Megan Scott is disguised as a stormtrooper and is transported to the molten planet of Mustafar. Her mission is to recover imperial intelligence vital to the rebellion’s survival.
This isn’t real, of course, but it’s virtually real to Megan as she steps into “Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire,” an elaborate virtual reality (VR) experience in Anaheim, California, where she recently led an outing of 20 other students — part of her efforts to get more people excited about the potential uses of VR.
“I think a common misconception about VR right now is that it’s all gaming and that’s the only thing people use it for,” said Megan, president of Biola’s Virtual Reality Club. “We really want to show students that no matter what their study is, it’s going to impact their field.”
Megan, a cinema and media arts major with a concentration in production, was a newbie to VR and augmented reality when she was asked to set up Biola’s first VR lab in 2018. In fact, that was her first time wearing a headset. After submitting a film she made with her club vice president, she was selected by Oculus, a leading virtual reality tech firm, to be one of its 100 Oculus Launch Pad fellows in 2018. The program invites promising VR content creators from diverse backgrounds for a boot camp and three months of hands-on training and support to iterate their own ideas and bring them to market.
This fall, Megan is embarking on an ambitious senior thesis with a team of 40 students and alumni. Together, they’ll create an interactive VR experience called Avion, inspired by Megan’s multiple flights between Biola and her hometown of Chicago. (Learn more at avionexperience.com.) Her team hopes to create a successful prototype they can eventually pitch to companies.
“I ultimately really want to be a VR producer in my future, and I think part of being a good producer is understanding each part of the process,” Megan said. “So this project is giving me the opportunity to be very hands-on.”
(Photo / Natanael Cho)