VR project ROC West-Brabant interview with lecturer Dirk Verbeek
Recently, Virtual Reality becomes more and more visible in the media and on the internet. Television shows, events and the Oculus Rift VR glasses become more familiar to the broader public. Different educational projects see the benefits of Virtual Reality and get involved in this new technology. ROC West-Brabant reached out to Luxexcel to obtain 3D printed optics for VR glasses. In this blogpost we interviewed Dirk Verbeek professor at ROC West-Brabant.
You started a project which involves Virtual Reality, can you explain more about the project?
Het ‘Innovatienetwerk’ ROC West-Brabant (the Netherlands) wants to find out what Virtual Reality (VR) can mean to Education. In society we see more and more applications involving VR, like in gaming and in movies (YouTube also plays 360° movies). It seems like VR isn’t just a hype but it’s the next big technological change since the introduction of the smartphone.
To see how we can use VR in Education we started with some sessions for a group of colleagues in with we introduced the concept of VR and showed how we can make VR for ourselves. Naturally we also experienced VR and for that we used a Oculus Rift and the Google Cardboard. Especially the Cardboard is a great way to give people a VR experience. It’s very easy to use and is low in costs.
That’s why we want to distribute a whole lot of Cardboards throughout ROC West-Brabant to give more and more people a VR experience and giving our project more support. To do this we didn’t just wanted to buy the Cardboards but we wanted to see if we could make them ourselves. A project that is very doable, except for the lenses. We were looking for ways to make the lenses and that’s how we found Luxexcel, who could print them!
Because the lenses are produced in such a state-of-the-art method we didn’t just wanted to use the ‘standard’ Cardboard. That’s why we’ve organised a competition to come up with a new model Cardboard.
What was your first thought when you received Luxexcel’s 3D printed optics?
We’re very satisfied with our printed lenses. For this project we weren’t sure of we could use printed optics. We couldn’t find that it was ever done before. We received, on short notice, a prototype from Luxexcel. We found out that it worked great so we could go ahead with the project.
What is the main benefit of 3D printed optics for Virtual Reality?
The main benefit of 3D printed optics is that it’s very fast. As soon as you have a design for the optic you want the printing can start. This means that you have your optic in matter of days. Without the optics the project can’t continue, so we were very glad we could keep up the momentum of the project.
The project involves the Google Cartboard, what do you expect from the contestants?
There are two things we expect from our contestants. First of all we think that this competition will generate more exposure for the project. People will get more familiar with VR as they experience it. This will help our discussion on what VR can mean to Education.
Secondly, we want to challenge our contestants to create a Cardboard that we can use in classrooms so students can also get a VR experience. This experience should contribute to their learning.
How do 3D printed lenses fit in your and other VR projects?
Experiencing VR with your smartphone is becoming more popular every day. We see a lot of new VR applications coming out. To get the full experience of these Apps you’ll need some sort of Cardboard device. The main component of such a device are the lenses. They determine the quality of your VR experience. With the printed optics from Luxexcel we have lenses of a great quality, made exactly to fit are needs.
Any remarks or additional you would like to mention?
If you like to know more about the project you can visit http://www.arvideolab.nl/virtual-reality.html. (website is in Dutch).On the website you can find all the information about our competition on designing a new Google Cardboard.