APPLICATION OF VIRTUAL REALITY TECHNOLOGY IN THE LEARNING PROCESS
The advantages of using virtual reality technologies in the learning process are the following:
- The use of the full range of human receptor systems ensures the coordination of transferring information through several channels;
- The possibility of full immersion in the created environment;
- The possibility of creating flexible training programs;
- The possibility to interactively consolidate the acquired knowledge and to master the skills.
Virtual reality based training allows educators to visually deliver lectures and seminars, display the trainees all aspects of a real object or process. Virtual reality technologies make it possible to take full advantage of the fact that a person receives 80% of information from the outside world through vision, while people remember 20% of what they see, 40% of what they see and hear, and 70% of what they see, hear and do.
The most popular devices (helmets and glasses) of virtual reality are HTC Vive, Sony Play Station VR, Oculus Rift, Samsung Gear VR, Microsoft HoloLens.
The research laboratory of the Institute of Distance and Further Education of the Ulyanovsk State Technical University (UlSTU) has been developing virtual work places for the following specialties: a radio assembler, a radio fitter and a radio adjuster.
The developments use the virtual glasses HTC Vive. The HTC Vive includes a headset, a pair of hand-tracking controllers, and a pair of wireless base stations. The Vive headset has a built-in front-facing camera, due to which at any time, by pressing a special button, the user can look at the real world while still wearing the headset, and talk to the people in the room, looking at them on his/her virtual screen.
The Unity platform is used as the basic software. It provides the possibility of creating projects for virtual reality glasses.
In order to program operations of interaction between game objects and controllers, the SteamVR SDK software package is used. Its advantage is that it contains a game scene in which the possibilities of using the package are demonstrated. As a result, projects for virtual reality are developed and modified more quickly. The SteamVR SDK software package also contains a standard player object with customized camera and game controller settings. The key scripts are: Interactable, containing the event handlers associated with touching the subject with the controller; Throwable, which processes the physical interaction of the object and the controller (this script automatically connects Interactable, Velocity Estimator and the Rigidbody component).
The algorithm for modifying the application, therefore, consists of the following steps.
1. To diagram user's interaction with objects.
2. To create a three-dimensional scene and objects in the visual editor Unity.
3. To import the SteamVR SDK package.
4. To develop logic in C #.
5. To modify the camera and control scripts of the camera object during the testing process.
The developed virtual workplaces are used in the educational process of the College of Economics and Informatics of UlSTU in practical classes for students of radio engineering specialties. The use of such workplaces have allowed educators to increase the students’ motivation, the quality of knowledge of technological processes of assembling, adjusting and fitting instruments and devices, and to reduce the time of mastering operations on real equipment by 50%.