Goldman Sachs, a US-based multinational investment bank and financial services company predicts an investment of $700 million in the AR/VR applications in education by 2025. Will Mixed Reality in education also be as successful and promising contributor like other wearables applications in the market?
More than three years ago, the Florida-based company Magic Leap had released the first teaser video of its Augmented Reality glasses. Firm assertions were made by the company that the soon-to-be-unveiled device would be a disruptor and a game-changer in the wearables market.
Cut to August 2018, the much-awaited, much-anticipated, touted as groundbreaking Augmented Reality headset, Magic Leap One Creator Edition has been unveiled by the company. The headsets are available to developers in cities across the contiguous US.
The Creator Edition is intended for programmers so they can build applications and experiences on the platform.
Magic Leap claims that its device will present an unparalleled experience of ‘spatial computing’.
This claim is truly substantiated by the built of the wearable device. With elements like eye and hand-tracking technology that coordinate movements between the headset and a person’s body, Magic Leap devices have an aptitude of being more than just digital overlays. Its cameras, sensors, speakers, optical relay and a super-powered processor in the Lightpack give input to the visual system. It is linked through a wire to a small computer which can be clipped to a pocket.
With eight supported gestures, the device will maneuver the movement of students within the environment. It will also come with sensors to detect their movements. In a classroom, such kind of interaction allows digital elements to be a part of the real world. When such deeper interactions can be built in an environment, students experience a profound simulating experience where their real world is combined with real-like graphics. This brings them the best of both worlds. The simulations multiply their access to the world while they are still learning in their classroom environment.
Interestingly, the device can also react to the gaze, gestures, gait, voice and even the heartbeats of its user. This is made possible by tracking their geo-location in the world. A teacher can create penetrating learning experiences and show different concepts through an intelligent symbiosis of sensors, machine learning and visuals.
The Light Field technology used, enables the user to focus on graphic objects in the same way as a human eye would focus on real objects. Through this method, Magic Leap excels at constructing an altered or augmented world around a user.
In a demo video released by the company, a user was seen holding an elephant at the palm of his hand. While the elephant was a reel object, the user interacted with it much like it was actually present.
This is essentially where the device stands out. The reel objects are spatially aware of their environment.
So when this elephant would walk towards the edge of the table, it would actually fall down, just like a real one would. Through amazing spatial audio, the distance and intensity are devised with amazing accuracy and control.
Will Magic Leap in education be the groundbreaker it claims to be? Let’s wait till the user reviews start pouring.
Imagine you’re in a foreign land. You do not understand the language of this place, nor do you seem to know the ways. You happen to be alien to the language on the road signs and the money vending machine. Anxious and panicked, your hands stumble upon the pocket and you wish to dial up the number of an acquaintance or rescuer, only to find a blank screen, totally unreadable.
This might be horrifying to you, but then you know, it’s hypothetical.
For some people, it’s the gist of their lives. The world of visually impaired people is not much different than this.
Automatic gadgets all around and yet we expect the visually challenged to hold a stick and find their way. Scientists have invented more things than any Guinness Book will be able to record. However, very less has fallen in the kitty of the blind where their lives haven’t changed much.
Smartness is a virtue to some people but these people have to have it. From environmental challenges to social apprehensions, life can anytime throw unexpected trials.
What are major challenges of the visually impaired outdoors?
Traveling in a crowded metro and walking by a lane of fast moving vehicles can be dangerous. Down to this reason, people usually accompany a friend or family member.
Also, at the home or workplace, they need to be familiar with the blockages like a table, chair, doors, and any potentially harmful obstacle. The walkways need to be clear but not every place is made that friendly.
Even the public conveniences like toilets are usually not customized for blinds. Such challenges hinder the growth opportunities of these people and limit the possibilities for progress.
The simple yet the very important access, that is the internet is not available to many who are deprived of the advanced technologies. Obtaining and maintaining a job are also far-fetched dreams for many since people usually focus on the disability than the other abilities in them.
The world has developed but not much for the blind people. A century ago, a Brit photographer had invented a white cane so that his surroundings could identify his condition. A hundred years later today, not many path-breaking projects that could prove life changing for these individuals are present.
How is Augmented Reality helping Visually Impaired?
AIRA, a platform to the rescue of visually impaired people came into existence. The brainchild of the three enthusiastic professionals, Suman Kanuganti, Yuja Chang, and blind communications professional Matt Brock, the technology is intended to bestow autonomy and independent outlook to the unsighted. Through its transformative remote assistive technology, the differently abled person is connected with AIRA’s certified agents through an Augmented Reality dashboard. The certified agents are able to see what the visually challenged person faces in real life. The agents then guide them through the way and help them make sound decisions.
The concept is so simple and beautiful, that it’s amusing why someone couldn’t come up with the idea any sooner.
The meaning behind AIRA is deeper than you would imagine. Pronounced as EYE-rah, the technology derives its name from the combination of AI (Artificial Intelligence) and RA (an ancient Egyptian mythological symbol meaning Eye of Ra. The eye of RA is a representative of protection, healing, and the power to perceive.
Aira’s Certified Agents:
Joining the team means helping people and being soulfully satisfied. The unprecedented technology helps the blind enjoy the world and travel around without the need of an assistant all the time. With a strong desire to help people, AIRA makes it easy to explore the world through its real-time request feature which provides a virtual friend. The great feature is that the wearable device can connect to any smartphone pretty easily and is durable.
While providing help whenever required and wherever, AIRA is making a bold step towards the emancipation of those who were left with a stick.
Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality are two closely knit terms. Well, both the technologies are surprisingly identical. However, a big difference lies in the way simulations are created. Here, will discuss these technologies from the healthcare perspective.
VR is a potentially new world, AR is a tool. Both satisfy a human’s quest for immersion. You might have a big mobile screen, a much bigger television, but you’ll still fall for the grandeur and majestic experiences of Augmented Reality. Move over the 2-D visuals or 3-D graphics, here is a technology that helps you view more in your surroundings.
Besides being a technology that fascinates, it is lifesaving!
Through Augmented Reality, the users are deeply rooted in the real life, and, simultaneously, they can access the far-fetched information. That is where the future of Augmented Reality (AR) in healthcare finds scope. The technology is building its route for prophylactic, therapeutic, or cosmetic applications.
One transformative example of AR applications is in breast surgery. Breast augmentation is the most prominent cosmetic surgeries performed that help enhance an individual’s confidence. These surgeries make the breasts larger, firmer and more fuller. The journey for breast enlargement where your morale transforms from under confident to confident helps one embrace their body.
An adept cosmetic surgeon must match the expectations of the patient and Augmented Reality extends a helping hand in guaranteeing the same. In order that the patients gain maximum satisfaction out of their surgery and explain their requirements clearly, the AR technology helps them to preview their breast shape before getting under the knife. This helps the physician and the patient be on the same page and achieve the motive of the process – embracing oneself.
Dr. Kyle Song, a renowned cosmetic surgeon in the USA confirms that his surgery success rates have grown up to 90% with the patients being satisfied after the procedure, all because they can foresee themselves and explain their anxieties in real time via AR. The patients can walk through a real-time demo and be sure of their decisions, he adds.
In a similar manner, live simulation and 3D experiences help patients make the most out of their dental visits. The dynamic AR technology in the dental world helps the patients foresee their improved self where they have the perfect set of teeth and a flawless smile, who would not want to flaunt a perfect Julia Roberts smile?
The technology in healthcare helps the patients, doctors, and lab technicians to work in sync and make the best-suited dentures. The patient also gets to try out different sets in the simulated set-up. An individual finding it hard to decide whether or not to opt for a makeover can preview himself with a shining white pair of teeth and can overcome his moral impediments.
Another department of health care that AR is improving is ophthalmology. Oftentimes, while visiting an optometrist, patients find it difficult to explain their disorders. There are some who exaggerate and some who disparage their problems. Without apt diagnosis, the healing process might take longer. A new augmented reality application helps the doctors show the patients different optical disorders through simulation and identify the disorder.
The technology also improves the assistance methods about how the nurses attend patients. There is a constant challenge faced by both when the intravenous injections are not inserted properly. To combat this problem, came an invention of accurately finding the veins by means of augmented reality. A handheld scanner applied on the skin highlights the vein that multiplies the chances of injecting the syringe in the right vein.
Apart from these innovations, Augmented Reality also helps in motivating people to run. There is this technology in healthcare that creates a simulated environment making the user feel as if a zombie were following him, instinctively persuading him to run. It is recreational and motivational, both in a way, are you ready to ready to try it?
Another technology where AR in healthcare is being put to use is an application that can help the patients requiring emergency help. The automated external defibrillators or AEDs are set up by the users which can be detected by the application. People using the app can navigate and identify those near to them, requiring medical help. Thus, a crucial information delivered in minutes and a life is saved!
Understanding prescriptions, providing assistance in surgeries, studying anatomy, or using contact lenses, well, Augmented Reality in Healthcare holds the supremacy of escalating the user experience in every facet.
A trauma surgeon and associate professor at the University of Maryland, Sarah Murthi gave her views about AR in healthcare, “People don’t like their doctor to look at computers. It’s better for patients if somebody’s looking at you.” About the technology, she also says, “I think ultimately all of us hope that this will bring back more of the humanitarian component to the patient-physician relationship.”
Michael Aratow, the Chief Medical Information Officer of San Mateo Medical Center believed that augmented reality is playing a huge role in the medical field, and some of these examples of medical AR were fascinating.
Dr. Sana Farid, the Co-Founder of a Bahrain based Learning & Development company, Munfarid says, “Augmented Reality in healthcare gives the patients an option to choose the best services through comparison. With quick and easy treatments, it is possible to offer value based medical care.”
Perhaps augmented reality is one of the rarest innovations for doctors and patients, both. There’s huge potential.
The notion of existence of parallel worlds or universes has intrigued mankind for a long time and we keep trying to find a passageway into those mysterious worlds. While those efforts are still underway and have yet to see any success, we already have the virtual world in our access with increasing control through the use of immersive technologies like Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality or both,
This virtual world gives us complete control in a simulated environment and lets us be more creative and experimental with what is possible. This ability to control, experiment, learn and apply, is transforming the classroom experience all around the world. There is nothing better to make a child become more focused and learn better than by transporting them to a wonder world. As of now, this is the impact that these immersive virtual experiences are having on young minds where the two worlds of imagination and knowledge meet together.
What’s more exciting is that the technical and hardware limitations are also being progressively overcome by premium tech companies such asHTC, and we are able to do more within these virtual environments without breaking contact with the outside world.Dr. Sana Farid, the ARVR & Ai Strategist and Co-founder & CEO ofVRXOne, has been takingHTC VIVE to classrooms all over Middle East, and has talked about her experience saying, “We have found HTC to be a game-changing experience in VR education. It has been a great experience exploring the potential of experiential learning and bringing classroom lessons to life with VIVE and the highly immersive platform of Lifeliqe, and we are hoping that the VR education will become still more enhanced in future.” Making school lessons fun and exciting,Lifeliqe is a visual learning platform that offers an extensive range of digital curriculum including highly interactive 3D as well as AR, VR and MR models designed for STEM learning.
Going back to the hardware,HTC VIVE FOCUS, the world’s first standalone virtual reality headset, actually packs some great updates to that end including smartphone integration which enables us to receive calls, messages and even view social media notifications within the FOCUS VR interface without having to take off the headset. Additionally, we have more control via FOCUS with the inclusion of gesture recognition, greater Depth of Field (6DoF) and better battery life as well as the Passenger and Surroundings modes. The ‘Passengers’ mode lets us enjoy a seated VR experience without tracking constraints whereas ‘Surrounding’ mode lets us view our surrounding real world through the Focus camera which means we don’t have to remove the headset every time we need to do something outside of the virtual world.
Alvin Wang Graylin, the China President of Vive at HTC, certainly has a bright vision for the VR future, “Standalone is a trend that will become the mass market product”, adding further he said, “I believe that VR can change the world.”
Working with Special Education Needs can be very heartening, though its not difficult to imagine the multiple challenges faced by their instructor. Students with cognitive, intellectual, mental, or other disabilities often deficit communication skills, apart from difficulty in concentration, focus, and expression. For our quest to contribute to enhance learning practices, we have experienced how Virtual Reality is one revolutionary method in special education in many aspects.
Increasingly being recognized as an effective tool for its rehabilitation abilities for cognitive processes and functional aspects, Virtual Reality (VR) provides special needs students with opportunities to improve their intellectual and motor skills within the safe powerful simulated virtual environments. Given that the students with special needs are limited in their ability to explore their surrounding and extended environments, VR affords them the opportunity to discover the world in fascinating virtual environments where they are able to swim with the sharks or fly in the clouds, go on space excursion and even travel to planet Mars, sounds like an exciting classroom.
This is whatVRXOne is going to be showcasing at the most awaited annual Bahrain Summer Festival whereNakhool Tent is opened to the families for participation in many cultural events, educational activities and entertainment programs. Bringing “Google Expeditions for Special Education Needs” to the event, the program will be held in association with the Bahrain Association for Parents and Friends of the Disabled, which is known in the region for its brilliant contribution towards the well-being and welfare of special needs students and their families through a number of interactive events, lectures, learning activities as well as cultural celebrations.
Just last year, the Association awardedDr. Sana Farid, the AR/VR/Ai and Simulation expert at VRXOne and Co-founder & CEO ofMunfarid Consulting, for her efforts and training workshops in Technology Aided Learning & Development for the Disabled, and Assistive Technology. Her ongoing efforts for the cause are manifest through VRXOne’s One Million VR Expeditions program in the Middle East with a special focus on Special Education Needs.
Since the use of virtual environments for special needs is as diverse as the field of Special Education itself, VR offers many benefits for students with disabilities including the ability to be adaptable and controllable as per the needs of an individual student, making it all the more ideal for special education purposes. What’s even more exciting is that beyond merely providing the chance to explore and learn about places, things, processes and subjects, VR even helps equip students with life skills by simulating training environments that assist in highlighting and focusing on individual strengths, abilities and learning preferences outside of their real world disabilities.
What this does for a special needs students is essentially huge in terms of a remarkable change in their self-confidence, self-esteem and ultimately serving to transform them into contributing citizens in the society. Ms. Abla Ahmed Mohamed, the Head of Activities and Projects Committee at the Bahrain Association of Parents and Friends of the Disabled, is certainly positive about the impact of VR in a special needs classroom, “The impact of VR on special needs is fascinating. Watching students with various disabilities being able to travel the world in minutes, is very uplifting. VR is definitely going to enable them to do a lot.”
On the part of teachers, VR helps them engage their students more comprehensively and provide them with a highly tempting learning environment, further assisting with communication skills especially when it comes to inclusive classrooms where teachers face one of the most challenging test of their jobs. Also facilitating an improved and much more organized form of interaction, VR enables the teachers to view live feed of what each student is looking at and discuss or ask questions about their experience and their personal focus. This is just the beginning for far more personalized learning opportunities for special needs students.
Evidently, engaging students with intellectual or other disabilities is not an easy task. The increasingly accessible and affordable virtual reality-based methods provide an ideal framework as an educational and training medium for them and developing their hidden talents into useful, practical strengths. No words can describe the happiness felt by the special children – and the satisfaction gained by the enablers – when their dreams come true through a simulated environment whether it is a dream to visit the pyramids, go for a hike on top of the highest mountains or just watch dinosaurs come alive from billions of years ago.
Google Expeditions AR is here – a news of delight for AR aficionados.
Exactly one year ago, Google in its developers’ conference, IO 2017 had announced the launch of expeditions in Augmented Reality.
After 12 months of developments, testing, and improvements, Google has finally included the AR tech in its Google expeditions application. During this time, the developers at Google partnered with EdTech experts, teachers and students in different schools, taking their advice and feedback to perform the beta testing of this revolutionary technological advance.
The testing was carried under the AR pioneer program where over 1 million students participated enthusiastically.
So what if you are already using expeditions VR at your school?
Isn’t that enough immersion and/or insight?
Should you be excited?
Here’s a simple answer.
Decades ago, we used to have log tables to simplify and drastically speed up computation. Then came the calculators which simplified the process of understanding and reaching the results exponentially.
The technology behind a calculator and AR is poles apart.
However, they’re alike in a sense – they both make education easier.
So when a student embarks on a journey through Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, he dons a VR headset and looks around to feel the immersion.
It doesn’t matter whether he is a water enthusiast or not, he will be fascinated with the underwater journey along the largest living structure on the planet and one of the natural wonders of the world. Plunging into the awe-inspiring coral reef environment and meeting its fascinating marine creatures – and that too as a part of a classroom lesson – indeed ‘educating’.
Interestingly, through the window of AR, he can do more.
He can bring the corals to his classroom & pan at them closely.
Yes, Augmented Reality!
While Virtual Reality takes you anywhere, Augmented Reality brings you anything.
Imagine a family of corals gliding on your table?
Or maybe – some DNA strands scattered on the floor, where one can really get their comprehensive view. Even though the full-form is complicated, studying them won’t be.
Now that is wondrous.
So practically, now Google can take you to the world and also bring the world into the classroom. How cool is that!
The expeditions application which already has 6 million downloads and enlists 800+ VR expedition lessons, now has AR expeditions on the iOS and Android apps.
About 100+ available expeditions span from the topics of biology like RNA and DRA to significant concepts of physics like electromagnetism.
To experience the all round, panoramic view of AR, one needs ARCore or an ARKit-compatible phone.