Horizon Report cites BG's emerging technology

BOWLING GREEN, O.—A project pairing Bowling Green State University and Case Western Reserve University has been cited as an example of an emerging technology by the New Media Consortium.

Pocket Virtual Worlds, a three-dimensional, photographic virtual space that can be explored on the screen of a handheld device, is an application of mobile broadband technology—one of six described as emerging by the consortium in the 2008 Horizon Report.

The report is an annual collaboration between the EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative and the consortium, an international group of learning-focused organizations, including BGSU, that are dedicated to exploration and use of new media and technology.

The report predicts that the six technologies—also including grassroots video, collaboration webs, data “mashups” (a combination of data from multiple sources in one tool), collective intelligence and social operating systems—will likely enter mainstream use in higher education and similarly focused organizations within the next five years.

Time-to-adoption of mobile broadband is listed as two to three years. But the developers of Pocket Virtual Worlds, Dr. Larry Hatch of BGSU and Jared Bendis of Case Western Reserve, are working to push the pace of their technology, whose goal is to enable classroom-bound students to take virtual field trips.

“We were very delighted to have it selected as one of the new technologies to watch,” said Hatch, who is spending this academic year at the University of Applied Sciences in Salzburg, Austria.

The BGSU professor of visual communication and technology education noted that he and Bendis, the creative director for new media at Case Western Reserve, have made presentations about Pocket Virtual Worlds to New Media Consortium members for the last two years.

The technology allows for navigation of virtual environments while actually walking around and exploring them. Photos create panoramas in which people can navigate by using a handheld device. That originally meant a personal digital assistant, but “we are currently moving the technology to work in the much larger market of mobile phones,” Hatch said.

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Media Contact: For more information about Pocket Virtual Worlds, email Dr. Larry Hatch at larryhat@gmail.com or contact Scott Borgelt of BGSU Marketing & Communications at 419-372-2716 or sborgel@bgsu.edu.

(Posted February 12, 2008 )