[App Fridays] Now perform science experiments on your mobile phones and desktops with LabInAppHarshith Mallya
Learning is generally most effective when there is a healthy mix of theory as well as hands on learning through experiments or demonstrations. In most cases because of limited equipment available or time constraints in schools and colleges, students are not able to get enough time while performing experiments and hence walk away with doubts. LabInApp aims to address this pain point.
What is it?
LabInApp is a 3D interactive virtual laboratory tool that aims to focus on heuristic approach of understanding science.With this ‘hands-on’ ideology they want to facilitate students and teachers to perform science experiments on computers or mobile devices.
LabInApp’s real-time 3D computer graphics technology aims to promote ‘learn by doing’ pedagogy. This enhances the ability of the teacher to deliver a live demonstration of experiments, concepts and complex ideas in a controlled environment. This also allows students to grasp and appreciate the concepts being taught.
As of now, the mobile app contains three experiments which are simple pendulum, spring constant and screw gauge while the desktop version for Macs and Windows has a more comprehensive list categorised into physics and biology experiments.
- Users can vary different parameters governing the experiment and see their effect. For example, users can vary the hanger mass in the spring constant experiment and the length of the thread in the simple pendulum experiment and visualize the changes as a result.
- View an ongoing experiment from any angle in 3D and get a better understanding.
- Visualize concepts through labelled 3D specimens from any view.
- Witness the scientific factors like forces, ray diagrams and correlate them with theoretical concepts. For example, while the pendulum oscillates about its mean position, users can visualize how the direction of the tangential acceleration and tangential velocity vectors vary throughout its motion.
Team behind it
LabInApp was founded by a team of four graduates from BVB Engineering College in Hubli, Karnataka, in 2012. The idea for such an initiative struck Girish B S (CTO), Pramod Ramdurg (COO), Vinayak PH (CMO) and Pavan Shinde (CEO) while they were preparing for their eighth semester exams. They found that their interest levels peaked when they had to study a subject which required hands-on learning but diminished when it came to subjects that required cramming.
They were fed up with the ‘old school way of learning subjects’ and started to discuss problems they had faced since the start of their education. They wanted to bring game-like interactivity in the learning experience.
They recalled that understanding the working principles of the DC Motor was one of the toughest concepts in school but it could be explained more easily virtually with the help of 3D labs by changing magnets, number of turns of coils, and voltage etc. One could also reverse the poles of the magnet or place the entire setup in water and witness the effects etc. While some of these outcomes could destroy the equipment or be hazardous in the real world these rules do not apply to the virtual environment.
So they started building virtual labs for CBSE 9,10, 11 and 12 science syllabus to enable students and teachers perform and demonstrate science experiments in their homes or school.
Recently, LabInApp were among the five companies who got seed funding at the event ‘Revolution India’, conducted by successful entrepreneur and motivational speaker Sandeep Maheshwari, Founder of ImagesBazaar.com.
LabInApp is working on a subscription based model where users have to pay a fee to get access to all the experiments. There are a few experiments available for free as well. Their future plans include targeting top CBSE and international schools across India, extending their product to deprived rural schools and colleges with help of existing companies and NGOs who are already working in villages. They are also working on developing a full-fledged mobile application and making it easily available across all kinds of devices
What we liked?
The idea and concept have been executed well with a lot of attention to detail. We liked the UI and UX of both the mobile and desktop versions of the app. Features where users could modify various constraints of the experiments and immediately observe the changes are much needed.
The 'additional experiments' are an added bonus. For example in the simple pendulum experiment users can study the effects of varying the size of bob, effect of different materials or having a bob of varying mass etc on the outcome of the experiment.Users can also fill in the observation tables and plot graphs based on the data within the app.
While the LabInApp team does believe that real world experiments cannot and should not be totally replaced by experiments on a virtual platform, it could also be a useful tool in schools where it may not be feasible for the management to invest in laboratories and equipment. There is a need for such a product to make it more convenient for students to revise their lessons at their convenience back at home.