A while ago I asked my parents what I wanted to become when I was a kid. They couldn’t really think of anything, which matched my own memories. Apparently I never had any specific profession I dreamed of. No obsession with becoming a pro soccer player, movie star or pilot (probably saving me a lot of disappointments). Together we remembered that I did have a fascination for the large office buildings we passed during car or train rides. What happened behind the windows of all those giant anonymous towers; what were people doing there?
Does Virtual Reality work on a tablet?
Not ideally, no. But as this picture shows, you can get the two images required on a small tablet. At least on this is Samsung Tab A 8.0. Combine this with a foldable VR headset, like the VR Square Mini we use, and you’re there!
Every year Robin teaches an Honours Class at Leiden University. The past years this course was Learning through Virtual Reality
In the fall of 2019 I will (almost certainly) start a new course ‘Augmented Reality & Human-Computer Collaboration‘, which has its focus on how AR will affect our society and influence the future of work.
In principle the course is only open to students from Leiden University. However, we’re also looking for organizations for the final projects for the students! Please contact us if you’re interested.
With the rise of Augmented and Virtual Reality our relation with digital technology is becoming more and more intimate. In this process, the borders between our bodies and brains and the tools we use become more and more blurred. This raises interesting philosophical questions on what it means to be smart and how Augmented Reality could change our society and our very experience of reality.
But it also brings forward more applied questions on the demands of the workforce of tomorrow.
Although precise predictions vary, sometime in the next decades we’ll have access to Augmented Reality glasses that we could potentially wear all day. This technology is expected to make 3D computer interfaces mainstream and a major way of interacting with the digital world.
It’s hard to underestimate the effects this development will have on our society. In this course we’ll focus on how AR will allow us to solve problems and learn in whole new ways:
- Engineers can get on-the-job support from experts on the other side of the world;
- AR glasses could instantly translate texts in other languages, or caption conversations;
- Medical staff can be presented the right medical information needed to make a decision;
In this course you will be challenged to think how AR and VR technology could change how people solve all sorts of problems in collaboration with computers.. You will learn the skills needed to translate these ideas into future scenarios and Virtual and Augmented Reality prototypes.
For your final project you will work together with an organization and apply the knowledge you’ve gained for a real-world challenge.
Research project: Augmented Reality & Human-Computer Collaboration
This blog post is part of our research program Augmented Reality & Human-Computer Collaboration. Here we focus on how emerging computer interfaces like Augmented Reality will help people solve problems more effectively and change the future of work. This project consists of:
- A new Honours Class at Leiden University;
- An event in PLNT Leiden connecting Honours Class students with organizations for their real-world final projects;
- A research internship on creating thought-provoking Augmented Reality prototypes
- A series of brief and extensive blog posts following our Open Science approach
This summary of Google’s I/O 2019 event shows some of the impressive products Google is working on: new Augmented Reality functionalities, a smarter Google Assistant and cheaper Google Pixel phones.
What is really interesting about this event is the shift in the mission of the company:
“We’re moving from a company that helps you find answers to a company that helps you get things done”
This statement by CEO Sundar Pichai illustrates the developments in digital technology and the role digital products will have in our daily lives. The focus in articles on Artificial Intelligence is often on completely autonomous computer systems. The focus in this event however, is mostly on how smarter algorithms allow for more sophisticated computer interfaces for users.
We are working hard on the Virtual Reality Learning HUB: an online environment centered around the use of Augmented & Virtual Reality for education and training. We are bundling all the knowledge we’ve gained in 5 years of fundamental research, building prototypes and teaching students and professionals.
Our framework is standing, with interactive courses, databases with the most interesting apps and tools and a social environment to connect with educators from around the world. However, we’re still working on the content, we plan to release the first version this summer.
To know what content we should focus our attention on, we’d love to know what you want to learn about VR & AR for education. If you’re interested in the VR Learning HUB, please consider filling in our questionnaire!
A while ago we made a virtual museum of a few of the most famous GIFs in CoSpaces Edu. Although this was mainly a fun afternoon project, we often show it to illustrate the possibilities for students to make virtual exhibitions for their school projects. Definitely more exciting than another Powerpoint 🙂
Recently, and after much speculation, Nintendo announced their VR set for the very successful Switch. An important moment in the history of VR, I would say.
Why? Not per se because of how many of these VR add-on sets are going to be sold. Definitely not because of the hardware specifications. Nor because of the games. Sure, Nintendo has the ability to create great games with limited processing resources. And we’re probably going to see some very creative uses of this whole set of cardboard extensions of your Switch. But that’s not what makes this device of importance.
Why this move deserves to be part of VR history, is because it shows Nintendo has moved passed the trauma that was the Nintendo Virtual Boy, the device that became the symbol for the end of the Virtual Reality hype of the ’90s. All the media attention, the predictions that in 5 years we’d all be living in cyberspace, everything came to a stop. Companies went bankrupt, media attention faded, people were disappointed.
And now, after about 25 years, Nintendo is moving into Virtual Reality again. Less radical, only with a creative add-on for a device that already does very well. But still, an important sign I’d say. They might start to feel the heat of the Oculus Quest, which will –according to John Carmack– compete with the Switch.
Our VR buying guide for schools
Are you looking for VR headsets for your school? Check out our post on which hardware you should get!
Today Marleen & Robin (that’s me) visited the kick-off of the PERL group at Leiden University. An interesting afternoon! As probably everybody who attended this event, we think it’s important for students to learn the digital skills they need to create new things. That’s why we organize courses for teachers and students in Processing and CoSpaces Edu an co-organize the CoSpaces Competition!
The day consisted of several talks focusing on research that helps to teach programming skills a little better. In this post I’ll share some insights.
All of a sudden we were with ten at our Lab meeting, including all interns, freelancers and students. Time for an update.
Chris studies psychology at the Leiden University. Chris helps with marketing of our services. Chris is now studying in Australia for a few months!
Kevin studies Interaction technology at Hogeschool Leiden. For his graduation project he works on our own app, which is now available on the Play Store.
Nadine studies Media Technology at Leiden University. She writes blog posts and works on our online courses. She also is involved in the CoSpaces Competition.
Nino studies Communication & Multimedia Design at Avans Hogeschool in Den Bosch. Nino continued his internship and now works as a CoSpaces Edu specialist, creating new spaces and and learning material.
Simone is a student Film & Literary Studies at Leiden University. She helps at the VR Learning Lab with all organization and communication.
Which VR headsets should we buy with our school? That’s a question people often email us about. We understand the question very well, as you need hardware to experience VR, right? However, we do think that the question often comes too early in the process. To make a good decision about which headset to go for, you first need to find out what you want to use it for.
We completely updated our VR Buying Guide for Schools in August 2019. We’ve included the Oculus Quest, the Rift S, ClassVR and we’ve made our recommendations more explicit.
We wrote a blog about the Oculus Go when it just came out. The angle of the post was how we usually don’t recommend the Oculus Go as the sole device for schools. A controversial statement, as it’s quite an amazing device. Affordable, very comfortable, and the remote offers quite a lot of interactive functionalities. Why wouldn’t we recommend it then? Because it’s quite a closed-off system. When choosing a VR headset, you also choose the app store where you can find applications, it’s an entire ecosystem.
Sometimes that’s no problem, because you’re going to create your own 360 videos. Or you’re going to use apps that are available on Oculus Home. But as a school you often want to have more flexibility.
Quite unexpectedly, this post turned into one of our most viewed posts of the year. Apparently, this is a problem many people are struggling with. That’s why we decided to create a VR Buying Guide for Schools to help schools and teachers.
What if the Dutch create the first moon base? Well, it might look something like this.
We built this during on of our CoSpaces Edu teacher Bootcamps. Scroll down to play the game. Are you interested in how we created this? Join our free CoSpaces Edu Level 1 course and we’ll keep you posted with new tutorials and the Level 2 course we’re working on…
We have so many unfinished blog posts. About our research projects, things we’ve learned from Inhouse masterclasses, CoSpaces Edu tutorials and parts of Robin’s courses. Some are almost done, some still require quite some work.
Quite a shame, as we like to think that people might find this interesting. One resolution for 2019 is therefore to share our thoughts on our blog, newsletter and social media channels. Brace yourselves.
By: Robin de Lange
Inspired by the Open science movement, among which this Open Kitchen Science approach, I’ve decided to join this movement and find a fitting open approach for the research we do. In this article I explain the motivation behind this decision and give you some background on our research.
I’m a guest PhD researcher at the Media Technology group at Leiden University, which means I have no paid appointment. Prof. dr. Bas Haring is my promotor. In the first year of my research I’ve been lucky enough to receive a small grant from LUF and the Gratama foundation. Moreover, the university pays me for the Honours Class I teach and the occasional guest lecture.
Besides this, my research is funded by the commercial services we offer with the Virtual Reality Learning Lab, which mostly consists of professional courses. Here we share the knowledge we’ve gained in our research in forms that are actually helpful for our clients. Our clients include schools, teachers (from primary school to University), educational publishers, professional training institutions, libraries and other organisations.
The VR Learning Lab collaborated on a project initiated by dr. Marie Postma and her colleagues at Tilburg University. Last week it was announced that this project will receive a NRO Comenius Senior Fellow grant! Here you can find the news item post on the website of Tilburg University.
The challenge of the project is to create a few Virtual and Augmented Reality learning experiences that help students understanding challenging topics within the curriculum of the Cognitive Science & Artificial Intelligence tracks. Our role in this project is to organize professional training for the involved teachers, researchers, and programmers and to help with the development of the educational innovations. A very interesting challenge, which you will definitely read more about on our website during the following years.
Want to read more posts like this? Please subscribe to our mailing list!
Updates are coming on the Oculus Go, the highly anticipated stand-alone VR headset. Many educators are excited as well about this device, as it has a few important upsides:
- At $199 it’s quite cheap
- There is no hassle with separate phones that you have to attach to a VR headset
- The remote control gives you interactive possibilities, although not nearly as much as an HTC Vive/Oculus Rift/Windows MR set.
The simplicity of this device really makes it attractive to schools. You can easily imagine a cart with 15 of these devices, including a charging system, which teachers can reserve for certain classes.
Update: this post has attracted quite some attention! We have included a Best Buy Guide for Schools.
We created a virtual tour for HUBspot Leiden, the center for innovation and entrepreneurship in our lovely city. We’re very glad to be part of this great place!
Wearing a VR headset is often seen as a rather individual experience. And indeed, the immersiveness of the experience tends to seclude you from your environment and the people surrounding you. However, there are also different, exciting forms of collaboration in Virtual Reality. Some of these can be very interesting for collaborative learning, or for solving complex problems together. In this article we’ll discuss a few interesting projects, some of which are focused on local collaboration.
Virtual Reality in education gains more and more popularity and we are full of new plans. Therefore we are happy to welcome Kasper and IJsbrand in our team, who joined us recently. A short introduction.
First Kasper. He is a Media Technology student at the Hogeschool Leiden and is our new trainee. Kasper is supporting us with all sorts of educational activities and is developing his own VR app, in which he will show us what possibilities are already available for education. Curious? Be patience, he is still working on it…
IJsbrand is a journalist and copywriter. In our company he will write blogposts, is working on content marketing and is involved in creating our new online course. His goal is to help the VR Learning Lab to become better known abroad and to make the online course a succes.
It was already somewhat later in the evening when HUBspot colleagues Max and Tom were playing with clay, after a creative workshop. Robin joined them, together they created some figures. This evolved into an entire Pacman leven, after which someone suggested the idea to make a stop motion animation with 360 photos. A few hours later we had this:
Our new Google Cardboards are in! Still a very cool tool for a first introduction in VR. Participants of our workshops and masterclasses receive one of these to experiment further at home.
Virtual Reality for education is gaining quite a lot of media attention as more educators are experimenting with this technology. During the past weeks Robin gave a few interviews in Dutch.
We helped with the production of an item on the Dutch news show RTL Nieuws. Robin gave an interview at our office while Donna was drawing a tree in Tilt Brush. Teacher Malika van Gein (who participated in our Masterclass) shows how she uses VR during her geography lessons. Here you can watch the item!
De Kennis van Nu
Dutch radio show De Kennis van Nu interviewed Robin en wrote this articl on VR headsets in schools.
Computers op School
In the September issue the education magazine COS highlights Virtual Reality in education. Here you can find the issue.
In the summer of 2017 we have improved our customer experience and documented what we think is important for the best care of our students. We created new Terms and Conditions and an official complaint procedure to make sure that we can deliver services of the highest quality.
This effort was rewarded, the Virtual Reality Learning Lab is now a ‘CRKBO registrated institution‘. This also means that we can deliver services in the Netherlands which are exempted from sales tax.
On October the 11th 2017, the new edition of the Honours Class Learning through Virtual Reality will start! The course is primarily meant for bachelor students who follow an honours track at Leiden University. However, the Honours Academy allows for a few master students each year, which can be specifically interesting for Media Technology students. Please notice however that honours classes are extracurricular and cannot be counted as an elective course. They will be mentioned on your diploma though.
Bachelor students from Leiden University can register for the course on this page, master students on this page. Are you a student from another university? Please contact us, perhaps we can arrange something.
After an enjoyable meeting with independent education journalist Carla Desain, an interview with Robin was published in education & ICT magazine Vives. Below, you can read the entire piece, focusing on a virtual tour in Google Expeditions, designing in VR and future research.
(Translation to English is pending)
Je kunt met VR heel goed de praktijk in de klas halen
Want to know more?
Want to know more about the possibilities of Virtual Reality in education? Take a look at the Masterclasses we offer, or subscribe to our newsletter with the link below.
In April, professionals from all across Dutch educational spectrum took part in our Masterclass “Virtual Reality in Education”. Over the span of four sessions, we discussed in what ways VR could provide innovations in education, followed by the participants figuring out for themselves how to utilize and create VR applications. Aside from teachers in primary-, secondary- and higher education, some of the participants revealed a background in business, allowing a wide variety of knowledge to be shared between different fields.
On June 7th, LiketoShare will organize the “Learning with VR” convention. There, Robin will provide a lecture on experimenting with Virtual Reality in higher education. What feasible ways are available to start an experiment? And how do you involve students with this process?
We expect it to be an educational day, with many intriguing visitors!
Kennisnet is organizing their yearly Onderzoeksconferentie (“Research Conference”) on the 28th of June 2017. Here, Robin will present a pitch of his research on Virtual Reality in education.
A short article is already available on their website. Will we see you at the conference?
A lot of teachers and educators we talk to turn out to be excited about the possibilities of Virtual Reality in the classroom. Seeing how impressive Virtual Reality experiences can be, we are not surprised by this. VR allows you to visit historical battles, active volcanos, constructions and archeological sites. With VR, you can study microorganisms, complex datasets or mathematical figures. For students of all ages, VR offers the ability to examine abstract educational material from a new and different perspective.
Additionally, the opportunity to create just about anything in Virtual Reality can be quite alluring. Ways to develop continue to improve, creating new possibilities every so often. During each workshop we organize, we discover new and exciting ways to apply VR.
Many schools and educators wish to start experimenting with Virtual Reality in their classrooms. The question is: where to start? In this post, we discuss a number of ways you can start using Virtual Reality in your classroom.
We can look back on a very successful first VR Learning Lab Meetup! Even though the KNMI declared code orange because of an impressive storm, many found their way to HUBspot. There were drinks, snacks, many VR demonstrations and interesting presentations by four student groups.
We would like to thank everyone, especially all the students, for contributing to this exciting event! We’re planning to organize next meetups in the future. Feel free to contact us if you’re interested in presenting a project.
Reporter Wilfred Simons from Leidsch Dagblad visited as well and wrote an article on the event, which you can read here .
On the 23rd of February we organize the first VR Learning Lab Meetup. You can experience a few of the Honours Class VR projects and have drinks and snacks.
17.00: Opening and welcome talk by HUBspot
17.30: Opening by Robin de Lange, initiator of the VR Learning Lab
17.45: Project Presentations
18.30: VR Demos + Food and Drinks
You can try out a few of the cool VR projects that have been developed by students and researchers that are connected to the VR learning lab, while enjoying drinks and snacks.
Commissioned by the Netherlands Initiative for Educational Research (NRO), we have performed an extensive literary study on the use of Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality in primary education. The petitioner – the administration of a significant comprehensive school – provided the NRO Kennisrotonde with the following question:
What do we know about the use and effectiveness of Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality when applied to primary education?
We finished an English translation of the report, which can be downloaded here.
At this time, it is too early to draw any concrete conclusions in regard to the effectiveness of VR or AR in education. However, responses of those who study VR and / or AR in the educational field appear to be positive, as both technologies are expected to be able to provide new ways to educate and learn. The biggest challenge lies in the development of quality content that is both educational and compatible with educational programs.
While solid research on the effectiveness of VR as an educational tool is available, these cases discuss the use of “screen-based VR”, a form of VR that does not utilize a headset, but a monitor. Our study, however, focuses solely on HMD-based (Head Mounted Display) Virtual Reality (which does utilize a headset) as we consider this form to be most commonly associated with VR.
Tonight SURF will officially release their ‘Trendrapport 2016’ at the preconference of the Onderwijsdagen. Robin was honored to be the author of the chapter on Virtual Reality, together with Lieke Rensink and Jan-Paul van Staalduinen. You can download the Dutch Trendrapport here, the English version will follow in the next few weeks.
Tomorrow, on the 8th of November, Robin will give a lecture on VR & education at the same Onderwijsdagen. On both days, the DinoZapp team will be present to show the Virtual Reality game they made in collaboration with Naturalis.
As part of the Virtual Reality for Science & Education course, the student team consisting of Gosse Mol, Roos Hoefnagel and Han Lie collaborated with Naturalis and created DinoZapp. This video shows a preview of the first prototype:
For my current research I broadly explore the potential of Virtual Reality for education. As a part of this I try to form some sort of theoretical framework to describe the unique characteristics of VR as a medium and how it can be used to explain complex concepts and teach different skills.
With some googling you can find quite a few articles (both academic, popular and in-between) that describe the various ways VR could be used in education. There are even a few listicles out there, to use the parlance of our times. Now, who can resist the simplicity of a 5 point overview of this new medium and its role in learning?
I do research on the potential of Virtual Reality for education. Now, people generally find VR very exciting and because of this I get a lot of enthusiastic reactions. People can imagine all sorts of useful applications for education. Students could learn about our solar system while experiencing a space flight, or walk through ancient Rome and learn about its history.
Of course, I also receive a lot of reactions that are more critical of VR as a learning tool. We are at a point in time where there’s hardly any decisive research about learning performances in Virtual Reality. We don’t even know yet whether people will buy VR headsets. Shouldn’t we wait for these kinds of things before we invest in hardware and educational VR content? VR has been a hype before, can the technology deliver the promises that are being made?
On the 30th of April 2016 I gave a Unity3D Virtual Reality workshop for the VR Hackathon ‘Hack de Pont‘, organised by Creative Coding Amsterdam, Lava Lab and Submarine Channel. Among the participants were Syrian refugees from the very noble Hack your Future program. Although a large part of the group had never worked with Unity3D before, quite a few interesting projects were created that day!
After the workshop I joined artist Sander Veenhof to create a project of our own. We mixed Ricoh Theta 360 photos Sander took on the ferry ride with a 3D modeled world in Unity3D to create an experience where you travel from the analog to the digital world. In the future it might be available in the Play Store, this tweets shows a preview:
— Sander Veenhof (@sndrv) May 3, 2016
On the 10th of March 2016 we organized the Virtual Reality for Science & Education symposium at the Scheltema Complex in Leiden. I think we can safely state the event was a great success!
Over 125 people attended the event, causing a small shortage of chairs at the busiest time of the symposium. I have seen many familiar faces, but also met a lot of interesting new people. The list of attendees included researchers, professors, high school teachers, entrepreneurs, Virtual Reality developers, policy makers and artists. I think this mix of people led to very interesting discussions, thank you all very much for your input!
During the past year I have spoken with a lot of people about the use of Virtual Reality for learning, which is the topic of my research. Surprisingly many people are really excited about this. But why is this? Why are people enthusiastic about VR in education?
In the lectures given by Dan the students learned about special effects and illusionism in cinema and how this is used in the service of narrative and spectacle. In the following workshops I gave we explored to what extent the visual effects used in film are usable for creating immersive experiences in Virtual Reality. The studens identified differences and similarities between film and contemporary Virtual Reality. For their final project for the course the students created cinematic VR projects which experimented with e.g. stop-motion, green screens, interactive gaze-controlled video and the dolly zoom effect.
Below you can find some of my slides for the course.
In May 2015 the Gratama Stichting and Leids Universiteitsfonds announced that my research project into the possibilities of Virtual Reality for the field of education will receive the Gratama research grant. Prof. dr. Jaap van den Herik helped me with the application procedure, the research will be part of my PhD work supervised by prof. dr. Bas Haring.
The research project includes an elective course where 30 students will explore the potential of Virtual Reality for science and education by creating experimental VR prototypes. More details about the course in the e-Studiegids.
On March 24th 2015 I gave a talk at the Art of Neuroscience symposium in the beautiful Eye in Amsterdam. More information about this yearly event can be found here.
In my talk I presented the Virtual Reality visualization of live EEG data I created with my team mates Eva Delincakova and Bert Spaan at the Hack the Brain hackathon in May 2014. I discussed the potential of Virtual Reality for immersive data visualization and how this could be used in the field of education.
On the 19th of June 2014 at 10.00, I’ll teach a workshop for the Embodied Vision course of the Media Technology MSc. program. Below you can find a short description of the workshop and the assignment. After the workshop I’ll post a summary of what we’ve discussed.
Embodied Vision Workshop: Augmented and Virtual Reality with Unity3D
In this workshop we will go through the basics of working with Unity3D, discuss interesting projects made with the software and experiment with creating your own Augmented or Virtual Reality project. I will explain about the Vuforia library which can be used to create mobile AR apps and get you started to develop for Oculus Rift. For the workshop you will need Unity Pro which can be downloaded from unity3d.com. Please install the software beforehand. You can make use of the 30-day trial version.
Groups: 1-3 people
During the lectures you have learned about many different special and visual effects used in film and the different goals (such as: distraction, shock, spectacle, narrative, integration, immersion) that can be reached by applying these effects. For this assignment you are challenged to make use of the visual effects offered by Augmented and Virtual Reality to support one (or more) of these goals you find most interesting.
Since learning Unity3D is an essential part of this workshop, you should make use of this software for your project. Exceptions can be made however, if you can give good reasons for this.
For the Hack the Brain hackathon, organized by Waag Society, TNO and the Donders Institute, we created an immersive 3D environment of EEG data using the Oculus Rift. To experience our project you wear a cap with electrodes to capture an EEG signal from the electrical activity in your brain. The Oculus Rift places you inside your brain from where you can see the captured brain activity and fly through your brain. The intensity of the visual effects expresses the activity of alpha waves in that part of the brain. This immersive environment could be used by students to better understand brain activity and the EEG signal this produces. ADHD patients could use it as a neurofeedback system to improve their concentration level and neurologists might use it to simulate the experience of epileptic patients when they have a seizure.
On the Mind Extensions website you can find the article I wrote about the entire hackathon. he crew of the Dutch television program ‘De Kennis van Nu’ reported live from the hackathon, the playlist is embedded below. The television show can be found here.
On the 28th of August 2013 I defended my graduation project:
Developing an Augmented Reality application to promote an extended concept of cognition in education
The ever decreasing size and price of computer parts seems to be leading to computing power becoming ubiquitous. Similar to technology such as pen and paper, computing power becomes intertwined with our problem solving processes in such ways that it becomes invisible. This development has, and will have, enormous influence on our cognitive profiles. The field of education however, has barely changed to cope with this change in cognitive profiles. While developments in information technologies are changing how we learn in many ways, we believe it is essential to rethink what we should learn in this perspective of increasing availability and accessibility of computing power.
This research reviews an extended concept of cognition, in which technological elements can actually be part of the cognitive process. We suggest this view as a framework to discuss the goals of education and the technological aids that can be used to reach these goals. To raise this discussion, a mobile application is developed which shows the potential of Augmented Reality techniques to display context-sensitive information, which can be incorporated in the problem solving process.
Together with Berber de Vries we developed ARBieb, an Augmented Reality application for children’s books. The app stimulates children to read books and share short reviews. At the same time, it introduces children to Augmented Reality.
The app was developed using Unity and the Vuforia Augmented Reality library.
The app can be downloaded from the Play store, although an updated version will be released soon.