For many students pursuing STEM degrees time spent in laboratories is crucial to learning — often, it’s mandatory as well.
However, not all schools and programs can afford to provide lab access. Other schools have too much demand.
Google’s partnership with science education company Labster creates an alternative that aims to solve this problem. Instead of working in a real lab, students can complete assignments in a virtual one.
The project created more than 30 virtual labs on the Daydream platform.
However, virtual labs don’t just enable better lab access for students. VR labs allow students to dive deeper and see things they normally couldn’t.
For example, VR labs enable students to see and manipulate DNA at the molecular level. Furthermore, students can visit an exoplanet, like Astakos IV, which scientists are exploring as a potential habitat for humans.
Additionally, because there’s no limit to VR labs, students can review material multiple times. The app also provides students with personalized feedback to help them improve.
Currently, the project works with Daydream View or Lenovo Mirage Solo devices.
The program started with students in Arizona State University’s online B.S. in Biological Sciences program. However, Google and Labster plan to bring VR labs to other institutions across North America and Europe.
This isn’t the first educational work Google has done with augmented and virtual reality technology. The search giant recently added AR tours to its Expeditions app alongside the VR tours on the platform.
It’s a great use of these technologies. AR and VR allows students to explore and learn in ways they couldn’t before.