Matar Fluids Group (MFG) received funding from Imperial College London to develop the technology, with which they have created a VR programme that enables students to experience fluid dynamics from within a liquid flow with real-time feedback through touch and sound.
Each student in the classroom is provided with a VR headset, headphones and two handheld controllers. As well as being able to view a liquid flow from 360 degrees on the outside, they are also able to dive in and see how the flow behaves from within. In addition, the programme enables them to manipulate particles and measure the impact of their movements, bringing to life the mathematical equations for these processes.
In one simulation, a flow of liquid is presented in a pipe. Users can shoot particles into the pipe and observe how they travel down it, seeing how they move faster at the centre of the pipe and slower near the edge.
In addition to visual cues, students are able to hear and feel the impact of pressure. When the pressure of the liquid flow is higher, a high-pitched sound can be heard and a vibration felt in the handheld controllers – much like the rumblepack on a games console.
Third year undergraduate Aniket Chitre said: “It’s quite cool how they’ve made it sound near the walls of the pipe. The stress is higher near the walls and quieter near the centre.
I think I’ll remember this better than a mathematical derivation – it solidifies learning in a more memorable way”.