Tag Archives: VR

VR Watch — Inside VR & AR, November 9th, 2017

VR Kiosk WatchVR Kiosk Watch

SteamVR for Windows / Harry Potter AR game / RideVR theme park headsets

Source: inside.com

Pretty cool — VR Coaster and Sensics have partnered to create RideVR, all-in-one VR headsets for theme parks. The headset’s display can detach from the head and chin strap while guests are adjusting the fit, and the face masks are hypo-allergenic, reusable, and machine washable.

AR and VR Kiosk Coming to a Kiosk Near You

Although still in their relative infancy, augmented reality and virtual reality technologies promise to greatly expand the types of screen-based applications in the marketplace.

By Richard Slawsky contributor

A new dimension is about to be added to the world of customer-facing screens.

Verizon VR at hq in San Francisco. Click for full size.

Retailers and other businesses are working to incorporate augmented reality and virtual reality to change the way consumers shop, industrial workers manufacture products and engineers design new devices. The technologies haven’t yet reached critical mass in the marketplace, but industry observers say it’s just a matter of time.

Although predictions of market size should always be taken with a grain of salt, a report by Menlo Park, Calif.-based consulting firm Digi-Capital pegs the AR/VR market as topping $108 billion by 2021, up from $3.9 billion in 2016.
Augmented reality is defined as a technology that superimposes a computer-generated image on a user’s view of the real world, thus providing a composite view. Although the concept has been around for several years, it gained widespread attention in mid-2016 with the smartphone-based game Pokemon Go. Players of the game used the smartphone’s GPS capabilities to locate and capture virtual creatures called Pokemon, which were visible when viewing real-world locations using the smartphone’s screen.

And virtual reality is the computer-generated environment typically entered via a headset that creates that world in front of the wearers’ eyes. Although the gaming market may be the prime driver for VR technology, retailers including Lowes, IKEA and Walmart are exploring VR for uses ranging from interior design to employee training.

VR solutions currently on the market include Facebook’s Oculus Rift and HTC’s VIVE. In addition, a number of solutions integrate a user’s smartphone into an add-on headset as a way to create the VR experience.

Early adopters setting the stage

Much of the movement to date in the AR space revolves around solutions that let consumers view how a particular product will look in their home before they make a buying decision.

Ashley Furniture, for example, debuted an iPad app in 2016 to help shoppers see how furniture pieces fit in existing spaces. Shoppers are able to move pieces around with the app to try various arrangements and to make sure furniture selections will fit with their existing pieces.

After a customer uses the iPad space configuration app, they can put on virtual reality headsets to experience the arrangements to make changes or select different pieces. Ashley worked with Kettering, Ohio-based Marxent Labs to develop the AR and VR customer tools.

“Augmented and virtual reality are essential to our growth and vision for the future,” said Ashley CEO Todd Wanek. “Our data shows that a combination of 3D visualization, seeing, touching and feeling actual products, combined with the consultation of our knowledgeable salespeople, will lead to a stand-apart customer experience that is location-flexible.”

In March, home improvement store Lowes introduced its “Holoroom How To” virtual reality skills-training clinic at several stores in Boston and Canada. The application purports to help customers can learn basic do-it-yourself skills, such as tiling a shower or refinishing a floor, in an interactive VR environment. The application is an extension of the retailer’s Holoroom tool, launched in 2014. That application allowed users to visualize home improvement projects in a VR environment.

“During the past three years, we have been exploring real-life applications of augmented and virtual reality experiences to directly help our customers solve everyday problems,” Kyle Nel, executive director of Lowe’s Innovation Labs, said when Holoroom How-To was launched. “Our experience has shown that customers are embracing AR/VR as part of their home improvement journey, and now, we are using immersive VR to help our customers learn the required skills to complete challenging home improvement projects.”

And furniture retailer IKEA has partnered with Apple to develop an app for the next-generation iPhone that will let users place virtual selections from the company’s catalogue in whatever space they choose. For example, consumers will be able to hold their iPhone up in their living room and add virtual furniture to their existing décor. The app, slated to be released in the fall, is expected to include a feature that lets uses buy products from within the app itself.

“This technology makes it easier to make buying decisions in your own home, get inspired and try many different products, styles and colors in real-life settings with the swipe of your finger,” IKEA’s digital transformation leader Michael Valdsgaard said in a release. “I think that augmented reality and virtual reality will be a total game changer for retail in the same way as the internet. Only this time much faster.”

Supplementing the kiosk experience

Although many of the AR/VR applications hitting the market involve the use of smartphones or special headsets, there are plenty of opportunities for kiosks in the space.
Toymaker Lego, for example, has been deploying AR-enabled kiosks in its stores since 2010. Users hold a product box in front of the kiosk’s camera, and the screen displays a 3D image of the assembled toy on top of the box.

In the Asian market, trade publication Premium Beauty News reports that a Watson’s beauty supply store in Shanghai, China, has deployed a kiosk outfitted with augmented reality facial detection technology. The kiosks allows users to see how they would look with a variety of makeup products, including brands such as MaxFactor, Maybelline and Kate Cosmetics. The kiosks use augmented reality technology from Perfect Corporation.

And in conjunction with the March 2016 release of the movie “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice,” outdoor advertiser JCDecaux partnered with Roadshow Films to deploy kiosks in Sidney and Brisbane, Australia, that enabled users to project their face onto the outfit of their chosen superhero and engage in a battle with the other character.
Users could adjust the size of their facial image to fit the costume and share images from the kiosks on social media platforms.

But while applications for AR-enabled kiosks may only be limited by the imagination of content creators, their use with virtual reality technology isn’t yet clear.

In addition to the higher cost of VR solutions relative to traditional kiosks, hygiene concerns related to sharing headsets in a public deployment have made some potential users wary.

VR companies are working to address those concerns, though. Oculus Rift and Samsung VR have created removable face foam for their headsets, while Japanese companies have been selling disposable VR headset hygiene masks.

But while kiosks may only be a small part of the VR equation, the potential for VR technology itself seems great, with new applications hitting the market nearly every day.

SeaWorld in Orlando, Fla., for example, has incorporated a virtual reality component with its Kraken Unleashed roller coaster. Riders have the option of wearing a virtual reality headset that creates the impression of the coaster traveling under water and encountering a variety of sea life.

And many of the non-entertainment applications are being developed for working on machinery and/or training new employees. VR headsets can display an exploded 3D image of a car’s engine to detail maintenance procedures, while flight simulators can create a more immersive experience with the technology.

Retail giant Walmart plans to incorporate Oculus Rift VR headsets at its 200 training centers to help train new employees. The company got the idea after one of its employees saw the technology being used at a University of Arkansas football team practice.

Walmart’s testing indicates that associates who go through VR training retain what they’ve learned better than those who haven’t. Once the technology is fully rolled out more than 140,000 associates each year will have VR as part of their training experience, company officials said.

More News on VR Kiosk

  • VR Watch — Inside VR & AR, November 9th, 2017 2017/11/09VR Watch -- Inside VR & AR, November 9th, 2017
    SteamVR for Windows / Harry Potter AR game / RideVR theme park headsets Source: inside.com Pretty cool — VR Coaster and Sensics have partnered to create RideVR, all-in-one VR headsets for theme parks. The headset’s display can detach from the head and chin strap while guests are adjusting the fit, and the face masks are hypo-allergenic, reusable, and machine ...
  • AR and VR Kiosk Coming to a Kiosk Near You 2017/07/30 AR and VR Kiosk Coming to a Kiosk Near You
    Although still in their relative infancy, augmented reality and virtual reality technologies promise to greatly expand the types of screen-based applications in the marketplace. By Richard Slawsky contributor A new dimension is about to be added to the world of customer-facing screens. Retailers and other businesses are working to incorporate augmented reality and virtual reality to change the ...
  • Walmart is training employees with a Black Friday VR simulator 2017/06/04Walmart is training employees with a Black Friday VR simulator
    Walmart’s 200 “Walmart Academy” training centers are all planning to incorporate virtual reality by the end of 2017, after an earlier pilot program. The limited curriculum is being produce Source: www.theverge.com
  • VR kiosk – The Theme Park of the Future Could Be in This Chinese Basement 2017/04/06VR kiosk - The Theme Park of the Future Could Be in This Chinese Basement
    Virtual reality is catching on in China. Just ask Zhang Yimou, the man who choreographed the opening ceremony of the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Source: www.bloomberg.com Movie director is converting his movies to VR so fans can immerse in theme park.
  • Just How Big Is The Virtual Reality Market And Where Is It Going Next? 2017/04/06Just How Big Is The Virtual Reality Market And Where Is It Going Next?
    2016 was a pivotal year for VR but how big is the industry right now? Here are some figures that show who shipped what…but that’s not the fina Source: www.forbes.com There are currently two main categories of VR currently available: mobile (Samsung/Google) and PC (Oculus). Facebook believes there is another space in the middle of the ...
  • Emerging Tech Brief — VR news and AR news 2017/03/24 Emerging Tech Brief -- VR news and AR news
    We track VR and AR and here is some of the recent news. Walt Disney Co. CEO Bob Iger has no interest in using VR headsets at the company’s theme parks. This is a response to rival theme parks, like Six Flags and SeaWorld, integrating VR headsets to rides. Instead, Iger is open to using AR technology on rides and attractions. ...
  • Apple Wants to Bring Augmented Reality to the Masses 2017/03/20Apple Wants to Bring Augmented Reality to the Masses
    CEO Tim Cook is betting on augmented reality, a cousin of VR that he believes will keep his company on top and may even supplant the iPhone. Source: www.bloomberg.com The big bang…
  • Blast From Past – NCR Room 504 2016/05/03 Blast From Past - NCR Room 504
    With the recent news of the Walmart Innovation Lab 415-C soliciting new tech ideas, I thought it would be useful to look back at one of the original Star Labs. From March 22, 2002 Technology Spotlight — NCR Room 504 In these days of busted budgets and deferred deployments, it was a real treat while at the ATMIA ...

Blast From Past – NCR Room 504

With the recent news of the Walmart Innovation Lab 415-C soliciting new tech ideas, I thought it would be useful to look back at one of the original Star Labs.

From March 22, 2002

Technology Spotlight — NCR Room 504

In these days of busted budgets and deferred deployments, it was a real treat while at the ATMIA show in Florida, to be invited to the rumored-to-exist-to-date “Room 504”. This is name NCR gives to the private display of futuristic technology concepts. I personally applaud NCR for this fantastic commitment to the future in this time of budget scrutiny. I know other companies such as Intel and others have their own scenario labs and I count myself very fortunate to have been given a peek into NCRs.

What is Room 504?

It is the brand name for NCR’s Future Concepts. It is NOT the location or room number (tell that to the elevator operator in NCRs Dundee Scotland Headquarters!).

The idea was introduced to customers back in 1998 by NCR’s “Self Service Strategic Solutions” team, who have been instrumental in the develoment and introduction of many future concepts and ideas.

SSSS monitors the key indicators which highlight potential changes which will impact business; they then build concepts which demonstrate possible future senarios. Keeping a close eye on “disruptive technologies” and how they influence new business models is key to a company being a core participant.

The feedback and knowledge gained from these concepts influence the design and development of NCR’s new solutions.

Back to the Show!

Mark Grossi, Chief Technology Officer from the NCR Financial Solutions Division (out of Dundee, Scotland) and Neal Schwartz, Vice President Convenience TouchPoints, NCR Financial Solutions Division (USA) were the hosts in Florida.

I actually have had some dealings with Mark and the Dundee group prior to this when I was gathering reseach, comments and perspective from various Association members regarding Biometrics and specifically Facial Recognition. I had a presentation at a conference in London in February where I presented on this subject. Mark and Group were very helpful and encouraging towards my presentation and I consider myself very fortunate for the opportunity to work with them on this subject. I would be remiss if I didn’t also thank Tim Peterson and Dan Palczynski of NCR as well. The presentation is accessible at http://www.kiosks.org/smi.

In the photo is Morrison Reyner, Mark Grossi and Bob Sutherland by the way.
In the photo is Morrison Reyner, Mark Grossi and Bob Sutherland by the way.

Before we started there was the inevitable NDA to sign. Once that was out of the way my NCR Room 504 tour was led by Mike McNamara with Mark and Bob Sutherland (all from Dundee). In the photo is Morrison Reyner, Mark Grossi and Bob Sutherland by the way.

The most interesting concept that I took home just happened to be the very first one and that was the idea of “prestaging transactions”. I like that concept!

(Note: I cannot describe precisely what I saw as that would be in violation of my agreement and the consequences at the very least would be that Mark and company could not buy me beer! It’s actually much more serious than that of course).

ncr-28
Somewhat younger Keefner and Grossi

Anyway back to the tour — they took my picture at the first “point”, which always makes anyone nervous. I decided to even the match a bit and whipped out my Palm Pilot with my hand carefully obscuring what could be 802.11x transceiver. Mark smiled and squinted a bit trying to eyeball my palm. Mission accomplished I revealed I didn’t have a transceiver. Tech war in Florida! Count me in…

Seriously though, other concepts which got lodged in my brain were “object computing and communcation”. All types of objects. My own longtime favorite of personalization was not lost on this crowd as they had pushed the envelope in that regard. One bit of very good advice from Mark is to learn to leave preconceptions at the door. Harder to do than it sounds take it from me.

All of which also communicates some very basic concepts that all of us are aware of. One, is never put all of your eggs in one basket. Another is that Consumer Trends and Consumer Behavior is something that must be constantly evaluated and tracked. Don’t make people wait. Handle all types of media.

Some people will wonder if looking ahead to the future makes perfect sense. I used to work geophysics for Litton Resources back in the 70s and we had our own specially funded “Star Wars Group” in the UK that looked ahead. Exxon, Shell and Chevron were our big clients (and that’s pretty big…). Back then experts were predicting that the world’s oil reserves would be completely depleted by 1995. That didn’t happen because we found new ways to find oil. I noticed BP Chairman Sir John Browne talking about the tremendous new reserves in deepwater Gulf of Mexico just the other day. Like it or not, technology advances occur and make tremendous economic impact. If Exxon and Shell had restricted themselves to West Texas, yes we would’ve run out. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.

I really want to thank the guys (and gals) from Dundee and NCR Financial Division in general for the opportunity that they extended to me.

Note: The concepts on display at Florida were a very small segment of the concepts that SSSS has developed (I will guess I was exposed to at best one of ten).

And to close, just to introduce the SSSS team I do have one picture of the main team in Florida cutting up for the camera. “Freedom” for customers to conduct transactions and to manage their information safely and more effectively is a concept which any company serving customers can appreciate….

THANKS NCR!

ncr-29

Emerging Tech Brief — VR news and AR news

We track VR and AR and here is some of the recent news. VR news

Walt Disney Co. CEO Bob Iger has no interest in using VR headsets at the company’s theme parks. This is a response to rival theme parks, like Six Flags and SeaWorld, integrating VR headsets to rides. Instead, Iger is open to using AR technology on rides and attractions. Disney’s CEO also said that he makes a weekly trip to the company’s engineering lab, where he wears a head-worn device that enables him to hold a light saber and duel with a storm trooper. This could be a reference to Disney’s partnership with VR startup Magic Leap. — LAT

Facebook could be working on an AR product. The social media giant assembled a roster of tech veterans last year to lead its hardware group, Building 8. Business Insider has learned that the team has been working on augmented reality, cameras and brain scanning technology. Although Facebook has no experience in selling hardware, the moves indicate they may be ready to take on the new and ambitious effort.— BI

According to research from Frank N. Magid Associates, 89% of VR headset buyers said they were “satisfied” or “very satisfied” with the product. When asked about their willingness to recommend a VR product to family and friends, 81% said they would. 90% of buyers found their device easy or very easy to use and 85% believed their headset purchase was a good value. In terms of the content being viewed on the headset, 72% said they watch non-gaming content on their headset, which outpaced 63% of users who play games on their headset. — DEALERSCOPE

Gorillaz have released a VR music video in anticipation of their new album, Humanz. Directed by Jamie Hewlett, “Saturnz Barz,” is a six-minute VR short film that follows the British virtual band on a journey through space. Viewers can also hear snippets of yet-to-be-released tracks from the album, set to release April 28. The video can be viewed through YouTube’s VR app. — UPLOADVR

Some museums in the U.S. are adding VR exhibits to attract more visitors. For instance, the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County has added theBlu, a VR experience that lets visitors explore the virtual ocean. Wevr, the VR company behind the exhibit, loaned the computers and equipment to the museum. “We think that out of home venues such as museums are a terrific space for the public to have their first experience in virtual reality,” Wevr CEO Neville Spiteri told Marketplace. — MARKETPLACE

NCAA March Madness will be available for viewing in VR. Starting with the “Sweet 16” game series, Samsung Gear VR users can download the NCAA March Madness Live VR app to watch the tournament in VR. The app is available for free from the Oculus store, but will cost $2.99 to watch one game, or $7.99 to watch six games. The VR coverage includes arena sounds, multiple court side cameras and VR-specific commentary. — NEW ATLAS

Apple has introduced Clips, a new iOS app that allows users to add filters, text and graphics to photos and video. Some have speculated that the app could serve as a launchpad for the tech giant to test new AR features. Clips works very similar to mashup between iMovie and Snapchat, allowing users to add filters, basic text and contextual elements to video. Unlike Snapchat, users can edit videos of up to 60 minutes. Video clips can be exported to share via iMessage or to social media platforms. The app will be available for free and will be released in April. — THE VERGE

The Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce used VR at SXSW to recruit candidates to work at tech firms in the city. Hundreds of potential employees experienced the sights and sounds of Atlanta through a VR headset. “Virtual reality is a great way to actually transport somebody from the other side of the country to your headquarters here to see what it’s like to work here,” said Dave Beck, co-founder of Atlanta-based VR firm Foundry 45,  who was recruiting candidates at the conference. — WABE 90.1

Apollo Box is opening up its AR product visualization technology to all brands interested in selling through its platform. The Santa Clara, Calif.-based startup believes AR can encourage online shopping. Since testing its beta of the product, Apollo Box has sold 1,105 items involving the use of AR. Only 65 products are available for sale on the marketplace through AR, but company co-founder Will Li believes that number will grow. “We believe more brands will work with us after this public launch, and we hope to reach 25 percent of our growing inventory in the next six months,” he told TechCrunch. — TECHCRUNCH

VR is finally getting to be good. I saw some stunning VR on the road, but it’s not enough. In talking with Mark Cuban he said something deep: until we stop getting only mind-blowing demos and games it won’t really go mainstream (he says someday soon we’ll use it to watch boring stuff, not just the amazing games and demo reel stuff that so far has mostly shipped). I say it won’t do that until phones can do six-degrees of freedom VR. Then you’ll see people use it for a wide variety of things, most important being personal media viewing. I’m advising a new company, Inception VR, that is aimed at exactly what Cuban is talking about.

 Watch for car companies to start figuring out they have important pieces (brand, stores, and SLAM maps) for mixed reality glasses too. Lots of deals will happen over the next year or two on that front.

Disney has developed software that allows users to interact with real objects while immersed in VR. The company’s research team released a video demonstration showing someone immersed in VR accurately catching a real ball thrown at him. While the VR headset wearer cannot see the real ball, he is responding to a virtual ball being tracked to the physical object. The new system relies on a high-speed motion capture camera called OptiTrack Flex 13, which was previously used by a quadriplegic to drive a race car using subtle head movements. — NEW ATLAS

Some Lowe’s stores are testing out an AR app that helps shoppers find products on your list faster. The app is powered by Google Tango, an indoor-mapping technology that uses special cameras to sense depth in 3D space. This technology can measure objects, map a room and see virtual objects in the real world with AR. The app guides shoppers throughout the store with text and image overlays on their smartphones. Currently, only the Lenovo Phab 2 Pro works with Google Tango, but more Tango-enabled devices are on the way. — CNET

A new AR experience from Pottery Barn allows shoppers to see how a product looks in their home before they buy. The retailer teamed up with Google to create 3D Room View. The app allows shoppers to pick items from an online catalog and use their smartphone cameras to overlay the product into their home. The app is also powered by Google Tango and is only available on Tango-enabled devices. — SF CHRONICLE

SVVR 2017: Silicon Valley VR Expo: March 29-31st

Universal Music Group has signed a deal with MelodyVR to create and distribute content with UMG’s roster of artists. The companies will share revenue generated from the content, as it will exclusively be available on MelodyVR’s upcoming app. The VR company will have the rights to the content for an unspecified amount of time before it is opened up to both parties to distribute and monetize on their own channels. The company has also struck a similar deal with Warner Music Group. MelodyVR specializes in creating VR live-music experiences. — BILLBOARD

AccuWeather’s new VR experience lets viewers see forecasts in virtual reality. The app, available for the Samsung Gear VR, provides immersive weather news, innovative forecasts and 360-degree video of severe weather events. New videos will be added to the app weekly. The app is now available through the Oculus Store. — ENGADGET ​

The Washington Post will begin regularly using augmented reality to add another dimension to its reporting. The Post previously used AR to augment its reporting in 2015 to illustrate the lead-up to Freddie Gray’s arrest and death in Baltimore, but at the time readers needed to download a dedicated app to access the content. The newspaper’s new AR campaign will involve capabilities that have since been built into the Post’s two content-providing apps. The paper will launch one AR experience this spring for a series by art and architecture critic Philip Kennicott. At this point, the plan is for the post to dole out an additional AR story once time per quarter. Joey Marburger, the newspaper’s director of product, says, “We’re still very skeptical about AR as well, but… everyone’s got an AR device in their pocket. That’s potential scale there.” – DIGIDAY

 

Six Flags New England is adding virtual reality to its Mind Eraser roller coaster, calling it “the world’s first mixed reality experience on a VR coaster.” A ride on the existing Mind Eraser coaster now offers the option of an additional “Galactic Attack” experience, which riders can access via Gear VR headsets. The headsets offer pass-through camera functionality, meaning riders can see their VR content as well as their actual surroundings. – MASSLIVE
General Electric found that augmented reality improves worker performance. AR smart glasses are being introduced in manufacturing, warehousing and field service environments, which can be used to overlay information for training purposes. In a study, GE found that a technician wiring a wind turbine’s control box using an AR headset for instructions was 34% more productive than one using a paper-based manual. GE also found warehouse workers receiving a new picklist order through AR completed the task 46% faster than those using the standard process. The company believes that AR technology will be instrumental in closing the skill gap that is responsible for the shortage of skilled manufacturing workers. — HBR

Oculus has cut prices on the Rift and the Touch Controller. Under the reduced pricing, the Rift and Touch combination is available for $598, amounting to $100 off each piece of VR hardware. The discount also applies to each device if purchased separately. Brendan Iribe, head of the Oculus group, has denied that the price cut is a response to slow sales: “VR is a whole new platform and medium, it’s the first time people are putting a computer on their head. We are cutting the price to bring VR to more people, and that’s always been our goal.” Earlier this week, Oculus announced eight new game titles. (HTC has announced it will not be matching Oculus’ price cut for their Vive headset.). – USAT

Google will make more VR content available through its Chrome browser via an update featuring WebVR technology. As part of a blog post Google published yesterday, the company announced that Chrome will now support WebVR tech, which enables online VRexperiences and is backed by many tech industry giants, like Firefox, Samsung, and Facebook. The add to Chrome boosts WebVR’s profile and greatly expands the platform VRdesigners have to display their creations. Those with access to a Daydream-ready smartphone or a Daydream View headset will find it is “as easy to step inside Air Force One as it is to access your favorite webpage,” according to Google. – MASHABLE

Best Buy and Oculus are closing nearly half of their Oculus Rift pop-up demo stations, reportedly due to slow performance. The installations let interested shoppers try out high-end VR for free, but they reportedly went days without anyone requesting a demo, according to employees. They also said some locations would sell only a few headsets per week during the holidays, and interest quickly declined after that. An Oculus spokesperson said the closures were due to “seasonal change” and noted that other retail outlets like Microsoft stores still offer demonstrations. – VERGE

VR kiosk – The Theme Park of the Future Could Be in This Chinese Basement

VR kiosk

Virtual reality is catching on in China. Just ask Zhang Yimou, the man who choreographed the opening ceremony of the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Source: www.bloomberg.com

Movie director is converting his movies to VR so fans can immerse in theme park.

Just How Big Is The Virtual Reality Market And Where Is It Going Next?

VR kiosk

2016 was a pivotal year for VR but how big is the industry right now? Here are some figures that show who shipped what…but that’s not the fina

Source: www.forbes.com

There are currently two main categories of VR currently available: mobile (Samsung/Google) and PC (Oculus). Facebook believes there is another space in the middle of the spectrum and is working on a cheaper device. Intel is also working a headset called Project Alloy.