Hong Kong University To Build World’s First Metaverse Campus: MetaHKUST

The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) recently announced its plans to open the world’s first physical-digital twin campuses in the metaverse. Called MetaHKUST, the mixed virtual reality classroom will enable students from different places to attend classes like they were in the same class. The metaverse campus will also host the launch of Hong Kong University’s new Guangzhou campus. 

An academic from the HKUST institution told South China Morning Post that the launch of the mixed reality classroom represents the opening of a new campus in the city of Guangzhou, Hong Kong. Pan Hui, chair professor of computational media and arts at the Guangzhou campus, added that:

“A lot of guests might be overseas and can’t attend [the opening], so we will host it in the metaverse.”

By building MetaHKUST, the institution plans to create a learning environment that virtually connects the two campuses — in Hong Kong and Guangzhou. By virtually connecting the campuses, HKUST hopes to help students overcome geographical constraints when attending classes.

“A lot of guests might be overseas and can’t attend, so we will host it in the metaverse,” said Pan Hui, professor of computational media and arts. 

“Using Zoom feels like you’re just looking at a 2D screen. But through virtual reality, you can feel as if you’re there. I think interaction is very important for learning. How you interact with students around you will increase your learning outcome.”

MetaHKUST is a long-term plan

To be sure, Hong Kong University has set up a long-term development plan for its metaverse campus. Initially, it will install physical infrastructures such as XR classrooms, sensors, cameras, and visualization tools. At the same time, it will invite university members to take part in a crowdsourced scanning of the physical campuses. This will help provide images for the virtual campus. 

Once an ecosystem is established, members will be able to create content, such as their avatars. They can also create NFTs, tokens, or digital art. In fact, some of this may even be incorporated with augmented reality (AR) for viewing on physical campuses.

In the future, the university expects administrative procedures to become easier through Web3 applications. For example, HKUST is considering blockchain-secured diplomas or transcripts awarded as NFTs. 


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