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August 26, 2017 AT 8:29 am

3D-Printing + Optical Tracking + Arduino + @processingOrg = “VR done the hard way”

“for the sake of teaching”

This is easily one of the most makery-maker projects I’ve seen in a while. One that combines various hardwares and softwares until you find what works, one that changes hardware designs mid-v1 so that v2 is a bit more fine-tuned, and one that seemingly uses the wires in the project to hold portions of the project together. Oh and it’s all for teaching, and learning, and inspiring – also it works, and it’s awesome! It’s a homemade augmented or virtual reality headset from Matthew Faerber who runs the VisLab (Visual World Investigate Lab) at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences. Matthew has shared his project a couple times this year on our weekly Show & Tell series (see videos below) and you can now find ongoing documentation of his project here at Hackaday.io!

Matthew had been wanting to teach a class on Climate Change for long time, but he knew that the challenge would be keeping middle and high school kids engaged and interested. He didn’t want it to just be another class that they had to take, but an experience that they would remember and learn from. His answer was to create headsets that utilize both augmented reality and virtual reality technologies. Because of the headsets he doesn’t have to just show the students a photo of the arctic, he can virtually take them there, and they can look all around. Instead of showing a map in Power Point he can project a 3D model of the Earth on their table tops, and they can pick it up. These techniques are extremely novel and keep the students interested in the topic.

He designed and created the headsets using 3D modeling software (Blender), 3D printing (Makerbot), and microcontrollers (Arduino). In the class he covers what Climate Change is, why it’s happening, how we know it’s happening, and what we can except from it. The goal is to not only give students a firm understanding of the topic in general, but to also show them there are many ways in which they contribute to the field of climate science as adults.

Read more here and here.


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