NSF Science Node: Making Virtual Reality Work – Interview with UCSIM’s Chris Collins and Ben Fineman, Internet2

Making virtual reality work

Speed read
  • VR accessibility on the rise — 12 million head-mounted displays shipping this year.
  • Internet2 provides the high-speed network bandwidth required for VR collaboration.
  • Metaverse working group is leading the effort to establish VR standards and interoperability.

When we last spoke to Chris Collins and Ben Fineman about their favorite topic, Virtual Reality (VR), we learned the technology was finally beginning to hit its stride.

We caught up with them at the Internet2 Global Summit in Chicago to see what’s developed in the VR space, and what Internet2 and the Metaverse Working Group are doing to advance the technology.

What is the latest and greatest in VR?

Ben: In 2016, manufacturers project they will ship 12.2 million head-mounted displays (HMDs), so that kind of availability of a high quality, VR immersive experience is what’s different today. User-developed content is also now available in the ‘wild,’ and we are starting to see more polished virtual reality applications coming out.

On the cutting edge of things, the augmented space continues to heat up. We see more HoloLens demos from Microsoft which starts to get to the collaborative promise that we have been talking about for a while.

What is driving the surge in VR popularity?

Chris: With the commoditization of cell phone components, things have gotten smaller, lighter, cheaper, faster, and that’s really driving the price range of these head-mounted displays (HMD) to something that’s more consumer friendly—instead of $15,000 it costs $500.

<strong>Surge projection. </strong> Industry experts expect over 12 million head mounted displays will ship this year. Courtesy KZero.

We are seeing so much more competition, so I’m really excited because I think we’ll get better technology, and I think that’s very good for the ecosystem. Bringing the hardware price point down means we can afford to bring it into the classroom and the laboratories on campuses so that we can democratize the creation of the content.


Read the full interview on