'Osy' debuts as an educational mobile app

May 02, 2011 By Kat Gilmore

Having successfully navigated her way through select high school classrooms in North Georgia for more than two years while capturing the attention of hundreds of students, “Osy Osmosis” has now entered the competitive world of mobile apps.

Developed by a group of researchers, educators and software developers at the University of Georgia, Osy is a fun, educational game designed to teach the principle of osmosis, or how water moves in and out of cells.Osy was released this month on Apple’s iTunes App store for the iPhone/iPod Touch ($1.99) and also as a HD version for the iPad ($3.99).To link to Osy, see www.osyosmosis.com/ .

Players help Osy stay safe by keeping her in balance with her environment as she navigates her universe and collects stars. The game’s technology was initially developed as part of a five-year study, funded by the National Institutes of Health Science Education Partnership Awards Program, to create and evaluate 3D animated biology lessons for high school . Osy was the brainchild of Casey O’Donnell, an educational gaming expert in the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication.

“Osy does an incredible job of introducing osmosis to students,” said Jim Moore, one of the principal investigators on the project.“After trying unsuccessfully to help my daughters understand osmosis by talking through the potato slice experiment typically used in science labs, I simply turned them loose with Osy. It worked brilliantly.”

During field-testing of the educational software in classrooms, the creators found that the interactivity provided by the game helped boost the students’ interest level in the topic.

“When you first see students working with Osy in a biology classroom, their high level of engagement is striking. This seems to be true regardless of the level of the biology class. But in our follow-up to playing the game, many students express an understanding of how key factors, such as concentration gradients, are important to osmosis. Osy seems to support students to create visualizations of osmosis that make a relatively abstract biological process much more concrete,” said Steve Oliver, a principal investigator on the project.

Osy is the first scientifically based educational video game to be commercially released by IS3D LLC (is3donline.com/), a partnership of eight UGA faculty and staff members who created the company to market their products.The board members are four professors and a staff member from the College of Veterinary Medicine who areTom Robertson, Dr. Jim Moore, Dr. Scott Brown, Dr. Cynthia Ward and instructional designer Flint Buchanan.The other partners are Steve Oliver, a professor from the College of Education; Casey O’Donnell, a telecommunications professor from the Grady College of Journalism; and Mike Hussey, a theater professor from the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences.

The Osy Osmosis software was licensed by the University of Georgia Research Foundation, Inc. to IS3D, with commercial development made possible by support from the Georgia Research Alliance VentureLab and the founders of IS3D LLC.All profits from Osy will go toward the creation of other educational games and interactive software.

“Over the past two years, our project has flourished and grown to include more than a dozen UGA graduates and graduate students who are working to create innovative software for science education. Moving forward, the biggest challenge will be to secure funding to keep these talented young people. This is why we formed IS3D, as it allows us to apply for small business grants,” explained Robertson, who is CEO of the partnership.“UGA has been incredibly supportive. Derek Eberhart of UGA’s Technology Commercialization Office, Stefan Schulze of the Georgia BioBusiness Center and Cem Oruc of the Georgia Small Business Development Center have all been incredibly helpful. We’ve had encouraging scores on both our academic and grant applications and everyone is working hard to make UGA a leader in the development of innovative materials."

Explore further: Study finds law dramatically curbing need for speed

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Scientist creates 3-D scanner iPhone app (w/ video)

Apr 14, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- Leave it to an iPhone app developer to turn a tool that cost hundreds of dollars a year ago into something that can be done with a 99-cent app. Grant Schindler, research scientist in Georgia ...

Dutch support for disaster zone phone software

Apr 13, 2011

Software developed by Flinders University’s Dr. Paul Gardner-Stephen which enables mobile phones to communicate during a disaster will be freely available to the public by the end of the year thanks to the support of ...

See something? Tell the teacher

Nov 23, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- Many school districts are pushing principals to spend more time in classrooms observing and evaluating teachers but few are using the information they gather to improve education.

Critical thinking called into question

Feb 04, 2011

A post-secondary education won’t necessarily guarantee students the critical thinking skills employers have come to expect from university grads, says a recent study.

Recommended for you

Study finds law dramatically curbing need for speed

Apr 18, 2014

Almost seven years have passed since Ontario's street-racing legislation hit the books and, according to one Western researcher, it has succeeded in putting the brakes on the number of convictions and, more importantly, injuries ...

Newlyweds, be careful what you wish for

Apr 17, 2014

A statistical analysis of the gift "fulfillments" at several hundred online wedding gift registries suggests that wedding guests are caught between a rock and a hard place when it comes to buying an appropriate gift for the ...

Can new understanding avert tragedy?

Apr 17, 2014

As a boy growing up in Syracuse, NY, Sol Hsiang ran an experiment for a school project testing whether plants grow better sprinkled with water vs orange juice. Today, 20 years later, he applies complex statistical ...

Creative activities outside work can improve job performance

Apr 16, 2014

Employees who pursue creative activities outside of work may find that these activities boost their performance on the job, according to a new study by San Francisco State University organizational psychologist Kevin Eschleman ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Egypt archaeologists find ancient writer's tomb

Egypt's minister of antiquities says a team of Spanish archaeologists has discovered two tombs in the southern part of the country, one of them belonging to a writer and containing a trove of artifacts including reed pens ...

NASA's space station Robonaut finally getting legs

Robonaut, the first out-of-this-world humanoid, is finally getting its space legs. For three years, Robonaut has had to manage from the waist up. This new pair of legs means the experimental robot—now stuck ...

Ex-Apple chief plans mobile phone for India

Former Apple chief executive John Sculley, whose marketing skills helped bring the personal computer to desktops worldwide, says he plans to launch a mobile phone in India to exploit its still largely untapped ...

Filipino tests negative for Middle East virus

A Filipino nurse who tested positive for the Middle East virus has been found free of infection in a subsequent examination after he returned home, Philippine health officials said Saturday.

Airbnb rental site raises $450 mn

Online lodging listings website Airbnb inked a $450 million funding deal with investors led by TPG, a source close to the matter said Friday.