Personalized AR Lenses for STEM Education

Maribeth Gandy, Robert Solomon, Chris Moore, Josh Moore, Ben Thompson

Augmented reality (AR) has long been explored as a tool for education, from textbooks that come to life, to plant identification training via the augmentation of actual flora, and a tangible molecular modeling tool. The power of AR (overlaying virtual content on the physical world) is that it can be used to show the “unseen” and the “hidden” information in the world. While this can involve showing representations of occluded objects (such as pipes underneath the ground), it can also be used to visually represent data or properties of the physical world that you would not normally see (such as the forces acting on an object). There is considerable research in this area of situated visualization, defined as “the visual representation of data presented in its spatial and semantic context”. This technique addresses the need in certain contexts to convey to the user the relationships between physical objects and virtual data.

We are demoing our initial prototypes that explore how to use AR and the concept of situated visualization to create a combination physical and virtual “exploration kit” for students that allows them to construct simple static and dynamic systems with physical building components. AR will allow the students to see virtual visualizations of the physics properties and concepts (e.g. velocity, acceleration, forces, friction, elasticity), which control the system, in real-time and overlaid on the real objects.

Funded by the Verizon Foundation

Maribeth Gandy

We are a team of interactive media experts that includes computer scientists, electrical engineers, and graphic artists. IMTC is a multimedia research center at the The Georgia Institute of Technology. IMTC has grown and adapted to meet the needs of business and industry in the USA and abroad by developing and using multimedia technology for enhancement of their core business. IMTC's mission is to assist companies in developing advanced multimedia systems while educating students in multimedia technologies and techniques.

The center also works closely with faculty in a number of other units at Georgia Tech and with numerous other organizations that share and support multimedia technology. For example, IMTC collaborates with The Georgia Center for Advanced Telecommunications Technology, a joint research effort that includes Georgia Tech, Emory University, the Medical College of Georgia, Georgia State University, and The University of Georgia.