Hong Kong University of Science and Technology HKUST which has campuses in both Hong Kong and Guangzhou made public its intention of establishing the world’s first online-based twin campuses in the metaverse in an effort to ride the wave of the future digital era’s potential for improving learning and teaching opportunities by making use of virtual reality and other cutting-edge technologies.
The brand new metaverse campus known as MetaHKUST provides students from all over the world with access to a hybrid virtual reality learning environment. The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology’s MetaHKUST, an extended reality campus is all set to be launched in the new Guangzhou campus in September, and the university is fully dedicated to embracing the fast development of Web 3.0.
Let’s look at how combining VR with other metaverse features not only creates an immersive study experience but can also create a more lifelike environment for students, faculty, and alumni in the metaverse classroom.
Introductory Note on MetaHKUST
The goal of MetaHKUST is to improve the university throughout time. Virtual reality (XR) classrooms, sensors, cameras, and visualization tools will be placed during the first phase, and students, faculty, and staff will be enlisted to aid with a crowdsourced scanning of the actual campuses to give the data needed to create the virtual twins.
Once an ecosystem is in place, students, faculty, and staff at the two universities may create original material for the virtual world, such as avatars, NFTs, tokens, and pieces of virtual art, some of which can be seen or utilized on the actual campuses thanks to augmented reality (AR) technology.
With the advent of blockchain technology, documents like transcripts and diplomas might be issued in the form of non-fungible tokens (NFTs), streamlining the transfer of information and streamlining administrative processes.
The metaverse has been envisioned by Hong Kong University as a collection of interconnected 3D virtual worlds that may exist independently and indefinitely, using state-of-the-art technologies like VR/AR/MR, blockchain, and many more. Prof. Pan HUI brings over 10 years of experience to the Hong Kong University team as the Chair Professor of Computational Media and Arts Thrust at HKUST and an affiliate Professor of Emerging Interdisciplinary Area and Computer Science and Engineering.
From the beginning, HKUST has been at the forefront of educational innovation. We were among the first to implement such unique pedagogies and initiatives as cross-disciplinary classrooms and online learning. MetaHKUST is another important endeavor at HKUST with the goal of bringing together students and researchers from all around the world to allow immersive learning and collaboration.
The University will establish rules for the hybrid physical-digital environment, regulating digital assets and removing roadblocks to their growth, in order to make this plan a reality. Moreover, the university will aggressively seek chances for cooperation on the metaverse with other institutions, as well as select and finance proposals from HKUST members who can make the greatest use of the MetaHKUST platform.
Prof. WANG Yang, HKUST’s Vice-President for Institutional Advancement and leader of the MetaHKUST project, has observed, “Hong Kong possesses all the ingredients necessary for the future-shaping growth of Web 3.0 amid a rapid convergence of our physical and digital worlds.” If my study is correct, HKUST is the first university in the world to construct a digital twin of its two campuses, and as such is well-positioned to spearhead the development of a sustainable XR ecosystem to enhance research and education. The online-offline interaction will assist realize the promise of the metaverse in education, and it will also promote a true merger of the two campuses within the concept of “Unified HKUST, Complimentary Campuses.”
At HKUST(Guangzhou), AR is one of the major technologies that integrate digital material with actual surroundings,” said Prof. Pan HUI, Chair Professor of Computational Media and Arts and Director of the Center for Metaverse and Computational Creativity (MC2) at HKUST. Most augmented reality apps are presently designed for a single user and have severe time and place limitations. As well as being a major obstacle in the way of realizing our physical-digital vision, the scaling up of technology to support large-sized settings and vast multi-user experiences is also a major differentiator of MetaHKUST in comparison to metaverse activities at other campuses.
As of right now, the MC2 crew is hard at work building the first mixed reality lecture hall at HKUST(GZ). This cutting-edge classroom, which will be ready by September 2022 and span around 2,400 square feet, will match the size of a new classroom being built on the Clear Water Bay campus at the same time coincided with the unveiling of the brand-new campus. Faculty and students from both campuses will be able to listen to the same lecture at the same time in identical rooms, thanks to the new facilities.
At the same time, the group will keep working to improve the virtual world’s presentation aspects so that the HKUST community may have the finest possible metaverse experience.
The metaverse campus at Hong Kong University will use cutting-edge tools like virtual reality and more to propel the institution forward and open up new horizons for its faculty and students.
MetaHKUST will provide virtual replicas of its physical buildings and will also transfer additional digital resources to its two physical campuses in Hong Kong and Guangzhou. With the use of virtual reality headsets, students may get a deeper comprehension of concepts via the superimposition of data and information in three dimensions onto real-world objects.