Research into augmented reality at Swansea University could spell the end for learning in 2D

Lecturers at Swansea University’s Computational Foundry, part of the University’s College of Science, are leading research into augmented reality to radically transform teaching and learning in educational settings.

Augmented reality headsetsThis year, the College of Science funded the ‘HoloLec’ project to explore the potential use of augmented reality headsets as a teaching tool at the University.

With support from Swansea Academy of Learning and Teaching, the College invested in a suite of Microsoft HoloLens headsets which can project three-dimensional virtual holograms into the world around us.

Unlike virtual reality headsets, the HoloLens allows a person to see the physical world as well as the virtual world.  This makes them ideal for shared experiences where students and teachers can see the same holograms and interact with them at the same time. So rather than studying anatomy from a textbook, for example, students can interact with a 3D hologram of a body for a more much immersive and enriching experience.

As part of the project, Dr Tom Owen and Dr Sean Walton, both lecturers in Computer Science at the University, have a dedicated space in the foyer of the Faraday building at the University’s Singleton Campus (pictured) that is being used as a place for demonstrating the technology, as well as brainstorming, prototyping and evaluating ideas.

Dr Walton said: “This technology is roughly five years from becoming practical. By exploring uses now we will be able to make informed decisions about investment later.  We will be working with students at Swansea University and also engaging with local schools to explore the possibilities of enhancing their education.”

Dr Owen added: “We are keen for colleagues across all departments at the University to come along to open sessions at the HoloLec Lab, where we are happy to demonstrate the equipment and start a conversation about potential ideas. The headsets are great fun, so you are of course welcome to just come and try Augmented Reality!”

Computer Science is part of Swansea University’s Computational Foundry, which is leading the way for collaborations with a focus on computational thinking to deliver new, meaningful and lucrative research, alongside existing teaching and outreach activity.  For further information please contact T.Owen@swansea.ac.uk or S.P.Walton@swansea.ac.uk.