Since 2022, MaKami College has been working with the University of Calgary on exciting new research into the use of Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) in more tactile classroom settings.
The research, conducted by University of Calgary Computer scientist and mixed reality developer and researcher Mehrad Faridan
, University of Calgary Computer Science Undergrad Bheesha Kumari
and University of Calgary Assistant Professor Ryo Suzuki
, hopes to better bring AR/VR-based remote education into hands-on environments, such as massage therapy, sign language classes, cooking lessons and sports coaching.
“Despite the widespread adoption of remote education, physical hands-on training and instruction remains difficult to effectively teach or learn in a remote setting,” says the research paper
. “But physical demonstrations are vital cannot be captured well with a video call.”
To address this, the research further explores mixed reality interfaces for live instruction. This research is broken out into two projects: ChameleonControl and UltraBots. Both are summarized below with links to the research papers.
ChameleonControl is a remote instruction tool that uses a real human as a surrogate for a remote instructor. The technology tests an innovative “method to teleoperate a human surrogate through synchronized mixed reality hand gesture navigation and verbal communication,” according to the research paper. In essence, a classroom surrogate (e.g teaching assistant) would place the mixed reality equipment over their face, pair up with a remote instructor, and the surrogate and instructor would be synchronized in hand movements and gestures, allowing the remote instructor to effectively teleoperate the surrogate. The research included three user studies with more than 50 participants.
Watch the video about ChameleonControl:
The second research project is UltraBots, a system that combines ultrasound tactile (or haptic) feedback and robotic components so users (e.g. students) can have both a visual and tactile virtual reality experience – such as practicing their massage therapy techniques – without the need for another human recipient. This could also be for a variety of purposes, such as learnng to play the piano, surgical training, or even playing games like whack-a-mole, as the technology can create various virtual reality experiences.