“Imagine giving students a 360-degree virtual view of a historic location or a place in outer space like Mars” suggests HP Labs researcher Ji Won Jun.
“Then you use 3D models of Mars rovers or you 3D scan artifacts excavated from a site to bring those objects into a virtual reality experience where students can grab and interact with them,” Jun adds. “That experience gets them closer to understanding what it would be like to be there, and it’s different from just reading about it in a book.”
This vision is drawn from a research project Jun has been undertaking in HP’s Immersive Experiences Lab over the past year. Its most recent result is a prototype educational platform that blends the virtual and real worlds to create compelling learning environments – an idea that is generating interest among academics and educators.
The project, Jun says, began as an effort to understand what was most compelling about virtualized experiences.
“I was talking with my HP Labs colleagues about what kind of VR experiences we liked, and I realized that I wasn’t really excited about VR because it felt very overwhelming to me,” she recalls. “It felt very disconnected from my real world.”