Can VR Make You Smarter? The VR Games Designed to Educate
VRFocus highlights some of the edutainment VR titles out there.
Virtual reality (VR) is a great place to while away a few hours in some fantastical universe, go on an adventure, shoot some bad guys, or just relax in some tranquil surroundings. The technology isn’t just for entertainment purposes though as it can be used as an educational tool if you want to get that grey matter fired up. So VRFocus has decided to compile a list of edutainment titles available today that are worth a look.
Perfectly falling into this category is Number Hunt, a mathematical videogame which was recently launched on Steam Early Access by two-person indie team PaleBlue XYZ. The premise is very simple, all you have to do is shoot numbers wandering around a level. The difficulty comes by the fact that you’re given five specific numbers to achieve on each round, and a gun that can Add, Multiply, Subtract and Divide.
The numbers wandering around range from one to nine, while the target numbers can go all the way up to 900. So you have to use some arithmetic skills to shoot the right numbers and hit those targets as quickly as possible. Plus there’s a time limit so there’s no hanging around.
Featuring both single-player and multiplayer modes Number Hunt is still early in development but showcases one of the best ideas for combining mathematics and fun gameplay.
The latest VR title from Schell Games (I Expect You to Die), HoloLAB Champions isn’t actually out just yet as its due to be released on 10th July for HTC Vive. VRFocus decide to include the videogame as it was so close to launch and accurately fitted the edutainment profile.
Created with support from the Institute of Education Science, HoloLAB Champions is focused on teaching chemistry via way of a game show layout. The single-player experience has each person interact with equipment and materials that they’d find in an actual lab, challenging them to scoop, pour, and burn their way through several mini-labs before the final lab challenge.
Whether you’re already learning Chemistry or just want to know more about the subject, HoloLAB Champions offers a fun approach to the subject.
VRobot: Robotics in VR
Another Steam Early Access title, VRobot: Robotics in VR is a far more technological offering than the last two, providing a virtual engineering workspace with all the tools and educational materials needed to build your own mechanised being.
Inspired by the work of past projects helping children engage with STEM subjects developer VRobot decided to create a practical and informative experience to teach anyone across the world about robotic design, without the usual expense.
You’re not going to create a T-800 just quite yet with the software currently offering a basic design to learn about LEGO EV3 Mindstorms. You’ll learn not only how to build it but also the programming side as well. Then in future iterations of VRobot: Robotics in VR more robots will be added.
Brush Up VR
One for the younger VR players among you, Brush Up VR is a humorous take on teaching children how to better brush their teeth.
Developed by GamesThatWork, Brush Up VR teams the player up with a friendly blue robot named Budd. Armed with a giant toothbrush, the player must brush all the green gunk from Budd’s teeth within the time limit. Failure to do so will be bad for your little blue buddy.
Created by Immersive VR Education – the team behind Apollo 11 VR – Titanic VR takes you beneath the waves to learn about one of the most famous maritime disasters of the 20th Century.
The educational experience is set in the near future, but explores a more-intact 1985 model of the wreck. Players take on the role of Dr. Ethan Lynch, Associate Professor of Maritime Archaeology at the fictional University of Nova Scotia. With funding from a mysterious investor, Dr. Lynch and his PhD Candidate Jean Robinson have set out aboard a research vessel to dive the wreck and answer questions that have remained submerged for a century.
The Steam Early Access version features seven dive missions and seven lab missions, with additional content to be added over the course of the next 6 to eight months.
One of the earliest educational apps for devices like HTC Vive and Oculus Rift, Star Chart is a VR planetarium where you can look up at the night sky and through the solar system to see a real-time simulation. Explore all 88 constellations as well as out nearest planets, from the smallest moons of Saturn to the coldest, darkest, farthest reaches of Pluto.
Google Earth VR
For those interested in a more terrestrial journey then there’s always Google Earth VR. Launched for free in 2016 for HTC Vive, the app then came to Oculus Rift the following year. Allowing you to explore virtually anywhere on Earth, from the driest deserts to the busiest cities, the most recent update to the app also introduced Street View, so you can get an even better look at the world around you.
The Discovery Channel doing what its does best, just this time in 360-degrees. A one stop shop for the channels many immersive productions, the app originally launched in 2015 with nine short experiences. Since then the content has expanded dramatically, showcasing films from shark-infested shipwrecks to freeboarding the windiest street in the world.
3D Organon VR Anatomy
Designed as a fully-featured VR anatomy atlas, 3D Organon VR Anatomy enables users to learn about the human body, with full 3D male and female body models and systems including: Skeletal, Connective, Muscular, Arterial, Venous, Nervous, Lymphatic, Heart, Respiratory, Digestive, Endocrine, Urinary, Reproductive, Sensory organs, and Integumentary (skin).
Supporting both HTC Vive and Oculus Rift 3D Organon VR Anatomy is one of those apps designed for users who want better sense at what makes the body tick.
Time to head below the ocean waves again just this time for very different reasons. Operation Apex teaches players all about the underwater eco-system while on the hunt for a Great White shark. They play a marine scientist looking for the largest Great White ever known but in the process need to scan the local aquatic life to build up data and a better understanding of what’s being hunted.