In order to find out more about Virtual Reality I was invited to attend a demonstration of Fieldscapes.
Dr Liz Falconer, Denyse King (Midwifery Lecturer) and David Hunt met with Nash Mbaya and David Burden from Daden Limited today; to continue their collaborative development of a Virtual Maternity Urinalysis Clinic using ‘Fieldscapes’.
Fieldscapes is a service which lets educators create and share 3D and VR immersive learning exercises. It includes a user generated library of locations and objects, and an editor which lets tutors create their own lessons on any topic.
David Burden explained that in simple terms; the Immersive 3D aspect of Fieldscapes
allows you to become an avatar in a room; for example, using first person mode to work through multiple choice exercises and interact with the environment. Alternatively, the student can wear a VR headset e.g. Oculus Rift to fully immerse themselves in the environment and interact with patients.
The meeting was part of the Collaborative Alternative Augmented Reality Series (CAARS)- a project that is creating a 3D virtual environment that can be used in other HE and clinical contexts.
Throughout the morning, the team worked together to debug and refine the way in which an avatar carried out a urinalysis test for a maternity patient. The experience began with the user selecting their own avatar (midwifery student in this case). The user then made the avatar walk down the corridor to the clinical room; this was brought to life with the addition of sound effects. Once in the room, the avatar could hear a knock at the door and they opened the door for a maternity patient to enter the room. They then had to complete a series of MCQs and exercises in order to correctly and safely carry out the urinalysis test.
Feedback about the students’ performance in terms of how many green, amber and red choices they made was visible throughout. Teaching input was also included during the training exercise, for example a short animation detailing thorough handwashing procedure.
The idea is that the first-year students can practise this training exercise as many times as required without endangering patients. It will be adapted for 2nd and 3rd year students including reducing the time limit available etc. It is hoped that once set up there will only be minor alterations needed to prepare the exercise for future cohorts; e.g., updating the expiry date on the image of the analysis testing sticks. The activity can easily be shared with students via the URL.
After lunch the team moved on to explore and improve the immersive use of the VR maternity clinic using Oculus Rift and the 3D experience with google cardboard. The BU staff were delighted that the Oculus Rift dramatically altered the look and feel of the clinical room, and that the handheld Haptic feedback controls added to the experience (though some initial practise is needed to get used to these). When using the google cardboard, the buttons were used to move the avatar and select MCQ answers etc.
Midwifery students will be using Fieldscapes this October, with other uses planned for the future. Watch this Fieldscape!
For more information about the CAARS project see Denyse’s staff page- http://staffprofiles.bournemouth.ac.uk/display/dking
For Fieldscapes info- https://www.fieldscapesvr.com
(Fieldscapes is free to develop your own setting and avatars. For use with 20 students it costs approximately £300 so it is cheaper than Second Life in that respect).