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Coding for College Science Applications?

Level 2

Hello All!

  My name is Sam Jacobson and I am professor of biology and earth science/geology at Hillsborough Community College in Tampa Florida. I have been struggling with a computer programming issue as a few years ago I had a random chance to test an Oculus Rift system at a local computer store. I have always been into technology and fondly remember using an Apple computer when I was a child back on the 1980s, thus being able to use a system like Oculus felt not only breathtaking but like home. As I was taking my turn on the Rift it struck me how amazing it would be to take the 3D/VR world and interactively bring it to my students. As a professor, I would never take students on a field trip to a volcano or shark diving or hiking on Mars. Yet if I could bring those activities in an interactive way to my students then perhaps it might be possible to take something like theoretical and applied science and enliven it for my pupils. My heart raced as I thought of taking students into an active volcano to see a magma chamber or, perhaps, the inside of cell to see RNA being transcribed from DNA, or to the Pacific Northwest of North America to dive a kelp forest and see not only its beauty but also that of a Great White and why we should love them. I could even see a practical use of the VR for training college and university students such as in genetics, medicine, and in the physical sciences.

  However I was also struck with how, as a geobiologist from nowhere, I could try and do this as the last computer language that I attempted to learn was BASIC back in the 1980s (I actually have an Apple II and an old monitor in one of my rooms as we speak). I started looking around for a computer programmer that I might be able to partner with as I could handle the science but not the software development but have been unsuccessful. I was curious if college level VR educational software development is something that I can work with Oculus with, thus if there is a way to start working on something through the developers forum? I have, for years, felt this field is potentially revolutionary and would very much like to try and take my science expertise into this endeavor.

I look forward to hearing back from the forum soon.

Thank you, everyone!


Level 5
The Oculus Start program would be worth checking out for sure.  It's a partnership between Oculus and new developers, with direct access to their staff for questions and support.

Level 2
I don't think what you described has much to do with programming or development. What you're describing has more to do with content. To bring these experiences to your students, you need video footage from inside or above a volcano or video footage of marine life beneath the ocean's surface. If you look around, you'll see that some of this exists already and is free, especially ocean-based content. 

I'm interested in creating VR content that shows you beautiful scenery. I want to take a video or photo around me while I'm tracking back country and transform them to VR content so that the image can be shown in Oculus headset. I'm quite a new to VR world and would like to know where should I begin first. Thanks a lot.