Why

Many people take education for granted, they complain about homework and don’t try. However, for some people education is the most important thing in their lives, sadly for many of these people there are severe roadblocks to getting the education they want. Disability, discrimination, financial instability and many other barriers make it difficult to impossible for many to get a quality education. Virtual Reality headsets can be as cheap as cardboard and have the possibility to be the doorway to education for the people who’ve only met closed doors.

Inspiration

This is the most intriguing way to learn and study as it resembles gaming and watching videos at the same time.

What it does

You can watch educational videos in a way that resembles a game but teaches you at the same time.

Tools used

Android Studio, Samsung XR (Gear VR Framework), SketchUp, Maya, Unity, Visual Studio

Challenges we ran into

When we decided to do this project none of us had ever done VR development but it was something all of us were extremely interested in, what we didn’t realize was how many unique challenges it presented. At first we decided to use Samsung XR (formally Gear VR Framework) in combination with the Oculus Mobile SDK to make our app, unfortunately we had extreme difficulty importing 3D models of the classroom and props, at first we tried importing models we made in SketchUp, then we tried importing importing models we made in Maya when both methods failed we decided to split up and pursue different directions. One part of the team would keep working on the Samsung XR but without any 3d models and the other part would try making a VR app in Unity. Unfortunately none of us ever used Unity, despite this we were able to setup unity for VR development for Gear VR and build a static environment. However, a soon as we tried adding interactive elements we ran into difficulties and after a while realized that we were faced with something that we wouldn’t be able to learn in the time that we had, and decided to change our focus back to the Samsung XR. However, we ran into more problems with the framework in getting the controller to work, because the framework is very new it has little documentation and we had difficulty finding solutions. In the end we put in a lot of effort and though our end product may not show it we gained a lot of valuable knowledge from this experience

Accomplishments that we're proud of

Getting the Oculus SDK set up, playing videos in VR, making 3D models in Maya and SketchUp and learning the basics of Unity, Getting various tools to work with each other: Maya with Unity, Unity with Visual Studio, Android Studio with Samsung XR and Samsung XR with Oculus Mobile SDK

What we learned

Oculus SDK, basics of VR development, video modelling, 3D modeling, basics of Unity

What's next for VRClassroom

We had many features we wanted to put in this app but didn’t get to. One of the challenges in a VR classroom is taking notes as using a keyboard or pencil and paper can be difficult, we had two interesting solutions for this. One solution was smart voice memos that would use text to speech to write down the students notes and sync them with the recording of there voice for reviewing later. Another solution was providing the student with premade notes and/or speech to text transliteration of the teachers lecture and a way to highlight what they thought needed to be reviewed later. Another idea was a way to monetize the app by allowing students to customize their desks, allowing teachers to customize their rooms and allowing both students and teachers to buy skins for their avatars by keeping the education part of the app free but selling cosmetics allow the app to make money but remain accessible to all. Finally the most important feature we want to add to the app is accessibility the ability to use non accessibility controllers for people with disabilities and the ability to download the app in places where governments make it difficult or illegal for some to get a education.

Prizes we are applying for

  • Impact Prize
  • Community Prize
  • Accessibility Prize
  • Interdisciplinary Prize
  • Environmental Prize
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