These September school holidays a group of Coding Kids students visited Holoverse to experience and learn about virtual reality technology. Holoverse is a virtual reality adventure arcade in Southport on the Gold Coast.
Carly our lovely host of the tour started with half hour presentation on graphics, animations, how to create 3D graphics and the difference between polygon graphics and point cloud graphics.
Make your own 3D graphics at home
We learned that by understanding how the human brain can see 3D images, you too can create your own 3D graphics at home. Our eyes see 3D images by seeing two 2D images, one with each eye, and the brain corrects and converts the two 2D images into a 3D image.
Practice with this exercise:
- Hold your finger upright in front of your nose. Look at this finger with your right eye while your left eye is shut. Now look at this finger with your left eye while your right eye is shut. When you look at your finger with different eyes, it appears as if the location of your finger is moving.
- Now hold your finger as far away from you as possible. Look at this finger with each eye, just one eye at a time. When you look at your finger with different eyes it still appears as if the location of your finger is moving, but not as much when your finger is located far away.
- Now do the same exercise with an object that is far away from you, e.g. a tree or building in far distance. The further away the object the less the object appears to change positions as you view it with each eye.
We can use this to create the perception of distance in a 3D image. The greater the differential between the two images the closer the object appears to the person viewing it.
To create our own 3D image we will need to use special glasses with a red lens for the left eye and a blue lens for the right eye.
Start with drawing two dots of the same size, one red and one blue. When the dots overlap they create a purple colour. The closer the two dots are to each other the further away that they will appear to be from the viewer.
If the red dot is on the left and the blue dot is on the right (same way as the coloured lenses), the dot appears to be behind the screen and further away from the viewer.
If the red dot is on the right and the blue dot is on the left (opposite way to the coloured lenses), the dot appears to be in front of the screen and closer to the viewer.
For a complex example of what you can achieve with 3D graphics in Scratch, take a look at this: https://scratch.mit.edu/projects/10127956/
The programme creates the image by drawing the images continuously by using the pen blocks and a series of complex geometry equations.
Virtual reality adventure
After the presentation, our wonderful host Carly took us to the next room to put on and test our equipment. We each put on a belt with a wand, glasses and a headset. Each person was allocated a pod and we entered the virtual reality pod.
The virtual reality adventure was a fantastic experience. We got to experience a lion walk past us, a herd of elephants stampeding towards us, we experienced falling through breaking wooden floors, flying over beautiful, natural landscapes, snow falling around us, standing in a pool with fish and turtles and many more all in a 3D virtual reality environment.
The Holoverse educational tour was a great experience to connect the coding classes at school and a fun, exciting, real life application. We learned a lot from Carly and we’re going to play around with creating 3D graphics with Scratch and the 3D glasses we were able to take home. We have so many 3D graphics ideas for projects and class activities.
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