The Virtual and Augmented Reality Business Unit (VARBU) of the Iowa Technology Institute provides virtual reality (VR) services to the University of Iowa community and the public. Virtual reality has become a commodity in everyday life; head-mounted displays, VR sets, mixed and augmented reality, and CAVE virtual environments are just a few of the many devices and systems that have become popular.

VARBU was founded on the premise of enabling easy access to the technology along with an effortless development cycle. Whether you have a research project that requires VR interaction and visualization or you would like to develop an app for your own idea, our professional team of 3D artists, VR software programmers, and VR hardware engineers is here to assist you.

Featured Projects

Virtual Soldier
The UI's own virtual soldier, Santos, has been deployed in VR for vehicle analysis and ergonomics. Santos is currently preparing for a new deployment.

Virtual Drug and Protein Design
Imagine being able to design peptides in a large CAVE, interacting with proteins, moving molecules, and leveraging years of computational bioinformatics to visualize the results in seconds.

Virtual Motion Tracking
Various motion-tracking systems are used to study human gait and assess potential musculoskeletal injuries.

Virtual Neurosurgery
Using Occulus Rift as a head-mounted display, a team of engineering students is working with Dr. Oli Flouty to provide the neurosurgeon with augmented views of the procedure.

VARBU Team

Portrait of Karim Abdel-Malek

Karim Abdel-Malek, PhD

Title/Position
Director, Iowa Technology Institute;
Director, Virtual Soldier Research Program;
Professor, Roy J. Carver Department of Biomedical Engineering
Karim Abdel-Malek is professor of biomedical engineering at the University of Iowa. He holds appointments in Department of Biomedical Engineering, Mechanical and Industrial Engineering and the Interdisciplinary Graduate Program in Applied Mathematical and Computational Sciences and serves as director of the University of Iowa Technology Institute. He also founded and directs the Virtual Soldier Research Program.
Chris Murphy

Chris Murphy

Title/Position
Application Developer
Chris Murphy is an application developer in the Virtual Soldier Research Program and the Virtual and Augmented Reality Business Unit.