Intel’s Virtual Teacher watches students with RealSense eyes

Serap Sahin Writer


Established in the Teknokent technology park at the Istanbul Technical University (ITU) in 2014, Intel’s Istanbul Open Lab R&D Centre is quietly working on an adaptive learning platform dubbed the Virtual Teacher.

Working in partnership with CAST, an organisation established by a team of Harvard professors, the platform is capable of tracking the emotional states of the students who use it, sensing when something is too hard (or too easy) and allowing educational content to be adjusted accordingly.

CAST is known around the world for its work in combining education and technology — its UDL Studio is an open-source tool to enables educators and students to make their own digital content, while the UDL Exchange platform helps teachers make and share resources.

The combination of CAST’s expertise in education and Intel’s leading RealSense 3D camera technology has added a whole new dimension to the project.

This project, designed and developed at Intel’s R&D labs in Istanbul, is seen as the “learning environment of the future”.

Within the Adaptive Learning Platform system, the eye movements and facial expressions of students working with tables and computers are captured by RealSense 3D cameras and then analysed by the technology.

The data gathered, crunched by artificial intelligence algorithms, gives an insight into which educational topics the student finds it difficult to concentrate on, which topics need to be repeated and even when the student needs a break.

As the system is capable of empathising with a student’s emotions, it is able to direct the individual toward a subject that stimulates their interest more successfully or provide alternatives to ensure a healthier educational experience.


The agreement signed between Intel Turkey R&D Centre and CAST hopes to bring the Virtual Teacher project onto the international stage soon. It’s an idea that could shake up the world of education.

After all, the classroom of the future needs a teacher of the future, a smart educational technology that helps teachers deliver personalised learning experiences without stretching resources. Ultimately, isn’t that a better way for our children to learn?

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