Innovation

CES 2016: zSpace turns VR into an educational platform

zSpace has changed virtual reality in the education field. Now it may offer a product that individuals and small businesses can take advantage of.

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Image: Ant Pruitt

Virtual reality has been on the minds and lips of the geek culture for many years. Recently, we have begun to see VR make its presence known as a platform that's readily available for the masses. At CES, I spoke with current educational VR leader, zSpace. We've previously discussed how zSpace has shown that VR as an educational platform is quite innovative—but it can be just as beneficial for your home.

Look it up

In today's age of internet connectivity, information is accessible within seconds from your fingertips. As a parent, I know I've told my children "look it up" when they ask certain questions. Parenting skills aside, I enjoy guiding them through researching the answers to random questions. In many instances, it's been informative as well entertaining to find their answers. Tools such as Google, Amazon Echo, and Apple's Siri provide answers to those off-the-cuff questions rather effectively. But what if you want more?

The zSpace approach

zSpace has released an all-in-one computer that's capable of helping answer your queries, allowing you to dig deeper into the matter at hand—all by bringing your computer screen to life.

When you sit at this computer, the screen will look blurry. This is because it requires wearing the special (lightweight) glasses that include three positioned facial tracking sensors. These sensors, coupled with a stylus, emit signals to the computer monitor and allow you to interact with your screen in a three-dimensional space. Just click on the proprietary zBrowser and start surfing the web. If you prefer to use another browser such as Google Chrome, you can.

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Image: Ant Pruitt

I've always been curious about human anatomy. While sitting with the zSpace representative, I decided to task the system and look for human heart data. To my surprise, zSpace already had an interactive program queued that shows the human heart. When clicking the heart, I could manipulate it in any perspective I chose. Rotating, turning and cross-sectioning were all features available to me. The rendering was fluid and presented almost no latency. I could even check out an item on Google Images for closer investigation.

Picture it. Your child has an increased curiosity on a certain topic. Now that curiosity can be tapped into and fed. Want to study the human skeletal system? Look it up! Explore simplicity of the humerus or the complexity of the knee joint. Every detail is available at the click and waving of your fingers.

zSpace will launch this all-in-one later this year for approximately $1,500. The computer will include the monitor, keyboard, tracking glasses, stylus, and an AMD Fire Pro graphics card. Considering that the price of most gaming PCs is almost $2,000, this is a great deal and may prove to be far more (intellectually) beneficial.

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About

Ant Pruitt is an IT Support Professional with a passion for showing the non-geek how great technology can be. He writes for a variety of tech publications and hosts his own podcast. Ant is also an avid photographer and weight lifter.

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