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Israeli Augmented Reality Prototype will Bolster Science and Math Education

Continuing with the wave of augmented reality innovations in recent years, a research team from the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev at Beersheba, Israel, have created a new AR prototype focused on education. The researchers proclaim that their development is a ‘groundbreaking program’, which will aid in incorporating AR for the purposes of science and math training. 

The AR prototype was developed by Michael Fried and Dr. Osama Swidan from the Graduate Program for Science and Technology Education, in collaboration with the computer science department’s Prof. Jihad el-Sana. It performs tracking of moving objects and creates AR visualisations with representations such as numerical value tables, graphs, and symbols explaining body movements. It is a revolutionary way of incorporating AR into education, as the technology has so far focused on animating still objects into animated ones.

The experience involves putting on a head-mounted AR display, which works to combine images of the real-world along with computer-generated virtual objects. The resultant visual output is projected within the field of view of the wearer. Sensors within the helmet are utilized to streamline virtual information in relation to the physical world. Adjustments are then made based on the head movements of the wearer.

Augmented reality is the form of technology that effectively modifies people’s interpretations of what real-world environments are. It is quite different from virtual reality which deals with removing users from real-world settings and ushering them into simulated ones. The first practical use-case of augmented reality dates back several decades and was related to developments undertaken by the US Air Force.

Industries sectors such as entertainment and gaming were the first ones to gain commercialised versions of augmented reality technology. In recent times, AR as a functional technology has contributed to many aspects including education, knowledge sharing and telecommunications. Today, AR helmets are widely used in the domain of construction, for the purpose of information display within building site settings.

Architects are also utilising augmented reality for visualising building projects, as they are able to effortlessly superimpose their virtual designs at building sites. Augmented reality has also contributed to eye-tracking technology innovation, particularly for the purpose of deciphering paralysed people’s eye movements via screen drawings.

Apart from the use cases mentioned above, AR has also been utilised for a multitude of military applications. Shopping has also been enhanced by the influx of augmented reality technology as people are now able to try on clothes virtually regardless of where they are.

The team of researchers in Israel suggests that their developed prototype can create a significant influence within classrooms, for teachers and students. It offers features to augment a wide range of objects. Math and science can be taught better by closing the gap between the real and theoretical world by using AR.

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