Chair for Computer Aided Medical Procedures & Augmented Reality
Lehrstuhl für Informatikanwendungen in der Medizin & Augmented Reality

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P. Maier, G. Klinker
Evaluation of an Augmented-Reality-based 3D User Interface to Enhance the 3D-Understanding of Molecular Chemistry
5th International Conference on Computer Supported Education - CSEDU 2013, Aachen, Germany, May 2013, pp. 294-302. (bib)

The spatial understanding of chemical molecules is crucial for learning chemistry at school. With a good 3D understanding of molecules, chemical processes become obvious compared to a 2D representation in textbooks or just the molecular formula. With the increasing spread of computers, smartphones and tablets, the field of computer aided learning becomes more and more important. Common molecular viewers such as Jmol present chemical simulations as 3D renderings on a regular computer screen in combination with desktop-based user interfaces using a mouse and a keyboard to manipulate 3D molecules. Such interfaces may be cumbersome to use since users have to associate 2D mouse motion and key presses with 3D object motions. In this paper we investigate the hypothesis that the understanding of spatial structures of molecules is enhanced by Augmented-Reality-based 3D user interfaces with which students can directly manipulate the virtual 3D molecules by freely moving and rotating a 3D object in air with their hands. Our results show that a direct manipulation 3D user interface improves the 3D understanding in comparison to the traditional desktop-based user interface with mouse and keyboard.
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