High Fidelity’s EDU VR Challenge


cc: @ryan


High Fidelity recently had the pleasure of showing off our open source virtual reality platform to educators and technical integrators at the ISTE conference in Philadelphia.

Though educators have been using virtual worlds like Second Life and Minecraft to teach a wide range of subjects for years, until now the ability to be fully immersed in those worlds was not technically possible. Head mounted displays like the Oculus, Vive and GearVR will change that and when used with a VR platform like High Fidelity’s, we believe they will transform the way we learn.

To demonstrate one way educators can use our platform, High Fidelity worked with DynamoidApps to develop an interactive model of an animal cell that can be explored on one’s own or with an entire class. The vast alien looking environment goes beyond just showing the parts of the cell, also showing some of the processes taking place. Traveling around with your classmates and teacher allows for real time question and answers and sharing of ideas.

If you want to visit this animal cell, login and go to cellscience/start, and fly towards any cell you see to begin your journey. Hitch a ride on a motor protein and jump off at one of the huge mitochondria along the way!

This cell ‘unit’ will also be free to anyone who wants to use it or modify it. We hope it is just the first of many such units educators will be able to take advantage of; to jump start that catalog, we are offering up to three $5000 grants to teams or individuals who want to build edu content. For more information on rules and deadlines, visit eduvr.org.

We look forward to receiving your submissions and seeing more examples of great EduVR content.


sounds good but I have to pass for now.


I’m going to have to give this some thought, great idea

Tho suspects to win it will need a little more than " I does me best learning starin’ at a small plywood cube"


Good luck to the competitors. Could I make couple small requests, however, and that is that they think strategically as well as tactically. I can see a lot of commercial lab experiences making their way to market but inevitably they are all about local solutions and vendor lock-in. Open source and virtual worlds in particular have the potential to go beyond that – I want to be able to substitute items of labware to give my students the best pre-lab experience in terms of what they will encounter IRL. Accordingly, we need an abstract API (?) that defines code for how materials are moved between containers. How this is animated and what the consequences are is to some extent secondary and maybe can be left up to the containers.

Also, remember that while engagement is awesome, many teachers have to focus on getting students through assessments and cognitive load theory suggests that an excess of awe can lead to you forgetting stuff while you gawp at the visuals or, worse still, you remember the wrong stuff. For a nicely balanced experience (IMO) I recommend looking at Rachel Umoren’s AfricaTraveler sim on VIBE’s OpenSim grid. She gets through a well-structured experience without requiring an excessive amount of boring walking. Building-in assessment and optional logging to a subset of xAPI would also be good as we need to be able to evaluate and iterate on this stuff.


FYI STEM refers to Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics. : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/STEM_fields


I would like to submit a concept that goes way beyond the demo cell unit, which seems a pretty simple group tour sort of thing. I’m aiming for a collaborative/social learning situation in a confined, realistic yet futuristic set that is something like a TV show. I’m concerned that High Fidelity cannot yet provide the functionality the implementation would require, so could I first submit a concept description for some relatively quick feedback on feasibility?


@Simulacron3 , yes please do. I will pass it onto @ryan when you do.


I’d love to submit a concept for space station simulation (centripetal force) and zero-G EVA maneuvers, but alas, physics and surface collisions are not ready, especially radial gravity.


High Fidelity STEM VR Challenge—feasibility concerns @Chris, @Ryan

The concept I have for submission to the Challenge may be too ambitious, so I’d like to put the basic idea and concerns up for comment by HF Staff and interested Alphas who know what’s what way better than do I.

My concept is based on a bunch of progressive education principles:

  • Social/collaborative learning
  • Project-based and goal-driven learning
  • Situated experience-based learning
  • Cognitivism
  • Constructionism

If the jargon makes your eyes and mind blur, it all basically means students learn stuff by working together in a small team to solve realistic problems that mean something to them in an interesting setting, with those who know more about something helping out those who know less and everyone gets further than working alone. We learn concepts, principles, and processes more deeply by hands-on engagement with multiple senses involved and in a social context. It’s all pretty much the opposite of the standard behaviorist approaches to teaching.

What I have in mind is a plausible sci-fi scenario to engage and present survival challenges to a team of from three to six people, who then must interact with each other and the shared environment to overcome those challenges by applying problem assessment skills, math, science, and engineering (science-based crafting). Think of the movie Moon or the current US TV show Dark Matter, or the countless games that start with “Player wakes up in an abandoned hospital/wherever, …” The Challenge submission, of course, will be small and fairly simple, although the concept could be done on any scale.

The idea is to present an immersive, engaging, realistically interactive simulated world that permits natural and comfortable social interaction and collaboration well enough to create a genuine shared educational experience. Sounds like HF is just the thing. Right?

OK, the three main concerns are:
Can HF provide an at least temporarily stable platform?
It’s hard to develop a real thing not knowing what functions you can count on at the moment and still count on them next week or month. Ground shaking underfoot, etc. We also need a stable build that will work consistently and without grief for everyone across platforms.
How realistic can the social interaction be?
This is the big thing, the essential thing. Judging from the recent HF in-world meetups and current domains, and the kinds of things alphas bring up in the forum, it seems pretty dismal. Stiff manikin avatars in meaningless, random poses, difficult movement, avatars submarining in the terrain, no gravity, meetings with avatars scattered and moving about seemingly inattentively, voices suddenly popping in with no clue who is talking or where they are, etc. I think Oculus Rift and Leap Motion, or other controllers can go a good way towards that. A high sense of immersed presence is needed for collaboration and social interaction, especially a sense of social presence, awareness of others and their attitudes, social cues,eye contact, and social attention-shifting, all that we need for natural group discussions, with the usual ways to interrupt, express agreement/disagreement, gestures, body language, etc. in a shared virtual space. What kind of hardware setup is needed to get that level of social presence?

  • What kinds of object manipulation are possible?
    Collaborators need to show and tell, handle things, operate equipment, cause persistent changes, etc.

I’m not sure where is the line that separates what comes with the platform vs. what the developer must provide. I know, open source, etc., but for something like this Challenge, what can a developer do without getting into HF code itself, or what must they do, considering a ‘unit’ such as described above?

Is anything like this at all feasible given current state of HF and the constraints of the Challenge? What value does HF provide versus a game engine like URT or Unity3D?


Hi Simulacron​3!

Great idea and I would love to see some version of it submitted. I think perhaps it is too ambitious for this Challenge. We are still in early alpha and as such will be rapidly changing, adding, removing things. We are of course endeavoring to reach the level of stability and sophistication that you are looking for - I just can’t promise it in any time frame.

I would approach submitting something by considering what is already working in our platform and what can already be built. That is, very easily you can stand up a server, invite your collaborators or participants. You can upload standard format models and then give them behaviors using javascript. 3D audio and facial tracking using either a sensor or 2D camera work. Users can collide with each other and a ground surface. We have Oculus support for both Mac and PC.

We aren’t looking for game level polish, just examples of using virtual reality for education.


@ryan I have sent out two emails with attachment to the addy on the edu vr site and both bounced back. Any other ideas? Thanks.


My message bounced, too:
"We’re writing to let you know that the group you tried to contact (eduvrgrant) may not exist, or you may not have permission to post messages to the group. A few more details on why you weren’t able to post:

  • You might have spelled or formatted the group name incorrectly.
  • The owner of the group may have removed this group.
  • You may need to join the group before receiving permission to post.
  • This group may not be open to posting."


@DrFran @Simulacron3 apologies. Please try and post now.


Apparently as a side note it seems that I am not eligible for the challenge. List of countries defined seem small :wink:


Thanks, Chris. I am going to wait this round out, and hope it will be offered again.


What’s the deciding factor for country eligibility? Any chance of expanding the list? (excluding Quebec is sort of strange, in particular)


@Simulacron3 if some of the people here (not on the approved countries list ) have some great ideas and good teams to execute on them, please send them or encourage them to send anyway. We will assess the risk.


I am interested in creating Simulation Based Learning modules with multisensory integration into VR. Thanks for the info on the grants, will be checking that out!


I went to the website and it has a submission deadline of 2015. Is that a mistake on their end? Or is this 2 years old?


Yeah it’s 2 years old