The Labster Effect — Virtual Laboratories for Educational Institutions
What good is studying science without getting a feel of how things are done in an actual laboratory? But setting up a laboratory is a costly affair and not every school or college can afford it. Setting up a private laboratory in the basement of the house is not always a feasible option either. Labster offers an easier, more affordable and a lot safer alternative to actual laboratory with glass labware, chemicals and other costly equipment that goes along with it.
The Danish company, Labster offers virtual laboratory applications for schools, colleges and universities. These virtual laboratory applications presents real world simulations of laboratory environment represented in 3D animation. These simulations help students go through the whole process of conducting experiments one step at a time.
The animated 3D interactive lab environment offered by Labster helps students identify, recognize and understand various laboratory equipment and the experiments they are used for. The step by step instructions is offered by a virtual guide. She will also explain the principle involved in the experiments.
Labster currently offers 27 different modules, with 5 more on their way. Apart from the usual PC/Tablet based lab modules, the company has also developed a virtual reality Crime Scene Investigation (CSI) procedure and techniques which works with Samsung Gear VR and Oculus. With VR, Labster will be able to offer more realistic laboratory experience to students.
The Labster application is not just a teaching aid. It also acts as an assessment tool for the teachers. They can access student performance records on their dashboard which will help them gauge the levels of understanding among students to identify the problem areas and revise them for their benefit. The effectiveness of Labster as a valuable teaching tool has been widely recognized by the academia and even the policy makers.
The virtual reality CSI simulation has been highly appreciated and use of such VR simulation applications for different areas in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) education is being contemplated. Labster recently received $2 million in grants from Danish Market Development Fund and Danish Growth Foundation for the development of VR laboratory applications for other STEM courses as well.
The VR simulation of CSI by itself is a comprehensive laboratory application which includes multiple molecular biology techniques like DNA extraction, purification, amplification and electrophoresis. It offers insights into few of the many forensic procedures. Labster virtual laboratory application makes learning fun, after all it feels like one’s playing a computer game while they are learning important procedures. Try the demo out here
Labster has recently made its HPLC virtual lab available on iPad, with more to follow soon.