Oxford academics ‘engage’ virtual reality distance learning at CES

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5th January 2017

HTC Vive and virtual reality distance learning platform Engage to showcase the LIFE project from the University of Oxford.

Engage – a virtual reality (VR) education platform capable of giving hands on lessons anywhere in the world – is set to be used to showcase the Life-Saving Instruction for Emergencies (LIFE) project by Oxford University academics at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) conference 2017.

Developed by Immersive Education Ltd, the Engage platform (stylised as “ENGAGE”) uses VR platforms, including the HTC Vive (stylised as “VIVE”), to create interactive virtual classrooms. Each classroom can instruct up to 30 individuals simultaneously and offers avatar interaction, allowing instructors to be able to observe and provide feedback on a student’s work in real-time.

The LIFE Engage demo showcased at CES will be healthcare-focused, showing how the platform can be used to educate healthcare workers in developing countries on infant resuscitation techniques. At present, levels of infant mortality in Africa are so great that 1 in 10 children do not live to see their fifth birthday. Building on a gamified mobile app developed by LIFE, which is receiving business development support from Oxford University Innovation, the LIFE demo on the Engage platform aims to show how the level of emergency care available for infants can be improved through virtual distance learning.

The potential for Engage extends beyond medical training. In conjunction with its virtual reality classroom engagement offering, the Engage team have also developed the Immersive FX presenter system. Immersive FX gives instructors the ability to give virtual, interactive presentations in almost any setting conceivable, such as planetary sciences lessons on the surface of Mars or the sinking of the Titanic from the very deck of the ship.

Dr Chris Paton, Group Head for Global Health Informatics at the Centre for Tropical Medicine and who is presenting the LIFE demo at CES, said:

“A VR version of LIFE has the potential to augment both face-to-face training and the mobile version of the LIFE game. VR allows students in remote areas to connect with trainers in a virtual hospital ward where they can access equipment and practice performing tasks with a virtual instructor.”

Dan O’Brien, Vice President of Virtual Reality at HTC Vive, added:

“Education experiences are a critical component to delivering an immersive VR experience and building out the ever-growing Vive ecosystem. We built Vive to deliver the most immersive, room-scale VR experience on the market today. Organisations like Oxford University and Immersive help us meet this vision and we’re excited to see what LIFE Engage offers to the VR experience.”

CES attendees are encouraged to try out the LIFE Engage demo for themselves at the HTC Vive demo area at Wynn’s Alsace Ballroom.

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