St. Louis Park Business Council
We hosted the St. Louis Park Business Council meeting on December 6. About 20 local business leader attended and demo’d virtual reality. We are proud to be part of this chapter of the Chamber of Commerce and look forward to continued collaboration with local businesses.
Best of MN
We were fortunate to be chosen as one of the “Best of MN” presenters last week, where we demo’d VR to about 50 people from around the state. Beat Saber was on the menu and, as usual, everyone was incredibly impressed. We opened some eyes to the possibility of VR and even made some interesting connections in law enforcement and education that could lead to long-term partnerships for REM5.
Schools are excited about VR
We've had a busy few weeks showing educators virtual reality at REM5. Charter school AGAMIM visited on Thursday, December 6 with 15 teachers demoing VR. Beacon Academy teachers were here Thursday, December 13 with 18 teachers and staff experiencing VR. They’re very excited about bringing the ENTIRE SCHOOL to REM5.
Benilde teachers continue to be early adoptors with math teachers exploring Calcflow, Google Blocks, and Make VR Pro for teaching calculus and geometry (Blocks and Make VR). This was a continuation of demos we did with Benilde in November, so this relationship is maturing as teachers learn more about VR.
Continuing the education track, representatives from Macalister and Hill Murray also stopped in to REM5 to discuss how they’re using VR and how we may be able to expand their capabilities. Schools are
VR in Architecture
We recently had the pleasure of assisting our architecture firm on a pitch for a new project. We used Iris Prospect to show a project they designed and proposed using VR as a tool in the design phase of the project. Instead of having meeting at their offices, where they would pass around 2D drawings and images, REM5 could host design reviews and the architects could pull up different design options in the virtual space to give customer employees more context in their design options. Architecture is one area where VR has a lot of potential to both save money and improve results.
One of the great powers of virtual reality is we can simulate experiences without taking on real-world risks. The military was one of the first to recognize this benefit in the early 2000s, building tank and aircraft simulators with virtual reality built-in.
The Army is using what it's calling a Synthetic Training Environment to simulate military exercises in a variety of environments. Soldiers will be able to team up with counterparts at 20 locations across the country to train in close-combat environments.
Simulating military exercises will reduce injury, save money, and increase the number of reps a soldier can get in simulated field exercises. Those are all big wins for everyone in the military and virtual reality is making it possible.
Walmart is betting big on virtual reality as a training tool, sending four Oculus Go headsets to each Supercenter and two to each Neighborhood and discount store. In total, the company will have 17,000 VR headsets in the field, giving employees quick and easy training on new initiatives like pickup kiosks. See the video below to see how Walmart is using VR.
The lines between the real and virtual world are becoming blurred as VR and AR technology improve. Here are a few of our favorite examples.
Disney is testing throwing a physical ball that is rendered in the virtual space, allowing a user to catch the ball in real time. The technology can even predict where a ball will land in the physical world.
The Void allows you to interact with the Star Wars world in its experiences and is adding new content and locations regularly.
Expect the real and virtual world to collide more and more in the future, something we're very excited about at REM5.
One of the VR applications we're most excited about is training and we're starting to see some amazing content hit the market. "Wrench" is coming to early access this fall and makes it possible for even the most novice mechanic (like me) to build a car from scratch. Find out how the inner workings of an engine work and see just how many parts go into the piece of equipment we take for granted everyday. Check out the trailer here:
Training is one of the biggest potential markets for virtual reality and one area we have high hopes for is first responder training. Real life police, ambulence, and fire simulations are difficult to set up and expensive to operate. VR can help save cost in training and simulations and improve performance as well.
Flaimtrainer is a company that does VR simulation with haptic feedback combined with a virtual environment for training firefighters.
ECU School of Medical and Health Sciences has built a paramedic training experience in VR to help train people assessing a scene. Check out their work below.
At REM5, we think training is going to be a huge use of virtual reality and we're already talking with partners about their needs. Contact us if you want to find out more about training in VR.
One of the most incredible things about virtual reality is that it gives an entirely new perspective to places most people have read about before. Reading a book about Mount Everest or seeing pictures of the Titanic are great, but actually visiting them in a virtual world puts their scale into an entirely different perspective.
Everest VR takes users through climbing Earth's highest mountain from basecamp to the summit. If you've ever wondered what it really looks like on the top of Mount Everest, this is the most realistic way to see it (without climbing the actual mountain).
Titanic VR allows you to explore the sunken ship in a way never possible before.
A favorite at REM5 is the Anne Frank House VR experience, which puts Anne Frank's story into a new context. If a picture is worth a thousand words is a VR image worth a million words?
A year ago, at Facebook's Oculus developer conference, the company announced the standalone Oculus Go and teased the fully immersive Oculus Santa Cruz. Go has hit the market, but Santa Cruz has been a tease for the VR industry since then.
According to Upload VR, Santa Cruz will be announced at Oculus Connect on September 26-27 with a launch expected in the first quarter of 2019. If true, standalone VR headsets could be a reality within months, enabling the next generation of virtual reality.
BigBox VR, maker of Smashbox Arena, is introducing a new game in 2019 called Population: One, a near replica of Fortnite, but in virtual reality. Demos and beta tests are underway (including one here at REM5 VR Lab) for what is sure to be the talk of the industry next year.
A lot of the businesses on the forefront of virtual reality are in the retail sector, where companies are trying to find ways to improve customer experiences and increase sales. Designers are trying out concepts like virtual showrooms and allowing people to virtually try on cloths. Walmart is even trying to make virtual shopping a differentiator for its online store.
As much as companies may talk about VR in retail, watch for augmented reality (AR) to a the first technology to gain traction. AR can quickly bring up information like nutrition or diet filters while walking down a grocery store aisle. And since our smartphones are AR devices already, the technology is out in the field. Maybe a Keto or Gluten-free diet will be easier to shop for once VR and AR shopping really go mainstream.