College Students Use Oculus Rift to Improve Online Learning

Penn State University engineering students in the Design Analysis Technology Advancement Laboratory are using the popular Oculus Rift Virtual Reality headset to enhance online learning.

The research was funded by the Center for Online Innovation in Learning Research Initiation Grant.

According to assistant professor of engineering design and industrial engineering Conrad Tucker, “online learning gives us huge opportunities in higher education. You can connect with more diverse people across greater distances. Online courses also limit you in some ways — there’s little immersive or tactile interaction, and sometimes it’s hard for students to engage with the material. IVR (immersive virtual reality) systems are a potential solution to that problem.”

The students, under the guidance of Tucker, created a demo of a virtual classroom with chairs, desks and a chalkboard. In addition to the headset, there is a glove that allows students to pick up, assemble and take apart virtual objects. In the case of the demo, a coffee pot was the subject.

“Moving forward, we’d love to work with students in other countries. Oculus Rift and other similar technologies allow you to sync your devices with others regardless of location and work on the same project. You can always Skype with people around the world, but you don’t get the same experience,” Tucker explains.

There are no limits to virtual reality in the classroom. Tucker is a strong advocate and believer that virtual reality is the future to online learning.

5 Incredibly Exciting Architects From Africa You Should Get to Know


Mokena Makeka

Makeka is an architect from Cape Town, South Africa. The complex history of apartheid plays a vital role in his architecture because he removed symbols of segregation. He is responsible for redesigning the Railway Police Station and the Cape Town Railway Station.

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The design is for Cape Town Station that will be completed in 2030.
This is a bird's eye view of the design.
This is a bird’s eye view of the design.

8 Top Technology Jobs You Should Anticipate in the Coming Year


E-Personal Assistants

Apple’s Siri will influence many new products to develop digital assistants. Adding an e-personal assistant to support an existing product and/or service will create many new careers. It also means that people can be digital assistants as businesses move on the Internet.

Artificial Intelligence

Advanced Robotics and Automation

Artificial Intelligence and Siri-like voice communications will create many new career opportunities from design, programming and installation to service and maintenance, to name just a few. Robots are now in the sky as drones and in the surgery room.

Nigeria Has ‘Limitless Opportunities’ for Engineers in Burgeoning Economy

Several key sectors of Nigeria’s economy are suffering due to a lack of engineers who some say could provide the “backbone” for rapid development in the country.

Femi Akintunde, CEO of Alpha Mead Facilities and Management Services Limited (AMFacility), is the latest entrepreneur to publicly discuss the country’s shortage of engineers.

During the presentation of his paper, “The Engineer as the Prime Mover of Economic Development,” to the 2014 inductees of the Nigerian Society of Engineers at the University of Ibadan, Akintunde said the country is in “dire need of engineering solutions.”

“Today, the world and Nigeria is in dire need of engineering solutions,” he said. “This simply means that, if the simple economic rule of demand and supply is anything to go by, then there are limitless opportunities for engineers in the pool of problems that confront our nation.”

Akintunde went on to say that Nigeria’s “current economic indices and realities” can’t be solved without taking a close look at “engineering principles and practices.”

“These challenges therefore place a huge responsibility on the shoulders of engineering stakeholders; and as you join the league of this noble profession today, it is only ideal that we provoke your thinking to imbibe a solution mentality towards our nation’s economic problems,” Akintunde said. “You cannot afford to join the bandwagon of those complaining about Nigeria. The Nigerian Industrial Revolution Plan is a document that highlights key areas of the economy, that can take our economy through the maturation circle of Vision 20:2020. You should make such documents a companion.”

The Nigeria Vision 20: 2020 document spells out a plan for Nigeria to become one of the top 20 economies in the world by the year 2020.

Akintunde also had a message for the lecturers at the ceremony.

“Our lecturers must also understand that, as the society advances, its challenges also advance, and the only responses that can contain such advancements are new researches,” he continued. “The new breed of engineers has to be equipped with contemporary knowledge to be able to move the economy forward.”

Earlier this year, The National Power Training Institute of Nigerian relayed a similar message.

Back in April, the director-general of the Institute, Reuben Okeke, revealed that Nigeria needed more than 50,000 engineers to boost the power sector reform.

At the time, that sector had only 200 of the 51,000 required engineers.

Okeke said that since the employment embargo in 1998, the country has struggled to attract young, qualified engineers.