A $3.5 million, curved computer vision headset will make it easier to learn computer skills, as well as help improve people with autism, a new study has found.
The research, published Monday in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, examined a 3D printer used to make the Oculus Rift, the company’s latest VR headset.
The new technology has previously been used to create 3D models of the human body, but until now has not been used for this type of work.
“The technology is well suited for the task of providing human-computer interaction and the development of models of human bodies, which is what the study is all about,” said study researcher John Linnell, a professor of electrical and computer engineering at the University of Michigan.
“So we think this is a pretty promising technology for this kind of work.”
The research is the first to investigate how a computer-based 3D model of a human body might be used to teach a computer how to do things, such as reading, writing, and using social interaction, said study co-author Andrew Gieringer, a postdoctoral fellow in electrical engineering at U-M.
“This is one of the first times we have seen a way that you could combine the technology that is available to us in the 3D printing industry with the technologies that are in the scientific community and build a very sophisticated computer,” said Linnel, who also works with researchers from the University at Buffalo, Cornell University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Researchers in the U-K study used a computer simulation to create a 3-D model, with the model being placed in the center of a 3,000-degree curved computer monitor.
The researchers were able to get the model to learn from its surroundings.
For example, it was able to figure out how the shape of the screen was changing based on the position of a light source in front of the computer.
In the past, the researchers have shown that people with autistic spectrum disorders are more likely to be able to learn new skills through a computer.
This research suggests that learning through computer stimulation might be a better way to help people learn.
“We think that by using computer stimulation, you might be able more quickly get a child or a person who is learning through the internet to learn in a similar way that a person learns through the media or through social interaction,” said Gieriger, who added that computer simulation technology could also be used in teaching autistic children to use the internet.
“It’s a pretty exciting technology and one that could be useful in people with intellectual disabilities.”
The researchers have already been able to demonstrate the effectiveness of computer simulation using children with autism.
The study was funded by the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science.