Skip to main content

Law students in the U.K. will will dive head first into virtual reality murder case

The U.K.’s University of Westminster is trying to appeal to the Pokémon Go generation of criminal law students. The school created an Oculus Rift virtual reality scenario designed to let students get a grip with case studies using current technology.

“Instead of students only learning from books, the idea was to give students the chance to understand criminology by actually interacting with a crime scene environment,” Markos Mentzelopoulos, a senior lecturer in the university’s computer science department, told Digital Trends. “It’s a way for them to explore case studies in different ways, taking advantage of VR’s immersive properties.”

Related Videos

Planned to be trialed by law students in November, REal and Virtual Reality Law (REVRLaw) lets students participate in a scenario, rendered in loving detail using the VR Unity engine. Within the scenario, they can analyze pieces of evidence and even interact with participants. The case study involves two brothers who run into financial problems while shooting a film — leading to the demise of one of the siblings.

“That’s where the action scenario starts,” Mentzelopoulos said. “You are inside the house and your goal is to try and come to a conclusion about whether or not the surviving brother is guilty of murder or not, or whether it was a case of self-defense. By examining the evidence, students can become acquainted with the case study.”

While still in its testing phase, the research paper behind the project has already received a Best Paper award from the Immersive Learning Research Network (iLRN).

Of course, a tool like this is not going to be valuable at all stages of law school. While understanding the specifics of cases is important, applying the legal process to cases is far less about TV detective-style investigations than it is knowing how to formulate arguments around facts. Still, as a way of engaging new students as a jumping-off point for discussion, REVRLaw sounds promising.

“This isn’t a way of replacing existing teaching materials, it’s about supplementing them,” Mentzelopoulos said. “Books and interactive lectures are still very important. But younger students are also more willing to try out new technologies. This is a chance for them to do that.”

Editors' Recommendations

Meet VRGE, the posh virtual reality dock that charges your headset
vrge kickstarter vr dock 5

If you're an early adopter of a virtual reality headset, such as the HTC Vive or PlayStation VR, you may be wondering where to store your hardware when it's not in use. For complaints as common as 'Where do I put it?', a company on Kickstarter has a solution.

The VRGE, according to Team VRGE based in South Carolina, is the "first and most versatile virtual reality storage system." Not only does it hold your VR hardware and peripherals away from a space where a guest could trip on them, but it also dual-wields as a charger.

Read more
Facebook plans to invest $3 billion in virtual reality over the next decade
Mark Zuckerberg Demos Oculus Chat

Facebook is planning to pour $3 billion into virtual reality in the next decade in an effort to improve the tech.

The revelations came from the company’s head honcho himself, Mark Zuckerberg, who made the remarks while testifying in a federal court, The New York Times reports. The Facebook founder was surprisingly forthright in his projection for VR — which was released to the masses last year in the form of several devices from the likes of HTC, Sony PlayStation, and Facebook-owned Oculus — claiming the computing platform's experience isn't currently "good" enough for general users.

Read more
Tour the White House in virtual reality with the Obamas as your guides
white house obama vr

President-elect Donald Trump may be taking over the White House next week, but you can still get one last look at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue while President Barack Obama resides there -- and in virtual reality, no less.

Filmed by Felix & Paul, a VR film studio that has a number of 360-degree content under its belt, "The People's House" is available to everyone as a 360-degree video, and thanks to a partnership with Oculus Studios, Gear VR and Oculus Rift owners can watch the tour with their headsets.

Read more