University of São Paulo Builds a Metaverse Research Lab

Credit: Holcim Foundation

Brazil’s largest public university is planning a campus expansion into the metaverse. 

The University of São Paulo recently agreed to work with Radio Caca to build a research facility in the United States of Mars metaverse. As a part of this deal, Radio Caca gave USP an NFT representing valuable land in the USM ecosystem.   

USP professors say they will use their new virtual land to research various aspects of metaverse technology. In addition to studying technical topics like 3D design and augmented reality, students and faculty will examine the educational and psychological effects of the metaverse. 

According to USP’s Dr. Marcos A. Simplicio Jr., this marks the first time a Latin American university joined the USM metaverse. 

The USM is an immersive space-themed metaverse game developed by the Radio Caca DAO. Like Decentraland, USM players could build and develop land, visit NFT art galleries, and interact with other in-game avatars. Although Radio Caca’s RACA token is built on the Binance Smart Chain, the USM metaverse also works on Ethereum and the OKExChain. 

Members of Ripple’s University Blockchain Research Initiative (UBRI) will also participate in the USP’s ongoing metaverse research. The UBRI has partnerships with dozens of colleges interested in studying all aspects of blockchain tech. 

More College Majors Enter the Metaverse  

According to research firms like ReportLinker, the recent pandemic restrictions have made more people open to using the metaverse for socializing and education. Although e-learning was growing before government-issued COVID-19 quarantines, it’s clear that educational institutions have increased their metaverse development post-2020.

For instance, the VR companies ENGAGE XR and VictoryXR are now developing “metaverse campuses” for ten prominent US colleges. Select students in schools like Morehouse College and South Dakota State University can attend classes using Meta’s Quest 2 headset. 

Professors involved in the ENGAGE XR program claim the immersive nature of the metaverse seems to improve student engagement. Since the metaverse has no physical limitations, teachers and students can effortlessly change sizes or travel long distances to better understand a given topic. 

Johnson & Johnson is also taking advantage of the metaverse’s educational potential with its Innovation Room. Launched in Mexico City, this new studio uses augmented reality to help medical students practice surgical procedures in a no-risk environment. J&J expects to train at least 300 Mexican students using this new metaverse-enabled classroom.  

Some colleges have even begun using Web3 technologies outside the classroom. For instance, both Harvard and Georgetown universities recently gave commemorative NFTs to graduating students. The UK’s Glasgow Clyde College also says it will launch the country’s first “metaverse open day” in the popular game Minecraft.  

With each passing semester, the metaverse is steadily making its way into higher education.