The Digital Design Center has stood as a powerful example of the University's pursuit of bringing to life some of its best ideas, theories, and research in ways that have tangible impacts on the world.
In 2002, University of Minnesota alumni Linda and
Ted Johnson provided a generous gift dedicated to establishing interdisciplinary collaborations between our programs in computer science and design. Their vision was to provide the resources necessary for leading minds to explore and understand the intersections between the creative processes that underlay science and design. That vision has led to a tremendously successful collaboration between the University’s Colleges of Science and Engineering and Design. Originally known as the Digital Design Consortium, and now called the Digital Design Center (DDC), that collaboration has produced a state-of-the-art program in virtual reality.
The Digital Design Center offers a wonderful opportunity for collaboration between computer science faculty and architecture faculty. Leveraging our benefactors’ initial investment, the DDC has been able to attract a great deal of interest and funding from a variety of conventionally scholarly sources like the National Science Foundation; from industry innovators like Mortenson Construction, HGA architects, and Fairview medical; and from the Office of Information Technology and other University entities. This support has created fertile ground for faculty to explore unconventional and conventional hardware and software systems to advance virtual reality (VR) technology. The timing of the original gift has worked perfectly to catch – and even lead – the wave of VR interest globally. The DDC is way ahead of the market. The group is looking forward to seeing how their leading edge position can be capitalized upon and how it can maintain its spirit of exploration and invention.