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Students Seeing Virtual and Augmented Realities with HoloLens Goggles

The activity in the ‘Hot Spot’ at Lake High School seemed like a scene from Star Trek: The Next Generation. 

But instead of the blind Starship Enterprise Engineer Geordi wearing his high tech visors allowing him to see, GenYes students and staff were trying on Microsoft’s recently released HoloLens goggles allowing them to view holographic virtual objects over their field of vision!

“I don’t know of any other high school with these.  We saw them during the Goodyear STEM Career Day that we attended last spring,” began GenYes student and sophomore Bella Marshall.  “Architects, sculptors, and others are using them now for 3D modeling and collaboration.  We will make apps to improve this product, so that it can be used in everyday life.”

The high tech goggles essentially include a computer within the headset, with no cords or smart phone required.  Compact and lightweight, it includes three processing units that can crunch data from large sensors covered with cameras to track the wearer’s head movements.  Programmed video provided by a collaborator can also be displayed while light is bounced between three layers of glass in each lens of the goggles, allowing the wearer to see three dimensional augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR) objects that are not really there.

“We are just beginning to explore the HoloLens developer kits.   Our plan is to create our own apps and share them with other Halolens users. We will use our programming skills to develop these apps. Our long-term plan is to develop uses for these in courses and content over the next few years.  This cutting edge mixed-reality is used by some of the leading architects and engineers in the world today,” said Lake High School Career Tech GenYes Instructor Frank Pilato.   “We are half way in creating our apps and hoping they will be finished soon.”

Mid air hand gestures or voice commands are used to manipulate the programmed holographic images;  a wand can also be used to sculpt or draw onto actual or holographic objects you see through the goggles.  

Mackenzie Martin, a Lake sophomore enrolled in GenYes, said she hopes using the goggles might help her in different practical ways in the future as she pursues becoming an audiologist, assisting patients with customized hearing aids.
HoloLens goggles are finding applications elsewhere in the region, too.  Cleveland’s Case Western Reserve University used the HoloLens augmented reality system last year to teach anatomy to medical students.  

This year, the school is using the technology to allow audiences to enjoy a dance performance, Imagined Odyssey, including live dancers and 3-D projected images.   During the program audience members wear the HoloLens headset, which projects images onto a screen that dancers appear to interact with and manipulate.

The Mather Dancer Center at Case Western will stage the innovative performances through Nov. 18, 2017.
One major local manufacturing company Is also now using Hololens goggles for equipment trouble shooting and repair.  When a piece of equipment is broken or not operating properly, someone on site in a plant puts on a pair of goggles, while a colleague puts on another pair at an office miles away.

The office employee can use hand gestures and other controls to “draw” on the images seen in plant by the on site employee, and can circle or point out a part that the on site employee needs to find.

The district currently has two developer kits of HoloLens goggles, purchased with funds provided by the Zachary Doherty Memorial Foundation.  Zachary Doherty was a top 2014 graduate of Lake High School who excelled in science/technology classes and marching band with hopes to pursue a career in corrosion engineering, who passed away shortly after graduation.  Money from the Foundation now honors Zachary’s memory in part by enhancing educational initiatives through the funding of specific academic programs and capital needs.  


Lake staff member Joe Anderson wearing HoloLens goggles.



 Star Trek's Geordi La Forge, Starfleet officer and engineer.