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FGCU takes virtual reality to the next level to help protect you from hurricanes

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FGCU students are using virtual reality technology to bring future buildings to life, which can help protect you from hurricanes.

At VIPER Lab at FGCU, you put on glasses and enter a virtual world where the future of Southwest Florida is being created.

“[VIPER Lab] is an acronym that stands for Virtual Immersive Portal for Engineering Research but really what it is, an augmented reality and virtual reality facility,” said Richard Behr, FGCU Engineering College Dean.

“I was so excited to work on this – it’s new technology,” said software engineering student Jirawat Hirunkam as he demonstrates how the lab brings his designs to life in front of him.

Hirunkam said, “The goal is to have an interactive, immersive view of the buildings and also have the interactive component to it like moving the building around – rearranging them and also we can go inside the buildings like this and see the inside – people can interact and see.”

It’s recreating real life situations without the dangers, “The actual water flowing like real life, then we can react to it and see how it will interact with the environment,” Hirunkam said.

The lab can also simulate the storms and surge Florida sees during hurricanes to better build a defense against them.

“You can redefine flood plains and assess flood risk more accurately, community planning would be impacted,” Behr said.

VIPER Lab is collaborating with local industry saying they can do things in a virtual environment that you just can’t do without a lot of time, trouble and expense.

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