New tech lab at UTSA offers students, career professionals unique learning experience

DEx Lab features wireless VR headsets, other technology

By Deven Clarke - Crime and Justice Reporter

SAN ANTONIO - New technology researchers say will change the way students learn and help solve problems in the workplace is now available to everyone in the community at a lab at the University of Texas at San Antonio's main campus.

The new tech lab, which opened Wednesday, is called the DEx Lab, an abbreviation for digital experience. One of the main attractions are wireless virtual reality headsets that calibrate for each user.

When KSAT visited the lab, we met communications major Jacob Manear, a senior who was taking a virtual tour of a surgical operating room. 

“This simulation right here is mostly based on lab safety, so it’s got things to do with like safety hazards. It kind of teaches you the general rules of being in a lab,” Manear said.

“We’re looking at it for engineering. We have one professor who is looking at it for his students doing architectural digs,” said Dr. Vanessa Kenon, assistant vice provost for IT at UTSA.

Kenon said the technology isn't only beneficial for students.

“You can be out on an oil rig somewhere and there's some work that needs to be done somewhere, and through virtual reality, two people can work together to get that done.” Kenon said.

Smart phones can also connect to content at the DEx Lab. Anyone who wants to try it out for free can schedule an appointment.

The equipment in the DEx Lab costs about $80,000.

Kenon said that, within the next couple of years, the technology may be able to be utilized in many classrooms at UTSA.

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