The University of Waterloo’s new Stratford campus opened with a bang on October 16th, with fireworks exploding on the screens of 150 Christie MicroTiles, stacked three-storeys high.

University officials, city representatives, local business and community leaders, students and the media toured the new facility, which included a stop in the Digital Media Lab, which we’re affectionately calling REAP West. The space is an extension of the FELT Lab, a place where students can play with digital display technologies with a focus on commercialization.

“REAP West is our first node out of the FELT Lab, and we are experimenting with a new model of networked relationships,” said Dr. Jill Tomasson Goodwin, REAP’s co-founder. “REAP can only scale up and grow if it shares its ideas and best practices so that they can be accelerated by others using and building on them. REAP West is a critical proof of concept testing ground, and we’re very excited by the prospect of our work with the Stratford campus.”

REAP will be drawing from a pool of talented and engaged students in the Masters in Digital Experience Innovation graduate program and, eventually, the Global Business and Digital Arts undergraduate program.

“We’re looking to engage students who are business-minded, digitally-savvy, and looking for opportunities to add new ideas to the digital experience economy.”

The Digital Media Lab was a popular destination at the Open House. REAP had a few “toys” on hand for attendees to try out, including the GestureTek Cube and some augmented reality apps from Layar, Aurasma, and String. There was also an interactive art gallery showcasing works created by artists from the region. For many of the attendees, it was their first experience with augmented reality technology.

To learn more about the REAP West, or the University of Waterloo’s Stratford Campus, check out their website.

The opening also received a fair bit of media attention. Check out the links below:

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