14:43 PM

UST Displays Nativity Scene in Augmented Reality

See Baby Jesus in Augmented Reality at the Chapel of St. Basil.

Point your cell phone at the Chapel of St. Basil this Christmas season and you’ll see a little bit of magic. A virtual lantern on the ground warms to a soft glow of light. A figure holding the lantern materializes in augmented reality, and a scene begins to build – first Joseph, then Mary holding baby Jesus, filling in with a complete nativity scene.

A new app developed by technology group Fuel FX powers this intriguing display, broadcasting UST’s mission in a new dimension. UST alumnus Salim Zakhem, ’96 MBA, is the CEO of Fuel FX.

The experience debuts on December 2 at the Deck the Mall Christmas festivities on the Academic Mall, and will run throughout the holiday season. Come more than once to see enhancements to the experience.

Augmented reality is a technology that superimposes digital imagery over a real-world view, interweaving the two in an immersive experience. This project builds upon UST’s history of collaborating with artists and architects to express its mission in distinctive ways.

An important goal in the University’s renewal plan is to strengthen its Catholic identity. The experience provides a fresh opportunity for visitors to connect in dialogue grounded in the spirit of Christ. Father Huber, a Basilian Father at UST, said, “We’re using technology as a force for good.”

The plan is for this to be just the first in a series of augmented reality displays to inspire and educate campus visitors. Come visit the chapel during the holiday season to see the augmented reality nativity display, and look for future displays on campus and around Houston.