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

Lecturers at Swansea University’s Computational Foundry are leading research to radically transform the way in which we teach and learn in educational settings.

Early this summer, the College of Science funded the ‘HoloLec’ project to explore the potential uses of Augmented Reality in Swansea University teaching. The College, with support from Swansea Academy of Learning of Teaching, invested in a suite of Microsoft HoloLens headsets. These headsets project three dimensional virtual holograms into the world around you. The aim of the project is to investigate the potential of using augmented reality headsets as a teaching tool.

Unlike virtual reality headsets, the HoloLens allows you to see the physical world as well as the virtual world.  This makes them ideal for shared experiences where student and teacher 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. Dinosaurs can literally roam the classroom for students learning about this topic while wearing the headsets.

Hololec

As part of this project, Dr Owen and Dr Walton, lecturers in Computer Science at the university, have a dedicated space in Faraday Foyer that is being used as a place for demonstrating the technology, as well as brainstorming, prototyping and evaluating ideas.

Dr Walton comments: “The 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 not only students at Swansea University but engaging with local schools to explore the possibilities of enhancing their education.”

Dr Owen adds: “We are keen for colleagues across all departments in the university to come along to open sessions at the HoloLec Lab, where we are happy to demo 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!”

For further information please contact t.owen@swansea.ac.uk or S.P.Walton@swansea.ac.uk

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.