Air Force to build virtual training lab on OpenSim

Press Release: Designing Digitally, Inc. Wins 2011 Air Force Research Lab Virtual World Contract

FRANKLIN, OH– Teaching students how to build airplanes, robots and simulations is serious business, but Designing Digitally, Inc. plans to make it a game — literally.

Designing Digitally, Inc., the web-based training firm that specializes in e-learning, virtual worlds, and 3D simulations, was recently awarded a 2011 Air Force Virtual World contract from the United States Air Force Research Laboratory located in Dayton, Ohio. This means the simulation experts at Designing Digitally, Inc. will dedicate the next year to creating an OpenSim virtual world grid, called Virtual Discovery Lab (ViDL), in which high school and college students can explore these technical topics in a hands-on, educational environment.

“We are extremely honored to have been selected for this contract,” said Andrew Hughes, President of Designing Digitally, Inc. “It is going to be a fantastic and rewarding challenge to create the OpenSim virtual world infrastructure for United States Air Force Research Laboratory’s Discovery Lab.”

The contract award not only calls for Designing Digitally, Inc. to help create the Virtual Discovery Lab OpenSim virtual world grid, but also to work hands-on with students interested in the field over the summer at WPAFB Tec^Edge office. Students in the program are able to explore a number of areas of interest in an educational, hands-on setting that is challenging and fun.

With the Air Force Research Laboratory mission in mind, the agency often partners with educational institutions to make sure up-and-coming engineers, mathematicians, scientists and others receive cutting edge learning experiences. AFRL is a proponent of the STEM initiative.

STEM, which stands for science, technology, engineering and mathematics, is an educational initiative dedicated to helping high school and college students prepare for the workforce and the post-secondary educational system. STEM education is designed to knock down barriers to learning by integrating the four distinct subjects into one for teaching and learning. The idea is to allow students to explore math and science in a more interactive, hands-on manner so they can develop critical thinking skills to solve problems.

The ViDL OpenSim virtual world infrastructure being designed and built by Designing Digitally, Inc. will be used to hold 1,000 students in the summer of 2011 for the Summer at the Edge (SATE) program at the Discovery Lab which is housed in the Tec^Edge. This Tec^Edge center was created as a partnership between the Air Force Research Laboratory and the Wright Brothers Institute. It is meant to better facilitate educational and research partnerships between industry, government and academia. Dr. Rob Williams, research director for the Discovery Lab at Tec^Edge and the creator of the 1,000 student Virtual Discovery Lab concept, is responsible for running the Summer-at-the-Edge (SATE) program where students are able to work side-by-side with industry professionals both physically and virtually through OpenSim. The goal of the SATE program is to accelerate technology innovations important to Department of Defense and to grow future technology leaders.

Along with hosting the OpenSim virtual world Designing Digitally, Inc.’s development team will be mentoring the Summer at the Edge (SATE) students in building the content within the OpenSim virtual world.

“We are delighted to share what we do with students,” said Nick Taylor from Designing Digitally, Inc. “Who knows? Some of the students involved in the Discovery Lab at Tec^Edge may very well be responsible for the next big technological breakthrough. We cannot wait to get started with this endeavor.”

For more information about Designing Digitally, Inc. visit http://www.designingdigitally.com or call (518) 698-8142.


Designing Digitally’s previous project for the U.S. Air Force was a virtual tour of the Air Force Academy campus.

About Designing Digitally, Inc.

Designing Digitally, Inc. is an innovative, high end web-based training firm that specializes in E-learning, 2D and 3D simulations, virtual world development, and interactive learning tools. The Franklin, Ohio, firm has more than a decade of experience in developing tools for educational, corporate and government sectors.

About Tec^Edge

Tec^Edge is a partnership between the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory and the Wright Brothers Institute. Located in Dayton, Ohio, the center facilitates research and educational partnerships between academia, government and industry. It seeks to create educational opportunities while stimulating the growth of technologies companies and the advance of technology.

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