Using Virtual Reality to Bring Concepts Alive

BY TRACEY LIEN, LOS ANGELES TIMES / APRIL 20, 20150

New zSpace stations consist of large screens connected to PCs that teachers and students can use with special 3-D glasses and a stylus pen.

(TNS) — Heart dissections in science classes have always been a messy affair. For years teachers have cut open cow’s or sheep’s hearts to show students how they look inside, and, while students get to feel and see the heart, they can’t watch as it beats, because the animals are dead. They can’t see the individual heart strings or the finer details of the chambers, valves and veins because they’re all layered on top of one another. That’s about to change.

At dozens of schools across America, including 11 K-12 districts in California, schools are adopting zSpace, a virtual reality system that lets schools “bring to life” abstract and often difficult-to-explain classroom material.

Created by the Sunnyvale, Calif., technology company of the same name, zSpace stations consist of large screens connected to PCs that teachers and students can use with special 3-D glasses and a stylus pen. When kids put on the glasses, images appear in 3-D, not too different from what one would expect in Tony Stark’s Iron Man lab. Cameras on the screen track the user’s head movement, letting them move closer to get a better view of objects. The stylus lets users pick up things and see them from every angle.

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