LØRN case C0229 -
LØRN. STARTUP

Magnus Lysfjord

Co-founder

Sci-Code

Code learning tool

In this episode of #LØRN, Silvija talks to the co-founder of the interactive learning platform Sci-Code, Magnus Lysfjord, about coding, VR, and the learning platform of the future. Magnus Lysfjord is the CEO of the Sci-Code Company from the Centre for Research, Innovation, and Coordination of Mathematics Teaching. The team was coordinated and organized by Magnus from 2015-2017, as a sponsored E-Learning research team by MatRIC, supervised by the greatest heads of e-learning, artificial intelligence, and computer science in Norway. He mentions VR-code, JavaScript, and the 3D-World while explaining the central concepts in their tech.
LØRN case C0229 -
LØRN. STARTUP

Magnus Lysfjord

Co-founder

Sci-Code

Code learning tool

In this episode of #LØRN, Silvija talks to the co-founder of the interactive learning platform Sci-Code, Magnus Lysfjord, about coding, VR, and the learning platform of the future. Magnus Lysfjord is the CEO of the Sci-Code Company from the Centre for Research, Innovation, and Coordination of Mathematics Teaching. The team was coordinated and organized by Magnus from 2015-2017, as a sponsored E-Learning research team by MatRIC, supervised by the greatest heads of e-learning, artificial intelligence, and computer science in Norway. He mentions VR-code, JavaScript, and the 3D-World while explaining the central concepts in their tech.
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Velkommen til learn tech en lærings dugnad om teknologi og samfunn med Silvija Seres og venner.


SS: Hello and welcome to learn. My name is Silvija Seres. The topic today is VR and some EDtech, and my guest is Magnus Lysfjord from Sicode. Welcome.

MS: Thank you for having me here. It's an honor to be with you. I'm really excited to talk about the future of education and VR and what that means and how learning this technology can really bring forth a lot of new industry next year. The growth of the Arts has been exponential.

SS: So you have to help us understand that because we keep hearing that VR is the next communication platform,VRAR. But for most of us there are two three things, you know we are still nagging. The goggles are too big the contents are not there, and it's magic. None of us understand. How does this magic really happen? Where does it come from? Before we go into sicode and all of that, tell us who you are.

MS: Right, so I started off with a research team three years ago and it was sponsored by matric, which is in charge of bringing forth the best mathematical educational technology to Norway. So we managed to get a grant from this amazing institution. And from there we just decided how we can make this calculator that would be able to then teach students how to create this calculator afterwards using a learning platform. And from there we just built on a bunch of new features and I have some amazing co-founders, Stephen Fosness. We have an amazing team here, and a lot of the professor's were really interested in this learning platform. After we were able to teach how to make a calculator with Java scripts, it just kicked off from there. We got a sponsorship from the research Council of Norway. And from there on we were able to create machine learning libraries that would automate when you get something wrong, what exactly did you get wrong. So we can automate that process and give people really personalized feedback. It's a coding training with personal feedback. We truly believe in the personalization of Education, and you really need to have the best architecture built ever, to capture the atomic learning process. Every aspect about how that student got from A to Z in real time.

SS: Now you're talking about general coding and JavaScript. How do we move from there to VR?

MS: Well the really cool thing about VR, is that it became a JavaScript library just a few years ago, and that really opened up the doors for everyone because the Internet is just JavaScript and CSS and HTML. So most people have JavaScript in their tool belt as a developer. When that became available in VR, everyone started booming and Mozilla was actually in charge of creating this Library called “ a frame” where you can just create new objects very simply with JavaScript and it has revolutionized the way we see VR today, and the ability to program it variously.

SS: So then you started creating tools for children and grown-ups, to create VR programs relatively simply. What are the requirements? What does one need to know in order to start using your tool?

MS: Honestly, even if you don't have a background in computer science, it still is not that challenging to get in.

SS: If I put my 11 year old in front of you. He speaks some English and I can explain to him the concept. You could get him to write a simple VR program.

MS: Definitely, I'm 100% confident that that's possible.

SS: So you have demos that students built which do some sort of physical exercise with VR. The purpose of the tool is to teach them programming, and VR happens to be the medium, or?

MS: VR happens to be. You can program, our tool is made in JavaScript and some back-end Frameworks, and you can just put VR-code into that JavaScript and then we can preview exactly

what that VR code is going to look like instantly. You create a 3D circle in a 3D world that's created instantly. You can see it instantly, you don't have to wait, and you can go inside of it afterwards. So you're creating the universe as you're coding it, and I think that's really powerful because, when people are learning computer science 20-30 years ago, it just wasn't that interesting because computers weren't so powerful and there weren't so many possibilities. But every year computers are getting more powerful and that means the person that understands the language of the computers can do exponentially more powerful things. So it just really opens up the possibilities, and if you learn one language, you know so many more.

SS: If an architect needed to adjust the sort of architect CAD/VR tools that they have, is that something they can do?

MS: Yes, it can be used for architecture, VR is has much potential in architecture as well. There's a lot of different libraries that Architects use today within JavaScript an Aframe to simulate real-world buildings.

SS: So tell us a little bit about why you think VR is exciting, and what are the most important concepts?

MS: To me, the most exciting thing is: imagine you're at a gym and you have to work out your arms, and you have this motion where you move your arms up and down with certain weights. You can create any kind of controller you like in your VR worlds, right? So let's say that the controller you made was wings, and let's say that the environment that you had around yourself was you flying, and that's a simple like, that's putting a two thousand lines of code. I mean, that's not that much. So you put on your goggles and you're flying, and let's say that you've got 10 other people in the gym flying around with you. Maybe you're collaborating or maybe you're fighting against each other like some strange Marvel movie where you're shooting aliens. You can add that as a feature as well, something playful. You can exercise really well. If you were flying around thinking “Am I Dreaming?” No, I'm actually exercising my arms. You don't even notice that your arms are getting so big. you're just playing a game, right or are you doing more than that?

SS: So it's a very powerful educational tool, people also say it can treat different kinds of phobias, and mental problems. How does it work? There are some goggles? There's some code. How does it all hang together?

MS: There's this really popular library called “Aframe” developed by Mozilla, which is open source. It's on our platform. The way it works is, it uses a physics engine from webgl, webgl is another open source library, and basically you can just take for example: I want to use some gravity. So you just take a gravity method, and you specify the amount of gravity you want and then suddenly your world has gravity. Or I want to have a sky. I want to have a plane, I want to have a jungle, and then you can go online and import it, or if you've got time you can design it. There's designer tools as well. So you don't have to code everything, you can go onto a designer tool and really be able to effectively create something as you would in an illustrator.

SS: Then you define the rules of nature, such as gravity and so on. Then what? Then you somehow compile that code and put it in an app, and then you put on your goggles? I'm still at the stage where we need to understand. How does this go from that code, into my VR goggles?

MS: So you could just see on your laptop. You don't need to have your goggles, which is nice to know. You can use Google cardboard, which is really cheap. You can use a Movie Mask, which is more comfortable. And from there, you can just connect it to your laptop so you can connect a USB cord to your VR goggles. And then you could just see into your world. You can also see a 2D screen version with your laptop. If you don't have any VR goggles, you don't need to make that investment right away.

SS: So basically these VR goggles really help you see the two different aspects, that give you the depth experience and the 360 degree experience. And then you have these things called haptic, right? What's that?

MS: Haptic allows you to actually touch your world as well, with haptic gloves. They even have created full body suits. So you can feel the world around you as well. And then you just instead of creating things that you can visualize, you create things that you have pressure points for, so it just calculates the amount of pressure you would basically have, and there's examples where you can squeeze clouds, and you can feel the cloud and the rain just kind of comes out when you squeeze it. It’s a really beautiful example. It becomes limitless when you have a full body suit, the amount of things that you can experience.

SS: So what do you think are the most important applications of VR, where will it come through as a practical necessity?

MS: So I see gyms the most. I was just at the gym this morning and I thought this was kind of boring. I mean, that’s really one thing I want to see happen, and education in general, you know mathematics visualization. So I know you've studied mathematics very thoroughly, of course, with the highest degrees, and just seeing your mathematics world being able to play with it, interact with its sequel attorney in a different way, see quantum mechanics in a different way.

SS: I think you're really onto something there as well, because one of my kind of favorite educational thoughts has to do with Albert Einstein, and the way that he figured out the special theory of relativity. Where he imagined himself sitting on a proton and would he be able to see himself in the mirror or not? He was often saying that he doesn't really calculate these big insights somehow, they just become visible to him. He visualizes being a proton, and I think being able to visualize some of these things in atomic physics or the non-euclidean geometry. I think it would make us much better mathematicians, because I often think you only understand what you can see, and we need some help.

MS: Absolutely. I also give a workshop on neural networks last night, it's another thing that we teach. The concepts are not that difficult, at the end of the day it's like multiplication and a bit of the chain rule, and if you can visualize the chain rule in a different way, and you can see kind of how certain relationships, when they are change, you see different relationships getting changed over there. So when you just see those relationships happening, the equation then becomes much more realizable. And then you can understand neural networks. And we're at such an early age of machine learning. There's so many new ways of opening up that world as well. So I see a lot of use for education of course.

SS: Will it become something that we use for communication more often? People tell me “Sylvia you don't get it”, but it will be our main communication platform, and I can't quite see that. You know humans have this innate inability to imagine the world different from the one they live in.

So you lived in California, you're Norwegian, but you lived in California for a long time. And now you're back in Norway. Why? And do you see any advantages for your work, being here?

MS: Well, I quite like the Norwegian atmosphere in comparison to the Californian atmosphere. Of course, there's a lot of amazing people in California, but I feel like Norway is very down to earth, and I do really like the winter. it's also really socialist, and it's okay to be socialist. And you can formulate a lot of different opinions here, which I think is really important. It's not it's not really polarized. One great example of this actually is electricity price trading, so in California you had a company that really messed up with electricity price trading, and in Norway you have the same thing called “Norpol”, and the difference was that one was government-controlled, and one was capitalistic. The company made a lot of money by cutting faults. So they raised the prices, and they based their company, Norway's company called Norpol. But they had different societal drivers, so I think Norway does a great job in some ways. Could be more competitive in others, but you know.

SS: It's a good place to be, I love it. So what do you want to do with Sicode from now on?

MS: We're going to personalize the learning experience to great extent. Imagine you use Google Maps all the time, you get from one place and you can go to the next place. Why can't you do that with education? Why don't you have an app that you know, you're trying to learn one thing. All right, you want to go to one place? It can calculate the knowledge you have, if you can define what knowledge is. So we have a program that actually can define what knowledge is, and in doing so it can calculate the best trajectory of how you can get from one spot to the next spot, in every single course. You'd have to take it, to get to that knowledge-level.

SS: So a lovely way to visualize basically, some sort of a landscape of knowledge and optimal paths or something like that there?

MS: Precisely.

SS: We'd love to try that on learn. And then we'll go together in that jungle. So I've learned something about VR and I've learned something about EDtech, and I think the future is visual.

MS: Yes, I hope so.

SS: Thank you so much. Magnus Lysfjord for coming here and teaching us.

MS Thank you for teaching me.

SS: And thank you for listening.


Du har lyttet til learn.tech, en lærings dugnad om teknologi og samfunn.


What do you work with?

We got a sponsorship from The Research Council of Norway, and from there on we were able to create machine learning libraries that would automate when you get something wrong, and what exactly you did get wrong. We can automate that process and give people personalized feedback.

What is the most important thing you do at your work?

The cool thing about VR is that it became a JavaScript library just a few years ago, and that opened up the doors for everyone because Internet is just JavaScript, CSS and HTML. When that became available in VR, everyone started booming and Mozilla was actually in charge of creating this Library called A-Frame. Here you can create new objects very simple with JavaScript and it has revolutionized the way we see VR today.

What are the central concepts in your tech?

Our tool is made in JavaScript and some back-end Frameworks. You can put the VR-code into that JavaScript and then we can preview exactly what that VR-code is going to look like instantly. You create a 3D-circle in a 3D-world and that's created instantly.

Your other favourite examples, internationally and nationally?

A popular library called A-Frame developed by Mozilla, which is an open source. It uses a physics engine from WebGL, and you don't have to code everything, you can go onto designer tool and be able to effectively create something as you would in Illustrator.

What do we do particularly well in Norway or in your country?

You can formulate a lot of different opinions in Norway and it's not really polarized, which I think is quite important.

Magnus Lysfjord
Co-founder
Sci-Code
CASE ID: C0229
TEMA: BOOKS AND NEW EDUCATION
DATE : 181220
DURATION : 17 min
YOU WILL LØRN ABOUT:
VRE-learning Machine learning Algorithm Visualization Learning Platform
QUOTE
"We are at such an early age of machine learning, there are so many new ways of opening up that world as well."
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