Scientists at Spain’s Universidad Carlos III en Madrid have developed software for augmented reality glasses that will allow professors to visualise how their students are understanding class material.
The proposed system, called Augmented Lecture Feedback System (ALFs), requires professors to wear augmented reality glasses in order to facilitate communication between students and professors and see symbols above students’ heads. These symbols are activated by students via their cellphones, which allow them to indicate whether they are following the professor’s explanations. In addition, professors will also be able to view a pie chart with the aggregate of students’ answers.
Telmo Zattaonandia, one of the researchers at the university said in an email “Many of the students are not keen on or feel inhibited by participating in the class. Sometimes they feel shy or they have fear to expose themselves in front of their classmates…An AR [augmented reality] device provides a communication channel unavailable previously between students and teachers which is private.”
A tenured professor in the computer science department, Ignacio Aedo, said that more ergonomic models are in development for easier use as the only problem currently is the devices weight. “Although the models of AR glasses available at the moment are suitable for research, they are still too heavy and cumbersome to be used on a daily basis,” he said. The glasses currently in use are a pair of Vuzix STAR 1200, but an integration of the ALFs into devices such as Google Glass seems to be a logical next step for the implementation of the technology. Aedo continued “We are really looking forward to having a pair of Google Glass with us so we can develop a version of the ALF system for them. Of course it will be necessary to carry out some adjustments, as it seems that in this device only a small portion of the user’s vision is augmented. It is very likely that we will have to sacrifice the symbols over the students’ heads in favour of using pie charts and other ways of representing the summary of the responses from the students”. Ultimately, the developers behind the software hope to use the ALF system in other areas, such as office presentations and conference talks.”
[Image via Vuzix]