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Video: 2012 Halftime spot - Hands-on, Minds-on

Energize your mind and reimagine the future through the spirit of discovery and the power of innovation. Hands-on, Minds-on.

    Dr. Bill Hopkins and eastern hellbender

Bill Hopkins, associate professor in the Department of Fish and Wildlife Conservation in the College of Natural Resources and Environment, studies the development and early growth of a variety of species, including birds, turtles, snakes, and amphibians.  He is most interested in how water pollution and maternal behaviors affect offspring health. One species Hopkins studies in the eastern hellbender.

    Comptuer Augmented Virtual Environment

The VisCube is the flagship immersive virtual reality venue in the Visionarium Lab in Torgersen Hall. It is a multi-person, room-sized, high-resolution, 3-D video and audio environment that is used for scientific visualization, engineering design and analysis, and architectural walk-throughs. In the current configuration, graphics are rear projected in stereo onto three walls and the floor, and viewed with passive stereo glasses. As a viewer wearing a position sensor moves within its display boundaries, the correct perspective and stereo projections of the environment are rendered and the images move with and surround the viewer. To the viewer with stereo glasses, the projection screens become transparent and the 3-D image space appears to extend to infinity. The Visionarium lab is run as an open resource for faculty and student through the Advanced Research Computing Unit of IT and the Research Division.


Students have an astronaut’s view of the Earth without leaving the ground using the OminGlobe, a learning tool in the Department of Geosciences in the College of Science. The approximately 7-foot-high digital, spherical device offers views of  the layers called tectonic plates that play a part in earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, ocean and atmospheric events and trends, weather patterns, vegetation cover, population and cultural summaries, and other information about the Earth’s systems.

Full-globe imagery of the planets, sun, and moon also can be viewed. In addition, the students have access to infrared cloud cover data for Earth that is updated every three hours.

    DARwin robot

DARwIn-OP (Dynamic Anthropomorphic Robot with Intelligence - Open Platform) is an affordable, miniature humanoid robot platform with advance computational power, sophisticated sensors, high payload capacity, and dynamic motion ability to enable many exciting research, education, and outreach activities. Sponsored by the National Science Foundation in the United States, DARwIn-OP has been developed by the Robotics and Mechanisms Laboratory at Virginia Tech with collaboration from the University of Pennsylvania, Purdue University, and Robotis Co. 

    electron microscope

The FEI TITAN 300 is a state-of-the-art field emission analytical electron microscope. The microscope has a robust column structure, improving image stability at higher magnification. Typical applications are chemical and structural analysis of a wide range of materials in nanoscale (materials must be high vacuum compatible) and high-resolution imaging including energy-filtered imaging. The microscope is part of the Nanoscale Characterization and Fabrication Laboratory of the Institute for Critical Technology and Applied Science.

    Newman Library

Newman Library offers a number of study spaces for individuals and groups, including floors designated for groups to work together. The library's mission is to "provide and promote access to information resources for the achievement of the university’s objectives in learning, discovery, and engagement." Newman Library is five floors and 226,630 square feet.


Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine and Research Institute leverages Virginia Tech’s world-class strength in basic sciences, bioinformatics, and engineering with Carilion Clinic’s highly experienced medical staff and rich history in medical education. Virginia Tech Carilion improves human health and quality of life by providing leadership in medical education and biomedical and clinical research.

    a student dancer

The arts are alive at Virginia Tech, especially with the opening of the Center for the Arts at Virginia Tech in the fall of 2013. The center is a 150,000-square-foot complex currently under construction on the corner of Main Street and Alumni Mall.

Outstanding performances will be offered year round, featuring international and national touring performing arts programs that include: Music, from world rhythms to bluegrass, jazz, vocal programs, chamber music, and leading orchestras; Dance that includes American icons, classical ballet, and cutting-edge contemporary choreographers; Theatre from classic stage plays, contemporary works, and new dramatic and musicals, to physical theatre and programs for young audiences.  

    equine medical

Virginia Tech’s Marion duPont Scott Equine Medical Center is a premier full-service equine hospital located in Leesburg, Va., that offers advanced specialty care, 24-hour emergency treatment and diagnostic services for all ages and breeds of horses. One of three campuses that comprise the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine, the center and its team of equine specialists are committed to providing exceptional treatment for patients, superior service to clients, and cutting-edge research to the equine industry.

    building an amphitheater for Clifton Forge

Sixteen students from a class taught by award-winning designers Keith and Marie Zawistowski, faculty members in the College of Architecture and Urban Studies, had the chance to design and build an amphitheater for the town of  Clifton Forge, Va. 

    Museum of Geosciences

The Museum of Geosciences in the Department of Geosciences serves as a platform to promote earth system science literacy through student and faculty engagement in education and public outreach. The museum provides school and public exhibits, materials, and programming; stewardship of collections; promotion of collections-based research; and support for the department's research and academic work. This public museum features more than 13,000 minerals and geologic information from around the world, as well as a full-scale model of an Allosaurus dinosaur skeleton. It is open to the public from 8-5 Monday through Friday in 2062 Derring Hall.

    model airplane in pool
A senior design student team from the College of Engineering called IMPACT, an acronym for Impact Modeling Project and Crash Team, take scaled down models of airplanes -- roughly 1/36th to 1/25th scale of the most popular commercial aircraft -- hooked to a cable zip line system and "crash" them into a pool to understand what happens to airplanes when they must land in water. Waterproof cameras inside and outside the tank capture the action, while senors built inside the underbelly and wings of the aircraft take various measurements via computer.
    stability wind tunnel
The Stability Wind Tunnel is operated by the Aerospace and Ocean Engineering Department. With a 1.83m-by-1.83m test-section, it is one of the largest university operated wind tunnels in the United States with maximum speeds of 80m/s (corresponding to a Reynolds number of 5,000,000 per meter). In addition to its size, the flow quality is remarkable making it a prime research facility. The aerodynamic capabilities were recently increased by the addition of a removable anechoic test-section allowing for full-scale aero-acoustic testing.