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VR in education

VR announcements from Oculus

VR in education updates and articles

January 20, 2020
As educators, here’s what caught our attention during the (2 hour) opening keynote of Oculus Connect 6 on 25 September 2019 (opens in new tab).

Hand tracking

Beta hand tracking will be coming to the Quest device in early 2020. More about this step toward more natural gesture control is explained here. Using infrared cameras mounted in the VR headset to track hand movements may reduce the need for handheld VR controllers and support a wider range of use cases for VR in education.

Facebook, who own Oculus, acquired CTRL-Labs who are working on a wrist band with the potential to interpret electrical impulses and turn them into digital signals. Clearly, this is a long-term prospect but it might overcome limitations of using cameras for hand tracking (e.g. grabbing and pulling) with hand gestures.


This feature is coming to Quest later this year. With Passthrough+ on demand, users will be able to toggle between VR experiences and camera mode to see their real-world environment. Handy if you need to check where something is.

Scaling up

Oculus for Business is intended for business customers. It’s currently in closed Beta, so not widely available, but is due to launch in early 2020. Built on Facebook’s Workplace architecture, it should help adoption by satisfy the security requirements of IT departments and enable VR devices to be managed centrally by an administrator.

Remote rendering

Why are we excited about this?  It will make development quicker and reduce the need to sideload! Remote rendering enables you to create code on your PC, then stream the results to your Quest device using a Unity plug-in so you can see the result.

Improved image quality

The industry is investing heavily to improve image quality and reduce reports of ‘VR sickness’. VR sickness is caused by sensory conflict between a user’s real movement and its onscreen representation due to slow screen refresh rates.

In terms of optics, a prototype headset (the Half Dome 3) contains liquid crystal lenses meaning it behaves in a similar way to varifocal lenses, so users can shift between different field depths. As you bring virtual objects closer to you, you’re able to examine them in more detail, which might be useful for inspecting detailed specimens. There’s more information in this blog post from Oculus (opens in new tab).

More updates

How is VR different from virtual simulation?

‘Immersive simulation’ is used to describe multisensory experiences, and VR falls in this category.

Why educational touch-based VR should not be designed like a game

Gaming is the driving force behind VR and many interactions have their roots in gaming, but these gaming tropes simply don’t exist in the minds of most non-gamer students.