Tarsier Goggles & # 39; simulates the vision of a tarsus – ScienceDaily



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Imagine you live in the rainforests of Southeast Asia, you are a giant primate with huge eyes that are about the same size as your brain, and you look a bit like the Gizmo from the movie "Gremlins." You are a tarsal – a nocturnal animal whose gigantic eyes provide exceptional visual sensitivity, allowing a predatory advantage. New virtual reality software, Tarsier Goggles, developed at Dartmouth College, simulates the vision of a tarsus and illustrates the adaptive advantage of the animal's large eyes. Both the virtual reality and the recently published team findings Evolution: Education and Dissemination are available for free online.

Tarsier Goggles was developed by Samuel Gochman 18 while he was a student at Dartmouth and Nathaniel J. Dominy, Charles Hansen Professor of Anthropology at Dartmouth, who studies the evolution of sensory systems of primates in collaboration with Dartmouth Applied Learning and Innovation (DALI) Lab, where students design and build technology.

Gochman approached the DALI Laboratory with a problem: how could it change the human perception of our world by experiencing the unique eye adaptations of the tarsus. Through an iterative process, the DALI team explored different design solutions over which Gochman and the team determined that a virtual reality experience would be better, since it is not only immersive but can also be used as a classroom teaching tool of class.

Open access software, Tarsier Goggles, presents three virtual learning environments – "Matrix", "Labyrinth" and "Bornean Rainforest", which simulate how the view of a tarsus is different from that of humans in terms of acuity, color vision, and brightness. Tarsians of Borneo have protanopia, a form of red-green color blindness. In Borneo's rainforest, users can move through the forest, jumping and clinging to trees in a 'dark space and labyrinth' that is practically opaque under human visual conditions, but navigable as a tarsal, demonstrating the advantages of more visual sensitivity ". as described by the authors.

"Most of the ninth and tenth-year students in the US learn about optics and natural selection, but the two topics are usually handled in isolation," says Dominy, who served as one of the co-authors. "The tarsus is an effective means of unifying the two concepts. You need to understand the optical principles to understand why natural selection would favor such huge eyes on such a small predator."

At Dartmouth, Gochman focused on biological anthropology and human-centered design, and this design was one of the ways in which he applied these research interests. "I realized that most students learning about natural selection were limited to diagrams, slideshows and models," says Gochman, who served as the lead author of the study. "Tarsier Goggles is a scientific education tool that engages students in practical scientific concepts in physics, perceptual science, and biology." "Virtual reality provides an immersive experience for understanding some of the properties of tarsian vision as a result of their adaptations. . he adds.

As part of the study, Gochman demonstrated Tarsier Goggles at two campus events at Dartmouth, an anthropological society meeting and for a sixth-grade class visiting the Vermont Natural Science Institute in Quechee, Vermont. He also demonstrated technology for high school students at the Kimball Union Academy in Meriden, NH, where students of science and anthropology classes watched a brief video about the foraging behavior of the tarsiers, followed by the opportunity to test this reality technology for five minutes each. The students completed a brief open-ended survey that was part of Gochman's formal evaluation of the virtual reality tool.

"The Tarsier Goggles project involved my students firsthand in a learning experience that could not have been achieved through any other means," explains Marilyn Morano Lord & # 39; 95, MALS & # 39; 97, professor of anthropology and world history at the Kimball Union Academy, who also served as one of the co-authors of the article.

Tarsier Goggles was built on Unity3D with SteamVR for HTC VivePro and was coded in C #. The Virtual Reality Toolkit was used to create features like teleportation. For many of the visual effects, Unity's built-in post-processing stack was used and assets were created in Maya. All visuals and experience were coded from scratch by the DALI team based on the collaborative, human-centered design approach of the laboratory.

Tarsier Goggles illustrates the possibilities of how virtual reality can be applied to science education, providing students with a fun and interactive way of exploring complex concepts.

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Materials provided by Dartmouth College. Note: Content can be edited by style and size.

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