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CDC Launches OneLab VR: a 50,000 Square-Foot Virtual Reality Laboratory Training Environment

publication date: Jun 4, 2024
author/source: CDC



CDC has launched OneLab VR, a multiplayer virtual reality (VR) environment that contains an ever-expanding suite of laboratory training scenarios. It includes a 50,000 square-foot virtual facility designed for clinical and public health laboratory training.

OneLab VR can be used to conduct live training on a variety of laboratory topics, or learners can take on-demand VR training. Through OneLab VR, trainers can create their own environment and invite learners to join and communicate with one another in real time from around the world.  
“OneLab VR offers a training experience in a laboratory environment unlike anything out there,” said Joe Rothschild, Virtual Reality Team Lead, Training and Workforce Development Branch, Division of Laboratory Systems, CDC. “Having a live, virtual, hands-on training with an instructor who can offer immediate feedback and guidance takes laboratory training to another level as everyone can see, hear, and talk to one another in real time.”  
CDC worked with laboratory architects, designers, safety experts, and members of the clinical laboratory community to create this virtual training space. All aspects from the physical size and placement of laboratory environments to the placement of fire alarms and sprinkler systems have been researched, tested, and reviewed. 
OneLab VR consists of 12 different laboratories designed for clinical and public health laboratory training. Each VR training scenario is designed to quickly familiarize learners with laboratory equipment, safety, and procedures. Over 100 custom-built pieces of laboratory equipment are part of the design including:

  • Rotary microtome, tissue processor 
  • Darkfield microscope 
  • Incubators, refrigerators, and freezers 
  • Real-time PCR machines 
  • Centrifuges, microfuges 
  • Biosafety cabinets
  • Chemical fume hoods 
  • Chemistry analyzers
  • Microbial identification systems  

“As technology advances and equipment changes, CDC will continue to innovate and adapt to the needs of our clinical and public health laboratory audience, and new training scenarios will be added to this all-encompassing virtual environment,” said Rothschild. 
OneLab VR is part of CDC OneLab™, an initiative developed to bridge, train, and sustain a capacity-building community among laboratory professionals and testers to support rapid, large-scale responses to public health emergencies collectively. OneLab VR is available on CDC OneLab REACH™, and was designed for the Meta Quest headset, available at the Meta Quest Store.


About CDC OneLab™

OneLab is an initiative that bridges, trains, and sustains a network of laboratory professionals and testers as our community supports rapid, large-scale responses to public health emergencies. CDC developed OneLab in 2021 to unite clinical and public health laboratory professionals and the testing community to improve training for public health emergencies.

OneLab aims to build capacity and establish a sustainable learning community that equips the laboratory workforce and testing community with the essential tools and resources to improve public health and patient outcomes. The Training Workforce and Development Branch in CDC's Division of Laboratory Systems leads OneLab.

OneLab includes the following elements: OneLab REACH™, OneLab Network, OneLab TEST, OneLab VR, OneLab Summit, OneLab Resources, and OneLab Assessments.




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