By Darrell Crenshaw
INDIANAPOLIS— No Indiana University basketball coach has ever recreated coach Bobby Knight’s infamous act of throwing a chair across Assembly Hall.
But thanks to one Indiana University senior, lawmakers got that opportunity Tuesday at the Statehouse.
Katherine Onofrey created a virtual reality (VR) program that puts players at center court in Assembly Hall and allows them to not only shoot hoops, but also throw chairs just like Knight.
Katherine Onofrey explains the virtual reality basketball program that she created. Photo by Darrell Crenshaw, TheStatehouseFile.com
“It’s a virtual reality game that I made for IU athletics,” Onofrey said.
“I had to do a final project to graduate and I wanted to do something with VR, because I think it’s awesome, so I proposed my idea to my supervisor and they got me the equipment I needed,” she said. It took her three months to complete the project.
This is the last week of work for the legislators, so Trevor Foughty, IU director of Government Relations and Communications, wanted to give them an opportunity to relieve some stress.
“We set this up to kill some time between conference committees, we called the athletic department and they told us they could bring it up,” he said.
But that was not the sole reason for the set up in the Statehouse.
“We can give the legislators something fun to do, but also to show off what IU is doing to prepare our students for cutting-edge jobs,” Foughty continued.
Some lawmakers stopped by to try the game out, including Sen. Randy Head, R-Logansport. He put on a pair of oversized goggles that placed him in the middle of the court at Assembly Hall and allowed him to shoot the virtual basketball and throw the chair.
Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch tries out the virtual reality basketball program Senior at IU Katherine Onofrey created. Photo by Darrell Crenshaw, TheStatehouseFile.com
“It is powerful to see how real it actually is,” he said. “She’s done a fantastic job of creating a virtual environment that is believable.”
And when asked if recreating coach Knight’s incident helped relieve some of the tension of this final week of the legislative session, Head jokingly responded, “After these last two weeks in the General Assembly, I felt like throwing chairs, so it’s nice to do it without actually hurting anybody.”
Darrell Crenshaw is a reporter for TheStatehouseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.