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TSTC offers new virtual reality program for auto technology students

TSTC Virtual Reality
7 Oct. 2022 Waco Automotive Technology virtual reality.JPG
Posted at 7:05 PM, Oct 12, 2022
and last updated 2022-10-12 20:05:12-04

Texas State Technical College is now implementing virtual reality for automotive technology students.

Students began using TRANSFRVR headsets this semester to take lessons on oil changes, working with jack stands and other skills this semester.

"I think it's a great way to lay the foundation, and then take the student out there and go about the paces," said automotive technology student Zack Morris.

TSTC explained that the technology engages students without risk of injury and gives them a chance to feel more confident with skills before heading into the actual auto lab.

Students are able to take turns in the virtual simulation lab in and out of class.

"There's no risk, that oil's not hot when it's coming out of the car virtually," said auto technology instructor John Kirchmeier.

According to a report from the TechForce Foundation, the demand for new auto technicians nearly doubled in 2021, from 136,503 in 2020 to over 250,000 in 2021.

Students, like Carlos Villarreal, hope things like the new technology will help attract a new generation of auto technicians.

"I hope people will see opportunities like VR or ways to get into something they're not quite familiar with, and realize they might have a passion for it," Villarreal said.

The college said it plans to expand its virtual reality programs in the future. Its pilot training program has also been using the technology.