eXtended Reality for Social Inclusion and Educational Purpose

A special issue of Information (ISSN 2078-2489). This special issue belongs to the section "Information Applications".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (20 April 2023) | Viewed by 19687

Special Issue Editors


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Co-Guest Editor
Department of Engineering for Innovation, University of Salento, 73100 Lecce, Italy
Interests: extended reality; human-computer interaction; GPU computing; video streaming

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

This Special Issue encourages submissions focused on research into eXtended Reality for social inclusion and educational purpose.

Recent advances in eXtended Reality (XR), a technological umbrella that unites Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR) and Mixed Reality (MR), provide new opportunities to engage users more effectively, creating interactive experiences that can combine learning with fun. It is possible to create virtual workshops for social inclusion to enhance know-how and creativity, focusing on cultural heritage, theatre and technology.

Authors of selected papers presented at the 1st International Conference on eXtended Reality (XR Salento 2022 - www.xrsalento.it) and at the 2022 IEEE International Conference on Metrology for eXtended Reality, Artificial Intelligence, and Neural Engineering (IEEE MetroXRAINE 2022 - metroxraine.org) are invited to submit an extended version of their papers to this Special Issue. All submitted papers will undergo the standard peer-review procedure.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been previously published, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). Conference papers should be cited and noted on the paper. Please note that submitted extended papers should contain at least 50% new content (e.g., in the form of technical extensions, more in-depth evaluations, or additional use cases) and not exceed 30% copy/paste from the original conference paper.

Prof. Dr. Lucio Tommaso De Paolis
Dr. Valerio De Luca
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Information is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1600 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

 

Keywords

  • virtual reality, augmented reality, and mixed reality in education
  • immersive experiences
  • interactive multimedia technologies
  • serious games for educational purpose
  • immersive art experiences
 

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

12 pages, 1680 KiB  
Article
A Comparison of Two Interaction Paradigms for Training Low Cost Automation Assembly in Virtual Environments
by Federico Manuri, Federico Decataldo, Andrea Sanna and Paolo Brizzi
Information 2023, 14(6), 340; https://doi.org/10.3390/info14060340 - 15 Jun 2023
Viewed by 1059
Abstract
Virtual environments have been widely adopted for design and training tasks in the industrial domain. Low-cost automation (LCA) is a technology that automatizes some activities using mostly standard automation mechanisms available off the shelf. However, LCA systems should adapt to existing standard production [...] Read more.
Virtual environments have been widely adopted for design and training tasks in the industrial domain. Low-cost automation (LCA) is a technology that automatizes some activities using mostly standard automation mechanisms available off the shelf. However, LCA systems should adapt to existing standard production lines and workstations. Thus, workers must customize standard LCA templates and perform adaptation and customization steps. This activity can be very time consuming with physical LCA systems, and in case of errors, it may be necessary to rebuild many parts from scratch. Thus, LCA systems would greatly benefit from a design and prototyping step experienced in a virtual simulation environment. An immersive virtual reality (IVR) application for rapid and easy prototyping of LCA solutions has been investigated in previous work; the assessment of the system usability proved that the users highly appreciated the proposed solutions. This research explores further improvements to exploit the existing IVR application as a training tool for LCA prototyping trainees. The proposed application now provides users with two different interaction paradigms based on the VIVE controllers and the Manus Prime II data gloves. The application’s interface has been revised to allow a proper comparison of the two interaction models. The two interfaces have been compared, involving 12 participants in an LCA building task. The System Usability Scale (SUS) and the NASA Task Load Index (TLX) questionnaires have been used to assess the usability and workload of the two solutions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue eXtended Reality for Social Inclusion and Educational Purpose)
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25 pages, 1681 KiB  
Article
Empower Psychotherapy with mHealth Apps: The Design of “Safer”, an Emotion Regulation Application
by Federico Diano, Luigia Simona Sica and Michela Ponticorvo
Information 2023, 14(6), 308; https://doi.org/10.3390/info14060308 - 27 May 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2541
Abstract
In the past decade, technological advancements in mental health care have resulted in new approaches and techniques. The proliferation of mobile apps and smartphones has significantly improved access to psychological self-help resources for individuals. In this paper, a narrative review offers a comprehensive [...] Read more.
In the past decade, technological advancements in mental health care have resulted in new approaches and techniques. The proliferation of mobile apps and smartphones has significantly improved access to psychological self-help resources for individuals. In this paper, a narrative review offers a comprehensive overview of recent developments in mental health mobile apps, serving as a foundation to introduce the design and development of “Safer”. Safer is a mobile application that targets the transdiagnostic process of emotion dysregulation. The review outlines the theoretical framework and design of Safer, an mHealth app grounded in the Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) model, aimed at fostering emotion regulation skills. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue eXtended Reality for Social Inclusion and Educational Purpose)
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17 pages, 3979 KiB  
Article
EduARdo—Unity Components for Augmented Reality Environments
by Ilias Logothetis, Myron Sfyrakis and Nikolaos Vidakis
Information 2023, 14(4), 252; https://doi.org/10.3390/info14040252 - 21 Apr 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2248
Abstract
Contemporary software applications have shifted focus from 2D representations to 3D. Augmented and Virtual Reality (AR/VR) are two technologies that have captured the industry’s interest as they show great potential in many areas. This paper proposes a system that allows developers to create [...] Read more.
Contemporary software applications have shifted focus from 2D representations to 3D. Augmented and Virtual Reality (AR/VR) are two technologies that have captured the industry’s interest as they show great potential in many areas. This paper proposes a system that allows developers to create applications in AR and VR with a simple visual process, while also enabling all the powerful features provided by the Unity 3D game engine. The current system comprises two tools, one for the interaction and one for the behavioral configuration of 3D objects within the environment. Participants from different disciplines with a software-engineering background were asked to participate in the evaluation of the system. They were called to complete two tasks using their mobile phones and then answer a usability questionnaire to reflect on their experience using the system. The results (a) showed that the system is easy to use but still lacks some features, (b) provided insights on what educators seek from digital tools to assist them in the classroom, and (c) that educators often request a more whimsical UI as they want to use the system together with the learners. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue eXtended Reality for Social Inclusion and Educational Purpose)
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33 pages, 8075 KiB  
Article
Artful—An AR Social Self-Guided Tour App for Cultural Learning in Museum Settings
by Athina Grammatikopoulou and Nikos Grammalidis
Information 2023, 14(3), 158; https://doi.org/10.3390/info14030158 - 2 Mar 2023
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2472
Abstract
The cultural heritage sector has often acted as catalyst in allowing groups to coexist harmonically by investing in intercultural dialogue. Nonetheless, the vast majority of cultural experiences offered by cultural institutions rarely take provisions to make such experiences inclusive for groups with diverse [...] Read more.
The cultural heritage sector has often acted as catalyst in allowing groups to coexist harmonically by investing in intercultural dialogue. Nonetheless, the vast majority of cultural experiences offered by cultural institutions rarely take provisions to make such experiences inclusive for groups with diverse sociocultural characteristics. In this context, this study explores the hypothesis that the adoption of Web 2.0 design patterns could enhance the public’s participation and inclusion by making visitors co-creators of the offered cultural experience, and help museums transform into more inclusive spaces by enhancing knowledge sharing and social learning. A self-guided tour tool with augmented reality and social features is proposed to facilitate the creation of an online learning community for museum staff and visitors, and to enable information sharing and interactions. Initially, the paper’s theoretical background is presented, focusing on the analysis of social educational theories. Next, a state-of-the-art analysis is conducted. The two aforementioned analyses provide both direction and impetus to the design process and research inquiry. Following this, the key functionalities of the proposed application are presented. A preliminary small-scale experiment conducted in an art exhibition showed that its use could be efficient, as positive feedback was obtained. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue eXtended Reality for Social Inclusion and Educational Purpose)
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22 pages, 8145 KiB  
Article
Virtual Reality and Spatial Augmented Reality for Social Inclusion: The “Includiamoci” Project
by Valerio De Luca, Carola Gatto, Silvia Liaci, Laura Corchia, Sofia Chiarello, Federica Faggiano, Giada Sumerano and Lucio Tommaso De Paolis
Information 2023, 14(1), 38; https://doi.org/10.3390/info14010038 - 9 Jan 2023
Cited by 13 | Viewed by 4527
Abstract
Extended Reality (XR) technology represents an innovative tool to address the challenges of the present, as it allows for experimentation with new solutions in terms of content creation and its fruition by different types of users. The potential to modulate the experience based [...] Read more.
Extended Reality (XR) technology represents an innovative tool to address the challenges of the present, as it allows for experimentation with new solutions in terms of content creation and its fruition by different types of users. The potential to modulate the experience based on the target audience’s needs and the project’s objectives makes XR suitable for creating new accessibility solutions. The “Includiamoci” project was carried out with the aim of creating workshops on social inclusion through the combination of art and technology. Specifically, the experimentation involved ten young people between the ages of 28 and 50, with cognitive disabilities, who participated in Extended Reality workshops and Art Therapy workshops. In the course of these activities, the outputs obtained were two: a virtual museum, populated by the participants’ works, and a digital set design for a theatrical performance. Through two tests, one on user experience (UX) and one on the degree of well-being, the effectiveness of the entire project was evaluated. In conclusion, the project demonstrated how the adopted solutions were appropriate to the objectives, increasing our knowledge of UX for a target audience with specific user needs and using XR in the context of social inclusion. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue eXtended Reality for Social Inclusion and Educational Purpose)
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16 pages, 2124 KiB  
Article
The Impact of Story Structure, Meaningfulness, and Concentration in Serious Games
by Sofia Pescarin and Delfina S. Martinez Pandiani
Information 2022, 13(12), 567; https://doi.org/10.3390/info13120567 - 3 Dec 2022
Viewed by 1830
Abstract
This contribution analyzes the impact of factors related to story structure, meaningfulness, and concentration in the design of Serious Games. To explore them, the authors carried out an experimental evaluation aiming to identify relevant aspects affecting the cognitive-emotional impact of immersive Virtual Reality [...] Read more.
This contribution analyzes the impact of factors related to story structure, meaningfulness, and concentration in the design of Serious Games. To explore them, the authors carried out an experimental evaluation aiming to identify relevant aspects affecting the cognitive-emotional impact of immersive Virtual Reality (VR), specifically Educational Environmental Narrative (EEN) Games. The experiment was designed around three main research questions: if passive or active interaction is preferable for factual and spatial knowledge acquisition; whether meaningfulness is a relevant experience in a serious game (SG) context; and if concentration impacts knowledge acquisition and engagement also in VR educational games. The findings highlight that passive interaction should only be encouraged for factual knowledge acquisition, that meaningfulness is a relevant experience and should be included in serious game design, and, finally, that concentration is a factor that impacts the experience in immersive games. The authors discuss potential design paths to improve both factual and spatial knowledge acquisition, such as abstract concept-oriented design, concluding that SGs should contain game mechanics explicitly supporting players’ moments of reflection, and story structures explicitly aligned to educational facts. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue eXtended Reality for Social Inclusion and Educational Purpose)
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16 pages, 1299 KiB  
Article
A Virtual Tour for the Promotion of Tourism of the City of Bari
by Valerio De Luca, Giorgia Marcantonio, Maria Cristina Barba and Lucio Tommaso De Paolis
Information 2022, 13(7), 339; https://doi.org/10.3390/info13070339 - 13 Jul 2022
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 3237
Abstract
The use of information technology in the field of cultural heritage makes it possible to involve more and more people in the promotion of cultural heritage, fostering social, cultural, economic and community growth. This work stems from the interest in using Virtual Reality [...] Read more.
The use of information technology in the field of cultural heritage makes it possible to involve more and more people in the promotion of cultural heritage, fostering social, cultural, economic and community growth. This work stems from the interest in using Virtual Reality (VR) in the field of cultural heritage, creating a tour of the city of Bari that tells its evolution over the years. To this end, a low-cost VR360 application has been developed which, by means of a cardboard, allows the user to experience a virtual journey through time. It tells the story of the city, focusing on its urban expansion and the evolution of its architectural styles, influenced by various dominations over the centuries, up to the current state. The virtual environment was created from spherical images of the city, captured through 360° cameras and enriched with various types of information content. The user experience was assessed by means of a questionnaire derived from previous work that was generalised and adapted to the considered scenario: the results showed a very good level of satisfaction, usability, engagement, immersion and sense of presence; the highest score was obtained for the visual quality of the images of the virtual environment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue eXtended Reality for Social Inclusion and Educational Purpose)
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