A low cost virtual reality interface for educational games

Master Thesis


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Mobile virtual reality has the potential to improve learning experiences by making them more immersive and engaging for students. This type of virtual reality also aims to be more cost effective by using a smartphone to drive the virtual reality experience. One issue with mobile virtual reality is that the screen (i.e. main interface) of the smartphone is occluded by the virtual reality headset. To investigate solutions to this issue, this project details the development and testing of a computer vision based controller that aims to have a cheaper per unit cost when compared to a conventional electronic controller by making use of 3D printing and the built-in camera of a smartphone. Reducing the cost per unit is useful for educational contexts as solutions would need to scale to classrooms sizes. The research question for this project is thus, “can a computer vision based virtual reality controller provide comparable immersion to a conventional electronic controller”. It was found that a computer vision based controller can provide comparable immersion, though it is more challenging to use. This challenge was found to contribute more towards engagement as it did not diminish the performance of users in terms of question scores.