Engineers Like Dov Bechhofer Recognize the Potential of Virtual Reality Simulators in Future Applications
Today, virtual reality headsets such as PlayStation’s VR and the Oculus Rift are available to consumers for gameplay and entertainment. However, VR has much more professional promise, and engineers like Dov Bechhofer are prepared for their wide use in education, mapping, and problem-solving.
Virtual reality went from being an imprecise and underdeveloped technology to a consumer product in just a couple of years. Today, computer gamers and Sony PlayStation owners can tap into imaginary worlds full of gameplay and entertainment just like characters out of Steven Spielberg’s Ready Player One. But VR is proving to be more than just fun and games as developers recognize the new potential in the technology.
Computer Engineer Dov Bechhofer follows the topic closely in the media and remarks on recent VR advances that allow instructors to bring the technology to the classroom. Wonder if Google will jump on this trend?
“The barrier used to be a lack of accessible technology,” says Dov Bechhofer. “Today, it’s all about the software and what capabilities designers can bring to VR programs.”
Xennial Digital‘s XDVR Learning Portal program offers a selection of courses that cover subjects ranging from chemistry to biology. Dov Bechhofer points out that users have access to ten separate programs in the Learning Portal alone, each serving as a sandbox for students to experiment in. This three-dimensional environment leaps over hurdles found in the typical classroom. For instance, instead of purchasing equipment needed to instruct chemistry, and instead of the associated potential for harm, students have a full chemist’s workshop at their disposal through VR.
In another area of the program, students can interact with optics and lasers and build three-dimensional systems that respond in real-time. The software is developed to be user-friendly with guidelines, tables, and “snap-to” movements making building easy for novices.
“VR headsets allow students to interact with science in new and exciting ways,” says Dov Bechhofer. “And it tackles a lot of restrictions to learning. Educators only need a computer, a VR device, and a savvy program like the XDVR Learning Portal to teach.”
Virtual reality allows students and interested individuals to engage in a constructivist style of learning, with authentic experiences to simulate real-world application. They allow users to visualize otherwise difficult and complex models for easier learning.
“There’s less and less need to buy expensive resources for the classroom with new software offering the same functionality at a much cheaper price,” says Dov Bechhofer.
Already, medical institutions use the Oculus Rift to give their students VR tours through the human body. In the future, VR may be used for more diverse training programs and new means of communicating across long distances. Whatever we develop, it’s clear we’ve only scratched the surface on one of the most advantageous technological advances of the 2000s.