Title:Blurring Boundaries: VR, AI, and the Future of Scientific LaboratoriesAbstract:
In recent years, the convergence of emerging technologies has revolutionized scientific research, enabling new possibilities for exploration and discovery. This talk will delve into the captivating realm of blurring boundaries between reality and virtual reality, with a particular focus on the integration of Virtual Reality (VR) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) into scientific laboratories. Traditionally, laboratories have relied on physical experiments and tangible materials. However, the advent of 3D printing presented an exciting opportunity to bridge the gap between the digital and physical realms. My research began by exploring the integration of 3D printing technology into laboratories, revolutionizing prototyping and enabling rapid fabrication of complex scientific equipment. This breakthrough allowed researchers to accelerate their experiments and enhanced their ability to iterate and refine their designs. Building upon the transformative power of 3D printing, my investigations have since ventured into the immersive world of Virtual Reality. VR offers a unique medium to simulate and explore experimental setups and environments that may not be easily accessible or feasible in the physical realm. By harnessing the potential of VR, scientists can visualize and interact with their experiments in unprecedented ways, transcending the limitations of traditional laboratory setups. This immersive experience not only enhances experimental understanding but also promotes collaborative research and knowledge sharing among geographically dispersed teams. Furthermore, the integration of Artificial Intelligence amplifies the capabilities of VR-driven laboratory environments. AI algorithms can be employed to analyse complex experimental data, enabling real-time insights and facilitating the discovery of meaningful patterns and correlations. Leveraging AI in VR-based laboratories opens doors to intelligent automation, predictive modelling, and augmented decision-making, empowering scientists to extract deeper knowledge and achieve breakthrough discoveries. During this talk, I will present case studies and practical implementations of the integration of VR and AI in my laboratories. By embracing these technologies, researchers can transcend traditional boundaries, accelerating the pace of scientific inquiry and fostering interdisciplinary collaboration.
Ana Pinha, Jorge Oliveira, Filipe Pinto, Micaela Fonseca and, Pedro Gamito Lusofona University, Portugal
Title:Virtual Reality and the Study of Human-Environment InteractionAbstract:
Virtual Reality (VR) is an interactive technological medium that simulates a realistic or imaginary environment. Its purpose is to facilitate user interaction within the virtual environment. This is achieved by tracking their movements and providing synthesized feedback that stimulates one or more senses. Through this interaction, users can experience a sense of immersion and presence in the virtual environment. When combined with the individual's own imagination, these aspects form the core principles underlying the concept of VR.
During this presentation, we will provide an in-depth exposition of Virtual Reality, by providing a historical context from its inception as a concept to its contemporary applications, what different commercial equipments are available, and how to use and care for them. We will shed light on the potential of VR in fostering learning and skill acquisition across a variety of domains such as entertainment, education, healthcare, therapeutic interventions, and research. Finally, We will showcase some of the research projects conducted at HEI-Lab, centered on VR. These projects focus primarily on the study of human behavior and the exploration of human-environment interactions, with the objective of acquiring insights into human cognitive processes, with the help of VR technology.
This work was funded by Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia (FCT), under HEI-Lab R&D Unit (UIDB/05380/2020) and Project PlayersAll: media agency and empowerment (EXPL/COM-OUT/0882/2021).
Rui Filipe Fernandes Prada
University of Lisbon, Portugal
Title:ChemTouch: Teaching Organic Chemistry in Virtual RealityAbstract:
One of the challenges new students face when learning organic chemistry is that of learning for the first time the concepts of stereochemistry, as these three-dimensional concepts can be hard to understand via two-dimensional representations and models To address this challenge, we have developed an immersive virtual reality game, ChemTouch. The game allows students to build and visualize molecules in VR facilitating the understanding of their three-dimensional properties. The project has been developed as part of the efforts to improve the teaching approaches at Instituto Superior Técnico and has shown great potential since students report high levels of engagement. After a short introductory presentation of the project and the game, the audience will be able to experience directly its potential in a participatory live demo.