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Say hello to Tim the BeaVR

MIT student creates Tim the Beaver in virtual reality using the MIT.nano Immersion Lab.
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Three examples of people posing with a virtual Tim the BeaVR outside an MIT building. In the first, Tim appears giant-sized; in the second, human-sized; and in the third, palm-sized
A new app called Tim the BeaVR lets you place a virtual copy of MIT's mascot, Tim the Beaver, anywhere in the world. Here, in the center, MIT undergraduate Daniel Portela — who developed the app — stands between virtual and physical Tim.
Images: Thomas Gearty
A person holds a phone toward another person posing with their arm in the air, as if around an invisible person’s shoulder
The Tim the BeaVR app made its debut at the MIT Community Day on April 29, 2023, where visitors could make photos posing with an invisible, VR Tim.
Photo: Thomas Gearty

MIT’s mascot Tim the Beaver is ready to travel virtually anywhere in the world!

A new app developed by MIT undergraduate Daniel Portela lets individuals place virtual Tim anywhere they are using just their phone’s camera and web browser. Portela developed the web application as part of his Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP) project at the MIT.nano Immersion Lab.

Appropriately named “Tim the BeaVR,” the virtual-reality app was unveiled at the MIT Community Day on April 29. “Developing the app was a blast,” says Portela. “It’s always a gratifying experience to show your friends the scraps of a project you’re working on as you progress through it. Even more gratifying was seeing everyone at the event, pointing their phones in all different directions, taking pictures of, and with, Tim. As a developer, there really is no feeling like seeing other people enjoy something you’ve created.”

In addition to placing Tim in their location, individuals can also choose his animation — waving or dancing — and size, from small enough to fit in the palm of a hand to as large as a two-story building. Using the phone’s camera, friends of Tim may also take photos of the resulting scene, showing Tim in the environment or posing people with Tim.

The MIT.nano Immersion Lab, located on the third floor of MIT.nano, provides an environment to connect the physical to the digital — visualizing data, prototyping advanced tools for augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR), and developing new software and hardware concepts for immersive experiences.

“Daniel did a great job with Tim the BeaVR, and the community day event was the perfect opportunity for the students to showcase the potential of AR/VR technology,” says Talis Reks, AR/VR gaming technologist at the MIT.nano Immersion Lab. "Augmented reality applications can take traditional events to new heights by engaging audiences in fun and exciting ways. I look forward to seeing where Tim the BeaVR pops up next.”

Tim the BeaVR is a web app; no download is necessary. Visit the Tim the BeaVR demo site to try it on your phone.

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