How Cloudhead Games Worked With Valve To Make Aperture Hand Lab

Over the last five years Denny Unger and his partners at Cloudhead Games would talk about possible VR projects with some of the world’s largest companies. Cloudhead staff would build pitch decks and work out the fundamentals of VR games that could become dream projects for everyone involved.

That is, if the funding partners ever followed through.

Unger got the impression that whenever an executive in charge of paying for one of these potential VR games got a sense from Cloudhead of what install base they might reach with a well-made VR game — they’d turn into a ghost.

“We want to make VR games,” Unger says. “That is all we want to do. And we want to be there with some amazing stuff when the market tips.”

Aperture Hand Lab

One prospective project which didn’t evaporate — Aperture Hand Lab — released in June on Steam published by Valve as a kind of on-boarding experience for the company’s new VR controllers.

Valve Index Controller Hand Open Wear
Valve’s Index controller straps to the hand and tracks finger movements.

Over the last few years Bellevue-based Valve developed a series of hand-strapped VR controllers. Initially called “Knuckles” when they were only available to developers, Valve revised the design and started selling them this year alongside the high-end PC-powered Index VR headset.

Oculus Touch and Sony’s Move controllers are held. Players wear Valve’s controllers. The Index controllers also sense individual finger movement with some accuracy, too. So software compatible with the controllers can be made to recognize gestures which aren’t possible (or not as intuitive) when holding controllers in each hand. For example, you can open your hand and wave at a virtual character with Valve’s Index controllers.

Cloudhead’s VR creators shared the path they took from brainstorming interactions on a white board — like waving hello, high-fiving and playing rock-paper-scissors — to fully realizing an interactive story built around Valve’s humor.

Meet Friendly Frank

When Valve partnered with HTC in 2016 to ship the first room-scale PC-based VR headset with handheld tracked controllers, the company also released The Lab onto its Steam storefront. The collection of interactive experiments plays with concepts of scale, teleportation, photogrammetry and haptics all enabled by 360-degree room-scale tracking and a pair of wand-like hand controllers.

One of the experiments called Slingshot gives players control of a machine which sends small colorful talking spheres — “personality cores” — flying off into a giant warehouse filled with boxes. Each sphere carries a distinct appearance and voice. The player chooses the exact moment and direction to send the robots screaming into the distance.

Three years of hardware development later and Aperture Hand Lab’s first task for players with the Index controllers in hand is to show “they can let go of these controllers,” Cloudhead’s Antony Stevens said.

So Stevens revisited the Portal games and Slingshot and wrote placeholder lines for an “egregiously friendly” core set in the same pocket universe Aperture Science facility. Valve granted Cloudhead access to many of the assets used for those earlier projects. This early version of the character “said hello a billion times in my script,” Stevens said, before Valve writers Jay Pinkerton and Erik Wolpaw “showed up for writing.”

Valve’s VR Writing

“Hello. I am Frank, a friendly human. I like you. So I am waving. To you.”

Most people are probably able to pick up on the animation cues of a waving hand and the friendly voice with its perfectly spaced pauses. For those who don’t release the controller immediately, though, Frank can continue on for quite a while hinting that you should try waving back.

When you finally do, Frank says, “Good! We are now bonded in eternal friendship,” and the machine holding Frank releases the sphere into the pit below.

Additional personalities appear for high-fiving, rock-paper-scissors and a firm handshake. Each of these personalities — animated arm and gaze movements set to audio files — did not begin as motion captured performances.

The ideas started as an outline in a presentation to Valve. Valve selected which ideas they liked and whittled it down into a story through successive rounds of brainstorming and feedback. A story emerged, then, from the storytelling possibilities connected to each interaction.

Valve rewrote the personalities and the story it told, recorded the dialogue and sent back a bunch of audio files. With these audio files animations could be “keyed” — or thousands of tiny transitions timed out to change the positions of the 3D models in the scene — and set to each of the sounds by Cloudhead’s Steven Blomkamp for Friendly Frank, Mike Ferraro for the handshake and Corey Belina for rock-paper-scissors.

Here’s how Blomkamp described the VR development process when I sent him questions about the video he posted:

“I don’t know all the voice actors but the one I knew for sure was Henry Zebrowski. Have never had more fun animating something than his stuff. That combined with Erik and Jay’s writing… *chef’s kiss* … Basically writers try to nail down script as soon as possible so animation can start. Scope is assessed based on script needs vs manpower available. Someone does recording sessions, files are reviewed and given to our sound guy/producer/all round wunderkind Joel Green who processes them all and hands them to me to take into Maya and start animating to. As it was a lot of specific, triggerable dialogue, timing had to be accounted for in as many ways as possible with minimal variance. So between fully hand keyed performances, we used idles or programmatic solutions like eye darts and aim constraints to keep the cores alive during bits that couldn’t be estimated/covered for easily by the hand keyed parts. Once the anims are done, our programmers implement them and work with the designers to create the sequence of flow that has all the triggers that compensate for player actions and story needs.”

You can play Aperture Hand Lab now on Steam with the Index Controllers. The software is accompanied by the following description on Steam:

“These Aren’t Your Daddy’s Hands”

These aren’t even your hands. These are precision-tuned sensor-rich re-imaginings of your hands, presented in high-fidelity simulated reality.

Main Features:

  • Grabbing
  • Shaking
  • Waving

If you’ve always longed to try these exciting edge-of-your-wrist hand maneuvers, but wanted the chance to practice first in the safety of a non-judgmental virtual world, Aperture Hand Lab is easily in the top three options currently available to you in VR.

Presented in the World of Aperture.

You didn’t read that wrong! This game is present in the bowl of ape nature! Hold on, we did read that wrong! But you didn’t, Reading Champ! This game takes place in Aperture Science, home to the modestly popular Portal games your daddy used to play! But this isn’t your daddy’s game!(Return to top.)

The post How Cloudhead Games Worked With Valve To Make Aperture Hand Lab appeared first on UploadVR.

Station Orbits Higher as Crew Preps for Spacewalk and New Spaceship

The Soyuz MS-14 spacecraft is processed for launch
The Soyuz MS-14 spacecraft is processed for its Aug. 21 launch at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Credit: Roscosmos

The International Space Station is orbiting higher today as the Expedition 60 crew continued setting up for next week’s spacewalk. The orbiting residents also focused on space biology experiments and packing gear for return to Earth.

A docked Progress 73 (73P) spacecraft fired its thrusters overnight in two 10-minute burns three hours apart raising the station’s altitude. The maneuver puts the complex at the proper phasing for the rendezvous and docking of Russia’s unpiloted Soyuz MS-14 crew ship late next week.

The Soyuz MS-14 will lift off on Aug. 21 from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan for a test of the spacecraft’s 2.1a booster during its ascent into Earth orbit. It will arrive at the station Aug. 24 for an automated docking to the Poisk module. The vehicle will undock on Sept. 6 for a return to Earth.

NASA astronauts Nick Hague and Andrew Morgan continue servicing their spacesuits and reviewing procedures for the fifth spacewalk of the year. The duo will route cables and configure hardware to install the International Docking Adapter-3 on top of the station’s Harmony module. They will exit the station Aug. 21 for the six-and-a-half-hour job that takes place the same day the Soyuz MS-14 lifts off.

Rodent research and stem cell differentiation were Thursday’s primary space science activities. Flight Engineer Christina Koch fed mice and cleaned their cages as scientists observed the creatures that are genetically similar to humans. Luca Parmitano of the European Space Agency wore the Bio-Monitor recording his vital signs while exploring how microgravity affects a variety of cell functions.

Cosmonauts Alexey Ovchinin and Alexander Skvortsov will be ready for next week’s arrival of the Soyuz MS-14. They are taking inventory of gear for return in the spacecraft while continuing to unload cargo from the 73P.

The Angry Birds Movie 2 VR: Under Pressure Brings Chaotic Couch Co-Op To The PSVR

Put on your captain’s hat (headset) and set sail on a piggy submarine.

The Angry Birds Movie 2 hit theaters nationwide this week, offering both kids and kids-at-heart the chance to join Red, Chuck, and Bomb on another lighthearted adventure, complete with vicious prank wars, high-flying antics, and plenty of pig-based puns. 

Here’s the deal: after saving Bird Islands eggs from the nefarious pigs and their leader, King Leonard Mudbeard, Red is revered as a hero by his fellow bird brethren and continues to protect the island from a seemingly-endless prank war against the pigs.

After an enormous ball of ice crashes onto the shores of Pig Island, however, King Mudbeard offers a truce between the warring factions, citing an even greater threat growing on the newly discovered Eagle Island. Fearing for the safety of both islands, the former foes team-up to take down the eagle threat lead by the evil Zeta. 

In order to reach this previously unknown Eagle Island, the pigs—masters of engineering and gadgetry—offer to ferry the adorable strike team to the island using their enormous (and when I say enormous, I mean ENORMOUS) piggy submarine. 

Set aboard the gargantuan submersible, XR Games’ The Angry Birds Movie 2 VR: Under Pressure offers players the chance to operate and maintain the complex mechanics of the piggy submarine while at the same time navigating a series of underwater threats and obstacles that could sink the adorable craft. 

“XR Games’ mission is to make VR games for everyone,” said Richard Boon, Lead Designer, during an interview with VRScout. “The PS4 social screen is very appealing from this perspective. We explored a number of concepts for asymmetric social screen gameplay, some of which were competitive and some co-operative. When the idea of placing the TV players inside a vehicle controlled by the VR player came up – and we learned that there was a submarine in the Angry Birds Movie 2 – the co-operative option won out.”

Image Credit: XR Games, Rovio Entertainment

Centered around asymmetrical cooperative gameplay, The Angry Birds Movie 2 VR: Under Pressure splits players into two groups: one VR player and three controller players. The VR-user views the action from the perspective of the captain and can see out the main viewing port of the submarine. Using the PlayStation 4 controller to operate the Magnashot slingshot, the captain can fire plunger harpoons at piggy treasure scattered throughout the seafloor as well as detonate torpedoes to destroy any underwater rockfalls and giant tentacles that may be blocking their path. 

When they’re not busy keeping the submarine safe from any underwater threats or collecting treasure, the captain can also use their slingshot to assist the other crew members in keeping the ship operational by sucking up players and items and firing them in specific locations to save precious time. And these crew members will definitely need the help as they’ll be busy frantically running around the ship storing treasure, resupplying plunger and torpedo cannons, and repairing broken machinery.

Image Credit: XR Games, Rovio Entertainment

In order to accumulate points, every time the captain successfully sucks up treasure, the controller players must properly stack any bronze, silver, and gold treasure found inside in the appropriate storage areas. Sometimes these chests are booby-trapped with time-activated TNT crates. In order to avoid damaging the ship and ending the level early, controller players must pick up and drop the explosives in the submarines garbage disposal, at which point the captain can trigger the device and safely destroy the TNT.

Along with handling treasure and explosives, controller players tasked with managing the ship’s resources and ensuring the captain is always stocked with plungers and torpedos. Various machines located on the deck of the ship, when activated, will produce the materials necessary for this equipment. Controller players must work together in an efficient manner to produce, convert, and organize these supplies, all while repairing any malfunctions that may arise. 

Image Credit: VRScout

As previously stated, the captain can assist controller players in their duties using their Magnashot slingshot. This includes helping organize treasure, producing specific materials, and quickly repositioning players for maximum efficiency. Of course, there are several limitations to the captain’s abilities. VR-users, for instance, are unable to move TNT crates or torpedos, forcing the crew to manually move these items themselves, which can be costly and time-consuming. 

The goal of each level is to successfully keep the ship afloat from point A to point B while simultaneously collecting as much treasure as possible. Similar to standard Angry Birds titles, performances are graded on a three-star system. Don’t be fooled by the cartoon style and kid-friendly gameplay, however. The Angry Birds Movie 2 VR: Under Pressure is far from a walk-in-the-park, especially when you begin diving into later levels.

Image Credit: XR Games, Rovio Entertainment

The game does get difficult,” added Boon. “But we usually see a big, instant hike in player competence after they’re past the initial learning period – teams get much more efficient very suddenly.” 

“Story Mode trains the players, then subsequent levels challenge them. Challenge mode is even harder. I want teams to play a level a few times in row. Get into its groove. There’s so much scope for short cuts and efficiency tricks, for captain and crew. So many tricks! Players are surprised, going back to earlier levels, how much better they get – and how quickly.”

While we have noticed a rise in VR-based asymmetrical gaming in 2019 (Acron: Attack of the Squirrels, Takelings House Party), we’ve yet to see too many cooperative experiences. The Angry Birds Movie 2 VR: Under Pressure is unique in that sense, creating a VR social experience that forces players to work together rather than against. 

Image Credit: XR Games, Rovio Entertainment

“We found competitive games that pit one person against another, resulted in the losing person obviously feeling unhappy. Especially when the winner would rub it in their face!,” said Bobby Thandi, CEO of the developer XR Games. Also, when the difference in skill is too high, then the game isn’t fun for either person. So when making a social VR game, the co-operative version felt like the natural choice.”

“Finally, I personally observed that when a single-player VR game is used in a social situation, the person in VR has become isolated from their family and friends. Whereas by leveraging PlayStation’s social screen technology, we saw a way to make VR a social experience where your family and friends can join in on the fun!”

Image Credit: XR Games, Rovio Entertainment

Playing through seven levels of the experience, I found myself surprisingly engaged no matter what role I happen to find myself in. I also appreciated the focus on cooperation and strategy. While the earlier levels allowed my team and I to work relatively independently of each other, more advanced levels required a serious amount of communication and planning. Who’s managing torpedos? Who’s taking care of TNT disposal? How should we go about organizing treasure? All questions that required thoughtful planning and preparation. 

Much like the actual film itself, The Angry Birds Movie 2 VR: Under Pressure is a gaming experience that—while designed specifically for kids—is sure to please many parents and adult gamers as well. Fans of titles such as Overcooked will most likely find an immense amount of satisfaction in the gameplay.

The Angry Birds Movies 2 VR: Under Pressure is available now exclusively on PlayStation 4 for $29.99 via the PlayStation Store. PSVR is required to play.

The post The Angry Birds Movie 2 VR: Under Pressure Brings Chaotic Couch Co-Op To The PSVR appeared first on VRScout.

Space Pirate Arena Brings Multiplayer Hall-Scale VR To The Oculus Quest

Space Pirate Trainer is receiving a multiplayer spin-off that requires large open areas to play.

I-Illusions, the developer behind 2016’s immensely popular wave-based shooter Space Pirate Trainer, today announced Space Pirate Arena, a brand new VR experience for the Oculus Quest that utilizes the standalone headsets untethered capabilities to deliver a competitive multiplayer experience across “hall-sized” environments.

Details are scant at the moment, though I-Illusions has confirmed that Space Pirate Arena is an entirely new game completely independent of Space Pirate Trainer. Instead of using teleportation or artificial locomotion, Space Pirate Arena requires players to physically move throughout their environment, sort of like a game of virtual laser tag.

Naturally, all this running around requires a larger play space. I-Illusions states that they are currently experimenting with a 10×10 meter play area, perfect for empty basketball courts, football fields, pretty much any large open area with proper lighting. 

In the video provided above the developers can be seen logging into a match and engaging in a one-on-one duel throughout a futuristic arena. Although the match that is shown consists of only two players, you can actually spot what appears to be two additional player spawning areas at the beginning of the video, which could indicate the possibility of four-person matches.

Image Credit: I-Illusions

Each player is equipped with a pistol that requires a quick charge in order to fire, forcing players to be a bit more strategic during their engagements. It also looks as though gunfire can ricochet off the walls and cover, which should make for some very interesting battles.

According to several responses made by the developer on Reddit, the setup shown in the video was powered by a small laptop serving as a local server and WiFi access point for both headsets. This means that, theoretically, players could engage in multiplayer battles without the need of a stable internet connection; so long as they have access to a laptop powerful enough to run a basic server app. 

No word yet on an official release date.

Since the launch of the Oculus Quest back in May, developers have been making incredible use of the headsets standalone capabilities. VR developer Thrust Vector is currently in development of its own “shared-space” multiplayer game for the Quest that allows players to team-up on an explosive sci-fi adventure aboard a futuristic starship filled with enemy drones and various puzzles.

Since showing off an arena-scale version of Dead and Buried II at OC5, Facebook has made it clear that location-based entertainment, while still in its early stages, is not only possible on the Oculus Quest, but actually made better.

Image Credit: I-Illusions

The post Space Pirate Arena Brings Multiplayer Hall-Scale VR To The Oculus Quest appeared first on VRScout.

Mit VR Emotionen in die Kommunikation bringen

Virtual Reality (VR) ist das perfekte Medium, um Kommunikation im Unternehmen emotionaler und relevanter zu machen. Mit zunehmender Verbreitung von Virtual-Reality-Geräten auf dem Markt tritt VR langsam aber sicher ihren Siegeszug in die Unternehmen an. Welche Möglichkeiten VR für die Unternehmenskommunikation bietet und für welche Unternehmen die Technologie besonders interessant ist, beschreibt unser Gastautor.

Praktisch jeden Tag treffen wir Kunden aus den unterschiedlichsten Branchen und erklären ihnen, wie Virtual Reality in Zukunft Geschäftsprozesse, Produktpräsentationen und nicht zuletzt auch die Unternehmenskommunikation verändern wird. In nahezu allen Fällen erzeugt VR eine starke emotionale Reaktion – und das Feedback ist positiv. „Wow“, „unglaublich“ oder „fantastisch“, bekommt man oft zu hören.

Interessanterweise gibt es bei den Reaktionen auf das neue Medium keinen gravierenden Altersunterschied. Zwar lernen gerade Jüngere die Bedienung der Technologie schneller. Allerdings erkennen sowohl die Generationen Y und Z als auch Schulkinder oder die Generation 50+ schnell die Vorteile der Technologie für ihren Alltag. Besonders oft greifen 25- bis 44-Jährige auf VR-Inhalte zu; 63 % davon sind männlich.

Warum so emotional?

In der Virtual Reality spielt der sogenannte Grad der Immersion eine bedeutende Rolle – inwieweit VR die Sinne des Menschen beeinflusst. Je höher die Immersion, desto weniger merkt ein Mensch, dass er sich in einer virtuellen Realität befindet. Mit der heutigen Technik kann man Bild, Ton und zu einem gewissen Grad Haptik realistisch bereits simulieren. Auch Bewegung ist heutzutage frei möglich, da vermehrt mobile Datenbrillen zum Einsatz kommen.

Mit hochrealistischen Avataren kann man in absehbarer Zukunft eine digitale Version von sich selbst erschaffen, die nahezu nicht mehr vom eigenen Abbild zu unterscheiden ist. Damit kann man einen Menschen in Umgebungen versetzen, die nahezu einem Holodeck gleichen, wie man es aus Star Trek kennt. Gleichzeitig wird es dabei möglich, auch über physische Grenzen hinweg – und ohne „störende“ Technologie wie ein Smartphone – mit anderen zu kommunizieren. Virtuelle Realität macht die Kommunikation also wieder menschlicher.

Vielfältige Möglichkeiten für die Unternehmenskommunikation

Nahezu alle Arten von Unternehmen können von der VR-Technologie profitieren, für einige ist sie jedoch besonders interessant. Gerade Unternehmen im Industriesektor sind beispielsweise darauf angewiesen, ihre schwer beweglichen Produkte auf Messen zu präsentieren. Durch den Einsatz von VR lassen sich Kosten sparen und der Verkaufserfolg deutlich erhöhen. Die gesamte Produktpalette eines Unternehmens live erleben zu können, erhöht gleichzeitig die emotionale Bindung zum Unternehmen.

Auch Anbieter von chemischen Produkten können die Anwendungsbereiche ihrer Produkte den meisten Mitarbeitern und Kunden nur schwer vermitteln. Hier kann VR dabei helfen, den Einsatz von Chemikalien in Produkten zu visualisieren.

Viele Unternehmen experimentieren nun auch im Bereich Human Resources mit VR. Beispielsweise lassen sich Führungswerte und Arbeitsweisen besser vermittelt, indem man ein „Erlebnisprogramm“ kreiert. Mitarbeiter können sich mithilfe von 360-Grad-Aufnahmen an Produktionsstätten ihres Unternehmens versetzen, Produktionsprozesse und Arbeitsbedingungen kennenlernen, ohne reisen zu müssen. Werte wie Mut, Risikobereitschaft oder Teamplay können über interaktive Apps mit Gamification-Elementen simuliert werden – virtuelle Escape Rooms oder andere Teambuilding-Maßnahmen sind denkbar.

Nicht nur Unternehmen können von Virtual Reality profitieren: Im Rahmen des Projekts „Digitale Kunsthalle“ machten wir in Kooperation mit dem ZDF Ausstellungen diverser Museen, die momentan nicht physisch gezeigt werden können, in einem komplett virtuell konstruierten Museum wieder der Öffentlichkeit zugänglich. Außerdem waren wir an der Schaffung der weltweit ersten Virtual-Reality-Zeitreise beteiligt: Hier können Besucher mithilfe von VR-Brillen die Stadt Luxemburg des Jahres 1886 erleben.

Die Vorteile der VR-Technologie

Storytelling: In eine virtuelle Realität einzutauchen ist wie in einem Film mitzuspielen: Die Welt reagiert auf den Nutzer und biete ungeahnte Interaktionsmöglichkeiten.

Bewegung: Virtuelle oder erweiterte Realitäten verleihen einer Erzählung Bewegung. Wie Visuals in einem Text bieten auch sie neue Bedeutungsebenen und neue Tiefe

Eintauchen: Der Benutzer fühlt sich tatsächlich, als wäre er Teil der Erzählung. Dies kann ein stärkeres Einfühlungsvermögen begünstigen.

Komplexität: Virtuelle Realitäten können dabei helfen, komplexe Daten auf eine verständliche, ansprechende und einprägsame Weise zu vermitteln.


Report: Immersive Experiences in Education

A newly published white paper investigates the pedagogical theory and use cases for deploying mixed reality in the classroom.

It is easy to get excited about the possibilities the Mixed Reality spectrum brings to education. Humans are essentially programmed to learn best through experience, and that is just what immersive technologies enable: we’re not just learning it, we’re living it.

Humans are essentially programmed to learn best through experience, and that is just what immersive technologies enable

And exploring a few of those possibilities is what I had the chance to do when I collaborated with Microsoft Education to write the Immersive Experiences in Education white paper we’ve published at the ISTE 2019 conference a few weeks ago.


Now, I’m very much a technology enthusiast. I’ve been called a futurist, evangelist, influencer, all those really annoying trendy buzzwords… But at heart I am also an educator. I worked in academia, I taught English as a second language, I’ve mentored people and for many years I worked in the EdTech sector, so I speak truthfully when I say I’m forever in awe of teachers and mindful of the importance of education in society.

Mixed Reality technology is amazing but is it really useful to educators? Does it actually influence learning outcomes, and if so, how?

This is why when Microsoft approached me to collaborate with them in researching and writing this white paper, I wanted to take a step back and ensure that we weren’t just flashing a shiny pretty tech trinket around. The technology is amazing, there’s no doubt about that, but is it really useful to educators? Does it actually influence learning outcomes, and if so, how?

When deploying any technology in the classroom, success depends on engaging educators and building a responsive feedback loop that prioritizes learning outcomes rather than the technology itself

Through our research and interviews, a picture of the concrete pedagogical benefits of using Mixed Reality in the classroom emerged

I was keen to ensure that our methodology really reflected this educator-led focus as much as possible, and was happy to find that the team at Microsoft Education very much shared that vision.

The paper cross-referenced pedagogical theory with case studies obtained through personalized email interviews with teachers, students, researchers, and technologists who have successfully deployed such technology within various learning environments and contexts, and the bulk of my time was indeed spent on an extensive literature review and on gathering and processing the data from those testimonials to try and gleam insights that could be useful for educators.

I will let you judge for yourselves whether we’ve succeeded – you can read and download a free copy of the white paper here –  but our guiding principle was very much that when deploying technology in the classroom, success is dependent on engagement with educators, and on building a responsive feedback loop that prioritizes learning outcomes rather than the technology itself.

The paper cross-referenced pedagogical theory with case studies of teachers, students, researchers, and technologists who have deployed such technology

Through our research and interviews, an overall picture of the concrete pedagogical benefits of using Mixed Reality in the classroom did start to emerge, and although further research is certainly needed and I wouldn’t dream to claim that this is the definitive document on the subject, it manages, in my humble opinion, to tease out some really important findings and a lot of interesting questions. I, for one, always think the most successful research is the one where you end up with a lot more questions than when you started, which is why I hope to hear lots of questions from the community (you can always send a tweet my way @alicebonasio or connect on LinkedIn). Below are some of our key research findings:

Immersive digital simulations allow learners to absorb knowledge within a realistic context through experiential learning

Our research indicated that the most effective educational experiences often involve mastering tasks within context of personally relevant, realistic situations. Situated learning in well-designed digital environments actually leads to the replication of those behaviours in the real world.

The key differentiator in using Mixed Reality is that it seems to dramatically increase the rate of transfer – in other words, our ability to apply and adapt learning to different real-world situations.It Mixed Reality facilitates transfer by simulating realistic scenarios within specific pedagogical contests. It literally can bring a curriculum to life for students. This means we not only can create more effective learning experiences, but also expand the range of available experiences, since we can simulate scenarios that would be too difficult, too expensive, or too dangerous for students to experience in real life.

Mixed Reality helps to prevent Cognitive overload.

This second finding probably comes as no surprise to most educators, in that trying to visualize and assimilate large amounts of complex information is HARD. It can literally trigger a bottleneck within the limited working memory of the brain, and we soon become tired of it. Attention and interest lags, and it becomes harder to engage students in the subject.Our research indicates that the most effective educational experiences involve mastering tasks within personally relevant, realistic context

Mixed Reality, however, can help reduce this cognitive load by allowing learners to directly visualize, manipulate, and interact with complex structures, so that the brain is not so busy trying to visualize the data, but instead engaged in understanding, assimilating, recalling, and applying it.

Test scores among students using immersive technologies improved by as much as 22%

Now, those two findings we looked at are crucial in improving learning outcomes such as test scores, increased performance of skills-based tasks, abtract reasoning, and critical thinking. It also had positive effects on retention of knowledge.

Most interestingly, however, we found indications that this technology was particularly helpful in improving learning conditions for learners with conditions such as dyslexia, autism, and ADHD.

Mixed Reality can help reduce the cognitive load on the brain by allowing learners to visualize, manipulate, and interact with complex structures

Here, immersive technologies have been shown to assist previously low-achieving students in overcoming learning challenges to the point where there was no longer any statistical difference in test scores between them and high achieving students.

Mixed Reality ?in the classroom fosters self-directed learning

Teachers reported that using MR in the classroom promoted a more inquiry-based environment that maximized learning opportunities by instilling a greater sense of autonomy, encouraging students to creatively engage with the subject beyond the pedagogical task at hand.

“Students report a greater understanding and appreciation for the development of VR content after engaging in 3D animation and/or game design projects. In particular, students are able to see the connection between the engineering of a virtual world, and the virtual world’s role as an element of digital storytelling.” Paul Turnbull ?President Mid-Pacific Institute

Co-created content fosters a more meaningful connection by generating something in which the student has a personal emotional investment. Extended experiences that immerse students in rich contexts with strong narratives, authentic practices, and links to real-world outcomes are what truly unleash the transformational power of immersive experiences.

Co-created content fosters a more meaningful connection by generating something in which the student has a personal emotional investment

“We led a lesson with an English class, where students designed a safe and scary space, then were able to experience them both in Virtual Reality. The lesson brought technology in the context of an English lesson by creating a spark for students to translate into their writing exercises.” Cody Karutz?Founder and CEO of Blue Trot

Like all technologies adopted within a pedagogical classroom setting, MR should remain supplementary to in-person academic programming, allowing for human relations and interactions to ultimately guide the social- emotional learning experience.For me, the biggest takeaway from this is that for Mixed Reality to be effectively implemented in the classroom we must ensure that the technology is integrated into pedagogical theory and best practice.

Immersive technologies have been shown to assist previously low-achieving students in overcoming learning challenges



Report: Immersive Experiences in Education



Weiterbildungen in der virtuellen Welt machen

Die „Weltenmacher“ simulieren mit VR-Technik Situationen aus der Praxis – auch für Dialyse-Patienten.

Die virtuelle Realität eröffnet Einblicke in neue Welten. Sie ermöglicht, Situationen aus der Praxis realitätsnah simulieren zu können. So sorgt die Entwicklung eines Start-ups aus Düsseldorf gemeinsam mit einer Ärztin vom Klinikum Dortmund zurzeit in der Medizinwelt für Aufsehen. Denn die Weltenmacher GmbH nutzt den Einsatz von 360-Grad-Kameras, damit Dialyse-Patienten ihre Versorgung zuhause gefahrlos trainieren können.

Die Spielewelt ist ohne virtuelle Technik nicht mehr denkbar. Längst nutzen auch Makler diese Möglichkeit, um potenzielle Kunden virtuell ein Haus auf einer Ferieninsel besichtigen zu lassen oder Hilfsorganisationen, um Spender einen Slum in Indien erleben zu lassen. Die Weltenmacher wollen damit den Markt der Aus- und Weiterbildung erobern. „Bisherige Bildungssysteme sind total veraltet, sie stammen aus einer Zeit vor der Digitalisierung“, so Boris Kantzow, der das Start-up 2017 gemeinsam mit seinem Partner Jonathan Natzel gegründet hat.

Sie zitieren wissenschaftliche Studien, wonach das Lernen durch VR-Technik deutlich effektiver sei als mit bisher üblichen Methoden, bei denen theoretische Erläuterungen im Mittelpunkt stünden. „Und vor allem sind sie sicherer.“ So haben die Weltenmacher ein Lernmodul entwickelt, das herkömmliche Brandschutzübungen ergänzen soll, denn den Teilnehmern wird dabei der Eindruck vermittelt, direkt am Ort des Feuers zu sein. „Sie trainieren unter realistischen Bedingungen, ohne dabei in Gefahr zu geraten.“

Gemeinsam mit Partnern wie Bayer und Evonik haben die Weltenmacher ein zweites Lernmodul für die Chemiebranche entwickelt, bei dem die Handhabe chemischer Anlagen geübt werden kann. Mithilfe der VR-Technik lernen Azubis beispielsweise, wie eine solche Anlage funktioniert und können ihr neues Wissen direkt testen, auch Fehler machen, ohne dabei eine teure Anlage zu beschädigen. Oder ihre Gesundheit zu gefährden.

Dieser Anspurch gilt besonders beim dritten Modul, der Sicherheit und auch Lebensqualität für Dialyse-Patienten verbessern soll. Denn bei der Heimdialyse, also der Behandlung durch die Patienten zuhause, könne es zu gefährlichen Entzündungen kommen, wenn die Hygienevorschriften nicht konsequent eingehalten werden. Mithilfe der VR-Technik können Patienten nun gefahrlos alle Handgriffe der Dialyse virtuell proben. Bevor Nierenkranke davon profitieren können, wird die Technik jetzt aber erst einmal in mehreren Kliniken erprobt.


Foto: Geschäftsführer Boris Kantzow vor einer Simulation seiner Geschäftsidee. Foto: Fotograf Wiese

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