In this article, we’ll dwell upon the use of VR in technical education looking at the example of the children’s technopolis Quantorium at the Technological University in the city of Korolyov.
The center for supplementary education under the name "Quantorium children’s technopolis” was founded in Korolyov under the aegis of the local Technological University for children to be able to obtain knowledge in research and engineering.
The uniqueness of Quantorium lies in the fact that children not only study engineering skills there but also project development and project management as well as solutions to invention and production tasks. Classes are conducted by experienced and knowledgeable teachers, including representatives of science, production, and business.
The fact that Quantorium is located in Korolyov, the city where space applications are built, correspondingly affects all activities at the center.
Here, schoolchildren will learn everything about the flights of rockets, satellites, spaceships and interplanetary probes, training for astronauts and their duties during space flights.
In their studies, the kids are joined by young staff members of the rocket and space corporation “Energia”. They are professional rocket modelers keen to share their experience and caring for the future of space industry in the world.
Future design engineers study the structure of space systems and spaceships and learn to work with programs for 3D modeling, to create components with 3D printers, to animate their creations by installing electronic parts into them and to test them in VR as well as in natural conditions.
Initially, the technopolis had faced a serious problem: while life-sized models, the ones at a scale of 1:1, are most fit for teaching the design of space applications and rockets, they are extremely expensive and occupy a lot of space. The education center didn't have the required wherewithal or the area, but they did find a solution eventually.
As a complex solution for working with VR, Quantorium uses an application for collective studies in VR, that is VR Concept Academic software. This educational software is specifically designed for the purposes in question, enabling teachers and students to interact with objects in a common virtual reality. The program is installed on four computers united by a local network, and HTC VIVE VR headsets are used as interface devices.
This solution is not only applicable for education but also for any environment that requires operational communication with large amounts of information transmitted: for teams of engineers, developers, manufacturers, designers (in creating and adjusting new items), and for businesses of any kind (in making presentations).
Creating a life-sized spaceship with a 3D printer is impossible within an educational establishment. To learn the design of space equipment to the full, however, is possible through working with a virtual prototype at a scale of 1:1. Collective work in a unified virtual space allows the teacher to explain and show the students with maximum accuracy and vividness and in great detail the design of space applications and rockets.
What impresses the students and teachers alike is the fact that they can assess digital models of devices, components and units for their space projects pretty much "firsthand", with everything life-sized, and that they can see all joints in a three-dimensional reality created with VR Concept software.
Virtual prototyping and immersive visualization at a scale of 1:1 enhance attention and interest towards education, which positively affects the digestibility of material; they also allow for showing more details and nuances. To add to it, the use of virtual prototypes decreases the costs of natural visual aids.
Unlike other VR solutions, this is an intuitively understandable tool: the teacher opens a model in VR Concept and starts the work, without any special training or programming involved. It only takes a couple of minutes for the teacher to upload CAD/BIM models into VR Concept and to arrange collaborative learning with the use of standard tools for virtual prototyping, such as measurements, incisions, assembly, and disassembly. There exists a technical possibility to virtually model the assembly of lunar stations by using VR suits. Everything is executed in a most interactive and realistic form.
As of now, VR Concept is only suitable for those educational establishments that have their own 3D models, as it doesn't possess its own library of detailed digital CAD/BIM models. Creating such a library is a huge amount of work. However, there are open libraries, such as grabcad.com, from which objects for studying can be taken until a collection of one's own models is built.
For more than a year now, a classroom for collective studying in VR has been functioning at Korolyov's Quantorium. Future engineers successfully master virtual prototyping tools and obtain industrial-level skills that will be sought-after in companies of the future.
Working with VR, in particular with virtual prototypes at a scale of 1:1, helps develop spatial thinking and introduces the students with the basics of Industry 4.0 as well as with the notion of the “digital twin." Using VR tools, teachers can expound on the engineering and technical sides of a rocket or a lunar station.
It's hard to imagine a more visual and convenient way to study things that cannot be brought into a classroom or laboratory or touched with fingers and to acquire knowledge about their design and operation principles.
VR Concept software not only shows us how education will look like in the future but also enables us to embrace its advantages right now.
To buy educational VR software and related equipment, contact Top 3D Shop — company specialists will gladly help you pick an optimal set of software and equipment to meet any goals or objectives.
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