Expert View

Spatial Computing and its impact on Education

By Kavita Sanghvi, Principal, CNM School and N D Parekh Pre-primary School, Mumbai
Imagine a classroom where all physical resources have been digitally catalogued, all the sensors and devices have been connected to Internet of Things and the digital map of the classroom has been merged with the object map. So, when teacher carries her laptop to class, the lights come on automatically, the teacher’s chair recognizes her and moves to accommodate her. The Interactive board switches on to her last lesson. The class mike becomes operational. The students entering class after attending a sports class having a digital wristwatch comfortably move to their seating area with any obstacle on their way like bag automatically moving away and the air conditioners adjusts its cooling to suit the students present body temperature. Further, any student falling or having a mishap in the classroom, an alarm is sounded and the school nurse automatically arrives for support.

Well, is this for real? Yes, this is ‘SPATIAL COMPUTING” and is the next step in the convergence of physical and digital worlds. In the Top 10 emerging technologies of 2020 shared by the World Economic Forum [https://www.weforum.org/reports/top-10-emerging-technologies-2020 ], spatial computing has a major role to play in Industry redefining itself.

Let’s understand the term spatial computing. As per Techslang, Spatial computing refers to the process of using digital technology to make computers interact seamlessly in a three-dimensional world using augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), and mixed reality (MR). Spatial computing uses physical space to send input and receive output from a computer.

The video from DELL EMC WORLD CUSTOMER STORY. NIKE: VISION FOR THE FUTURE OF DESIGN makes the understanding very clear.

So let’s understand this through the world of education.  For starters, it enables all school processes to become streamlined, efficient and time saving thereby improving the quality of work.

In case of learning, it offers experiential, interactive and engaging learning interaction between students and teachers.

Let us study through an example: The students are studying Egyptian civilization and wish to see collection of artifacts, mummies, coffins, stones, ancient belongings, and even food types that used to be buried with the kings before death to use in the afterlife. We connect with the Egyptian Museum in Cairo as they have connected all their artifacts to spatial computing.

The app allows multiple students and teachers to view a 3D model of a historical object from anywhere in the world and in real-time when they are using a XR [Extended Reality] headsets which shifts effectively between VR and AR – ideally encompassing MR [Mixed Reality] as well. So, they created a single 3D rendering of the artifact in photorealistic form. This true-to-life replica could then be exhibited in a joint-viewing area and examined remotely by anyone, from anywhere.

The museum curator can present digital twin of the artifact to multiple students at one time. Students seated at home can highlight, enlarge objects, examine the artifact, ask questions to the curator and also ask peer to peer questions. They can even walk around the artifact.

Take another case of students conducting experiment, mixing Hydrogen and Sulphur and seeing the production of hydrogen sulphide and able to smell the rotten eggs odour. It allows students to experiment with the materials, measurements and note down observations and arrive at conclusions based on evidence. Similarly studying a heart in 3D. Now, would one really need a laboratory?

In Literature, it allows the stories or movie discussions to come alive and students actually witnessing the stories and discussing the characters in real time with other educators or peers across the world.

In Geography, if you are studying Sahara Desert, you are actually there feeling the heat, the smell of the dessert, the texture of the sand. You actually watch the gerbil, jerboa, Cape hare, desert hedgehog, Barbary Sheep, scimitar horned oryx moving about in real time from the comfort of your own homes or classrooms anchoring your body into the experience. Similarly getting an undersea experience. Isn’t that exciting? If you are wondering when this is going to happen then do note the XR glasses are still in the R & D phase but very much around the corner.

Education then has taken up a complete transformation and physical spaces have merged with the digital making learning truly immersive. Much obviously, the teacher training will be upmost on the list ensuring that every teacher has adapted themselves to the technology and given the recent COVID 19 scenario and the manner the teachers rose to the occasion, that will be the least concern.

Further, curriculum developers, textbook, research book publications, software companies will have to gear up to provide the students with the spatial experience. With all the recent advances, the future does seem optimistic with the world compressed by a single click.

References:

What is spatial computing: https://www.fieldbit.net/what-is-spatial-computing/

Spatial Computing in Less than 140 Characters (and more) In Gear & Tech – Https://Www.Stambol.Com/About/

What is spatial computing: https://www.ultraleap.com/company/news/blog/what-is-spatial-computing/

Transforming education and training with spatial computing: https://www.magicleap.com/en-us/news/news/transforming-education-and-training-with-spatial-computing

Vision Comic Book : https://spatialtoolbox.vuforia.com/SpatialComputing.pdf

Introduction to XR: https://www.coursera.org/lecture/xr-introduction/spatial-computing-6cz3a?utm_source=link&utm_medium=page_share&utm_content=vlp&utm_campaign=top_button

https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.magicleap.com%2Fnews%2Fop-ed%2Fspatial-computing-an-overview-for-our-techie-friends&psig=AOvVaw0Ep_EpfFds4UpsahQxk1wm&ust=1607754058553000&source=images&cd=vfe&ved=0CAIQjRxqFwoTCLCCyeKkxe0CFQAAAAAdAAAAABBL

 

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