The Tenzer Technology Center hosted their second Tenzer Techover event on Tuesday, March 19. The event was focused on Virtual Reality (VR) technology. VR technology consists of headsets that a user wears and controllers they hold in their hands. When wearing a VR headset, the user is immersed into a different environment and new reality. With the controllers, one can control the interface to use the technology for multiple intended purposes, whether that is educational or recreational.

Tenzer interns and Laurel Tilton, Assistant Director of the Tenzer Technology Center, introduced DePauw students to VR technology that they can use for furthering their education or for recreation. One of the educational programs featured at the Techover event aims to help students learn neuroanatomy. Students also had the opportunity to play games like the Star Wars: Vader Immortal series to experience VR simulations. The event featured various snacks chosen by Tenzer interns. One of those interns, Takafumi Inoue ‘25, has worked at the center for a year. Inoue helped event attendees get set up with VR headsets to try on. He says the events “feel a bit like an exam,” while being much less stressful. Working events like this have taught him how to explain technology to other people with clarity.

The VR headsets in use for the event were Meta Quest 2s. The staff carefully chose those headsets for the event because they are easy to use. “They’re a great headset to get people started on,” Tilton said. Meta Quest 2s also have large app libraries. The Tenzer Center also has VR equipment suited for experienced users: the HTC Vive XR Elite. Those headsets have more functionality, but are more difficult to set up. The VR headsets are not exclusive to the Tenzer center’s events. The VR equipment, and all of Tenzer’s facilities, are open for use by the public and DePauw students anytime Roy O. West Library is open. The headsets are in the center’s tech lab, ROW 203.

The VR event was the second Tenzer Techover event of the semester. On February 28, the center had an event focused on 3D Printing. There is another Techover event planned for April that will focus on Photogrammetry. Photogrammetry is a technique of creating digital copies of physical items using thousands of photos. While many of these technologies, including photogrammetry, are used for educational purposes in DePauw classrooms, the Techover events are meant to make technology available for everyone. Students, faculty, and staff are invited to participate. Tilton said, “We wanted these to be lower barrier to entry events where people who are just curious can come and try out technologies.”

Tenzer Techover events are new programming that began in the Spring 2024 semester. For Tilton, using the Techover events to bring new faces into the center is more important than a large crowd. “If we can touch even four new faces that wouldn’t come into the center otherwise, we would consider that a success,” they said.