Currently, the approach in life science teaching makes a wide use of visual representations, especially when molecules are involved. Indeed, due to their size they represent an abstract knowledge that sometimes can be difficult for students to grasp. Visual perception is usually superior if compared to touch: first of all it is rapid, while touch involves
sensory exploration over time and space. However, visual representation does not provide an immediate mean to improve comprehension of how molecules interact between each other. At this aim haptic technologies enable users to apply and feel forces, that otherwise would not be possible to experience. Haptics can be extremely useful in several education contexts, where forces play a fundamental role, like in the case of molecular interactions.
Didactic texts describe them in an abstract way, whereas in the research field they are typically described as huge sequences of data, which is awkward to be interpreted even by experts of the field. Nevertheless, the spreading of haptics in this context has stopped, and the actual use of this technology in chemistry education results really limited.
Given these premises, the goal of HaptiChem project is to extend the features of the existing tool, which currently enables the user to explore the surface of molecules with a charged probe, in order to make it exploitable in a didactical context.
Principal academic tutors
Pierangelo Metrangolo, Politecnico di Milano – Dept. of Chemistry, Materials and Chemical Engineering “GiulioNatta”
Sara Comai, Politecnico di Milano – Dept. of Electronics and Information
Giuseppe Resnati, Politecnico di Milano – Dept. of Chemistry, Materials and Chemical Engineering “Giulio Natta”
Giancarlo Terraneo, Politecnico di Milano – Dept. of Chemistry, Materials and Chemical Engineering “Giulio,Natta”
Davide Mazza Politecnico di Milano – Dept. of Electronics and Information
Fulvio Corno, Politecnico di Torino – Dept. of Control and Computer Engineering
IIT – Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia
METID – Metodi e Tecnologie Innovative per la Didattica
Guglielmo Lanzani, IIT – Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia – Center for Nano Science and Technology (CNSTIIT@PoliMI)
Enzo Bergamini, Teoresi srl
Gabriele Cristini, METID – Metodi e Tecnologie Innovative per la Didattica
Gianluca Brero, Mathematical Modelling in Engineering, Politecnico di Torino
Rosa Virginia Espinoza, Garnier Petroleum Engineering, Politecnico di Torino
Elisa Magnanelli, Energy and nuclear Engineering, Politecnico di Torino [team controller]
Giacomo Mazzoletti, Biomedical Engineering, Politecnico di Milano [communication coordinator]
Alessandro Maria Rizzi, Computer Engineering, Politecnico di Milano