New Immersive Environment: Station IX (VR without goggles)

In early 2018, Imagine 4D, a Montreal-based tech company, launched Station IX. They are excited about Station IX, an immersive 3D display environment, because it differs from other solutions on the market. Their display environment makes use of Reflected Reality ™, which allows users to see 3D content without VR goggles, or head-mounted displays (HMDs).

Reflected Reality ™ simultaneously uses seven curved mirrors, seven projectors, and a large curved screen to surround users in a 3D virtual world.

Without HMDs, users can collaborate freely and enjoy 3D content without the common limitations of virtual reality, such as VR sickness, eye fatigue, and loss of spatial awareness. Their team has taken every measure to create a space that is shared and comfortable.

Imagine 4D believes that VR/AR, and Station IX specifically, can change how businesses operate. Military professionals, for example, can train for high-risk scenarios in safe environments. Similarly, cabin crews can familiarize themselves with aircrafts and emergency procedures before takeoff. Architects and real estate developers can also design, visualize, and present their projects to clients in a collaborative space unrestricted by VR goggles. These are just a few industry use cases; Station IX can be used for a variety of applications in many fields. The possibilities are endless!

If you would like more information about their new immersive technology, please contact us at info@imagine-4d.com

Varwin Begins Open Beta for VR Reality Management System aimed at streamlining the workflow between developers and clients

Varwin RMS (Reality Management System) has announced its VR creation and
management platform aimed at streamlining the workflow between developers and clients. This software allows developers to create high-quality VR projects that anyone can manage. Until now, that task was only accessible to highly-trained developers due to the complexity of VR technology.

Varwin makes it easy for clients to make small changes themselves. This is achieved thanks to the drag-and-drop logic interface based on Google’s Blockly visual language that presents coding concepts as interlocking blocks. The internal logic of objects is created by the community of developers in Unity and then transferred into Varwin for simple drag-and-drop management. Logic schemes, scenes and objects can be reused, so every creator contributes to the development of the platform and simplifies creation for other users.

For more info contact Anna Salova anna@varwin.com

An Augmented Reality Engine Comes to Life with Avatar's SimplifyXR

True Story! Using SimplifyXR, the AVATAR Partners Team developed an Augmented Reality Engine Maintenance Application for a Patrol Boat in just a few hours.

Since we did not have the CAD drawing of the engine, we used our 3D Lidar Scanner (which took 3 minutes). From there, Dan Kelton (Multimedia Lead) generated a rendering of the Engine.

He then used SimplifyXR to build the Engine AR Experience that comes to life. The user can see the maintenance task, and validate the task accuracy, using a Microsoft Hololens, phone or tablet. The application overlays onto the Engine with an accuracy of 1/8th of an inch, while the user moves in, out and around the engine. If the engine is not readily available, his AR Application displays a high-fidelity virtualized engine, through which the user can use the experience.

Dan built the application at our AVATAR Partners US headquarters and Showcase Office in Huntington Beach, CA, just 3 miles from the ocean. If you're in the area, you must come see our Showcase Office and get a tour of the latest Augmented Reality applications and products.

Lear more at our website www.avatarpartners.com

Call for Sponsors: 3D Modeling Standards and Guidelines for Virtual and Augmented Reality

If interested in sponsoring, email info@thevrara.com

Over the past few months, the VR/AR Association’s 3D Working Group within the Retail Committee has been working on these 3D Modeling Standards and Guidelines for VR/AR/Web. We are now ready to publish and help the industry accelerate VR/AR adoption. We are seeking Sponsors to help us with this effort.

Background

Many retailers, especially those with a strong e-commerce presence, are now using 3D to help customers better visualize their products. Today, the majority of that 3D content is being used behind the scenes to create traditional imagery. As VR and AR become mainstream, brands and retailers are increasing looking to be able to repurpose their 3D assets for these experiences. There are some challenges in optimizing 3D models for AR/VR/Web and these guidelines aim to make it easier for everyone to create models that look consistent on any platform.

A note about openness vs trade secrets: Companies that were early to the 3D space rightfully would like to protect their investments and competitive advantage, but also understand that the best value for those assets comes when consumers expect them as part of their shopping experience. To strike a balance, these Modeling Standards and Guidelines only focus on real-time 3D assets and the contributors will keep their render-ready asset production processes as trade secrets.

Main Authors:

  1. Mike Festa, 3XR

  2. Sumit Goyal, Overstock 

  3. Thomas Huang, Target 

  4. Manil Bastola, Aisle411

  5. Alban Denoyel, Sketchfab 

  6. Josh Belay, InContext Solutions

  7. Jeff Hunt, Snap36

  8. Saurabh Bhatia, Microsoft

  9. Ross McKegney, Adobe

  10. Kevin, Farnham, Mirra

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CenturyLink Demonstrates Effectiveness (400% increase in engagement) of Virtual Reality Technology in B2B with Kaon Interactive using the Lenovo VR headset

Increasing Trade Show Booth Engagement 400% with Award-Winning Application

Kaon recently crafted a case study of how CenturyLink used virtual reality to completely upend their event/booth strategy, starting at AWS re:Invent last year, with great success (and a nod from the 2019 Communicator Awards as well). The Amazon Web Services show was the first enterprise deployment of the standalone, 6-DoF, Lenovo Mirage Solo headset, and it was also the first time Kaon Interactive created and deployed a VR storytelling experience on an untethered headset.

Through successful partnership with Kaon Interactive at recent tradeshows, CenturyLink was able to generate a 400% increase in event booth engagement versus the previous year – within a smaller, more cost-effective booth space.

Looking to elevate event technologies and techniques, Becky Kelly, director of solutions marketing strategy at CenturyLink, decided to turn to a more innovative and engaging solution in an effort to generate higher-qualified booth leads.

“We wanted to create a lasting experience for show attendees without spending exorbitant amounts of money. We wanted to achieve something meaningful that we could grow for reuse. I wanted to create a theme we could tie things around to effectively tell our story and then use those best practices for future ones,” Becky said. 

After establishing its message of “Why Milliseconds Matter,” the Kaon Interactive and CenturyLink team began developing the award-winning, visually engaging, virtual reality experience that would effectively convey this critical message with two goals in mind. The first, to empower the CenturyLink booth staff to engage with tradeshow attendees faster. The second, to have more productive interactions with attendees so they understand that CenturyLink is more than just a phone company. 

Using the Lenovo Mirage Solo® standalone VR headset with Google Daydream, booth attendees were able to immerse themselves in a familiar coffeeshop (and other relatable venues) and experience how CenturyLink touchpoints enable important data to travel, within milliseconds, to execute daily transactions and activities. Because it was developed on Kaon’s High Velocity Marketing Platform®, CenturyLink has the ability to add scenarios and solutions to the application, evolving it for future trade shows. The platform also enabled the deployment of the application on the web, smartphones, touch screens, laptops, and mobile tablets, in immersive VR, to be used by customers and the sales team alike.

“There is a huge cost and time efficiency in not having to recreate this interactive content from scratch for future sales and marketing programs and devices,” Becky stated. “We want to tell our story everywhere our buyers are, and Kaon's platform affords us the ability to do that. Not only did Kaon help us push the envelope, they gave us an innovative technology platform that allows us to break new ground and raise the bar.”

This CenturyLink application was recently selected from more than 6,000 entries, from companies and agencies of all sizes, to win a 2019 Communicator Award of Distinction in the Marketing Effectiveness B2B Campaign category. Read the full case study, or schedule a demo, to learn more.

Extality developed the CNN Experience app for Magic Leap showing us the potential of News using Immersive Media

Extality was the developer for the CNN Experience app for Magic Leap, and worked in collaboration with Magic Leap and CNN/Turner Broadcasting to bring it to life.

We are excited about this new way for people to experience news content in 3D all around them, and Extality’s first example is the story about the Thai soccer team being trapped in a cave, which shows the potential for future journalism in Mixed Reality!

Here are some articles about it with screenshots/videos:

From Magic Leap

From Reality News

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Augmented & Virtual Reality: Navigating the Emerging Legal Terrain

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With a continuously expanding market for Virtual Reality technology, from Google’s Daydream to Facebook’s Oculus Rift, the legal landscape is beginning to follow suit. According to market intelligence provider TrendForce, merchandisers sold 14 million virtual reality devices worldwide in 2016, and it projects that VR device sales and software will snowball into a $70 billion market by 2020. With such expansion, the recent $500 million verdict in the U.S Zenimax v Oculus case suggests that intellectual property disputes in virtual reality tech may become the next litigation “cash cow”, with billions riding on the outcome of each case.

Virtual Reality IP Ownership Disputes

As AR/VR technologies continue to evolve quickly, they have led to the development of considerable intellectual property and other assorted legal issues in the AR/VR space.

Copyright

Disputes over who holds the copyright to VR software will be an important source of liability in the future. One prime example is Zenimax v Oculus, where Oculus was found guilty of misappropriating copyrighted intellectual property from Zenimax in order to develop their Rift technology. The court ruled in Zenimax’s favour, requiring Oculus to pay $250 million for the copyright infringement.  Copyrights protect original IP, including computer programs and dramatic works, both of which play a large role in the development of AR/VR technologies. Undoubtedly, frequent litigation will follow suit.

Trademarks

Trademarks may be a combination of words, sounds or designs used to distinguish the goods of one creator from those of another – and last fifteen years. However, and particularly notable in the relatively new VR industry, expensive legal battles can arise when a company must prove the authenticity of their non-registered trademark. Imagine this: your VR avatar stumbles upon a vending machine and buys a drink – a bottle in every way identical to a real-world Coca Cola can. If the consumer reasonably believes the untheorized patent holder was the source of the goods, or endorsed the goods, liability can arise. Would anyone think Coca Cola produced the game – likely not. Is it possible that some might think they endorsed it – definitely. A second layer of complexity arises if the avatar can interact with the product, by buying or drinking it rather than just having it appear on screen. Treading through this novel VR terrain could bring with it many trademark claims.

Patent Disputes

Through a patent, the Canadian government grants inventors the right to stop others from making, using or selling their invention for up to twenty years. What does that mean for companies involved with or entering the AR/VR space? A significant recent increase in patent applications in respect of AR/VR technologies reveals companies’ desires to maintain a competitive advantage and protect their inventions.  As the field grows more crowded, it will become necessary for companies to protect their IP through patents.

Personality Rights

Like trademark claims, the idea of personality rights will inevitably arise in the virtual world. In Krouse v Chrysler Canada Ltd, the court decided that regardless of the degree of public notoriety, an individual has the same rights as celebrities. In other words, if an individual can prove that their name, voice, or likeness was used in VR content without their consent, they may have a potential claim. This expands the net of liability, especially in the realm of gaming and advertisement. Misappropriation of personality goes so far as to include “look-alikes”; if you create a Morgan Freeman inspired avatar, hire a Morgan Freeman look-alike, or record voice imitation, there is potential for liability.

VR companies can encounter another liability issue; users importing unauthorized “personas” to a metaverse. While the law in this area is still developing, companies may be subject to such claims, and should take precautions to avoid them. Overseeing the use of VR technology and removing any evident personas – including celebrities – is a crucial step.

Product Liability Claims

In part due to the nature of VR products, there will inevitably be claims made by users against VR companies. Since most VR technologies require the use of a headset and other equipment, the potential for personal injury is great. Without being able to see the environment one is in, falls, trips, hits and other injuries are likely – especially if the VR technology requires physical movement. Nausea and motion sickness are also likely, mostly when a user’s body movement does not align with the visual stimulus because of subtle delays in screen responsiveness. Finally, privacy issues may arise where users are asked for personal information, or data storing.

Long term physical and psychological effects can also result in liability against VR technology manufacturers. Some scholars suggest that because of the lure of VR, users may become more detached from reality, leading to psychoses. In certain instances, copycat violence, insurance claims, negligence, nuisance, and product liability suits will follow. Therefore, companies and manufacturers are wise to require terms of use, including disclaimers waiving liability to minimize the chance of litigation against the company.

Virtual environments raise complex and novel legal issues for both VR content creators and rights holders alike. While it is easy to allow yourself to be lost by the technical advances of the virtual world, without proper legal support, a return to reality may bring with it a host of legal liabilities.

By: Marius Adomnica, Associate and Natasha Vlajnic, Law Student

For more information, or to connect with one of our lawyers, please contact us at: inquiries@segev.ca or 604-629-5400

This article is for informational purposes only, does not constitute legal advice, and should not be relied upon as legal advice.

Join us at our VR/AR Global Summit Vancouver Nov 1&2 to learn more about the legal aspects of VR/AR

Early Bird tickets now available for our VR/AR Global Summit happening in Vancouver Nov 1-2

More info and tickets here

VR/AR Global Summits are world-class events bringing together the best knowledge and networking in VR and AR for enterprise, hardware, software and content providers from across the globe.

Join us Nov 1 & 2 at the Parq Vancouver, a new international entertainment and conference destination, located in downtown Vancouver. 

Luxsonic is awarded a contract by the Canadian Space Agency to help define the future of Medical Training during Deep Space Missions using Virtual Reality

As humanity reaches out to explore the solar system, it will be critical to maintain the health and wellness of astronauts. During deep space missions, communication with Earth could be difficult, so medical assistance from Earth may not be available. Medical evacuation, in times of emergency, will be impossible.

The Crew Medical Officer and other crew members will need to maintain and test their basic clinical skills. They will also need to learn new skills during the voyage and have instant access to medical information, like crew health data or diagnostic images. All of these needs will have to be addressed with the limited resources that can be taken on board the space craft. Luxsonic plans to use virtual reality technology to meet these requirements.

The CaregiVR Medical Support System is a technology concept being developed by Luxsonic for the CSA. CaregiVR could provide the crew of long-duration space missions with an advanced tool for medical education, training, and skills assessment. It could also be an integral part of overall ship medical systems, giving astronauts the support they need to stay healthy as they venture out into the solar system. Luxsonic is excited to develop the CaregiVR Medical Support System technology concept, which may one day contribute to the health and well-being of astronauts on deep-space missions.

See the Announcement from the CSA here

About Luxsonic:

Luxsonic develops virtual reality applications that are used by some of the most innovative Canadian healthcare institutions. Our VR software products improve medical education, training, and healthcare delivery while reducing operational costs for our clients. SieVRt, Canada’s first virtual reality medical imaging system allows physicians to view and interact with complex medical imaging data in an intuitive, user friendly, and distraction free virtual environment. It is currently available for sale in North America through our Clinical Innovator Program. Luxsonic is headquartered in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan and has a satellite office in Toronto, Ontario.

Contact Details:

www.luxsonic.ca

Email: info@luxsonic.ca

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Why Your Industrial Skills Gap Is More Than Just a Retirement Problem. AR Heralded as the Solution

For manufacturing, service, and other industrial markets, the skills shortage problem is well documented, and it shows no signs of slowing. Frequently attributed to aging experts exiting the workforce via retirement, the role this trend is playing shouldn’t be overlooked—in the next few years, over a quarter of all manufacturing workers will be older than 55. However, the skills resource problem is more nuanced than age-based attrition.

Augmented reality has been heralded as the solution, but AR isn’t one-size fits all; it’s highly customizable and requires proper direction to solve specific problems. To successfully address the skills deficit with AR, it is important to recognize the four factors that are contributing to your skill drainage.

Lack of systems to produce new skilled workers

Simply put, there’s a lack of systems to put people on the path towards becoming skilled experts. Students are increasingly encouraged to pursue traditional college degrees rather than careers in skilled work, due to societal and economic factors. Technical schools have also broadened their focus to include IT curriculum, and many secondary education districts have reduced courses that expose students to labor skills. But while STEM initiatives are up, the focus is often on utilizing those skills outside of a manufacturing context.

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While the industry needs to address these underlying trends to increase demand for manufacturing jobs, AR can provide an important stopgap. AR-delivered training has proven to both accelerate skills development and improve competency outcomes, which allows manufacturers to get more expertise from smaller pools of candidates.

Competition with other types of jobs

As manufacturing has seen declining preparation and focus in education systems, it also must contend with competition with other job options once students graduate. Potential employees are being lured away to retail, construction, shipping and transportation and service sector industry jobs—even if long-term career benefits for these jobs are not as good. These jobs are frequently more ubiquitous in populous areas, and have a lower barrier to entry.

Innovative technologies like AR can help the manufacturing industry appeal to a new generation of students consisting of “digital natives”. AR-driven training and guidance can help to quickly upskill novice technicians while bringing the allure of working with exciting emerging technology solutions.

Continued global expansion

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Global expansion is a complex issue that affects the skill gap in multiple ways. Primarily, it reflects an exodus of manufacturing jobs from industrialized nations to countries where the cost of living and salaries are lower. While this reduces costs of operations for large enterprises and helps create global economic growth, it has also contributed to the skills gap. Manufacturing increasingly becomes considered an outsourced occupation—which can hinder companies that desire or require operations in more developed economies. It also creates a burden for companies that must increasingly manage localized processes, from training and guidance, to translation, to local compliance and governance.

AR is a communication medium that can massively reduce localization requirements, both in providing new training and in ongoing guidance. Content is easily adapted to local languages, but more importantly, AR also relies heavily on iconography, design files, products themselves, and other elements that reduce the amount of text-based content.

Increasing product complexity

While the previous factors deal primarily with workforces, product complexity represents a different type of skills gap pressure. Competition and evolving market conditions have accelerated the need to customize and personalize products, requiring more intricate and agile operations and a wider variety of processes for individual skilled workers. Product complexity also requires manufacturers to better facilitate the documentation, management, and delivery of training and guidance. This pressure increases with accelerated, on-demand processes.

Industrial enterprises can now use AR to easily update and deliver manuals and guides almost immediately, instead of reprinting and shipping them to reflect product variance. Even relative to PDF and digitized manuals, AR is easier to navigate and select. Hands-free, over-the-shoulder guidance allows workers to easily understand instructions for different assembly, operation, or maintenance variations.

Addressing complex challenges requires a multi-faceted skills solution: augmented reality

The skills shortage is a complex problem that requires manufacturers to change how they recruit talent, manage their resources, and even how they interact with government agencies as they lobby for workforce-friendly legislation. And while there is no single answer, augmented reality is proving to be a game-changer for how industrial companies onboard, upskill, and empower their employees. In fact, industrial applications of augmented reality are predicted to far outpace all other types of AR investment over the next half-decade.

To learn more about why augmented reality is so effective for training and guidance, the innovative ways its being implemented, and how you can harness AR for rapid value, download this complementary eBook: Closing the Industrial Skills Gap with Augmented Reality.

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Zappar Expands Its ZapWorks Platform with ARKit & ARCore Compatibility

Zappar, a leading global developer of Augmented Reality (AR) experiences and creative tools, today announced the launch of a slew of new features to their AR content creation platform ZapWorks Studio, providing brands, agencies and independent creators with a one-stop shop for building immersive augmented, virtual and mixed reality experiences. 

“This new update is our most impressive release to-date and makes ZapWorks Studio one of the most versatile and scalable AR platforms currently on the market, continuing our mission to build the most accessible, affordable and feature-rich toolkit for AR creators across the globe,” commented Caspar Thykier, CEO and co-founder of Zappar. 

Advancing the last iteration of the software, which prioritized lowering the barrier to entry by enabling creatives without coding knowledge or development background to build interactive short-form content for mobile, ZapWorks Studio 6 aims to put more power and functionality into the hands of the creative community. This level of control means that AR creators can build the widest range of fully customizable AR experiences possible without compromising on speed or ease of use.

Notable new features include:

World Tracking — In addition to best-in-class image tracking, ZapWorks Studio 6 gives AR developers even more creative freedom with the addition of world tracking powered by ARKit & ARCore. Build once and instantly publish across both iOS and Android.

Face Tracking — Studio now supports powerful computer vision facial tracking algorithms, enabling AR developers to create more expressive face-tracked experiences using ZapWorks Studio’s new built-in UI. 

Sketchfab integration — Access to Sketchfab’s extensive library of over two million 3D models, characters, scenes, and environments directly in ZapWorks Studio. Powered by Zappar’s support for the gITF 3D model format, creatives can search and import chosen models quickly and reliably.


Sketchfab CEO, Alban Denoyel, commented on the new Sketchfab integration: “Sketchfab’s mission has always been about making it as easy as possible to find, publish and share 3D content with the world, having Zappar (and ZapWorks Studio) as one of our key partners further expands this mission into the world of AR”. 

Thousands of creatives already use ZapWorks Studio to build AR experiences that engage audiences and level-up their brand’s mobile app strategy — from small businesses and creative agencies to big brands such as the BBC and Oath. 

Peter Maddalena, Director at VRCraftworks added: “ZapWorks Studio has become an essential tool for us to create engaging AR content for our clients — transforming their products, campaigns and ideas into interactive experiences that generate engagement, spontaneous media, and financial return. With every Studio upgrade, we are better equipped with the strategic tools to produce quality experiences while positioning ourselves as innovative and forward-thinking to our customers — a win-win situation.”

To download or learn more about ZapWorks Studio 6, please visit: https://zap.works/studio/

Learn more here http://zap.works

VR has a longer history than you might imagine (Intellectual Property)

What do The Sword of Damocles, Morton Heilig’s Sensorama, and the 18th century apparatus La Nature à Coup d’Œil all have in common?

They were in fact all early attempts at simulating an artificial reality. The present day equivalents to these inventions are termed “virtual reality” (VR), “augmented reality” (AR), mixed reality (MR), or, more broadly, “extended reality” (XR) devices and now utilise cutting-edge technology.

The concept itself, however, is by no means new. One of the earliest inventions in this field was patented by artist Robert Barker in 1787. 

La Nature à Coup d’Œil, later termed ‘The Panorama’, comprised a large landscape image painted onto a long canvas strip which was then displayed inside a circular building. The intention being that the observers would stand in an enclosure in the centre of the building and view the painting as if it were a real panorama as seen from a high viewpoint. Barker’s patent even goes on to describe the lighting, ventilation and access required to achieve maximum immersion. Despite sounding very elementary, it was reported that many visitors felt disoriented and sick as a result of the experience.

Jumping forward nearly 200 hundred years to 1962, we come to Morton L. Heilig’s patent for his Sensorama Simulator. This contraption, operating a bit more like present-day VR devices, but looking a lot more like a test you would have at the optician’s, includes means of providing a 3D visual effect, vibrations, a breeze, stereo sound effects, and even “odour-sense stimulation”.

The simulator, which ran short films such as “Belly Dancer” and “I’m a Coca-Cola Bottle”, was unable to secure funding and ultimately ended in failure.

Just six years later, computer scientist Ivan Sutherland developed what is widely considered to be the first VR Head-Mounted Display (HMD): The Sword of Damocles. This device used head-tracking technology to display a virtual overlay that changed perspective based on the user’s head position. Such an overlay meant that this device was also a precursor to augmented reality technology.

Extended reality experiences have clearly been of interest to innovators for many years, but how far have we really come from these early endeavours? And where might this technology take us?

Despite an unsuccessful reception in the late 90s, advances in technology have seen VR devices experience a resurgence of interest in the last few years. This sudden revival has culminated in the development of high-end gaming devices such as Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, and PlayStation VR.

While the broad concept has changed very little, current technology now allows users to enter completely artificial worlds in ways that had not previously been possible. By using positional tracking sensors and handheld controllers, users are able to interact fully with a simulated environment, while the HMD provides immersive visuals and 3D sound.

This refined fusion between precision tracking and high-resolution displays is allowing VR/AR technology to regain traction in the gaming industry. Beyond the mainstream developments already mentioned, AR company Magic Leap has recently released for general sale their cutting-edge AR goggles: Magic Leap One. Using a multitude of tracking cameras and what Magic Leap call a “photonic lightfield chip”, the Magic Leap One is able to display virtual objects in different focal planes relative to real-world objects. This means that if a virtual ball is sitting on your real-world coffee table and you virtually knock it off, you will see it virtually fall off the real-world table and virtually roll along the real-world floor. 

The complexity of achieving such a feat is reflected by the array of advanced technology implemented in the goggles. In a 22-step “teardown”, technology analysis and repair firm iFixit identified a range of components such as: infrared projectors and LEDs for depth sensing; magnetic sensor coils for tracking headset position; a LCOS microdisplay to provide the visuals; and a plethora of processing units to analyse the incoming image data.

But the ability to realistically simulate an artificial environment stretches well beyond the gaming and entertainment industry. Increasingly VR/AR devices are being used in other industries as genuine tools for improving experiences and efficiency and many believe this is where the future of these technologies lie.

VR is being applied in education as a means of providing VR field trips, such as to the International Space Station, or inside the human body. In the retail industry, shoppers are able to try on make-up, explore their dream kitchen, or even explore the shop itself all through VR. In manufacturing, AR technology is being used for visual inventory management (“vision picking”) and remote maintenance and inspection of machinery. Architects are using XR technology to design and demonstrate buildings. The increasing realism and precision now available through XR means that it is even being applied in healthcare, allowing surgeons to perform surgery remotely.

While it is clear that the present day XR innovations are worlds apart from the early attempts there is one thing that all of these inventions certainly have in common: Intellectual Property.

From a big painting in a round building (Patent for displaying Views of Nature, Robert Barker) to corneal sphere tracking for generating an eye model (EP3329316A1, Oculus VR LLC), it is clear that all of these individuals and companies understood the importance of protecting investment and market share.

A recent study by IPlytics found that VR/AR patent applications have increased nearly six fold between 2010 and 2018. Whether it is a registered design for the shape of a headset or a patent to protect the technology inside it, the value of intellectual property protection has never been higher in this field and we expect to see many more interesting inventions coming our way in the years to come.

See our website marks-clerk.com to learn more

Is Holographic Display the Future of Display Technology?

Holographic display is a method of displaying visual content that is only now making early steps into the market. It is based on a totally different physical principal to what you usually find in the world today. When you look at a normal display you are basically looking at a big array of pixels, where each pixel gives some colour depending on a filter that is put in front of it.

You see an image but that is not really how we see the real world. When you look at the world around you, you are not seeing a 2-D pixel array of colours, you are seeing light reflecting off surfaces and that light adding up in complex ways to give interference patterns that your eye then interprets as an image.

So say you want to create the perfect display system. You would need to mimic the physical process that natures uses in order to relay visual information to you. However, rather than relying on actually reflecting light off things, we can compute the light patterns that are reflected from objects, and represent them on a display device. We have to compute the entire wave-front reflected from a given object so that it encodes all the visual information, including all the object’s depth information.  This complex pattern is known as the hologram. We reflect light off the hologram to your eye and you see a 3D holographic image.

This contrasts with what is widely described in the ARVR industry as hologram - they often use it to mean any virtual object placed in a scene. When we say hologram, we mean in the full academic sense of the word - creating a full 3-D object using only the interference properties of light.

VividQ started off in 2017 with a very rough prototype. We managed to get some initial investment and for the last two years we have been building that into product. It turns out it is very difficult to sell just algorithms to people so we have actually had to make the entire software pipeline ourselves - everything from how you capture your 3-D data from 3-D sources like game engines and 3-D cameras, through to how you output that onto a display device that can support holographic display.

Now, an optical engineer or any researcher can take our entire software package, drop it into their system and have an end-to-end solution that allows them to connect their source data with the display and create genuine 3-D images.

The technology behind the software

There are several key components that are required for holographic display. You cannot just use a normal display like what you would find on an iPad or TV. The way we generate the hologram is by reflecting light off a display that is showing a particular pattern of phase.

This phase pattern is what we call a hologram - we reflect light off that and then the wave-front of the light is modulated by that pattern which appears as an object when you look at the display. Because of that we need a type of display known as a spatial light modulator. This enables you to create that phase mask and to update it as fast as you like so you can have a moving image.

Our software is currently built on top of an Nvidia stack so we rely heavily on GPUs. In fact our underlying code is written in very low level CUDA C – NVidia’s GPU language - and then on top of that it has a C++ layer and then a C API so that the developers can easily connect and code against it to hook up their SLM or into their content.

In terms of the other technologies we support, as I said we talked to Unity, Skyrim, and we are adding support for Unreal right now. We are compatible with a host of 3-D cameras like  Stereolab Zed cameras, the PMD Picoflexxf and a few others. We have mostly got content covered, and it should be relatively easy for engineers to implement.

What types of people or industries should use this software?

Anyone designing holographic display for basically any purpose should use this software. We have identified augmented or mixed reality as the first potential target. In our view, for MR specifically to achieve real consumer use, you need to overcome several of the display issues that it currently has.

A massive topic of the conference this week has been on something called the accommodation vergence conflict. This is the effect you get in current generation displays when your eyes are forced to converge on a certain object, but because the information your brain presents to your eyes is fundamentally two dimensional, your depth of focus is not where you are  converging your eyes.

Imagine you are always focusing here, but your eyes are being told the object is over there. This is a very confusing sensation and has caused a lot of the nausea, headaches and dislocation from reality people experience when using MR or VR. Holographic technology naturally fixes this because you are presenting the eye with a genuine 3-D image, and so you do not run into the same problems.

VividQ will transform display technology

I think that holographic display will be the dominant display technology of the next decade. VividQ will be the underlying software powering all of that. It will be in the same way that companies like ARM are basically the supplier to everybody running mobile phone chips and so forth.

You will find our software embedded in all your devices that has a holographic display. Holographic display will be the thing everyone uses, because once you have full 3-D, where you don’t need to wear glasses or any of that stuff - why would you ever have a 2-D screen again?

Visit our website here www.vivid-q.com

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Healthcare VR and Regulatory Challenges

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Virtual reality used to be associated solely with entertainment (mainly games) and the provision of virtual walk-throughs and immersive environments for product designers, architects, archaeologists and the like. Furthermore, apart from the need to accommodate the psychological and visual disorientation and other side effects such an immersive 3D environment has the potential to provoke, the legal, contractual and intellectual property ramifications of the technology were little different from those thrown up any other product combining hardware, software and audio-visual content.

Now, however, the VR/AR sector is colliding with the healthcare sector (which has historically been very different in terms of technology, culture and regulatory framework) as it is beginning to develop and roll out new alternatives in terms of diagnosis and treatment. These new solutions are attractive and potentially game-changing not just because of their novelty but because, insofar as they offer alternatives to filling patients with drugs or putting them under the knife, they could, if fully-realised and properly implemented, be lower risk, more cost-effective and less time-consuming for patient, healthcare professional and primary carer alike. All this presses the right buttons with a cash-strapped NHS.

Examples of particular note include:

  • Training doctors and nurses in a virtual environment and recording their performance for subsequent analysis.

  • Allowing medical students to experience operations for learning purposes in a far more immediate and immersive way than if they were just looking over the surgeon’s shoulder.

  • Using 3D virtual mapping of organs for pre-op diagnosis as an alternative to opening the patient up to take a look.

  • Treating autism and phobias by means of exposure to a bespoke virtual or augmented environment.

  • Diagnosing and treating Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and other neurodegenerative diseases.

  • Using games technology to improve cognitive abilities, hand-eye coordination and physical dexterity as part of rehabilitation after, say, a stroke or surgery.

  • Using VR to train athletes and treat sports injuries.

The list goes on and is always growing.

However, all this innovation presents a challenge. The increased use of AI in the medical field gives rise to dilemmas in the form of, for example, who bears the risk in the event of a catastrophic misdiagnosis or a surgical robot going haywire and shredding the patient, and how the risk of those things happening should be allocated between manufacturer and user. The regulatory framework and insurance industry will need overhauling to accommodate these challenges and NHS policy makers are already on it. The advent of VR/AR on the healthcare scene presents similar problems.

For example:

  • VR/AR methods of training, diagnosis and treatment could entail the creation, storage and manipulation of the subject’s image (or images of part of that individual’s body). What waivers will the subject need to provide and who will have the rights to that image?

  • Inevitably patient data will be stored and created. Will it be stored securely? Who will have access to it? Has the patient given the requisite informed consent to such storage and creation?

  • Who will be liable if the virtual assistance tool malfunctions and ends up being a hindrance rather than a help to surgery or if, due to an inherent defect or misuse, the therapeutic VR environment makes the schizophrenic patient worse, not better?

In these circumstances the regulations may not need reinventing as much as they do to accommodate the new AI applications already mentioned but the risks listed above will certainly need mitigating through the adoption of technical safeguards built into hardware and software, strict operating procedures and well-drafted contracts and consent forms to be signed by manufacturers, users and patients – an intriguing challenge for a technology everybody once thought was only good for playing games on.

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Regards,

Simon Portman sportman@marks-clerk.com

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How Virtual Reality Improves Customer Shopping Experience at Supermarkets

Through VR/AR, brands want to reach consumers and assist them on the product’s shelf. This way, users will know more about the practicalities of the products or how to use the product. VR enriches the experience by the entertaining user that cut through the confusion of traditional shelf-edge advertising. Watch the video to learn more!

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How Virtual Reality Improves Customer Shopping Experience at Supermarkets

The landscape of the industry continues to change after the advent of Virtual Reality in online shopping. The involvement of such advance technology transformed the tedious online shopping pattern. This forced the retailers or vendors to rethink how to manage or transform their most valuable physical asset.

Virtual reality is creating its own space in virtual layouts without relying that much on traditional environments. VR in the supermarket is helping retailers in incorporating VR featured solutions to accommodate online orders and keep in-store shoppers engaged. VR in supermarket transport customers into a 360º rendering showroom that is customizable where users can explore, customize, and buy products.


Virtual reality offering exclusive factors to supermarkets

Virtual Browsing:

VR-generated superstores let customers virtually browse the store no matter where they are. They are well-organized apart from compelling and immersive. Simple and accessible designs with 360-degree panoramas that offer an experience of moving through a physical store.

Information-fueled experience:

VR introduced in supermarket improved the ways to find and compare the different product’s details to uplift experiences in stores. VR in supermarket promises to create the differentiated brand experiences that drive conversions. This improved customer service based on individual needs resulted in repeat visits and higher revenue.

Understand Consumer Behavior:

Consumers are curious about the walk-through superstores. VR is offering brands stimuli in a comprehensive virtual environment to enhance its services. This technology offers environments of flexibility to understand the granularity of the customer’s action in the superstore. Businesses with VR can analysis to see factors on a quantitative level.

How VR is Improving Shopper Experience

Retailers can gather feedback from targeted groups using VR. To improve the qualitative level of the services, retailers need to monitor behavior differences in buying patterns of the online customer.

VR supermarkets are embedded with virtual floorplans, 3D lighting, HD items display, immersive walk-through, and many more. VR offers a storytelling platform built on customer behavior insights.

VR has the ability to closely inspect goods in the store into a VR experience. Brands and supermarkets can provide memorable experiences through VR vital elements to help maintain user encouragement

VR with real-time collaboration unlocked the strategies to overcome the challenges in the supermarket. Hence the conversion rate benefits of making consumers feel comfortable. The rate of Consumers making purchase mistakes reduced thru the return rate.

VR supermarket more-accessible platform

Supermarkets are set to completely transform the shopping experience using virtual reality (VR). Hence, it is well to say that VR is a key to success in striking the right balance in allocating resources to users with digital experiences.  

Through VR brands want to reach consumers and assist them on the product’s shelf. This way user will know more about the practicalities of the products or how to use the product. VR enriches the experience by the entertaining user that cut through the confusion of traditional shelf-edge advertising.

Several major brands in FMCG have created an app that enables people to browse and pay for products in VR. VR produces an immersive experience that informs and entertain online users. This technology plays a vital role in creating more engaging encounters of the brand’s sale conversions.

The Bottom Line  

Virtual reality technology has already been around to help businesses in specific streams. The technology becomes more accepted due to the visualize store layouts and potential traffic benefits. Moreover, it offers the concept that combines product selection and customizability. VR is beneficial in term of capitalizing various opportunities embedded with interactivity and execution.

Healium Secures Webby Nomination for Mind-Powered Mindfulness and VR/AR

A Columbia, Missouri company that makes biometrically-controlled virtual escapes for areas of social isolation took home top honors recently in two national events including a Webby nomination for "Best Use of Augmented Reality". StoryUP Studios makes Healium, a virtual and augmented reality mindfulness platform powered by the user's heart and mind via their wearables. The three-year old therapeutic media company is harnessing the power of the body's electricity to heal virtual worlds for areas of emotional pain and situational stress. 

The Webby's, the internet's most coveted award, are chosen via a public voting process. This is the link to vote for Healium. wbby.co/vote-game4. Healium also took home a top prize recently at CES's pitch competition and a 1st place finish in the XR category at SXSW. 

The Webby-nominated experience, Healium AR Butterflies, is available for download on the IOS and Google Play stores. It allows the users to hatch butterflies from a virtual chrysalis with their feelings of positivity.

Two published studies in Frontiers in Psychology and the Journal of Neuroregulation showed Healium reduced moderate anxiety and increased feelings of positivity in as little as four minutes. These mindfulness-in-nature escapes have the option to be powered by EEG and heart rate data from the user's wearables like a smartwatch or meditation headband. Positive or calm memories are empowered to change the environments with either just a mobile device or inside VR goggles.

Healium supports Honor Everywhere, a free VR tour program for aging Veterans who are no longer able to physically travel to see their WWII, Vietnam or Women's Memorial in Washington, DC. People who purchase Healium kits enable free Healium experiences for Veterans on a waiting list for virtual Honor Flights.

The Webby's winners will be announced on April 23rd and public voting continues through April 18th. 

For more information on Healium kits that allow you to grow virtual peace with your feelings, please visit tryhealium.com or email hello@story-up.com

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Motive.io Receives Funding to Expand their Scenario-Based Training Platform

Motive.io is thrilled to be granted funding to expand our Bionic Detective project. A first-of-it’s kind collaborative AR scenario that is not only entertaining, but has potential to increase engagement and success in training law enforcement to process crime scenes.

First launched as an entertainment piece for the VR/AR Global Summit last fall, we look forward to experimenting with the immersive training version of this work.

More info

Cherry Creek Innovation Campus looks to prepare HS students for future careers via VR/AR; looking to partner with industry to provide students real-world problems to solve

The Cherry Creek Innovation Campus (CCIC) is a new stand-alone college and career preparedness facility accessible for high school students in the Cherry Creek Schools, located in SE Denver Metro area. Opening in August 2019, the curriculum will be rooted in real-world skills and trade certifications ranging from the computer sciences to aviation to health sciences, this facility will offer students a new kind of bridge to college and viable, successful careers.

Part of the IT & STEAM Pathway at the CCIC will be Virtual Reality. The vision for the program is to help students learn how VR/AR is created, evaluate which industries do and could use VR/AR, and where there is a market for further development. VR/AR can be so beneficial in so many industries and help so many people, processes, and systems, and we are extremely excited so show students the entry to this incredible field. 

The faculty at the CCIC is interested in partnering with businesses and industries that would benefit from VR/AR development, supplying students with problem-based learning opportunities.

More info here