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Effectiveness of AR Models on Discovery, Learning, and Education

Augmented Reality_Chemistry Education

Kum-Biocca H.H., Farinas E.T., Mistry N., Wan Y. (2020) Molecular Augmented Reality for Design and Engineering (MADE): Effectiveness of AR Models on Discovery, Learning, and Education. In: Stephanidis C., Antona M., Ntoa S. (eds) HCI International 2020 – Late-Breaking Posters. HCII 2020. Communications in Computer and Information Science, vol 1294. Springer, Cham.

Grant award: NSF I-Corps 2021: AR Chemistry Education Program 

The design and manipulation of chemical systems involve understanding the form or morphology of chemical structures. An understanding of the form of chemical structure includes an understanding of the components of chemical structure, the functions of the forms and sub-components, and changes in the structure of chemical systems during an interaction, maturation, or chemical process. Viewed from a computer graphic viewpoint these chemical processes can be described and modeled as three-dimensional structures, changing shape, and interacting with other 3D structures. Furthermore, our intuition was that the visualization should be as embodied as possible and open for collaboration.

In this project, we seek to create a tool for collaborative, embodied visualization of biomolecules.  To achieve this interaction with targeted for hand on visualizations allowing for biomolecular exploration and scientific visualization within immersive augmented reality platforms. We anticipate a tool where components can assist both in (1) biomolecule discovery and design and a subset applicable for (2) education in biomolecules. We conducted some formative research to analyze user value and requirements.

For the prototype, we focused on the visualization of DNA binding protein, called Zip Proteins. These proteins are transcription factors.  This system is implemented across two devices that support AR capabilities: head mount display (HMD) and the mobile phone. The key development is the porting of these molecules to an immersive augmented reality environment for direct interaction.

Describing the advantage of the platform for this application at the broadest level, we can say that augmented reality platforms allow for full embodied interaction with the structures at any scale and are contextualized by the physical background. We also discuss future plans for this platform.

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