Summer school students showcased immersive virtual reality prototypes at demo day

One of the first-ever undergraduate courses by Aalto University Summer School let students design and gather feedback on their own immersive virtual reality experiences.
People at a VR event, some are wearing the VR headsets and and holding the motion controllers
The demo day visitors could try many different VR experiences. Photo: Laura Lumijärvi / Aalto University

The Introduction to Virtual Reality summer course has come to an end. One of the first-ever undergraduate courses by Aalto University Summer School was concluded with a demo day showcasing the students’ creative prototypes and hard work over two weeks. Demo days are also an industry practice in many companies and a way of collecting feedback in creative fields.

The course familiarised students with various VR technologies, their connection to the human body, and essential vocabulary to enhance their learning and grasp related concepts. The class covered how software applications and game engines are utilised to develop immersive multisensory encounters, including examples from both creative and industrial settings.

three students at VR demo day
Edutopia creators Xiaoxi Wang, Zhiyi Chen and Afonso Mourão. Photo: Afonso Mourão

Immersive learning prototype

During the course, visiting summer school students Xiaoxi Wang,  Zhiyi Chen and Afonso Mourão created a virtual reality prototype, “Edutopia”, a platform for sharing knowledge and learning something new. The prototype consisted of three immersive rooms that introduced the solar system, immune system and nature room, each designed by one group member. The aim of the project was to break geographical barriers and contribute towards a world where everyone has access to education despite their location. 

student observing another student trying a VR experience. Two people trying another experience in the background.
Xiaoxi observing a fellow student visiting one of the virtual reality rooms. Photo: Laura Lumijärvi / Aalto University

New perspectives for design studies

For Xiaoxi, a product design and manufacturing student, one of the main takeaways from the course was to learn about audio design. “I'm interested in audio design because we don't focus on the audio in my usual design studies. It is very important for virtual realities.” Together with Zhiyi, they visited the local contemporary museum Kiasma and tried the VR experience. “VR is a future trend, and that’s why we took this course”, Xiaoxi sums up. 

student observing another student trying a VR experience
Zhiyi following another course student trying the prototype. Photo: Laura Lumijärvi / Aalto University

Low-treshold tools for creating VR experiences

Zhiyi, also a product design and manufacturing student, already had some experience in VR. However, this course gave her more approachable tools for future projects. “I have studied VR online, but this course was more organised, and we learned together. Before taking this course, I used another platform that required coding and was harder to use. In this course, We used Mozilla Hub, which is easier for beginners to create some simple VR things.”

student giving instructions to a person trying a VR experience
Afonso giving instructions for an event visitor testing the prototype. Photo: Laura Lumijärvi / Aalto University

Going for a pleasant use of VR

Computer science student Afonso summarises the two weeks at Aalto University: “We have learned how to make an experience with VR more enjoyable and take into account different factors like avoiding motion sickness. The university has very good resources; there are many places for students to test their projects, like the VR Hub. Also, I really enjoyed the teaching methods.” 

All in all, the Introduction to Virtual Reality course highlights have been creating new VR experiences and working in groups with members from all over the world. The full potential of VR in many fields, like remote working, is yet to be explored, and that leaves the students excited about the future.

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Students in front of Väre building of Aalto University campus

Aalto University Summer School

Aalto University Summer School offers high quality academic summer courses and programs at Aalto University.

A person in a VR experience

Introduction to Virtual Reality

Virtual reality lets us create environments fit for any simulated interaction. During this course, students learn how software applications and game engines are used to build immersive multisensory experiences.

Aalto University Summer School
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