Blog Page


Immersive virtual reality used in metallurgical engineering education – Nevada Today

The interdisciplinary research group, led by Nevada Gold Mines Professor Pengbo Chu, recently visited Nevada Gold Mines. (Photo courtesy of Pengbo Chu)
The interdisciplinary research group, led by Nevada Gold Mines Professor Pengbo Chu, recently visited Nevada Gold Mines. (Photo courtesy of Pengbo Chu)
The interdisciplinary research group, led by Nevada Gold Mines Professor Pengbo Chu, recently visited Nevada Gold Mines. (Photo courtesy of Pengbo Chu)
Pengbo Chu, the Nevada Gold Mines Professor in the Mackay School of Earth Sciences and Engineering, and his collaborators were recently awarded a grant for research into designing metallurgy course modules utilizing immersive virtual reality (VR).
Chu is the principal investigator on a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant that awarded approximately $850,000 to the researchers. Co-principal investigators include Sergiu Dascalu (professor of computer science and engineering), Leping Liu (professor of quantitative methods and learning sciences), Li-Ting Chen (associate professor of quantitative methods and learning sciences) and Ying Yang (assistant professor of chemistry).
The researchers will work together to design and build an immersive VR experience for students to better understand a metallurgical process called froth flotation. Researchers from the computer science and engineering department will use their engineering skills to build the actual VR ecosystem, and researchers from learning sciences will bring their pedagogical expertise to develop the tasks and roles students will take on in the VR world.

“The main goal of this project is to give students a better learning experience in metallurgical engineering so that they can be better prepared with the qualifications required by the emerging critical mineral industry ,” Chu said.
Chu said the process the researchers are trying to visualize is complicated. Froth flotation is an important technique in the beneficiation process of minerals, which isolates the target mineral (such as critical minerals) from other minerals. Froth flotation is a three-phase mineral separation process that utilizes chemistry and physics to isolate minerals.
“It’s a very complicated system,” Chu said. Students often have a hard time visualizing it, so Chu reached out to his collaborators to see if they would be interested in developing a new way to teach this process.
Students will be immersed in the virtual reality world and will each take on different roles within the froth flotation process. The roles students pick, the time it takes them to complete the tasks and how well they work with other students will be analyzed by machine learning and data analytics algorithms, and the results will help the researchers to design more personalized VR learning experiences that can be tailored to student skills and help them learn more effectively.

Related Link
The collaborators plan to design the modules around the community of inquiry perspective, which incorporates a teaching presence to guide students, a cognitive presence in which students engage with the content and a social presence in which students engage with each other. One of the few mining-related NSF grants was awarded to the Department of Mining and Metallurgical Engineering for this project. The project will fund three different Ph.D. students in three different colleges.
Because the mining class sizes are typically very small, the group will share the module for students at Michigan Technological University and will also provide the simplified modules for high school students in Nevada.
Big data modeling, forest fuels mapping aids in mitigating catastrophic wildfire risk
University of Nevada, Reno researchers team with CAL FIRE and California Air Resources Board

Aging infrastructure in rural Nevada sees alumni-led improvements
Yerington nears the completion of a USDA-funded project to remove and replace the rural Nevada city’s 100-year-old sewer and water systems.

Celebrating the 2022 College of Science Distinguished Alumni
Among the awardees are Las Vegas’s city planner, a globe-trotting fish biologist, a psychologist providing culturally sensitive services and more

Cybersecurity depends on everyone
UNR Cybersecurity Conference brings together academia, industry and government to address online vulnerabilities

Wolf Pack at Work: Shay Jordan, Kayleigh Broadway and JaJa Chang
Smallwood Multimedia Bootcamp introduces high-schoolers to all things high-tech
State of the University: ‘We are a University that is rising’
Feared extinct, the ‘Mekong Ghost’ fish resurfaces
Día de los Muertos Celebration at the Joe Crowley Student Union
Free community event Oct. 30

NCAR-affiliate company highlighted in White House announcement
Campus-based American Battery Technology Company is one of the 20 manufacturing and processing companies receiving grant awards as part of Bipartisan Infrastructure Law

Through the creation of jobs and internships, (ABTC is) giving new experiences to our students and contributing to the preparedness and diversity of our future scientists and the nation."
Journalism dean inducted into the Nevada Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame
Dean Alan Stavitsky honored for his commitment to the broadcasting industry

University Libraries to host VR|AR Meet-Up Friday, Oct. 21, 3 p.m.
The Meet-Up is a convening of faculty, students, tech-lovers from eight different University departments presenting on research involving VR and/or AR technology

University taking part in Great Nevada ShakeOut public earthquake drill 10/20 at 10:20 a.m.
Campus community encouraged to be earthquake aware and to Drop, Cover and Hold-on

Secure email login comes to University of Nevada, Reno
Multifactor authentication begins Nov. 1 for faculty and staff to protect from cyberattacks

University Libraries to host 35th Annual Nevada Writers Hall of Fame event Nov. 4
Brian Crane, author of the Pickles comic strip, to be inducted

Low-residency MFA in Creative Writing program nurtures students on their writing journeys
The University of Nevada, Reno at Lake Tahoe program is uniquely designed with students in mind

Educate your inbox with Nevada Today news


× How can I help you?