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University of Hong Kong opens imseDOME to experiment with VR and 360° films

University of Hong Kong opens imseDOME to experiment with VR and 360° films

In Hong Kong, the University of Hong Kong (HKU) has recently
launched
a unique digital cultural space called the VR Salon at the Global
Lounge at Fong Shu Chuen Amenities Centre. The VR Salon will be opened from now
till December this year, showcasing VR films and students’ creative work from
the Common Core courses.

This project is an outcome of cross-departmental
collaboration, involving the Department of Industrial and Manufacturing Systems
Engineering (IMSE), the Faculty of Engineering and the Common Core Curriculum
Office at HKU. It is also strongly supported by two HKU Vice Presidents,
Professor Ian Holliday (Teaching and Learning) and Professor John Kao (Global).

Inside the VR Salon, a state-of-the-art Virtual Reality (VR)
system called imseDOME has been installed. The imseDOME is
currently the most mobile and affordable VR system that can display high
resolution 4K images. It is a 360°projection system of moving images.

According to the project curator Dr Kal Ng Ka-lung, it is
very much like a primordial experience where people circle a camp fire and
listen to stories of the universe. Unlike other VR systems that require the
viewers to wear 3D glasses or VR headsets, the imseDOME audience simply steps in
to a place like the Sky Theatre in the Hong Kong Space Museum and will
immediately be surrounded by the cinematics of 4K high-definition moving
images, as well as captivating scenes of a VR films. The powerful viewing
experience creates an immersive feeling which encourages interactions among
audiences.

Dr Henry Lau Ying-kei of IMSE, Director of Common Core
Curriculum Professor Gray Kochhar-Lindgren and Associate Director of Common
Core Curriculum Dr Nicol Pan Fu-chun have collaborated to bring this VR Salon
from the laboratory to the forefront of university research, teaching and
learning. It is believed that every interested member of the university
community should be able to experience, experiment and innovate with the VR
technology.

The VR Salon has
invited Dr Kal Ng Ka-lung, a film maker and HKU lecturer, to curate a series of
VR film programmes and to host seminars on mobile 360° filmmaking and YouTubing
inside the imseDOME. One of Dr Ng’s launch programs is known as “The Fuller
Experience: A Tribute to Buckminster Fuller”. Non-profit independent film
organisation Experimenta also presented three new 360° films at the VR Salon. Other than that, teachers
and students of HKU have also signed up to showcase their creative works in
the imseDOME.

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