Virtual Reality & Urban Ecology Teleport to Experience Urban Infrastructure on Dorchester Ave, Boston

Virtual Reality & Urban Ecology Teleport to Experience Urban Infrastructure on Dorchester Ave, Boston

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On October 25th, PhD candidates Yaxiong Ma and Jessica Wright demonstrated their virtual reality project on urban underground infrastructure. With the guidance of BU Earth & Environment professors Sucharita Gopal and Nathan Phillips, the two explored how to create a coordinated infrastructure system. Through a virtual reality headset created by Ma, users are able to teleport to four different views of Dorchester Avenue in Boston and can enter a utilidor, an underground corridor which houses multiple pipes and cables. Utilidors would help city planners configure underground construction while spending less money and being more environmentally conscious.

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“Hardly anyone, with the exception of specialized utility workers, have an idea of what below ground infrastructure looks like,” said Wright. “Opening people’s eyes to the complexity of the interactions between below ground infrastructures and how these structures influence above ground infrastructure was one of the inspirations of the VR tech.”

The pair developed the project with the help of the Initiative on Cities 2017 Urban Research Awards.