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2020, 2(4): 316-329 Published Date:2020-8-20

DOI: 10.1016/j.vrih.2020.07.004

Virtual & augmented reality for biological microscope in experiment education

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Mixed-reality technologies, including virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) , are considered to be promising potential tools for science teaching and learning processes that could foster positive emotions, motivate autonomous learning, and improve learning outcomes.
In this study, a technology-aided biological microscope learning system based on VR/AR is presented. The structure of the microscope is described in a detailed three-dimensional (3D) model, each component being represented with their topological interrelationships and associations among them being established. The interactive behavior of the model was specified, and a standard operating guide was compiled. The motion control of components was simulated based on collision detection. Combined with immersive VR equipment and AR technology, we developed a virtual microscope subsystem and a mobile virtual microscope guidance system.
The system consisted of a VR subsystem and an AR subsystem. The focus of the VR subsystem was to simulate operating the microscope and associated interactive behaviors that allowed users to observe and operate the components of the 3D microscope model by means of natural interactions in an immersive scenario. The AR subsystem allowed participants to use a mobile terminal that took a picture of a microscope from a textbook and then displayed the structure and functions of the instrument, as well as the relevant operating guidance. This flexibly allowed students to use the system before or after class without time and space constraints. The system allowed users to switch between the VR and AR subsystems.
The system is useful for helping learners (especially K-12 students) to recognize a microscope's structure and grasp the required operational skills by simulating operations using an interactive process. In the future, such technology-assisted education would be a successful learning platform in an open learning space.
Keywords: Virtual reality ; Augmented reality ; Microscope ; Operating guide ; Experiment

Cite this article:

Xiang ZHOU, Liyu TANG, Ding LIN, Wei HAN. Virtual & augmented reality for biological microscope in experiment education. Virtual Reality & Intelligent Hardware, 2020, 2(4): 316-329 DOI:10.1016/j.vrih.2020.07.004

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