A multilingual (English/Spanish) immersive learning environment is being created by an assistant professor at the University of Texas using virtual reality technology to help students better grasp the topic of additive manufacturing.
The project, titled “Enhancing Active Learning in Additive Manufacturing Using a Bilingual, Assisted Virtual-Reality Platform,” will be under the direction of Shuchisnigdha Deb, assistant professor in the Department of Industrial, Manufacturing, and Systems Engineering (IMSE). The research is being supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation worth $837,000. Emma Yang and Amanda Olsen, two other ISME faculty members from the College of Education’s Department of Curriculum and Instruction, are also on the team.
Deb asserted that teaching kids about additive manufacturing is crucial for the advancement of robots, augmented reality, and other technologies.
But there are hazards and safety issues in this manufacturing sector, Deb added. “Workers who directly or indirectly use these technologies need to be trained and given hands-on experience with pricey, complex machinery.”
Most of these issues can be solved with virtual reality, according to Deb. Students can acquire confidence by repeatedly performing a job in a realistic and immersive environment without harming expensive technology.
Virtual reality can be used in the curriculum, as a method of delivering teaching, as a tool to improve learning, and as an evaluation tool, according to Deb. “The most innovative learning modules within virtual environments may be made available to all students, including students with disabilities.”
Pilot research will record information on student interactions with the learning platform and course modules in real-time, including facial expressions and eye movements. The team will create a model to design real-time assisting functions within the virtual platform using computer vision and deep learning.
The fields of aviation, transportation, construction, manufacturing, and health care are among those that frequently use virtual reality in teaching and human-technology interaction. Deb aspires to employ virtual reality to investigate human behaviour and performance in high-risk situations and enhance the experience as a human factor’s researcher.
Deb’s initiative, according to professor and department chair of IMSE Paul Componation, is essential to understanding how students interact with complex technology like additive manufacturing. He pointed out that learning environments must be created that instruct students on how to comprehend and prosper in sectors that use this cutting-edge technology.
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