UMaine researchers developing virtual reality software for use in math, geometry classes


ORONO - It's like stepping into a video game-- but educators are hoping it can be used in an academic setting.

Undergraduate and graduate students alike have been working together in a lab at the University of Maine to develop a virtual technology that can be used by all ages.

The program is called the handwaver, and the goal is to help students better understand math and geometry by actually seeing it in a 3-d environment.

"One thing you can do with virtual objects that you can't do with real physical objects is you can investigate them by superposition, you can put them inside each other really easily to understand how their volumes might relate to one another," said Justin Dimmel, Assistant Professor of Mathematics Education and Instructional Technology at the University of Maine. "That's just a simple example of the kinds of things you can do in these virtual environments."

The technology is still in its early stages, and the team is working to perfect it.

Professor Dimmel hopes to get this on the radar for Maine teachers so they can prepare for the future.

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