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The Indiana Daily Student

campus academics & research

IU, The Media School to install and develop kinetic imagery and extended reality lab

cakixlab.jpeg

Indiana University will install a kinetic imagery and extended reality lab, according to an IU press release from March 19. 

The KIX Lab will feature a 24-foot LED soundstage for virtual and augmented reality research and projects. It will display environments which will move with users. It will primarily be used by graduate students and faculty. 

“The KIX Lab is exactly the variety of interdisciplinary effort that has earned IU Bloomington a reputation as a leader in media and arts innovation,” Provost Rahul Shrivastav said in the release. “This lab will push us forward in the realms of student success, research, creativity and service, and I am grateful to everyone who boldly contributed to its development.” 

The lab will be shared between seven schools: The Media School, Eskenazi School of Art, Architecture and Design, School of Optometry, Luddy School of Informatics, Computing and Engineering, School of Public Health, College of Arts and Sciences and Jacobs School of Music. 

Participating schools will use the lab to create new graduate programs and recruit faculty, according to the release. 

“I don’t think there’s any other university that has this wide participation,” Media School Dean David Tolchinksy said in an interview with the Indiana Daily Student. “That tells me, as a screenwriter and as a dean, when you have a good idea, everybody wants to line up and be part of it.” 

He said this lab will help the Media School connect with other schools at IU and develop critically-minded students.  

He also said the lab’s applications include researching mental health therapy, modeling climate change, providing statistics during sports broadcasts and connecting students with the film industry. 

“I love the idea of putting our students to work and churning out leaders in media that are asking these deep questions and thinking about the latest innovations,” he said. “I think that’s really important.” 

Tolchinsky said the lab is similar to Industrial Light and Magic’s StageCraft technology, which was used on TV and film productions like “The Mandalorian,” “Avatar: The Last Airbender” and “The Batman.” 

“It’s keeping our students up on the latest practices,” he said. 

The KIX Lab’s first phase will include two faculty searches this fall to manage the lab and construction at IU Bloomington’s campus to follow, according to the release. At least one faculty member will be part of the Media School. The on-campus location of the lab has yet to be determined.  

Later phases of construction may include putting a second lab at IUPUI’s campus. 

“The Media School is asking itself right now: Who do we want to be? What do we want to teach? What do we represent?” Tolchinsky said. “To have a lab like this, which is presenting this new technology, I think it continues to encourage our students to think about all of this in a really deep way.” 

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