Jillian Smith | Staff Writer
Joshua Ndon, a junior in Electrical and Computer Engineering with a minor in Design Studies has taken a cooperative education opportunity to a whole new level by designing and discovering ways to implement the Immersive Reality Imaging System (IRIS).
Ndon came upon the co-op with Toyota through the National Society of Black Engineers, at the NSBE National Convention. He then received an invitation in Spring 2014 and had his first day of work the following fall semester.
“From hardware to software, building to programming,” Ndon says he has always been interested in what things do and how they work. He found a passion for computers during adolescence, after he moved to the United States from Nigeria.
During his second rotation over this past summer, through Toyota’s Digital Engineering and Product Development department, Ndon got the chance to work with some emerging technologies. Two of those technologies were 360º videos and immersive reality.
“How would you like to go to Japan without buying a plane ticket, or how would you like to dive underwater without ever getting wet? All of these scenarios and many more is where IRIS comes in.” (Ndon)
Ndon’s project, IRIS, is a virtual reality headset that allows the wearer to be anywhere at anytime. What makes his VR headset different, is the full 360º view that the wearer has.
“I want to give it to students to actually try out,” Ndon says. “My favorite part is seeing people’s reactions.”
It’s hard to explain the effect of the headset in words. Essentially when you have the headset on, if you move, you see the scene you are looking at change based on your motion.
If you look up toward the ceiling, you could see the sky, the ceiling of another room or the surface of the ocean. If you turn around in your chair, you could see a person walking behind you or a new room. It truly is immersive because of the fact that you can see everything and everyone that is (digitally) surrounding you.
Using six Go Pro cameras, each with the ability to film 170º, Ndon videos the entire room laid out on an X,Y,Z, -X, -Y, -Z coordinate plane. Then, using a free phone app, he stitched the six individual videos together to create one fluid video that captures every angle of the space.
The potential uses for this new technology are endless. This could be the new version of GPS, where you can actually see the entire area before driving it, or a new way for companies to do research with employees, allowing them to see a job from the inside before they start.
“This was an ideal co-op, I got the chance to make a real impact and be a significant member of that company,” he said.
While his third and final rotation is this coming Spring, Ndon has left somewhat of a legacy at Toyota.
“I do currently hold the record for presenting to the most company Vice Presidents,” he said. So yeah, Joshua Ndon and IRIS are kind of a big deal.