Funded Projects

2021 Funded Projects

XR in Interprofessional Learning: Facilitating Engineering-Medicine Interactions

Project Team: Jan Stegemann and Rachel Schmedlen (Biomedical Engineering), Michelle Aebersold (Nursing), Jaimo Ahn (Michigan Medicine)

The goal of this project is to promote interprofessional learning and collaboration between engineering students and medical trainees. The project team will use virtual reality tools to enable and enhance such interactions by creating a simulation of medical planning and intervention that must be performed collaboratively by a team of engineering students and medical learners. An understanding of these issues is critical to biomedical engineers who are designing novel medical devices and will have broad implications for the future development of collaborative treatment paradigms.

Development of Augmented Reality Content for Design for Additive Manufacturing

Project Team: Kazuhiro Saitou and Chinedum Okwudire (Mechanical Engineering)

This project aims to develop augmented reality content that enhances experiential learning with Design for Additive Manufacturing (AM), focusing on undesired geometry in AM and the internal working of printers that cause it. The content will enable immersive viewing, animation, and manipulation of the 3D models of a printer, its printing process, and printed parts. This will provide students with training urgently desired by the manufacturing industry – designing high-quality parts for AM.

2020 Funded Projects

XR for Outreach and Teaching in Disaster Engineering

Project Team:  Dr. Sherif El-Tawil and Andrew Hlynka (Civil and Environmental Engineering)
Describing the results of disaster research to students and lay people is challenging. Imagine telling an audience that there is a 2% chance in 50 years that there will be a severe earthquake that has a 30% chance of causing their home to collapse. This project is developing an XR experience that can be used as part of a presentation module that outlines in lay terms what natural hazard risk is and why disaster planning is important for a resilient community. The project team will also highlight how research being conducted at UM is responsive to critical quality-of-life issues.

Develop Personalized Immersive Learning Experience and Office Hours by AI-enabled XR

Project Team:  Wei Lu and Changyu Deng (Mechanical Engineering)
The project is creating an immersive learning system for office hours and
recitations, which are major components of teaching, by incorporating XR to assist concept development and problem solving, and integrating it with Artificial Intelligence (AI)  for personalized inclusive learning. The potential impact of the project is expected to be broad and profound.  It has the potential to change the form of traditional office hours, recitation sessions, and how learning is achieved through homework. A student will be able to learn complicated concepts more easily with the tool, to solve challenging homework problems more independently with less direct help, and to interact with the instructor and other students in the XR environment to solve complex problems by team learning.

Promoting Consideration of Context in Design through XR of use Environments

Project Team:  Kathleen Sienko and Shanna Daly (Mechanical Engineering)
This project will design, develop, and preliminarily assess an XR tool that can be used by students to simulate use environments. The tool will support students in learning how to identify contextual information relevant to design from use (here, simulated use) environments and incorporate the information into their design decision making processes. Furthermore, the tool will support the practice of contextually-situated design, where students gather information about an environment and consider the appropriateness of an idea based on context.

Visualizing the Geometry of Thermodynamics via Extended Reality

Project Team:  Wenhao Sun (Materials Science Engineering)
Thermodynamics is a core course in many engineering disciplines, but it is a notoriously abstract topic and can be challenging for students to grasp. Despite the fact that thermodynamics is formulated in the language of vector geometry, textbooks often discuss the derivations and consequences of thermodynamics in equation form, instead of in the visual form. This project is developing XR tools (smartphone and room-scale) to help students directly visualize and interact with thermodynamic free-energy surfaces so that they can learn geometric concepts in thermodynamics more naturally. 

Investigating Spatial Reasoning Training via Extended Reality

Project Team:  Westly Weimer and Madeline Endres (Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science), Priti Shah and Madison Fansher (Cognition & Cognitive Neuroscience)
Studies have found that spatial ability can be the single biggest predictor of student success in both computer science specifically and STEM in general. This is particularly relevant for underserved students: lower spatial ability better explains the underperformance of lower socioeconomic status computer science students than does computing access. Critically, the spatial ability is not fixed and can be improved through training. This project is working with existing expertise (e.g., at the Duderstadt Center) to implement a spatial training framework in an XR environment. Students will be able to use the tool to manipulate, rotate, and cut simple 3D solids. This XR tool will replicate established spatial training activities.

2019 Funded Projects

Use of AR in Advancing ENTR 411 Student Learning of Customer Discovery Skills for Diverse Customer Segments

Project Team:  Dawn White (Center for Entrepreneurship), Alison Bailey (Center for Entrepreneurship), and Aileen Huang-Saad (Biomedical Engineering).
This project explores the value of XR technology in effectively teaching customer discovery skills. Teaching customer discovery skills is challenging because students tend to interact primarily with the on-campus population, and they often find asking effective discovery questions rather than pitching their “idea,” to non-student potential customers difficult. The project team is studying the effectiveness of XR to support customer discovery learning and skills acquisition by:
• Improving learning and development of customer discovery skills
• Increasing customer discovery effectiveness and inclusion when conducting customer discovery with diverse customer populations.

Exploring 3D Nanoscale Materials with XR Assisted Tomography

Project Team:  Robert Hovden and Jacob Pietryga (Materials Science & Engineering)
Three-dimensional characterization of materials at the nano- and meso-scale has become possible with transmission and scanning transmission electron microscopes. Its importance has extended to a wide class of nanomaterials—such as hydrogen fuel cells, solar cells, block-copolymer networks, low k-dielectrics, and semiconductor devices, as well as spanning high- tech industry, universities, and national labs. While capable instrumentation is abundant, this rapidly expanding field is bottlenecked by software that is non-existent, limited and proprietary, or difficult to interpret. The 3D characterization of materials critically relies on advanced software and human interface design. This project is defining new ways for interacting with nanoscale tomography datasets using XR and to build these approaches into educational labs for advanced curriculum / scientific workshops.