BuckeyeVR 3D Plotter

A flexible framework for students and instructors to plot mathematical functions, curves, and vector fields in stereoscopic 3D using a smartphone.

The Need

Math and science courses often require students to plot and understand graphs. While many students can comprehend two-dimensional (2D) graphs, analysis of a three-dimensional (3D) plot in a 2D rendering can prove difficult. With the development of virtual and augmented reality (VR and AR, respectively), there is an opportunity to create curricula that utilize VR and/or AR headsets to aid students in experiencing and analyzing 3D renderings.

The Technology

Researchers at The Ohio State University have developed a smartphone app and website that allow users to plot user-defined curves and vector fields in stereoscopic 3D. The website allows the user to generate a mathematical function and a corresponding QR code. The user can manipulate the equations for the function, curve, or vector field on the website and create a rendering in non-stereoscopic 3D space on their browser. The smartphone app then allows the user to take a picture of this QR code and render the scene in stereoscopic 3D on the mobile device. The application utilizes existing, inexpensive headset technology that costs around $10. The QR code snapshot will allow the user to see their mathematical function rendered in stereoscopic 3D on his or her smartphone in less than a minute in most cases.

Commercial Applications

  • Access to the website for generating stereoscopic images can be based on a subscription service
  • Universities in particular could provide inexpensive smartphone peripherals and pay for physics, engineering, and math students to have access to 3D rendering for educational purposes


  • Stereoscopic 3D rendering of complex mathematical functions in virtual reality at a low cost
  • Browser-based (non-stereoscopic) rendering works on modern browsers without any additional software installation or extra peripherals

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