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VR-Labs on Smart Devices for Education

Summary

We developed a mobile AR extension for the Virtual Physics Laboratory to enhance the VR learning experience and enable interactions between VR and AR users.

Keywords
Goal

The goal of this project was to extend the current virtual laboratory that runs on VR headsets by a mobile application, where mobile users can join a VR user to observe and interact with each other. To achieve this collaboration, the VR world will be visualized for the mobile user in AR and interaction concepts must be found. By the development of such an AR-extension, the use of expensive VR headsets can be minimized.

Initial Situation

The existing application "VRLab" is a VR application that allows to observe and modify a setup of solar power cells placed on a virtual building. The setup is simulated on a server hosted by the customer. As current hardware serves the Oculus Rift S, due to it being an affordable and already available solution. The Project was originally created on Godot but is currently being ported to Unity Engine. VRLabs uses OpenXR as the XR Interface for VR. The building and solar panel placement is currently done on the Solextron Web page. The setup is then saved as a JSON file, which can be transmitted to the VR environment to be viewed. Interactions in VR include only changing the panel type so far. Tilting, moving, adding, or removing panels as well as modifying the building are not yet supported interactions but will be implemented in the future. The porting process and the implementation of additional VR interactions are not within the scope of this project. The use-case of the application is within education. The teacher presents the experiments by using the VR headset and displaying them on a bigger display to view or hands out headsets to have the students test the experiments by themselves. The problem is that VR headsets are expensive. Therefore, a solution has to be developed to get an inexpensive way to allow students to view and participate in the experiments without needing a headset.

Results

The AR-extension "AR-Viewer" allows mobile users to join, observe and collaborate with a VR user in the same game world. The VR user has the teacher role and has therefore more rights than the AR viewer, for example to open and close a game room. Within a game room, the VR user can load and configure the project building and its solar panels, while the AR user can observe by moving around in the game world - this can either be done physically in the real world by walking around the marker, or by rotating and scaling the VR space. The AR user can interact with the VR host by using a feature called "Tap-Ping", which allows to place a pin anywhere on the building. Further and for better sense of having other users around you, both the VR and the AR users are visible.

Final screencast of the AR-Viewer application

Final screencast of the VR-Mock application

Project Data

Out of interest the worked hours were logged using Clockify during the whole project duration. Click here to see a visually prepared report.

Customer

Prof. Dr Renato Minamisawa
Lecturer in Physics and Head of Physics Laboratory
renato.minamisawa@fhnw.ch
FHNW University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland
School of Engineering
Klosterzelgstrasse 2
CH-5210 Windisch
Room 1.115

Project Team
Firstname Lastname
Thierry Odermatt
Andreas Leu
Contact

Prof. Dr Arzu Cöltekin
arzu.coltekin@fhnw.ch

Cloe Hüsser
cloe.huesser@fhnw.ch@fhnw.ch

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