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Stanford-Designed Hapkit Brings Physical Touch to the Virtual Classroom

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Using Stanford's Hapkit.

Researchers at Stanford University have developed a do-it-yourself kit that gives online students hands-on experience in haptics.

Credit: Stanford University

Stanford University researchers have developed Hapkit, a do-it-yourself kit that gives online learners hands-on experience by bringing haptics into virtual classrooms.

Hapkit is equipped with a sensor, motor, and controller board that can be programmed using a personal computer.

In the fall of 2013, Stanford professor Allison Okamura used Hapkit in an online teaching experiment, offering a free online course to 100 applicants. Okamura sent each student a Hapkit to use in conjunction with the course, and found 77 percent of the participants finished with a passing grade.

Okamura currently is working with University of British Columbia researchers to study the best ways to use haptic technology to improve how teachers teach and participants learn.

At Stanford, Okamura uses Hapkit in a free massive open online course.

The researchers also are developing other partnerships to experiment with ways to use hands-on training tools to improve learning outcomes. "What we really want to understand is how interacting with these haptic devices could help education across a broad variety of topics," Okamura says.

From Stanford University
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