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RPL hosts Google Expeditions Virtual Reality Program

Last week’s adventure for Russellville Public Library’s summer reading program included underwater exploration at the Galápagos Islands, where some of the sights were a sea turtle, porcupine fish, shark, king angel fish and sea lions. Children didn’t have to board a plane or show their passports to immerse themselves in these sights; they looked into a set of special goggles.

July 9 featured a Google Expeditions virtual reality program for children at the Russellville Public Library. Janet Lovelady, 4-H Regional Extension Agent, performed as tour guide as she led the virtual explorations.

Lovelady introduced virtual reality technology from the Google Expeditions Kit. It uses Google’s augmented reality technology to place 3D objects in the room. Viewers can walk around them and get closer and farther away. The kit was made available locally through a national Google grant.

Each child was provided virtual reality goggles. Lovelady set up a local area network with a router from the kit and used a tablet to select different components, such as a particular fish, she wanted the children to see next. When an arrow appeared in each viewer, the children then had the option to choose to “follow” it. The tablet showed Lovelady when each person had “arrived” at the selected image.

“It’s always a big hit,” Lovelady said.

Other activities as part of the program included making toothpick/craft stick bridges and simple cars.

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