Creating the future: PixelMax in action

Here are some examples of how we've used VR and AR technologies to augment or revamp current ways of working.
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Read time:
2 mins
Author:
Shay O'Carroll
Date:
September 23, 2021

You probably know by now that PixelMax aims to use the literally limitless power of the virtual world to make real improvements in the way we work today.

Two areas which are really embracing the possibilities are the medical industry and the world of academia.

Here are some examples of how we've used VR and AR technologies to augment or revamp current ways of working.

Improving 150 years of learning tradition with augmented reality teaching

The lecture halls of the UK have a world-renowned tradition of exploring some ground-breaking territory. Here our work enabled a new generation of students to study in an unconventional manner.

This project was funded by the Physiological Society’s David Jordan Teaching Award and also featured in an award-winning paper presented at VISUAL2019. This work has implications for how abstract subjects will be learned and understood for years to come.

We worked alongside Dr William Hurst from Liverpool John Moores University and Dr John Barrow from the University of Aberdeen to enhance life-science education in Dr Barrow's undergraduate classes.

Dr Barrow had a longstanding belief that students often struggle to grasp the complex and abstract nature of molecular interactions and structures within biochemistry and cellular biology… which is understandable! Particularly as traditional didactic teaching methods – 2D diagrams in textbooks - were developed 150 years ago and are still the norm.

So, we aimed to employ the power of augmented reality to make that less abstract and easier to understand, by bringing the previously hard-to-imagine and highly dynamic processes to life for the students. Both the insulin and glycolytic metabolic pathways were fully modelled for the course to demonstrate how insulin functions and how sugars are broken down by human cells.

Furthermore, given the target audience of this project, Dr Barrow wanted to bring some of the gamification principles we'd been working on to the simulation. 

We teamed up with student interns to incorporate these in the most engaging manner and ended up with fully visualised game animations that altered as students worked through each step of the  pathway. 

The combined result was revolutionary. Because the user can interact and ‘play’ with these animations they can more intuitively understand their shapes and molecular functions.

The technology is in its infancy, but you can see the potential implications – not just in the classroom, but also in medical settings where doctors could better explain complex drugs and treatments to patients to aid their understanding of their own bodies.


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