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‘VR school’ーA new educational platform for virtual experiences using a THETA 360 degree camera!

Posted date : 2021.02.11

Nowadays, we are in the era of 5G, loT, and AI and on top of that, the online environment has taken center stage due to COVID-19. That leads to drastic changes in how we go about education.

Today, we interviewed Takeshi Kanaya, CEO of Tenup Co., Ltd., which started a service called “VR school” for the purpose of making learning fun and effective by utilizing a THETA 360-degree camera. How does he provide educational services using VR technology? Read on!

Avatars in VR school space

About VR school

Please give us an overview of VR school service

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, online lessons have become widespread, mainly in universities, but the lack of participation and realism in the lessons is an issue that needs to be solved. VR school is an online lesson system in a VR theater developed by our company. In class, we also use 360-degree images taken with THETA.

©RICOH/JAXA

Avatars in a 360-degree image in VR school space

By placing the avatar, the alter ego of teachers or students, in the VR classroom the students can get the feeling of participating in the class through their avatars.

▼Try moving the image around in any direction!▼

Post from RICOH THETA. – Spherical Image – RICOH THETA

©RICOH/JAXA

Example 360-degree image taken with THETA

The space feels more realistic by setting the VR background to a 360-degree image that was taken with THETA.

I actually experienced it in a demo, and was impressed that I was able to freely move around THETA images in every direction with my avatar!

What kind of effect does the use of THETA images in VR have on education?

We believe that using the 360-degree images taken in a realistic location will give the effect of active learning just like an extracurricular lesson.

Avatars in a 360-degree image in VR school space

You can enter the 360 world as an avatar and move around, unlike when simply watching a video or images and then expressing your ideas. With VR, you can feel as if you exist in the space like in games, giving you a more realistic experience.

Post from RICOH THETA. – Spherical Image – RICOH THETA

Example 360-degree image taken with THETA

Currently, we’re in collaboration with Kinki University and Zoshindo-Juken Kenkyusha Publishing Co., Ltd., and are actually conducting a demonstration of online lessons using our VR school. The online VR school classes were highly evaluated according to the survey given to the students who participated in the lessons

Do you also use VR goggles?

At first, we provided 360-degree educational content using VR goggles. But as COVID-19 has impacted our lives, a variety of online learning methods, such as ZOOM, have come about, so we developed our 360-degree VR system called VR school.

Avatars in a 360-degree image in VR school space

When students look at 360-degree images with VR goggles, it evokes a “Wow!” But by entering the space online with their own avatars moving around and interacting with their friends’ avatars, they seem to get deeper experiences.

Post from RICOH THETA. – Spherical Image – RICOH THETA

Example 360-degree image taken with THETA

How are the 360-degree contents shot?

In addition to images provided by RICOH, the teachers also shoot with THETA in various places and use those photos in the lessons.

THETA Z1, which Mr.Kanaya uses

Making the most out of VR outside of school

How can VR school be used outside of school?

We hold events with a large number of people at the ‘gymnasium’ and ‘theater’ in VR school. School events such as entrance ceremonies, school assemblies, and brass band concerts can be held online.

It can also be used as a VR work experience. Children will be able to think about their future by listening to people who are actually in the profession and seeing places that children can’t normally enter.

Image of open campus in VR school

Due to the pandemic, it is difficult to hold school tours. And there are more and more needs for a VR school system, such as having an open campus. Students can imagine a real student’s life by visiting the campus and exploring it in 360 degrees.

In addition, students will be able to enjoy school and the surrounding facilities with their classmates in a VR reunion.

Image of a reunion in VR school

Wow, a reunion would be exciting if they can shoot their school with THETA and enter the world with their real friends as avatars!

Recently, there have been more requests and inquiries from local governments and tourist facilities to use the VR school system for urban development.

That’s true! It seems that there will be more opportunities to utilize online 360-degree VR content in the future, even outside of education.

Next Challenge

Finally, please tell us what you want to try in the future.

We provide virtual reality as a service, but do not want to make everything in real life into VR.

We believe people can experience things in VR and that will get them to love it more in reality.

Meaning, we think that VR can provide an opportunity to know and experience things that can’t be done or visited in real life. VR can be a first step to new experiences. And if something is interesting enough in VR, people may want to experience it in reality with their own feet.

Takeshi Kanaya, representative of Tenup Co., Ltd.

In order to achieve that, we need not only CG images but also real 360-degree images and videos taken with THETA for our VR environments.

Both are important: reality and VR; 360-degree images and CG ones.

On top of that, we add our unique communication function, so we hope to bring our service to a lot of people.

Indeed, children enjoy playing in work experiences in VR school and the professionals tell them how to do their jobs and challenge them on a daily basis. Then children tend to study hard by being exposed to the attitudes of adults. We believe that such a positive cycle will be born in our VR world.

Thank you for the interview today Mr. Kanaya! We support your new venture to utilize a 360 degree virtual world in education!

 

For more details, please visit the product page.

 

Click here for a demo URL to take a look at the VR school!

*You’ll jump to the 360-degree world shot by THETA in a minute after you move to the theater.

How to view the demo

– For PC (*Chrome recommended)
1) Move with the arrow keys on the keyboard

2) Use the mouse to change the direction you are facing

– For smartphones
1) Swipe in the direction you want to look

2) Press and hold to move

HP: Tenup Co., Ltd.

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