Join Us Nov. 8: PennImmersive Tech Open House!

The day we’ve been waiting for is almost here… We’re so excited to welcome the Penn campus community to the first-ever PennImmersive Technology Open House [register now]!  Stop up to the 6th floor of Van Pelt-Dietrich Library Center any time between 11 am and 2 pm on Wednesday, November 8.

[See photos from the event!]

You can see & try…

  • new immersive technologies from vendors like Dell, Lenovo, Nvidia, and Adobe,
  • Penn students, faculty, and staff from Medicine, Communications, Art, Engineering, and more who will demo their immersive content and projects, and
  • technologies you can use or borrow from the Penn Libraries to create your own immersive experiences!

Penn Presenters & Project Demos

Chris Kao: Philly by Drone

Chris is the owner of Philly by Drone and a senior at Penn studying computer science in SEAS and marketing in Wharton

Project Description: Imagine you are flying over the city and can look all around. What are all these buildings below? What are some of their architectural achievements? Chris started his company to capture real estate photography and cinematography by drone. Combining his tech and marketing skills, he created an interactive drone panorama for BALA Consulting Engineers to showcase over half of the new high-rises in the city which BALA did MEP (mechanical, electrical, plumbing) designs for. Explore the panorama for yourself at

Alex Miller: Virtual Reality Treatment for Phantom Limb Pain

Alex is an application Developer in Penn’s Neurology VR Lab

Project Description: Phantom limb sensations occur in up to 90% of amputees, many of whom also experience persistent pain in their phantom limb (PLP). Current treatments do not provide relief for a majority of people with PLP. This study is exploring reduction of PLP in lower-limb amputees with low cost VR games. During game play, the patient views a real-time rendering of two intact legs in a head-mounted display. Virtual movements of the missing extremity are controlled by feedback from sensors mounted on the residual limb. So far, two patients with unilateral below-the-knee leg amputation have undergone multiple sessions of the VR treatment. Both participants rated their level of pain to be reduced after each VR session, and this beneficial effect persisted several weeks after testing. Although preliminary, these data suggest that our VR intervention may be an effective and low cost treatment of PLP in amputees.   NOTE:  folks with pacemakers cannot get too close (within about 5 feet). This will be clearly marked by signage at the event.

Kyle Cassidy & Jessica Lingel, Ph.D.: Payphone Portraits

Kyle is a Digital Design Specialist and Jessica Lingel, Ph.D.. is an Assistant Professor of Communication in the Annenberg School for Communication

Project Description: Payphone Portraits is a project in which Kyle and Jessica are preserving the experience and memory of the public telephone with a VR headset they’ve connected to an actual payphone, which displays visuals of pay telephones in situ in conjunction with oral histories played over the handset. The original work was presented at the 2017 International Communications Association conference in San Diego and will eventually be published in book form.

Student Presentations: The Material Past in a Digital World

Students from Dr. Peter Cobb’s course, The Material Past in a Digital World, have the opportunity to explore the interface of archaeology and technology. Using software such as Agisoft and Meshlab, and equipment like the NextEngine 3D scanner, students learn to conceptualize the past – both its landscapes and its objects – in three dimensions.

11 am-12 pm: Braden Cordivari

  • “The Beycegiz Tumulus is a monumental mound located at the archaeological site of Gordion in central Turkey. The 2017 excavation of the mound was recorded using a variety of 3D modeling and photogrammetry techniques. This has yielded new data on the way in which these mounds were constructed as well as providing the means for accurately reconstructing the monument.”

12-1 pm: Claudia Epley + Alejandro Rodriguez

  • “3D modeling techniques can be used to represent and study artifacts in a museum setting. Additionally, they have applications in archaeological fieldwork. I will discuss the intersection of technology, archaeology, and museum studies.”

1-2 pm: Samantha Lindgren + Cindy Srnka

  • Samantha: “Herman Mudgett, aka H.H. Holmes, the famous American serial killer was buried in Philadelphia in 1896.  This year, his grave was excavated archaeologically using some of the latest recording techniques of the field, including photogrammetry to create virtually 3D models.  Archaeology is a destructive science; every layer that is excavated is essentially destroyed, but this technique allows the excavation to be digitally reconstructed at every stage.  What is destroyed can live on – digitally.”
  • Cindy: “I am currently working to create high-quality 3D models of a roller and figurine object from the Penn Museum’s excavations at Ban Chiang in Thailand. To do so, I am using NextEngine Scanner and photogrammetry (Agisoft) software.”

Xiao Ling: Winning MIT Media Lab VR Hackathon iOS App

Xiao is a student in Penn’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences

Project Description: Presenting on behalf of team of five that won two first prizes at the Reality Virtually Hackathon hosted by MIT Media Lab. We built the “google docs” of augmented reality (AR) for the iphone, the app enables multiple users to build augmented reality experiences in real time at the same place. It has wide applications from interactive education to multiplayer gaming.

Special Thanks

This event would not have been possible without so many people beyond the Penn Libraries who have contributed their ingenuity, effort, time, and connections. We are especially grateful to John Mulhern III (ISC), Erin Murphy and Alex Milne (Wharton), and Tian Pei, Isabella Tang, Seoyeong Kim, and William Yan (Penn VRAR Club), Al Matthews (Penn Libraries Tech), New Student Orientation, all of our presenters listed above for sharing their expertise with us.

We hope to see you playing with new technologies, enjoying light refreshments, and sharing your photos and comments about #pennimmersive on Wednesday!

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