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N e w s ,

f e a t u r e s

a n d

a n a l y s i s

f o r

i m m e r s i v e

t e c h

a n d

e n t e r p r i s e

m a g a z i n e

w w w. v r w o r l d t e c h . c o m

XRSPACE Redefining how people connect, socialise, and collaborate

What virtual, augmented and mixed reality are really for, is everyone

XR feels the need— the need

to succeed! HTC Vive

ThirdEye Gen

XR Association

What comes first, the hardware or the software?

The AR and MR equivalents of getting down to business

The XR community needs to ensure that accessibility is baked in from the start

T H E

B U S I N E S S

O F

M A N U FA C T U R E D

R E A L I T I E S


Deadline: 2 6 / 1 1 / 2 0 2 1 Public a tion da te: 0 6 / 1 2 / 2 0 2 1

Manufacturing Issue Designers are at the forefront of virtual reality, creating and refining ever impressive products, machines and buildings, without having to leave their studio and on much grander scales, while augmented reality is being utilised to redefine traditional spaces and bring 3D models alive, in the real world.

Mark Dugdale, Editor editor@vrworldtech.com

Jonathan Savage, Publisher jonsavage@vrworldtech.com


VRWorldTech Magazine

Published by: Premeditated Media Group Ltd 71-75 Shelton Street Covent Garden London WC2H 9JQ Editor Mark Dugdale editor@vrworldtech.com

Publisher Jonathan Savage jonsavage@vrworldtech.com

Editorial board Jan Pflueger, advisXR Sophia Moshasha

FOLLOW US Twitter:

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VRWorldTech

virtualrealityworldtech

company/vrworldtech

© 2021 Premeditated Media Group Ltd. All rights in and relating to this publication are expressly reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means without written permission from the publisher. The views expressed in VRWorldTech Magazine are not necessarily those of the publisher. While the publisher has taken every care in compiling this publication to ensure accuracy at the time of going to press, it does not accept liability or responsibility for errors or omissions therein, however caused.

w w w. v r w o r l d t e c h . c o m

April 2021

3


Editor’s Note

Moving past the headlines Understanding hardware is vital as virtual, augmented and mixed reality move toward the mainstream

H

ello all and thank

story is our interview with Graham

developer of the new the Pro 3 range,

you for taking

Wheeler, general manager of HTC

to find out how important remote

the time to read

EMEA, who walked me through HTC

assistance and the smartphone are

the latest issue

Vive’s enterprise strategy when it

to the present and future of these

of VRWorldTech

comes to virtual reality hardware,

two immersive technologies for

Magazine, the first time we’ve

as well as the software that makes

enterprise and professional use. The

focused on a specific area of

it sing. Turn to that article now for

overwhelming answer is: very.

immersive technology itself, rather

some interesting insights, which also

than an industry or sector where

nicely set up the rest of the issue.

virtual, augmented and mixed reality are being deployed.

Finally, I also had the opportunity to interview Elizabeth Hyman,

I also had the pleasure of speaking

chief executive officer of the XR

to Nikitas Glykas and Kurt Liu of

Association (XRA), the group

We chose hardware because this

XRSPACE on the development of

representing headset and technology

is the headline grabber, often the

a dedicated virtual reality headset

manufacturers across the broader

enterprise market’s first introduction

for the platform that is attempting

XR or immersive technology industry.

to these immersive technologies.

to redefine how people connect,

XRA is doing fantastic work on

Hardware releases are often picked

socialise, and collaborate. It’s early

the development and promotion

up by mainstream technology media

days for XRSPACE MANOVA World,

of best practices among hardware

and examined from a number of

yet business and professional users

and software providers, ensuring

different angles, but rarely from

of this immersive technology should

that users of all abilities can avail

the point of view of business or

be satisfied that the startup has an

themselves of the many benefits

professional use. This is slowly

actionable, ambitious plan backed

and opportunities that immersive

changing and we’re more than happy

by an innovative headset. Portable,

technology has to offer. This is

to contribute to the discussion.

powerful and, above all, useful.

incredibly important and a vital task as virtual, augmented and mixed

Our hardware focus is on virtual

Turning to augmented and mixed

reality headsets and augmented and

reality smart glasses, we check

mixed reality smart glasses, and

out X2 Mixed Reality Glasses from

Next up for VRWorldTech Magazine

you’re in for a real treat. Our main

ThirdEye Gen, and meet NuEyes,

are focuses on AEC, entertainment

4

April 2021

reality move toward the mainstream.


and manufacturing, plus the issue out at the end of August will turn to software, in the same vein as this one. We’ll be making announcements in due course about 2022 and what to expect from the only magazine dedicated to immersive technology for enterprise. Until then, please enjoy this issue, and, as ever, please do let us know what you think via social media or editor@ vrworldtech.com.

Mark has been a business-to-business journalist for a decade. He has edited and written for websites within financial services and law. He graduated from the University of Leeds with a BA in creative writing.

Mark Dugdale Editor VRWorldTech


Contents

10 30

XRSPACE Redefining how people connect, socialise, and collaborate requires not only simplifying A round up of the biggest hardware stories tracked over

the hardware and user experience, but

the past two months. Have a story to tell? Submit it

understanding that they need to be, as

now: editor@vrworldtech.com. This issue features Make

XRSPACE demonstrates

In this issue Real, Infinadeck, Epson, Nreal, Varjo and HaptX

18

Editor’s Comment What virtual, augmented and mixed reality are really for, is everyone

22

HTC Vive What comes first, the hardware or the software? At HTC Vive, the answer is neither, the customer does

6

April 2021


Contents

38

ThirdEye Gen The X2 Mixed Reality Glasses from ThirdEye Gen are augmented and mixed reality equivalents of rolling up your sleeves and getting down to business

44

XR Association Hardware is becoming smaller, more powerful and affordable, but the XR community needs to ensure that accessibility is baked in from the start

NuEyes 50

NuEyes is well known for its excellent work on technology to address low vision. But now, it’s expanding to serve a range of enterprise and consumer use cases, too

w w w. v r w o r l d t e c h . c o m

April 2021

7


VRWorldTech is a must-read resource if you want to stay up-to-date on progress within immersive technology for enterprise. Our content sits between the technology’s creators and developers and the business leaders who can benefit from its use and application. We cover the stories that make immersive technology a reality.


A round up of the biggest stories tracked in The Reality Wire over the past two months.

S

Reducing the ‘fuss factor’ for enterprise VR hardware use ince the release of the

organisations do not want to deploy

inside the headset. This makes it

Oculus Rift DK1 in 2013, and

tethered virtual reality, citing health

difficult to assist and troubleshoot

the initial consumer virtual

and safety reasons, or wanting to

issues and makes for a less

reality launches in 2016,

avoid complicated setups, or the

impactful demo, when the non-virtual

enterprise organisations

cost of additional hardware.

reality audience cannot see what’s

have dabbled with deploying virtual reality for a variety of use cases.

going on. Solution 1a: More recent tethered headsets have incorporated inside-

Solution 2: Some standalone virtual

With the launch of standalone

out tracking capabilities, removing

reality headsets are able to cast

devices in 2019 onwards, scaled-

the need for the external sensors and

to a Google Chromecast device

up deployments have occurred as

additional sockets required to drive

plugged into a HD TV, as long as

many barriers have been reduced or

them. However, the cost of a high-

both devices are connected to the

removed entirely, but some new ones

end PC remains.

same WiFi network. This brings back

have been added, for a completely frictionless operation.

the mirroring capability of tethered Solution 1b: Standalone (or all-in-

devices to see what the user is

one) devices remove the need for a

seeing.

Let’s look at some of the friction

PC, since the computer, battery and

points that have been addressed

sensors are contained within the

Problem 3: Chromecast operates by

from tethered devices to standalone

device, without the need for anything

creating a temporary private YouTube

and solutions incorporated by many

else. However, the ease of use

stream and requires external internet

enterprise organisations, to reduce

comes at a cost of graphical fidelity.

access to function. Many enterprise

that ‘fuss factor’.

IT policies block YouTube access. Problem 2: Standalone devices

Problem 1: Unless very specific

are self-contained, so without that

Solution 3: There are some Android

use cases require high-end

tether to a PC and monitor, it is not

system-level ADB commands that

graphical fidelity, many enterprise

possible to see what is happening

developers can use to provide a

10

April 2021

Do you want to know more? Visit: www.vrworldtech.com/news/the-reality-wire


video stream, but this requires a USB cable and a PC to operate fully. Problem 4: Many sectors need to be able to audit and trace learners and certification back to the training session to validate the named learner matches the person in the real world. Solution 4: SkillShield enables the video casted from the standalone virtual reality headset to be live composited alongside the feed from the webcam, encoding learner record and the training session into one, single video file, with associated learning outcomes tracked and relevant information embedded into the metadata. Once the standalone virtual

be live-streamed to remote viewers,

records, so they can track and

reality headset has been paired to

who may not be present physically

trace who undertook the training in

the laptop via USB, the training

for the training session. The training

comparison to who is on-site, which

experiences and sessions can be

facilitator is able to scrub through

is necessary when on-site incidents

operated untethered, as long as

the video to review performance and

occur. SkillShield acts as the bridge

both devices are on the same WiFi

where improvements could be made

between virtual reality hardware and

network. This can be provided by

next time.

existing PCs to reduce these fuss

an unconnected WiFi access point without requiring internet access.

factors. Enterprise organisations, especially within the construction sector, have

Visit www.makereal.co.uk/work/

The added bonus of this combined

been deploying SkillShield in order

skillshield to find out more about

video feed being recorded is it can

to create irrefutable learner video

SkillShield from Make Real.

w w w. v r w o r l d t e c h . c o m

April 2021

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TRW

Epson Moverio BT-40 and BT-40S AR smart glasses available for pre-order

T

he new Moverio BT-40 and

They are powered by Epson Si-OLED

Moverio BT-40 and BT-40S offer

BT-40S augmented reality

technology and offer a number of

advances in image quality, comfort

smart glasses from Epson

advances on previous iterations,

and wearability that will serve

are available for pre-order.

including a wider FOV (field of view,

Epson’s target use cases well,

full HD 1080p display resolution, high

including industrial field service

The latest generation Moverio line-

contrast, improved connectivity, and

and remote assistance, as well as

up, first announced in December

a more comfortable, adjustable and

accessibility usage.

2020, are available to buy on Amazon

easy-to-wear design.

and through Epson’s distribution

Del Mar adds: “As a pioneer in this

network for $579 (BT-40) and $999

Remi Del Mar, senior product

space, we look forward to seeing

(BT-40S).

manager for digital experiences in the

how these new smart glasses are

augmented reality and commercial

implemented by customers.”

These smart glasses are more

display solutions unit at Epson

established than some of their more

America, stresses the company’s

A closer look at the key Moverio

recent competitors, with Epson

history and experience in developing

BT-40 and BT-40S upgrades

developing the range for almost a

these products, saying: “With over 10

decade.

years in the AR market and its long

Upgrading to the Moverio BT-40 and

history in the projector segment—

BT-40S from older or competitor

Epson says the Moverio BT-40 and

having delivered high performance

models will bring a wide 34 deg

BT-40S smart glasses are designed

optical engines and impeccable color

FOV and a heads-up, hands-free

to deliver a high-quality augmented

production—Epson is bringing that

experience with higher resolution

reality viewing experience with

same legacy to this next generation

equivalent to viewing a 120 in screen

maximum comfort.

of Moverio smart glasses.”

from a distance of 15 ft.

12

April 2021


TRW There is also improved connectivity in a new headset design with advanced weight distribution and optional nose pads that allow for enhanced comfort. An up to 500,000:1 contrast ratio allows unused display space to appear transparent and an improved aesthetic design offers a glasses-style form factor and optional dark shades. The binocular design also offers a see-through SiOLED display. Moverio BT-40 and BT-40S are also equipped with USB Type-C connectivity for a range of compatible smartphones, tablets and computers. Moverio BT-40S offers the option of a controller running Android 9.0 that supports Google Mobile Services for custom software integration.

Nreal Enterprise Edition to launch this year

N

real is turning its

around the wearer’s head, while

attention to the

offering the same lightweight

enterprise market

and comfort as Nreal Light. Eye

with a new dedicated

tracking and gesture recognition

edition of its mixed

provide intuitive control.

reality glasses. The edition boasts the same

The controller features an integrated

The China-based developer is

high-quality augmented and

touchscreen, customised user interfaces,

also launching the consumer

mixed reality experiences as

expandable memory up to 2TB, an IPx2

edition, Nreal Light, in Europe and

Nreal light, with a sophisticated

rating for durability, and Google Play

the US for the first time.

understanding of the surrounding

compatibility.

environment, thanks to in-built Nreal Enterprise Edition, launching

6DoF (six degrees of freedom)

Additional controller features include

this year, is the developer’s first

tracking, plane detection, and

built-in WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, a

focused foray into the enterprise

image tracking.

compass, an accelerometer, a

market. Nreal Light, although

gyroscope, a 13MP autofocus camera, a

clearly a consumer product, is

The enterprise edition is also fully

flashlight, a noise cancelling microphone

also aimed at business users,

customisable, making the device

and audio jack, and a high-performance

with the smart glasses capable

capable of meeting the needs

rechargeable battery that lasts up to five

of serving as a multi-tasking

of businesses in manufacturing,

hours, according to Epson.

monitor with compatible Bluetooth

retail, tourism, education, logistics

keyboards.

and automotive.

augmented-reality to find out about the

The enterprise edition comes with

Visit www.nreal.ai to find out more

Moverio range of smart glasses.

a new halo design that wraps

about Nreal Enterprise Edition.

Visit www.epson.com/moverio-

w w w. v r w o r l d t e c h . c o m

April 2021

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TRW

Unlimited movement in VR is now a reality with Infinadeck

W

elcome to the future—unlimited movement

users to naturally walk in any direction, providing 360

in any direction while navigating through

deg of realistic locomotion for a wide variety of uses,

virtual reality is now a reality.

including physical therapy, gaming, industrial training, and many more. The possibilities are limitless.

Imagine being fully immersed in one of

your favourite virtual reality gaming experiences and

The Infinadeck Experience Platform is paired with

the way you move your body is the way your avatar

augmented or virtual reality headsets to create amazing

moves—side to side, in circles, even airborne. Imagine

immersive experiences and is available now.

rehabilitating from an injury where you, the patient, can take steps to explore Stonehenge instead of a boring

Current clients include hospitals, military training units,

physical therapy centre.

gaming companies, and many more. The Infinadeck Experience Platform was even featured in Steven

Imagine you are taking part in military operations training

Spielberg's Ready Player One!

that allows you to train with your entire squad. Think real-time training and planning as well as both tactical

The Infinadeck Experience Platform uses less that 6 sf of

and strategic movements around obstacles in highly

space, allowing multiple devices to be used at the same

customised virtual reality training scenarios, creating

time in a space smaller than your average family room.

muscle memory before you ever get to the battlefield. The future for fully immersible virtual reality with The Infinadeck Experience Platform is the world's first

locomotion is now. Visit www.infinadeck.com to find out

commercially viable omnidirectional treadmill. It allows

more about the Infinadeck Experience Platform.

14

April 2021


TRW

Varjo XR-3 and VR-3 enterprise headsets shipping now

V

arjo’s next generation

high resolution across the full frame,

with LiDAR and stereo RGB video

XR-3 and VR-3 enterprise

as well as colour accuracy that

pass-through to deliver seamless

mixed and virtual reality

mirrors the real world.

mixed reality.

Varjo has boosted the performance of

The headset’s inside-out tracking

XR-3 and VR-3, giving the headsets

also enables users to determine

The Finnish immersive technology

a refresh rate of 90 hz and fast and

the precise position of XR-3 within

developer priced its latest range of

accurate eye tracking up to 200

the environment, which improves

enterprise headsets significantly

hz, which delivers optimised visual

tracking accuracy and removes the

lower than their predecessors, at

fidelity through foveated rendering.

need for SteamVR base stations.

they are well worth checking out on

Both devices also feature integrated

Varjo recently joined Unity’s verified

Varjo’s website or through one of its

Ultraleap hand tracking for natural

solutions partner programme as the

35 certified reseller partners if you’re

interactions.

first XR hardware provider, so its latest

headsets are now shipping worldwide.

$3,195 (VR-3) and $5,495 (XR-3), so

in need of high-end hardware.

headsets are fully verified to work with Varjo has designed a new three-point

the content development platform.

The new headsets from Varjo are big

precision fit headband, made the

leaps forward and designed to serve

headsets 40% lighter, introduced

Its headsets are also compatible

a wider range of businesses.

active cooling, and implemented

with Unreal Engine, Lockheed

ultra-wide optical design to lessen

Martin Prepar3d, VBS BlueIG and

eye strain and simulator sickness.

FlightSafety Vital, among dozens of

Both headsets boast a 115 deg FOV (field of view) made possible by

other software.

Varjo’s full frame Bionic Display with

XR-3—with mixed reality now fully

double the human-eye resolution

integrated—boasts several of its own

Visit www.varjo.com to find out about

area. They now also support ultra-

upgrades, including depth awareness

XR-3 and VR-3.

w w w. v r w o r l d t e c h . c o m

April 2021

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TRW

HaptX comes to market with its first commercially available haptic gloves

H

aptic technology

the haptic gloves, or as close to ‘true

exotendons that apply up to 40 lbs of

developer HaptX is

contact’ as possible.

dynamic force feedback per hand (8

coming to market with

lbs/35 N per finger).

its most advanced

Michaels explains: “Vibration

haptic feedback gloves

feedback and force feedback

The gloves also incorporate accurate

were not sufficient for their needs.

hand tracking through a proprietary

To achieve success with their

magnetic system that captures 30

HaptX Gloves DK2 are the first

virtual reality training and design

deg of freedom per hand with sub-

gloves with true-contact haptics

applications, they needed to

mm precision.

available for purchase, according to

convince the hands as well as the

their developer, making them ideal

eyes and ears, so we endeavoured to

Further refinements made HaptX

for a range of enterprise use cases,

make the most realistic haptic glove

Gloves DK2 lighter and smaller than

including training, collaboration and

product on the market.”

earlier models.

HaptX uses proprietary microfluidic

The new gloves also boast a better fit

Joe Michaels, chief revenue officer

technology to replicate the feeling of

and ergonomics, and are capable of

of HaptX, says HaptX Gloves DK2

touching real objects.

room-scale virtual reality support and

to date.

design.

incorporates several features and

multi-user networking.

improvements over previous models,

Each DK2 glove features more

after the company spent two years

than 130 discrete points of tactile

HaptX Gloves DK2 are a haptic

collecting feedback from enterprise

feedback that physically displace the

peripheral that are finally suitable for

customers that were able to lease

user’s skin up to 2 mm.

HaptX’s enterprise customers to own

earlier generations.

in their own right. Together, they are capable of the

Most notably, those enterprise

strongest force feedback currently

Michaels says virtual reality-based

customers wanted more realism from

available, according to HaptX, with

training and design, along with

16

April 2021


TRW T h i s i s a n i m m e r s i v e w o r l d advanced robotics, are the primary

and service the new haptic gloves

use cases for the new gloves.

worldwide.

One of the big lessons for HaptX

Michaels calls the partnership a

during the development of these

“critical and foundational one”

gloves was that virtual reality must be

for HaptX. It was struck in 2019

realistic enough to avoid a negative

and paired the haptic technology

training result.

developer with a company that builds human-machine interface products in

“Realistic touch feedback can mean

the medical, industrial, commercial,

the difference between negative

military and gaming markets.

training—where learners must unlearn their training when they’ve

He says: “Any young hardware

used equipment that wasn’t quite

company faces questions about

accurate—and successful training,”

who is going to manufacture their

Michaels explains.

products, what their experience level

The Reality Wire tracks the latest press releases from across immersive technology. If you have a new product, an important update, vital funding or plans to partner, we want to hear from you.

is, and how confident they can be “Realistic touch feedback like ours

that the end result will be a robust

teaches you the right way the first

and dependable product.”

time. Then you know your job, your hands automatically go to the right

“In Advanced Input Systems, we found

location and behave in the right way.”

a partner capable of supporting us throughout. They supported the final

Michaels also says that military

design stages, manufacturing, and will

customers have expressed an interest

help to sell and service the product.

in the haptic peripherals, particularly

They are very much our right hand.”

for training personnel to carry out maintenance and repairs.

Michaels says that HaptX and Advanced Input Systems are

Design is also an exciting use case

organising the reseller network for

for HaptX Gloves DK2 because better

HaptX Gloves DK2.

haptics that provide more realistic feedback during the prototyping

Interested businesses can learn more

stage will save “a lot of time and

about and request a quote at www.

money”, Michaels says.

haptx.com. Although in-person events and meetings are not possible at

HaptX partnered with Advanced

the moment due to Covid-19, the

Input Systems to scale up production

company will ship devices in certain

of HaptX Gloves DK2, and to sell

circumstances for trials and testing.

Have a story to tell? Submit it now: editor@vrworldtech.com


Hardware / Editor’s Comment

XR feels the need— the need

to succeed!

18

April 2021

Do you want to know more? Visit: www.vrworldtech.com/tag/hardware


Hardware / Editor’s Comment

What virtual, augmented and mixed reality are really for, is everyone By Mark Dugdale

T

here is a concerted

With that established, what is

effort among hardware

immersive technology for? Simply

developers across

put, the answer is in the question.

immersive technologies

These devices enable deeper

to define what it is their

immersion, a stronger connection

devices are for.

with the information and data so arranged before the user’s eyes. They

Whether it’s the rapidly emerging

allow you to interact with, shape and

training use case for virtual reality, or

define with your virtual fingertips

even collaboration and creation, or

what you cannot with a mouse.

remote assistance for augmented and mixed reality, hardware developers

This means that training can be

must still explain to the enterprise

more impactful, collaborations

market what their devices can do,

more productive, communication

because they represent a significant

more efficient. Two colleagues

investment of time, money and

working remotely lose that spark

resources, but also because they are

that underpins in-person meetings.

a fad, an indulgence, for gamers.

Virtual, augmented and mixed reality cannot recreate that, but they can

Here is a quick primer for any new

redefine what it means to digitally

readers: immersive technology is the

connect.

next computing platform. It's the next smartphone and personal computer,

Hardware developers are a

not to mention the next mouse,

primary example of why enterprise

keyboard, set of headphones, and

organisations should sit up and take

much, much more.

notice of immersive technology. The years and resources they have spent

That isn’t overselling it. Immersion is

developing virtual, augmented and

the next logical step in computing, as

mixed reality to the point of serving

sure as 3D has overtaken 2D in the

real needs are a testament to their

visualisation and graphics stakes.

belief in this modality.

w w w. v r w o r l d t e c h . c o m

April 2021

19


Hardware / Editor’s Comment HTC Vive is a tried and trusted

their competitors’ progress in

This is much more palatable to

brand in the virtual reality space that

showing what virtual reality is for, and

enterprise organisations and their

is showing the enterprise market

so are going about their business a

in-house IT departments. It’s also a

exactly what this particular immersive

little differently.

trend that could gather pace when

technology is for—essentially, whatever they need.

Apple finally comes to market with Taiwan-headquartered XRSPACE,

its device, although there is a chance

the startup of former HTC chief

that cloud-based solutions and the

As HTC’s Graham Wheeler explained

executive officer Peter Chou, decided

power of streaming could offer a

to me during a meeting in Vive Sync,

to create its own headset for the

viable alternative base on which to

the need for immersive meetings

specific purpose of accessing and

build these devices. Keep a close eye

necessitated the creation of a virtual

interacting with its new social and

on Magic Leap.

reality remote collaboration tool.

communications platform.

With that came a need for realistic

As hardware developers move

avatars to deepen the immersion,

For XRSPACE, learning, working,

forward with their devices, attention

and so HTC Vive has created the Vive

shopping and more in XRSPACE

must be paid to individual users

Facial Tracker to track a user’s facial

MANOVA World required a headset

and their needs. Enterprise-wide is

expressions and lip movements.

that was portable and powerful, but

a favourite catch-all, but it always

also more immersive and free of as

misses someone.

Those demands of the technology

many distractions as possible. So

do not stop there. Organisations

the startup developed hand tracking

I had the pleasure of exploring this

using Vive Sync may prefer PC

technology and removed the need

topic in an interview with Elizabeth

virtual reality in-house, but what if

for a controller, betting that this was

Hyman, chief executive officer of

they want to meet their customers to

the way virtual reality was going

the XR Association, which is doing

demonstrate their latest prototype in

anyway, while wanting to remove

fantastic work in promoting industry-

all its 3D glory?

one more barrier to that ideal

backed best practices for developing

immersive experience that will take it

accessible platforms that enhance

to the next level.

experiences for all users.

those won’t do the virtual model

Augmented and mixed reality

Immersive technology is in the

justice. So, instead, the organisation

hardware developers face similar

enviable position of being at the

sends out one of HTC Vive’s all-in-

challenges in explaining to enterprise

beginning of its journey.

one headsets specifically for the

organisations just what their

meeting and demo, and HTC Vive

technology is for, but companies such

At this point, developers would

and this technology serve not just

as ThirdEye Gen have a head start

do well to think quickly about

one need, but all of them.

with the remote assistance use case.

the meaning and delivery of their

That’s what expensive, gimmicky

Plus, for now at least, they are

virtual reality is for. Serving your needs.

leaning towards smartphones as the

Sure, the tool can be accessed via web browser or smartphone, but

innovations now so that everyone’s needs can be met.

underlying computing platform, with

Only then can we finally prove that

There are virtual reality hardware

the smart glasses as an extension

what virtual, augmented and mixed

developers that are unhappy with

rather than a replacement.

reality are really for, is everyone.

20

April 2021


Deadline: 01/10/2021

Publication date: 11/10/2021

Entertainment Issue

Immersive movies, games and experiences are becoming big business, online and in the real world. They can be found in homes as headsets become cheaper for consumers, in museums as guests demand more immersion, and at venues as operators seek new ways to attract customers.

Mark Dugdale, Editor editor@vrworldtech.com

Jonathan Savage, Publisher jonsavage@vrworldtech.com


Hardware / HTC Vive

THE FUNDAMENTAL

INTERCONNECTEDNESS

OF VR THINGS

What comes first, the hardware or the software? At HTC Vive, the answer is neither, the customer does

V

ive Sync, where Graham Wheeler, general manager of HTC EMEA, meets VRWorldTech Magazine for an interview on this topic, is a case in point. The solution is best described as a virtual reality remote collaboration

tool and was borne from a very real fatigue with video conferencing solutions such as Zoom that professionals in particular, but even your friends and family, have grown accustomed to and, perhaps in the absence of face-to-face contact, tired of. The solution started out as an internal review tool at HTC Vive, the virtual reality arm of the global tech

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Hardware / HTC Vive

company that is HTC, as a means

And so HTC Vive revealed Vive XR

"Different tools are needed for

of better connecting geographically

Suite, a combination of the virtual

different environments. Vive XR

distributed colleagues.

reality offerings of Immersive VR

Suite is an array of five different

Education, Virbela, VRChat and

apps that allow us to suit the right

But the outbreak of Covid-19

Museum of Other Realities (MOR).

needs of the audience.”

last year demonstrated the

They are known as Vive Sessions,

wider need for alternatives to

Campus, Social and Museum, with

Take the example of a museum

video conferencing to ensure the

Sync making up the fifth solution

exhibition. Its curator would want

continuation of an activity rendered

(see examples on p28 and p29).

persistence and virtual versions of

too difficult by social distancing. As

artwork to be present, a task that

it happened, several other activities

Wheeler says: “We don’t think

the MOR-powered Vive Museum

needed solutions, too.

that one size fits all for software."

would be best placed to achieve.

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23


Hardware / HTC Vive Wheeler continues: “You wouldn’t want to run a museum exhibition in Vive Sync because it’s more about meetings and collaboration. They’re very specific tasks and how they work together.” HTC Vive applies this same approach to the hardware that it develops and Wheeler reveals that development of

Name: Vive Cosmos Price: $699 Type: PC VR What HTC Vive says: The world's first virtual reality system with a suite of versatile modular options. Includes inside-out tracking, a 2880 x 1700 px combined resolution, and a flip-up design.

the two go hand-in-hand. “Vive Sync has evolved significantly from the internal tool that it once was,” Wheeler says, before manifesting a big screen and playing a short trailer for Vive Sync. As he does, the lights dim and the content demands the attention of everyone present. Wheeler says: “This is a good example of how we can show information in Vive Sync, for the purposes of a more engaging experience. The ease with which that content can be introduced, but also the environmental settings and how they affect the experience, are all new and key to making Vive Sync much more engaging.” As Wheeler speaks, the mouth of his avatar mimics the movements of his

Name: Vive Cosmos Elite Price: $549 (or $899 for headset + base stations and controllers) Type: PC VR What HTC Vive says: This model supports SteamVR tracking and is suited to elite game-level experiences.

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April 2021

own lips, thanks to HTC Vive’s recently released Vive Facial Tracker (pictured on p23). Capable of tracking 38 facial movements across the lips, jaw, teeth, tongue, chin, and cheeks, Wheeler’s avatar is doing as good as an approximation of a real face as you are likely to see today. He says: “The Vive Facial Tracker came about because we wanted to make our avatars more


Hardware / HTC Vive lifelike and to do that, we needed to track the lower part of the mouth. In essence, it allows us to be more human in the interaction.” This quest for realism also connects Vive Sync with smartphones (and of course, the solution can be accessed on mobile devices and computers, for anyone who doesn’t have access to a compatible virtual reality headset). A companion app downloaded via Apple’s App Store or Google Play allows you to scan your face, tweak your realistic avatar and upload it to your account before your meeting in Vive Sync. Room access is also optimised for ease, with either a QR code or numerical code granting you entry into a meeting. This relationship between hardware and software, between problem and solution, pushes HTC Vive forward. Although it’s still in beta—Wheeler

Name: Vive Focus Plus Price: $799 (Vive Enterprise BWS is required for commercial use) Type: Mobile VR What HTC Vive says: A commercialgrade system designed for flexibility and portability. Scale your deployment with direct support for leading mobile device management solutions and easy batch configuration. Deploy virtual reality training and remote collaboration that meets business data privacy and IT compliance.

says “thousands” of meetings have been held so far—Vive Sync has

‘product’ is a prototype helicopter

Australia, New Zealand and Taiwan

emerged as a real solution to a

that isn’t exactly compatible with a

joining Greater China and Europe,

real problem. “We’re finding that

real meeting room.

the Middle East, and Africa.

Reviews are much quicker and more

In Vive Sync, models can be

An entire ecosystem

productive. And we have plenty of

shared, reviewed and critiqued,

examples of clients who have been

even drawn on, quickly and

HTC Vive’s approach to software

able to achieve similar results.”

efficiently. “That’s the beauty of

and hardware development, that

meetings are much more engaging.

virtual reality,” Wheeler says, “it

they happen side by side and to

Bell Helicopters, for example, uses

allows us to do much more within it

address unique sets of needs,

Vive Sync for product reviews

and control the environment.”

is summarised succinctly by

and has managed to reduce its

Wheeler’s retelling of the story of

development time from six years to

XR Vive Suite is rolling out in

his arrival at the company more

six months. In its case of course, the

several jurisdictions this year, with

than 10 years ago.

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Hardware / HTC Vive When he joined HTC, the

Wheeler says: “You can see how

How is the enterprise market

company had just released a

you need to build the software tools

approaching its hardware needs?

new smartphone. This model was

to make the hardware elements

Wheeler says it depends on the

equipped with the capability to view

useful. That’s why accessories like

customer and even then, once HTC

images, a technology that HTC had

the Vive Facial Tracker are very

Vive speaks to a single business,

gained through acquisition. This

important."

it’s rarely one need, but many.

its smartphones were just being

"Whether it’s the consumer or the

“Each use case and the hardware

equipped with cameras and until

enterprise market, it’s the specific

for it is always complicated. We

then, the company offered only a

requirement that’s key. And so we

see PC virtual reality as being

file explorer and no meaningful way

focus on the entire ecosystem, right

very much about performance, but

of interacting with this content.

down to the service we provide.”

I spoke to an architectural firm

was necessary at the time because

recently and they want both PC and mobile virtual reality. They need the

Name: Vive Pro Price: $599 (does not include controllers, base stations or Vive wireless adapter) Type: PC VR What HTC Vive says: Built to meet the needs of today’s most demanding users, Vive Pro is an easy-to-deploy PC virtual reality system that scales with your business. From seated environments to expansive, multiuser deployments, Vive Pro delivers high-quality visual fidelity, powerful audio and an immersive experience.

quality of PC virtual reality in their office but also the flexibility and ease of use for demonstrating to clients off-premises, which suits our all-in-one headsets.” The subject of PC virtual reality versus mobile turns the discussion toward HTC Vive’s plans for headsets for a range of customers. Wheeler says: “We look at the verticals when we design the headsets and design the headsets depending on the vertical needs inside that. In architecture, construction, engineering and technology, pixels and polygons count. We need to show every detail that counts and that’s where PC virtual reality can’t be outdone.” “But with the all-in-one category, that’s all about ease of use and accessibility and having that ability to get into something easily. One of the main use cases for headsets

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Hardware / HTC Vive

Penumbra needs to be able to take VR to that person recovering from the injury, so in that case it’s all about ease of use and flexibility Graham Wheeler General manager HTC EMEA such as Vive Focus Plus is training,

use cases for virtual reality, but

when it comes through and moves

particularly en mass.”

their requirements demand a level

forward.”

of quality that only PC virtual Vive Focus Plus is the headset

reality can meet. On the other

This goes back to that solution and

VRWorldTech Magazine is using

hand, global healthcare company

problem approach, and what comes

for the interview and it’s certainly

Penumbra uses mobile virtual

first, the hardware or the software.

more than capable of meeting that

reality to treat patients who are

need (stay tuned for a review on

recovering from stroke and other

The answer is neither, the customer

VRWorldTech.com). Of course,

neurological injuries.

does. And so the enterprise

there are some unique training

market’s interest in and gradual

needs that mobile virtual reality and

“They need to be able to take

investment in immersive technology

all-in-one headsets cannot meet.

virtual reality to that person

is being met by providers that are

recovering from the injury,” Wheeler

practising measured innovation,

Several top Premier League soccer

explains, “so in that case it’s all

mixed with the ambitions of

clubs have training and treatment

about ease of use and flexibility

individual innovators.

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Hardware / HTC Vive Wheeler says: “I see XR glasses, or the all-in-two design, as the next opportunity. That’s very much about portability. You’ll be able to connect a pair of lightweight glasses to your smartphone and access solutions such as Vive Sync (Wheeler and Mark Dugdale converse using the tool on p29). It would be much more limited than virtual reality, but more flexible as a result.” Further defining the use case, Wheeler adds: “As a business traveller, I can be in, say, France and I want to go into a virtual reality meeting. I’ll put on this lightweight pair of glasses and I’ll be there. Even though today’s all-in-one headsets are portable compared to PC virtual reality, they’re not what I’d describe as business portable, in your bag when you travel. That’s where we also see a future there, in that category.” HTC Vive needs to “develop products for each one of those three categories—PC virtual reality, mobile/all-in-one, and XR glasses— to make sure that we support our customer needs.” Wheeler and HTC Vive “see growth in” in XR glasses, but “all three are very interesting, are expanding markets”. HTC Vive will not forget its roots and Wheeler sees a big future for PC virtual reality: “If you just look

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Hardware / HTC Vive

at the growth that PC virtual reality

user who wants to show their

“Certain users really want to be

has enjoyed in the last couple of

friends. Or to turn the conversation

connected directly to the graphics

years and some of the biggest

to the enterprise market, the

card and get absolute precision detail

suppliers, such as AutoDesk,

architectural firm needing the

and that’s where we need to cater to

Unreal, AutoCad, and Dassault

quality of PC virtual reality in-house

them, but then there are also users

Systèmes, have all created

and the flexibility of mobile virtual

that want the flexibility, and then there

solutions for virtual reality because

reality for clients.

is the demand for portability.”

big trend, and that filters down [to

Take an all-in-one headset as an

The days of an all-in-one that’s

the consumer market].”

example. Today’s offerings can be

perfect for everyone may be a long

they know it’s going to be a very

connected to a PC and HTC Vive

way off, but the enterprise market can

Wheeler promises further exciting

even offers a wireless solution (an

rest assured that there are options

announcements above and beyond

obvious alternative is Oculus Air

out there for them, and virtual reality

the Vive Facial Tracker and Vive

Link, the new wireless solution for

is as accessible, affordable and

Tracker 3.0 “soon” (indeed, a

connecting Quest 2 to a PC for a

capable as it’s ever been.

virtual event, announced after this

1.5 PC virtual reality experience) for

interview, is planned for May). He

direct streaming.

As for HTC Vive, Wheeler says:

reiterates the point that there is

“For now, all I can say is expect to

no one-size-fits-all approach for

“But that resulting experience is

see some exciting things from us.

hardware, like software, and that

very different to connecting the

There is an enormous amount of

“there are trade-offs on all sides”,

headset directly into the graphics

innovation coming, because we see

whether it’s an enthusiast/gamer

card, as is the case with proper PC

such a big opportunity for business

demanding high-quality graphics

virtual reality, so there is a trade-off

to make the jump into virtual

from PC virtual reality or a casual

in catering for multiple use cases.”

reality.”

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Hardware / XRSPACE

VR made simple Redefining how people connect, socialise, and collaborate requires not only simplifying the hardware and user experience, but understanding that they need to be, as XRSPACE demonstrates 30

February 2021

The singular goal of XRSPACE,” said founder and former HTC chief executive officer Peter Chou (pictured on p31) last year, “is to take XR to the masses by redefining how people connect, socialise, and collaborate by simplifying the hardware and user experience.”

It’s that bold simplification of headset and platform, going controller-free and open world, that may be how this Taiwanheadquartered startup transforms virtual reality into the next widely used computing modality. And if not the sole instigator of that transformation, at least a very important step on the road toward mass adoption and use of virtual reality, to the point where there is a headset on every desk, a dozen digital meetings for every in-person one, a shopping trip from the comfort of your own home.

Do you want to know more? Visit: www.vrworldtech.com/tag/hardware


Hardware / XRSPACE

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Hardware / XRSPACE

Ready everyone

Kurt Liu, head of the content ecosystem at XRSPACE

It represents something of a reset for virtual reality headsets, in

It’s been widely reported that Chou

that it requires users to use hand

was chairman of one of the visual

motions and gestures to navigate

effects companies involved in the

through and interact with XRSPACE

development of Steven Spielberg’s

MANOVA World.

2018 movie Ready Player One. XRSPACE identified the need for a This is a powerful marketing

dedicated headset early on, as far

message, to be able to compare the

back as 2017, because there was “no

fictional Oasis with his own vision

device on the market that recognised

for XRSPACE MANOVA World, the

hand gestures”, says Nikitas Glykas,

social and communications platform

vice president and head of Europe,

where users will be able to “connect,

the Middle East and Africa.

socialise, and collaborate”. “We saw an opening in the market It’s instantly recognisable

for a device that’s attractive,

and cuts through many of the

portable and fast—but also that you

misunderstandings the mass market

could operate with your hands.”

may have about virtual reality. Being able to use hand motions But it also masks a great deal of

and gestures “one of the very first

work, and some very important

critical decisions we had to make”,

decisions and innovation that

adds Kurt Liu, head of the content

can create a world where, like in

ecosystem at XRSPACE.

the Oasis of Ernest Cline’s 2011

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April 2021

novel on which Spielberg’s movie

“Once we decided our vision was

is based, the virtual has all but

to bring people together and virtual

replaced real life. The XRSPACE

reality to the masses, we had to

MANOVA headset is the shining

look at why immersive technologies

example of this work.

haven’t really taken off.”


Hardware / XRSPACE

even though it was a very difficult technology to develop. But we didn’t want to fall into that niche

Name: XRSPACE MANOVA Price: €499 (consumer) €599 (business, including extended warranty and access to support team) Type: Mobile VR What XRSPACE says: The headset boasts 5G, LTE and WiFi, with powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon 845, packed with 6G RAM and still 20% lighter than most. Includes hand-tracking for controller-free experience and comes in two colours. A controller is included in the box to cater for every user.

trap and alienate potential users.” Hand tracking is a feature that Facebook is working to perfect for Oculus Quest, so XRSPACE had further validation that a controllerfree future for virtual reality was a likely trend. It’s also a module that the startup believes has applications in other areas, including augmented reality. The specs for XRSPACE MANOVA

Immersiveness was one key reason,

that require thousands of tiny

back up Glykas’s view that the

Liu says. For enthusiasts and

interactions every day, removing

headset is “attractive, portable

gamers, precision and accuracy

the immersion barrier that is a

and fast”. It’s also worth adding

are essential in virtual reality, which

controller was crucial. Liu explains:

‘capable’ to that list.

is why XRSPACE has developed a

“If you have to think twice about

single controller for the MANOVA

shaking hands with other people

Available in white and orange, the

headset that comes in the box.

using a controller, you’re aware that

sleek headset is 20% lighter than

you’re in virtual reality and so not

its competitors and is all curves.

For the mass market, from workers

completely immersed.”

attending virtual meetings to

It also packs a punch, powered as

consumers intent on shopping or

“So it was a very easy decision

it is by the Qualcomm Snapdragon

learning, all social experiences

to make, to go controller-free,

845 mobile platform, and is fully

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Hardware / XRSPACE

Nikitas Glykas, vice president and head of EMEA at XRSPACE portable, capable of delivering a

we want to push it even further in

that Glykas puts down to its aim for

virtual reality experience over 5G,

the future.”

mass market appeal.

LTE, or WiFi connections. Beyond its own headset, XRSPACE

“We see socialising as a means of

XRSPACE MANOVA provides 6DoF

is also looking at making its

communication,” he says. “In every

(six degrees of freedom) within

platform accessible via computers

aspect of life, there is a social

the FOV (field of view) and 3DoF

and mobile devices, “because

element, from going to the bank to

(three degrees of freedom) outside,

person-to-person interaction is

shopping.”

making this mobile headset useful

crucial to mass market adoption of

for everything from training to

virtual reality, at its various degrees

Realistic avatars that can

social entertainment experiences.

of immersion”, according to Glykas.

gesticulate naturally enable that

Liu says they caused some surprise

Realism realised

when they announced the headset would be an all-in-one model.

social interaction so important to the communication use case for virtual reality.

An area where XRSPACE has further pushed the envelope

Liu agrees: “Realistic avatars are

But XRSPACE MANOVA had to

is avatars. Those available

the beginning of the revolution. They

be powerful and portable to carry

to users within its social and

were another feature we wanted

that mass market appeal. “This is

communications platform are much

early on, so the mass market could

a mobile computing platform,” Liu

more realistic than those of its

get a taste and understand what the

explains. “It has its uses today, but

potential competitors, an approach

future will look like.”

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April 2021


Hardware / XRSPACE

That future, at least as far as

Taiwan and China Telecom in China,

Glykas says: “We need to be persistent

XRSPACE MANOVA World is

which have set up stores staffed by

and there to provide support, and

concerned, will be a simplified

real customer service assistants.

deliver amazing experiences for trade

open world dominated not by

They are able to host events

shows and education, because those

app stores and content libraries,

outside in their square, before

will be the early adopters of XRSPACE

but private and public spaces

bringing potential customers inside

MANOVA World.”

that blend into one another and

to discuss purchasing content

immerse users as they go about

packages.

To this end, XRSPACE has

their everyday tasks and work.

Space to breathe

partnered with TAITRA, Taiwan's XRSPACE is also keen on enabling

government co-sponsored trade

real estate and property viewings on

promotion organisation, to

its platform, as well as ecommerce.

demonstrate how virtual reality-

In XRSPACE MANOVA World, public

based conferences and exhibitions

and private spaces enable users

3D content and visualisation will be

can enhance or replace existing

to move in and out of different

key for these in the future, and the

large-scale events.

contexts, depending on what it

startup is laying the groundwork by

is they’re there to do. Current

initially targeting trade shows and

The public demonstration of the

utilisations of public spaces include

education, so badly affected by the

TAITRA trade show (pictured on

XRSPACE’s telecoms partners,

pandemic but perfect for an virtual

p37) is remarkable in its realism,

such as Deutsche Telekom in

environment such as XRSPACE

from the dozens of trade booths to

Germany, Chungwa Telecom in

MANOVA World.

the business-attired avatars. It’s

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Hardware / XRSPACE also interesting for its dedication to reality, when so much of virtual reality has been about the wonder and amazement of a virtual world. It speaks to a focus on the mass market, not upending their preconceptions about what these experiences should involve, but redefining them. This aim is also apparent in how XRSPACE MANOVA World will function as a social experience. The structure of spaces means freeto-enter shops can exist alongside private meeting rooms. Each user will have their own private rooms for meetings and social entertainment. Acquaintance can only be formalised via friend request and blocking is in place to deal with harassment. XRSPACE is also committed to privacy and data security, says Glykas. Nothing is recorded inside XRSPACE MANOVA World and little data is collected beyond a name, email address and age. The startup uses local servers so doesn’t store any information, in compliance with national regulations on privacy and data protection. Roll out of XRSPACE MANOVA World and its dedicated headset was hampered by the pandemic, say Glykas and Liu, but with that challenge came the opportunity to show many more potential users, enterprise and consumer, just what

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Hardware / XRSPACE

virtual reality can achieve when

virtual reality has a particular effect

children engaging in the kind of

socialising is at its core.

on emotions that he favours. “It

remote learning that we could only

does more than words can do for

dream of pre-pandemic, will only

you, it’s the feeling.”

whet their appetite for more.

XRSPACE MANOVA World in March.

Wozniak continued: “I love being

A new headset is making much of

This was the first DEF CON event to

live at a sports game or a concert.

this possible, as is a dedicated

be held in virtual reality and featured

In these Covid times, we get these

social and communications

live music as well as talks from a

concerts online and they seem sort

platform that puts socialising front

range of guest speakers, including

of dull, but if I could get a virtual

and centre.

Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak.

reality appearance there, that would

A prime example is the DEF CON China Party, which was held in

be great.”

Delivering on that ambition, to

DEF CON teamed up with Chinese

redefine how people connect,

internet giant Baidu to hold the

It’s that strength of feeling where

socialise, and collaborate,

party, hosted in parallel with a

virtual reality is at its most powerful.

requires not only simplifying the

smaller in-person event in Beijing.

hardware and user experience, For enterprise, placing virtual

but understanding that they need

During his talk, Wozniak gave his

products in the hands of an avatar

to be, and accepting that virtual

view on immersive technologies as

representing a potential customer,

reality must live up to those real

they currently stand, saying that

or an auditorium full of school

needs.

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Right needs, right now The X2 Mixed Reality Glasses from ThirdEye Gen are augmented and mixed reality equivalents of rolling up your sleeves and getting down to business

A

ugmented and mixed reality, by which we mean 3D content that overlays the real world and interacts with it, are becoming useful to organisations of all kinds, shapes and sizes. And this diversity of utility is reflected in the

headsets and smart glasses on offer. The market for augmented and mixed reality-capable headsets and smart glasses is made up of a few highend devices, mainly Magic Leap 1 and HoloLens 2, which offer the most immersive experiences and are more head-mounted display than face-worn glasses. These are aimed at enterprise and serve use cases ranging from training to remote assistance. Then there are consumer-focused smart glasses, such as Snapchat’s Spectacles 3. These aren’t technically powered by immersive technology, but they can be included in the ‘immersive’ category because, at least in the case of Snapchat, the smart glasses serve as an extension of a social media app where augmented reality content is a constant.

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Hardware / ThirdEye Gen In between these two extremes are the augmented and mixed reality equivalents of rolling up your sleeves and getting down to business. Available from the likes of Vuzix Corporation, these smart glasses are dedicated to enterprise, stick to mobile computing platforms with the smartphone the ubiquitous device of today, and promise performance. One startup in this category, ThirdEye Gen, has developed X2 Mixed Reality Glasses, which aim to be ruggedised and portable, in an age when hardware developers are still trying to find that sweet spot that will kickstart widespread enterprise and consumer use.

Augmented reality’s breakthrough use case Collaboration has emerged as a leading use case for enterprise virtual reality alongside training. Cut off as everyone has been by social distancing and lockdowns, what was obvious to current users has become clear to everyone else. Immersion coupled with highquality mobile performance delivers engagement and productivity, regardless of the user’s location. In a similar vein, remote assistance has emerged as a primary use case for augmented and mixed reality. This is where ThirdEye is focusing its smart glasses, particularly in the field of telehealth and connecting

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Hardware / ThirdEye Gen

front-line first responders across

At the outbreak of Covid-19,

they do not feel any discomfort,”

paramedic, police and fire services.

ThirdEye’s X2 MR Glasses were

says Cherukuri.

used by first responders to detect Nick Cherukuri, founder and chief

fevers, a key symptom of the illness,

He continues: “Right now, our

executive officer of ThirdEye,

through an attached thermal sensor

glasses are perfectly suited to

explains: “Healthcare has always

and consult doctors and other

enterprise—they’re ruggedised,

been a priority for us because

medical professionals remotely

they can be used outdoors, and

there’s just so many use cases,

via telehealth through the glasses’

they have a high enough brightness

from vision impairment to surgery

built-in WiFi.

level to be used in infrared sunlight,

and visualisation. But the outbreak

so they’re really suited for first

of Covid-19 last year accelerated

Of course, remote assistance isn’t

responder use.”

the need for remote assistance and

just a use case of healthcare: “For

that’s where telehealth came in.”

every industry that has remote

With 6DoF (six degrees of freedom)

workers, we’re seeing increased

inside-out tracking, a 42 deg FOV

“Smart glasses enable first

demand for augmented reality.”

(field of view), and a resolution of

responders to continue working

Part of the appeal of X2 MR Glasses

1280 x 720 HD, and as well as an

hands-free while connecting with a

is the design and form factor. They

integrated CPU/GPU, 4GB of RAM

doctor remotely. That’s proving very

weigh just 10 oz. “Even when users

and 64GB of storage under the

valuable.”

utilise them for an hour straight,

hood, these are a valuable asset

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Hardware / ThirdEye Gen

that connect front-line worker and remote expert. There is also the added benefit of further customisation if an enterprise customer approaches ThirdEye for something in particular: “We’ve developed glasses that are really suited for the enterprise market, but if customers come to us with a customisation request, then we consider developing an accessory or customising the hardware itself.”

Differentiation game Where ThirdEye is differentiating itself for remote assistance is its

Name: X2 Mixed Reality Glasses Price: Contact ThirdEye for customer prices Type: Mobile AR/MR What ThirdEye says: These are lightweight augmented and mixed reality glasses, fit a wide field of view, contain powerful sensors, and come with the VisionEye SLAM SDK into an exceptionally minimalistic form factor.

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Hardware / ThirdEye Gen

Nick Cherukuri Founder and chief executive officer of ThirdEye Gen software platform. RespondEye, its

operators can maintain their

dedicated, custom telepresence

situational awareness while at

solution for emergency services

work, instead of looking down at

and first responders offered

the smartphone they’d usually

through MR Workspace, ensures

use.The custom-developed

these users have the tools they

software gives operators a live

need to use X2 MR Glasses to their

drone feed, which can also be

fullest potential. “We try to be as

overlaid with augmented reality

use case- and deployment-friendly

content that provides greater

as possible,” Cherukuri says.

context to target user groups, including, again, emergency

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April 2021

Another area where ThirdEye has

services dealing with situations

developed software, after spotting

where drone use is necessary.

a gap in the market, is drones.

Forest fires are a good example.

DroneEye allows users to control

Cherukuri says: “The drone use

aerial drones via X2 MR Glasses.

case is very recent. We saw

Much in the same way as they

augmented reality as a perfect

enable first responders to keep

platform for interacting with drones

their hands free while in the field,

because the user maintains their

the smart glasses mean drone

situational awareness—they can


Hardware / ThirdEye Gen

That’s the beauty of Android-based smart glasses. It’s very easy to make an app that’s compatible with almost any drone company in the world

phone app, it is easily portable onto the glasses.

Smaller, but mightier ThirdEye is currently working on the next generation of smart glasses and Cherukuri promises to reveal more details soon. He did say that the company is planning to make them smaller and improve specs such as the FOV.

see what’s going on around them

software platform to niche use

There are also plans to add more

and the drone’s feed inside the

cases such as drone operation.

augmented reality features to

glasses.”

DroneEye and make the smart Cherukuri says: “That’s the beauty

glasses viable for deployment in

“We can even integrate augmented

of Android-based smart glasses.

new industries and sectors. This is

reality into the drone’s feed and

It’s very easy to make an app that’s

a small, niche market, according to

develop recognition of objects and

compatible with almost any drone

Cherukuri, but well worth exploring.

points of interest, such as roads.

company in the world.”

With that integration, the drone can

The plan, he adds, is very much

recognise what it’s looking at and

ThirdEye is currently working with

to continue addressing the right

relay that information.”

Chinese technology company

needs, the most immediate,

and large drone manufacturer

right now. Augmented and mixed

This has potential applications

DJI but is also able to talk to

reality are powerful immersive

in other industries and sectors,

smaller companies that make more

technologies that can and do serve

including the military, where the

specialised drones and connect

important use cases, particularly

ThirdEye team has many years of

them to its glasses.

following a global pandemic.

As an android-based device,

He says: “We’re going to see where

ThirdEye has the flexibility to work

the users go and develop for them.

Running on Android 9.0 has been

with almost any drone company

I think right now we’re addressing

key to ThirdEye expanding its

worldwide. If they have an Android

needs that are in the market.”

experience, as well as engineering, real estate and insurance.

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43


Hardware / XR Association

V

RWorldTech Magazine

institutions have moved by necessity

recently had the

toward greater digitisation. People

opportunity to interview

are looking for better digital ways

Elizabeth Hyman,

to connect, collaborate, learn,

chief executive officer

and produce great results—and

of the XR Association (XRA), the

immersive technology is one of the

group representing headset and

most compelling platforms to do all

technology manufacturers across

of that.

the broad XR industry. The interview was conducted via email and edited

Is 2021 ‘the’ crucial year? Maybe,

for style and clarity.

maybe not—but XR is working its way to becoming the computing

VRWTM: Thank you for speaking

platform of the future, and that

to us. What are your thoughts on

future is approaching quickly.

immersive technology as it stands today—is this a crucial year?

When you look at it that way, it is no accident that a country such as

Elizabeth Hyman: I remain

Montenegro is investing millions

very optimistic about immersive

of dollars into an XR innovation

technology. We continue to see

centre to support its post-

positive indicators of adoption and

pandemic economic recovery; that

uptake—things like more compelling

hardware companies are making

content, more sophisticated sales

commitments to augmented/virtual

approaches such as subscription

reality research, development,

services, and better hardware. These

and production; that industry

trends have been supercharged

sectors are investing in immersive

by the pandemic as people and

solutions. We conducted a study

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April 2021

Hardware is becoming smaller, more powerful and affordable, but the XR community needs to ensure that accessibility is baked in from the start


Hardware / XR Association last April that found that 80% of

think through the importance of

respondents in manufacturing, 75%

inclusive design from the beginning.

in healthcare, 74% in education, and 70% in public safety predicted

VRWTM: What are your members

that their organisation will increase

doing to make their own devices

spending on XR technology over the

more accessible?

next five years. Elizabeth Hyman: There are some VRWTM: On the topic of

really fantastic developments that

accessibility, what have the

are underway that fully embrace this

members of XRA learned about their

idea of inclusive design.

own products that is informing their work in hardware?

Certainly, building on the important work at the World Wide Web

Elizabeth Hyman: All of our

Consortium (W3C) on XR and closed

members came together to draft

captioning, there is a great research

the third chapter of our Developers

project that Google has underway

Guide, which we released in

called ‘Wearable Subtitles’ that is

October 2020 and is exclusively

a lightweight 3D-printed proof-of-

focused on accessibility.

concept set of glasses where you can see captions in real life. The

These are industry-backed best

intent is to have a head-worn display

practices for developing accessible

(HWD) that explores augmenting

platforms that enhance experiences

communication through sound

for all users, not just those with

transcription for a full workday.

disabilities. The hardware is becoming smaller, more powerful,

Thinking about the recent

and more affordable, but we need to

announcement of Microsoft Mesh,

ensure that accessibility is baked in

which is a platform for building

from the start.

collaborative, mixed reality applications, it could up the ante for

We know that through the

object recognition and spatial audio

development of software and

and other tools critical to inclusive

technology platforms there is so

design.

much that can be done to address sight, auditory, speech, mobility

This in turn could elevate research

and cognitive disabilities right now.

projects such as Project Tokyo,

Our hope is that the document can

which uses a modified version of

augment the work our members are

the Hololens and AI to help people

already doing in this space and help

with limited or no vision better

new developers in the community

understand their surroundings.

The XR Association (XRA) promotes the dynamic growth of the XR industry, which includes virtual reality, augmented reality, mixed reality, and future immersive technology. XRA leads the way for the responsible development and adoption of XR by convening stakeholders, developing best practices and research, and advocating on behalf of our members and the greater XR industry. Association members represent the headset and technology manufacturers across the broad XR industry, including Google, HTC Vive, Microsoft, Oculus from Facebook, and Sony Interactive Entertainment.

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April 2021

45


Hardware / XR Association Facebook Reality Labs (FRL) is working on an electromyography device worn at the wrist that can detect neural signals intended for the hands or wrists. While discussed in the context of its effort to develop smart glasses with simple human interaction, for someone who is not able to use their hands, this device could provide mobility and dexterity in a virtual environment. HTC Vive just introduced the next evolution of the Vive Tracking ecosystem with the launch of the new Facial Tracker and new VIVE Tracker 3.0. Facial Tracker In October 2020, the XR Association (XRA)

is really important for continuing to make

released an update to its Developers Guide, a

virtual reality more accessible—people

starter guide for developers designing reality-

want to be able to express themselves

expanding experiences. This standalone

more clearly and connect with others.

update, Accessibility & Inclusive Design in Immersive Experiences, offers a set of

And the new Tracker 3.0 is great for

industry-backed best practices for developing

everything from motion capture and film/

accessible platforms that enhance experiences

TV production, through to industrial

for all users, not just those with disabilities.

processes and training, all the way to rehabilitation and sports training

First published in 2018, the XRA Developers Guide outlines design principles meant

While it may take some time to get these

to guide the responsible development of

from research and prototype to actual

immersive experiences. This third chapter

market applications, it is a strong sign that

builds on prior guidance focused on physical

industry is working to ensure accessibility

and psychological user comfort and safety

of XR.

in XR to help ensure users of all abilities can avail themselves of the many benefits and

VRWTM: Where and how do hardware

opportunities the technology offers.

manufacturers want software developers to focus their efforts and boost

XRA’s member companies and a coalition

accessibility, particularly as XR enters the

of accessibility advocates, including the XR

workplace?

Access Initiative, came together to share critical feedback that was instrumental to the

Elizabeth Hyman: Great question. I

creation of this chapter.

mentioned before that our survey indicates that many sectors of our economy intend to invest in XR in the coming five years.

46

April 2021


Hardware / XR Association

There is a solid return on investment to adopt these best practices on accessibility Elizabeth Hyman, chief executive officer of the XR Association

As we look out at how XR can play

Department of Labor’s Partnership

the case to them that there is a

in the workplace, there are at least

on Employment & Accessible

solid return on investment to adopt

three scenarios that come to mind:

Technology, and the XR Access

these best practices.

Virtual reality-based simulations

initiative) to ensure that these

to train the staff about job

work experiences in XR are ‘born

HTC has done great work in

requirements, customer

accessible’.

this area as well, creating SDKs

relations, landscape or safety; •

(software development kits) to be

Mixed reality ‘on the floor’

VRWTM: How receptive are

launched alongside its projects

instructions for manufacturing,

software developers to your best

that speed development time

repair, and service, to allow a

practices? Is there any reluctance

and usability for alternate input

worker to be more productive

there that XRA and its members are

functions. They are currently

as they see, learn, and do all at

working to overcome?

focused on updating and releasing

once; and

software to support eye tracking,

Remote assistance enabled by

Elizabeth Hyman: No, just the

hand tracking, gesture tracking, and

co-presence, communication,

opposite, we have seen solid

facial tracking in easy-to-implement

and collaboration.

support for these best practices.

SDKs alongside integrations with

We wrote the chapter on

OpenXR, Unity, and Unreal. They

All of the best practices that are in

accessibility for our Developers

intend for these to continue to

our Developers Guide are certainly

Guide because we want the

grow and increase in robustness

relevant to the gaming world, but

community to have easy access to

to further make devices more

they are equally relevant to each

those best practices.

accessible to different types of

of these scenarios. As software

users and for different use cases.

developers create tools to address

It is incumbent on us and all

the XR work scenarios, I hope they

those who care deeply about

Just look at developments like

will draw on our guide and other

the accessibility of XR to keep

The Last of Us Part II, a game

resources (such as the Facebook

a constant dialogue with the

developed by Naughty Dog and

Virtual Reality Checks, the US

development community and make

published by Sony Interactive

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April 2021

47


Hardware / XR Association Entertainment—and widely hailed as one of the most accessible games with more than 60 accessibility settings—and it helps to make the case that accessibility is not just a ‘nice to have’, but a necessary feature that enhances the value and reputation of the product. The PWD (persons with disabilities) community is a powerful consumer market in and of itself. But as you know, this is about inclusive design and understanding that the features that we design perhaps with disabled communities in mind, actually benefit us all. For example, we recommend in our best practices guide that developers build in undo/redo functions to XR experiences. This helps people with cognitive disabilities, but it also helps someone like me when I have been distracted and did not choose the option I intended. This is not about building to the average user. It is about building inclusively for all. VRWTM: What is XRA’s next area of focus for developing best practices? Do you have a roadmap in mind as the ecosystem evolves and immersive technologies mature? Elizabeth Hyman: We have always said that the Developers Guide is a living and breathing document and that we will look to add to it or update it as we see the need. At the moment, we are talking with membership and the broader community to ensure knowledge and adoption of the work already done and we will assess in the coming months what further direction we should take. The publishing of our Developers Guide does not happen in a vacuum with respect to the work of XRA. We are committed to responsible development of the technology

Useful links Montenegro is investing millions of dollars into an XR innovation centre to support its post-pandemic economic recovery: www.seenews.com/news/montenegroto-invest-255-mln-euro-in-vr-innovationcentre-707512 XRA’s A New Reality in Immersive Technology (XR): Insights and Industry Trends: www.xra.org/research/a-new-realityin-immersive-technology-xr-insights-andindustry-trends XRA Developers Guide: www.xra.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/ XRA_Developers-Guide_Chapter-3_Web_ v3.pdf Google’s Wearable Subtitles: www.dl.acm.org/ doi/10.1145/3379337.3415817 Microsoft’s project Tokyo: www.microsoft.com/en-us/research/project/ project-tokyo/?lang=fr_ca Facebook Reality Labs’s wrist-based interaction for the next computing platform: www.tech.fb.com/inside-facebook-realitylabs-wrist-based-interaction-for-the-nextcomputing-platform Facebook Virtual Reality Checks: www.developer.oculus.com/blog/ introducing-the-accessibilityvrcs/?fbclid=IwAR1EwrRG-2WFZ2M54SmFu YzzQKPadMFSmdsStbnL61rLwTMRt9-ve587O8

understanding in the technology.

Department of Labor’s Partnership on Employment & Accessible Technology: www.peatworks.org/futureofwork/xr

For example, we recently launched a year-long project with

XR Access: www.xraccess.org

and fostering a policy environment that builds trust and

the Bipartisan Policy Center that will examine the impacts of the technology and how we balance the positive applications of immersive technologies in a way that is consistent with societal values and standards.

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April 2021

XRA and Bipartisan Policy Center project: www.xra.org/bpc-xra-future-of-xr-project


Deadline: 06/08/2021 Publication date: 16/08/2021

Software Issue

Computer-generated content creation solutions abound, offering enterprises plenty of ways of building engaging and thoughtful immersive content for whatever the purpose. But should they use third-party developers or build their own content and software in-house? And what tools should developers and studios use to serve the enterprise market and why? Mark Dugdale, Editor editor@vrworldtech.com

Jonathan Savage, Publisher jonsavage@vrworldtech.com


Emerging / NuEyes Mark Greget, chief executive officer and founder of NuEyes

Meet:

NuEyes and Pro 3

L

NuEyes is well known for its excellent work on technology to address low vision. But now, it’s expanding to serve a range of enterprise and consumer use cases, too

ate last year, NuEyes, a

makes NuEyes very much a developer

specialist in low-vision

of augmented reality technology that’s

technology based in

worth getting to know.

California, USA, announced the release of a range of

VRWorldTech Magazine spoke to Mark

new augmented reality smart glasses

Greget, chief executive officer and

capable of serving multiple industries

founder of NuEyes, about the Pro 3

and sectors.

range and this latest expansion.

This was an expansion into enterprise

The interview was conducted via email

and gaming for NuEyes, whose

and edited for style and clarity.

mission until then had been dedicated to assisting those with eye conditions

VRWTM: It’s exciting to see your

such as macular degeneration,

expansion into enterprise and gaming

glaucoma and retinitis pigmentosa.

with the Pro 3 range—why have you made this move now?

Carrying out this mission is still a

50

April 2021

priority for the company, but its new

Mark Greget: Over the years of

Pro 3 range of smart glasses, which

selling thousands of augmented and

includes three versions for enterprise

virtual reality glasses, we have had

use cases and a fourth for gaming,

very well-known Fortune 100 and

Do you want to know more? Visit: www.vrworldtech.com/long-reads/meet


Emerging / NuEyes

500 companies, as well as government entities, reach out and ask for glasses for different use cases outside of the assistive technology space. As Pro 3 had emerged from an idea we had about tethering a pair of smart glasses to a mobile device, I knew that I had to find the right team to execute on the expansion. Our strategic hires last year and more to come this year, as well as adding new advisers to the team, were critical to the success of Pro 3 and Pro 3e. We are positioned extremely well to do big things in the augmented reality smart glasses space in 2021 and beyond. VRWTM: How well equipped is the Pro 3 range? What’s under the hood? Mark Greget: We feel Pro 3 and Pro 3e will be the next iteration of progress in smart glasses technology. Being in the augmented reality smart glasses space since 2013 and launching NuEyes in 2016, we have seen a lot of dos and don’ts emerging in the industry. Given where we are with current technology and supply chains to support it, we felt that having a crisp 52 deg FOV

Name: VPro 3 and Pro 3e Price: $1,799 to $1,999 (Pro 3, three versions) and $699 for Pro 3e Type: Mobile AR What NuEyes says: Wearable technology is the future and NuEyes brings the future to you in a small compact, yet powerful head-worn device. This lightweight pair of glasses with a 4K display and 52 deg FOV—available in three versions— addresses low vision and medical needs, but also meets enterprise demand for augmented reality smart glasses that can facilitate training and learning, guided workflows, remote assistance, knowledge transfer, visualisation, and maintenance, repair and operations. Pro 3e is aimed at light enterprise use cases and entertainment/gaming.

(field of view), 4K birdbath display at 2,500 nits (that does not heat up on your

But most of all, having a pair of

face) was a great place to start.

augmented reality smart glasses that were truly plug and play was critical to

Weight, comfort, and ergonomics were

our vision. With Pro 3 and Pro 3e, you

huge factors as well, so having Pro 3

can literally plug in the USB-C cable to

come in at 88 g and Pro 3e at 68 g was

your device and the glasses immediately

also important.

power up and work.

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April 2021

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VRWTM: What are your key use

Mark Greget: We feel that the

VRWTM: What are your plans for

cases for this device?

unique selling points of Pro 3 and

the rest of 2021?

Pro 3e are the ergonomics of the Mark Greget: Of course, my main

device, weight, clarity of the display,

Mark Greget: The team has been

passion is low vision and medical,

FOV, and overall ‘glasses’ look.

working extremely hard and has

but as we expand past those,

set up major pilot studies with

enterprise and gaming use cases

Other than the hardware and lower

30+ Fortune 100/500 companies

and applications include step-by-

cost to the consumer (monthly

that are looking to roll out major

step instructions, maintenance,

payment options are available for

deployments this year. They have

repair, remote assistance/

Pro 3 and Pro 3e is priced at $699),

also been standing up Pro 3e for

telemedicine, AEC (architecture,

one of our biggest competitive

gaming and entertainment. We

engineering and construction),

advantages is our partnerships.

feel that 2021 and beyond will be

manufacturing, data visualisation,

where augmented reality smart

automotive, thermal visualisation,

Being surrounded by great

glasses take off and we will see

logistics, education, and

partnerships such as Unity, Samsung

the adoption that we have all been

entertainment and gaming.

(pictured, above), Comcast,

talking about.

and a few others that we will be VRWTM: What are the unique

announcing soon, is what separates

selling points of Pro 3 that give it the

NuEyes from other companies that

edge over the competition?

just offer a glasses-only solution.

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April 2021


Deadline: 0 4 / 0 6 / 2 0 2 1

Publication date: 1 4 / 0 6 / 2 0 2 1

Architecture, Engineering And Construction Issue Designers are at the forefront of virtual reality, creating and refining ever impressive products, machines and buildings, without having to leave their studio and on much grander scales, while augmented reality is being utilised to redefine traditional spaces and bring 3D models alive, in the real world.

Mark Dugdale, Editor editor@vrworldtech.com

Jonathan Savage, Publisher jonsavage@vrworldtech.com


VRWorldTech is a must-read resource if you want to stay up-to-date on progress within immersive technology for enterprise. Our content sits between the technology’s creators and developers and the business leaders who can benefit from its use and application. We cover the stories that make immersive technology a reality.

w w w . v r w o r l d t e c h . c o m

Profile for VRWorldTech Magazine

VRWorldTech Magazine: Issue 7  

This issue of VRWorldTech Magazine, the only publication dedicated to virtual reality, augmented reality, mixed reality and other immersive...

VRWorldTech Magazine: Issue 7  

This issue of VRWorldTech Magazine, the only publication dedicated to virtual reality, augmented reality, mixed reality and other immersive...

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