A class of students in a school has to learn about a specific scientific content, in our case the human digestive tract. Typically one student uses our Augmented Reality teaching platform with a plastic model of a human torso put on the desktop in front of him/her. Dynamic generated 3D images overlayed on the model illustrate the digestive process. A teacher can either explain or stand in the back to answer questions.
Students can learn about the digestive process, the functionality of organs and their arrangements by watching a show, but also by intervention. They can for instance watch virtual food to be processed. So the students influence the virtual demonstration and through this, the augmentation of the model.
Assignments are implemented in a way that they have to answer questions about the digestive process using a 3D pointing interaction metaphor. Due to the fact that the model of the human torso is much bigger than the interaction area of the AR system two students, each using his/her own AR display can co-operatively work together while sharing one of it.
The application consists of 4 main stages; one AR demo show to illustrate how virtual food is processed and 3 assignments where students should answer questions by selecting the appropriate objects. They use an input device (see pictures on the right) with which they can produce the expected 3D input that is then processed by the AR system. An example is given on the lower picture on the right. There a student has specified the organ the system asked for.
Furthermore the torso model is equipped with markers to track its position and orientation as well. Thus a student can move the torso in a way that it fits to his/her personal preferences (e.g. move visible part of augmentation into physical reachability).
Our first prototype was established after 11 months. The basic AR technologies were integrated into this research prototype, i.e. augmenting a real object with virtual information and providing interaction with it. This early stage of system integration had the following advantages: First, our consortium had a common system with well-defined and standardized interfaces among various system components, which can be improved, extended and optimized during the project period. Second, the students and teachers got a first experience with the Augmented Reality teaching platform. The feedback from the evaluation of this prototype had a very positive influence on further project cooperation and made the project results more useful and realistic.