Digital and Virtual Environments

The future is becoming increasingly data driven and companies are looking to digital technology as a key element to improve operations and unlock growth opportunities.

The growth of digital technology and its potential applications has also pushed the boundaries beyond the traditional ways of learning in classrooms. 

Virtual environments created using augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), motion capture and 360-degree video allow people in different locations to interact with one another.

These virtual environments also provide access to settings that are not available physically.

Learn more about the NAIT applied research centres doing work in this area:


Highly engaging, interactive, pedagogically effective content is challenging to design and deliver to remote learners using current forms of instructional delivery. Also, computer-based simulations of concepts, processes and methods are increasingly being delivered in many industries. 

Immersive training places users in an interactive, simulated, learner-centric environment, replicating scenarios in the real world or to teach specific skills or techniques.

 There are many advantages to simulations, such as:

  • greater engagement
  • improved performance
  • providing a safe learning environment for training in high-risk environments

Lean how NAIT is partnering with remote communities to develop immersive forest reclamation training programs.

NAIT receives funding to develop 360-degree training to help First Nations communities reclaim boreal forest

Motion and performance capture

Motion capture is technology that blends real life and animation, capturing the movement of people and objects and transferring these into a computerized form. Motion capture can be used in many industries including arts, education, healthcare, information and communication technologies and media.

NAIT’s motion capture studio has the infrastructure and capability to work with industry partners to film, re-target and animate motion capture data, which can be used for game development, film, animation, and biomechanics purposes.

The studio also has the capability to develop virtual scenes and environments in the Unreal Engine for training purposes.

GIS analysis

A geographic information system (GIS) is a computer system that stores, analyzes, maps, and displays geographic data. Through this spatial analysis, data is collected to monitor environmental shifts.  This data could include street information, buildings, vegetation, and elevation: the built environment. GIS is rapidly emerging as a tool for making better communication and data interoperability.

GIS data allows for the comparison of information and the identification of patterns and trends. The data collected helps solve complex challenges such as the management of natural resources or disasters.

NAIT is working with industry using GIS as a tool for the management of the reclamation and mitigation of disturbances related to oil and gas infrastructure, and boreal forest fires to predict fire behaviour and assist in the implementation of fire management strategies.

Data analytics and visualization

Data visualization and analytics allow companies to gain insight into large amounts of data. Using this data, trends and patterns are identified to help optimize performance or make decisions in a timely manner.

There is also a dramatic increase in the amount of data that is being collected and stored. NAIT applied research is helping companies develop and advance their digital technologies and efficiently visualize and analyze their data.

NAIT will be working with several industry partners using data analytics and visualization. 

We are working on enabling the assessment, development, and scale up of:

  • pathways for the transformation of plant protein starch into value-added materials
  • microplastics monitoring as part of the PRIA initiative