OdinXR, a Cal Poly senior project group, is developing a solution to allow engineering students affected by COVID-19 to attend labs using a virtual reality headset.
Electrical engineering senior, Tessa Luzuriaga, came up with the idea in July 2020, after COVID-19 took away the hands-on learning she and her peers expected from their classes.
“We essentially lost out on a very good chunk of our education,” Luzuriaga said. “We wanted to provide a better lab environment for future online education.”
Luzuriaga’s team, a total of six people, started developing their virtual lab project in September 2021 and are expecting to finish by this summer.
Once implemented, students will access these virtual labs with a simple headset and login. Their specific course material will be provided by their professors and be accessible in this virtual reality.
When in the virtual lab, students will use hand remotes to move and interact with the materials provided and complete the lab as they would in class, just virtually.
“In the lab right now, we are focusing mainly on low level electronic courses. Basically, your core of electrical engineering will be in our first lab offering,” Luzuriaga said.
While working as a teacher’s assistant for an electrical engineering course, Luzuriaga worked with a student who uses accommodations from the Disability Resource Center. Dismayed with the inadequate accommodations offered to the student, Luzuriaga decided to reach out in hopes of connecting her project with the center.
There wasn’t much the DRC was able to offer these students. They couldn’t replicate the labs or provide the learning material in an efficient way.
Now, the two groups are working together and will soon be able to bring virtual labs to those who are affected by COVID-19 and allow them to continue their learning remotely.
In the future, Luzuriaga and her team hopes to develop OdinXR into a fully fledged business and work with other schools to offer their virtual labs.
“We are targeting Cal State schools that have electrical engineering programs. If we could snap our fingers and be where we want to be that’s it,” Kyle Reis, a business student working on the project, said. “We want to be in every disability resource center throughout the Cal State system.”
The team is already talking to another school they preferred not to name and are working on getting their idea implemented into their disability resource center and engineering program.
“We’re really excited. We kind of have the vision implemented and I think we are all just very eager to get more users and a key partnership with another university,” Reis said. “We’re looking forward to that breakthrough where we can start getting some more feedback and implementation.”
Those interested in keeping up with the project or taking part in testing can visit their website.