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  • Stephanie Ow

Explore Immersive Tech at New LIBytes Space

The library was abuzz with excitement as students and staff gathered to attend the much-anticipated LIBytes launch event on 13 March 2024. From virtual reality (VR) and mixed reality (MR) adventures to augmented reality (AR) and artificial intelligence (AI) marvels, attendees were treated to a half-day filled with innovation and exploration, with free snacks to boot!

The event showcased five interactive stations, each offering a glimpse into the exciting world of immersive technology, robotics and AI.

  1. Meta Quest VR: With the Quest 3, participants dived headfirst (literally!) into the intriguing world of MR by solving a 3D puzzle or capturing fuzzy aliens that appeared (seemingly or not) in the library.

  2. HTC Vive VR: From navigating surrealistic dreamscapes to embarking on virtual travels to natural (postcard worthy) landscapes, attendees marveled at the immersive power of VR, while using the HTC Vive Focus 3 headset.

  3. Merge Cube AR: AR took centre stage at this station, where participants witnessed the wonders of science come to life. From observing the life cycle of a frog stage by stage to exploring real-time earthquake data (in the palm of their hands), attendees were captivated by the interactive experiences offered by the Merge Cube and Merge Edu Apps.

  4. AlphaMini and Me Station: Here, attendees learned how to programme the AlphaMini robot to perform a variety of movements. From tai chi to kung fu to yoga, participants discovered the many possibilities of robotics in a fun and engaging way.

  5. AlphaMini and ChatGPT Station: At this interactive station, participants engaged in dialogue with AlphaMini, delving into a world of conversation powered by ChatGPT. Attendees posed questions, exchanged ideas, and explored topics of interest, experiencing firsthand the seamless integration of robotics and AI.

Attendees collected event card stamps by navigating through the various stations and participating in activities to redeem prizes such as tote bags, umbrellas, thumb drives and more.

The LIBytes launch event had not only showcased advancements in VR, AR, and robotics but also aimed to spark imaginations and inspire explorations into the potential of integrating such immersive technologies into classrooms.

As the event drew to a close, participants were asked about their thoughts on the possible applications in education and here's what some of them shared:

“AR is good for teaching about things which are usually not shown in 3D (e.g. human anatomy).”

“I specialise in Holocaust education, so VR is amazing for introducing students to the complexities of that time.”

“Robots can be used in lessons to promote students’ active participation in class.”

“Generally, it would improve engagement and interest in the topic discussed in the classroom especially for STEM-related studies. VR/AR can be a means to simulate environments not available in the classroom or to train/teach students certain processes in a safe environment. As for the AI robot, it would give students a better understanding and real-world experience of mechatronics where electronics, mechanical engineering, coding, and problem-solving skills are all interconnected.”

The LIBytes space located on Level 3 provides an easily accessible platform for staff and students to explore these applications and resources. Interested students or staff can book individual consultation sessions with librarians to fully explore the VR, AR and AlphaMini robots for a better understanding of their potential applications in education. 

Look out also for the upcoming workshops on VR, AR and robotics. Stay tuned for more exciting events and programmes!

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