Future learning at solar car finish line

Jesse and Greg haptics
Flinders University research fellow Dr Greg Ruthenbeck, right, and third-year robotics-electronic student Jesse Stewart with the 3D haptic mouse device which will be on display in Victoria Square, Adelaide.

3D computer games will lead school students into the future of high-tech learning at a series of special Flinders University promotions at the finishing line for the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge in Victoria Square.

Digital media games, haptic (tactile) devices and mobile teaching robotics displays for schools and the public will be part of the action as solar vehicles from the around the world make their way across the nearby finish line today (Friday).

Event sponsor Flinders University has hosted mission control and the social media hub at its Victoria Square site. The University’s Science and Engineering faculty is watching the solar car technology closely, with hopes of entering its inaugural vehicle in the next world solar challenge in 2017.

Flinders researcher Dr Greg Ruthenbeck, from the School of Computer Science, Engineering and Mathematics, says haptic technology can provide hands-on learning with computer-based simulations and games for better learning – from the workplace to the surgical operating theatre of the future.

“For example, this 3D mouse recreates the sense of touch by providing precise force feedback to the user’s hand. This can be used in many ways, including teaching medical students how to perform delicate surgeries,” Dr Ruthenbeck says.

“We’re investigating new ways of applying haptics technology to simplify complex Computer Aided Design tasks and provide better training for assembly workers in advanced manufacturing.

“Haptic technology is an exciting new way of controlling everything from rehabilitation games to the robotic arm of NASA’s Space Shuttle,” he says.

“This is the kind of technologies, along with 3D modelling, that will help Flinders develop its solar vehicle and other breakthrough discoveries in the future.”

All the action from the 3000km Darwin-Adelaide solar challenge event winds up  in Victoria Square, Adelaide on Sunday.

 

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