Dev #02: Virtual Classrooms & Desktop Interactions

Where we talk about virtual classrooms, new learning environments and ways to bridge the gap between virtual reality and desktop users.

Dev #02: Current Activities

Currently, there are three open merge requests involving Spacial Voice Chat and the Whiteboard interactions (mentioned in our first devblog), as well as object manipulation via desktop interaction. In addition, we are currently investigating how different learning environments can be designed for use in VR, with a focus on virtual classrooms for our first evaluation prototype. To keep the learning environment, users, and their interaction with objects and items synchronized across all participants, we are working in parallel on the necessary network components.

Virtual Classrooms

Virtual reality makes it possible to learn together with others in a virtual space, independent of the physical location. At the same time, natural interactions allow objects and processes to be grasped in the truest sense of the word. We see one way to open up such virtual spaces for learning processes in virtual classrooms, which are at least in principle oriented towards real classrooms. In order to investigate this more closely, also in the context of the first trials and evaluations of, we are currently creating such a virtual classroom in which we can, for example, individually determine the arrangement of workstations.

Seating Arrangment:

In addition to such virtual classrooms, we will also investigate how less traditionally designed learning worlds can affect learning processes: The goal of is not to necessarily transfer conventional teaching and learning concepts to virtual reality, but to identify the methods best suited for learning with AR and VR.

We are also very interested in investigating the social aspects of learning with AR/VR. We suspect that they are decisively shaped by communication and collaboration in an immersive virtual learning world and as such, efficient ways to design these worlds becomes especially important.

Desktop Interactions currently supports PC-based virtual reality headsets (HMDs), desktop PCs and Android devices. Interaction methods are developed with a focus on virtual reality, but are also transferred to other operating concepts as far as possible. One such scenario is the creation of complex virtual learning worlds, which may be more efficiently realized on the desktop and with conventional input methods. To investigate this, we are currently working on implementing interactions that seem quite natural in VR (e.g. grasping and moving objects) on the desktop as well. Aspects of particular interest here include, for example, methods to display meaningful feedback on object states during manipulation. While in VR the spatial orientation of an object held in the hand can be naturally captured and classified, the desktop lacks, in particular, the depth information visible in VR. To compensate for such drawbacks, we make use of visual aids familiar from specialized 3D software, so-called Gizmos. In the past week, we have created a first draft for this, where objects can also be moved and rotated on the desktop. This will still be extended with additional methods (e.g. scaling).


The components implemented last week (e.g. writing on the whiteboard) have been extended with network components so that they also work as expected in multiplayer sessions. We also created a first draft for user groups (incl. usernames), which will serve as the basis for user management.

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