Google is already taking classrooms around the world on virtual field trips, but now it’s bringing students into VR laboratories too.
The company today detailed its partnership with Labster to bring more than 30 virtual labs to students across the globe via the Daydream platform, which it announced at I/O earlier this year. In a blog post, Google reasoned that many students and schools (especially those studying online) don’t have the resources to spend lots of time in laboratories, which is required in many STEM degrees such as biology. These virtual labs, then, allow anyone to spend as much time as they see fit carrying out experiments.
The labs are fully interactive virtual environments, providing access to state of the art equipment. They’ll allow you to examine organisms under a microscope, sequence DNA, and combine materials in a way that’s reminiscent of a classic point-and-click adventure game. They can also augment your experience with features not possible in real life, like visiting new planets and manipulating DNA at a molecular level.
While the Labster package is mainly being sold to universities, a free sample app is now available for Daydream owners. It’s a pretty thorough package, though we’d love to see additions like multi-user support in the future.
Arizona State University’s online Biological Sciences course already started offering these virtual labs earlier this month, and it’s soon to arrive in courses at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the University of Texas at San Antonio, and McMaster University, with more sites across the US and Europe coming soon. The labs are compatible with both the Daydream View and the recently-launched Lenovo Mirage Solo.