I just got back from ISTE 2017 in San Antonio Texas. Saw some really cool things with emergent technology that I’d like to report on. Specifically, I was excited about some of the augmented reality products that I see coming and becoming increasingly accessible for educational use.
First, I was impressed by what I saw with the Google Expeditions AR project. I spent some time with the Expeditions AR selfie sticks, playing with their AR experience. Here’s a video of me going through a blood vessel you can see the red blood cells as we go right through it.
A pretty cool product. I’m really excited to see that Google Expeditions AR is taking the collaborative feature which we can use in Google Expeditions (VR) and bringing it into an augmented reality world. This will allowed for impressive shared-experiences within our classroom, keeping us mentally and physically present in the learning space. I’m not sure when the full rollout of this is going to happen but I know that the Google Expeditions AR folks are looking for pilot schools to test out the product and get it ready for a full-scale K-12 availability. If you are interested in being a pilot school fill out this form: https://goo.gl/N8EDii.
During my augmented reality workshop at ISTE, I invited Jeremy from Merge Cube to bring in his product to give attendees some hands-on experience. The Merge Cube (www.mergevr.com) is a foam cube that reminds me a lot of what I saw with Elements 4D (http://elements4d.daqri.com/), which allowed you to take elements from the periodic table of elements put them underneath your phone (for AR) and you could see how they looked and changed as they were combined with chemicals that they are compatible with. Unfortunately, Elements 4D is no longer under any future development by Daqri, as they are now focusing their research and development on producing AR smart glasses.
Merge Cube is taking AR and bringing it into this digital and physical world through smartphones that we already have access to. This will allow students to handle the manipulative and turn it and shift it use it as a game piece, or game board, all viewable through mobile technology. MergeVR will be selling their own viewer but, I tried it out with my Viewmaster AR and found the clicker allowed me to click through the features just fine. I had a chance to take this home with me and give a try with my 7 and 10-year-old and they were pretty excited about how easy it worked and how they were able to immerse themselves in an AR World pretty quickly. Look for Merge Cube in stores soon!
At the Microsoft Partners Booth I worked a little bit with Martin from Lifeliqe. I found Lifeliqe was really cool especially when you experience it through the Hololens. They’ve been investing a lot of time in developing for the hololens anticipating that this is part of the future for education. The Lifeliqe app that has a free one month download of their features which are connected to various science textbooks as well as Next Gen Science learning standards. I recommend checking out Lifeliqe for their 1-month free trial and see if it’s a good fit for you. There are over 1000 different three-dimensional models available through the Lifeliqe app in IOS and Android. Their models are changeable you can move them up and down increase their size you can even record screenshots. Additionally, in the app, you have the ability to view in a are so if you were looking at a Stegosaurus you could actually put it on a table or on your friends head and record the process and insert it into a project slide show. Lifeliqe’s work with the hololens really looks like the way things are going, I had the opportunity to try it out a couple of times and found it is really cool to increase and decrease the size of a lunar eclipse as an example and walk through that lunar eclipse and get a real up close look at it. Additionally, what I wasn’t really ready for was to try out Lifeliqe VR.
They’ve developed a several VR experiences for the HTC Vive these experiences are unbelievable I went for a tour of the International Space Station from space so I got to fly around the International Space Station and experienced their three-dimensional modeling.
I’ve seen video of people using HTC Vive and I’ve watched them play games and all that, but I never experienced it for myself. I’ll tell you right now the videos that we see do not do it justice this is a really powerful product that brings us into a VR world. I have really been spending most of my time looking at and thinking about, AR but honestly the VR stuff is really, really incredible and it really gets me closer and closer to that Star Trek Holodeck that we’re all waiting for.
I think both AR and VR have a powerful future. In particular, augmented reality has come a really far away and as we saw at ISTE through several vendors. It’s really amazing what our students are going to very soon have access to. I don’t pretend to have seen every augmented reality experience at ISTE, and I’m sure there are other ones that were pretty awesome. But the Tango-enabled Expeditions AR, Merge Cube, and Lifeliqe or the ones that really popped out to me that I got some Hands-On time with and wanted to share with you.