NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - Virtual reality headsets were a popular Christmas gift last year, but the technology goes way beyond that use.
East Texas News got to take a virtual tour of Stephen F. Austin State University's brand new Emerging Technologies Lab.
Virtual reality headsets as they are today make the user appear as if they're in one of those old sci-fi movies, but in reality, users are participating in an emerging technology.
"It's a whole different reality," said R.J. George, a student worker at SFA's Engineering Technologies Lab.
Two HTC Vive virtual reality rooms can simulate any place in the world thru the Google Map application. George can take a walk just about anywhere without leaving the soundproof room.
"I've been to Toronto, Ontario. I've been to Cancun," George said. "I've been to Sydney, Australia. I've been to a lot of places."
Also available are four stationary experiences providing a tool for creative minds.
"The biggest users are the art department," said Kreg Mosier, SFA's head of Library Web Services. "This is sort of redefines art. And we've had everyone from hospitality services to athletics to math. You name it there's an application for every field."
Two 3D printers can bring creations to tangible results.
"This is where computers were in the 80s, kind of, where you had two floppy disks," said Edward Iglesias, a Web services librarian. "That's where this is comparatively speaking. So we're still learning the potential of all these technologies. That's the nature of emerging technology."
The East Texas news reporter tried her hand at the virtual reality system. She stuck close to home and flew over SFA and Nacogdoches.
The Emerging Technologies lab is free to all SFA students and staff members. It's located behind the circulation desk on the first floor of the library.