BerkleeXR Summit: Window into the Future

Yao Wang
April 23, 2018
BerkleeXR Summit_High Fidelity
XR panel: What's Important Now in the New Realities. From left: Lori Landy, Sara Remsen, Sarah Wolozin, Kathy Trogolo, Kathy Bisbee
Demoing of VR game in Exit Reality VR Cube
Kate Gow, a Boston Conservatory at Berklee Dance student, using a Noitom motion capture system.
High Fidelity Virtual Hangout featuring Ryan Downe Karpf, Philip Rosedale, Joyce Bettencourt
Experiencing 360 media: Alumna Yao Wang

In February, Berklee staff and faculty were joined by visiting experts to discuss and showcase work in spatial audio, 360 video, immersive music, WebVR, virtual worlds, simulations, real-time animation, holographics, procedural generation, artificial intelligence, motion capture, robotics, and live performance.

For the uninitiated, XR, or Extended Reality, is a technology-mediated experience that combines digital and biological realities. A flexible and inclusive term, the umbrella category covers various forms of computer-altered reality, including: Augmented Reality (AR), Mixed Reality (MR), and Virtual Reality (VR). The 'X' is simply a variable that can stand for any letter.

“The idea of the Summit was to start the conversation about Berklee XR, bringing in experts and community leaders in the Boston/Cambridge area together,” said Lori Landay, professor of cultural studies, who envisioned and organized this all-day event, sponsored by the Office of Faculty Development, Stan Getz Library, Music Business/Management Department, Liberal Arts Department, and BerkleeICE.

Audio lead at Harmonix and now assistant professor for Electronic Production and Design department, Steve Pardo, emphasized the importance of "keeping an eye out for what’s to come.” The technology industry is changing so quickly, it can seem a daunting task to track it all and keep up. "Berklee XR gave professors and students a chance to meet with experts in the field actively working on projects today. They’ll hopefully leave with practical and relevant knowledge about what it’s like today," Pardo said.

 Joe Bennett, vice president of Academic Affairs–Strategic Initiatives, shared about being "struck by the social, intellectual, and technological diversity of the Berklee XR community. I met an exciting mix of scholars and practitioners, including coders, musicians, music producers, technologists, app developers, game designers, dancers, and animators. The whole experience was inspiring, thought-provoking, and energizing—a sign of even greater things to come for interdisciplinary technologies at Berklee."

The innovation and strategy team will continue to explore the latest emerging technologies; be at the forefront of its implementation and help shape the future of education and creative industries. The summit is the first of many to come—a window into an optimistic future.

View clips of XR activities from the summit:

Student Shirly Gurten built and showcased a conducting tool that offers virtual reality tutorials.

Kate Gow, a Boston Conservatory at Berklee dance student, using a Noitom motion capture suit.