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Understanding complicated physical phenomena can be difficult even for college students. At the KTH Royal Institute of Technology, researchers and senior lecturers Ricardo Vinuesa and Mario Romero have tested using augmented reality, AR, to make it easier for students to understand how it works.
To begin with, the students had to take a regular course where they learned about torque with a subsequent test. After that, the students had to study for a new test in the same subject, but this time they could choose to use an AR app to aid their studies.
The AR app was developed by master's student Clarissa Hedenqvist at KTH. By pointing their smartphone camera at a task in their textbook, students can see a visualization of said task on the screen. It could be that an animation shows a door that can be opened and closed by applying a certain level of force. The screen also displays the equation, which changes depending on how the position and angle of the door and force change.
"Students press buttons on the screen to change the forces and angles and can see it all from different perspectives and how it affects the equation. When they see the equation change, they really understand the underlying mathematics", says Ricardo Vinuesa.
50 students attended the first test, and 30 of them used the AR app. The researchers behind the study are pleased with the results.
"It turned out that those who used the app performed better than those who did not", says Ricardo Vinuesa.
The results were promising enough to encourage the researchers to move on to using AR more in teaching.
"We are now looking at other problems that are challenging for students to develop similar resources for those problems", says Ricardo Vinuesa.