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Classroom Setup for 24 (SEATED) Students


Bighouse
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I’m in the planning stages to setup an entire classroom with Vive headsets at all student and instructor stations. I would love to have access to white papers or documents to assist me in doing this. I’m confident the technology is possible to allow it (I’ve seen the Vive Education package made available in China) though I’m certain there are pitfallsa and obstacles to address.

I’m also aware that Vive 2.0 will have new technology to allow for multiple lighthouses beyond the current two, and this may be of great use to me- but my funding must be used by a certain date (unknown as of this time). This will be happening sometime in 2018, likely set up during the late summer months.

Any help, advice, pointers would be greatly appreciated.

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That's an ambitious project! You might want to try to split it up into a couple different areas that are partitioned off if possible, because 24 people in the same space are barely going to fit within the 15'x15' maximum play area.

Maybe divide it up by quadrants and have 6 people per base station pair? You'll need something that will block the other station's signals so you don't get any IR interference. I wouldn't worry about the controllers at all though, those should work just fine.

 

Thanks,

-John C

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John,

Thanks! I know the 15’x15’ is the supposed “maximum” space, but others have used a larger area with good results. I would prefer to see if I can somehow get it to work with just two base stations. If that doesnt’ work, I’ll try breaking the room up by using something like light-blocking, non-reflective shades that could be dropped to separate the areas and block LOS to some base stations. I’m hoping to delay the purchase of the units as long as possible to maybe use the next gen base stations that sound like they may allow for a greater area to be used by using more than two base stations.

It is an ambitious project. The room is a multi-purpose room and must accommodate many different uses. I can’t place permanent partitions up because they might block the view of the projector’s screen that is used for lecturing and demonstrations. But using carefully placed, motorized roller shades might work during lab hours when students will be using the HMDs.

(I apologize for too many threads, if you want to consolidate my threads, please feel free to do so.)

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In looking at my computer lab and furniture arrangement, I can locate two lighthouses opposite each other in the space that will have a direct line of sight from each student's station. I'm basing that on a 120 degree horizontal and a 120 degree vertical spread from the face of the lighthouse base station. All 24 students should be able to triangulate to the base stations. However, I obviously won't be able to use an optical sync between them.

In all my reading about tracking errors, when the base stations are located more than 16' apart, it seems that's due to using an optical sync. If one uses a cable sync, does that remove the tracking issues due to an optical sync distance limitation? And, if it does remove it, is the signal strength in the sync cable degradated by joining two cables together with an adapter? Right now I'm planning to install these two stations 45' apart. The default 30' sync cable won't work for my plans and I'll need to either fabricate a new cable, or use a union between two of them.

The room also has a 12'x16' existing and perfectly tracking room-scale play area (with cable sync). Those two lighthouses are about 25' apart from each other and tracking works great in the play area. I may find a IR light blocking material to hang as partitions from the ceiling to block the LOS from the play area lighthouses to the seated HMDs.

Am I crazy? I hope not! (We'll have a lot of extra sync cables and lighthouses leftover after this endeavor!)

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(copies from a different thread to help consolide my posts related to this endeavor)

 

I have received funding to purchase 25 new computers and each will also have a Vive HTC headset/controllers. I'm pretty excited about what I can bring to the students and my colleagues in this effort.

 

Students will be using the devices for VR development in gaming (3DStudio Max, Unity, URE), architecture/interior/civil design (Revit/SketchUp/Enscape3D), as well as general use (Google Earth VR). We'll await new software plugins and adapt current courses to incorporte VR use as developement occurs.

 

The room will have 24 SEATED stations, an instructor SEATED station, and already has a room scale play area of 12'x16' that already has a dedicated computer, lighthouses and headset. The effort will be a regional one, with coordination, cooperation, and participation from other schools outside our district but within the same LARGE geographic area.

 

I'm really hoping that before I have to place an order on the devices that Vive will release the next generation of their  headset- and I do have a deadline for placing that order. We will likely set the room up during the months of July and August for use in the Fall of 2018. And I'm hoping that the technology we deploy won't be "last year's model"!

 

Wish me luck- and if you have any advice, please don't hesistate to offer it.

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#1 - That's awesome.

 

#2 - Just curious, what grade level(s), grade school, high school? Public school? None of my business but whatever school district you work for must be excellent. You must be the luckiest teacher in America or the best salesperson. Ever since I bought my Vive after Christmas last year I have imagined how we (society - I am not a teacher) could use this technology to trick kids into learning! Not only that, I'm jealous. We didn't even have a programming club in my day and these kids are learning VR development in school?

 

#3 - I really do have a suggestion for you. Why don't you buy one rig ASAP and set up as much as possible? You don't need a room full of devices to test most of your theories. Set up your base stations and move that one unit all over the place. If that works, get a couple/few more and test for interference between them. If everything works, you won't have to be afraid to blow your budget on current tech. If it doesn't, you'll know you have to wait for next generation or you'll at least know what the limitations are. I'm sure that in that scenario, the test units would not go to waste. They might have to have special considerations in the final configuration due to their specific limitations.

 

Good luck. I'll never feel sorry for teachers again. :smileywink:

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Well, trust me, money is NOT easy to come by for this kind of thing! I've tried for over a year to acquire the funding for the lab, and was finally successful in my grant request. In part that's due to the help of others who lended me a hand in framing the grantas a regional project. I'm actually excited about that as it means I will be able to coodinate VR users from other community colleges as well. Either in workshops, seminars, or regionally based activities in VR. There's lots of opportunity there and the future looks bright for VR in the educational environment. No kids in my classes, all are typically adults (see "other community colleges" above) BUT, we often open our classrooms to the local high schools for recruiting and to show them what our programs can offer them for career technical education, or transfer.

 

As you likely know, we teachers DO spend our own money to help out our classrooms- and that's something that's a shame in my eyes. Our schools should be able to offer to students the absolute cutting edge of technology to make them more excited and capable to pursue their career or educational goals. The grant I've been awarded will help us get there, but it still wont pay for everything we need in the future that we will likely need to implement to better our programs.

 

We offer classes in animation (3DStudio Max) currently, and have developed a new course that will utilize VR through Unity (likely) or Unreal Engine. We also expect to offer architecture and interior design components (Revit/Enscape3D) within our respective programs' courses and will work with our Computer Studies department to facililitate collaboration with their courses as well. As we roll-out VR, I expect other departments in our school to take advantage of our system to help their programs adopt VR. The possibilities are limitless for use. Imagine working on a virtual diesel engine, operating a virtual robot arm (before using the real thing), virtual welding, virtual EMT work, virtual dentistry, etc...

 

Thanks for your suggestion, it's a good one and I've thought about doing something like that before. We have two systems now. One is set up in the room as a 12'x16' play area (safety striping tape on the floor to mark out the space) with the lighthouses permanently mounted to the wall. I'd hate to have to remove them after all the hassle it was to mount them exactly where they work so well for the space. The other system is in my office and I use it for testing and learning how to use it for classes. I may take your suggestion and use my office rig some day (spring break would be good!) and set up my lighthouses in the locations that look good on plan. I'll have to have our Electronics department fabricate me a 60' long sync cable to use between the units though. Then I could move my rig around to the peripheral locations to see how well tracking works in a seated configuration in the space. If/when I do, I'll post my results to the thread.

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You should connect with  - Activating educators in the VR space has proven to be systemically challenging but I think we'll see major improvements in the near future since HMD-side technology is getting pretty snappy. Lighthouse 2.0 will make virtual-classrooms dramatically easier. 

 

This is super helpful for understanding and maximizing laser sweep coverage: https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=711411281

 

Remember, in a classic classroom setting, reflections from windows will be your biggest pain point for the lighthouse tracking system. 

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VibrantNebula,

Thanks for the reply. I'm fortunate in that, in this room, all monitor faces are matt screens, and the high clerestory windows all have drawable, light-blocking draperies on them. So, I don't anticipate having too much of a reflection issue. I'm certain I'll have other issues though as wel start to install the hardware.

 

I'm REALLY, REALLY, REALLY hoping that Lighthouse 2.0 will be out by the time we have to purchase the components. I'm going to delay that purchase as long as possible hoping that we will be able to do so.

 

I'll connect with , thanks!

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An interesting trend in classroom design is to allow for people outside a classroom, where interesting activities are occuring, to see inside the classroom. It's a way of promoting curiousity for students and to allow students to share in an experience. You'll see large glass windows in lab courses, now, that allow for that "fishbowl" effect. There are issues, of course, as regard privacy and security in such design. With that in mind, it's proposed that the VR computer lab room would be such a space, placed within in a high-traffic location of the building.

 

I know that reflective surfaces are problematic with the lighthouse emitters and the HMD/Controller sensors as the beams are reflected around the space as well. How much attenuation of that beam is required on such reflective surfaces? Would it be sufficient to have a somewhat translucent drape/shade that can obscure the glass surfaces, or does that covering need to be entirely opaque?

 

Has anyone had any actual experience with blocking or attenuating a reflected lighhouse beam on a large glass surface? If so, what did you use?

 

Ideally I woudl love to have floor to ceiling glass on some walls, but have the ability to pull linen type panels or drapes across the glass, enough to deaden the beam, and enough so that those on the outside could still see t through the window covering to see the movement and activity on the inside.

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