Chemical Education

Application of Virtual Reality in Chemical Education Using Intermolecular Force Display System HaptiChem

Authors

Abstract

Virtual reality technology has been recently more intensively applied in chemistry. HaptiChem, which was developed in 2006, is one of the systems appeared in the early stage of this field. It is an intermolecular force display system, which makes it possible to touch and move molecules as feeling intermolecular force in a three-dimensional virtual space by using a haptic device. The functions and graphic display were designed as simple as possible for educational use, so that learner can easily grasp the meaning of the concept of molecular forces. We introduced HaptiChem in chemical education. We held a high school chemistry class with 43 students entitled “Several Forces between Molecules” as being open to the media. The students learned about intermolecular force from a lecture together with experiences of the force using HaptiChem. They asked more questions about intermolecular force during the class than usual. Their answers to the questionnaires after the class indicated that the haptic system promoted curiosity and enhanced learning. The students could learn more effectively by combining with the active feeling with HaptiChem. The high-school teachers evaluated that such a system can more efficiently encourage students to learn and remember things by stimulating their sense of touch. The observations also suggested that a haptic device made it easier to establish three-dimensional perception, which is difficult only with 2D-display. This pilot experiment was performed on 15th March 2007. It was the first attempt at using it in the field of chemical education. The observation was done fourteen years ago. However, since the effectiveness of haptic device in chemical education has not been changed and the interests of the applications have been increased, we decided to report the data we observed, which should be still worth disclosing. We wish to dedicate the results to new developments now and in the future.

Version notes

Type errors were fixed. More descriptions and references of related works were added in the introduction and reference sections.

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