It’s well documented that virtual reality (VR) has many more uses than just supplying consumers with endless wave shooters. The technology has proved itself to be an excellent way of teaching kids or training employees in a far more interactive manner. On the educational side Codon Inc. has released an informative experience that delves into the hidden world of microscopic organisms with Micro Cosmic Worlds.
The content is split into two, with a short informative film taking viewers through four sections, delving deeper and deeper – and getting smaller and smaller – to learn about the world around them. While the second part is far more free roaming, allowing users to move about and pick individual features to gain more information.
Starting off in a fairly generic looking apartment your host on this journey is an accident prone robot called Nina. She’s the one that narrates throughout, providing basic facts and info on what you’re seeing. The first shrink brings you down to the size of an ant – familiar to anyone who’s watched Honey I Shrunk the Kids – offering an up close view of these fascinating creatures.
It’s then time to shrink further, beyond what the normal eye can see without a microscope. Here there’s giant pollen particles flying around. The next stage takes you inside a plant, being able to see bacteria and other small microbes. Finally there’s the atomic level, where you’ll find yourself standing on an atom, with nitrogen and oxygen molecules floating above your head.
As Micro Cosmic Worlds takes you through these various stages it’s easy to see how VR could become a mainstream teaching tool for subjects such as science, offering a far more captivating way of explaining the natural world. But kids don’t just want to watch something and be told, interactivity is key, allowing them to learn at their own pace. Which is why the free roaming aspect of the experience is key.
Now this isn’t completely free-roaming where you can wander around to your hearts content. There are select teleportation points to move around each area which does feel somewhat restrictive and a bit hit and miss at points, although this system is probably preferable as this style of content will likely be experience by VR newbies.
These teleportation points allow you to get closer to the ants, bacteria or atoms for example, at which point you direct a laser at certain objects, bringing up a window of information on whatever’s being pointed at. It’s simple and works effectively as a teaching tool.
Micro Cosmic Worlds for the short experience that it is, is a good little snapshot of the future of VR education. It certainly could do with some further interactivity with users able to access far more detailed information should they desire.