Early last month, the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, FL hosted the Interservice/Industry Training, Simulation and Education Conference, commonly known as I/ITSEC.
The largest of its kind in the world, the annual conference is supported by some of the most innovative names in the simulation industry. This year, the 400+ exhibitors included companies like Boeing, Lockheed Martin, and Oculus, as well as a variety of education-based organizations like the Orlando Science Center and Full Sail University.
“Orlando is an international hub for modeling and simulation,” explains Brent Smith, a 1997 Full Sail graduate and the Conference Chair at this year’s event. “It’s home to organizations like the Air Force Agency for Modeling & Simulation (AFAMS) and the US Marine Corps Program Manager for Training Systems (PMTRASYS), among many others. Because of this presence, Orlando is not just an industry hub; universities also play in this space, whether in the form of research or in the development of new, enabling technologies.”
Students and faculty from Full Sail’s Simulation & Visualization program were present at this year’s event, and in a booth shared with Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC), they displayed some of their own technological innovations. Carlos Alonso, a current SimViz student, assisted attendees as they tested out a hoverboard simulator and the Virtual Foot Flyer, a paragliding simulator powered by Oculus Rift.
“In [Full Sail’s] Simulation Lab, we work with both software and hardware,” he explains. “We make our own circuits and manufacture our own hardware using 3D printing and CAD design. Our goal is to make interactions between humans and computers more streamlined.”
“A big reason I’m here today is to see the state of the industry,” says Carlos, who’s also a graduate of Full Sail’s Game Development degree program. “I would love to work with virtual reality, and I think that’s where the industry is heading.”
Looking ahead – or more specifically, ‘Forging the Future Through Innovation” – was the theme at this year’s conference. “I think the instructors and staff at Full Sail work hard to engrain this into the learning experience,” says Brent. “I used to think of my education as an umbrella that encapsulates what I know so that I can use it in my daily job … but over time, I realized that my education was more like a foundation that needed to be built upon.”
“In school, I learned how to learn so that I could always refresh my skills and adapt to changing production methodologies, toolsets, and design paradigms. By instilling this mindset into students, I think we open up new opportunities for students to forge their own futures.”