TRANS-DISCIPLINARY EDUCATION IN BIOLOGY AND ENGINEERING TECHNOLOGY

This project is a collaboration with the University of Cincinnati Biological Sciences “Biology Meets Engineering” Program supported by the National Science Foundation Division of Research on Learning Award #1759150 (PI: Rollman). 

Trans-disciplinary Education in Biology and Engineering Technology is a project that focuses on increasing diversity in STEM and increasing student and teacher experience in the fields of biology and engineering. The project consists of: (a) an integrated three-week summer program; (b) a college credit course and workshops, and; (c) paid summer internships upon graduation.

UCSIM has designed and developed a virtual reality experience for the college credit course that uses virtual reality to educate students on spatial navigation. The course, BIOL2030, will introduce students to the exciting interface of biology with robotics, and instill the fundamentals of how behavior is guided by senses, in both animals and robots. The course also lays out foundational concepts of sensory guidance and advances into more complex behavior. 

PROJECT DESCRIPTION

UCSIM will design and develop a virtual reality experience for a UC Forward course, BIOL2030: Inquiry to Innovation: Sensing in Animals and Robots – Biology Meets Engineering, delivered via a fully immersive virtual reality (VR) system. The VR experience will feature four different scenes, and be optimized for the Google Cardboard and Oculus Quest compatible virtual reality systems. 

Visual Navigation in VR graphic

GOOGLE CARDBOARD EXPERIMENT

  • Scene 0: Lobby (1 min) – The user appears in the “lobby” scene and learns how to use the VR system and is provided the introductory context for the VR experience. 
  • Scene 1: No Motion (2 mins)  The user will be in a space with no floors or walls and begin to turn 360 degrees.
  • Scene 2:  Motion Only (2 mins) – The user will be in a space with no floors or walls and as the user begins to turn 360 degrees the starry space will begin to turn at a faster rate than the user. 
  • Scene 3:  Motion + Landmark (2 mins) –The user will be in a space with no floors or walls standing next to a landmark. The user will turn 360 degrees  
  • Scene 4: Trickery (2 mins) – The user will be in space with no floors or walls standing next to a landmark. The user will turn 360 degrees. However, while the user is turning 360 degrees the landmark will be moved to a different location. 

Download the Visual Navigation Google Cardboard .apk file.

On Samsung Devices:

  1. Go to your phone’s Settings.
  2. Go to Biometrics and security > Install unknown apps.
  3. Select the browser (e.g., Chrome or Firefox) you want to download the APK files from.
  4. Toggle Allow app installs

On non-Samsung Devices:

  1. Go to your phone’s Settings.
  2. Go to Security & privacy > More settings.
  3. Tap on Install apps from external sources.
  4. Select the browser (e.g., Chrome or Firefox) you want to download the APK files from.
  5. Toggle Allow app installs.
Red black and white graphic of Test 1
Red black and white graphic of Test 3
Play Video

OCULUS QUEST EXPERIMENT

  • Scene 0: Lobby – The user appears in the “lobby” scene and learnshow to use the VR system and is provided the introductory context for the VR experience. 
  • Scene 1– The user appears in a space with no floors or walls. The user will walk in an L-Shape path and return to their starting position.
  • Scene 2– The user appears in a space with no floors or walls with a stationary object on their right side. The user will walk in an L-Shape path and return to their starting position.
  • Scene 3– The user appears in a space with no floors or walls with a stationary object in the field. The user will walk in an L-Shape path. The object will move once out of sight and the user will return to their starting position.
  • Scene 4 – The user appears in a space with no floors or walls with a stationary object in the field. As the player begins to walk in an L-Shape a bias is added, they appear to rotate as you move forward. The user will then return to their starting position. 

Download the Visual Navigation Oculus Quest .apk file.

This version requires a 15′ x 12′ play space.

  1. Delete the existing version of the BIO_ENG App:
    • Wearing the Quest headset, select the Settings tab on the home screen.
    • Select See All.
    • From the options on the left, select Storage.
    • From the Applications drop-down on the right, select Unknown Sources.
    • To the right of the BIO_ENG_Quest applicatin, select Delete.


  2. Follow the instructions provided by this article to enable developer mode and USB debugging: https://www.androidcentral.com/how-sideload-apps-oculus-quest

  3. When prompted to download the SideQuest application, use the following link to download the program: https://sidequestvr.com/#/download

  4. Continue following the instructions for setting up SideQuest. To install the provided .apk file, download it to your local machine then click the following button on the top right part of SideQuest.

This will allow for local applications to be installed on the machine. After clicking on the icon, navigate to the .apk file. Select it and SideQuest will install the application onto the connected Quest.  

  1. To launch sideloaded applications, navigate to the Library tab in the Quest and open the “Unknown Sources” folder. Select “BIO_ENG_Quest” to launch the Visual Navigation in VR application.