Matt Donnelly ‘22, with faculty sponsor Dr. Stacy Doore, was awarded a Gibbons Summer Research Fellowship to fund the creation of the Emerging Technologies Lab, which would be Bowdoin College’s first room-scale virtual reality research and development lab. He planned to learn about virtual reality development, research organization, and how to direct a research lab from Dr. Richard Corey and Dr. Nicholas Guidice, cofounders of the VEMI lab at University of Maine. Matt would use this knowledge to then create the ETL.
By the end of summer 2019, the Emerging Technologies Lab was fully functional and could support robust development of virtual reality content. To demonstrate its readiness for development, Matt Donnelly created four novel virtual reality environments – the Tracking Environment, Spacial Language Environment, Museum Environment and the Skyscraper Environment – each showcasing a particular capability of the lab. These four environments became the first four original creations of the. ETL and served as proofs of concept for larger scale projects to come.