New augmented reality glasses let teachers know when their students are falling behind

For teachers, it can be tough to tell when students are actually absorbing new information. They’re often so focused on the materials and on trying to keep the class alert that they can easily miss body language that suggests that a student is completely lost.

Researchers at la Universidad Carlos III de Madrid have developed the Augmented Lecture Feedback System (ALFs), a HUD glasses interface that teachers can wear while giving a lecture. From the display, teachers can see little icons that appear above each student’s head, indicating their comprehension of the given lesson as well as an overall chart indicating how many students are “getting it” compared to the rest of the class. The symbols the system supports also include a request for the lecturer to slow down, and a notification that a student knows the answer to a question posed in class.

EducationalGlassesStudents are able to show their status by connecting their smartphones to a server where the system is installed, and select the symbols accordingly.

The prototype was developed with a hacked Kinect, which utilizes recognition to place markers above the students head, and a heavier AR display connected directly to the computer system that runs software.

“It is hoped that in the next few years new models will come onto the market and these will be suitable for use in class, as might be the case with the new Google glasses, which could be adapted to this system,” UC3M researcher Ignacio Aedo said in a university article on the project.

For now, this is just a lab project — a proof-of-concept device, though the researchers have tried them in some university classes. But the project could point to an interesting use case for Google Glass — one that provides in-class help to students without disrupting the traditional lecture system or punishing those without a display.