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Digital Scholarship & Research Services: Virtual Reality Lab


The Virtual Reality Lab @ ID Weeks Library!

Who can use it?
Any USD faculty, student, or staff member, although the apps currently all focus on the heath and natural sciences.

Where is it located?
ID Weeks Room 102.

Do I need an appointment?
You can always walk in during open hours, but we recommend reserving the lab before you come. Scan the QR code below to see available times and reserve your spot.

When is the VR Lab open?
The Lab is open and available for walk-in appointments, as well as reservations, on Monday 9AM-2PM, Tuesday 9AM-2PM, and Wednesday 9AM-2PM. Additional hours are available by appointment only. Please email

What equipment do you have?
The VR Lab has two HTC Vive Pro headsets connected to two gaming computers. One set is permanently located in Room 102. Another set is located on a mobile cart and can be used in Room 102 or ID Weeks Library classrooms. The Lab also has three Meta Quest 3 headsets, two of which are equipped with the anatomy app Medicalholodeck.

Featured app

The Bernard Zakheim Murals: History of Medicine in California features
a collection of New Deal-era murals painted by the Polish-born artist Bernard Zakheim which
brings to life the history of medicine in California through immersive virtual reality.

Virtual Reality: What is it?


Virtual Reality (VR) is a computer technology that places you in a simulated environment. It uses a headset to generate realistic images and sounds, making you feel like you're physical present in the virtual world. In many cases, you can walk around and interact with virtual objects using specialized Touch controllers. Though VR is commonly used for video games, virtual socialization, and 3D films, it has also been applied to countless other fields including education, medical training, and physical therapy.

Virtual Reality Lab Policy and Safety Guidelines


The University of South Dakota Virtual Reality (VR) Lab, and accompanying equipment is available for use by USD faculty, staff and students. Users of the Lab or equipment must comply with all USD and SD Board of Regents policies regarding use of technology. Users are not allowed to download any additional applications or programs onto the VR equipment.  Users are advised that they must take certain safety precautions while using the equipment and/or being present in the lab:


  • Be aware of your surroundings when beginning use and be aware of any tripping hazards, including cables.
  • Make certain the equipment is secured to your body appropriately, including use of any safety straps that will prevent equipment from being thrown or dropped.
  • Stay within delineated boundaries for use.
  • Maintain adequate control and balance of your body at all times.
  • If you feel nausea, dizziness, loss of balance, or discomfort, take the headset off and sit down.
  • Like other gaming products capable of producing flashing visual effects, the VR headset may trigger seizures, fainting or dizziness, even if you have no history of these conditions.
  • Consult your doctor before using the equipment if you have a pre-existing medical condition (e.g. heart ailment, anxiety disorders, or PTSD).
  • Users should advise library staff immediately of any equipment malfunction, damage, or other unsafe condition.  

Reserve the VR Lab today!

Scan the QR code to reserve VR Lab 1.

Scan the QR code to reserve Lab 2 (mobile cart). NOTE: you will also need to reserve a room where you can set up the equipment.

Anatomy & Biology

Organon VR Anatomy title page

3D Organon VR Anatomy is an interactive human anatomy application featuring all 15 body systems. You can now learn and teach anatomy with over 12,000 realistic anatomical models/structures sided with quality definitions per body structure and thousands of detailed micro anatomy structures.

The Body VR title page

The Body VR: Journey Inside a Cell is an educational virtual reality experience that takes the user inside the human body. Travel through the bloodstream and discover how blood cells work to spread oxygen throughout the body. Enter one of the billions of living cells inside our body and learn how the organelles work together to fight deadly viruses.

Journey to the Centre of the Cell title page

Using data from high-resolution electron microscopy we have reconstructed a human breast cancer cell in 3D VR in order to better visualise mechanisms of nanoparticle internalisation and trafficking. These virtual environments allow users to walk on - or inside, a cancer cell, exploring and learning about cellular anatomy and processes.

In Mind Title Page

InMind is a short scientific adventure with arcade elements designed for the Oculus VR. Submerge into the microworld and experience the miracles of the human mind.

Nanoscape title page

Nanoscape VR takes users on a journey to the microscopic world. Explore the surface and interior of a cancer cell, exploring and learning about cellular anatomy and processes.

Wraith Total Knee Surgery Simulation Title Page

Practice a total knee replacement surgery in Wraith VR, a revolutionary new virtual reality simulation platform.

PST Primary Surgical Treatment title page

“Primary surgical treatment” is a virtual simulator, designed for education purposes. By immersing yourself with your pair of Oculus VR Headsets, you can experience the task of treating a wound with many available surgical instruments and help the patient to begin the recovery.

Surgerical Simulator title page

A real surgical robot simulation game, observe human organs from the inside of the abdominal cavity, and use various instruments to grasp, cut and clip the organs freely to complete the real operation. Be careful not to bleed. Challenge to complete all levels from simple to difficult

Kellogg's gut bacteria reef title page

The Kellogg’s Gut Bacteria Reef is an interactive VR experience designed to teach people about gut health. In a world first, we’ve made the invisible visible. Now you can get up close to the organisms and diverse flora that live inside the gut, and learn about the importance of fibre in maintaining this thriving ecosystem.

Medical imaging vr title page

This educational game allows to learn about medical imaging, how to localize different regions in the human head.

Medical Holodeck title page

Medicalholodeck is the platform for medical teamwork in virtual reality. Healthcare professionals, students, and non-professionals can view, study and manipulate medical images, dissect virtual cadavers, and explore the human body in extraordinary detail in a fully immersive space.

Lux Sine Title Page

Set in the Black Hills of South Dakota, this interactive VR experience takes participants into the subterranean depths of Sanford Research Lab and Wind Cave as they unravel the cosmos from different angles.

The Enlightened League of Bone Builders Title Page

Build Yorick’s skeleton as quickly and accurately as possible, using your hand controllers to pick up the bones and attach them in the correct orientation. Think you know where the humerus goes? What about the ulna? An enigmatic member of the League is watching the proceedings, and there’s a timer, so you need to build swiftly because you’re competing for a coveted spot in the League.

The King's request title page

This short adventure game uses your knowledge of the human body and concepts from science, biology, physiology, anatomy, medicine, biomed, nursing, pharmacy, health or exercise science as your weapon! There's no negative if you get a question wrong - so have a go and save the kingdom!!

VR Palpation title page

Assume the role of a surgeon during this gamified knee replacement surgery minigame in VR.

Virtual Patients title page
Virtual Patients is a medical simulation game that helps to reinforce core medical skills in a fun and engaging environment.

Training and Safety

Lab Training Title Page

This basic-level course is designed to enhance laboratory scientists' ability to identify how personal protective equipment (PPE) can help reduce the risk of exposure to hazardous materials, prevent transmission of infectious agents, and demonstrate how to don and doff PPE in the correct order.

Lab Training title page

LabTrainingVR: Biosafety Edition course enables learners to apply knowledge and practice setting up and working in a biological safety cabinet (BSC) in a virtual laboratory.

Fun & Relaxation

Goose Goose Duck title page
Goose, goose, DUCK? A game of social deduction where you and your fellow geese must work together to complete your mission. Keep an eye out for those malicious Mallards and other birds, who have infiltrated your team and will do anything to stop you.

Viridi title page
Nurture a small pot of succulents that grow in real time. Viridi is a safe haven, a place you can return to for a moment of peace and quiet whenever you need it.

Art Theft title page

The Art Theft by Jay Doherty is an interactive VR narrative that injects 3D drawings created by the user into the unfolding narrative of a reimagined “Mad Libs” experience. Go down a rabbit hole with Butch the Bear, Wesley the Wolf, and Mr. Maple the Goat, who make you feel like you’re on a classic heist.

The Marvellous Machine title page
The Marvellous Machine is a fifteen minute narrated journey in VR that lets you explore the inner workings of your mind and experience new perspectives.

A Walk in the Woods title page

There are no monsters to kill, no riddles to solve - it is not that type of game. It is a virtual escape where you can hide from the monotonous daily routine and enjoy the nature. Our project uses the most advanced technologies that allows to create a picture that is as close as possible to reality.

Visitations title page
Change your mind by visiting kaleidoscopic, cathedral-like spaces designed to relax, entrance and enhance.

Meditation vr title page

Birds high up in the sky, waves rolling in on the shore, the wind blowing through palm trees and plants that grow on your private secluded island all contribute both visually and in sound to a surreal experience that practically makes you feel the ocean breeze.

Ikea VR pancake kitchen title page

Welcome to the IKEA Virtual Reality kitchen experience, where you can make some virtual pancakes. Our IKEA kitchen specialist will guide you through some of the key aspects of a well-planned kitchen. And look out for the instructions that will help you to prepare those perfect pancakes.

Ikea VR title page

Explore and interact with an IKEA Kitchen in Virtual Reality! Walk around freely, open drawers and put your vegetable peelings in the waste sorting station. You can even enjoy the visual impact of different material finishes and experience things from a child’s point of view.

A show of kindness title page

A Show of Kindness is a three-act VR experience through which the user navigates an unfolding story frozen in time, crafted with meticulous detail by concept artist Peter Chan using a custom build of Tilt Brush.

The Bernard Zakheim Murals: History of Medicine in California features a collection of New Deal-era murals painted by the Polish-born artist Bernard Zakheim which brings to life the history of medicine in California through immersive virtual reality.

Tools & Natural Sciences

Lunar odyssey title page

Don your xEMU Spacesuit, explore the Orontius Crater, and Lunar Module in an immersive first-person VR experience with out of this world accuracy and interaction. Follow real-life procedures, launch the Apollo-era Lunar Module, play Space Golf, and experience the moon like never before.

Nanome title page

The Future of Molecular Design - From drug discovery to chemistry class, Nanome is a powerful tool for research and education. Visualize, build, and simulate chemical compounds, proteins, and nucleic acids like never before. Collaborate remotely in real-time.

SyGlass title page

syGlass software allows you to view your data in virtual reality in its actual 3D or 4D (over time) form. We specialize in presenting the very large data sets generated by modern imaging techniques, so standard image volumes are a snap. Use our tools to quantify your data with enhanced precision, or import results for rapid correction in VR. Our mission is to help scientists explore their data more creatively and understand and communicate their findings more efficiently.

Noda title page

Noda is a space to build and share 3D mental models – mind maps, storyboards, network or flow diagrams, project plans – to enhance productivity, understanding and awareness.

Calc Flow title page

Manipulate vectors with your hands, explore vector addition and cross product. See and feel a double integral of a sinusoidal graph in 3D, a mobius strip and it's normal, and spherical coordinates! Create your own parametrized function and vector field!

Materials vr title page

MaterialsVR lets you interact with molecular models in Virtual Reality. Add planes to create cross section. See electron density isosurfaces and load your own CHGCAR files.

Google earth title page

Google Earth VR lets you explore the world from totally new perspectives in virtual reality. Stroll the streets of Tokyo, soar over the Grand Canyon, or walk around the Eiffel Tower.

Welcome to light fields title page

Welcome to Light Fields. Experience real-world reflections, depth, and translucence like never before in VR. Explore the Gamble House, Mosaic Tile House, and the Space Shuttle Discovery. These navigable stills showcase the emerging technology Google is using to power its next generation of VR.

Blocks title page

Blocks lets you easily create 3D objects in virtual reality, no matter your modelling experience. Using six simple tools, you can bring your applications to life, create a volumetric masterpiece, or simply let your imagination run wild.

The lab title page

Welcome to The Lab, a compilation of Valve’s room-scale VR experiments set in a pocket universe within Aperture Science. Fix a robot, defend a castle, adopt a mechanical dog, and more.

Empathy, Communication, Disability

“12 seconds of gunfire: The true story of a school shooting” is a virtual reality experience produced by The Washington Post and directed by Washington Post design editor Suzette Moyer and senior developer Seth Blanchard that premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in April 2019. The experience is based on an front-page article by 2018 Pulitzer Prize finalist John Woodrow Cox, and the story is illustrated in an immersive 360-degree film by award-winning animator Wesley Allsbrook from an original script and audio from The Post’s team.

The illustrations in the piece take viewers into the world of Jacob Hall and Ava Olsen, who were first-graders at Townville Elementary School in South Carolina when a 14-year-old boy opened fire on their school playground at recess. The movie follows Ava as she struggles to deal with the aftermath of the shooting — from her friend Jacob’s funeral to the anguished letter she sends to President Donald Trump asking him to keep kids safe from guns. Throughout the film, users are guided through Ava’s rural South Carolina community with visual cues and audio narration.

Notes on Blindness, a virtual reality companion piece to the feature film of the same name, seeks to render writer John Hull’s experience of blindness. Based on the 16 hours of audio-diary that Hull recorded over three years to document his perception of the world after losing his sight, the interactive film explores memories, moments and locations from his recollections.

Using 360°, binaural audio and real time 3D animations, the film seeks to fully immerse the user in Hull’s interior vision of the world “beyond sight” and his increasing perception of “acoustic space.” The piece is narrated by Hull’s original recordings, during which he guides the user through his sensory musings on his surroundings, accompanied by the sounds of delicate water drops, ethereal choir music and the whooshing wind. The user responds to audio and visual cues and with the Samsung Gear VR’s touchpad interacts with and explores this sonic space. Mimicking the experience described in the narration, the user must focus his or her eyes on a blurry image to decipher the object represented. The result is a visual landscape of ghostly outlines that read like fading memories.


“The Universe is revolving around me in a bad way.” Through mind-bending animation, award-winning GOLIATH: PLAYING WITH REALITY explores the limits of reality in this true story of so-called ‘schizophrenia’ and the power of gaming communities. Echo (narrated by Academy Award-winning actress Tilda Swinton) guides you through the many realities of Goliath, a man who spent years isolated in psychiatric institutions but finds connection in multiplayer games. Combining heartfelt dialogue, mesmerizing animations, and tactile interactions, enter Goliath’s world, where you slip between real and unreal worlds. Weave through multiple worlds to uncover Goliath’s poignant story.

Goliath: Playing With Reality is a 25-minute VR experience created by Anagram, the team behind The Collider and Door into the Dark. Blurring the boundary between game and reality, it invites the user into an old-fashioned arcade game with its distinctive low-poly art style, where one has to steer Goliath through all kinds of obstacles. This interactive experience explores what it means to feel at odds with the world and, through shared realities, find one’s place within it.


Explore the exuberant and chaotic worlds of an imagination haunted by bipolar disorder.

Guided by the compelling voices of Felicia and Francois who, for the past 3 years, have used their sister's voice mail as their personal diary, the user will embark on a journey to decipher the whirlwind of mania, psychosis and depression. Through room-scale interaction and 3D animation, unearth the destabilizing effects of bipolarity and delve into the heightening of senses and the untamed imagination that accompanies this complex and mysterious condition.

This is a companion piece to the feature documentary film Manic by Kalina Bertin.

Jasmine Smith comes home to Harlem, New York City after being locked up for 15 years. Today is her first day as a “free person” and she returns to her grandmother's brownstone where she grew up. How will Jasmine reconnect with family and rebuild her life after prison?

Women are the fastest growing incarcerated population in the US. 80% of women in jails are mothers and two thirds are women of color. In this 25-minute, room-scale interactive VR experience that premiered at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival, you can walk around Jasmine’s home in Harlem. Through 360° videos and audio snippets you can get access to Jasmine’s past memories and possible future as she navigates her life post-incarceration.

Jasmine is a composite character whose story is based on the real life experiences of formerly incarcerated women from Women’s Prison Association (WPA), who were also collaborators on the project. “Working with AJ Contrast was a unique experience because we, as systems-involved women, were sought out as experts in our own stories,” said Elaine Daly, WPA graduate and Still Here collaborator. 

Becoming Homeless title page

In this immersive virtual reality experience from Stanford University’s Virtual Human Interaction Lab, spend days in the life of someone who can no longer afford a home. Interact with your environment to attempt to save your home and to protect yourself and your belongings as you walk in another’s shoes. Duration: 7 minutes.

From Case Western Reserve Medical School:

Families Living in Poverty

Sensitize participants to the day-to-day challenges of living in poverty through the observed experience of low-income individuals.

Duration: 30 minutes

During this video you will:

  • Meet the Williams family, and observe the life of a low-income family over one month
  • Manage challenges such as housing, transportation, and employment by making choices at critical decision points
  • Observe how choices impact the physical, social, financial, and mental well-being of the family

Neighborhood Immersion for Compassion and Empathy

Improve patient care by increasing awareness of social determinants of health and empathy toward individuals living in impoverished, urban communities.

Duration: 30 minutes

In this video you will:

  • Experience vignettes of life in a segregated, distressed neighborhood with the challenges of social determinants of health (e.g. poor housing, lack of transportation, food insecurity, violence and racism)
  • Discover statistics representing neighborhood characteristics (e.g. foreclosures, crime prevalence)
  • Observe how social and economic factors affect health behaviors, health outcomes, management of chronic illness, and life expectancy

The Book of Distance Title Page

In 1935, Yonezo Okita left his home in Japan and began a new life in Canada. Then war and state-sanctioned racism changed everything—he became the enemy. His grandson leads us on an interactive virtual pilgrimage through an emotional geography of immigration and family to recover what was lost.

Environment & Sustainability

The Crystal Reef title page

Roughly 30 percent of the carbon dioxide produced by humans dissolves into oceans, rivers, and lakes. Stanford scientists have produced a 360-degree virtual underwater ecosystem to provide an up-close look at how coral reefs might appear by the end of the century if emissions aren’t curbed.

Coral compass title page

In this 360 experience, travel to Palau, a small island nation in Micronesia, home to coral reefs that draw visitors from around the globe. See and experience how Palau is adapting to climate change to combat its effects on their reefs and economy.

Greenland melting title page

Greenland’s glaciers are melting faster and faster. To understand why, and what this might mean for the rest of the world, FRONTLINE and NOVA — two of PBS’s flagship series based at WGBH — teamed up with Emblematic Group, X-Rez Studio and Realtra to bring this story to life as never before.

Caribou world title page

In partnership with the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, USC students harnessed emerging technology to create immersive experiences to illustrate how the climate crisis is affecting habitats across the world.

The Stanford Ocean Acidification Experience title page

Stanford researchers have produced a virtual underwater ecosystem to allow you to observe firsthand what rocky reefs are expected to look like by the end of the century if we do not curb our CO2 emissions.

Mental Health & Therapy

Liminal title page

Choose how you feel and perform: Calm, Energy, Pain Relief and Awe. Explore a range of experiences which apply research by neuroscientists and psychologists to induce and augment emotional and cognitive states.

Binaural Odyssey Title Page

See how sounds and shapes help mental health in virtual reality. The aim of Binaural Odyssey is to create and guide the user’s emotions. The virtual world reacts to the eyes of the viewer and creates visual shapes from whichever direction the user looks at.

Bridge Trek Title Page

Face your fear of heights! Bridge Trek provides you with a safe environment to conquer your gephyrophobia or acrophobia in virtual reality. Build your way up from the pillow padded first bridge, to the perilous glass bridge in the sky!

Lie in my heart title page

How would you react to your child's mother ending her own life? Would you make the same choices I made? Would you feel the same regret? How would you support your child through this painful moment of life?

Depression quest title page

Depression Quest is an interactive fiction game where you play as someone living with depression. You are given a series of everyday life events and have to attempt to manage your illness, relationships, job, and possible treatment.

Psych Lab VR title page

PsychLabVR is a virtual research center that is freely available on Steam. Our first alpha experiment involves simulated social scenes to measure social anxiety. This data will be used to create an empirical foundation for a free, automated intervention to treat social anxiety disorder.

Meditation vr title page

Birds high up in the sky, waves rolling in on the shore, the wind blowing through palm trees and plants that grow on your private secluded island all contribute both visually and in sound to a surreal experience that practically makes you feel the ocean breeze.

VR therapist title page

Do you want to quit smoking? This application can help you to eliminate and erase your taste for a cigarette. Based on the latest knowledge in the field of psychology, neuroscience and hypnotherapy.

Dances With Butterflies Title Page

Conduct clouds of Monarch butterflies in the forests of Mexico.

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