In January 2021, the elective course “Virtual and Augmented Reality for Good” (VAR4Good) is taught at University of Amsterdam for the very first time. Because of the COVID-19 lockdown in the Netherlands, most of the course content has been changed into online material, but we have been granted permission by the faculty to give students access to VR headsets in the Visualisation Lab at Science Park. In the lab, students get access to five out of a total of ten Oculus Quest headsets (version 1) that we have on loan from our colleagues from Free University Amsterdam.
We have implemented multiple layers of protection to minimise the risk of infection from the shared use of headsets:
- Twice a week, students meet in the Visualisation Lab for two hours in groups of no more than five to ensure a minimum working distance of 1.5m.
- Each student is given a personal silicon face mask to limit contact between the face and the headset.
- Between groups, headsets and controllers are cleaned using disinfectant wipes and exposure to UVC light using a CX1 from Cleanbox technologies.
The VAR4Good course is modeled after similar courses previously taught by universities elsewhere. The objective for students in their project is to develop an interactive VR application on a subject with a societal relevance.
VAR4Good students get introduced to VR for the first time.