VR and Robotics: How High School Students Programmed a Robot In VR

In August 2019, Varwin collaborated with Robbo, a company that provides an educational set for creating smart devices, to build a project that unites VR and robotics. We challenged high school students to program a robot in virtual reality. In this article, we will share insights on how a team of three 17-year-olds managed to complete this project.

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Team and Project

Alex, Ayrat, and Adel are 17-year-old students who are keen on programming and dream to connect their lives with VR and robotics. This project was assigned to them as a part of the International Project School they participated in, which was held at Innopolis University. This Project School is organized annually for talented high-school students, and it includes working with innovative technologies to solve real cases. Each team worked with a separate set of technologies, but in this article, we will focus only on the team whose goal was to unite VR and robotics.

Project School participants (including Alex, Ayrat, and Adel) and their mentors from Varwin and Robbo

The end goal for the team was to create a VR project that would help program a robot and to eliminate mistakes while programming it. From a technical standpoint, the students had to repeat the same programming blocks that were used in Google Blockly. Thanks to VR, it was possible to recreate all the actions that the real robot would be able to perform and optimize the set of skills for it. By connecting VR and robotics, we simplified the process of programming robots and allowed more people to participate in it — you no longer need to own a robot to set programs for it.

Future of VR and Robotics

There is a great potential for connecting VR and robotics as both technologies continue to progress. However, instead of lecturing you on the benefits of it, we thought it would be more interesting to ask the students themselves. After completing their task of programming a robot with VR, do they see the future for similar projects?

The workplace of each team member during the Project School

Here is what they shared:

“Programming a robot in VR is much easier, and it saves time for people. Such an approach allows you to test a robot in the most difficult situations, which would be too expensive or dangerous to recreate in real life,” says Adel.

Alex adds to it, “There definitely is a future for such projects. While Robbo can easily be purchased, manipulating industrial robots is not that affordable. Moreover, recreating a robot in virtual reality allows you to get more data about it (acceleration, absolute degree of rotation, etc.) at any time. In real life, you can’t get this information without complex devices.”

“Programming a robot in VR is much easier, and it saves time for people. Such an approach allows you to test a robot in the most difficult situations, which would be too expensive or dangerous to recreate in real life.”

We at Varwin are delighted to be a part of such projects that not only erase the borders between two innovative technologies but also provide opportunities to younger generations, inspiring them to be the changemakers in the world of innovation.

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