Google is making it easier for students to run lab tests in virtual reality

Google’s Daydream may be a great platform for entertainment, but there are also plenty of educational purposes for the virtual reality platform. To that end, Google announced a new partnership with science education company Labster to create as many as 30 virtual labs on Daydream.

The virtual labs could become a handle tool for students aiming to pursue STEM fields. In those fields, according to Google, lab time can be as important, if not more important, than spending time in a library or in class. So much so that lab time is often a requirement for many STEM degrees. The problem with that is that it can often be hard to get access to a lab, whether it be for financial reasons, distance, or any other reason.

That is where the new partnership between Google and Labster comes in. According to Labster, students from Arizona State, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, University of Texas, McMaster University, and more, have been using the virtual labs to do things like examine organisms under a microscope, sequence DNA, and more. Using VR, students can even see things on a deeper level. For example, Google describes being able to manipulate DNA at the molecular level, or visiting other planets and determining whether or not they could be a potential habitat for humans. Without a time limit, students can do things like review theories and techniques without the pressure of being on the clock.

Of course, it’s likely not everything about the new partnership will be perfect. We’ll have to wait and see exactly how useful the virtual labs really are. It’s likely that the virtual labs won’t be quite as versatile as a real lab, in that they’re limited by what Labster has built into them — but that doesn’t mean they won’t be extremely helpful for learning about certain aspects of science.

Still, it’s likely that the labs will only get better over time, and the fact that there is 30 of them available isn’t insignificant. It’s very likely that the number of labs will continue to grow, meaning that the helpfulness of these virtual labs will only expand further.

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