Virtual & Augmented reality

Virtual training
Virtual Reality is a very popular theme nowadays. There is almost no day without publications about new developments in this field. Some media even declare 2016 as ‘The Year of VR’.
And not without reason. The number of announcements of new VR glasses is exploding. Big companies, like Microsoft and Google, show their Hololens and Magic Leap systems on Youtube.
Google has recently founded a whole division for VR. Facebook took over Oculus for 2 billion dollars. Apple bought AR manufacturer Metaio etc… A major booster of these developments is the ‘computer games’ market. Gamers will be able to fully immerse themselves in the latest games, by putting on a VR headset.
Due to the rapid increase of processing power (think about ‘Moore’s Law’) and fast price erosion, which is due to the application of high-end chips in consumer electronics ( PCs / smartphones), the area in which VR and AR can be utilized is also increasing rapidly.
‘Serious’ VR is already applied in many different places: Defence, Health, Education & Research, and also industrial companies, like ASML and Océ for activities such as technical trainings. In the latter situation the dependence on expensive, not always available, training devices can be reduced.

VR, AR and MR

Virtual reality, Augmented reality, Mixed reality. How do these technologies differ?

Oculus Rift
Consumer version of the Oculus Rift (

Virtual reality

means that a situation has a high level of fidelity, but it is not ‘reality’.
In a broader sense you could say that also the reading of a book, looking to a movie, or making things up in your own fantasy could be labeled as Virtual Reality. The same could be said of physical models that represent reality in one way or the other, think about a ‘Globe’, ‘dolls’,..
However, nowadays when we talk about Virtual Reality we mostly mean a digital, computer generated, representation of reality.
In the VR world you can act without directly causing ‘real life’ consequences. This is especially interesting in situations in which reality can cause difficulties. Think about dangerous situations (acts of war, fire disasters,..) or (too) expensive equipment (airplanes, high-end printers, wafer-steppers,..), which are not always available.
Virtual Reality can be more or less ‘Immersive’. A computer screen can show a (quasi) 3D virtual environment, but it really becomes impressive by using a HMD (head mounted display), like an Oculus Rift, in which you will be fully immersed in a virtual world.

Augmented Reality

makes use of reality, but it adds an additional ‘layer of information’ to it. This can be done with a Smartphone or IPad. Probably you also still remember ‘Google glass’, although this product is not on the market anymore, it is just a matter of time till successors will come. You see your environment and the glasses will project an additional layer of information on your eyes. This method has large potential for ‘maintenance’ purposes : Imagine a service technician only has to put on a pair of glasses, and looks at the device he wants to repair. Automatically the device is being recognized and the service technician receives visual and auditory information about how to repair it.

In the case of <h2>Mixed Reality<h2> you can think of all kinds of variations between a real and a virtual world. Systems are for instance Canon MReal or Microsoft Hololens (near future).
Augmented reality is also part of that, so is Augmented Virtuality. With this latter concept is meant that you also can add reality to a virtual world: Think about playing games on the Wii, or Xbox with Kinect, were ‘real’ body movements influence the virtual world (for instance, playing tennis). In training situations, the application of Augmented / Mixed Virtuality is a powerful method. A trainee can mimic the real physical actions. Because of this the retention of what has been learned will be higher.


Paul Milgram en Fumio Kishino (IEICE Transactions on Information Systems, Vol E77-D, No.12 December 1994.)

Smart Industry

How can better products be developed and be brought to the market at higher speed?
In Germany, it’s called Industry 4.0, in the Netherlands the term ‘Smart Industry’ is used, in the US the Department of Defense, and companies like Boeing talk about the ‘Model based enterprise’.
Product development processes should operate in parallel, instead of sequential. This reduces ‘Time to Market’. IT developments play a crucial role in achieving this. For each ‘process’ the most optimal visualization / virtualization can be chosen.
For instance the design process: fully virtual, training: ‘Augmented 3D Virtuality’ and maintenance: ‘Augmented Reality’. By making use of VR and AR technologies, an improvement and acceleration of product development can take place. Customers can be involved in an early phase by communicating via 3D virtual models. While the product is still in development, training can take place with virtual models. We are at the beginning of an important development, which will have a large impact on our world.

Written by William.

MOOC Quality in Digital Learning

You can now sign up for a special MOOC on Quality of Digital Learning:

Description: ‘MOOCs usually focus on individual knowledge acquisition. This MOOC, however, will put networking and generating new knowledge together at the front, following the motto: Connecting, sharing and co-creating! Therefore, right from the beginning, participants will have the opportunity to bring in their own resources, ideas and expertise. Instead of mere input from the experts, participants cooperate in working groups with peers and experts in order to create fresh ideas for (new) quality in digital learning.

How can quality be measured in digital learning?
Can the same criteria of traditional e-learning be used to measure the quality of new learning scenarios, such as mobile learning, gamified solutions or MOOCs?
What are the added values of an international community working on the topic of quality in digital learning?’

Learn about the Zika virus

Zika virus

source Wikipedia

Symptoms, Diagnosis, & Treatment
(source: CDC Centers for desease control)

‘The Zika virus is spread to people through mosquito bites, especially the Aedes Aegypti mosquito is an important vector. The most common symptoms of Zika virus disease are fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis (red eyes). The illness is usually mild with symptoms lasting from several days to a week. Severe disease requiring hospitalization is uncommon.

Aedes Aegypti Aedes Aegypti mosquito

Outbreaks have occurred in areas of Africa, Southeast Asia, the Pacific Islands, and the Americas. Because the Aedes species mosquitoes that spread Zika virus are found throughout the world, it is likely that outbreaks will spread to new countries. In December 2015, Commonwealth of Puerto Rico reported its first confirmed case. Local vector-borne transmission of Zika has not been reported elsewhere in the United States, but cases have been reported in returning travelers.’

Zika virus and pregnancy

Zika virus can be spread from a pregnant woman to her unborn baby. There have been reports of birth defects and other poor pregnancy outcomes in babies of mothers who were infected while pregnant. Until more is known, CDC recommends special precautions for the following groups:

  • Pregnant women should consider postponing travel to the areas where Zika virus transmission is ongoing. Pregnant women who must travel to one of these areas should talk to their doctor or other healthcare professional first and strictly follow steps to avoid mosquito bites during the trip. Until we know more, if your male sexual partner has traveled to or lives in an area with active Zika virus transmission, you should abstain from sex or use condoms the right way every time you have vaginal, anal, and oral sex for the duration of the pregnancy.
  • Women trying to become pregnant should consult with their healthcare professional before traveling to these areas and strictly followSource CDC

More info Wikipedia

Free education for all

Well Bernie Sanders you are right, but not only for the US, what about the whole world!

So your statement becomes: ‘In order to realise a highly prosperous global economy, were there is enough for everybody, we need the best-educated workforce ever. It is insane and counter-productive to the best interests of our world and our future, that millions of bright young people cannot afford to go to college, and that millions of others leave school with a mountain of debt that burdens them for decades. That shortsighted path to the future must end.’


MOOC at University of Amsterdam (UvA)

MOOC at University of Amsterdam (UvA)

University of Amsterdam starts own MOOC portal
Featured course: Introduction to Communication Science

The University of Amsterdam launches the first Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) on Communication Science: Introduction to Communication Science.

Duration of the he English online course is 8 weeks, videocolleges will cover all aspects of communication. Participants can receive an certificate .

De online course  Introduction to Communication Science is an initiative of the College of Communication and the Graduate School of Communication Science; nr 1 in Europe according to the  QS World University Ranking 2012.





Coursera is a social entrepreneurship company that partners with the top universities in the world to offer courses online for anyone to take, for free. They envision a future where the top universities are educating not only thousands of students, but millions. Coursera states that their technology enables the best professors to teach tens or hundreds of thousands of students.

Through this, Coursera hopes to give everyone access to the world-class education that has so far been available only to a select few. This is fully inline with the philosophy of Learnmenu Coursera wants to empower people with education that will improve their lives, the lives of their families, and the communities they live in.