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Virtual reality augmenting teaching of wood structure and protection

The Wood Technology Society
13 May 2020

A virtual reality system to augment teaching of wood structure and protection

The Editor of the IWPJ, Gervais Sawyer, has themed the current issue on education, and he highlights a paper by Dr Philip Evans and his research team at UBC discussing virtual reality (VR) and its application in studying wood fibre. IOM3 members have free access to this journal via our Member Portal otherwise follow the link to the current issue.

Quoting from the abstract, 'Medical students have enthusiastically embraced the use of virtual reality (VR) systems to help them understand the complex anatomy of body components. We hypothesize that students studying the structure and protection of wood will show similar acceptance of VR systems. We developed X-ray micro-CT models to show the distribution of silica in the Australian marine borer resistant timber, satinay and copper in treated pine. Students taking a course in wood protection used a VR device to explore the distribution of silica in satinay and copper in pine. Students were surveyed to assess their views on the system as a learning tool. The results showed that students were very positive about the VR system, and they frequently commented that the system was better than traditional methods at aiding understanding of wood structure/protection. We discuss the limitations and potential of our VR system as a learning tool for wood technology.'

They have specially prepared two short videos relating to the paper showing VR in action: one is about the CT imaging of UBC’s Fraser Island turpentine data set (click here); the other is a video that shows the capability of their VR system by showing a student using it (click here).