Techspace - On July 28, the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) disclosed its plan to build MetaHKUST, the physical-digital twin campuses in metaverse. If MetaHKUS is launched, it will be the first ever metaverse campus in the world.
MetaHKUST as a mixed reality-virtual will allow students to attend the same class even though they are in different places. The MetaHKUST will be released following the HKUST new branch university in Guangzhou next September.
MetaHKUST as the evolution of Web 3.0
Today, Web 3.0 has grown rapidly in almost every sector, making people start to show their interest on Web 3.0 because of its convenient access. As the extended reality (XR) campus of HKUST, MetaHKUST will provide captivating study experiences alongside its holistic features that connect students, faculty, and alumni, to interacting with each other. In other words, MetaHKUST can be a medium for people that are related with the university to get their activities together.
From the university press release on its website, HKUST stated its initiative towards MetaHKUST aims to facilitate the students and research activities to be conducted even though the people are separated far away. While establishing MetaHKUST, the university will set the settings of the physical-digital world, make digital assets’ regulation and remove the detentions to quickly develop the project. HKUST also will look for aid support and collaborations on metaverse with external stakeholders.
“Hong Kong has all the elements required for the future-shaping developments of Web 3.0 amid a fast convergence of our physical and digital worlds. As what I believe as the world’s first University to build a digital twin for our two campuses, HKUST is ready to take the lead to create a sustainable XR ecosystem to better supplement research and learning. The online-offline interaction will not only facilitate a genuine integration of the two campuses under the framework of ‘Unified HKUST, Complimentary Campuses’, but will also help realize the potential of metaverse in education,” said by the leader of MetaHKUST project and HKUST’s Vice President for Institutional Advancement, Prof. Wang Yang.
MetaHKUST is a long-term development plan
Since his project needs so many things to work out before it is officially released, the university will install physical infrastructure to set up the class, such as XR classrooms, sensors, cameras, and visualization tools during the initial stage. Meanwhile the university members will participate in scanning the campus’ physical as the base of image to build the virtual twin campuses.
When the necessary things are prepared, HKUST’s members who have entered the metaverse can create their own avatars, NFTs, tokens, and digital artwork, like other metaverse projects. With digital technology, the University expected the diploma certificates, transcripts, or other information and administrative procedures to be launched as NFTs for convenience. Besides, ceremonial things like graduation also can be held virtually using augmented reality (AR).
The Chair Professor of Computational Media and Arts at HKUST (Guangzhou), and Director of the HKUST’s Center for Metaverse and Computational Creativity (MC2), Prof. Pan Hui said:
“AR, as part of XR, is one of the primary technologies that blends digital content with physical environments. However, most AR applications are currently single-user and present significant constraints in terms of time and location. What we are striving to achieve here is the scaling up of technology to handle large-sized environments and massive multi-user experiences, which not only represents a primary challenge of our physical-digital vision, but also a key factor that differentiates MetaHKUST from other campuses’ metaverse initiatives.”
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Future chance of education institutions to joins metaverse
Prior to the MetaHKUST innovation, the educational institutions are starting to embrace the Web 3.0 ecosystem. For example, the University of Tokyo has an open metaverse-focused course for high school students and adult workers. Ankara University also released its first NFT course at the beginning of this year. These innovations towards Web 3.0 create big chances for other institutions to join the Web 3.0 ecosystems.