Tampere University of Applied Sciences
Based in Finland, Tampere University of Applied Sciences (otherwise known as TAMK) is a higher education institution oriented towards working life skills and practical innovations. Teaching and RDI are integrated seamlessly in the operational functions of TAMK in Built Environment and Bioeconomy, Business and Media, Industrial Engineering, Pedagogic Innovations and Culture and Social Services and Health Care.
It places special emphasis on working with the latest technologies and due to this, was looking to create a virtual lab for its students for a number of reasons, including connecting the university to its living labs, encouraging collaborative work and enhancing empathy - which is exactly where we were able to help. Our shared immersive spaces are already used by countless institutions globally for the very same reasons, hence why TAMK knew it could turn to us to deliver the project.
We worked closely with TAMK to install a 6-metre immersive cylinder that is currently being used across a number of courses at the university. The cylinder forms part of The Virtual Lab for Social and Health Care, situated in TAMK’s main campus, which serves as an innovative co-creation platform for technology companies, service providers and TAMK students - you can learn more about it in the below webinar.
The cylinder comprises six full HD 3000-lumen projectors and two Jabra Panacast 180° cameras to show off the space in full 360°. This is combined with a two-way 180° video conferencing system so that remote students can also take advantage of the space - something that has been particularly helpful over the past year or so.
TAMK also makes use of the Igloo Enterprise software which gives it access to features like Igloo Web, our 360° web browser that enables you to display any website within the space and Igloo Home, a customisable user interface that anyone can use. The students can also make use of Igloo Touch, which allows you to interact with the content from your phone, or Igloo Remote where the whole system can be controlled from a tablet - alongside many other handy features.
To get started with using the cylinder, students from TAMK’s Fine Art course created 360° videos to convey important stories and help others to understand difficult concepts, thus enhancing empathy - which you can check out in our blog post. The cylinder is used to share these 360° videos with others at the university, allowing students to view and discuss the topics covered together, which encourages collaboration.
The university has found the cylinder to be the most effective way to display the content, as it found it was often limited by the constraints of a VR headset. Immersive spaces like the cylinder, help to remove these constraints - they still enable students to be fully immersed in the content, but also enable multiple audience members to view the content at the same time.
The 360° film becomes a shared experience and, for most people, that makes it a more powerful experience. The audience gets the message together and can discuss it together.
Teini Piibemaa, a student who created one of the videos, said “I know that with VR glasses I tend to get anxiety and motion sickness immediately which also makes it harder to recover after removing the glasses, so the cylinder can be a gentler option for people with the same issues. The cylinder also acts as a uniting piece, since you experience this with other people in the room. VR glasses place you into another reality where you don’t see the people who physically share your space.”
Due to Covid restrictions, the university has been limited on the number of students it can have inside the space, so is looking forward to getting more students inside once these have eased, particularly across different study fields. We’re excited to check back in with TAMK once this has happened to see how it’s been getting on.
If you’d like a tour of the Virtual Lab, check out the above video from TAMK.
“The Igloo has inspired students, and opened new viewpoints of what can be done in the moving image field, and we’re excited to see what students make next!”.