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ICAT Projects

ICAT projects are funded to artists, designers, engineers, and scientists who come together in a living laboratory that fosters creativity and promotes critical reflection.


Exploring Online Ensemble Rehearsal and Performance Infrastructure in the Age of Social Distancing
Inspired by the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic and its profound impact on the existing instruction practices within the music program, this project will empirically explore and identify the best practices for the virtual ensemble rehearsal and performance to enable the teaching of music ensembles virtually in the fall 2020.

Connecting Virginia Learning Communities - New eXtended Reality based Library Tools
When the challenges due to the COVID-19 restrictions are removed, group activities in schools and workplaces will resume but will also have to adapt to the new reality where COVID-19 and similar pandemics can occur. We are proposing timely solutions that would support group activities while enhancing University connections to learning communities throughout the Commonwealth.

Virtual Sculpture Garden
We intend to create a virtual environment that serves as an explorable, location independent, 3D sculpture garden for born-digital 3D artworks. This virtual environment will be hosted by the University Libraries and powered by Unity, and will be viewable through both a traditional desktop browser as well as fully-immersive virtual reality headsets.

Amplifying the arts

Art and technology continually define and redefine our world. Art provides a powerful lens for viewing the world and opens up the possibilities to traverse domains, often in the most unexpected ways. Here we see how the collision of art, technology, and experimentation drive innovation in all directions. This work demonstrates how technology can advance artistic practice and how art and design can elevate and improve scientific discovery and output.

Bridging physical distance

Connecting people separated by distance. With the propagation of the COVID-19 pandemic, what was once a matter of convenience is now a requirement. This increase in urgency has amplified the creativity of researchers, artists, and educators who are pioneering new and improved ways to connect and collaborate. This work goes far beyond videoconferencing software and includes the use of augmented and virtual reality technologies to bring people from around the world together in shared immersive digital spaces to connect, share, learn, and experience.

Creating the future of work

Advances in technology are changing the ways we work. From the aesthetics, functionality, and even physical locations of our workplaces to the ways we collaborate with our co-workers and communicate with our clients, these projects focus on efficiency, productivity, and value. Teams of engineers, architects, computer scientists, and artists take a human-centered design approach to the work experience, using the latest virtual reality technology coupled with good old-fashioned sketching to craft dynamic space configurations, enhanced workflows, and effective data strategies.

Designing a More Sustainable World

Creativity that spurs change. This work supports our ecological and cultural resilience. Thoughtful environmental design means a better world for us all—buildings that complement and support its environments, people connected with their ecosystems in meaningful ways, and critical resources harvested and delivered to those in need. A critical part of this work is amplifying voices for change, including projects that illuminate the history of our communities and show the impact of changing ecological forces.

Empowering Data

Pioneering new possibilities with data. As our data-filled world continues to expand it becomes increasingly difficult to manage and make sense of the overwhelming amounts of information. New data analysis approaches are needed to uncover the hidden patterns and trends that lead to scientific advances. This work explores and presents data in some unexpected and surprising ways, introducing new perspectives that can pave the way for lifechanging discoveries.

Engaging Community

Science should be available to everyone. Research shouldn’t be hidden in labs and buried on computer hard drives. We regularly share our work with the community through interactive public events that showcase the collaborative work of scientists, engineers, artists, and designers, and inspire future generations of creative problem solvers. Here, learners of all ages and from a wide range of backgrounds have genuine conversations with researchers and learn about science. Interactive technology brings data to life and tells the stories of researchers and their work, while sculptures and other works of art show data and computational processes in unexpected, captivating, and often very accessible ways.

Making Big Discoveries with Immersive Technologies

Immersive technologies are changing the research landscape. These projects use visual design, 3D modeling, animation, programming, motion capture integration, and true 360-degree sound to open up entire new worlds of exploration and discovery. We can now be transported to any place in the universe, physically explore massive sets of data, visualize and interact with spatial structures of molecules, and walk through a building before it has been constructed.

Reimagining Education

A new blueprint for the future of learning. We’re creating educational environments that prepare students to confidently enter a world requiring creativity, adaptability, and collaboration. This work is changing where students learn, what students learn, and how students learn. Researchers from across disciplines are designing better spaces for learning, giving students access to quality STEM programming to prepare them for high-demand jobs of the future, and are connecting physical classrooms across distances while optimizing the learning experience.

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