Funding, Grants & Awards
Ed Dept. Names Finalists for Virtual and Augmented Reality Competition
The United States Department of Education (ED) Tuesday revealed five finalists in the EdSim Challenge, a national competition that aims to advance students’ career and technical skills with immersive, computer-based simulations.
Last November, the ED called for submissions of virtual and augmented reality experiences that engage and prepare students for a globally competitive workforce.
The finalists are:
- Case Western Reserve University, which developed “Holographic Anatomy to Transform Healthcare,” a simulation that provides an alternative to using cadavers to teach medical anatomy. Combining the Microsoft HoloLens and the VR experience, medical students can practice dissection techniques in a virtual environment.
- Embodied Labs for a series of VR patient experiences called “The Alfred Lab,” designed to teach students how to take better care of elderly populations.
- Octothorpe, the creator behind “The Irregular: Sherlock Holmes,” which challenges students to work together on chemistry and psychology problems.
- Osso VR, for its realistic, hands-on orthopaedic surgical training platform; and
- Smart Sparrow, an education company that created “LifeCraft,” which explores life on Earth through various archaeology, biology and astronomy expeditions.
A panel of judges comprising experts in gaming, education, workforce development, tech and venture capital selected five teams out of 249 applications, according to a news release. Judges include Elizabeth Baron, a technical specialist in VR and advanced visualization at Ford Motor Company; Reshma Saujani, founder and CEO of the nonprofit Girls Who Code; Kiki Wolfkill, head of Microsoft’s 343 Industries video game development company, among others.
Each of the finalists will receive $50,000 and continue to develop their educational simulations in the “EdSim Virtual Accelerator” phase of the competition for a chance to win the $430,000 grand prize. In addition, finalists will receive Oculus and Samsung developer kits and gear, as well as VR headsets from HTC.
Finalists will present their prototypes to a panel of judges on a “demo day,” taking place in the summer. The grand prize winner will be announced in the winter.
To learn more, watch the video below or visit the EdSim Challenge site.