Laboratory experiences have proved to be a key moment of the educational path in most of the so-called Sciences, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) subjects. Having the opportunity of practicing on actual experiments about the theoretical knowledge achieved during the classroom lectures is a fundamental step from a didactic point of view. However, lab activities could be forbidden in the presence of tests characterized by safety issues, thus limiting students' cultural growth; this is particularly true for physics experiments involving radioactive materials, sources of dangerous radiations. To face the considered problems, the authors propose hereinafter a mixed-reality solution involving augmented reality (AR) at students-side and actual instrumentation at laboratory-side. It is worth noting that the proposed solution can be applied for any type of experiment involving the remote control of measurement instruments and generic risk conditions (physical, chemical or biological). As for the considered case study on gamma radiation measurements, an ad-hoc AR application along with a microcontroller-based prototype allows students, located in a safe classroom, to (i) control distance and orientation of a remote actual detector with respect to different radioactive sources and (ii) retrieve and display on their smartphones the corresponding energy spectrum. The communication between classroom equipment and remote laboratory is carried out by means of enabling technologies typical of Internet of Things paradigm, thus making it possible a straightforward integration of the measurement results in cloud environment as dashboard, storage or processing.
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