Blender 101: Spooky Season Edition

3D modeled carved pumpkin with neon colors.

Create the spooktacular 3D character of your nightmares! This workshop focuses on asset creation with the 3D modeling software, Blender. This open-source and free software has become the industry standard over the last couple of years. Learn how to navigate its workspace, tools, and hotkeys and become familiar with one of the most popular platforms of the industry. You will create a low-polygon model using provided reference images. Your model can then potentially be used as avatars in other XR projects or 3D workspaces such as Unity.

Join Studio X, UR’s hub for immersive technologies, and learn more about the digital world of extended reality (XR). All levels welcome. No experience necessary!

Note: Workshop attendees must bring a laptop with Blender installed. Please download this ahead of time.

Instructor: Nefle Nesli Oruç
Where: Studio X, First Floor Carlson Library
When: Tuesday, October 25th from 6 to 7:30pm
Register: libcal.lib.rochester.edu/event/9660772

Make Your Own Short 360° Video

360 degree tiny planet image.

Learn the basics of 360 recording and editing with Studio X’s Insta360 cameras. Create fun effects like stop motion, cloning, and tiny planet clips that can be used for all kinds of projects from social media to music videos.

Join Studio X, UR’s hub for immersive technologies, and learn more about the digital world of extended reality (XR). All levels welcome. No experience necessary!

Participants will need to download the free Insta360 Studio 2022 editing software to their own computers (available on both PC and Mac) prior to the workshop. Need assistance with this process? Ask for help on the Studio X Discord (Quick Questions Channel). 

Instructor: Fin Tran
Where: Studio X, Carlson Library First Floor
When: Friday, October 14th at 1pm
Register: libcal.lib.rochester.edu/event/9659848


promotional graphic for drop-in fridays at Studio X with geometric design. Reads "Drop-in Fridays. Fall 2022 series. Join us Fridays at 1pm for informal XR talks, tech demos, workshops, and more."

Drop by Studio X every Friday at 1pm for informal workshops, talks, demos, and more! View the full schedule.

VR Game Afternoon

illustration of a woman wearing a VR headset.

Relax, take a break, and play VR games in Studio X! We’ll provide good music, fun games, and a relaxing vibe. Bring your friends and come have fun.

Join Studio X, UR’s hub for immersive technologies, and learn more about the digital world of extended reality (XR). All levels welcome. No experience necessary!

Where: Studio X, Carlson Library First Floor
When: Friday, October 7th at 1pm


promotional graphic for drop-in fridays at Studio X with geometric design. Reads "Drop-in Fridays. Fall 2022 series. Join us Fridays at 1pm for informal XR talks, tech demos, workshops, and more."

Drop by Studio X every Friday at 1pm for informal workshops, talks, demos, and more! View the full schedule.

In a World Full of 3D Models, Researchers Build a New One for Leukemia

hand holding the the bone-marrow-on-chip device.

Wilmot Cancer Institute scientist published data that show a new microchip-like device that his lab developed can reliably model changes in the bone marrow as leukemia takes root and spreads.

hand holding the the bone-marrow-on-chip device.
Ben Frisch, PhD, holds the bone-marrow-on-chip device in his lab.

Ben Frisch, Ph.D., assistant professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine and Biomedical Engineering at the University of Rochester, and colleagues have been building what is known as a modular bone-marrow-on-chip to enhance the investigation of leukemia stem cells. The tiny device recapitulates the entire human bone marrow microenvironment and its complex network of cellular and molecular components involved in blood cancers.  

Similar tissue-chip systems have been developed by others, but they lack two key features contained in Frisch’s product: osteoblast cells, which are crucial to fuel leukemia, and a readily available platform.

The fact that Frisch’s 3D model has been published in Frontiers in Bioengineering and Biotechnology and is not a one-off fabrication will allow others in the field to adopt a similar approach using the available microfluidics system, he said.

Read more.

Experiencing Civic Life: Virtual Mt. Hope Cemetery

logo for Mt. Hope cemetery.

In collaboration with The Friends of Mt. Hope Cemetery, Studio X, and the Humanities Center, Experiencing Civic Life students captured 360 degree photos of a select set of monuments and memorials in Mt. Hope Cemetery. Aiming to create an informative, virtual experience of Mt. Hope, our students produced brief reports about the monuments as well as the people they commemorate.

Ezra Andrews (1828 – 1900)

By: RaeVonna Houser

One of Rochester’s foremost community leaders of the 19th century was Ezra Andrews. He was born March 16, 1828. He co-owned Rochester’s Democrat newspaper. He died August 13, 1900.

William B. Morse (1824 – 1904) and Frances Case Morse (1841 – 1933)

By: Willem Oliveiri

This is the grave site of the Morse family within the Mt. Hope cemetery. The Morse family made many contributions to the city of Rochester. William B. Morse was very passionate about his family and his lumber business. He made many contributions to the lumber industry of Rochester, which continues to this day run by his great grandchildren.

Frances Case Morse was the wife of William B. Morse and made many contributions towards the city of Rochester. She was a friend and a neighbor of Susan B. Anthony, and she supported the women’s suffrage movement.

George Baldwin Seldon (1846 – 1922)

By: Josiah Brown

George Baldwin Seldon was born in Clarkson NY and attended the University of Rochester. His father was a republican attorney who was most known for defending Susan B. Anthony. George dropped out of school early to join the Union Army, but his father convinced him to leave the military and enroll at Yale to study law. After school he practiced law and pursued work as an inventor. He is best known for establishing a patent for the first automobile.

Chester Dewey (1784 – 1867)

By: Jhy’Asia Jackson

Chester Dewey was born in Massachusetts 1784 and died in 1867. He erected a school which later became School 58/World Of Inquiry.

Leonard Henkle (1834 – 1904)

By: Ariane Cisse

Leonard Henkle was originally from Ohio. He lived several years with the Sioux, a people he cared about. He later joined the Civil War as a musician. He eventually moved to Rochester and became an inventor. One of his well known inventions was called “The rochester lamp.”

M. Louise Stowell (1861 – 1930)

By: Infinity Hernandez

M. Louise Stowell was an amazing artist who also specialized in water painting.Louise was born January 1st 1861 at Hornell, NY but moved to Rochester with her family when she was a baby. Louise was the daughter of Thomas P. Stowell, who was a mathematician and an insurance adjuster, and her mother, Henrietta Fowler. Stowell was a child of 5. 

M. Louise Stowell went to The Art Students League of New York. Louise helped shape Rochesters Art club. Louise taught at what’s now known as R.I.T. Louise inspired artists all around the world and even was the only female to win a prize in a German poster contest which gained her international admirers. Louise had a huge impact on the economy of Rochester’s art culture.Louise influenced Ellis (a fellow student of hers when she was in art school) who took on a similar art style as Louise even though others thought he influenced her. M. Louise Stowell sadly stopped making art in 1909 and started running an imported goods shop till she died in February 1930. M. Louise Stowells brilliance will forever live through her art.Thank you for helping to open eyes to the world of art. 

George Clarkson (1811 – 1905)

By: Tiketa Thomas

An immigrant from Edinburgh, Scotland, George Clarkson served as the 39th Mayor of Rochester, New York. He was known for actively seeking out the deaf community to see how he could provide a better environment for their students. He took the initiative to start a series of conversations about the quality of care that deaf children were receiving. His efforts led to the foundation of Rochester’s School for the Deaf.

Fletcher Steele (1885 – 1971)

By: Ciara Jones

Fletcher Steele was born in Rochester on June 7th, 1885 and passed at the ripe old age of 86 on July 16th, 1971. Steele was an architect and went to Harvard for graduate school. Starting from 1915 he built over 700 gardens. He wanted to build from the moment his mother commented on a pretty site in Turk Hill. She described how beautiful it was and from that very moment he wanted to build things for people so that they could also see things that are beautiful. 

Margaret Woodbury Strong (1897 – 1969)

By: Syd Ferree

Margaret Strong was an eccentric collector born to a wealthy family living in Rochester. She collected a great many items throughout her life including toys, magazines, buttons, doorknobs, lamps, artwork, model ships, furniture, clothing, coins, stamps, and the list goes on. Her collection is varied in its scope and large in size, containing more than 300,000 items.

She showed interest as a young child in collecting toys, something that only grew with age as she accompanied her parents on trips overseas. By the time of her death, her collection of dolls numbered 22,000, and her collection of bookplates 84,000. In 1968 she created a state charter that would turn her estate into the Margaret Woodbury Strong Museum of Fascination, and provided 100,000,000 dollars for its construction. It was started in 1973 and was not finished until 1982. Her massive collection of toys and other objects provides not only a source of amusement for Rochester, but a source of education and information about things made in the past.

Zebulon Hebard (1793 – 1852)

By: David Buyon

Zebulon Hebard was born August 1, 1793 and died February 23, 1852. Hebard founded “Hebard’s Steam Marble Works” on south St Paul. The masonry is the oldest stone business in Western NY.

Henry B. Rundel (1844 – 1886)

By: Paola Ebumbu

Sensory Processing – in a Virtual Kodak Hall

a binaural microphone set up with a dummy head.

Rochester researchers will harness the immersive power of virtual reality to study how the brain processes light and sound.

A cross-disciplinary team of researchers from the University of Rochester is collaborating on a project to use virtual reality (VR) to study how humans combine and process light and sound. The first project will be a study of multisensory integration in autism, motivated by prior work showing that children with autism have atypical multisensory processing.

The project was initially conceived by Shui’er Han, a postdoctoral research associate, and Victoire Alleluia Shenge ’19, ’20 (T5), a lab manager, in the lab of Duje Tadin, a professor of brain and cognitive sciences.

“Most people in my world—including most of my work—conduct experiments using artificial types of stimuli, far from the natural world,” Tadin says. “Our goal is to do multisensory research not using beeps and flashes, but real sounds and virtual reality objects presented in realistically looking VR rooms.”

UR students working on the project are looking at information on a laptop with Kodak Hall in the background.
Members of the team begin the setup for audio and visual data collection. From left to right are Shui’er Han, a postdoctoral research fellow in Duje Tadin’s lab; brain and cognitive sciences major Betty Wu ’23; computer science and business major and e5 student Haochen Zeng ’23, who works in River Campus Libraries’s Studio X; and Victoire Alleluia Shenge ’19, ’20 (Take Five), who earned her degree in brain and cognitive sciences and is a manager in Tadin’s lab.

A cognitive scientist, a historian, and an electrical engineer walk into a room . . .

Tadin’s partners in the study include Emily Knight, an incoming associate professor of pediatrics, who is an expert on brain development and multisensory processing in autism. But in creating the virtual reality environment the study participants will use—a virtual version of Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre in downtown Rochester—Tadin formed collaborations well outside his discipline.

Faculty members working on this initial step in the research project include Ming-Lun Lee, an associate professor of electrical and computer engineering, and Michael Jarvis, an associate professor of history. Several graduate and undergraduate students are also participating.

Many of the tools they’ll use come from River Campus Libraries—in particular, Studio X, the University’s hub for extended reality projects, as well as the Digital Scholarship department. Emily Sherwood, director of Studio X and Digital Scholarship, is leading the effort to actually construct the virtual replica of Kodak Hall.

The group recently gathered in the storied performance space to collect the audio and visual data that Studio X will rely on. University photographer J. Adam Fenster followed along to document the group’s work.

Read more.

Voices of XR: John Haddick

Voices of XR speaker John Haddick.

ThinkReality:  Helping Build the Enterprise Metaverse

Voices of XR speaker John Haddick.

John Haddick is a Distinguished Engineer with the Lenovo Intelligent Devices Group, which focuses on developing technologies for the ThinkReality commercial AR/VR portfolio of solutions. As the CTO of ThinkReality, John is a leading strategist for AR/VR product design and development for the company.

Prior to joining Lenovo, John was the CTO of the Osterhout Design Group, a company pioneering AR technologies, where he was in charge of new product innovations and long range product strategy across the company.

In this talk, he will describe Lenovo’s investment and development of commercial AR/VR solutions. From the ThinkReality software, one of the industry’s first cloud and device agnostic platforms, to the award-winning AR smart glasses, Lenovo is making it easier for enterprises to deploy and scale AR/VR.

The Voices of XR speaker series is made possible by Kathy McMorran Murray and the National Science Foundation (NSF) Research Traineeship (NRT) program as part of the Interdisciplinary Graduate Training in the Science, Technology, and Applications of Augmented and Virtual Reality at the University of Rochester (#1922591).

Where: Studio X & Zoom
When: Friday, April 29th from 1 to 2pm EDT
Register: bit.ly/VoXRJohnHaddick


graphic for XR speaker series entitled Voices of XR. On the bottom, is an illustration of a person in a headset reaching with neon geometric squares in the background. On the top is text that reads: "Voices of XR: A Studio X Speaker Series." On top of that, is the Studio X and River Campus Libraries wordmarks.

Voices of XR is a Studio X speaker series. Speakers are scholars, artists, and extended reality professionals who discuss their work with immersive technologies across disciplines and industries. All talks are free and open to the general public.

Voices of XR: Sylvia Xueni Pan

speaker, Sylvia Xueni Pan.

Virtual Humans in VR

speaker, Sylvia Xueni Pan.

Dr. Sylvia Xueni Pan is a Senior Lecturer in VR at Goldsmiths, University of London. She has a BEng in Computer Science from Beihang University, an MSc in Graphics and PhD in Virtual Reality from UCL (funded by the EPSRC). Before coming to Goldsmiths, she worked as a research fellow in Computer Science at UCL and at the same University’s Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience (ICN). Her research interest is the use of virtual reality (VR) as a medium for real-time social interaction, in particular in the application areas of training and therapy. Dr Pan has developed a unique interdisciplinary research profile, with journal and conference publications on both VR technology and social neuroscience. Her work has been featured on the BBC, in New Scientist magazine and the Wall Street Journal. Her 2017 Coursera VR specialisation attracted over 100,000 registered learners globally. She co-leads the Goldsmiths Social, Empathic, and Embodied VR lab (SeeVR Lab) and the MA/MSc in Virtual and Augmented Reality programme at Goldsmiths Computing.

The Voices of XR speaker series is made possible by Kathy McMorran Murray and the National Science Foundation (NSF) Research Traineeship (NRT) program as part of the Interdisciplinary Graduate Training in the Science, Technology, and Applications of Augmented and Virtual Reality at the University of Rochester (#1922591).

Where: Studio X & Zoom
When: Friday, April 22nd from 1 to 2pm EST
Register: bit.ly/VoXRSylviaPan

Recording

Event recording available for UR faculty, students, and staff with NetID and password: bit.ly/XRSylviaPan


graphic for XR speaker series entitled Voices of XR. On the bottom, is an illustration of a person in a headset reaching with neon geometric squares in the background. On the top is text that reads: "Voices of XR: A Studio X Speaker Series." On top of that, is the Studio X and River Campus Libraries wordmarks.

Voices of XR is a Studio X speaker series. Speakers are scholars, artists, and extended reality professionals who discuss their work with immersive technologies across disciplines and industries. All talks are free and open to the general public.

Unity Flapper Bird Pre-Work

This process should take around 15 minutes depending on your download speed.

Step 1: Download and Install the Unity Hub (available on Mac and PC)

  1. Download the Unity Hub here.
  2. From your Downloads folder, double-click on the Unity Hub Setup file to begin the installation.
  3. Agree to Unity Terms of Service and follow the instructions to install Unity Hub.
  4. Open Unity Hub for the first time.

Step 2: Download and Install Unity Version 2021.1.16f1

There are many different versions of the Unity software, as its developed and released over time. During this workshop, we’ll be using version 2021.1.16f1.

  1. In the Installs tab, click Add to add a new Unity version.
  2. Choose 2021.1.16f1.
  3. Choose to install Visual Studio (for Mac or PC) and Android Build Support. (very important!)
  4. Accept any necessary terms and conditions and begin installation.

Step 3: Create a Unity ID

  1. From the Account menu in the Unity Hub, click to sign in.
  2. If you already have an account, sign in. Otherwise, you can create a new Unity ID.

You may receive a notice about needing to activate a license. You can do this under the settings menu (click the cog in the upper-right corner). From there, you can click “License Management” in the menu and choose a personal license.

Select “Unity Personal” and “I don’t use Unity in a professional capacity.”

Step 4: Download the Workshop Project

Download this file. Extract the file.

Step 5: Watch this Short Tutorial

This video will walk you through some key Unity concepts that will make the workshop more useful for you.

Is Extended Reality Shaping the Future of Academic Libraries? This Dean Thinks So.

Studio X salon area. Shows students sitting or standing near the entrance of Studio X.
Mary Ann Mavrinac, vice provost and dean of the University of Rochester Libraries, shares insight into how the campus community directed the development of Studio X, the library’s new extended reality hub featuring advanced technology and expert training 

“I don’t believe in ‘if you build it, they will come.’ You can build something, but they won’t come if you don’t know what your users want,” Mavrinac said. It’s the guiding principle she and her team followed throughout the ideation and planning of the library’s new high-tech hub, Studio X. Located on the first floor of the Carlson Science and Engineering Library, the 3,000 SF space allows students and faculty to participate in immersive learning experiences.

Equipped with technology that supports virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR) and everything between (extended reality or XR), Studio X allows researchers to perform tasks such as visualizing large data sets and safely experimenting with hazardous materials by creating a virtual environment. Studio X broadens the range of possibilities for discovery and instruction, but what makes it truly special is its source of inspiration. CannonDesign collaborated with the university to design a facility that the campus community not only requested but also intimately shaped. From inception to completion, student and faculty preferences were integrated with expert knowledge to deliver a space tailored to serve the entire campus community.

We spoke with Dean Mavrinac to learn more about the process and impact of the project. She wanted to underscore that the success, to date, of Studio X is a team effort, much of it led by Digital Scholarship and Studio X director, Emily Sherwood.

Studio X salon area. Shows students sitting or standing near the entrance of Studio X.

There aren’t many academic libraries that offer a space like Studio X. What is it, and how did the project begin?

The project began in fall 2017 when Lauren Di Monte joined our team and learned from the faculty that there was a lot of research activity in extended reality and other immersive technologies. We thought it was something the library could get involved in since we had close to 50 researchers engaged in XR technologies. So, we set out to better understand that landscape and how the researchers would engage with any initiative we developed, whether it was a space or specialized expertise. We knew a generic cave wouldn’t work for them, so we thought about what we may be able to do to help them tackle specific research questions. As it turned out, we pivoted to a space and service that would provide an easy on-ramp to those less familiar with these technologies and related needs.

Today, Studio X is a collaborative hub for extended reality where students and faculty are immersed in learning and teaching in ways that just aren’t possible without advanced technology. It’s a high-tech space that allows exploration, experimentation and experience that truly brings education to life.

What was the goal of Studio X? Who is it for?

The overall goal was to offer physical space, a program, services, technology and expertise that students and faculty needed—and expertise was really big. The user research told us that they wanted a space and experts in the space to teach them how to use and apply the technologies. We approached this goal by providing an on-ramp that made it easy for people to gain access to and experience with XR technologies.

Whether a person is an advanced researcher or a novice user, we’re good at helping people feel comfortable to explore their questions. The library is an interdisciplinary crossroads at the university, so it could be someone studying history, biomedical engineering, neuroscience, religion, ethics—whatever it is—if they’re interested in using XR technologies, we provide the support they need to feel welcome.

Read the full interview.