About Us

The Duderstadt Center

The James and Anne Duderstadt Center, formerly known as the Media Union, opened in 1996 as a special place to provide faculty and students with the tools and collaborative space for creating the future. Located on the University of Michigan North Campus, the Duderstadt Center houses the Art, Architecture, and Engineering Library, the College of Engineering Computer Aided Engineering Network (CAEN), the Digital Media Commons, and the Millennium Project. The building provides a nexus for creative and technological innovation across disciplines. 

With 400+ computers available 24/7, the Duderstadt Center is the largest public computing site at the University of Michigan. It also offers student access to 3D and virtual reality labs, a large video production studio, a state-of-the-art audio recording studio, two electronic music studios and Video conferencing and uniques collaboration rooms.

History of XR at the University of Michigan

CAEN Emerging Technologies Group
Professor Klaus-Peter Beier tests an automotive simulator at the Virtual Reality Lab. Photo courtesy http://www.umich.edu/~vrl/

In 1993 the University of Michigan saw the creation of the Virtual Reality Lab, a research facility at the College of Engineering. Founded by Professor Klaus-Peter Beier, the VRL was originally housed in the Navel Architecture and Marine Engineering building with funds from the automotive and marine industry.

Initially the focus of the VRL was on industrial applications like virtual prototyping of engineering designs, the simulation of manufacturing processes, and related engineering tasks. Later the VRL expanded to collaborate with many units within the university, with its technology being utilized for accident simulations, medicine, architecture, archaeology, education, and other areas.

In 2008, upon the retirement of Klaus-Peter Beier, the Virtual Reality Lab closed its doors and through a combined directorship, many of the efforts of the VRL were continued by the UM3D Lab (now the Emerging Technologies Group), as an integral part of the Duderstadt Center. With the support Alec Gallimore, Dean of the College of Engineering, the Emerging Technologies Group continues its development of XR simulations, applications, and educational tools to service the entire U of M community.

The Emerging Technologies Group at the Duderstadt Center joined with Michigan Engineering’s CAEN in 2019 where it continues to focus on cutting edge visualization and other technologies to assist students and faculty throughout the entire university. ETG provides consultation and development toward projects around the use of Augmented/Virtual/Mixed Reality technologies with a team of experts experienced in developing projects for a wide variety of platforms and use-cases.