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Published on September 10th, 2020 | by Emergent Enterprise


Augmented Reality Will Revolutionize the Geology Classroom

Emergent Insight:
Some of the best lessons that the enterprise world can learn come from, not unexpectedly, universities. A good example of this is presented in this post from Chris Young at Interesting Engineering. The students in the geology department at Washington University in St. Louis are using augmented reality in powerful ways to “dig deep” and study their field in immersive and 3-D ways never before possible. I would think mining-related companies could immediately take advantage of the GeoXplorer app. This is a reminder that with the slow ascent of AR/VR/MR/XR good examples of the technology can be found in unexpected places. Be on the lookout. It might be right under your feet – like the rocks you stand on.

Original Article:
Photo above: Washington University in St. Louis

A Washington University team is showing how you can explore objects on a molecular level and travel to other planets.

Does anyone remember the cartoon series the Magic School Bus? Ok, maybe we’re getting old.

The series saw a chirpy teacher take her students on incredible school trips using that titular magic bus, which could shrink to explore the human body on a molecular scale or use rocket boosters to travel the solar system.

While geology students aren’t about to be shrunk down to the size of a molecule in order to explore rock formations, augmented reality (AR) is allowing them to do the next best thing.

A group at Washington University in St. Louis, led by Martin Pratt, is developing some very interesting apps that tap into that immense potential.

Augmented Reality Will Revolutionize the Geology Classroom
The GeoXplorer UI, SourceWashington University in St. Louis

The team has been working on apps such as the already-released GeoXplorer (for iOS and Android). Developed using the Unity game engine, the app allows users to visualize the way atoms are arranged in a large selection of crystalline structure models for different minerals. There are also many different rock types, and even entire rock outcrops, that can all be visualized in 3-D.

The group is developing its apps both for smartphone devices and for AR headsets, such as Microsoft’s HoloLens.

Augmented Reality Will Revolutionize the Geology Classroom
SourceWashington University in St. Louis

“You want to represent that data, not in a projective way like you would do on a screen on a textbook, but actually in a three-dimensional way,” Pratt explained in an interview with Ars Technica.

Augmented Reality Will Revolutionize the Geology Classroom
Martin and Professor Skemer explore the Stackpole syncline in Southwest Wales, SourceWashington University in St. Louis

“So you can actually look around it [and] manipulate it exactly how you would do in real life,” he continued. “The thing with augmented reality that we found most attractive [compared to virtual reality] is that it provides a much more intuitive teacher-student setting. You’re not hidden behind avatars. You can use body-language cues [like] eye contact to direct people to where you want to go.”

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The Emergent Enterprise (EE) website brings together current and important news in enterprise mobility and the latest in innovative technologies in the business world. The articles are hand selected by Emergent Enterprise and not the result of automated electronic aggregating. The site is designed to be a one-stop shop for anyone who has an ongoing interest in how technology is changing how the world does business and how it affects the workforce from the shop floor to the top floor. EE encourages visitor contributions and participation through comments, social media activity and ratings.

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