July 13 2021 – GIGXR, provider of extended reality (XR) learning solutions for instructor-led teaching and training, has today announced that it has received a Phase II Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) contract from AFWERX to develop its Extended Reality (XR) simulation training to help Air Force Academy (USAFA) cadets improve learning and engagement in vital chemistry studies. The USD $750,000 funding will be allocated to developing HoloChem, a new mixed reality application for USAFA 100 and 200 level chemistry courses.
“Traditional chemistry labs lack the immersive, safe-to-fail environments students need to develop the critical thinking skills for using chemistry in the real world,” said Captain Wale Lawal, Ph.D., Assistant Professor at the Department of Chemistry for the US Air Force Academy. “GIGXR’s mixed reality learning solutions allows USAFA educators to immerse students in ultra-realistic, interactive scenarios to transform their understanding of chemistry from rote memorization or rigid ‘cookbook chemistry’ to real-time problem-solving. This kind of learning mimics the challenges they might face in the future, which would otherwise be impossible to simulate or place our students at risk.”
HoloChem leverages GIGXR’s ability to create lifelike mixed reality learning experiments. According to GIGXR, traditional chemistry curricula, which focus on abstract understanding of concepts such as bonding and solvents and as a result fall short in both facilitating learning outcomes and keeping students engaged in the learning process. HoloChem takes those principles out of the lab, off the page and into visually compelling scenarios that use gamification techniques to encourage concept retention and critical thinking skills.
“Being awarded with the Phase II SBIR Contract is an achievement we’re incredibly proud of and marks a milestone in mixed reality’s valuable impact on education,” said David King Lassman, CEO at GIGXR. “We’re honored to be working with the U.S. Air Force Academy, whose reputation for academic excellence and technological innovation is second to none. USAFA needed a product that enabled their instructors to provide hands-on, immersive learning and future-proof execution. HoloChem simulates key real life experiences that labs simply cannot and allows instructors to reach multiple campuses or remote students to match the ultra-realistic learning experience available to the cadets in the instructor’s own classroom.”
GIGXR’s flagship products, HoloPatient and HoloPatient Remote, use volumetric video to create safe-to-fail environments in which medical and nursing students can practice vital diagnostic, communication and clinical reasoning skills. Delivered through GIGXR’s Saas Application Platform, the company’s new HoloChem application will open up new immersive learning experiences for both teachers and students. Instructors using the Microsoft HoloLens 2 headset will be able to create and share content with students either also wearing headsets or connecting via Android or iOS smartphones and tablets.
“Training and education are extremely compelling use cases for our mixed reality headsets,” said Greg Sullivan, Director of Mixed Reality at Microsoft. “Powerful, versatile hardware supports students in mastering and applying complex concepts. Content developed by our mixed reality partners such as GIGXR transforms the learning process, especially in highly technical applications such as those for USAFA.”
GIGXR and USAFA plan to deploy HoloChem in coursework in early 2022. For more information on GIGXR and its mixed reality offering, please visit the company’s website. For more information on USAFA, click here.
Image credit: GIGXR
About the author
Sam is the Founder and Managing Editor of Auganix. With a background in research and report writing, he has been covering XR industry news for the past seven years.