Pavlov Community Map Becomes Official In PC VR Update

Pavlov‘s v26 update on PC VR has made some changes across the game and added a new map that was originally created by a member of the game’s community.

The new map, Industry, started its life as an unofficial community creation by mapper Voxie. It’s got a corporate look to it, as it’s set inside the offices of a fictional security firm, Infinitum Military Solutions. It became a fan favorite and so Pavlov’s developers have worked with Voxie to recreate the map and bring it into the game officially on PC VR.

Besides the new map, a few changes have been made to the game’s visual and audio assets, as well as some balance and gameplay changes. The NATO and Russian players models have been visually updated, which should improve team clarity and general performance. All of the weapon sounds in the game have been remastered as well, which should provide more “heavy impact” effects and greater reverb when outdoors.

Likewise, visual explosion effects have been added or altered for items like grenades, bombs and flashbangs. The game’s offline shooting range has also been rebuilt in this update, which should improve performance and provide players with easy access to other areas for offline play, available directly from the shooting range.

In terms of gameplay, players are now only able to buy one frag grenade at a time during the pre-round, to reduce grenade spam. There are also new limits to smokes, flashbangs and other utility items. A new shotgun is now available — the Trench Gun — and some historical scopes and bolt slap mechanics have been added to select weapons.

The developers also outlined plans to move to a faction-based weapon set in a future update, which they say will effectively limit what weapons are available to players depending on what team they’re on. “One team will have the AK available, and the other will have M4, and so on,” says the update post on Steam. “Some weapons will be shared between teams, of course, such as the Deagle.” These specific faction-based changes aren’t in effect yet, but will be made in a future update as part of a larger effort to revamp the buy menu.

New game modes are also in the works, such as a Push game mode, and can be tested now by switching over to the Steam beta build.

All of the above changes only apply to the PC VR version of Pavlov on Steam, which is released and developed separately from Pavlov Shack, the ‘lite’ version of the game available for Quest via App Lab.

You can read the full patch notes for Update 26 over on Steam.

How Mixed Reality can support Industry during the Covid-19 outbreak

The current pandemic situation has forced the subjects of the entire economic system to rethink work in many new ways and in no time. Even if the companies all reacted rather quickly to the changes imposed by the workers’ health protection measures, this does not mean that they managed to do it in the best way.

In almost all cases of readjustment of working conditions, the digitization of processes is involved at different depth levels.

Depending on the nature of the activity carried out, some companies had only to have their employees work from home, while for others, especially those of the industry, more structured changes were needed.

Industrial companies base their activity on the production of goods, therefore the factory is the beating heart of their processes. To guarantee production continuity to the factories, it was necessary to introduce very strict rules in protection of the health of workers, providing them with personal protective equipment, reviewing the mode and duration of shifts, sanitizing the work areas with a certain frequency and monitoring the temperature of the workers at the entrance.

Factories, by their nature, being places with a high social interaction, are very exposed to contagion and therefore must manage a series of risks that concern not only production, but also other processes including logistics, administration and in general staff. The contingencies due to the measures required to deal with Covid-19 have imposed a limitation of business travel, forcing companies to search for alternative ways of managing operations.

Below is a list of some of the industrial processes impacted by the health emergency, with an indication of how Augmented Reality can support certain activities, and some considerations on what will await us once the emergency ends.
Personnel Management

It has now become a practice, not only in companies, but also in some public bodies and commercial activities, to measure the temperature at the entrance. High temperature is one of the possible symptoms of Covid-19 positive and verifying that it does not exceed a certain threshold is fundamental in environments with many people. In this case, using computer vision solutions that leverage cameras or Smartglasses equipped with thermal imaging cameras, could speed up operations and streamline the queues at the entrance, without the need to point a laser at people.

Maintenance Management

One of the reasons that determine the greatest movement of personnel in the field concerns the management of maintenance. Even during the health emergency, it is essential for companies in certain sectors to ensure continuity and therefore they cannot afford to keep production or parts of it steady. In order to limit the movements of specialized maintenance personnel, it is possible to provide workers with practical tools that through the use of Augmented Reality help them to identify and solve problems, at least for those of small and medium size.

Inspection

Some industrial activities resort, in certain cases by law, to inspections of work areas or equipment, in order to carry out checks, measurements and other controls. During the pandemic, it was particularly critical in certain sectors to ensure inspection activities, in order not to endanger the health of inspectors. To this end, advanced computer vision systems, equipped on board of drones or other equipment, could guarantee the correct conduct of inspections without compromising human health.

Training

Since classroom training activities are discouraged, and considering the difficulty of training staff by making them work side by side with expert workers, Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality technologies offer excellent training aid to people, protecting them from prolonged contact with other individuals .

Risk Management

Both during the Phase 1 and Phase 2 of the emergency, the factories have reviewed the relationship between people and the work environment in a very profound way, making a number of choices aimed at limiting the density of people in the space, aimed at providing protection tools and aimed at informing workers about risks. Augmented Reality has already proven to be a very effective tool in the field of risk management in the workplace, thanks to its ability to allow an “augmented” visualization of the surrounding space, associated with rules and actions to be carried out to manage risks .

Except for the temperature control at the factory entrance, it can be said that all the other use cases in which Augmented Reality can support workers to contain risks by helping them to reduce travel and contacts with colleagues, are intended to prove useful even in a post-pandemic phase. Several of these scenarios are already reality in many industrial contexts, although often only for experimental purposes.

The emergency we are experiencing has only increased the awareness that digitization in industry is no longer just an option, but has in fact become the main road to rethinking processes.

The Venture Reality Fund’s 2019 VR Landscape Highlights 550+ Companies Generating Revenue

Every year San Francisco-based venture capital firm The Venture Reality Fund (The VR Fund) releases a report on the industry as a whole, detailing the major or most influential players across a range of categories. The new 2019 VR Landscape has just been released, this time based on those who have revenue only, with over 550 companies making the cut.

While it’s positive to see that so many companies are actually generating revenue from virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR), the new criteria do mean a lot of new startups and indie studios haven’t mad the cut like they would have done previously.

For 2019 The VR Fund has found major growth areas to be gaming, location-based entertainment (LBE), Next Generation Reality Capture, enterprise, and healthcare. Enterprise VR has been gaining ground in a number of ways, with new dedicated hardware arriving this year in the form of Varjo VR-1, the HP Reverb Pro Edition, and most recently the HTC Vive Pro Eye which went on sale this week. On the software side, Strivr has been training over a million Walmart employees while Gravity Sketch has been helping Ford design cars with Virtualitics helping data scientists at Cedar Sinai save lives.

When it comes to consumer VR 2019 is set to be an exciting year thanks to the upcoming hardware launches for Oculus Quest, Oculus Rift S and Valve Index, while Sony Interactive Entertainment (SIE) is still doing well with PlayStation VR having shipped 4.2 million units and even Nintendo entering the fray with the Labo VR Kit for Switch.

The VR Fund

It’s not just big companies that are succeeding, indie developers like Beat Games are achieving notable results with Beat Saber clearing 1 million sales, SUPERHOT VR doing better than the non-VR version, and big franchises coming to headsets like Angry Birds VR: Isle of Pigs from Rovio Entertainment and Resolution Games (Bait!).

The VR Fund notes that over $500 million has been invested in the VR and AR ecosystems since the beginning of 2019 – although a big part of that was Magic Leap’s $280M from NTT Docomo.

It has been a positive start to the first half of the year with adoption expected to increase as the year continues. For further updates on the VR/AR industries, keep reading VRFocus.

It’s Here Today: Integrating Virtual Reality Into Business

Virtual reality (VR) is not far out in the future – it is now. VR is being used across all industries in many ways and is helping businesses grow. No matter how big or small the company, virtual reality can benefit operations, sales and marketing, planning, design, and much more. And today more than ever, VR is approachable and can be integrated into workflows without significant cost.

Whether you are a professional American football player or a driver for UPS, companies worldwide are using virtual reality for job training. Also, colleges like the Texas A&M University (a Concept3D client for full disclosure) are using virtual campus tours to highlight their campus and give hopefully future students a powerful and memorable idea about what the campus and school culture are all about. These are but a few ways that virtual reality can be used in business. Below I dive into more detail on various business applications of VR and immersive experiences.

Big Data Visualisation

In its raw form, big data can be incredibly difficult to understand and work with. Companies across the globe are struggling with a massive influx of data, data that is imperative for many businesses to thrive and grow. And while spreadsheets, pie charts and bar graphs will always play a role in making sense of data, it only scratches the surface of its meaning. Businesses are always looking for new ways to interpret big data, and VR has the potential to change the big data game.

Visualising data is a new frontier, and VR – while not necessary for visualising the data – can take it to a whole level. VR makes data more interactive, as employees can move through it, see what they want to see and how changes would reflect on physical and digital twins (twinning). The digital twinning approach is incredibly powerful, especially for companies that have massive inventory and physical asset to manage. Visualising data through VR also allows you to view large amounts of data at a glance, determining which is most relevant to the project. In short, VR can make understanding big data easier, faster, and more comprehensive – leading to better decision making.

Employee Communications & Training

VR and immersive platforms have the advantage of being able to communicate in multiple dimensions, and therefore make an ideal tool for employee communications and training. Think back to the “Choose Your Own Adventure” books – training can be set up as a self-guided tour and become so realistic that employees can gain powerful knowledge of the inside of an engine, a below-ground facility, sites and instruments they may never actually touch. They can view the entirety of a site from a bird’s eye view, or dive down into a single interface.

Regardless of your industry, you should be considering how you can use VR for training and education. In preparation for 2017 Black Friday and the holiday season, Walmart uses VR simulations to train their employees. Because every situation can be accurately visualised and made real, your planning and decision-making within the company will improve.

Virtual Company Tours

Step one for anybody interested in your company is visiting your website. Using VR-ready virtual tours inspire them to learn more by exploring, take the next steps on their journey to take a deeper look at all your physical (or planned) locations have to offer.

Virtual tours can be as simple as a call-out of locations or a complete, immersive VR experience. Today, tours can easily be built in-house with off-the-shelf software, integrating 360-degree or standard images, and offering a fun and compelling way to showcase your location or locations. For example, Hotel Covington in Kentucky, has a virtual tour that explores all areas of their space, so future guests can know what to expect upon check-in.

Integrating a virtual tour into your business is a simple yet powerful way to gain brand and company awareness by bring audiences around the world right to your location with the click of a button.

Human Resources and Recruiting

What is it like to work at your organisation? VR can help attract the right employees for your company with unique experiences that show how your company operates, what it’s like to work there, and (using 3D virtual tours) the physical location and offices where employees would work.

Virtual tours can help future talent to better understand your company’s ethos and work culture and as a result help your business to stand out among other companies. INDUSTRY, a creative workspace in Denver, CO, has a VR tour of their office spaces in order to attract the right potential business and employees to use the space.

Marketing and Sales

Say goodbye to static 2D presentations and hello to immersive 3D materials that will help your business grow. For example, are you pitching a pre-production product? Create a 360° tour of the product where clients or employees will be able not only visualise, but better understand your company mission.

Another example is at the Pack Expo Trade Show, Key Technology, a manufacturer and designer of food processing systems, created a VR demo that allowed attendees to experience a detailed, hands-on look at how the company’s VERYX digital food sorting platform works. By using VR within your marketing and sales strategy you will eliminate doubt, and become one step closer to a lasting business relationship.

Design

Immersive technology is also redefining the design space. From creating the layout of a mass retail store, to wedding planning, or interior design of a celebrity client – VR makes sketches come to life. Event planning and room design can be visualised and seen far before anyone starts setting up tables and chairs.

For example, do you want to make sure that your brand-new product looks great in a major retailer? VR can help you plan out exactly what your point-of-purchase (POP) should look like and how it should be set up. Don’t leave your POP design in the old ways when virtual reality can take it to the next level.

Building Design and ArchitectureVR is the here and now. Companies across the world are integrating this technology into the daily operations of their companies, from employee training to visualising big data.

Touching the future – ISMAR & AWE in Munich (1)

Hey everbody,

in October we had the great double trouble week in Munich, hosting both – ISMAR and AWE EU – for our pleasure. I’ve been there the whole week checking out the latest demos, papers, talks and companies. After some aftermath sorting of things it’s about time to point out some highlights. Coincidental, the AWE team just published their videos today. So you can check out all their talks recorded presentations on their youtube channel.

Talking about videos, ISMAR created a new playlist for 2018 presentations, though the list is not complete. In any case, worth a look, too.

Touching the future

Let’s take a look at ISMAR. While AWE is more a B2B and products-focused shake-hands, the ISMAR symposium is the research laboratory where universities, labs or company R&D meet to look more ahead. Today common place algorithms like SLAM or depth camera usage you would typically see way ahead of consumer-readiness here at ISMAR. Besides panels and paper presentations there is always a demo area. Today, let’s focus on that one! Demos are always more tangible than a paper. ;-) Speaking about it… during this ISMAR I felt a heavy focus on interfaces and how to approach this in a mixed reality space. It is still an urgent (and rather unsolved) issue and we could see many demos and talks on it.
Definitely a lot of effort flows into gestures and mid-air touch research. E.g. with the paper “Mid-air Fingertip-Based User Interaction in Mixed Reality“, the “A Fingertip Gestural User Interface without Depth Data for Mixed Reality” or the “Seamless bare-hand interaction in Mixed Reality“. But as usual, mid-air gestures and finger clicks don’t offer force feedback. No control, no feedback, no vibration or other substitute alert. It can also get annoying on longer sessions with raised arms or when false-positives are registered or gestures are not detected. I like gestures, but while we wait, I was very pleased with some other tangible demos:

Making use of the real world

E.g. I saw nice combinations of AR-HMDs with smartphones or smartwatches. One smartphone demo presented was titled “Enlarging a Smartphone with AR to Create a Handheld VESAD” (= Virtually Extended Screen-Aligned Display). The video shows the idea. It’s a smart idea to get haptic feedback, integrate existing devices into the landscape and profit from its advantages. Maybe sometimes it’s more convenient to use a small physical screen? Sometimes you take your (future AR) glasses off, but stay in the same MR data space… The demos shows a prototype on how to integrate the tracked smartphone and extend the screen space, that is not pinned to a wall, but dynamically moving at your will (in your hand):

The smartwatch approach was also very intriguing! Titled “swag demo: smart watch assisted gesture interaction for MR HMDs” from UVRLAB. Use the wrist-attached device for tracking, but also as a haptical touch input and additional sensor (heartrate, gyros to support hand tracking). Unfortunately, there is no video available. But what caught me by surprise was another demo, titled “a low-latency, high-precision handheld perspective corrected display“. Not the sexiest name, but an awesome demo I didn’t expect when looking at it from the outside (foto on the right).

The idea is to do a dynamic projection-based augmented reality on moving targets. Currently it’s still a bit of a hardware overkill for their outside-in tracking, but it allows you to grab a white cone or a larger white sphere and move it freely in your hand (and inside the tracking volume and projector range). You put on 3D shutter glasses and get your AR content cast directly into your hands with correct perspective!

It was surprisingly elegant and beautiful. Different demos were shown. Including a simple 3D model observation (that rests inside the seemingly transparent sphere), a jenga tower game and a marble maze game, where you had to move the marble over thin 3D curved bridges by tilting the sphere (with the game simulating real world gravity and physics). These demos presented the advantage of the system nicely: you get very fine and natural control over interaction with the object. Not only changing the perspective towards the object, but also for manipulation holding the tool in your own hands. An older video shows their concept:

This reminded me again of how powerful non-wearable AR can be! You are free of glasses or other bulky hardware on your body and just enjoy added digital 3D value in your environment. I could imagine this “crystal ball” in my living room or children’s toybox. The sensation was really impressive and definitely worth to follow their further research!

All right, that’s a quick update for today. To pass the time, you should check out the above videos!

Cheers!

The post Touching the future – ISMAR & AWE in Munich (1) appeared first on augmented.org.

Bublar Group Buys Out Swedish AR/VR Company Vobling

As the immersive technology industry matures, expect to see a lot of change happening as new companies are formed, then close or are bought out by larger companies, or merge together to form a bigger company. Bublar Group is already established as a publically listed augmented reality (AR) videogame studio, but the company has now acquired Swedish AR and virtual reality (VR) studio Vobling.

The acquisition will see the combined companies becoming the largest publically listed AR/VR solutions company in the Nordic region, giving them a strong position in the business-to-business market in that area.

The deal is said to be worth $5.5 million (USD), with Vobling’s worth coming from a combination of stock and cash. The expanded team will be aimed at ramping up production capacity for both corporate customers as well as the videogame portfolio, particularly with the company’s Hello Kitty AR title., which is expected to be released in 2019

“The AR/VR market is growing rapidly,” says Magnus Granqvist, CEO of Bublar Group. Through this acquisition, we strengthen our gaming studio with state-of-the art knowledge, production resources and the ability to capture opportunities from the corporate market. Together, we will work towards the goal of becoming the leading AR/VR company in Europe.”

“We are proud of the competent, profitable and fast-growing company we have built,” says Anders Ribbing, CEO of Vobling. “The industry is now on the cusp of major breakthroughs in AR/VR technology, evidenced by growing demand for our products and services. The synergies with Bublar will serve to increase our joint potential.”

As part of the terms of the acquisition, Vobling will become a subsidiary of Bublar, and will function under the Vobling brand. Vobling has previously worked on projects in education, videogames and entertainment as well as marketing, real estate and transportation, mostly involving VR and AR.

For further coverage of new developments in VR and AR, keep checking back with VRFocus.

China’s Jiangxi Province Pledges Substantial Investment in VR and AR

According to several reports, China is one of the biggest growth areas for many technologies, including virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR). Aiming to become a hub of innovation in these areas, the government of China’s Jiangxi province is planning to raise funds totalling $460 million (USD) for investment into companies focussing on AR and VR.

The announcement was made that the World Conference on VR Industry, hosted in Nanchang, the capital of Jiangxi. The event was sponsored by the province government Ministry of Industry and Information technology.

The event reportedly attracted over 2,000 attendees, many of whom heard the announcement of plans to raise up to $460 million across several funds for investment into VR and AR areas and businesses, with the aim of attracting companies, talent and general interest in the VR and AR sector.

Chinese-based VR news publication Yivian reported that the capital will be split into three main funds, including a $28.8 million VR/AR industry angel venture capitalist fun focussed on incubation, a $144 million parent fund and a $287.9 million industrial investment fund aimed towards encouraging AR and VR enterprise.

There are some conditions attached to the funding, however. Since the aim is to make Jiangxi and provincial capital Nanchang a hub for VR and AR development, any funding awarded is very likely to require that those receiving the investment be based in Nanchang or the surrounding area, or at least have strong links with Jiangxi province.

This is not the first time that a Chinese city has sought to attract development and industry in the VR and AR sector, as earlier this year China’s Guangdong province was the recipient of a $160 million joint fund focussing on VR investments, announced by HTC and Shenzhen.

For future coverage of new developments in AR and VR, keep checking back with VRFocus.

SuperData Report Predicts Oculus Quest Sales Will Pass 1 Million Sales Next Year

Research and analysis firm SuperData has released its newest report on immersive technology, including virtual reality (VR), mixed reality (MR) and augmented reality (AR). The report concentrates on revenue and projections for this sector, with the aim of providing insight into hardware and software sales.

The report indicates that SuperData is confident that the release of the Oculus Quest stand-alone VR system will prove to be a turning point in the immersive technology space. The report contains a prediction that the Oculus Quest will outsell the Oculus Rift by more than 3 to 1 in its launch year.

Oculus Quest - Front

It is estimated that more than one million units of the Oculus Quest will be shipped next year, which the report says has potential to bring VR into the mainstream. It is expected that Oculus Quest and Oculus Go sales will drive VR revenue to more than double, with combined sales projected to reach nearly 2.5 million units worldwide in 2019.

Two other major developments in the immersive media space is the huge growth in AR and location-based VR entertainment. Mobile AR revenue is set to double year-on-year according to the report, estimated to reach $2 Billion (USD) by the end of 2018. By 2021, mobile AR will generate more revenue than VR software for the first time, surpassing $17 Billion.

“SuperData’s latest research and analysis points to the fact that 2019 will be the year of VR,” explained Stephanie Llamas, Head of XR at SuperData. “Previous iterations of our findings have tracked the market as it has gained momentum and we believe the launch of Oculus Quest will be a major force in pushing it over the tipping point into the mainstream.”

SuperData also finds that the user base for AR is also growing, with ARKit and ARCore consumers now reaching a combined 117 million each month. Further information can be found on the SuperData website.

For future coverage on the VR industry, keep checking back with VRFocus.

RealWare Rolls Out AR Wearables At Colgate-Palmolive

A number of industries and companies are turning to augmented reality (AR) headset technology to improve workflows and provide workers with information while leaving the hands free. Colgate-Palmolive has decided to work with wearables company RealWear to introduce a voice-operated HMT-1 AR headset to its workforce.

Using the new technology, Colgate-Palmolive employees will be able to troubleshoot machinery while keeping hands free to work, using voice to talk to company experts, equipment suppliers and manufacturing teams.

RealWear have created the HMT-1 headset to be a hands-free, hard-wearing head-mounted device which is suitable for use in a variety of industrial locations and industries, including oil and gas, utilities, automotive and manufacturing.

“Colgate-Palmolive tested RealWear HMT-1 through successful pilots in 8 locations and is now standardizing globally on this wearable device for our manufacturing operations,” said Warren Pruitt, VP Global Engineering at Colgate-Palmolive. “Looking ahead, we see an opportunity to use this tool beyond the plant floor for improved performance and new efficiencies.”

“Colgate-Palmolive’s global deployment signifies that industrial wearable computing has crossed the chasm into mainstream manufacturing companies,” said Andy Lowery, RealWear CEO and cofounder. “This has been a textbook example of how to move with energy and purpose, from evaluation through pilot to global deployment.”

The company is also planning to use the devices to capture and retrieve information on documents and show informational or training videos. The RealWare platform can offer service relating to remote mentoring, document navigation, internt of things (IoT) visualisation and digital workflow solutions.

It is believed that the use of this technology will reduce downtime, increase productivity and improve worker safety. The RealWear HMT-1 devices will be rolled out to mechanics and engineers across 20 of Colgate-Palmolive’s largest manufacturing facilities in 11 countries.

For future coverage of AR headset use in industry and manufacturing keep checking back with VRFocus.

Digi-Capital Reports Surge In Investment for AR And Computer Vision

Digi-Capital has worked as an adviser to technology companies for some time, using its analytics platform to produce an Augmented Reality (AR)/Virtual Reality (VR) report. This has shown that investment in computer vision and AR from China has surged to $3.9 billion (USD), while North American AR/VR market investment fell from almost $1.5 billion in Q4 of 2017 to less than $120 million in Q3 of 2018.

Digi-Capital says that the deal value in dollars invested provides a fairly clear picture of what the focus of investment has been over the past 12 months. Global investment hit a quarterly record over $2 billion in Q4 of 2017 before dropping back to $1 billion in Q1 of 2018. Since then, deal value has steadily climbed to reach a new record high of $2 billion in Q3 of 2018.

Digi-Capital Managing Director, Tim Merel, said “Deal volume (the number of deals) declined steadily by 10% per quarter over the last 12 months, and was around two-thirds the level in Q3 2018 that it was in Q4 2017. Most of the decline happened in the US and Europe, where VCs

increasingly stayed on the sidelines by looking for short-term traction as a sign of long-term growth. The biggest casualties of this short-termist approach have been early stage startups raising Seed (deal volume down by more than half) and some Series A (deal volume down by a quarter) rounds. This trend has been strongest in North America and Europe, but even Asia has not been entirely immune from some early stage deal volume decline.”

The report shows that American investors have chosen to stay on the sidelines, while Chinese investment has grown in confidence. In Q4 of 2017, North American investment was almost triple Asian investment, but by Q3 2018 North American quarterly investment fell over 90%.

Chinese venture capitalists have been concentrating on the long-term potential of areas such as computer vision and AR, with late-stage Series C or Series D funding rounds for companies in these areas being supported by Chinese VC investors.

The full report can be found on the Digi-Capital website. For future coverage on new developments in AR and Vr, keep checking back with VRFocus.