Being students ourselves, Home-based learning as a result of Covid-19 has shaken the education system. We cannot frequent the labs as much as we could before. Nevertheless, practicals were only being held in the boundaries of a laboratory, limiting exposure time to students. Seeing the opportunity for untapped potential of mixed reality, we felt that holographic labs would be an innovative and enterprising solution in which students can take ownership of their learning whenever and wherever.
What it does
Lab R.A.T (Laboratory Remote Access Training), is a mixed reality remote laboratory training platform that allows students to observe and control apparatus in real-time for various experiments.
The platform uses Microsoft HoloLens and a Kinect sensor to allow unprecedented control over various aspects such as apparatus handling, technical skills and motion sensors providing an integrated corrective feedback mode for users.
Lab R.A.T is a blending of the physical and digital worlds in which users may interact with digital and real-world objects while maintaining their presence in the physical world.
From immersing ourselves in digitally created worlds to digitally enhancing our physical world, Lab R.A.T is a spectrum that includes all of these possibilities. From augmented reality, to virtual reality, and everything in between, this mixed reality solution empowers us to break free beyond natural constraints.
How we built it
Wireframing and user-interface was built on Figma. Aspire to craft Back-end of Lab R.A.T using Mixed-Reality Toolkit (MRTK) with Unity.
Challenges we ran into
We immediately identified gaps such as our lack of experience in prototyping and engaged in self-learning initiatives. A fair bit of research was also required about resources and tools that we could use. Such challenges could only be overcome through experience and we were positive to take this as a learning process.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
Truth be told, being new to hackathons, our team was uncertain about our journey. It was only through the hackathon after consulting various mentors did we realise that our idea was far from ideal. In a span of 24 hours, we managed to research, ideate, design and prototype Lab R.A.T, along with our slides and demo video that showcased our thought process.
What we learned
The team learnt how to create an easy-to-navigate user interface. We realised the importance of the thought process behind what a user needs in order to interact with the app and how it can be easily solved with technology. While being busy with our other commitments, it was important for us to maintain a clear and concise exchange of progress so we structured and modularized the project plan by breaking down tasks into logical, time-bound components and assigned clear roles to each member. Capitalising on each other's strengths with the autonomy to be flexible when required, could be useful especially during time-sensitive situations.
What's next for Lab R.A.T
Moving forward, we hope to shift our data management to the cloud. While we are still in the early stages of development, we will carry on with the backend to achieve our desired look and functionalities. Beta-testing will allow target users to evaluate and provide constructive feedback for refinement and debugging. In the long run, we hope to successfully publish the app in the marketplace and partner with educational institutions to enable students around the world to be more confident of their experimental skills.
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