Code Name – “The Mandarin Project”

by Mary Martialay on July 24, 2012

Given the technical challenges that stand in its way, the “holodeck” (as envisioned on Star Trek:The Next Generation) may not actually arrive until the 24th century. But that’s not stopping a group of Rensselaer researchers with the under—construction Emergent Reality Lab (one of them a former Star Trek producer) from exploring how the elements of a good holodeck program can be harnessed as a tool for teaching and learning.

The researchers—Lee Sheldon, Ben Chang, Mei Si—are using a mixture of narrative, game design, and augmented and virtual reality to teach Mandarin Chinese. For the past year, tantalizing whiffs of the project have been floating around campus, always accompanied by the phrase “the Mandarin Project.”

Recently, the researchers unveiled a pilot project—which is officially titled “Emergent Reality Lab: The Lost Manuscript” at a presentation of projects funded by the Rensselaer Office of Research. As part of the unveiling they presented the above video. Take a look!