Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Augmented Reality & Virtual Reality

SimInsights is developing 3D, photorealistic models for both the mobile carts. In addition, physics-based models will be developed for the carts so that their motions and interactions with users as well as other objects in the environment can be accurately captured and represented. For example, users will be able to push or pull the cart, and the cart will bump into other users and objects.

Specifically for the design of user interaction with the wi-med cart, we will also build a model of the computer screen so that the users can touch or tap the virtual screen from close proximity to activate the screen, review the information and make decisions based on the information. This will realistically replicate the real world interaction.

The VR environments must allow for scenario enactments with up to four people who will interact with each other and the VR environment simultaneously.

We are developing the VR environments in Unity in a manner to allow for scenario enactments with up to four people. Users will be able to interact with each other (e.g. tapping some on the shoulder to interrupt) as well as objects in the VR environment at the same time. Unity provides a comprehensive scripting API, which we will use to control the networked states of all players. This interface allows communication between connected players and ensures that the transforms (positions and rotations) of the players’ 3D models as well as objects manipulated by the players are synchronized across all views.

Figure 2: Users on different computers and Vive headsets will inhabit the same virtual world.

SimInsights’ experience with industry professionals and leading academic researchers has indicated that HTC Vive offers the best VR experience. Thus SimInsights recommends use of  HTC Vive, although we do support many other VR and AR devices in our projects. We will assume use of HTC for the technical description in this proposal.

HTC Vive tracks interactions with the VR environment using a headset, two handheld controllers, and two wireless infrared cameras (base stations). The headset and controllers have 70 sensors in total that allows for accurate tracking of positions in space (Prasuethsut, 2016) with a tracking accuracy of about 2 mm (Kreylos, 2016). The headset also has a microphone to capture the wearer’s voice.

Signals from Vive controllers will be used to render the 3D avatar of the user in the VR environment.  The Vive signals will allow us to accurately render the position and orientation of user’s head and both hands.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

MyClass Feature in SimPhysics

Students = Data. Scores = Data.

Taken apart, these are just names and numbers.  Putting these two together is an entirely different matter.

SimInsights have taken their Simulation to another level.  The new feature, MyClass puts students' names and scores together.  It helps both Teachers and students as they use the simulation.  First, the Teacher logs in and creates a "class".  They can simultaneously hold different classes for a single simulation.  They just need to provide different names for each of their classes.  These "class names" are then given to their respective students.  As the Students log in and do the simulations, their scores in each level are logged.  The Teacher can now monitor how each student is doing.  As they see how the students progress in their understanding of the given topic, or the simulation, for that matter, they can zero in on the areas that the students found most difficult to comprehend.  

At the end of the day, both Teachers and Students are beneficiaries of the MyClass feature. 

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Together We are Smarter

At SimInsights, we believe in the power of collaborative learning. As an undergraduate at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), I have experienced the effectiveness of learning through collaboration with others, as well as interaction with the material, firsthand. You see, the Institute operates on an Honor Code, and though each student must complete and hand in his or her own work, we are given virtually infinite freedom to collaborate with other students on most assignments. By feeding off our friends' academic strengths and supporting each other's weaknesses, we create a synergy whereby we gain a much deeper understanding of even the most complex topics than we could ever hope to on our own. We as students quickly realize that, especially in the STEM fields, not only are two heads better than one, but three heads are better than two and so forth. This freedom of collaboration led me to choose Caltech as the starting point of my higher education in the first place. This same spirit of collaboration, that same notion that ideas grow faster and with more potency the more freely they flow between individuals, drove me to pursue an internship at SimInsights. But our organization brings another key mechanism to the table, a tool which will allow the full efficacy of collaborative learning to come to fruition: that of interactive simulation. At Caltech we frequently take advantage of whiteboards strewn across every residence hall in order to represent visually the abstract concepts we strive to grasp, but this often comes up short. Even the most effective whiteboard illustration generated by a student will eventually have to get erased, eliminating the possibility of anyone sampling or otherwise gaining inspiration from that fleeting educational tool en route to producing even more powerful illustrations. And, of course, figures on a whiteboard cannot move. Games and simulations created by SimInsights and those in the SimInsights community take us beyond these frustrating limitations, and we're just getting started. With SimInsights' platform for developing interactive, dynamic, and above all fun and engaging  educational games and simulations, the future of collaborative learning, and indeed knowledge dissemination on the whole, is approaching faster than most can imagine.

These are exciting times.

So come, learn more about what we do here at SimInsights. Let us grow together in knowledge.

- Brian

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

New teachers from Los Angeles and Mexico added to SimInsights network

SimInsights welcomes three new teachers from Los Angeles, California and Mexico City, Mexico, to its growing network.

Luis Neri

School: Tecnológico de Monterrrey, Mexico City Campus, Mexico

Luis NeriLuis Neri holds a PhD in Physics at the National University of Mexico. He is currently a staff professor of the Physics and Mathematics Department of the Engineering and Architecture School at Tecnológico de Monterrey, in Mexico City Campus, where he teaches Physics and Math for junior undergraduate engineering students. Luis has always loved teaching these sciences and has been committed in helping students to learn them, so he has experimented different learning strategies in his classroom to promote active and enduring learning, as collaborative learning and problem-based learning. He is also convinced that the use of online systems as simulations and virtual laboratories can motivate students and promote students’ self-learning. Luis is member of a research group of professors at Mexico City Campus interested on “e-Learning”. This group is committed to design on line systems to support student learning in Physics, Math and other disciplines.

Rob Daniel

Rob DanielRob Daniel attended Ohio State University and majored in physics. After graduating he moved to Los Angeles where he attended UCLA and received a masters in education. He has been a high school physics teacher for 4 years and has also taught robotics and biology. He currently work at Animo Pat Brown HS in South Los Angeles. Rob often uses simulations and virtual labs in my classes because they are a great way to engage students and they help students visualize abstract concepts and gain a deeper understanding of the concepts.

Víctor Francisco Robledo Rella

School: Tecnológico de Monterrrey, Mexico City Campus, Mexico

Víctor Francisco Robledo RellaProfessor Víctor Robledo-Rella got a Bachelor degree on Physics and a M. in Sc. degree on Astronomy from the Mexican Autonomous National University. He got a Honor recognition for his post-graduate studies. He is full-time professor of the Physics and Math Department, of the Design, Engineering and Architecture School of the Tecnológico de Monterrey, Mexico City Campus since 2002. Currently, he is the director of the Honors Program of the Design, Engineering and Architecture School. He also coordinates the Introductory Physics courses of the Physics and Math Department, and he is the author of the Applied Physics course approved at institutional level at the Tecnológico de Monterrey. Professor Robledo-Rella is a member of the e-Learning Research Group at the Mexico City Campus, where he participates actively in research projects about the use and development of technology in education, including mobile learning and on-line adaptive systems. He has participated in various national and international conferences, and has 8 publications in astrophysics and more than 18 publications in educational research, mobile learning and intelligent tutoring. He is coauthor of the pre-calculus book: Introduction to Mathematics: Exercises and Problems with Grupo Editorial Patria, and he has reviewed and translated 4 University of Physics books for Grupo Editorial Patria, Pearson and McGraw-Hill. Professor Victor Robledo-Rella has over 16 years teaching physics at the university level and he is certified in the 2010 Teaching-Skills Development Program of the Tecnológico de Monterrey. He gives short workshops for teachers about the didactic use of the Blackboard platform and he has given several science lectures in radio and in several Mexican states. Recently, prof. Robledo-Rella received, along with other members of e-Learning Research Group, the Innovation in Education Award of the V Congress of Educational Innovation hosted at the Tecnológico de Monterrey.