Are these the droids you’re looking for? Check out educational 3D Jam demos that take you to the center of the earth, or into the human body. Plus, 7 IoT experiments that bring us just a little closer to the future, including an experimental wheelchair.
Imagine chemistry classes where, instead of watching videos of dangerous experiments, you get to try those experiments for yourself, such as seeing how alkali metals react with water – sometimes explosively! With an interactive simulation of a chemistry lab, you can try burning, exploding, irradiating, polymerizing, and more.
Discover what happens if you pour water into concentrated sulfuric acid. Learn all about the effects of super-cooling. Or even pour mercury all over a desk and see what happens! Grab it, throw it, pour it, play with it and have fun with science!
ChemGrabLab is the creation of Christine Hart (@dstrawberrygirl), a 15-year software industry veteran. “I’ve worked on front-end web applications, middleware, server software and databases, but the most fun I’ve had in recent years has been with the Unity game engine. I’ve been using Unity for over 5 years for developing 3D simulations and virtual world applications, data visualization solutions, and more recently for game projects.”
Requires: Windows, Mac
Earth Elevator lets you experience riding an elevator down into the center of the Earth. As you watch the kilometers tick by, you’ll get a visceral sense of how deep each layer is, and see the unique geology of each layer. The Earth Elevator makes several stops along the way to provide you with information and time to look around.
“For fun, I added a stranded alien at the center of the earth,” says Karen Bryla, a freelance writer and developer who regularly contributes to the VR development blog rifty-business.blogspot.com.
“If you wave to the alien, it gets on the elevator with you for the trip back up to the surface. While I knew that in real life, riding an elevator with strangers can sometimes feel a bit awkward, I was still quite surprised with how much I experienced those same feelings of awkwardness in VR while riding an elevator with an alien.”
Requires: Windows, Oculus Rift
Designed by a team of students at Game-U (@gameu_nj), Nerves is an intense visit to the operating room for a motion-control surgeon. Remove shrapnel from your patient’s back and get it into the tray before he succumbs to his injuries!
The game was developed by high school freshman Jules LeBrun (god of Blender and lead 3D modeler) and three 8th-graders – Ethan Rednor (lead texture designer), Sean Fuhrman (lead programmer, with a game in the App Store no less!), and Rinn Hughes (lead audio technician and music composer).
Requires: Windows, Mac, Linux
Shrink down inside a human body and wander through a respiratory tract to fight cancer cells. In VRΩ, you can use your hands to navigate through the lungs down to an individual cell level and cast rays from your palms to treat or destroy cancer cells.
VRΩ is the product of an impressive interdisciplinary team: a biologist, a 3D artist, two programmers, a game designer, and a project lead. “Our biologist Annett Kühnel explained to us how lung cancer cells can be detected and treated and how it actually looks once you are inside the body,” the VRagments (@vragments) team told us.
“Using her information, our 3D artist Jens Brandenburg was able to build 3D models in a believable way. Based on that information, our game designer Marcus Bösch focused on the narrative. Two programmers, Stephan Gensch and Ronny Esterluss, worked on gesture detection, navigation, and development in Unity3D. Linda Rath-Wiggins brought the team together.”
Requires: Mac, Oculus Rift
HomeBright is an easy-to-built hardware project that lets you access convenient controls to your home automation. Using the Leap Motion Controller, you can control your home appliances from one place in your home using hand gestures. Creator Vincent Wong (@wesee) is a freelance mobile developer who currently works for a start-up called Payex PLT.
Laser Tanks is an IoT robot game that uses the Leap Motion Controller for a realistic tank driver experience. “Placing your hands in positions similar to WWII Sherman driving and steering levers,” creator Sean McCormick (@corky2003) says, “the user controls his tank around obstacles and other opponents while shooting infrared beams to try and hit and destroy their enemies.”
Sean is a 20+ year software developer. When he’s not working for an online education company, he’s building IoT projects and devices, brewing beer, coaching soccer and teaching kids about the epic possibilities of technology.
For people with limited mobility, technology is a powerful force for independence. LEAPing into Accessibility is an experimental wheelchair interface that lets you navigate, as well as remotely access and control many household appliances, with simple gestures.
“As we spent lots of time working in the wheelchair, we began to gain a better understanding of the struggles that those who are wheelchair-bound have to face everyday,” says Akhil Veeraghanta, who created the project along with Steven Sonderhoff. Both senior-year students at Burnaby North Secondary School, they’ve been working on different projects together for years. They’re currently working on a 3D printer and designing their own electric longboards.
Control robots with a flick of your hand with Quadrapus RC from Shane Celis (@shanecelis), an evolutionary robotics researcher turned gamedev. With his project, you can control a blue four-legged robot, or “quadrapus,” whose legs mimic your fingers. Beyond the virtual robot, you can also control a real Sunfounder robot.
“Integrating the Leap Motion Controller with hardware opens up an infinite realm of interactive 3D art, projects and possibilities, only limited by your imagination,” says Syed Anwaarullah (@anwaarulla). He’s a full-stack hardware/software/firmware developer, maker, speaker, and educator who loves tinkering with all things technical.
“By building this robot off the Raspberry Pi and WebIOPi IoT framework, I wanted makers, tinkerers, and artists to see how easy it is to build wireless gesture-controlled hardware and IoT integrations. I’ve been showing around many of my Leap Motion-controlled projects (both Arduino- and Raspberry Pi-based) at many conferences and events, and folks are simply amazed at how exciting and fun these integrations can get.” Along with his blog, Syed is also a two-time contributor to the Leap Motion blog.