Magic Yellow School Bus Rocket Ship
In the popular children’s book series, The Magic School Bus, Ms. Frizzle takes her class aboard a yellow school bus which takes them on field trips to impossible places like inside the human body, the bottom of the ocean floor or across the entire solar system.
Now imagine having an opportunity to take a seat aboard an actual magic yellow school bus that virtually transports you to the surface of another planet, like the Red Planet of Mars!
This was the case for some elementary grade school students who were part of an extraordinary headset free VR learning experience aboard an actual magic yellow school bus.
How was this even possible?
“We had to build technology that didn’t exist....” Jon Collins – Framestore President
Imagination and Hard Work
American global defense/security giant Lockheed Martin, in partnership with the creative forces at Framestore, developed and launched Field Trip to Mars, a first of its kind immersive VR experience which debuted at the 2016 U.S.A. Science and Engineering Festival in Washington DC.
What made this experience truly extraordinary was that the students didn’t have to wear those bulky VR headsets because the bus itself became the headset!
“It felt so real....” - Student aboard the Field Trip to Mars experience.
The WYSIWYG experience was built on a platform using the Unreal game engine and high def transparent panels that replaced the traditional windows on the school bus. Best in class high fi digital audio was added to serve as the sonic cherry on top of a truly sweet first of its kind 360° immersive learning experience.
A more in depth video explaining the gaming based technology used to create this amazing VR experience can be seen here:
Infinite Learning with VR
In the past five years, there has been a dramatic change in the way students receive and process information. However, school classrooms and class instruction has not changed to address this exciting evolution.
Field Trip to Mars is a perfect example of how technology can be used to educate and inspire today's young inquisitive minds. In fact, it can even propel students to become interested in pursuing the STEM/STEAM related careers of tomorrow.
“Someone in my class could be the first person on Mars....” - 7th grade student viewing the Field Trip to Mars experience
The sky's no longer the limit with headset free VR technology. In a sense, the experience evolves into AR (Augmented Reality) because the school bus itself becomes the headset which allows students to physically interact with each other. This technological evolution pushes the limits of the immersive learning experience for learners of all ages pass the earth's sky and straight into the galaxy!
Anything is truly possible now with today's technology -- even field trips to learn about the bottom of the ocean floor or inside the human body!
Just imagine what’s to come for magic yellow school buses and schools in the next five years?