Thunderbird at ASU to power downtown Phoenix virtual reality experience


Students sitting in large chairs wearing VR headsets.

Thunderbird's state-of-the-art Innovation Center allows students to interact with others, play games on global collaboration tables and experience guided tours in the 4D immersive Positron chair. Photo courtesy the Thunderbird School of Global Management

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The Thunderbird School of Global Management at Arizona State University, in collaboration with the city of Phoenix, presents an unparalleled virtual reality scavenger hunt experience, "Phoenix: The Global City of the Future," from Thursday, Feb. 9, through Saturday, Feb. 11.

“Phoenix is leading in innovative technologies, including immersive experiences that advance learning at all ages,” said Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego. “Powered by Thunderbird at ASU, the AR activation looks at Phoenix sites past, present and future. This demonstration of technology offers engaging interactions which are the future of marketing, business and workforce development.”

The greater Phoenix community is invited to visit Thunderbird Global Headquarters to explore a variety of unique, virtual reality attractions, including the state-of-the-art Innovation Center. Once inside, attendees can interact with others, play games on one of three global collaboration tables and experience guided tours in a 4D immersive Positron chair. As a first-of-its-kind attraction, a city-wide virtual reality scavenger hunt will also commence. This special experience offers attendees an opportunity to engage in augmented reality as they discover historical sites across downtown Phoenix.

"Discover the future of education and technology at Thunderbird Global Headquarters, the most technologically advanced building of any leadership and management school in the world," said Sanjeev Khagram, director general and dean of Thunderbird. "Civic engagement is an integral part of the Thunderbird experience, and we are thrilled to partner with the city of Phoenix to bring this augmented reality experience to our communities while highlighting Phoenix as a global city of the future."

Attendees will also be able to view the solar system in the Haas Digital Global Forum and witness live data projected onto a touchless, controlled custom LED sphere. Thunderbird’s Metaverse lab will also be open; here, volumetric capture technology will take a 3D rendering of participants, creating a digital twin of themselves that can be used in virtual reality experiences.

The official kick-off event will take place from 4 to 5 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 10, inside Thunderbird’s Haas Digital Global Forum. Attendees can enjoy international-themed food trucks, live music from Thunderbird students, dancing and songs from around the world.

Other key events include:

  • Pub Night on Thursday, Feb. 9, at Thunderbird’s rooftop pub on the fifth floor. Light appetizers will be provided at 8 p.m.
  • From 12 to 1 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 10, join Khagram for a special event with David Knower, chairman of the advisory board of the European League of Football and a 1985 graduate of Thunderbird. During the event, Knower will speak specifically on the globalization of the NFL. Due to limited capacity, please RSVP to attend.

Events will take place at Thunderbird's technologically advanced Global Headquarters building on the ASU Downtown Phoenix campus, located at 401 N. First St., Phoenix, 85004. The experiences will take place from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 9; from 2 to 10 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 10; and from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 11. For more information, including the entertainment schedule and complete details, visit Thunderbird's website.

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