This review was originally created in June 2018 for HTC, targeted to their Vive/Vive Pro (VIVEPORT). It is reproduced here without alteration.
The human eye is an incredibly complex organ that reacts to light and pressure and is made up of 30 major parts. It obviously also allows for vision, providing for perception of three dimensional, moving images, with an ability to differentiate about 10 million colors. The Physiology of the Eye offers an educational deep dive into the mechanisms and inner workings of this critical organ, enhanced of course by the capabilities of virtual reality.
The Physiology of the Eye can be played seated or standing in a room-scale environment. Both motion controllers are used for input, allowing you to, among other functions, grab muscles, pick up subject objects, and rotate and scale the display. While the controls do take some getting used to, they do allow for fine manipulation of the content.
The app features two modes. The first, default mode, is a real-time, automatic six-part training course that guides you through the visual content, much like a good college lecture. The second mode, which can be activated at any time, is an interactive training mode. This mode allows the user to stop the lecture and choose an area they want to focus on for self-paced learning or reinforcement of information that might need another pass or two to fully grasp. Finally, the app includes an assessment feature that judges your learning comprehension through an interactive testing system, which really beats traditional exam formats. At the end of the virtual course, you’re provided with a final grade point average, or GPA.
Unlike some other educational virtual reality apps, The Physiology of the Eye’s presentation is top-notch. Visually, it’s striking, with high resolution models used throughout for its scientifically accurate representations of the components of the eye. Spot animations help to further elevate the visual presentation and increase understanding of a particular function or section of the eye. The voice over work is similarly clear and professional. About the only downside to the presentation is that you’re temporarily kicked out of the operating environment when a new section is loaded in.
While The Physiology of the Eye is no text book or coursework replacement for medical and optometry students, it does provide a unique method for a more well-rounded understanding of a complex subject. For everyone else who has an interest in learning about the eye, it would be a real challenge to find a more fascinating way to explore this subject matter. Through an app like this, virtual reality once again shows that it has an important present and future in not only entertaining, but also in educating.
While it’s generally well-known that the eye is incredibly complex, The Physiology of the Eye really helps to give this dense subject some much needed context. So even if before you started this app you might have already understood that the eye was a complicated organ, after several playthroughs you can also gain real insight into the how and why of its workings. For an educational app, it’s hard to do much better, particularly given how impressive its overall presentation and polish is.
Score: 5 out of 5 stars.