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US DoE Reveals the Five EdSim Challenge Finalists

The EdSim Challenge, a competition run by the US Department of Education (DoE) to design the next-generation of computer simulations for career and technical education, has announced the five finalists.

For the competition virtual reality (VR), videogame developer, and educational technology communities were invited to submit proposals that the immersive simulation brief, with the finalists chosen out of 249 submissions from across the country.Those five are: Case Western Reserve University, Embodied Labs, Inc., Octothorpe LLC, Osso VR Inc., and Smart Sparrow.

Osso VR

Case Western Reserve University created the Holographic Anatomy to Transform Healthcare Learning, a digital alternative to cadaver-based dissection, teaching medical anatomy using Microsoft HoloLens. Embodied Labs, Inc built The Alfred Lab, a series of VR patient experience labs, training students to become better caregivers of aging populations. While Octothorpe LLC went for an VR experience that uses critical thinking, problem solving, and teamwork to explore subjects such as chemistry and psychology called The Irregular: Sherlock Holmes. 

Osso VR Inc’s.,¬†Osso VR is an orthopedic surgical training simulation platform that specializes in realistic, hands-on interaction. And Smart Sparrow’s¬†LifeCraft explores the story of life on Earth through various VR journeys ranging from archeology and biology, to astronomy.

For their efforts each finalist won $50,000 USD as well as development kits donated to the DoE from Oculus and Samsung, with HTC also offering each finalist a VR headset. Additionally, the five will enter the EdSim Virtual Accelerator to refine their submission and develop a prototype.

‚ÄúWe are extremely excited about the quality of solutions submitted to the Challenge,‚ÄĚ said Kim R. Ford, Deputy Assistant Secretary delegated the duties of the Office of Career, Technical and Adult Education. ‚ÄúThe five finalists cover a wide range of topics and we are confident they will help students strengthen career and technical education, propelling America‚Äôs workforce forward in the 21st century.‚ÄĚ

That’s not the end though. The Virtual Accelerator phase will culminate in Demo Day, where a panel of judges will get to see the playable prototypes.¬†The judges will recommend the grand prize winner(s) to receive the remaining $430,000 of the $680,000 cash prize pool and additional in-kind prizes from IBM and Microsoft.

VRFocus will continue its coverage of the EdSim Challenge, reporting back with the latest updates.