Gradia Jämsä is trialling augmented reality to support teaching in electrical engineering installation exercises

Nora Nirhamo | 2022/11/02

In collaboration with Gradia Jämsä, Softability developed an augmented reality (AR) application to support practical electrical engineering training. The AR application helps the student to visualise the practice environment and tools, and helps the teachers to plan work and check students’ installations. Read more!

New technologies such as augmented (AR), mixed (MR) and virtual reality (VR) are increasingly being deployed at educational institutions to support teaching and to prepare young people for future working life. This time, Softability collaborated with Gradia Jämsä to develop an AR application for electrical engineering with the purpose of improving and diversifying students’ learning experience, improving the visualisation of the installation environment and tools, and to make it easier for teachers to plan work and check the installations.

“The premise for the application was the need to make the final result of the installation practical work clearer for students and to get them to better understand what the kitchen they’re wiring will be like when it’s complete, as a fully furnished room. However, the available space and our aim to keep the installation training process smooth mean that real, fixed kitchen furniture cannot be used in the practice environment, so we decided to find a solution to these problems in new technology, the AR application,” explains Niklas Myllymäki, an electrical engineering lecturer at Gradia Jämsä.

Using the AR application, a virtual kitchen is introduced to the physical practice space, which helps students to perceive what the final result will look like. The students wire a kitchen in the traditional way based on 2D drawings and then install the power outlets in the correct places on empty walls. Once the power outlets are in place and the circuits have been wired, the power outlet locations are checked using the AR app and 2D drawings. The transparency of the virtual elements (cupboards, counters, frames, domestic appliances) can be adjusted in the app so that it is easy to check the locations of the power outlets in relation to the elements. In addition to adjusting transparency, doors and frames can be removed, either one at a time or all at once, depending on whether you want to check a single location or keep the rest of the kitchen completely visible.

After the work has been checked, the student makes any required changes, and once they have been given permission, they carry out an implementation inspection, complete the documentation, and connect the power. It is also possible to take screenshots of the AR application to use in reporting and evaluations.

“In trial use, the application has proven to be a clear and relatively reliable user interface. The features of the application support the learning and feedback process well. As you can make cupboard structures transparent, and remove furniture and doors, the installations behind the cupboards become clearer and make it possible for the student to see how they have succeeded in placing the power outlets on the installation wall. The appearance and modelling of the cupboards and appliances drawn in AR are significantly better than the user base expected,” says Myllymäki, and continues:

“Collaboration with Softability was simple; the company’s employees understood our needs, listened to our wishes, and were able to focus on the features that are essential to the customer. Any problems or issues with the functionality of the application were solved quickly and simply from the client’s point of view.”

The use of new technologies in teaching prepares students for future working life

Although not many companies use augmented, mixed, and virtual reality on a daily basis, their potential has been recognised and the technologies are being tested in various applications. People who are currently in working life are experiencing the pressures of the digital revolution, but in the future, new technologies will be part of everyday life. Educational institutions play an extremely important role in introducing students to these new technologies and preparing them for future working life.

“We want to take Gradia forward in the digital world and ensure a wide range of implementation methods and flexible learning paths. In all of our digital development, we want to put the student and learning first. We are happy to try out new things and digital tools, especially when they provide clear benefits to the students and their learning processes. Digitalisation means that we are able to offer our students increasingly flexible opportunities to study regardless of time or place – and without enormous investments, as the new technology allows us to do things a lot more concretely and touchably than before,” explains Gradia’s educational technology specialist, Marika Peltonen.

“Right from the start, we strove to design an application that would also be fit for use in working life, in new building and renovations, for example. The deployed application is user-friendly and does not require any large-scale equipment procurement. In several industries, XR technologies have been found to meet various needs, reduce errors, and also make work easier on an operative level. It is only natural for us to take the situation into consideration in the education sector, too. Working life representatives are extremely welcome to learn more about our solutions here on site and to hear about our experiences,” adds Peltonen.

Watch the video to see how the AR app developed for Gradia works (in Finnish)!

More information about the project and user experiences are available from:

Niklas Myllymäki, lecturer, Gradia Jämsä, electrical engineering, niklas.myllymaki@gradia.fi

https://www.gradia.fi/

Softability is a leading provider of XR solutions in Finland. We have helped several educational institutions to keep up with digitalisation and modernise their teaching methods. We have deployed solutions that are suitable for mobile devices, wearable devices, and a mixture of the two. Read our other education industry references!

More information about XR solutions is available from:

Mikko Luukkonen, Solution Sales, +358 50 554 3652, mikko.luukkonen(at)softability.fi

Tapio Pukkala, Solution Sales, +358 40 718 0514, tapio.pukkala(at)softability.fi

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