On our blog you can find:
- Practical tips on using VR in education;
- Output from our research projects;
- Guides to create your own VR content &
- Updates about the VR Learning Lab.
On our blog you can find:
Photobooths are for capturing happy moments. With family, friends, or colleagues.
Our AI Photobooth starts out similarly, but then unexpected things happen. You are suddenly somewhere else. Or even someone else. And what happened to your group?
With this installation, you will be able to experience the strange possibilities of generative AI. And by giving you more control and insight into the process, you will come to understand the models behind it better.
What does the AI Photobooth look like at an event? This video provides a clear glimpse!
We are still busy with improving this installation to make it even more appealing. Our web page and images are therefore not always completely up to date.
The experience starts with taking a photo. On your own– or even more fun – with your family, friends or colleagues.
The next step is choosing different elements for your prompt. And you can choose how close the AI should stay to your original photo.
Then you put the AI to work and see the result. During this progress, we explain the various steps the AI takes.
At the end, you receive a print of the entire process!
With our professional printer, visitors get their photo within half a minute.
Extra photos are not a problem and are always included.
For generating the images, we use, among other things, StableDiffusion and Controlnet. With these tools, we can generate photos based on the picture the user takes. And we can effectively show what actually happens behind the scenes.
Making AI technology more understandable is a core goal of this installation.
The AI Photobooth is guided by our tech instructors and event facilitators who are technically experienced, engage visitors enthusiastically, and initiate conversations about AI.
The planning and organization of this installation are managed through the core team of the VR Learning Lab.
Are you interested in this installation? As an attention grabber during a conference, cultural festival or other event? Feel free to request a quote without any obligations.
Maybe you want to combine it with a workshop, or perhaps you want to place the installation somewhere for a longer period of time. Please feel free to contact us about these things!
Would you prefer a permanent or long-term AI Photobooth at your location, including maintenance?
We can design and build a custom AI Photbooth, specifically for you. Please specify your preferences in the request form.
Often, we combine the AI Photobooth with our Infinite AI Gallery. The installations complement each other and attract attention in different ways.
Also cool: showcase your AI Photobooth photos in the Infinite AI Gallery!
For schools, libraries and other educational organisations
Do you want to expand the AI Photobooth into a pop-up museum filled with installations about the future?
For education, we have so many projects that we gather them under the umbrella term Future Arcade.
Finally, the LIMESCOOP is up!
Step back in time and see Romans walking past the old Fort of Brittenburg. The virtual binoculars are located at the end of the Limes, on the Buitensluis in Katwijk. In public space, freely accessible to everyone!
Quite some time ago we came into contact with architect and client Fons Verheijen. The Limes, the old border of the Roman Empire, has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2021. Although many tourists travel along the old Limes, the conclusion of this route in Katwijk was marked only with “a small silly sign”, according to Fons. That’s just not acceptable, right? Together we developed the concept for the Limescoop.
Archaeologically everything had to be correct. We therefore followed the book Brittenburg by Tom Buijtendorp. Archeology student Aiace Pisaroni devoted his graduation research to this project and Xinas BV made a beautiful 3D model. The Virtual Reality Learning Lab trainees Daan Hobbel, Stijn van Sprang, Stephan Houwaart, Guido van Duijvenvoorde and Enrique Alonso Barreiro developed the interactive 3D world, including a lot of optimization to make everything run smoothly.
We found 100% FAT who could further develop their FATscope and can’t imagine a better partner. What a challenge to make binoculars that can stand outside in storms and heat, that run entirely on a battery + solar panel, work pleasantly, and also look beautiful.
The Limescoop was opened on Friday 16 June 2023 by mayor of Katwijk Cornelis Visser, alderman Jacco Knape and Limes program manager Jelmer Prins. And now we can keep track that the viewer has already been used by many hundreds of visitors! Article in Leidsch Dagblad
Quick 3D scan
An infinite amount of AI generated images deserves an ‘Infinite AI gallery’.
That’s the idea behind this project Stijn van Sprang & Robin de Lange created. When you walk through this 3D world, new parts of the museum are generated in real-time, allowing you to explore it endlessly.
Stijn was an intern at the VR Learning Lab and is now a part-time developer. Stijn put in all the hard design & coding work for this project. Robin had the role of creative director.
Check out the preview below:
Do you want to add the Infinite AI Gallery to your event? Or are you just interested in learning more about it? Feel free to contact us.
Fundamental research in Artificial Intelligence has caused a tidal wave of new AI tools for writing text, creating images, and generating music and videos in a fraction of the time it usually takes. Software for generating 3D objects and (parts of) virtual worlds is also on the way. At times, this feels alienating but also very exciting!
The arrival of this new wave of AI tools has far-reaching implications for how we, as a society, are productive, what our digital world will look like, and how we shape our education. Together, this gives us sufficient reason to incorporate Artificial Intelligence into our strategy. We have started a research line, offer workshops for teachers, and are working on the first AI lessons for students.
In his lectures, Robin often contrasts AI with lesser-known ideas about ‘Augmenting Human Intellect’, where students also read work by Doug Engelbart. The emphasis here is much more on how people solve problems with computers and less on autonomous software. How AI tools are now being used is also partly in line with these ideas. Tech analyst Benedict Evans described it nicely: “AI is like giving every company an infinite number of interns“.
Will AI take over your job? Probably not so directly. But fewer people may be needed for the same work, as professionals learn to effectively use AI tools to increase their productivity. In the end, it may not be so much a competition between humans and computers, but between humans + the tools they use. Or, as American computer scientist Licklider called it in 1960, the ‘man-computer symbiosis’
This applies to writers and policymakers who ask ChatGPT to create an outline for something or to come up with counterarguments. But also for designers who use AI for inspiration, to generate parts of their graphic work, or to create videos from text and a single image.
Artificial Intelligence will have significant consequences for what our digital world will look like.
Due to the increase in productivity, prices for creative work will drop dramatically. The advent of the web previously led to a considerable reduction in publication costs, resulting in a massive increase in information. It is expected that new AI tools will lead to a similar increase, with automatically written blogs, generated explanatory videos, fully animated fan fiction, and eventually AI-generated game worlds.
Part of VR Learning Lab’s mission is to train the digital creators of the future. Our tech teachers teach young people programming, game design, video editing, and responsible internet use. In a short time, it has become clear that AI tools have become an essential source in the development of the digital world. Pupils and students must be introduced wisely and given every opportunity to use this tool effectively.
Most of the focus on AI in education is currently on ChatGPT and other language models. Understandably so, as almost all teachers deal with this. For every take-home exam and assignment that students have to complete, they can use OpenAI, which puts a large part of the educational institutions’ testing model in trouble.
Check out an application letter generated by a tech teacher during a team day here. A somewhat strange structure, but it would have certainly made it through the first selection.
We will place more emphasis on AI for creative work, for programs that train future designers. What tools should they know? How do you provide good education with these tools? And how do you assess work in which the student has used AI tools in the process?
This maker education is also a good place for innovation in schools. Together with students, you explore the possibilities of new technology and bring it into the school. This creates opportunities to involve other teachers in these developments and adapt to a changing technological landscape.
We see enough reason to broaden our focus and include AI in our work. But what exactly will we do? We outline it below.
Together with interns and students, we experiment with dozens of AI tools. We come up with interesting content that we can create with them and combine them with other software. We make short videos and complete escape rooms and VR experiences.
We share our experiments through various channels and often also how we made them. We share a lot on TikTok, Instagram, Facebook and YouTube . We also share the best experiments via LinkedIn, our blog, and the newsletter.
We have set up a new bootcamp for teachers of digital maker subjects. For this, we collaborate with Bijscholingvmbo, which allows the training to be followed with up to 50% subsidy. If you’re interested in a tailor-made bootcamp in English, please contact us.
On March 16, 2023, we are providing the first workshop for students through PLNT Skills. Tech teacher Marijn uses their Cognitive Artificial Intelligence education to develop valuable teaching materials. Soon, we will offer the first workshops for primary and secondary education.
Robin, Stijn, and interns Merel and Sabrina are working on an interactive audiovisual performance where AI and 3D images are combined in a unique way. The goal is to offer a unique experience of the future of our digital world. For study days, conferences, or other events.
The past year has brought one of the biggest challenges ever in education. To protect those who are vulnerable and to reduce the pressure on healthcare, we have all shown our most flexible side. The beginning of 2021 is not much different. In this blog, we look ahead. What role can Virtual Reality play in education after this crisis? And how do we contribute to a sustainable implementation of this and other technologies?
Online education is a huge challenge, for teachers as well as students. Every lecture, I miss that I am not in the same room as my students. What’s more, our workshops & masterclasses for education professionals are much more enjoyable in-person.
Digital education still has too many limitations, even though I often argue that new digital technology like VR offers possibilities that go beyond education in person.
Unfortunately, the field is not quite there yet. VR headsets are not readily available for everyone and teachers and students often do not have enough experience with the technology to use it effectively for education. Especially not when you suddenly have to switch to online education.
Moreover, you also want to combine digital education and in-person education here. Blended. This way, you can choose the educational platform that fits the best for the material. However, this is precisely what is not possible in these times.
At the same time, let’s commit ourselves to emerge stronger from this crisis.
Let’s work to develop rich, asynchronous digital education that students can follow independently regardless of time and place. Combined with synchronous meetings focused on interaction and knowledge processing. Preferably in-person, but digital if necessary.
At the same time, we continue to experiment with new technology like Virtual Reality to further enrich education.
As this field matures with affordable hardware and a wider range of software, we can work towards sustainable deployment. Grants create room for innovation, but ultimately, the business side must also make sense; your innovation must solve a problem.
In the lecture (in Dutch) I recently gave to all i-coaches of vocational schools, I distinguished these three phases:
We look forward to contributing to exciting educational projects in the Netherlands and to bringing them to the next stage!
We want to investigate how VR and other technologies can be responsibly and sustainably deployed in various domains. That is why we will be challenging the following questions in the coming period, together with our team, new interns, and students:
We research the various applications of Virtual and Augmented Reality and other technologies and share the findings on this blog. Additionally, we put them into practice by designing our teaching materials based on our research and experiences. In this way, we are involved in all phases that must be completed to deploy VR sustainably.
This week we are at the Immersive Tech Week, formerly known as the VR Days. This is the first time we have a booth: as our clients are mostly in education, it’s just a little less interesting for us than the NOT or the BETT.
This year, we had two projects we wanted to show and get extra input for. Intern Guido is doing user research for the Brittenburg project (linked page in Dutch) he is working on. Partner 100%FAT joined in and brought a predecessor of the ‘Limescoop’ (/liməˈskoːp/).
Interns Michelle en Stijn showed the (English version of) ‘AR(e) you Ready?’ (linked page in Dutch), our speculative game on the future with AR. Their main goal is to find inspiration for new future scenarios we can use in the game.
We enjoyed experiencing the latest XR hardware, such as Pimax headsets, the Quest Pro and the SenseGlove.
Pimax is developing an interesting all-in-one system that can function as a console, mobile phone and VR headset. We will keep our eyes on it! The Passthrough functionality of the Quest Pro impressed us with its seamlessness. We are purchasing it and we are planning on creating many AR prototypes with it in the future.
The team, including our interns, learned more about the field through visiting the tradeshow, trying out experiences at the Playground and through joining talks and roundtables at the conference.
The amount of attention on more philosophical discussions in the program was noteworthy. Netwerk Mediawijsheid, Rathenau Institute and the city of Rotterdam organized various workshops and presentations covering the future of the metaverse (if you want to use that term). Experts and others interested in this subject discussed how children can explore virtual worlds in a media literate and safe way, how they can learn through immersive media and how we can ensure that the metaverse is designed in a way that respects public values?
I was talking to a visiting employee of Stanford who was impressed by this. To him, it really emphasized how different Europe is from the US. We might not be the fastest to move, but by thinking things through we’re aiming for a future where our values are represented, which might bring us much further.
Although this is very anecdotal evidence, I guess we’re doing something right. We’re proud to contribute to this approach, especially with our speculative game ‘AR(e) you Ready’?
It seems like a very good move to relocate the event to Rotterdam, with lots of initiatives from the city and Hogeschool Rotterdam. I think you will see us here next year as well!
We believe it’s important that we all think more about a future where we wear smart glasses daily. Because by looking ahead, we can influence what the future will look like.
In our research, we develop stimulating prototypes together with students and interns from, among others, Leiden University. This is also called speculative design. For the Week of Media Literacy, we developed the game ‘ARe you ready?’ in which more than 17.000 young people thought about our future with this technology. (link to game & link to research report)
On Tuesday, February 15 at 15:30, we are organizing a free online event about ‘Our Future with Augmented Reality’. We present a program full of speculative design from various creators. And together with all visitors, we will think about how we can make a positive impact!
On the program:
This event is made possible by the VR Learning Lab, PLNT Leiden & the Honours Academy of Leiden University.
You can watch it here:
You wake up in the year 2027. Right after getting up, you put on your Augmented Reality (AR) glasses. These smart glasses help you throughout the day. They remind you of what you need to do, make lessons more enjoyable, and translate what your new classmate says. Can you visualize this future? Thousands of students have thought about these and other questions. In this article, we share the results.
Update 2022: during the Week of Media Literacy in 2022, there were 8,014 individual players who answered all the questions. The questions remained the same. You can view the results here (note: the report is in Dutch). There are little differences compared with the results from 2021. What did stand out was that fewer students from grades 5 and 6 think that learning foreign languages is necessary if Augmented Reality glasses can be used to interpret other languages for us. We have also created a new English version.
Students have shared their opinions while playing the game ARe you ready?, created by our talented interns Daan Hobbel and Sanna Bashir. The game was developed as a ThemeMission for MediaMasters, an annual national competition held during the Week of Media Literacy in November.
Nearly 80,000 players had experienced a day in the life of a child from 2027, in which smart AR glasses play a significant role. With this new medium, you can see things in the real world that aren’t actually there; a virtual layer on top of the real world.
By presenting these questions to the students during the game, we were able to encourage them to think along and come up with their own opinions about Augmented Reality. Having an opinion allows you to support it and prevents experiencing the future passively. This makes sure that not only Meta, Apple, and Snapchat can determine what role AR will play in society, but also citizens.
The game was played more than 80,000 times by the end of November 2021. We collected 17,037 complete answer sets. Of these, we used 5,385 in our analysis. This dataset consists of answers from players aged between 9 and 13, who came to our site via the MediaMasters game. This was measured with cookies, which were necessary to count points for the MediaMasters game. This way, we can be sure that these were all unique players. Players outside this age limit or who played the game through another route were excluded.
The questions that were asked in between the game’s levels can be divided into two categories:
We will discuss the results per category.
Augmented Reality already has useful and entertaining applications today. For example, checking if a piece of furniture fits in your living room before buying it from the Swedish furniture giant, or using AR to overlay a virtual information layer on the real world. Think of animations and texts that help a novice car mechanic replace brake pads or virtual buttons on a real anatomical model that can be clicked for additional information about an organ.
In the game, players can experience such applications as well as futuristic ones. Are they open to the idea of using smart glasses in this way?
In the game, the AR glasses provide nutritional advice. Do children from grades 7 and 8 appreciate this? Most do (73%), although 32% of them would make the healthy choice anyway, regardless of the glasses’ advice (Figure 1). A large portion of children (61%) also find it helpful if the smart glasses help them remember daily.
A smart pair of glasses as a dietitian and personal assistant. Would it also be an interesting addition to education? In the game, children look into the life of a primary school child. The lessons the child receives make use of AR. Only 7% of the children did not like the idea of having lessons with AR glasses (Figure 3). 58% of the children are convinced that this form of teaching is also beneficial for learning (also Figure 3).
There are many opportunities for AR glasses in education.
We think that smart glasses not only influence how we learn, but also what we need to learn. Robin’s graduation research in 2014 was already about this topic.
In the game, a character speaks Japanese to the player. The AR glasses pick this up and automatically start Dutch subtitles. Is it useful to learn other languages if the smart glasses can translate everything for you? We wanted to further elaborate on this discussion for the participants with this question. 11% of the children think that AR makes learning foreign languages unnecessary. But the majority (62%) would rather not depend on the glasses and still find it useful to learn other languages (Figure 4).
A more obvious example is navigating with your smart glasses. Virtual arrows projected in the real world help you find your way. In this way, it becomes very difficult to go in the wrong direction. 93% of the children think that we will use smart glasses for navigation later (Figure 5).
The emergence of a new computer interface has a huge impact on society and our lives. Enough to get excited about, but also to worry about. That’s why we asked the children if they are concerned about the ethics and safety of AR glasses.
One of the problems that can arise is a kind of social gap between people who have smart glasses and people who cannot (temporarily) be in our new, enriched AR world. We highlighted a similar situation in the game. Is it bad if there are other children who do not have smart glasses and therefore feel excluded? Most children (87%) think this is (a bit) unfair (Figure 6).
The virtual layer projected by an AR glass can be distracting from information in the real world. In fact, things can be hidden by projecting over them. This can be dangerous in traffic. In an AR mini-game in ‘ARe you ready?’, the player is chased by virtual monsters. To stay ahead, many players run through red lights. The use of a smartphone can be dangerous in traffic.
We asked children if they think smart glasses should be banned on bicycles. 60% agreed. 28% want a special “traffic mode” so that the glasses do not pose a danger on the road and can be kept on. And 12% think we should decide for ourselves whether to keep them on or take them off (Figure 7).
Almost everyone has played or heard of Pokémon Go, an AR game that led to large gatherings of people in various locations. We believe that this could happen much more often in the future. Virtual artworks at secret locations and massive AR tournaments in the town square. Are you allowed to just organize this? Or should you apply for permits, like for regular events? 69% of the participating children said that rules should be in place and permission should be requested to organize such events (Figure 8).
Many companies collect our data without our conscious consent. This data collection can go a step further with the help of an AR headset, as it can see much more and track things other than just online activity. An obvious example is personalized advertisements. The smart glasses could use information about you, such as conversations and images, to project specific ads in the real world; this also happens in the game.
38% of players aged 9 to 13 believed that no information about them should be used to personalize advertisements. 39% thought it was acceptable, but only if they had given permission themselves. 23% had no problems with sharing information (Figure 9).
Are we becoming too dependent on our smart glasses? Technology like an AR headset can easily enrich the real world, making people possibly unwilling or unable to live without it. About 90% of the children find it concerning that we may become too dependent on this technology in the future (Figure 10).
We conclude that most children see benefits in using smart glasses, but certainly do not want to become dependent on them.
Let’s nuance the results a bit. This is not scientific research. The answers may have been influenced by how AR was portrayed during the game. And it could be that the youngsters who chose to play this game are overly enthusiastic about new media. Fortunately, our goal was not to conduct an academic study. Our mission was to get children thinking, and we certainly succeeded!
One problem we had with CoSpaces Edu is that you cannot add code on your smartphone. This is somewhat disappointing as our pool of teachers all have their sets of Android smarthphones with Cardboard-based VR headsets. They mainly use those to let students view the projects they’ve created in Virtual Reality. But it’s also handy to have a few extra devices whenever the school doesn’t have enough laptops/tablets/Chromebooks available.
We organize more and more coding workshops and we needed new sets of smartphones. By coincident, we’ve run into a smartphone model that does allow you to add CoBlocks! The Motorola G9 Play that is. It’s also quite an affordable smartphone at around 150 euros, with a large screen and a 5000 mAh battery.
The large screen size combined with a pretty low resolution is probably why you can do coding with this device in the first place. My guess is that the CoSpaces Edu app looks at the pixel density of the device to determine whether it’s a tablet or a smartphone. The low pixel density of this screen lets CoSpaces think it’s actually a tablet.
We’ve just bought a batch of 8 devices and we’re quite happy with them. I wanted to share this, as I guess more teachers are looking for a solution for this. Hopefully the developers at CoSpaces Edu don’t change the way this is handled.
Check out the VR Learning HUB!
This is the first post of a series on creating what we like to call infospaces. Enjoy!
Creating 3D worlds has become much, much easier over the past years. With software like CoSpaces Edu we teach 9 year olds to create their fantasy world with 3D objects and bring them to life with coding blocks.
And the rise of social VR tools like Mozilla Hubs, AltspaceVR and Facebook Horizon are bringing 3D worlds to the professional world. As we’re all are getting tired from pandemic-caused video meetings, we’re looking at new ways to collaborate.
Because of this virtual events are in the lift. But to make really valuable virtual events, we have to learn how to use the space effectively. Meeting each other in a virtual lecture hall or classroom while looking at a PowerPoint presentation is just not using all the possibilities.
One particular assignment we often give our students who are learning these 3D tools is to create a virtual museum. In our experiences this is a very interesting challenge for the students after they’ve learned the basics of the program. And it’s an assignment that can be easily combined with other school subjects.
It’s interesting to see what students create. They often mimic the musea they’re familiar with. Some also realize they’re not confined by the rules that a real museum has. Their pieces can float in space, and who needs walls? They can add quiz questions, moving objects and interactive information in a way that really isn’t possible in the real world.
The emerging of easy apps to create graphics from data was essential to create the abundance of infographics we now see on the web. Will these new tools bring the same abundance of what we like to call ‘infospaces‘?
For that to happen it has to become even easier to create 3D worlds. We have software tools to help us, which also offer integrated access to databases with 3D models like Sketchfab & Google Poly.
But to make things even easier, we also need design principles and templates. We need easy answers to questions like:
Those are really new questions for the average communicator. Thus far designing spaces to explain something has been mostly reserved to museum curators and museologists.
With the democratization of designing 3D worlds, we think these questions will become more and more important. We have to learn from architecture, theater, museology and the video game industry.
That’s exactly what we will do in this series of posts on creating infospaces! Don’t want to miss a thing? Or do you want to learn more about Virtual Reality? Become a member of the VR Learning HUB for free!