Current Projects


Video: NBC 5 Interview

This in-person summer camp lead by Dr. Aleshia Hayes and the SURGE XR Lab, provided an opportunity for young girls to be introduced to STEM Careers. This hands-on experience promoted self-efficacy with emerging technology while allowing participants to learn about design thinking and user experience testing principles. 

Natural Disaster Simulator(s)  - Haiti (Earthquake), Houston (Flood)

Video: Stemming from Disaster

This is a STEM VR sim game in which a student will be introduced to an area of natural disaster (Haiti, post earthquake in the first iteration) and they will be offered opportunities to rebuild a place after a natural disaster. During the simulation the player will be “dropped into” different roles and learn about career fields that keep our military running.  This simulation will also provide opportunities intended to teach students about the lifestyle and gain empathy to victims of natural disasters.  At the end of the experience, the game AI will generate scores and make recommendations about what military careers they might be interested in, based on the choices made. During this time, the student will be given lessons on the causes of the disaster, the reasons why some areas are more susceptible to damage (stronger infrastructures etc).


  • Headfake to care about other communities and natural disasters
  • Learn about Gain empathy to their experience and loss
  • Critical Thinking
  • Understand more of the levels of work involved in disaster recovery.

Levels of Fidelity and Training

Substituting avatars of high or low levels of fidelity for training students' interview skills. We have the support of Samsung to create high fidelity (stereoscopic rendered) avatars to test in virtual space. This pilot project would compare the user experience of social presence in varying levels of fidelity in computer-mediated communication. Students will encounter an interview preparation training in one of two conditions of trained professional trainers.

Dr. Hayes undergoing a volumetric scan at Samsung.

Dr. Hayes undergoing a volumetric scan at Samsung

English Language Learning in Immersive Environments

English Language Learning in Immersive Environments (ELLIE) is one-day symposium intended to bring researchers, developers, and educators in relevant disciplines together and discuss the elements of effective virtual environments for language teaching, especially for conversational English.  We invite experts to discuss how to design and develop language learning tools from varying levels of immersion, from personal computers and mobile devices to Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, or Mixed Reality. National and local experts will attend this symposium to discuss the potential for immersive media to address the needs of English Language Learners (ELLs).  More information can found on the ELLIE website.

Engaging the community, teachers and K12 students with VR and exploring ways to support curriculum with existing VR tools

Dr. Hayes VR Outreach Male student excitedly engaging with VR Woman using VR helmet Female student trying out VR Teacher using VR helmet

Past Projects

ROTC VR Simulation

We worked with the Purdue ROTC team to create a  simulation that allows a ROTC Cadet to practice leading squads through various combat situations using Hand Gestures, Voice Commands, and AI to allow for a secluded practice environment. The simulation was developed using HTC VIVE, Leap Motion, WizDish, and Unreal Engine 4. This can be seen in action in this video.