Create a Spooky 3D Character with Blender!

screenshot of 3D modeled cat in Blender

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 3-D workspaces such as Unity.

screenshot of 3D modeled cat in Blender

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: Learning Hub, Studio X, First Floor Carlson Library
When: Thursday, October 14th from 6 to 7:30pm
Register: https://libcal.lib.rochester.edu/event/8266876

Intro to XR

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AR? VR? MR? What now? Want to learn more about immersive technologies or extended reality (XR) but don’t know where to start? This workshop will demystify these technologies, explain their history, and demonstrate use cases across disciplines all while showing you the newest applications in a fun-hands-on experience for any level of expertise!

decorative graphic for workshop.

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!

Instructor: Ayiana Crabtree
Where: Learning Hub, Studio X, First Floor Carlson Library
When: Thursday, September 30th from 6 to 7:30pm
Register: https://libcal.lib.rochester.edu/event/8266864

Escape from Virtual Eastman Quad! | RCL Stress-Less Week

decorative graphic with text that says, "Escape from Virtual Eastman Quad!"
Banner graphic with text: "Escape from virtual Eastman Quad! Take a break from your studies and enter the Studio X Virtual Escape Room! On Thurs, 5/12 at 6PM. It's a virtual event." Icon of VR headset.

Take a break from your studies and enter the Studio X Virtual Escape Room! Using Mozilla Hubs (free XR software), you’ll be able to create an avatar, enter the virtual Eastman Quad, and discover clues in the space that will help you escape. River Campus Library staff will be there to give you tips and answer any questions about the new Studio X space for immersive technologies that will open in Carlson Library in Fall 2021.

Prizes will be awarded to the first three participants that escape in the allotted time! 

Where: Virtually via Zoom
When: Thursday, 5/13/2021 @6-7PM
Register: https://libcal.lib.rochester.edu/event/7768747

Voices of XR: Ahmed Ghazi

Ahmed Ghazi.

AR/VR Applications in Surgical Training

Ahmed Ghazi.

Dr. Ghazi MD, FEBU, MSc, received his medical education from Cairo University, Egypt in 2000, where he also completed his surgery training and Urology residency 2001-2005. Following his training he completed a series of worldwide fellowships in state-of-the-art minimal invasive Urological surgery, in Paris and Austria (2009-2011), where he received his accreditation from the European Board of Urology. He completed an Endourology and robotic surgery fellowship at the University of Rochester Medical Center, New York (2011-2013). He was appointed Assistant professor of Urology at the University of Rochester (2013).

Dr. Ghazi specializes in the diagnosis and minimal invasive treatment of urological cancers as well as complex stone disease. In addition to his clinical duties, he perused research grants in education, simulation research and surgical training. To further enhance his educational background, he was awarded the George Corner Deans Teaching fellowship (2014-2016), completed the Harvard Macy Institute program for Educators in Health Professions in 2016 and a Master’s in Health Professions Education program at the Warner School of Education, University of Rochester (2016-2020).

In 2015, Dr. Ghazi was appointed as the Director of Simulation Training for the Department of Urology. In this role, he collaborates with educators nationally, and internationally, in a variety of disciplines to enhance the role of simulation in surgical education. He founded and led a research laboratory staffed with a team of biomedical engineers that combine 3D printing, mechanical testing, and hydrogel polymer technologies to fabricate realistic procedural models that replicate the texture, appearance and tissue reaction of human organs. Furthermore, his educational approach to the development of these realistic innovative models has enhanced the efficiency, safety, and comprehensiveness of surgical training.

Dr. Ghazi was awarded several awards at international scientific and academic conferences as well as grants including a Clinical and Translational Science Award (2017), academic PI of a NIH, STTR grant, and PI of a NIH, NIBIB grant to evaluate the impact of his innovative simulations in improving surgical performance and their translational impact on patient outcomes. Dr. Ghazi believes in a reciprocal relationship between research, teaching & surgery, where each informs & strengthens the others. He has developed educational curricula seeking to improve and better prepare trainees for the operating room experience. He strives to produce academically rigorous research that is theoretically sound but translates directly into a safer surgical environment with reduced surgical errors and improved patient outcomes.

This series is generously supported by 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: Zoom
When: Wednesday, April 7th from 10:25 to 11:40am
Register: bit.ly/XRVoices


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, presented in collaboration with the Goergen Institute for Data Science. 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. See the full spring 2021 series. 

Voices of XR: David Glowacki

David Glowacki.

Cloud-Mounted VR Experiments During COVID Times

David Glowacki.

David Glowacki is originally from Milwaukee. He has appointments as a Royal Society Research Fellow, Philip Leverhulme award holder, and ERC grantee at the University of Bristol where he founded a research group called the ‘Intangible Realities Laboratory’ (IRL) joint between the Centre for Computational Chemistry and the Department of Computer Science. The IRL develops open-source immersive technology software projects at frontiers of scientific, aesthetic, and technological practice.

He has published across several domains, for example non-equilibrium molecular physics, classical & quantum dynamics, computational biochemistry, human-computer interaction, high-performance computing, computer graphics, evolutionary algorithms, machine learning & data science, digital aesthetics, interactive computational art, religion & power, cultural theory, optics, and scientific instrument development.

His computational artworks have experienced by more than 200,000 people across three continents, and featured at a number of well-known cultural and media venues like the Barbican Arts Centre (London), the ZKM | Center for Art and Media Technology (Karlsruhe, Germany), the London 2012 Olympics (London, UK), the Stanford University Art Institute (Palo Alto, California), the Bhutan International Festival (Thimphu, Bhutan), and many others.

In this talk, he will describe his recent research to investigate the use of cloud and VR through two different projects during the COVID-19 pandemic:

  1. Narupa – a flexible, open-source, cloud-mounted, multi-person VR software framework, which enables groups of researchers across the world to simultaneously cohabit real-time simulation environments and interactively build, inspect, visualize, and manipulate the dynamics of complex molecular structures with atomic-level precision. This framework was used recently to investigate the binding dynamics of molecular inhibitors to the Sars-Cov-2 main protease.
  2. Isness – a cloud-mounted, multi-person VR experience, in which participants have produced effects statistically indistinguishable from moderate to high doses of psilocybin, a serotonergic psychedelic drug used to treat anxiety, depression, and addiction in clinical contexts. The efficacy of Isness illustrates its potential to provide therapeutic and mental health benefits, which are comparable to drug interventions but without the associated risks. The distributed cloud-mounted Isness environment enables individuals to undergo the experience of ‘energetic coalescence,’ a new class of embodied phenomenological experience, which elicits poignant responses from participants.

This series is generously supported by 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: Zoom
When: Wednesday, March 31st from 10:25 to 11:40am
Register: bit.ly/XRVoices


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, presented in collaboration with the Goergen Institute for Data Science. 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. See the full spring 2021 series. 

Voices of XR: Anand Santhanam

Medical Use for AR/VR

Anand Santhanam.

Professor Santhanam (Assistant Professor, Dept. of Radiation Oncology, University of California Los Angeles) is a Founder, Director and an Advisor for SegAna. Dr. Santhanam has worked on the biomechanical modeling of lungs since 2002 for different applications ranging from computer animation, virtual reality, rehabilitation, tissue engineering to radiation oncology. His PhD dissertation was focused on developing High Performance Computing based algorithms for physics and physiology-based 3D lung dynamics using state of-the-art Graphics Processing Units (GPU). He was Principal Investigator for the James and Ester King 2008-10 Team Science Project grant for $1 Million in collaboration with the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center Orlando, which focused on incorporating 3D biomechanical lung dynamic models for assisting in the treatment efficacy of lung radiotherapy. His research focus is on developing algorithms for 3D/4D image processing, model-based lung registration, lung anatomy deformation modeling, lung deformation-based elasticity estimation, tumor dosimetry and lung deformation-based radiotherapy evaluation. He has published several journal papers in the field of biomechanical organ modeling.

This series is generously supported by 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: Zoom
When: Monday, March 29th from 10:25 to 11:40am
Register: bit.ly/XRVoices


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, presented in collaboration with the Goergen Institute for Data Science. 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. See the full spring 2021 series. 

Create Your Own Selfie Filters for Instagram

person holding a smart phone high in the air.

Ever wondered how the fun selfie filters on Instagram are created? It’s easier than you think!

Join River Campus Libraries and Studio X to create your own custom effects with Spark AR Studio, an augmented reality tool from Facebook. With this platform, you can incorporate images and 3D models, animation, interaction, and more into filters without knowing how to code. During this hands-on workshop, participants will learn the basics of creating effects and how to publish them to Instagram and/or Facebook. We’ll also provide some custom UR assets, so you can spread that Meliora love! All levels are welcome. No experience necessary.

Note: Attendees will need a Facebook account and to download Spark AR studio (Mac and PC) as well as the Spark AR app (iOS and Android) for testing ahead of time.

Have questions? Join us on the Studio X Discord.

Where: Virtually via Zoom
When: Thursday, 3/25/2021 @6-7:30PM
Register: https://libcal.lib.rochester.edu/event/7596111

Voices of XR: Kaan Akşit

Kaan Aksit.

Next Generation Display Technologies for Virtual and Augmented Reality Applications

Kaan Aksit.

Next generation display technologies expected to enhance our lives with Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) applications, which will revolutionize entertainment, healthcare, communication, and manufacturing industries among many others. In this talk, I will introduce the key challenges in designing near-eye VR/AR displays to meet the requirements of the human visual system. I will describe how we can address those challenges with our novel varifocal near-eye display designs. Key to our efforts is a novel see-through rear-projection screen. An image is projected to the see-through screen using an off-axis path, which is then relayed to the user’s eyes through an on-axis partially reflective magnifying surface. I will conclude by showing that this work forms a basis for new near-eye display designs that can meet human visual system’s resolution capabilities.

Kaan Akşit is an associate professor at University College London in the UK. Kaan conducts research at the intersection of light and computation. Kaan’s research includes computational approaches in imaging, fabrication, mobility, and displays dedicated to virtual reality, augmented reality, 3D with glasses and 3D without glasses applications. For more, please visit Kaan’s website at https://kaanaksit.com and follow his updates on twitter at https://twitter.com/kaanaksit.

This series is generously supported by 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: Zoom
When: Wednesday, March 24th from 10:25 to 11:40am
Register: bit.ly/XRVoices


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, presented in collaboration with the Goergen Institute for Data Science. 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. See the full spring 2021 series. 

Voices of XR: Cali Fidopiastis

cali fidopiasti.

Faces of Technology: Scientist Explores Solutions Through AR/VR

cali fidopiasti.

What do you want to be when you grow up?

This daunting question is often asked of children who have hardly been alive long enough to know about career opportunities other than public offices, celebrity platforms and what their parents do for a living. It often isn’t until much later in life – after their talents and desires are honed – when anyone can muster a well-informed answer.

This was the case for Cali Fidopiastis, who never pictured herself as the inspiring scientist she is today.

Cali’s life changed dramatically in 1991, when she sustained a tragic injury while playing tennis and was permanently blinded in one eye. Unable to accept the coach’s assessment that she hit the ball into her own eye, Cali set out to prove them wrong.

I created a mathematical model of my injury and a dynamic physics model to demonstrate how the accident could have occurred,” explained the UCF School of Modeling, Simulation and Training (MS&T) Ph.D. graduate, who also holds bachelor’s degrees in psychology, biology and a master’s degree in sociology (experimental design) from the University of California Irvine.

During the modeling and simulation process, Cali realized a staggering 30 percent of children playing tennis could sustain the same injury when playing in the same place as she had been on the court. Understanding the ability of this type of simulation to impact lives, she was instantly sold on a new career path. “That changed my course,” said Cali, who originally set out to be a general medical practitioner.

Today, as innovator and chief scientist for Design Interactive, Cali is empowered in a role where her diverse educational backgrounds intersect. Serving an array of clients – from military to hospitals – Design Interactive specializes in virtual and augmented reality software solutions for human performance. Constantly assessing how to take her work “into the real world,” Cali has contributed to projects such as AUGMENTOR™, an augmented reality application for vehicle maintenance, and MedAR, an augmented reality battlefield trauma care trainer.

While Cali thrives in an environment where new technology is being researched and tested daily, it’s not just this aspect of the job that excites her. Rather, Cali enjoys the culture at Design Interactive, where collaboration is king from product conception to launch.

Our team is extremely supportive and encouraging of each other,” she said. “We help each team member grow their capabilities to reach their highest potential – ultimately, this elevates our product line.”

Cali was eager to accept the job at Design Interactive largely for the opportunity to work with its founder, Kay Stanney, a veteran of Orlando’s multibillion-dollar MS&T industry. “Kay was a professor of mine at UCF… her 20-year career growth pattern was very empowering for me to see. It’s one reason why, when she asked me to come back as her chief scientist, it was an easy ‘yes.’”

Cali may consider herself fortunate to be back in Orlando at Design Interactive, yet surely, it’s the fortune of our region to have such a brilliant scientist call The Corridor “home.” Undoubtedly, she is pioneering a new career path for children to consider when they grow up.

This series is generously supported by 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: Zoom
When: Monday, March 22nd from 10:25 to 11:40am
Register: bit.ly/XRVoices


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, presented in collaboration with the Goergen Institute for Data Science. 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. See the full spring 2021 series. 

Voices of XR: Steven Christian

Interdisciplinary Approaches to Problem Solving through Innovation, Creativity, and Emerging Technology

black and white photo of Steven Christian.

Born and raised in Sacramento, CA, Steven Christian (he/him/his), grew up playing sports, spanning football, basketball, and baseball. His excellence in football earned him a scholarship to the University of Hawaii. During his college career, he injured his hips and had to get bilateral hip reconstructive surgery. During his recovery, he began to explore art, comics, and developing content for mobile devices.

His exploration of artistic development became an avenue of self-expression as well as therapy. Although he returned to the field after surgery, he understood that his time as an athlete would not last forever. Earning a Master of Arts from Oregon State, he focused on visual representation of social justice issues through an interdisciplinary approach, primarily with animation and illustration.

Steve uses his variety of skills to give back to his community because fostering a strong community is of the utmost importance to him. He works with various non profit organizations that serve underserved communities from Portland to Seattle, and he works as a teaching artist and mentor for Portland Public Schools and Portland Community College. He works with students to inspire them to think beyond stereotypes.

This path has led him into the augmented reality space where he is empowering Black communities to express themselves through creativity, art, and technology. As a visual artist, Steven aims to create content that reflects his environment and inspires and promotes creativity. He founded Iltopia Studios, a creative studio to scale his artmaking into a platform that empowers people from his community to push beyond what is expected of them. Emerging technologies have a notorious record for evolving without including Black and Brown communities. That has social and economic consequences that negatively impact their career opportunities. With Iltopia Studios, Steven’s goal is to disrupt that by lowering the bar of entry into this space. He creates revolutionary and impactful work at the intersections of culture, creativity, and technology. He then builds curriculum from those projects to educate and train the next generation of Black and Brown creators.

Steven lives by the motto: “Create and Conquer!” which means creating opportunities that overcome stereotypes and conquers adversity. Steven wants to do that for Black creators in the arts and tech industry. He believes that scaling Iltopia can provide additional opportunities for Black creators to work and build their skills. By creating projects like Eyelnd Feevr and expanding on the already built world, Iltopia has the potential to compete with other studios for a share of the emerging technology market, and also be uniquely positioned as a leader in culturally relevant storytelling. In addition to those pursuits, Steven is also pursuing enrolling in Medical School. He hopes to integrate his creative and technical skills into his work as a physician to combat health disparities in marginalized communities.

Read more about Steven and Iltopia Studios in this River Campus Libraries news story.

This series is generously supported by 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: Zoom
When: Wednesday, March 17th from 10:25 to 11:40am
Register: bit.ly/XRVoices


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, presented in collaboration with the Goergen Institute for Data Science. 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. See the full spring 2021 series.