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Students Gain a New Appreciation for the Science Behind Extended Reality and Audio Engineering

Published on: March 10, 2022

people standing in extended reality studio

BANGOR, MAINE – There is growing interest in immersive reality experiences by students and adults. According to the 2022 GroupM Annual Survey on Consumer Attitudes Toward Technology, nearly 1 in 3 consumers own an augmented reality/virtual reality device, and 15 percent will buy such a device in 2022[1]

In an effort to help students understand the science behind extended reality and its explosive potential to impact every aspect of consumers’ daily lives, Brave Williams, MFA, the director of the iEX Center and an associate professor in Husson University’s School of Technology and Innovation, will share his thoughts on immersive experiences at the Maine Science Festival on Thursday, March 17, 2022 from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. from the main stage at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor.

Husson’s iEX Center has the largest variety of extended reality (XR) equipment in one place in Maine. Williams will provide Maine Science Festival attendees with an overview of the iEX Center, a demonstration of some of the equipment, and an overview of what XR is and why it’s important.

Extended reality (XR) is an umbrella term for three-dimensional computing environments. It uses computing technologies like mobile devices, various specialized software, virtual reality (VR) goggles, augmented reality (AR) glasses, website XR (WebXR), and AR environments to create immersive, integrated, and interactive experiences. These new technologies represent enormous potential. Everyone from “artists to the zoologists” will be able to utilize three-dimensional presentations in the future. 

According to Williams, “Six-hundred and fifty-six (656) students have already signed up for this seminar and there are more on the waiting list. Students have a lot of interest in learning more about immersive technologies. I’m hoping that this Husson University presentation will encourage the next generation of programmers and artists to learn more about the potential of extended reality and available professional career opportunities associated with this growing industry.”

Eric-Feguson-MSF-2017---Photographer-Kevin-Bennett---200dpi-min.jpgLater in the week, on Sunday, March 20, 2022, from 1 – 2 p.m. at Knapp’s Music Center, 51 Main Street in Bangor, another Husson University faculty member will share his insights. New England School of Communications Assistant Professor Eric Ferguson, MM, be talking about the science associated with live performances as part of a presentation called, “Don’t Blame the Sound Person: The Science Behind Bad Concert Sound.”

“Anyone who goes to concerts regularly has, at one time or another, been disappointed by the sound quality,” said Ferguson. “My goal is to help people understand why it’s almost impossible for the sound person to please everybody. This presentation will look at the different variables that affect how music is reproduced and perceived in a venue. These will include psychoacoustics, venue acoustics, and phase interaction between loudspeakers.” 

Ferguson has over 30 years of professional audio experience. As a staff engineer at the legendary A&M Studios, he worked with numerous platinum recording artists such as Chicago, Ringo Starr, Macy Gray, and Billy Corgan. As a freelance engineer, Ferguson has been involved in over a hundred recording, mixing, and post-production projects including work for such luminaries as Phil Collins, Aretha Franklin, Kool & The Gang, Fourplay, and Dave Grusin. Accomplished in sound reinforcement, Ferguson has toured in over 17 countries for artists such as Lee Ritenour, James Ingram, and Dave Koz. 

“One of the great things about the Maine Science Festival is that it always has interesting presentations from a variety of disciplines,” said Dr. Marie Hansen, dean of the College of Business at Husson University. “Students often don’t stop to think about how science is making their virtual reality goggles or audio devices possible. But thanks to the Maine Science Festival and the educational contributions of Husson University faculty members, students now have the opportunity to understand and appreciate the scientific principles that makes their technology work and concert experiences enjoyable.”

Husson University Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost Lynne Coy-Ogan, EdD, observed, “The Maine Science Festival is also an outstanding way to help showcase the variety of science-related expertise available at Husson University. Our faculty members have both in-depth scientific knowledge and practical experience in applying science to real-life situations. We’re proud to support this educational effort and help make the festival a great experience for students of all ages.”

For more than 120 years, Husson University has shown its adaptability and strength in delivering educational programs that prepare future leaders to handle the challenges of tomorrow through innovative undergraduate and graduate degrees. With a commitment to delivering affordable classroom, online and experiential learning opportunities, Husson University has come to represent a superior value in higher education. The hallmarks of a Husson education include advanced knowledge delivered through quality educational programs in business; health and education; pharmacy studies; science and humanities; as well as communication. According to a recent analysis of tuition and fees by U.S. News & World Report, Husson University is one of the most affordable private colleges in New England. For more information about educational opportunities that can lead to personal and professional success, visit Husson.edu.

[1] XR Today, “Virtual Reality Statistics 2022,” https://www.xrtoday.com/virtual-reality/virtual-reality-statistics-2022/, Accessed: March 8, 2022.

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