DSU Helps Launch vSURF Site

Dakota State faculty and students, with partial funding from the South Dakota Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (SD EPSCoR) and others, has launched a new website allowing visitors to explore the Sanford Underground Research Facility (SURF) at the Homestake Mine in Lead, SD.

The Virtual Sanford Underground Research Facility (vSURF), as part of the Sanford Center for Science Education (SCSE), is a site where users will be able to explore the laboratory through a variety of 3-dimensional, immersive simulations and games that provide information that develops a greater understanding and appreciation for scientific research. Many students at DSU have been a part of creating and maintaining these virtual environments hosted at DSU.

Dr. Stephen Krebsbach, head of Computer Science at DSU and lead designer of vSURF, has been working very closely with DSU students on building the virtual experience. Computer Science, Digital Arts and Design and Computer Game Design students are able to use the computer skills learned in the classroom and apply them to vSURF.

"The goal of the website is to leverage computer technology to help online visitors learn more about science and research," said Krebsbach. "From digital animations on timely scientific topics to interactive games, the site will create a fun, interactive research environment where visitors can gain a greater understanding and appreciation for scientific research."

Dr. Steve Graham, DSU professor of Computer Game Design, and Ms. Judy Vondruska from the Physics Department at South Dakota State University (SDSU), are co-designers helping to develop the vSURF project. The collaboration was made possible through sponsors such the National Science Foundation, Sanford Underground Lab at Homestake, SD Board of Regents, DSU, SDSU, and EPSCoR.

"SD EPSCoR was proud to have a hand in funding this extensive project," said SD EPSCoR director, Dr. Jim Rice. "The overall objective of the vSURF project is closely aligned with our central goal of advancing science education and literacy throughout the state, and we are excited to see what the future has in store for the vSURF project."

A number of video clips and previews of vSURF content are currently available on the vSURF website.

To learn more, visit the vSURF website:  http://vsurf.dsu.edu


Last Updated: 1/10/12