K-12 auto shops add virtual reality

Virtual reality applications can save administrators from spending money on equipment
By: | September 9, 2019
ZSpace’s computers project 3D images of cars and parts. Students use a stylus to manipulate an engine, brakes or other parts to view all sides.ZSpace’s computers project 3D images of cars and parts. Students use a stylus to manipulate an engine, brakes or other parts to view all sides.

A student expressing early interest in a career as an auto technician can begin investigating the inner workings of vehicles without getting their hands dirty—all through virtual reality.

And as automotive technology advances and costs increase, virtual reality applications can save administrators from spending money on equipment for exploratory career and technical education courses.

“It’s very expensive to run an auto shop,” says Michael Carbenia, executive director of career and technical education at zSpace, which makes virtual reality automotive apps and the computers on which they run. “The apps are great for smaller districts that don’t have the budget or larger districts that can’t meet the demand.”

ZSpace’s computers project 3D images of cars and car parts. Students use a stylus to manipulate an engine, brakes or other parts to view all sides.

“You can walk into an elementary school with a laptop, and take a young boy or girl who likes to tinker and let them take apart a transmission,” says Carbenia, a former auto shop teacher in Florida. “It helps them understand the fundamentals.”

Because it’s virtual, it doesn’t matter if students break something. “Even with kids who’ve been in a real shop, we’ve seen this help their confidence when they move into a new area,” Carbenia says.


Read the full feature: Auto shop accelerates in high school CTE programs



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