Day 2: VR Sculpting to Improve Mobility and Accessibility
The second day of LTH STEM Camp starts off with Hero Challenge Two: use virtual reality to sculpt an invention that will be connected to crutches and help people with limited mobility tend to their gardens. Of course, the students need a Super Power to complete this challenge, so we set out to learn about the Oculus VR system and its new user interface paradigms.
In the LTH program, we give each and every student time to become familiar with equipment, interface, and applications that will be the foundation of our sculpting. After taking time learning the basics of Medium VR Sculpting, an application within Oculus Rift, the students are ready to build their ideas in 3D.
Bonus Skill: 3D Scanning with Knockout Concepts
The students are in for a big surprise: we invite local business Knockout Concepts to stop by and introduce 3D Scanning technology they are currently developing in Franklinton. The professionals at Knockout have been building and refining their scanners and software to make it easy for anyone to use their KS-1 scanner to capture items, people, and scenes in 3D. These can be manipulated on in Medium VR or other 3D modeling software, paving the way for use in medical, sports, fashion, and automotive industries..
To make the experience real for the students, we need to scan a person using crutches, transforming them into a 3D model to facilitate the sculpting in VR. The engineers from Knockout are able to quickly scan volunteers on crutches from each Clubhouse while explaining the process to students. Before we know it, the colorized 3D model of each volunteer is loaded into the VR system, scaled to be life-size.
Time to Sculpt in VR
Now that each VR System is prepped with a life-size model, the students are tasked with building their inventions in 3D. We challenge each student to build a solution to 1 of 3 accessibility problems: Planting Seeds, Watering Plants, and Harvesting Vegetables. What type of invention could you build that would let somebody on crutches work in their garden?
Rapid prototyping in 3D makes it easy for each student to quickly express their ideas. By moving straight to 3D design and skipping traditional sketching, students immediately realize their ideas as life-size 3D objects that can be scaled, manipulated, and eventually exported to a 3D printer for fast realization.
After ample time in VR, the students produce some incredible inventions to help people in the garden; mechanical robot arms to aid in harvesting vegetables, a voice controlled seed-planting drone that charges in a backpack connected to the crutches. Students are excited to build these helpful inventions!
VR Super Power and Taking it Further
By the end of the day, each student learns how to use 3D sculpting in Virtual Reality to solve problems. 3D models sculpted in VR can be 3D printed, although many of the inventions from our students are simply too large to print on our little Lulzbot! Our hope is that our students will view Virtual Reality as not only an immersive experience platform, but also as an important tool to help people. VR Sculpting Super Power Achieved!