Enabling Research and Public Engagement with VR

IT Innovation ChallengesStaff project based at the MRC Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine, Centre for Computational Biology.

2018 staff round

See also: Centre for Computational Biology feature (July 2018) and our blog post Are you getting a VR headset for Christmas? (Dec 2019). For more information, please contact innovation@it.ox.ac.uk .


Virtual Reality (VR) is a fantastic public engagement tool to showcase Oxford University research and an intuitive way of interacting with complex 3D objects and data. At the MRC Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine (WIMM) I have developed prototype software called BabelVR, to allow the import of 3D images from a variety of medical devices such as CT scanners and microscopes, so they can be viewed and interacted with in a VR environment.

This project aims to build upon this expertise and develop unique and exciting VR applications and experiences that will enhance the fantastic research and development here at Oxford, whilst allowing evaluation of the various VR technologies on the way.

In addition, we want to put together a training program to train developers how to use the various technologies most effectively to create VR experiences.

Finally, we will work with the Technology Enhanced Learning and AR/VR Hub teams ensure they have all the information and capabilities to evangelise and advise about the use of VR through their interactions with the university departments. This will help University of Oxford’s goal of remaining a premier institution for teaching in 2020, by adopting the most exciting teaching innovations made possible by digital technology.

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