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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

The pursuit of progress

Retail / Burberry The inspiration phase is crucial for luxury consumers Entertainment / Panasonic Canada Innovation is required to manage the challenges of Covid-19 Healthcare / GIGXR Immersive learning is as compelling as it is necessary

Can automotive stay in the driving seat? T H E

B U S I N E S S

O F

M A N U F A C T U R E D

R E A L I T I E S


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

THE BUSINESS OF MANUFACTURED REALITIES Dedicated to the business of virtual reality, augmented reality, mixed reality, audio sensory experiences and other upcoming innovations within immersive technology, VRWorldTech keeps business leaders and professionals updated with daily news and regular features from across the globe. To subscribe to the weekly VRWorldTech newsletter, follow this link: http://eepurl.com/dunw2v Jonathan Savage, Publisher jonsavage@vrworldtech.com

Mark Dugdale, Editor editor@vrworldtech.com


VRWorldTech Magazine

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

Published by: Premeditated Media Group Ltd 71-75 Shelton Street Covent Garden London WC2H 9JQ

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

Editor

Mark Dugdale editor@vrworldtech.com

Publisher

Jonathan Savage jonsavage@vrworldtech.com

Editorial board

Jan Pflueger, advisXR

The pursuit of progress

Retail / Burberry The inspiration phase is crucial for luxury consumers Entertainment / Panasonic Canada Innovation is required to manage the challenges of Covid-19 Healthcare / GIGXR Immersive learning is as compelling as it is necessary

Can automotive stay in the driving seat? T H E

B U S I N E S S

O F

M A N U F A C T U R E D

R E A L I T I E S

Sophia Moshasha, Brightline Interactive

FOLLOW US: Twitter:

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Š 2020 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.

vr worldtech.com

August 2020

3


EDITOR’S NOTE

EVERYTHING’S

going to be ALRIGHT

A

At least, if we make some changes t 33 years of age,

most people embrace the need

Everything isn’t going to be alright.

I’m young enough

to lock down, even if it left them

to still believe that

utterly alone. The sacrifices of key

everything’s going

workers, who risked their lives. I

to be alright, yet

thought everything was going to be

Band together, instead of standing

old enough to know that won’t be

alright, despite the horror of March

apart; those with too much giving

true for everyone.

through June.

to those with too little. I could go

Not unless we do it differently.

on. Now is the time for serious When I graduated from university in

But my experience of the financial

2008, Lehman Brothers had yet to

crisis and what followed tells me

file for bankruptcy. ‘Credit crunch’,

that it might not. I can’t help but

I make this plea because

a term that rapidly gained traction

hear the same arguments being

technology such as VR and AR will

in the UK as wages stopped

had, the parties being blamed, the

play a crucial role. The pandemic

increasing even as monthly

complete reluctance to learn from

has taught us that a person with a

mortgage payments did, wasn’t

our own very recent history.

family doesn’t need to spend their

common linguistic currency. Times

societal change, before it’s too late.

entire lives in an office, shackled to

felt like they were about to get

At 21, I was too young to understand.

their desktop computer and unable

tougher, but it was alright; I was

At 33, I’m too old to hold that same

to share a meal with their family.

21, with the world at my feet. What

wide-eyed, everything’s-going-to-be-

could possibly go wrong?

alright belief. And do you know what?

They can and must be able to work

It isn’t.

remotely, a practice made all the more

Indeed. The Covid-19 pandemic

simple by immersive technology. Young

is much worse than the economic

Jobs are being lost, people are

people don’t need to miss out on an

turmoil that followed the financial

falling even deeper into poverty.

education because schools, colleges

crisis, yet I’m still hopeful that the

Protesters are marching. Leaders

and universities are closed, as they

worst effects will be limited for

are lying. These aren’t human

are now. Smartphones are capable

those of us lucky enough to still

reactions to an impossible crisis.

of hosting immersive content and

be here. It was heartening to see

This is as it’s always been.

bringing instructor-led lessons >>

4

August 2020

vr worldtech.com


EDITOR’S NOTE to them, rather than the other way

and layout to make the digital

2020!) will be out toward the

around. The possibilities for immersive

publication a little easier to read

beginning of November. It will focus

technology are endless. But only if we

on desktop and mobile devices,

on immersive technology in military

as a society band together, instead of

while the industry focus is no longer

and defence, with training and

standing apart.

one (long!) feature but several

simulation, the immersive battlefield

shorter ones, with an introduction

and more under the spotlight. As

Where we focus this issue, the

from myself and commentary

ever, if you’d like to get involved,

automotive industry, immersive

from our editorial board. This

don’t hesitate to get in touch.

technology, particularly VR and

change has been effected to allow

MR, has proved vitally important to

readers to dip in and out of this

Once again, that’s all from me. As

designing, testing and selling cars.

comprehensive summary more

I’m working from home, I’ve been

From sidestepping 2D during the

easily. Do let me know what you

able to get more out of my Oculus

design process, to testing virtual

think via editor@vrworldtech.com.

Quest in recent months and it has

creations in real, moving cars,

quickly become an essential tool to

immersive technology developers

There’s also no dedicated news

an immersive technology journalist.

are doing some amazing work and

section. Instead, we’ve gone

Through this truly amazing piece

we’re proud to be able to showcase

for in-depth profiles, although

of technology, I’ve walked with

the best of it here. Immersive

The Reality Wire and its focus

dinosaurs, been to the moon,

technology is also proving pivotal

on stories you may have missed

designed a building and performed

in getting learners back into

remains a fixture. These changes,

surgery, all without leaving

education, albeit one that is vastly

I’m pleased to say, herald the

home. That’s the potential of this

different to the one they’re used to.

launch of a print version of

technology, right there.

And the story continues in retail,

VRWorldTech Magazine. Issue four

with one high-end luxury fashion

is available on a print-to-order

house exploring how merging the

basis, meaning you don’t need to

digital and physical can create new

subscribe to receive your copy.

interactions with new and current customers.

You’ll only need to follow the link that we’ll provide via social media

We’re pleased, too, to have Stefan

and order as many as you wish. If

Mark has been a business-to-business

Berens, head of the media and

the print version proves popular,

journalist for a decade. He has edited and

entertainment business division

we’ll explore subscription options

written for websites within financial services

at Panasonic Canada, discussing

and order a large run for the next

and law, primarily intellectual property,

how businesses and landmarks

edition. So, a luxury, coffee table

for which he also has a keen interest. He

are responding innovatively to

proposition for now, and we’ll

graduated from the University of Leeds with

Covid-19 by embracing immersive

see whether there is demand for

a BA in creative writing. He is an avid reader,

experiences to draw in crowds.

a regular print edition of the only

particularly of science fiction and fantasy.

publication dedicated to enterprise Finally, regular readers will notice

applications for immersive

some subtle differences in this

technology.

issue. We’ve sharpened the design

Our next issue (the final one of

Mark Dugdale Editor VRWorldTech

vr worldtech.com

August 2020

5


CONTENTS

In this issue 10

Ă˜rsted tackles climate change with trip to space, the Bank of Japan replaces public tours with virtual ones, updates to Engage and Vive Sync bring the platforms to non-VR devices, and military and defence industry invests in immersive technology

22 Retail / Burberry

14 Healthcare / GIGXR

18

Immersive learning was always compelling. Now

Entertainment / Pansonic Canada

it’s a necessity

Innovation is required to manage the challenges of Covid-19

6

August 2020

vr worldtech.com

The inspiration phase of the decision to purchase is becoming increasingly important for luxury consumers


CONTENTS

26 Automotive Mark Dugdale The better the technology, the more likely enterprise is to

36

understand that it’s up to them

Automotive Varjo and Volvo

to shape its future

No-one knows VR quite like

adopt it. But businesses must

the automotive industry, and in Volvo, Varjo found the perfect

28

partner with which to develop

Automotive Jan Pflueger

the cutting edge XR-1

There will be no benefit from the opportunities that combination as long as the

Automotive VRgineers

industry continues to strive for

XTAL, a headset that is ‘built

the status quo

to simulate’, was inspired by a

current technologies offer in

need to do VR better and forged

32

in the automotive industry

Automotive Sophia Moshasha Innovation in immersive

50

rapid pace with the automotive

Automotive flyingshapes°

industry’s drive for better

Design no longer begins with

hardware and software

sketches on a page

technology has had to keep a

46

42

54

Austria-based VARS creates, designs and

Automotive / NXRT

develops XR content

The industry demands realistic

and experiences for a

simulations above almost

range of user groups

anything else

and industries, all with innovation at their heart

vr worldtech.com

August 2020

7


Š [sÊbastien decoret] /Adobe Stock

VRWorldTech is a must-read resource if you want to stay up-to-date on progress within immersive technology. 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.


THE

REALITY WIRE ‘Cloud in a box’ technology from Polystream wins ‘triplefigure’ contract for military training

T

he Defence and Security Accelerator innovation scheme in the UK awarded a “trip-figure contract”

to Intel-backed deep-tech startup

Update to Engage brings platform to Android devices

streaming technology and can be

T

dropped into any terrain to deliver

and collaboration platform Engage, recently rolled out an update

virtual 3D interactive training to 30

that will allow users to access the platform via an Android app.

Polystream to develop a prototype ‘plug and play’ synthetic training technology. The “highly portable” system contains Polystream’s command

he outbreak of Covid-19 has thrust immersive technology into the forefront of many industries suddenly in need of a solution covering a number of use cases. None more so than education and remote learning.

Ireland-based Immersive VR Education, maker of learning, meeting

army soldiers, over legacy hardware. This version of Engage is focused on attending meetings, events Polystream will deliver high-fidelity

and collaborative work sessions.

scenario-based training applications via a partnership with software

A new content creator tool will also empower users to create more

company Bohemia Interactive

comprehensive VR experiences, lessons and events. Both are in

Simulations (BISim).

beta but are absolutely worth checking out.

10

August 2020

vr worldtech.com

Do you want to know more? Visit: /The-Reality-Wire


TRW

Ørsted aims to convince audiences that Earth is our most important frontier with a 360° video experience

G

(Denmark), and Reinhold Ewald

Filip Engel, vice president of

(Germany) to develop the Space

sustainability, public affairs and

Safari project, which combines

branding at Ørsted, commented:

360° video with NASA footage

“By combining new VR technology,

and narrations by the team of

NASA footage, and narrations by

experienced astronauts.

experienced astronauts, Space Safari takes a different approach to

Launched in September 2019,

communicating the need for radical

the initiative is intended to speed

climate action.”

reen energy company

up climate action by changing

Ørsted has sent

perceptions about the planet and

This is a novel use of an immersive

more than six million

the people who inhabit it.

technology, built on the reports of

people to space

astronauts who feel a greater sense

through an award

“Ørsted’s Space Safari is built on the

of responsibility for planet Earth

winning immersive space mission

idea of democratising the overview

when they experience it from space.

designed to change their perceptions

effect by helping everyone to see

of Earth and humanity.

planet Earth from this unique vantage

Recreating this experience through

point,” explained Niels Rahr, global

360° video gives audiences the

This achievement speaks to the

lead creative strategist for corporate

opportunity to develop their own

power of immersive technology.

branding at Ørsted. “It’s our hope

sense of responsibility toward the

that more people will show love for

planet, and demonstrates the power

Ørsted teamed up with astronauts

our home and speed up green action

of immersive technology in delivering

Helen Sharman (UK), Mike

globally and thereby maintain a

more effective marketing and raising

Massimino (US), Andreas Mogensen

habitable planet.”

awareness.

This is an immersive world

We Want To See How You’re Making It So. Email Editor@Vrworldtech.com To Find Out How To Feature In The Next Edition Of The Reality Wire.

vr worldtech.com

August 2020

11


TRW Vive Sync’s first major update includes non-VR participation

F

resh off the reveal of Vive XR Suite, HTC Vive released the first major update to Sync, the collaboration and meeting tool that has so far been used to hold more than 1,400

meetings since the open beta launched at the end of April. In response to user feedback, HTC Vive added non-VR PC participation for Vive Sync.

Bank of Japan replaces public tours with virtual ones

T

With this new feature, meeting members are now able to attend and participate in sessions without a VR device. Non-VR participants can

he Bank of Japan, forced to close its

communicate via voice, take screenshots, and

headquarters after the outbreak of

record all from their PC. A display board will

Covid-19 earliere this year, developed

be added to meeting rooms to show the names

a free immersive experience to

of non-VR participants in the session to keep

recreate the popular public tour that

everyone aware of all attendees.

it once offered. Other updates include casual outfits for Its headquarters are located in a protected

avatars, a network speed check and reduced

building of cultural heritage that reportedly

loading times, and desktop login so users

attracts more than 15,000 visitors, many of

do not need to memorise meeting IDs and

them from overseas, each year.

passwords when entering a meeting through their headsets.

The 360° immersive experience is broken down into three parts and can be viewed on

HTC Vive also introduced left-hand support

VR, mobile or desktop devices.

for all meeting tools, improved voice-to-text performance on PC and avatar rotation when

12

Hurry and check this experience out on the Bank

using joystick controllers, and automatic

of Japan’s website, because it’s only available

identification of new meeting participants for

until the end of 2020.

10 seconds after entry.

August 2020

vr worldtech.com


TRW

Lockheed Martin invests in Red 6

M

ilitary applications

warfighters deserve. Working

Red 6 has been working with the

for immersive

with aerospace leaders such as

US Air Force for the past two years

technology continue

Lockheed Martin, who understand

through AFWERX, a programme with

to become apparent

the value of our technology and how

the goal of fostering a culture of

and Lockheed Martin

to integrate it into current and future

innovation within the service.

is funding some of the latest

platforms, is incredibly important.”

developments.

Its technology has received praise Robinson added: “In that sense,

from the US Air Force and is the

Red 6 received an undisclosed

we view Red 6’s relationship with

first AFWERX-backed company

investment from Lockheed Martin

Lockheed Martin as an important

to be awarded a Small Business

Ventures, the strategic investment

long-term working relationship.”

Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase

arm of Lockheed Martin.

III grant. Commenting on the investment,

The investment will be used to

Chris Moran, executive director

Previous investors in Red 6 include

speed up the development and

and general manager of Lockheed

Moonshots Capital, Starburst

commercialisation of ATARS, its

Martin Ventures, said: “Our

Accelerator and Irongate Capital

Airborne Tactical AR System.

charter is to strategically invest

Partners.

in smaller companies focused on “ATARS allows real pilots in

innovative technologies that can be

The investment by Lockheed

real airplanes to fly and visually

utilised within Lockheed Martin’s

Martin Ventures builds on Red 6’s

manoeuvre against any synthetically

existing businesses. Red 6 fits this

continued momentum following the

generated enemy in real time,

mission.”

recent award of a grant from Epic

which is a new paradigm in training

Games, developer of Unreal Engine

and operations,” explained Daniel

“We are excited to add Red 6

and a key collaborator in the ATARS

Robinson, chief executive officer of

to our investment portfolio and

development process.

Red 6.

look forward to working with their team and gaining access to their

Robinson said: “I couldn’t think

“The Red 6 team is passionate

synthetic training capability that

of a stronger team of players for

about providing the quantity

could be applied to both current and

simulation and training development

and quality of training that our

future platforms.”

than the ones we have now.”

vr worldtech.com

August 2020

13


Healthcare / GIGXR

A Different class Immersive learning was always compelling. Now, it’s a necessity

T

basis”. This could mean reduced class he Covid-19

David King Lassman is chief

sizes—and even socially distanced

pandemic isn’t

executive officer of US-

lessons.

going away anytime

headquartered immersive learning

soon. One area hit

developer GIGXR, the product of

How are medical students, the set

particularly hard is

a divestment from publishing giant

that GIGXR serves with its HoloHuman

education, with schools, colleges

Pearson and a team committed to

and HoloPatient MR apps, supposed

and universities around the world

proving the potential of MR as a

to learn together, led by an instructor,

effectively closed until further

tool for education.

in those circumstances?

“When the pandemic struck, what

Immersive technology is one solution.

notice, with no idea when students will return.

we saw globally was universities no On the outside, it’s a question of

longer in session,” Lassman says.

Lassman: “We wanted to deliver a

when they come back rather than

solution to suit this new paradigm

if, but at educational institutions

When students do return to campus,

of social distancing in the classroom

everywhere, the primary question

those institutions think “it’s probably

and where students are learning from

concerning educators is how.

going to be on a slightly different

home.” >>

14

August 2020

vr worldtech.com

Do you want to know more? Visit: /Healthcare


Healthcare / GIGXR That solution is the GIG Immersive

was already a crucial part of its plans

users and sessions managed centrally,

Learning System, a cloud-based

for the future.

says Lassman. The system is accessible

platform that sits between the

via a computer, removing the friction

client, be it medical or nursing

The platform is designed to enable

associated with HoloLens, particularly

school, university, or hospital, and

instructors to simultaneously

when trying to login via hand

GIGXR’s flagship MR apps, which

and safely communicate with

gestures and pinching.

were originally developed under

students located in the classroom

Pearson but have been enhanced and

or simulation centre, across an

To set up a session, an instructor

improved under Lassman’s leadership.

auditorium, on campus, at home

only needs to schedule one and

or even in other time zones using

invite students to login at the

GIGXR is unusual for a startup

synchronous and asynchronous

appropriate time.

in that, on launch in 2019, the

collaboration.

developer had an established

When they do, and assuming they

team, a set of immersive assets—

Students participate in sessions on

aren’t using a HoloLens device,

acquired from Pearson’s immersive

MR headsets, such as Microsoft

they will scan a QR code with their

learning division, where they were

HoloLens 2, enabling a fully

smartphone or tablet and enter the

developed in partnership with

immersive learning experience, and

session. The 2.5D experience allows

Microsoft for HoloLens—customers,

in a more limited ‘2.5D’ experience

a student to hold up their device and

and a global footprint.

on mobile devices such as

see the content wherever they are.

smartphones and tablets. The pandemic hurried GIGXR to

Lassman says: “That is something that

market with the GIG Immersive

Everything is controlled by the

is going to answer a pressing need

Learning System, but the platform

instructor and institution, with all

right now. It’s hard enough when >>

HoloHuman: Covid-19. Credit: GIGXR


Healthcare / GIGXR you’re teaching patient simulation or anatomy. You want students there, experiencing it together. Unfortunately, they cannot do that at the moment. Tools like ours help to provide a solution.” One of the first educational institutions to use the platform is Australia’s University of Canberra. Dr Jane Frost of the University of Canberra said on the release of the GIG Immersive Learning System: “GIGXR’s new products are timely and will enhance academics’ ability to provide simulation activities that augment content, add realism and depth to clinical case studies, and allow students HoloHuman: Covid-19. Credit: GIGXR

the ability to explore conditions in a safe, non-threatening environment.” The kind of instructor-led, collaborative learning that the GIG Immersive Learning System enables is the driving force behind the new platform from GIGXR. “The most effective learning is instructor-led, in a group,” Lassman says. “That is why we go to school. The model is effective. For us, we had to put that kind of learning at the heart of the platform.” GIGXR’s plans for the platform include adding features, building content and, ultimately, developing an ecosystem for much of the healthcare industry. >>

16

August 2020

vr worldtech.com


Healthcare / GIGXR

The most effective learning is instructor-led, in a group. That is why we go to school. The model is effective. For us, we had to put that kind of learning at the heart of the platform.”

David King Lassman Chief executive officer of GIGXR

HoloPatient and HoloHuman cover

UK’s National Health Service and

of immersive technology and is very

patient diagnosis and anatomy,

Health Education England. The new

familiar with Microsoft’s HoloLens,

respectively, for institutional

app, which is free to use, prepares

following the Army’s significant

healthcare, primarily hospitals and

healthcare workers and students

contract award in 2018.

medical and nursing schools.

to identify and treat Covid-19, using high quality photo-realistic

The startup, which already supports

GIGXR also sees the platform as

holographic video of patients

more than 20 medical and nursing

more than capable of serving the

to guide them through the four

schools across the globe, is fast

needs of the dental, maternity

stages of the illness.

growing and opening up new

and paediatric disciplines, among others.

medical applications for immersive The simulations help healthcare

technology in military and defence.

providers recognise the virus’s Lassman says: “What we’re building

common symptoms, model the

Lassman was unable to share too

is an infrastructure that will allow

assessment and risk stratification

many details but he did say: “This

third-party developers to benefit

of patients with suspected

is a market that has tremendous

from. Some of our customers are

or confirmed Covid-19, and

opportunity for mixed reality

already building their own apps, and

understand the signs indicating

applications and one that is

we have a platform where they can

deterioration and need for

strategically important to us.”

publish and sell those.”

escalation of care.

An excellent example of this is

GIGXR is also exploring the use

GIGXR’s HoloPatient: Covid-19,

of MR with the US Department of

developed in collaboration with the

Defense, which is an early adopter

vr worldtech.com

August 2020

17


Entertainment / Panasonic Canada

Immersive technology helps businesses and landmarks stay relevant

Stefan Berens Head of Panasonic Canada’s media and entertainment business division

More than ever before, businesses and landmarks need to be innovative to manage the challenges presented by Covid-19

T

Terra Lumina. Credit: Moment Factory

o feel briefly removed from physical space as I know it and transported to

somewhere that is completely limitless and otherworldly, all I need is a VR headset. Even without the illusion of being removed from space with VR, we are now seeing the digital entertainment industry embracing the power of technology to capture audiences and generate revenue through immersive experiences that transform the familiar into something new and >>

18

August 2020

vr worldtech.com

Do you want to know more? Visit: /Entertainment


Entertainment / Panasonic Canada

Aura. Credit: Moment Factory

captivating. As our society

event generally thought of

new, temporary worlds

Landmarks, historical

relies more and more on

as being best experienced

by immersing them in

monuments, museums,

online offerings for myriad

in-person into something

transformed spaces.

art galleries, and even

reasons, we’re seeing a

engaging enough that the

shift to incorporate more

audience felt they needed to

The key to these

immersive technology in

immersive experiences,

attend in real-time and in-

experiences is immersion,

an effort to breathe new

both in-person and

game to fully appreciate it.

and in the analog world,

life into their offerings and

the technology at the

revitalise their revenue

Immersive tech in the

heart of these types of

streams.

analog world

experiences is popping up

digitally. For example, this past spring, Fortnite, an online

cruise ships are turning to

in unexpected places.

The business case for immersive experiences

video game, hosted a virtual

Beyond the digital

concert with American

world, we have

Immersive technology

rapper Travis Scott—a first

seen exponentially

is presenting businesses

Immersive projection

for the gaming company.

popular infinity mirror

and landmarks with the

mapping can be scaled,

installations and

opportunity to diversify

adapted and applied to fit

With 12 million visitors

escape rooms that

their revenue streams

the needs of small and large

in attendance, Fortnite

demonstrate the ability

and stay relevant among

activations. It can transform

successfully flipped an

to transport visitors to

audiences.

physical spaces into >>

vr worldtech.com

August 2020

19


Entertainment / Panasonic Canada As a testament of the project’s success, the Basilica extended the show beyond its 2017 opening after tourists and locals alike continued to flock to the landmark to experience the show. With sold out shows on weekends and sustained popularity, the site continues to attract new visitors. Earlier this year, to adapt to restrictions due to the Covid-19 pandemic,

Aura. Credit: Moment Factory

Aura’s organiser moved

3D canvasses that paint

vaccine is widely available,

of faces, figures and

the experience to a digital

visitors into the action

and looking for ways

monuments on buildings,

format and reached an

and create storytelling

to leverage immersive

trees, and cobblestone

even wider audience,

experiences that inspire

experiences to adapt to

streets. The project aims to

by providing a free 360°

and amaze.

changes in consumer

bring the history of the area

capture of the immersive

behaviour and demand.

to life by creating a unique

part of the Aura experience

and customised experience

viewable on a mobile

that transports visitors into

phone or VR headset.

By changing the way people experience art and culture

Bringing history to life

through these unique and

the past in an unforgettable

immersive experiences,

Montréal en Histoires, a

way to illustrate how the

On the other side of

businesses can expand

not-for-profit organisation

city has evolved over nearly

the world, the National

visitor traffic, increase

based in Canada,

four centuries.

Museum of Singapore

revenue and stay relevant.

developed Cité Mémoire,

turned to immersive

a multimedia project

Also in Montréal, Moment

technology to maintain

The current global

created by Michel

Factory used immersive

its relevance and bring

health crisis is drying

Lemieux and Victor Pilon

technologies to create Aura.

to life history in the most

up traditional revenue

in collaboration with

streams, requiring some

Michel Marc Bouchard.

businesses to reevaluate

engaging way possible Aura provides visitors with

beyond traditional

a sonically and visually

dioramas and wall-

Cité Mémoire incorporates

captivating experience inside

mounted artifacts.

approximately 20 sites

the historic Notre-Dame

This includes considering

in Old Montréal and

Basilica, while highlighting

The museum’s Story of

long-standing changes

downtown Montréal, with

its history and reimagining

the Forest exhibit is an

to businesses until a

large-scale projections

the art within the landmark.

immersive installation >>

their business models.

20

August 2020

vr worldtech.com


Entertainment / Panasonic Canada

The current global health crisis is drying up traditional revenue streams, requiring some businesses to reevaluate their business models.”

Terra Lumina. Credit: Moment Factory

that transforms 69 drawings from the

The implementation of Terra Lumina at

As an experience unique to the zoo

William Farquhar Collection of Natural

Toronto Zoo in Canada solved this with

and unable to be recreated and truly

History Drawings into 3D animations.

immersive technology.

appreciated outside of its setting, Terra Lumina diversified Toronto Zoo’s

Through the use of this technology,

Created and produced by Moment

traditional programming with the aim

visitors are given a new perspective

Factory, the immersive experience uses

to draw in visitors during the winter

of the collection and a chance

technology to simulate time travel and

season for a different experience.

to experience the influence that

transport visitors to a world 80 years

Singapore’s flora and history had on

into the future where humans and

More than ever before, businesses

the collection, while widespread and

nature coexist harmoniously.

and landmarks need to be

international attention reinforced the museum’s innovative reputation.

innovative to manage the challenges The experience of seeing and

presented by Covid-19.

interacting with a thriving future Drawing in audiences

version of the planet as if it was

As we begin to adapt to a post-

superimposed onto the zoo’s

pandemic reality and the next normal,

Big ideas that leave a lot to the

landscape allows visitors to look

we will continue to see immersive

imagination can be difficult to

beyond what might seem like an

technology leveraged to stay relevant,

envision. So difficult, that it may deem

unrealistic idea and help them see

draw in audiences and diversify

the idea improbable.

first-hand what it could actually be.

revenue streams.

vr worldtech.com

August 2020

21


Retail / Burberry

Immerse and inspire Burberry recognises that most sales are now influenced by digital at some point along the consumer journey and the inspiration phase of the decision to purchase is becoming increasingly important for luxury consumers Kendall Jenner. Credit: Burberry

22

August 2020

vr worldtech.com

Do you want to know more? Visit: /Retail


T

Retail / Burberry his year

product at scale against

has been

other real-life objects.

difficult for everyone,

For example, a user can

everywhere.

place a TB bag next to

When the Covid-19

an existing outfit to gain

pandemic struck, it hit

a better understanding

our health and hearts, in

of the product before

equal measure. It also

purchasing and simulating

changed our behaviour,

the in-store experience.

in ways that no-one yet understands. But some

Incorporating AR into

were predicted, including

the online retail space

a slow, steady shift

allows Burbery to offer

toward digital channels,

consumers an experience

particularly for shopping.

that they could previously only get in-store, blending

For Burberry, consumers

the digital with the real

haven’t really ‘moved’

while improving their

online, as such. Before

understanding of the

the pandemic, over

sizing of an item and

the past few years,

helping them to appreciate

it has seen luxury

its detail, which can

customer service move

sometimes be difficult

towards a human

when shopping online via a

relationship, augmented by technology. What

desktop or mobile device. The Corner Shop. Credit: Burberry

changed recently, of

That blend of digital and

course, was the speed at

increasingly important for

of the online and offline

reality has also been used

which online behaviour

luxury consumers.”

experience. In January,

the other way around. To

Burberry launched a new

celebrate the opening of

Burberry has embarked

tool through Google Search

Burberry’s new flagship

Mark Morris, senior

on a number of initiatives

that allows consumers to

store in Ginza, Tokyo,

vice president of digital

to enhance its digital

experience its products

visitors could take part in

commerce at Burberry, says:

influence throughout

embedded in the

an exclusive AR experience

“We recognise that most

the consumer journey,

environment around them.

activated through QR codes.

retail sales are now

including with immersive

influenced by digital at some

technologies. Most recently,

When searching for

Late last year, Burberry also

point along the consumer

the luxury fashion house

Burberry products using

launched a digital pop-up

journey and the inspiration

has experimented with

Google Search on their

experience powered by

phase of the decision to

AR in the inspiration

phone, consumers can

Google Lens in London

purchase is becoming

and commercial sides

see an AR version of the

where users could see >>

became the norm.

vr worldtech.com

August 2020

23


Retail / Burberry an aerial live feed of

house code in his debut

themselves on their phone,

collection and continues to

surrounded by a herd of

explore animal references

Burberry deer.

each season.

More recently, in March,

To celebrate this theme

Burberry opened an

within Burberry’s Spring/

immersive installation in

Summer 2020 collection

London-based Selfridges’s

and in a nod to pioneers

flagship creative retail

such as Sir Ernest

space, The Corner Shop.

Shackleton, who wore Burberry on his historic

Mark Morris Senior vice president of digital commerce at Burberry

celebrated Burberry’s

space also incorporated

history in discovery and

penguins that could be

exploration, a time when

brought to life through an

Burberry’s protective

AR experience.

gabardine was favoured by Accessed via dedicated QR codes, visitors were able

Burberry is continuously experimenting with digital innovation, such as AR, to create a more exciting experience and enhance personalised luxury commerce.”

August 2020

polar expeditions, the

polar pioneers.

24

The custom-built space

vr worldtech.com

In the abstract snowspace,

to take a screenshot or a

expedition sleds with

video of themselves with

Burberry silk-scarf sails

the penguins and share via

contrasted with silver

social media.

mirrored cubes. Morris says: “Burberry is The installation and

continuously experimenting

windows also draw on

with digital innovation,

Burberry’s historical

such as AR, to create a

recognition of the animal

more exciting experience

kingdom. Founder Thomas

and enhance personalised

Burberry chose to present

luxury commerce, blending

his company with an

the technology with other

emblem of a knight on a

activations around the world.”

horse and for his family crest, he chose a unicorn.

In July, Burberry returned to a pure digital campaign, but

Burberr y ’s chief creative

widened its use of media,

officer, Riccardo Tisci, built on

to support the launch of

this history by reinterpreting

its summer monogram

the use of animals as a new

collection. >>


Retail / Burberry The luxury fashion house

digital rewards including

The summer monogram

capsule and its most

launched its third online

an AR in-game character

collection campaign also

watched video ever on

game, B Surf, allowing

and an exclusive face filter.

included a video set in

Instagram TV.

players to immerse

a CGI geometric world

themselves in the product

Burberry’s first online

featuring global celebrity

If Burberry’s forays into

and monogram world.

game, B Bounce, which was

Kendall Jenner and a

immersive and other

released in October 2019,

curated Spotify playlist.

digital technologies feel

By playing the game,

has been played by more

players have the

than two million people.

opportunity to unlock

experimental, that’s Commenting on the video

because they very much

set, Tisci said: “For the

are. A ‘test and learn’

campaign, I thought a lot

approach allows Burberry

about that day-dreaming

to lean into the things

reverie that I associate with

that work, whether it be

summer, that time when

AR online or in-store,

you are drifting between

playable games, or CGI-

reality and fantasy, and

powered videos featuring

I wanted to portray this

global superstars.

through the juxtaposition of the imagery.”

Just consider what’s up next for Burberry. The

Google Search partnership. Credit: Burberry

“Kendall captured the

luxury fashion house has

reality by taking these

developed a ‘social retail

real self-por traits in the

store’ in partnership with

collection, and Nick

China-based internet

[Knight, photographer]

company Tencent.

brought the dream to life, creating this

Opening in Shenzhen this

unique digital realm

summer, the experimental

transforming Kendall

store will offer unique

and allowing her to

experiences that connect

explore the duality

luxury customers’ social

of the TB Summer

and online lives to their

Monogram collection.”

physical environments using technology powered

This campaign generated a

by Tencent.

significant response from press, influencers and consumers, with average reach more than 60% higher than Burberry’s B Surf. Credit: Burberry

previous monogram

vr worldtech.com

August 2020

25


Automotive / Editor’s comment

The pursuit of progress The better the technology, the more likely enterprise is to adopt it. But businesses must understand that it’s up to them to shape its future By Mark Dugdale

A

ny business desiring to

It was automotive manufacturer Volvo

understand why and how

that worked closely with headset maker

immersive technology can

Varjo to break new ground and develop

enhance their work need

XR-1, a headset capable of overlaying

only look at the journey of

virtuality over reality while a car is in

the automotive industry.

motion. To say that’s not an easy thing to do would be an understatement.

That journey has largely been a technological one, as the

As a visualisation tool, it’s hard

automotive industry forced

to find better. And the innovation

immersive technology to break

behind the device has attracted

new ground to serve the needs of

customers from other industries

its designers and engineers, and

with different use cases.

later sales teams and even human resources functions.

On the software side, two CERN scientists thought 2D design was

26

August 2020

Visualise, design, produce, fix, sell

outdated. Why can’t automotive

and train—there are no use cases

designers start from scratch in

that the automotive industry either

VR? With VR design application

didn’t think of first or wasn’t among

flyingshapes°, they can do just that,

the quickest to address with newer

saving both time and money. The list

and better immersive technology.

goes on. >>

vr worldtech.com


Automotive / Editor’s comment Immersive technology within the

There is a growing acceptance of

major improvements in our tactile

automotive industry is certainly at its

its benefits, you feel, moving the

feedback, force feedback and motion

most attractive in visualisation and

industry beyond what it cannot do

tracking technologies”.

design, but headset maker VRgineers

toward what it can.

is doing great work in simulation and

Michaels pointed to how other

training, helping Formula 1 drivers to

A new study from Volkswagan

major technology products have

improve their racing times.

investigating the benefits of haptic

improved over time, such as

feedback during in-car interactions

once-heavy laptop computers

The Real-Car-As-A-Simulator

in VR highlighted its importance

and previously sluggish internet

technology of NXRT is pushing

right now.

downloading speeds.

engineering, sales and

The study’s focus, the HaptX

He says: “HaptX offers the

professional driver training, so

Gloves “help users to interact

industry’s highest level of realism

much so that it has launched

better in VR” and automotive

for haptic feedback, but we

initial pilots for suppliers to

manufacturers such as Volkswagan,

recognise that we and the entire

emergency services.

which make use of VR in product

industry still have lots of room for

development, “can benefit from

improvement.”

the boundaries of automotive

It hasn’t all been progress, of

these systems today”.

course. Automotive is perhaps too

“In the next 10+ years, HaptX—along

process-driven to fully appreciate

However, the study’s authors

with the rest of the haptics industry—

the potential of immersive and

noted, even a precisely developed

will significantly improve its hardware

other technologies.

and advanced device such as

and software.”

HaptX Gloves “still need additional As VRWorldTech editorial board

research and development to

“We are confident we will ultimately

member and industry expert Jan

satisfy users´ wishes for completely

reach our vision for a full-body

Pflueger writes, there is a risk

natural haptic sensations as well as

haptics system that can simulate

that there will be no benefit from

miniaturisation of the gloves”.

any activity so realistically it will be

the opportunities that current

nearly impossible to tell the difference

technologies offer in combination

This desire for absolute realism is

between what’s virtual and what’s real.”

as long as the automotive industry

felt industry-wide, and the immersive

continues to strive for the current

technology developers featured

It’s this pursuit of progress, driven by

status quo.

here—and I’m sure elsewhere—are

industries such as automotive, that is

striving to achieve it.

yielding such impressive results.

manufacturers were using VR to sell

Indeed, as Joe Michaels, chief

The better the technology, the more

cars, with some impressive results,

revenue officer of HaptX, told me,

likely enterprise is to adopt it. But

according to Sophia Moshasha,

the Volkswagen study was the very

businesses must understand that it’s

another VRWorldTech editorial

first industrial use of HaptX’s initial

up to them to shape its future.

board member who has seen the

development kit in 2018. In the

industry embrace XR’s potential

two years that followed, Michaels

and is keen to remind it of the fact.

said that HaptX has “already made

As far back as 2013, automotive

vr worldtech.com

August 2020

27


Automotive / View from the editorial board

Merging technology with a traditional industry There will be no benefit from the opportunities that current technologies offer in combination as long as the industry continues to strive for the status quo

X

R technology has a long

evolve, and urbanisation challenges

history in the automotive

present themselves.

industry, as a part of the product development

The to-do list is enormous and

process, but its potential

developing a strategy based on

has yet to be realised.

different layers of uncertainty is not an easy task right now, given

Most automotive manufacturers are

everything else that is going on.

only just beginning to take ownership of this technology to further develop

Why do I see the necessity to

their existing products and optimise

invest much more?

their internal processes. XR could be an enabling technology As customers, we experience the

to connect the ‘traditional’ product

technology in marketing activities

with its user and environment, and

and brand events, but not really as

this will generate much more value

part of the whole mobility service.

than it would if it remained as it is; an over-engineered technical

Is the automotive industry ready to

product to move one physically from

accept XR as a general technology

A to B.

delivering value in nearly every area of its business? My answer is: not

Automotive as a driver for XR

quite yet.

technology

Much more must be invested here,

For a long time, the automotive

particularly as mobility behaviour

industry was one of the drivers of

changes and multiple approaches

VR and AR technologies. Simulation

exist, societal demographics

and the processing of >>

Jan Pflueger advisXR and member of the VRWorldTech editorial board

28

August 2020

vr worldtech.com

Do you want to know more? Visit: /Automotive


Automotive / View from the editorial board

Credit: Canva

large amounts of data have always

classic projection systems and most

is unfortunately not yet very well

been predestined for VR as an

software manufacturers integrate

established. Here, in particular, the

output medium. Nevertheless, it

a direct VR mode now) and the

potential of spatial visualisation

was always an expert tool involving

potential of XR was reawakened.

of information for communication

a big investment in hardware and

and identification of hidden

software integrations, with a clear

The use of XR has become

relationships could be used in the

focus on enterprise applications.

indispensable in the development

best possible way.

of future products. It is no longer In addition to visualisation and

just about evaluating static

However, an area that developed

simulation in engineering and

construction and design data. The

independently and that very quickly

development, production planning

change from a static product to an

reached market maturity and

is the next logical step in the

experience requires the simulation

penetration was virtual training and

application chain of XR scenarios

of relationships in real-time. The

simulation.

in the manufacturing industry. AR

necessary development tools for

applications are increasingly found

this will be profoundly designed for

The advantages of XR for training are

here as the purely virtual world

interaction and generation of virtual

obvious and due to the scalability

merges with the real world.

experience spaces.

of scenarios, the hurdle of return on investment could be overcome.

As hardware and software progressed,

Using XR technology methodically

access to VR solutions became

to analyse information and

The way into the service and after-

simplified (headsets cost a fraction of

coordinate business processes

sales market is paved and >>

vr worldtech.com

August 2020

29


Automotive / View from the editorial board

“

The change from a static product to an experience requires the simulation of relationships in real-time. The necessary development tools for this will be profoundly designed for interaction and generation of virtual experience spaces.

solutions (for example, remote

I expect the biggest impact of the

experts connecting with the

Covid-19 pandemic will be on working

service technicians on-site to solve

and collaboration. As distributed

problems and shorten service

work becomes the new normal,

times) can also be found here.

spatial collaboration tools will play an increasingly important role in this

Areas that previously could not use VR

new workplace scenario.

because of its cost suddenly had access. Unfortunately, the processes to use

The direct spatial communication

these tools have not been or still are

of virtual data offers enormous

not established and in most companies,

potential. Persistent virtual

there are still traditional, production-

workspaces will improve

oriented structures with a lot of divided

collaboration across the entire

responsibilities. A holistic approach

creation process.

for integration is missing and would require massive changes in the way of

In the future, fewer senior

current product development.

PowerPoint designers will be required, but there will be a bigger

The influence of Covid-19

need for data modellers and information visualisers.

Many articles have already written about the impact of the Covid-19

Hopefully, XR will become an

pandemic around the world.

accepted technology as a basis for work and decision-making, and

Indeed, it must be tough not being

ways will open up for cooperation

able to produce the products that

in the automotive industry to tackle

pay your bills, and even tougher

upcoming challenges together.

not being able to sell your products to customers. Covid-19 is likely not

In general, the Covid-19 pandemic

the only reason for a change in the

has put a greater focus on

sales landscape, but I can imagine

digitalisation, from infrastructure

that it will speed up the move

and data handling and exploring

from traditional onsite sales to a

new ways of working and remote

multichannel distribution approach.

collaboration, to distribution and customer communication.

The entire events industry was upended when the pandemic

A future for XR (and for automotive)

struck and had to be rethought and

30

August 2020

vr worldtech.com

reinvented. The creation of a virtual

It does not always make sense to use

motor show was just one outcome

XR in all areas and we are still far away

to deal with the situation.

from permanent >>


Automotive / View from the editorial board use. XR delivers its full potential if it is

Numerous PoC and pilot solutions

measured, but not in the way that is

integrated into the default processes

have still not been implemented and

common today.

and an ecosystem exists that can be

testify to the prevailing structures

built on.

of an industry focused on its

We need a return of decision making.

production processes. An industry

Management should not only enable

XR is an accompanying and

that has been optimising a product

the team to use its potential (which

complementary technology—it

from a technological point of view

is also not very common) but also

cannot be viewed on its own. The

for 135 years is therefore one that

to make decisions, especially when

use of spatial computing offers

is inherently difficult to break new

times are hard and uncertainty is your

advantages that hardly any other

ground in. To achieve this and so

companion. Welcome to the world

medium can keep up with—the

fully exploit the potential of XR, the

of VUCA ( Volatility, Uncertainty,

content and area of use are key.

mandatory change must be of a

Complexity and Ambiguity)!

This is the point to rethink the

general nature.

product data (hardware)-driven path and establish an information

Instead of measuring key The non-XR-related challenge

(generation) chain that covers the entire product cycle.

performance indicators for each department and therefore binding

It’s no secret that the automotive

decisions on the outcome to just a

industry is facing a major change

piece of the whole chain, it makes

With future requirements in mind, this

and that it has one of the biggest

sense to define a value generation

also includes interfaces to the outside

challenges to overcome.

factor. The value generated by one

world (for example, sensor input, which you can hardly influence).

department for the whole chain can The way of dealing with the situation

be taken as a measure of success.

in a differentiated manner and

Last but not least, you are measured

To progress, the automotive industry

reducing costs at the right spot to

by your customers.

must consider the outside world.

invest in the future will make the

This does not only mean traffic-

difference.

Keep your customers in focus and

relevant data or information for

create products your customers love.

automated driving, but smart cities

There will be no benefit from the

Then you are on the road to success

and information for users that is not

opportunities that current technologies

and your return on investment will be

directly related to a car.

offer in combination as long as the

more than it was ever before.

industry continues to strive for the XR is the layer that makes these

status quo. Without change, it will be

XR will help the automotive industry

worlds accessible and will link

difficult for many players to survive.

to develop its understanding and

multiple interfaces for the user.

support decision making processes, as What does the automotive industry

well as open new opportunities for the

have to do to embrace XR?

business models of the future.

However, a shift must take place

Get rid of early state return on

It’s an exciting time for XR and it will

urgently. This does not only refer

investment and traditional key

only get better as this traditional

to the general discussion about the

performance indicators. Of course,

industry transforms itself into the

product and the service.

they must be calculated and

future.

The automotive industry is still technologically well positioned.

vr worldtech.com

August 2020

31


Automotive / View from the editorial board

Toyota TeenDrive365. Credit: Brightline Interactive

Need to succeed

T

Innovation in XR has had to keep a rapid pace with the automotive industry’s drive for better hardware and software he potential of immersive

events, permanent display areas

and a member of the editorial board

technology has long

and simulation environments, was

at VRWoldTech.

become apparent in the

an early pioneer, working with

automotive industry,

Toyota and creative and media

The VR experience, called Toyota

particularly for design and

agency 360i in 2013 to create a

TeenDrive365, placed event attendees

VR experience that could garner

inside a Toyota vehicle and used both

attention at US auto shows and

the steering wheel and pedals to pilot

national events, including SXSW.

the 3D environment provided by an

prototyping. In the past 10 to 15 years, the industry has found new use cases

Oculus Rift DK1 headset. It contained

as innovation has brought better

“The objective was to deliver an

common audio and visual distractions

devices and improved capabilities

experience that provided a realistic

such as passengers, incoming text

to market.

simulation of distracted driving

messages and external hazards.

while helping curb distracted US-based developer Brightline

driving among teens,� explains

The VR experience attracted

Interactive, which specialises in

Sophia Moshasha, director of

significant attention for Toyota,

interactive and VR experiences for

immersive platforms at Brightline

proving early in the >>

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August 2020

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Do you want to know more? Visit: /Automotive


Automotive / View from the editorial board previous decade that immersive technology can achieve the kind of marketing results that justify the required investment. More than 20,000 consumers tried Toyota TeenDrive365, which was featured in nine major markets over the entire tour. The project also generated more than 277 million earned media impressions and received more than 37 original stories from outlets including NBC, USA Today and Fast Company. Of course, Toyota TeenDrive365 was also a campaign to educate young drivers on the dangers of distracted driving. Moshasha says: “For many people, this was the first time they

Today’s headsets, like Varjo’s, that offer dynamic occlusion will enhance the automotive VR driving experience because vehicle interiors no longer need to be recreated. We can now program the experience to include the vehicle’s interior while Sophia Moshasha everything outside Director of immersive platforms at Brightline of the windows and Interactive and a member of the VRWoldTech editorial board windshield are virtualised.

experienced VR and getting into an accident in the simulation was definitely a stressful, memorable

Automotive brands interested in

automotive VR driving experience

experience. This experience

exploring this kind of VR experience

because vehicle interiors no longer

definitely made a mark on the

should know that the technology has

need to be recreated.”

younger generation and hopefully

advanced to a point where it offers

the virtual accident was enough to

significant opportunities, according

“We can now program the experience

have them ‘fail safely’ and learn

to Moshasha.

to include the vehicle’s interior while

from common distractions before it happens in real life.”

everything outside of the windows “This project was one of the first

and windshield are virtualised.”

where sensors were integrated into “Needless to say, from surveys

a real vehicle and allowed users to

“VR is the best way to test drive a

taken from each user, 94%

control the virtual reality experience

vehicle without putting any mileage

of participants said they plan

with real hardware that was mapped

or wear and tear on new vehicles

to reduce future distractions

to a 3D environment. Today’s

and reduces the work needed to sell

following this experience,”

headsets, such as Varjo’s, that offer

the car since all functionality can be

Moshasha says.

dynamic occlusion will enhance the

tested in virtual.” >>

vr worldtech.com

August 2020

33


Automotive / View from the editorial board

Toyota TeenDrive365. Credit: Brightline Interactive

Cub Cadet VR tractor. Credit: Brightline Interactive

Another Brightline project tested the

themselves. A unique selling point

the most technologically innovative

capabilities of VR for a different kind

of this tractor is its ability to easily

brands in its industry.”

of vehicle.

navigate small spaces, which Cub

In 2016, Cub Cadet, a global lawn

Cadet could then demonstrate at

“The measure of success for

events across the US.

this campaign was to create an

and tractor company, turned to

industry-first experience and

Brightline because it needed a way

The Cub Cadet VR tractor toured

uphold the customer conversion

to effectively promote its tractor to

eight NHRA (National Hot Rod

rate from actual tractor driving

potential customers during events

Association) races, with the

demos. The campaign was a

with space limitations.

company hosting an average of

success on all fronts and set a

1,350 fans at its activation site

precedent for future equipment

within any given three-day race.

driving simulations.”

practical usage and functionality of

Moshasha says: “By being able

Seeing how far VR has come

the tractor,” Moshasha says.

to physically ride and test the

shows us where it can go in the

functionality of the VR tractor

future, and the automotive industry

To overcome this problem,

simulator, Brightline helped uphold

is well placed, in terms of both

Brightline created a custom VR

Cub Cadet’s track record of selling a

technology and use cases, to take

simulation in which event attendees

tractor to 80% of eligible customers

advantage.

could drive Cub Cadet’s tractor and

who were able to test the equipment.”

“Having the tractor on display looks nice but does not showcase the

cut their names into a virtual lawn. This essentially allowed potential

“This interactive simulation brought

customers to test the equipment

attention from media across the

and experience its strengths for

nation, naming Cub Cadet one of

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August 2020

vr worldtech.com


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Automotive / Varjo and Volvo

Find the sweet spot

No-one knows VR quite like the automotive industry, and in Volvo, Varjo found the perfect partner with which to develop the cutting edge XR-1 MR headset

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August 2020

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Automotive / Varjo and Volvo

Volvo’s feedback pushed us to advance the technology behind XR-1 to its limits.

Urho Konttori Co-founder and chief product officer of Varjo

T

he quality of Finnish

most demanding customers on

geographically close—Varjo is

headset maker Varjo’s XR-

the planet,” says Urho Konttori,

based in Helsinki and Volvo’s

1, a device that combines

co-founder and chief product

headquarters are in Gothenburg,

a front plate featuring

officer of Varjo. Without putting

Sweden.

dual 12MP cameras

too fine a point on it, he was right.

with the human eye-resolution

At that stage, Varjo had already

He adds: “We also knew from the

capabilities of its VR range, was

been working on video-see-

VR-1 development cycle that they

borne from a close partnership

through technology with Japan-

would have lots of ‘constructive

with automotive manufacturer

headquartered Socionext for about

criticism’, so we thought it would

Volvo.

two years.

be useful if we listened to them along the way!”

Volvo, already using Varjo’s

It was the combination of

VR-1 for automotive design and

Socionext’s image signal

Kidding aside, this close

prototyping, came to the headset

processors and Varjo’s headset

partnership proved essential for the

maker in 2018 and suggested

display, which can visualise

development of XR-1, according

developing photorealistic video

images at 70MP with a 90° field of

to Konttori, because it pushed

pass-through. The request was so

view, that ultimately led to XR-1,

Varjo further than the headset

Volvo’s designers could overlay

and Volvo’s literal road test.

maker might have gone without the

virtual features onto a real car— while the vehicle was in motion.

automotive manufacturer at its side. Konttori says Varjo doesn’t usually countenance full R&D access so

Konttori says: “For Volvo, each

“From our past experiences,

early in the process, but made

car generation is such a huge

we knew that automotive

an exception for Volvo because

investment. All of the design work

manufacturers were among the

it was easy to work with and

needs to be done methodically, >>

vr worldtech.com

August 2020

37


Automotive / Varjo and Volvo

Christian Braun

We can’t develop everything ourselves and the partnership with Varjo brings both sides to the table, meaning that our needs are catered for, while their product is refined to that point of scalability. This partnership was a great way of everyone getting what they wanted.”

Vice president of visual art design at Volvo Cars

as early as possible, ideally at the

the headset. The automotive

between MR and full VR modes. The

very beginning of the development

manufacturer asked Varjo to reduce

depth sensors in XR-1 allow mapping

cycle.”

the latency further.

real-life objects and environments for building natural occlusion.

Volvo became a “very trusted” early

Konttori says: “That feedback pushed us

access partner that “really helped”

to advance the technology behind XR-1

Konttori says: “We’re incredibly

Varjo to fine-tune the XR-1 headset

to its limits.”

proud because our partnership

and “find the sweet spot” in the latency, Konttori continues.

with Volvo led to XR-1, a tool that Those limits were dual 12MP

now works for any automotive

cameras that produce high

manufacturer and for many different

When Varjo hit 20ms of latency in

resolution with imperceptible

use cases.”

the summer of 2018, Volvo remarked

latency of less than 15ms.

that its designers were experiencing

“We know that because there are

too much vibration when driving

And Volvo took XR-1 on the road, with

no customers more demanding than

the car over bumps while wearing

the wearer/driver able switch seamlessly

automotive manufacturers.” >>

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August 2020

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Automotive / Varjo and Volvo XR-1. Credit: Varjo

Those use cases include design,

continuation and longevity.

common today as 2D and clay

engineering, training and simulation,

Varjo is “reachable, reliable and

modelling.

which are all areas where

a great partner”, says Christian

demanding customers are common,

Braun, vice president of visual art

2D images on a screen do not do

“but that’s okay, because ultimately

design at Volvo Cars.

car designs justice, Braun explains,

that attention to detail delivers a better product that will scale”.

because they lack proportions, while He summarises: “We can’t develop

clay models are time-consuming

everything ourselves and the

and costly to produce, and by the

Another area where Varjo is

partnership with Varjo brings both

time they are ready, the data used

working is the healthcare industry,

sides to the table, meaning that our

to create them is out of date. A VR

although the requirements of

needs are catered for, while their

headset is an important bridge

those customers are often unique,

product is refined to that point of

between the two, he says.

meaning more work needs to

scalability. This partnership was a

be done to make the products

great way of everyone getting what

“Now, VR headsets are not the

scaleable.

they wanted.”

centre of automotive design and visualisation, but an effective

This partnership between

What Volvo has always wanted from

headset has become a very

automotive manufacturer and

its partnership with Varjo is detail—

important part of the process.”

immersive technology developer

in the visuals and experience.

has proven so fruitful that Volvo’s

It was not until Braun joined Volvo

venture capital arm, Volvo Cars

Before joining Volvo in 2019, Braun

and began using Varjo’s headsets that

Tech Fund, saw fit to invest

had forged a career in automotive

he understood how much more of a

in Varjo, thereby ensuring its

development, where VR is as

role VR could play. >>

vr worldtech.com

August 2020

39


Automotive / Varjo and Volvo Braun says: “I thought, ‘this is it. This is how it starts.” “I have always had to look forward to the future of technology. But I want to generate new creative spaces for designers now, by implementing high-end tech like VR that enables them to focus on design, rather than just wearing the tech that helps them to do something.” “Varjo’s headsets do just that. They help you to get a real impression of a design very early on in the process, which is crucial. “ MeetInVR on XR-1. Credit: Varjo

“Being able to check data, proportions and everything else in the initial stages of a design also saves so much time and money, because we make fewer mistakes.” The addition of MR with XR-1 builds on these benefits and delivers the ability to see data and proportions, all in a real space, and then overlays new features as and when they are ready. “That is really powerful,” Braun says. Varjo’s 2D/3D immersive user interface, launched in late 2019, enhances the connection between 2D models and immersive technologies further still. Varjo Workspace allows designers to use Microsoft Windows applications and 3D software tools within a human eye-resolution VR or MR environment. The interface grants access to a Microsoft Windows desktop PC at any size and with extreme resolution. Varjo Workspace. Credit: Varjo

Crucially, they link in near real-time a CAD model and its designer in VR or MR, with changes to the model made in a Windows PC being reflected in what is seen through the headset a second or two later. Konttori says: “It’s incredible because the visualisation can be elevated all the way to real-time ray tracing, even though you are just changing the shape of your design, and it instantly reflects those changes. >>

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August 2020

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Automotive / Varjo and Volvo Adjust the layout or material choices and it will instantly reflect how the light is propagating in the room.” “It’s our hope that this capability will lead to better designs, because it’s such a step up from just using your imagination while producing the CAD model.” Design is not solely about the present iteration, Braun explains. It is important that designers are able to experiment with different materials and colours, and to see the future implications of those choices through effective

VR-2, VR-2 Pro and XR-1. Credit: Varjo

visualisation and testing. application that supports all headsets

to ship hundreds of car-sized

He says: “It’s a very good basis for

in Varjo’s portfolio—VR-2, VR-2 Pro

clay models by road to far flung

making a decision. In the beginning,

and XR-1.

destinations because they want to

designers have too many ideas.

see them in and under better light

They need to be able to visualise

The partners also introduced a new

them somehow, so that they can

bundle offer where new buyers of any

zero in on the best ones and move

Varjo headset will receive six months

Being able to simulate the sunshine

the process forward.”

of MeetinVR for free for five users.

of California one day and the dark,

and conditions.

dreary grey of England the next is Of course, design is not a

Braun says that the MeetinVR add-on

“a big advantage” to automotive

profession whose members prefer

has enabled Volvo to work through

manufacturers such as Volvo.

to work alone. Collaboration is

the limitations of Covid-19-instigated

a vital part of the process, and

lockdown—not to mention the

Braun says: “The difference between

Varjo has secured a commercial

geographically widespread nature

colour choices, such as a slightly

partnership with MeetinVR, creator

of an organisation as large as Volvo,

grey-white or a more white-white,

of the long-awaited enterprise

which has offices all over the world—

can cost millions of dollars. And are

virtual collaboration software, which

and continue design collaboration in

with us for years afterwards. So being

has launched in open beta for trial,

VR and MR.

able to recreate light and conditions

after three years in private beta with numerous Fortune 500 companies.

so easily and quickly is a big deal. Collaboration in MR also adds value

These headsets optimise the decision

to the design process through time

making process.”

Through the partnership, MeetinVR

and cost savings. It is not unheard

will release a dedicated version of its

of for automotive manufacturers

vr worldtech.com

August 2020

41


Automotive / VRgineers

Where VR goes to thrive Inside view of a car on XTAL. Credit: VRgineers

XTAL, a headset that is ‘built to simulate’, was inspired by a need to do VR better and forged in the automotive industry

W

hen Marek Polčák, chief executive officer of Czech-US enterprise headset maker VRgineers, and his colleagues couldn’t find a device capable of rendering their VR experience at a sufficient quality, they didn’t give up, as many would.

Instead, they built the headset themselves. While studying cybernetics at university in Prague, the friends shared a passion for new technology and the latest gadgets. They built their own robotics platform and put it forward for contests. Polčák secured several contracts and the group was able to work on a range of different projects. Eventually, they turned their attention to VR and developed an experience of a flight over Prague, to give tourists a bird-eye view of the Czech Republic’s capital city. >>

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Automotive / VRgineers Unfortunately, the capabilities of VR headsets at the time were somewhat lacking. Polčák says: “Put simply, very few people who tried our VR experience had anything good to say about the quality of the visuals.” After researching the capabilities of available headsets, and even investing in developers promising to build better devices, they came to the conclusion that they would have to take matters into their own hands. Polčák says: “We told ourselves that we had already built a lot of devices, so we could build this one, too.” He partnered with Martin Holečko and Václav Bittner and together founded VRgineers, solely focused

XTAL. Credit: VRgineers

on developing the most immersive VR solution.

wanted to gather feedback on

that are so important to designing,

our prototype, because VR is a

prototyping, rendering, reviewing,

Once they had a prototype, they

technology that has many use

training and presenting. That’s

identified the automotive industr y

cases and will never work for

not to say that getting in front of

as a natural star ting point. After

everything and everyone.”

automotive manufacturers in the

all, automotive manufacturers

first place was easy.

have a clear need for a high-

This feedback was crucial in shaping

quality headset to ser ve their

the VRgineers headset, because it

Once VRgineers did, Polčák and

design and vir tual prototyping

informed and led to subsequent

the team had to make the case for

needs, and a whole host of

iterations that, ultimately, resulted in

spatial computing as a concept,

others.

the creation of a device better suited

and they had to convince their

to the automotive industry than most

potential clients that the XTAL

of its peers.

headset was a vital part.

including Volkswagan, BMW, Audi,

Major improvements included

Polčák says: “In business, a lot is

Kia and Hyundai, and showcased

integration with Autodesk VRED

about timing. Even today, many

the prototype. Polčák says: “We

and other visualisation software

people aren’t ready for VR, >>

They toured the large automotive manufacturers based in Germany,

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August 2020

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Automotive / VRgineers because they’re used to working in a different way. Also, the software isn’t fully ready yet. So, when we were showing our prototype, we were not only presenting our product, but also VR as a platform. We had to convince these automotive manufacturers that although it wasn’t yet mature, it was well on its way.” Fast forward to today and VR headsets are common in the automotive industry. Polčák says: “There is clear movement toward spatial computing. It’s growing.” Indeed, a high-specificification headset is moving from ‘nice to have’ to integral to the process, particularly in Marek Polčák Chief executive officer of VRgineers

When we were showing our prototype, we were not only presenting our product, but also VR as a platform. We had to convince these manufacturers that although it wasn’t yet mature, it was well on its way.

automotive design and prototyping, Polčák says. “It used to be the case in the automotive industry that a VR headset was an alternative to a large screen or a digital projector. Now it’s actually only second in line behind a physical model that can be tested.” The 4K resolution per eye, 180° field of view, handsfree XTAL headset is the result of this work. In Polčák’s words, XTAL is “built to simulate”. He says: “When you put a headset on, you should forget about the technology. You should be unsure whether what you’re experiencing is real or a simulation.” “As an automotive manufacturer, you’re then able to design, prototype, conduct user experience tests and train. That’s the Holy Grail for us.” XTAL’s chief strength lies in its visuals. With a total resolution of 7680 x 2160 (3840 x 2160 per eye) thanks to two 4K fast switching LCD displays, the headset delivers a simulated reality that is close to VRgineers’s ultimate aim, according to Polčák. He says: “We don’t want the visuals to look good, like most widely available retail headsets. We want them to look real. We need to achieve the highest possible level of simulation.” >>

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August 2020

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Do you want to know more? Visit: /Automotive


Automotive / VRgineers XTAL uses hand gestures rather than controllers. Credit: VRgineers

This high bar was set for every other

The automotive industry has been so

dashboard over a physical one

aspect of XTAL. Its 180° wide field of

impressed with the XTAL headset that

so that it can be interacted with

view enhances the user’s immersion,

some of the bigger brands have put

and tested, with a view to giving

which is crucial for designers and

it to work in their racing teams for

automotive manufacturers the

testers that need to ‘experience’ the

training and simulation.

ability to explore new ways of

inside of a car.

controlling in-car features. Polčák says: “Two Formula 1 teams are

Of course, a criticism often levelled

using XTAL to train their drivers, who

In response to automotive industry

at VR headsets are the comfort and

are able to stay at home and practice

feedback, VRgineers is also looking

human factors. They are usually too

on the same circuit over and over again,

at the addition of a front-facing

heavy to wear and use for extended

in a variety of different conditions.”

camera to XTAL to enable users

periods of time.

of the headset to switch between “This saves so much time and

virtual, real and MR. Polčák says:

VRgineers is investing heavily in these

money. And the drivers are

“This is something that I’d love to

factors, so that a balance can be

improving all of the time. This is

see for virtual test drives. When you

struck between immersion and ease

visible in the results of the teams

finish the cockpit of a car design,

of use.

that are using our headset.”

you can take this to a virtual test track and try it out.”

Polčák says: “Our first goal was to

Ever the tinkerers, the VRgineers

immerse the user. Our second is

team is deepening the immersive

“This would allow you to try a

to make that use as smooth and

experience that XTAL is capable of.

design out on any road or track

convenient as possible, so the user

and see how it performs under

doesn’t have to do anything—they

Plans are in place to allow

any number of conditions and in

can just put it on and get to work.”

designers to overlay a virtual

whatever circumstances you like.”

vr worldtech.com

August 2020

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Automotive / NXRT

Real-Car-As-A-Simulator technology. Credit: NXRT

Realism realised The automotive industry demands realistic simulations above almost anything else

S

imulation is a cornerstone of the automotive industry. The resources required to design, build and test a

vehicle make it necessary, but a lack of realism in simulations has long been a problem—one that Austria-based NXRT is aiming to solve. In 2014, NXRT set up one of the first VR driving school simulators in Europe, with an early development kit. Alex Kopciak and Patrick Kolar, the AI and XR development leads at NXRT, wanted to address motion sickness and landed on driving in VR, “as it is probably one of the most challenging >>

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Do you want to know more? Visit: /Automotive


Automotive / NXRT

Be it for conducting vehicle function tests, early hardware prototyping, and long iteration processes in development, XR reduces all costs that will arise from expensive hardware equipment mounted on large conventional simulators.

Lukas Stranger Chief executive officer at NXRT

problems to solve”, according to

The sensors track acceleration,

“Be it for conducting vehicle

Lukas Stranger, who is chief executive

braking, shifting and steering; and

function tests, early hardware

officer of NXRT.

feed data back to NXRT’s proprietary

prototyping, and long iteration

software kit.

processes in development,

As they suspected, one of the reasons

XR reduces all costs that will

for motion sickness was a lack of

This enables fast and highly

arise from expensive hardware

realism within the simulation.

accurate simulations that adjust in

equipment mounted on large

real time.

conventional simulators.”

Stranger says: “XR, when

NXRT collaborated with a German

implemented correctly, is a unique

automotive manufacturer to

Stranger explains: “We established a

tool to enhance realism within

develop its Real-Car-As-A-

workflow in which we upgrade any

simulations.”

Simulator technology, as part of the

Their solution to this problem was Real-Car-As-A-Simulator technology.

real car to test devices.”

promotion of the launch of a new “XR made by NXRT eliminates the

vehicle series. Since then, NXRT

“We mount sensors at strategic positions

need to rent a dedicated testing

has optimised its technology stack

within the vehicle to drive it virtually.”

site regardless of the use case.”

and further advanced its vision >>

vr worldtech.com

August 2020

47


Real-Car-As-A-Simulator technology. Credit: NXRT

to use real cars as simulation

to shorten test procedures for

NXRT’s broad framework for VR

devices for automotive engineering,

autonomous vehicles by using a

driving experiences allows developers

sales and professional driver

similar technology we use in car

to address several use cases within

training.

dealerships.”

the automotive industry seamlessly, while NXRT can learn from developing

Stranger says: “During our

NXRT is now working with retailers

previous experiences and apply them

cooperation with the German

on a simulation-as-a-service basis,

to new areas. Stranger says: “For

automotive manufacturer, we solved

through the licensing of its technology

example, we can support engineers

the challenges of showcasing new

stack and development tools.

in the development process of new

vehicle developments.”

vehicle functionality.” Stranger says: “This package

“The advantages of automated

allows dealers to create their own

“To take our approach even further,

driving and e-mobility increase

virtual test drive experiences and

we have launched initial pilots for

safety and reduces fuel

benefit directly from our framework

suppliers to emergency services,

consumption tremendously, once

(such as our Street & Situation

where manufacturers use the same

used correctly by drivers.”

Crafter), which we have optimised

technology for their sales efforts

for motion sickness reduction

and to conduct driver training.”

He continues: “We discovered

following an XR-first mindset.”

the potential and benefits of fully

Despite the challenges of 2020, NXRT is

immersive virtual test drives for

“As a result, clients using our

increasing its focus on the development

dealerships, which is now one of

solution are up to 60% faster than

of its next-generation solutions.

our primary points of focus in the

with traditional tools. What’s more,

automotive industry.”

companies can also rely on our

Stranger says: “As paradoxical as it

services directly, and create tailor-

may sound, we have hired a lot more

“In addition to virtual test drives, we

made experiences according to

people to boost development and

are also working on a solution with

their needs with our design team,”

stay ahead at the forefront of XR

original equipment manufacturers

Stranger adds.

driving simulations.”

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August 2020

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Automotive / flyingshapes°

Introducing spatial vision

Automotive design no longer begins with sketches on a page. Now, it’s an experience

J

onas Kunze and Dr Johannes

area where they could apply their

To achieve these aims, they turned

Mattmann, the Germany-

experience and knowhow.

to VR. Kunze says: “We realised

based co-founders of

that VR offers huge potential for

VR design application

Kunze, who spent the years

designers because it maintains one

flyingshapes°, did what all

between CERN and meeting up

of their greatest assets for good

good software developers do when

with Mattmann as a freelance

design: the human sense for space.”

they came up with their concept:

software developer, comments:

they simplified an existing process.

“We began talking about how we

“And it comes with a—literally—

both felt that CAD software is way

more hands-on-approach to

Some years after meeting at CERN

too complex and intimidating to

controlling digital objects that

(the European Organization for

average users.”

feels more natural than pushing a

Nuclear Research), Kunze and

mouse.”

Mattmann identified the computer-

“We wanted to develop a 3D

aided design (CAD) software used

modelling software that is easy to

By introducing spatial vision to the

by automotive designers as an

get started with and intuitive to use.”

initial stages of the automotive >>

Designers can callaborate inside of the application. Credit: flyingshapes°

Do you want to know more? Visit: /Automotive


Automotive / flyingshapes° design process, they could improve design quality and shorten development time. Kunze explains: “Our software is developed as a virtual design studio for the initial vehicle design. It is a creative environment where automotive designers can simply take their conceptual ideas and start sketching in 3D space.” “In the same time and with the same skills it would usually take to put a 2D rendering on paper, designers can now create an entire 3D surface model surrounded by an awe-inspiring landscape.” “But unlike a drawing on a piece of paper they can then go and tweak the contours, change the background and the perspective until their vision is perfectly captured. Throughout the process, they experience their design as if it were standing right in front of them and the designer can even sit in the driver’s seat.” Launched in 2019, flyingshapes° is a VR design application that allows designers to sketch, shape and refine high-end 3D models using VR headsets such as Oculus Rift. With two VR controllers in hand, intuitive haptic technology enables automotive designers to mold and position objects with exact lines, curves and surfaces using gestures in an immersive 360-degree workspace. With that 2D to 3D step removed, flyingshapes° reduces time-consuming iteration cycles during prototyping and the early stages of design. “Some ideas that work in a 2D sketch are simply not realisable in 3D,” Kunze explains. “We provide an easy-to-use way to test your idea early on and create a stunning three-dimensional key sketch of your concept that you can present to management.” The addition of a robust feature set, from a virtual design studio to curve and line, surface building, >>

The flyingshapes° VR design application. Credits: flyingshapes°

vr worldtech.com

August 2020

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Automotive / flyingshapes°

An automotive design concept. Credit: flyingshapes°

taping, measurement, and

where it can be tweaked and

if you have several offices all over

diagnostic and intelligent modelling

redrafted as required, as intuitively

the world, each team would need

tools, helps automotive designers

as the more common, traditional

an exact copy of this clay model,

to achieve greater efficiency and

pen-and-paper approach.

including the very latest changes.

Further enhancements of

“In a situation like we have now with

flyingshapes° include a

the pandemic, this physical model

Kunze continues: “We made

collaboration mode and enhanced

may not be accessible at all.”

flyingshapes° specifically for

security—two features that are

automotive designers, so they can

integral to efficient and secure

“You have none of these problems

realise exactly the vision and the

automotive design.

with our digital models, all you

accuracy when refining this key sketch into a detailed concept car.

atmosphere they have in mind without

need is a standard VR headset to

having to rely on 3D modelling

On the collaboration mode, Kunze

specialists or anyone else.”

explains: “Traditionally, automotive

experience the design.”

designers depend very much

“With our collaborative features

“To achieve this goal we even

on clay models to examine how

you can work together on the same

worked together with Logitech and

their designs look and feel in the

project from, let’s say, Europe and

figured out how we can translate

real world. Like I said before, it’s

the US and have somebody from Asia

the familiar pen-and-paper

imperative to experience the object

review the design instantly. Imagine

workflow designers love to VR with

in space and ideally in life-size.

how much time, money and resources

their new stylus VR Ink.”

You have to see the vehicle from

this can save!”

all angles and walk around it to get With VR Ink, automotive designers

every aspect of the design right.”

can sketch out their 2D drawing on

As for security, Kunze explains that design projects in the automotive

their desk and find their work on

“These clay models are very expensive

industry are “usually top secret”

a ‘virtual tablet’ in flyingshapes°,

and labour-intensive to produce. And

and manufacturers are >>

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August 2020

vr worldtech.com


Automotive / flyingshapes°

Jonas Kunze Co-founder of flyingshapes°

We made flyingshapes° specifically for automotive designers, so they can realise exactly the vision and the atmosphere they have in mind without having to rely on 3D modelling specialists or anyone else.

“very strict about what you can or

“Files can only be accessed with

you need to sculpt your design will

cannot do with the data”.

special permission over their secure

be your hands. On top of that, we

networks and are never copied

will make the workflow even faster

This became problematic when the

or stored locally on the receiving

by automating certain operations.”

pandemic hit because designers

device. All data stays on the OEM’s

were sent home and so were unable

infrastructure all the time.”

Kunze adds: “We are constantly

to comply with security protocols.

learning from working closely with

Kunze says: “They wouldn’t even

Next up for Kunze and Mattmann

international manufacturers about

be allowed to email a sketch.”

is a library of recurring assets

how to improve our software and

that automotive designers can

make the early design process even

He continues: “So, you see, data

rely on to enhance designs, such

more intuitive.”

security is extremely important and

as headlights, or different 360°

it is therefore built into the DNA of

pictures to serve as backdrops and

“Our goal is to make flyingshapes°

flyingshapes°.”

landscapes to affect mood.

the go-to-software for automotive designers because it provides ease

“In cases of the big automotive

They also want to embrace hand

of use and professional results at the

brands, data is stored on a server at

tracking, but only “as soon as it

same time.”

their headquarters, fully under the

becomes really accurate”. Kunze

company’s control.”

says: “In a not too distant future, all

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August 2020

53


Meet:

VARS Austria-based VARS creates, designs and develops XR content and experiences for a range of user groups and industries, all with innovation at their heart

What does VARS do and what is your background? Franco Lanfur: VARS stands for Virtual and Augmented Reality Studio. We create, design, and develop XR content and experiences for different users and industries. I founded VARS in 2019. My background as an architect and my passion for history and technology encouraged me to specialise in digitalisation and XR. As I learned more about ancient history and architecture, I realised that many important historical places have been destroyed or modified and no longer fit the representations we have. Consequently, I wanted to showcase these extinct historical places through new immersive technologies and support tourism companies in taking the step towards digitalisation. >>

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Do you want to know more? Visit: /Meet


Developer / VARS I started creating AR visualisations of historical places in Vienna and Latin America. In 2017, I publicly presented this content in partnership with a tourism agency (Archäonow). Since our interactive and innovative performance was a success, in 2018, we launched the first AR Austria Tour, which has been positioned as a pioneer project in the city because of its novelty. Also, in mid-2019 after the launch of VARS, we started working in the

We are committed to supporting our clients and partners in creating innovative systems and strategies that enrich their services.

healthcare industry in cooperation with the Viennese psychological treatment company, Phobius. We created a VR kit to help patients cope

Franco Lanfur

with phobias in a safer environment

Founder of VARS

that was controlled by specialists. Due to Covid-19, the use of digital

of digital content whose high quality

We are committed to supporting

marketing has been growing and,

and originality enhance the user

our clients and partners in creating

in this context, we have signed

experience. For instance, VARS

innovative systems and strategies

agreements to create AR and VR

provides XR experiences as mobile

that enrich their services. Through our

content such as reality filters for

applications, PC programs and

personalised service and the use of

social media.

social media effects.

immersive technology, our products achieve high standards, originality and

What is your unique selling point for clients?

By doing so, in the employment

they meet our clients’ expectations.

market, we solve problems such as limited space and time to train

How receptive are your clients to immersive technology? Have they embraced your solutions, or is education required to demonstrate benefits?

Franco Lanfur: We believe that the

company staff. In the healthcare

realities that we create enhance the

field, VARS provides innovative

user’s physical world experience,

tools that attempt to reduce

realities from which everyone can

the high costs of psychological

benefit. In this sense, we are a

treatments such as phobias and,

committed and reliable studio that

in the area of history and cultural

develops high-quality XR content

heritage, we virtually displayed

Franco Lanfur: Due to the growing

and experiences for clients.

extinct and modified historical

consumption and influence of VR

places that provide a clear

and AR in different fields, many

Through the use of technology, we

reference of how these places used

companies are attracted to using

support our clients in the creation

to be.

them. >>

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August 2020

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Developer / VARS However, most of the time it is not clear how they can introduce and implement these new technologies in their services in a way that provides benefits. For this reason, we believe that education and research in these fields are required. From our side, VARS assumes the challenge of adapting innovative technologies to our client’s expectations and requirements. As a result, the implementation of receptive and pioneering projects has succeeded in demonstrating the benefits of XR as well as

xxxxxx

supporting our clients in becoming part of the XR history.

What do you offer to help your clients get the most out of your solutions?

Since the technologies we use

available worldwide and will target

constantly vary regarding their

tourism agencies.

consumption and potential, it is essential for us to maintain our

In addition, we continue to work

projects so that they are at the

hand in hand with our clients and

forefront and are innovative. We

partners to create customised

are proud and happy to provide

projects that allow them to heighten

Franco Lanfur: At VARS, we are

our clients with the opportunity

their products and services, all in

aware of the rapidly changing

to enhance their user experience

XR.

digital marketplace and the great

through immersive technology.

potential it holds for our clients. For that re a son, we wo r k h a n d

What do you have in store for 2020?

in h a nd w i t h t he m f ro m th e

How can interested parties get in touch? Franco Lanfur: Get in touch

fir st b ra i nstor mi ng s e s s i o n

Franco Lanfur: We are working

through the contact page on our

to digi t a l i m p l e m e ntati o n fo r

on two new projects in the area of

website, www.vars.at, or send an

bette r re sul t s. O nce th e pro je c t

history and cultural heritage that

email to office@vars.at.

is comp l e te d, our yo u n g a n d

will be available in September. The

qualif i e d te a m conti n u e s to

first one combines the best of VR

You can also follow us on Instagram

adap t i t a ccord i ng to th e

and AR, and aims to enable tourists

via @vr_ar_vienna, Facebook via

requ e st s t hat m ay a r i s e d u r i n g

to experience Vienna as never

@VarsVienna and LinkedIn via @

its imp l e m e nt at i on ove r ti m e.

before. Our second project will be

VARS.

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August 2020

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The fifth issue of VRWorldTech Magazine will consider how organisations and defence companies are deploying immersive tech to prepare and enhance personnel and equipment, at home and in conflict zones.

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HOW CAN SOLDIER-CENTRIC IMMERSIVE TECH IMPROVE THE EFFECTIVENESS OF MILITARY PERSONNEL WHILE KEEPING THEM SAFE?


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VRWorldTech Magazine: Issue 4  

Technology such as VR and AR will play a crucial role in the new normal, as the latest issue of VRWorldTech Magazine demonstrates, with its...

VRWorldTech Magazine: Issue 4  

Technology such as VR and AR will play a crucial role in the new normal, as the latest issue of VRWorldTech Magazine demonstrates, with its...

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