Due to the importance given today to innovation, the education sector is evolving thanks digital technologies. Virtual Reality (VR) can be a potential teaching tool offering many advantages in the field of training and education, as it allows to acquire theoretical knowledge and practical skills using an immersive experience in less time than the traditional educational process. These assumptions allow to lay the foundations for a new educational environment, involving and stimulating for students. Starting from the objective of strengthening the innovative teaching offer and the learning processes, the case study of the research concerns the digitalization of MastrLAB, High Quality Laboratory (HQL) belonging to the Department of Structural, Building and Geotechnical Engineering (DISEG) of the Polytechnic of Turin, a center specialized in experimental mechanical tests on traditional and innovative building materials and on the structures made with them. The MastrLAB-VR has been developed, a revolutionary innovative training tool designed with the aim of educating the class in total safety on the techniques of use of machinery, thus reducing the dangers arising from the performance of potentially dangerous activities. The virtual laboratory, dedicated to the students of the Building and Civil Engineering Courses of the Polytechnic of Turin, has been projected to simulate in an absolutely realistic way the experimental approach to the structural tests foreseen in their courses of study: from the tensile tests to the relaxation tests, from the steel qualification tests to the resilience tests on elements at environmental conditions or at characterizing temperatures. The research work proposes a methodology for the virtualization of technical laboratories through the application of Building Information Modelling (BIM), starting from the creation of a digital model. The process includes the creation of an independent application, which with Oculus Rift technology will allow the user to explore the environment and interact with objects through the use of joypads. The application has been tested in prototype way on volunteers, obtaining results related to the acquisition of the educational notions exposed in the experience through a virtual quiz with multiple answers, achieving an overall evaluation report. The results have shown that MastrLAB-VR is suitable for both beginners and experts and will be adopted experimentally for other laboratories of the University departments.
Laboratory classes in Electrical Engineering are often hampered by safety issues, as students have to work on high voltage lines. One solution is to make use of virtual laboratory simulations, to help students understand the concepts taught in their coursework. In this context, we have conceived and implemented virtual lab experiments in connection with the study of earthing arrangements. In this work, software was developed, which aid student in understanding the working of a residual current device (RCD) in a TT earthing system. Various parameters, such as the earthing resistances, leakage currents and harmonics were included for a TT system with RCD connection.
This study aims to conduct a preliminary investigation to determine the topic to be focused in developing Virtual Laboratory For Biology (VLab-Bio). Samples involved in answering the questionnaire are form five students (equivalent to A-Level) and biology teachers. Time and economical resources for the setting up and construction of scientific laboratories can be solved with the adaptation of virtual laboratories as an educational tool. Thus, it is hoped that the proposed virtual laboratory will help students to learn the abstract concepts in biology. Findings show that the difficult topic chosen is Cell Division and the learning objective to be focused in developing the virtual lab is “Describe the application of knowledge on mitosis in cloning".
Multi-agent system approach has proven to be an effective and appropriate abstraction level to construct whole models of a diversity of biological problems, integrating aspects which can be found both in "micro" and "macro" approaches when modeling this type of phenomena. Taking into account these considerations, this paper presents the important computational characteristics to be gathered into a novel bioinformatics framework built upon a multiagent architecture. The version of the tool presented herein allows studying and exploring complex problems belonging principally to structural biology, such as protein folding. The bioinformatics framework is used as a virtual laboratory to explore a minimalist model of protein folding as a test case. In order to show the laboratory concept of the platform as well as its flexibility and adaptability, we studied the folding of two particular sequences, one of 45-mer and another of 64-mer, both described by an HP model (only hydrophobic and polar residues) and coarse grained 2D-square lattice. According to the discussion section of this piece of work, these two sequences were chosen as breaking points towards the platform, in order to determine the tools to be created or improved in such a way to overcome the needs of a particular computation and analysis of a given tough sequence. The backwards philosophy herein is that the continuous studying of sequences provides itself important points to be added into the platform, to any time improve its efficiency, as is demonstrated herein.