It’s free-for-all out there on the juggernaut of employment. From the President of Iowa State University, Gregory L. Geoffroy:

Just this past year, more than a dozen of our most outstanding professors left us, because weakened state support has caused a loss of competitiveness in salaries and supporting infrastructure. Those losses include Carolina Cruz-Neira, professor of industrial and manufacturing systems technology, a pioneer in virtual reality technology and one of the key people in building our Virtual Reality Applications Center into a world-class facility, to the Louisiana Immersive Technologies Enterprise, a new collaboration involving the University of Louisiana.

Professor Cruz-Neira went to this building: can you blame her?

It looks beautiful and the description of what goes on inside is irresistible:

Louisiana Immersive Technologies Enterprise (LITE) is a state-of-the-art resource center encompassing the world’s first six-sided, digital virtual reality cube as well as the world’s largest digital 3-D auditorium. This leading-edge visualization environment is powered by one of themost powerfulgraphics supercomputers in the world. LITE provides a compelling collaborative ecosystem for researchers from all disciplines – both public and private – to view, assess, and manipulate rapid synchronization of immense volumes of complex data into workable 3-D models in real-time. LITE is to be connected to the Louisiana Optical Network Initiative (LONI) and the National LambdaRail (NLR) enabling businesses and research institutions and their national and global partners to work on projects in unison. Previously, access to this type of technology and resources was only feasible for industry giants. Now, industry, government, and university sectors have access to essential decision-making tools for collaborative research, application development, testing and validation, and product development. LITE ensures that the data and the interpretation are used to a client’s best advantage.

I am not sure if there is any link between LITE and the mining-focused Immersive Technologies.

Clearly the commonality of names reflects a commonality of technical approach, philosophy, and practice. Here is what Immersive Technologies has to say about Virtual Environments:

Train on the edge of reality and take your Advanced Equipment Simulator training to the next level with a Virtual Environment. Using your own geological and survey data, the Immersive Technologies' Virtual Environment team can create a digital environment that simulates unique features of your site. Your Virtual Environment is a digital replica of your actual training/work area. The learning and retention rate of your operators will be enhanced as they travel through their own environment, in real time. Advance your productivity and safety without risking injury to operators or compromising real machines. Operators trained in a Virtual Environment are more confident and assured of their ability once they step into an actual machine. An Immersive Technologies representative will visit your site in order to identify your requirements and collect the data needed to create your Virtual Environment.

I confess I would rather be in a virtual reality world than in the heat and dust of this environment pictured on their website—or is this a virtual world to begin with?

If you enjoy virtual reality and immersion in technology and want a change of job, take a look at Immersive Technologies’ employment site – perhaps you’ll get a chance to live and work in Australia or South Africa. Not quite Louisiana, but then?