could be swiftly imported to develop VR models.  Virtalis’ Visionary Render software does this.  We also expect to bring VR technology to Hull’s SMEs, while our students will be able to create their own CAD, experience the VR model in 3D design reviews and use 3D printing to create the physical end result.”

Students at Ron Dearing UTC work a standard office day of 9 a.m. to 5.15 p.m.  As well as the core curriculum, they follow a full Enrichment Curriculum, of which VR and AR form a part.  Willacy explained: “It’s our job to equip them with the core principles of maths and science and then we invite industry experts to come in to share their knowledge of things like Big Data Analytics.  We find that children learn quickly, faster than adults I’d say, and we firmly believe that such knowledge will really give them the edge in the employment market of the future.”

Head of Engineering Glenn Jensen shows students some of the UTC VR Technologies

The Virtalis ActiveDesk is a combination of VR-enabling devices for desk-based working, bringing many of the 3D advantages of an ActiveWall display system or an ActiveMove CVR immersive system, though without the 1:1 scale.  ActiveDesk provides a wholly immersive and interactive virtual environment in which to better explore and understand information and data.  The Virtalis ActiveWall is an installed, immersive, interactive 3D visualisation system that draws on active stereoscopic technology and features a custom screen, specialist computer, Virtalis software and powerful projectors.  Virtalis’ Visionary Render software delivers advanced rendering of huge models in real-time with ease of importing from a range of CAD and other data sources, maintaining naming, hierarchies and the all-important metadata.


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