Onlabs is an educational 3D Virtual Environment simulating the biology lab of the Hellenic Open University and used for training biology students in making appropriate use of the laboratory equipment and conducting experiments. Watch the brief video here, too.
Universities and medical companies face constantly the challenge of training new students and employees in the use of their laboratories. Yet the existing space and time limitations along with the high cost and sensitivity of some laboratory instruments, which are therefore not fully exposed to manipulation, as well the safety rules that must be strictly abided by, result to a stiff and not always successful training procedure. Moreover, the trainees don’t usually have the opportunity to make improper use of the equipment and learn by “trial-and-error”; rather they are instructed what to do and what not to do which definitely doesn’t result to the best learning outcome. Onlabs’s target is to overcome all those obstacles and provide the trainees with a test-bed simulation, yet realistic, environment, where the aforementioned time and space limitations are not imposed, in order to experiment and make as many mistakes as they wish in order to learn, but, on the other hand, their mission is not considered to be accomplished unless they‘ve made the correct steps and in the correct order, too.
Adventure Game-like interaction
In Onlabs, the interaction between the user and the environment is similar to the one of an adventure game; the user makes use of the arrow keys to navigate in it and the mouse to press buttons, turn knobs, use specific objects alone or in pairs and collect several of them in their inventory for later use.