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FRI Sept. 8, 2017, 11:00 AM-11:30 AM, Ars Electronica Center, Deep Space 8K

Credit: Magdalena Sick-Leitner

Dr. Manuela Macedonia (IT/AT)

For adults, learning a foreign language is a task associated with great difficulty and often crowned with scant success. This series of scientific experiments conducted by Dr. Manuela Macedonia and her staff at Johannes Kepler University Linz in cooperation with the Ars Electronica Center and the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart, Milan, investigates learning a language in a virtual setting.

Users train in a virtual-reality environment implementing procedures based on the principles of learning psychology and neuroscience—for example, foreign-language vocabulary. The training is imparted ubiquitously—that is, independent of a particular time and space, and personalized.

In Grasping, the second experiment in this series, participants are immersed in a 3D underwater realm in Deep Space 8K at the Ars Electronica Center. Test subjects see virtually projected everyday objects and touch them with their hands—that is, they literally grasp them (in both senses of the word). This specific action supports the brain in memorizing the foreign language’s term for the object. This series of experiments is intended to make a long-term contribution to developing learning environments for mobile devices.


Joint research project by the Ars Electronica Center, Johannes Kepler University Linz, and the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart, Milan: “Intelligent Machines that Make Humans Learn Foreign Languages”

Johannes Kepler University Linz: Dr. Manuela Macedonia, Michael Holoubek
University of Vienna: Mag. Astrid Elisabeth Lehner, Bakk.
Catholic University of the Sacred Heart, Milan: Dr. Claudia Repetto
Ars Electronica Center: Mag. Erika Jungreithmayr
Ars Electronica Futurelab: Clemens F. Scharfen
Ars Electronica Museum Technology: Thomas Kollmann, Florian Wanninger
Ars Electronica Solutions: DI. Mag. Ali Nikrang, Poorya Piroozan, MSc.