Academic journal article T H E Journal (Technological Horizons In Education)

The Virtual Reality Skeleton Project

Academic journal article T H E Journal (Technological Horizons In Education)

The Virtual Reality Skeleton Project

Article excerpt

THE OBJECTIVE OF THIS PROJECT IS TO PROVIDE A FLEXIBLE, INTERACTIVE teaching tool for a human anatomy and physiology lecture and lab. This self-paced, interactive program, created using QuickTime Virtual Reality (QTVR), affords students the opportunity to study the various bones of the skeletal system in the human body at their own pace and on their own time. Users are able to access this program on the campus of Broward Community College from Learning Resource Centers, or by connecting to the network from home. Students often find the study of human bones overwhelming and approach it with trepidation. This hands-on, self-paced program puts learners at ease with the material by promoting a sense of control and certainty. This article presents an overview of the QTVR technology with examples of its application in education, and discusses the process of creating a QTVR object movie.

Virtual Reality is generally defined as a three-dimensional, computer-generated synthetic environment or structure that gives the user a sense of being immersed in a real world (Spargue 1996). The Virtual Reality Skeleton (VRS) Project was designed to address the students' need to meticulously study the skeletal system without being confined to a particular time and place. The VRS also helps students identify the markings of the bones, as well as the processes, depressions and foramina on the skeletal system. The program identifies bones and their associated structures. The lab and lecture learning objectives guide the development process of the VRS so that the learning process is user-centered (Kemp, Morrison & Ross 1998).

The program will soon be available on the college network and streamed for access over the Internet. This will facilitate access to students who will be able to use their personal computers from home or from any other remote location with Internet access. Thus, the studying and learning processes will no longer be confined to a laboratory setting or limited to a lab period. Moreover, a hands-on, self-paced program puts learners at ease with the material by promoting a sense of control and certainty, thus enhancing the learning process (Kemp, Morrison & Ross 1998). In addition, the VRS can be manipulated to rotate the view of bones, further strengthening the learners' ability to study the structures.

The program design consists of numerous screens, each displaying individual bones of the cranium, axial, and appendicular skeleton and their anatomical markings.

What is QTVR?

QTVR is an immersive technology that gives the user control to interact with images in a non-linear manner. QTVR is based on the rendering of photographic images of real objects rather than computer-generated images, as is the case with other forms of 3-D programs. There are two basic types of QuickTime VR images: panoramas and object movies.

In a panorama movie, the viewer is placed at the center of a view and, using the mouse, is able to pan a full 360 degrees horizontally. In some cases, it is possible to create a panorama that provides panning up to 180 degrees vertically. Users can also zoom in and out of the panorama. Two or more individual panoramas are linked together using "hotspots" that allow users to "walk" through an area. Designers can enrich the experience for the user by embedding other forms of media, objects and hyperlinks into the panoramas. They can be developed using software such as CorelDraw 9 for a Windows platform, or QuickTime VR Authoring Studio software for a Mac. The final panorama product is viewable using either platform.

Panoramas are represented by a 360-degree view from a single point in space while QTVR objects are essentially the opposite. In an object movie, the object is the center of rotation, and the viewer, by moving the cursor, can rotate the object to examine it from different perspectives. QTVR objects are represented by a sequence of individual views. …

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