WASHINGTON—“From Research to (Virtual) Reality” panelist Harrison Linowes has the distinction of being one of the younger presenters at this year’s upcoming Government Video Expo, but the University of Maryland student has been working with virtual reality technology since he was a teenager.
Interested in programming from a young age, Linowes began experimenting with VR storytelling in his junior year of high school and has continued throughout college, currently serving as the president of UMD’s Virtual Reality Club.
Now in its third year, the club has more than 230 members, according to Linowes, and hosts events and tutorials on VR once or twice a month to teach people about programming or provide more general information. The club is committed to expanding VR awareness beyond those just in the computer science program: “The main goal is really just to inform the student body and other people about the technology and also provide those resources that they can use it… We want to make it as easily and readily available as possible,” said Linowes.
The experiences that Linowes has had with VR both inside and outside the classroom have made him recognize its tremendous value in for industry and enterprises in the future; he wants the efforts of the VR Club to help other students recognize the technology's potential.
“My hope is that maybe a psych major or a business major will graduate having the knowledge of what a virtual reality headset is and what the technology can do, that wherever they go there are so many applications,” Linowes said.
“When they’re going to tackle a new problem in the workforce, whether it be at a hospital or different industries that have nothing to do with technology, the fact that they have this knowledge of what the technology can do will affect their decision making and eventually add to the adoption of virtual reality technology.”
Linowes will take part in Government Video Expo’s “From Research to (Virtual) Reality” panel, scheduled on Thursday, Nov. 30, at 1 p.m. The 2017 Government Video Expo will run from Nov. 28-30.