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Major technology conference opens today at OCAD U

A film set with a backdrop of a futuristic winter landscape and a rock in the foreground.
OCAD University and VRTO are propelling the technological revolution

Virtual reality and augmented reality are revolutionizing the way we engage with media, transporting us to new worlds and layering digital information over our real environments. 

OCAD University is hosting researchers and designers at the cutting edge of technological discovery at VRTO: The Spatial Media World Conference, a two-day event that includes a symposium, workshops and exhibitions that showcase the latest in virtual production, live VR theatre performance and hyperreality.  

Several OCAD U community members are presenting their artworks and research on July 20 and 21, expanding the field of technologies that are defining the future of the entertainment, television and film, arts, performance, design and communications industries.  

Assistant Professor Dr. Alexis Morris presented the event’s opening keynote address titled, Welcoming a Hyper-connected Metaverse: Avatars, Agents, and Adaptive AI Assistants, as an extension of his research as the Tier 2 Canada Research Chair in the Internet of Things and Director of the Adaptive Context Environments (ACE) Lab at OCAD University. 

Specifically, Dr. Morris examines the metaverse in his work. The successor to the mobile internet, the metaverse is made up of digital spaces, including immersive 3D experiences that are interconnected so users can easily move between them. In the future users will be able to access the metaverse from various devices, including VR headsets and the AR glasses that Dr. Morris’s research is helping to make possible.  

"The metaverse is a rapidly-advancing emerging technology eco-system with a complexity of parts, and a fluidly evolving techno-identity. Understanding how this set of technologies has already become intertwined in our everyday lives and how it will be even more so in the coming decade will be essential to how we, as a society, navigate the change that will be brought with it,” reads the description of Dr. Morris’ presentation.  
This year, VRTO also features a talk by OCAD U instructor and artist Tobias Williams as well as projects in the Exhibitor’s Hall, located at 100 McCaul St. by several University community members and students. 

On view as part of the exhibition is current Digital Futures graduate student Aaditya Vaze's AR app Things, that enables users to learn a new language in real time. Using a pair of smart glasses Vaze will demonstrate to visitors how the app enables them to look at any object around them, see what that object is called in the target language and hear how it is pronounced. The app currently supports multiple languages including French, Italian and Japanese and allows the users to switch between languages by tapping on the glasses.   
Fourth year Digital Futures undergraduate student Ryan Boyd will be showcasing his project Altar of Pandora, a VR sculpture of a monument to Pandora, a figure in Greek mythology. Viewers can experience the sculpture through a virtual reality headset.   

Jie Guan, who graduated from OCAD U’s Drawing and Painting program, with a specialization in Digital Painting and Expanded Animation in 2020 and James Lai are also showing works in the Exhibitor’s Hall. 

Students interested in attending the VRTO event can contact Manager, Special Projects & Advisor to the President, Bobby Hrehoruk ( for a complimentary pass.