Interactive Media Systems, TU Wien

Physics Driven 3D Dynamic Geometry Software for Elementary Education

Thesis by David Zeller

Supervision by Hannes Kaufmann


Spatial abilities are an essential part of human recognition and general intelligence. They represent our ability to perceive spatial patterns, mentally manipulate two- or three-dimensional objects and orient ourselves within our environment. They are also a key factor when it comes to creative thinking and problem solving, and they determine our efficiency in information retrieval. The latter, in turn, is increasingly relevant in modern times as it is closely linked to our ability to navigate large websites or handle complex user interfaces. In consideration of the many ways spatial ability influences our everyday life, the work at hand presents a software intended to support its development in children. In order to achieve this goal, a virtual environment is combined with elements of geometry education, both of which have proven to be useful in improving spatial skills. Furthermore, a physics component is added to the mix, which leaves users with a virtual playground, in which they can construct complex scenes out of basic geometric objects. The software has been developed in Unity 3D and uses a novel motion controller as input device, in order to increase the users´ immersion into the virtual world. Embedded into an educational context, with specific instructions and work tasks, the application is believed to have beneficial effects on the development of spatial skills.


D. Zeller: "Physics Driven 3D Dynamic Geometry Software for Elementary Education"; Supervisor: H. Kaufmann; Institut für Softwaretechnik und Interaktive Systeme, 2012; final examination: 10-17-2012.


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