Posted 11 October 2017
“We knew it could be done, but when we put the HoloLens on and really saw it, that was the wow moment, the proof that it worked!"
Holographic, interactive cows are being brought into the classroom at Harper Adams thanks to a cutting-edge project to boost teaching and learning by embracing the latest Mixed Reality technology.
Microsoft HoloLens is the first fully self-contained holographic computer running Windows 10 and university staff had their first real look at the Bovine HoloLens visuals – seemingly staring and gesturing into space while wearing the computers – when Anthony Chadwick from software company The Webinar Vet, brought them to the campus.
Alison Pyatt (above), Senior Lecturer in Animal Science, has been in discussions with Anthony and Microsoft since December last year to develop imagery to assist with bovine anatomy teaching. Microsoft supported the Webinar Vets development team as they built the Bovine Hololens content.
She explained: “We went down to Microsoft and achieved a lot in just one week. I provided images and lecture notes from dissection practical lessons. We discussed how it might work best, how it would fit into sessions, and the best way to go through the process, so that the Microsoft team could put it all into context.
“We knew it could be done, but when we put the HoloLens on and really saw it, that was the wow moment, the proof that it worked!
“We chose focus on the udder to start with because it is quite a simple structure. We’re still not down to the finer details, but we do have views of the intact cow, its skeleton, blood flow, and then the detail and dissection of the udder.
“There are all sorts of ways we can use it. We could use it before a dissection practical to show the students what to expect, instead of a dissection practical, as revision or we could even get students to walk each other through it to learn themselves by teaching. There is plenty of scope for this to enhance learning experiences.”
Anthony Chadwick added: “This is going to be a really good experience for the students. With a real dissection, if you get an udder and cut it up, once you have cut it, there is not going back, no putting it back together.
"With the Microsoft HoloLens you can go back over it, right there in the lesson or even later as revision.”