Axon Park and Survios’ CTO to Teach Unreal Engine VR Masterclass

A couple of days ago VRFocus reported on John Moores University in Liverpool, UK, announcing plans to launch an MA in Immersive Arts later this year. Which is fine if you happen to live or plan to move to the UK. Not everyone does or can, which is why remote, online courses are popular avenues for learning. This week virtual campus Axon Park has revealed it’ll be running a full semester course taught in virtual reality (VR).

Axon Park image

Axon Park has begun a strategic partnership with VR First with the Unreal Engine VR Masterclass being the first endeavour. They’ve brought on board Survios CTO and Co-Founder Alex Silkin to teach the course who will also be supported by the Unreal Engine Team. Survios is well known for a number of VR titles including Raw Data, Sprint Vector, Creed: Rise to Glory and Electronautsas well as upcoming projects Battlewake and The Walking Dead Onslaught.

Starting on 4th September and running for 14 weeks until 11th December 2019, the course is designed for expert-level developers used to Unity (or other engines) who want to learn Unreal Engine 4 of VR. Classes take place two times per week with the curriculum being project-based. Prerequisites include 3D linear algebra, C++ and access to a VR ready PC and Oculus Rift/Rift S.

“This is not just a simple online class,” commented Silkin in a statement. “This is the first class of its kind. We’ll meet twice a week in virtual classrooms and build amazing virtual reality content together. I feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with VR since 2012 and contribute to the development of many innovative VR systems over these years. I want to share my experience with the community to make it easier for newcomers to break into the VR industry. I am beyond excited to help students invent their solutions for the still relatively untamed landscape of VR development.”

Raw Data Saija BotGardens

Thanks to the partnership Axon Park and VR First are also announcing a needs-based scholarship program providing students with low cost or free access to VR hardware and resources through their partner network of 850 universities.

“We are inviting organizations and public institutions internationally to build custom in-VR training with VR First and welcoming our VR/AR experts to become the first generation of certified Axon Park trainers,” adds Rahel Demant, COO & Academic Relations Lead at VR First. “We have already started to prepare a diverse range of in-VR courses to be available in Axon Park starting in 2020.”

Head to the Axon Park website for further information on the course. As more VR courses are created VRFocus will let you know.

VR First, Intel, HTC Vive, Leap Motion and More Launch the Academic Purpose VR Bundle

The VR First initiative began has a means of promoting grass roots development in virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) content among universities and other teaching organisations. Today, the global programme, along with a team of VR/AR industry leaders, have announced the launch of the VR Academic Purpose bundle, to further help academic institutions and science parks to engage with immersive technologies and grow their VR/AR labs.

Being made available thanks to a partnership with Intel, HTC Vive, Leap Motion, CDWG, Futuremark, MixCast, SpringboardVR and Senses Global, VR First’s Academic Purpose VR Bundle consists of hardware, services and support/mentorship by key industry organizations, designed for academic research, development and innovation purposes.

VR First Academic VR Bundle and partners

The full rundown of what’s included in the VR Bundle is as follows:

  • HTC Vive headset with accessories such as the Vive Deluxe Audio Strap and Vive Tracker, as well as education-related content through the Viveport store;
  • Intelpowered: bundles for VR ready PCs using Intel Core i7 Processors;
  • Leap Motion hand tracking technology directly attached to VR/AR headsets;
  • VRMark Professional Edition benchmarking software for VR performance from Futuremark;
  • MixCast by Blueprint Reality, which enables blending of real people with virtual worlds to create compelling 2D content from VR applications in real-time;
  • SpringboardVR‘s VR management software for automating storage, distribution and launch of VR Content;
  • The Academic Bundle catalogue of procurement and logistics services by international technology solutions provider CDWG;
  • Access to technology solutions & services in VR, AR, Human Augmentation and Smart Robots by Senses Global;
  • Guidance based on standards and recommended practices developed by the IEEE VR/AR Working Group;
  • Access to VR First‘s extensive network of industry partners for expertise insight on building powerful communities equipped with cutting edge technology and knowledge.

“Starting early 2018, we will add further hardware devices and software solutions to the academic bundle. By that, VR First also expands the addressable market for partners through global academic and developer reach,” said Ferhan Özkan, CEO of VR First in a statement.

“Education and academia are pushing the forefront of what’s possible in VR today,” said Daniel O’Brien, GM US, Vive. “VR First has created a bundle of hardware and software that serves academic needs, educational requirements and increases the accessibility HTC Vive globally. We’re happy to support their efforts to bring VR to more educational institutions.”

The Academic VR Bundle is now available through VR First as part of its Regional Growth Services program, which has renovated existing facilities or provided end-to-end solutions for establishing new VR/AR facilities. This has meant more than 50 labs have been established to date worldwide.

VRFocus will continue to follow the progression of VR First, keeping you updated on its latest initiatives.

Futuremark Announce Collaboration with VR First

Developer of benchmarking applications such as 3DMark and VRMark have announced that the company will be joining VR First, the global initiative aimed at bringing virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) technology to schools and colleges.

VR First have previously announced that they are aiming to create 50 VR/AR labs all over the world by the end of 2017 and that they are working with standards writers at IEEE to help establish standards to guide the future of VR technology.

Futuremark will be providing its knowledge of benchmarking and performance enhancing technology to the efforts of VR First and IEEE.

Futuremark Header

Jani Joki, Director of Engineering at Futuremark, said: “In a short time, VR First has made impressive progress in bringing together industry partners, creators, and educators to deliver real results. The lack of consistent standards for VR has been widely discussed over the last 12 months. I look forward to working with VR First members to address this important issue.”

Ferhan Özkan, Co-Founder, VR First added:“I am delighted to welcome Futuremark to the VR First initiative. Futuremark’s extensive benchmarking experience and independent voice will be invaluable in our mission to democratize VR innovation, set industry standards, and create a global VR knowledge base.”

Earlier this year Futuremark announced a device for measuring latency and performance of VR devices, which allowed for a full breakdown of GPU and CPU activity.

VRFocus will continue to bring you news on VR First and Futuremark’s new projects and initiatives.

VR First Strive to Double Number of Dedicated AR/VR Labs

A global initiative to drive forward innovation in augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR), VR First have announced that they have already made progress towards their stated goal of providing state-of-the-art AR/VR facilities to schools, colleges and other learning institutions, but the organisation is still aiming towards getting 50 labs set up worldwide by the end of 2017.

There are already 26 labs operating in regions such as the USA, Europe and Asia, with another 14 due to open soon. VR First gets involved with universities and science parks to renovate standard PC labs into facilities ready for AR and VR technology.

VR First have also been working with IEEE, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, renowned creators of standards for electronic equipment who has a current working group assembling a set of standards for VR and AR. One of which, IEEE P2048.5 is being supported by VR First during the benchmarking process and will be promoting its adoption to lab partners, governments and schools.

“The progress VR First has made in just its first year, from 26 labs open and more coming soon, to its growing technology partner network and the unveiling of dozens of VR projects developed at VR First Labs, is excellent momentum to democratize the innovation VR/AR landscape,” explains Ferhan Özkan, co-founder, VR First. “With more than 65% of universities planning dedicated VR labs, plus science parks and governments interest to do the same, continued growth of our efforts is without question. We invite all industry technology providers and stakeholders to join us in this meaningful program.”

VR First currently has more than 50 projects in development at the VR First labs, which are located in universities and colleges around the world. Not all of those projects are focussed on videogames. There are projects based around neuroscience, education, tourism and architecture. Most of those projects are developed first one HTC Vive or Oculus Rift.

The organisation have produced a video to promote their work with educational centres which can be viewed below.

“VR First is fully independent, and supports VR First labs no matter their choice of engines or platforms, and welcomes all hardware and software providers. We believe that if you have a noble vision like Democratization of VR/AR Innovation, it deserves to be protected from any competitive sacrifice. This vision could only be achieved with a vendor-neutral approach.” added Özkan.

VR technology labs are becoming an increasingly common sight at universities and schools, often sponsored by VR industry names, such as the VR lab at UC Berkeley sponsored by Immerex. How this will impact the development of VR technology in the long term is yet to be seen.

VRFocus will keep you updated on VR First and VR in education.

Crytek-Incubated ‘VR First’ Program to Double Number of Academic VR/AR Labs in 2017

VR First, the global initiative to seed academic institutions with VR/AR hardware and software, today announced that it’s nearly doubling the number of its VR labs in universities and science parks across the globe by the end of 2017. With currently 26 labs operating in the United States, Europe, Asia and Oceania, VR First is bringing the number to 40 labs by the end of year.

Unveiled last January by Crytek, the now fully-independent VR First program is designed to foster innovation by not only creating independent VR labs where they once weren’t, but by also converting PC labs into AR/VR-ready facilities—and it’s doing it in top universities and science parks across 23 countries including Purdue University, University of Florida, University of Southern California Viterbi School of Engineering, Oklahoma State, and Vancouver Film School.

image courtesy VR First

The idea is to stimulate development in VR where questions can be answered best, and in a place where projects can be developed without the heavy startup cost associated with PC VR.

Currently VR First is boasting more than 50 projects in development at the labs, and not just games. In fact, games only account for 35% of projects underway, as the rest are focused on fields like psychology and neuroscience (12%), education (7%), tourism (7% ), and architecture and real estate (6%). Development is divided evenly across the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift platforms, each accounting for 31% of projects created, with other major VR platforms such as Samsung Gear VR, OSVR, and Daydream rounding out the bottom numbers. While the program was principally incubated by Crytek, students working in VR First labs tend use Unity (48%), followed by Unreal (20%) and then CRYENGINE (14%).

image courtesy VR First

AR headset distribution is much more dramatic, as students are mainly developing on Microsoft HoloLens (43%), with Google Glass, Vuzix AR headsets, Epson Moverio, Meta AR Dev Kits making up the rest of the pie chart. A full 25% of projects however are reported to be using ‘other’ hardware platforms, but considering the massive number of Google Glass-style headsets out there, it’s no wonder they didn’t name them all.

With a growing reach comes a bigger voice too, so VR First is also helping to push a new Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) standard, called IEEE P2048.5, which focuses on setting quality assurance and testing standards for VR/AR hardware in regards to fully immersive environments. To that end, VR First is also partnering with benchmarking company Futuremark to support benchmarking requirements through its standardization efforts. Through its Lab Renovation Program, VR First is promoting the adoption of these new standards by lab partners, governments and science parks.

development at Carleton University, image courtesy VR First

“The progress VR First has made in just its first year, from 26 labs open and more coming soon, to its growing technology partner network and the unveiling of dozens of VR projects developed at VR First Labs, is excellent momentum to democratize the innovation VR/AR landscape,” explains Ferhan Özkan, co-founder, VR First.  “With more than 65% of universities planning dedicated VR labs, plus science parks and governments interest to do the same, continued growth of our efforts is without question. We invite all industry technology providers and stakeholders to join us in this meaningful program.”

The program, which also includes a network of participating schools, has over 500 universities and science parks worldwide. The broader-reaching network is designed to help developers convert ideas into business opportunities and introduce them to established industry partners.

VR First is fully independent, and supports VR First labs no matter their choice of engines or platforms, and welcomes all hardware and software providers. We believe that if you have a noble vision like “Democratization of VR/AR Innovation,” it deserves to be protected from any competitive sacrifice. This vision could only be achieved with a vendor-neutral approach,” added Özkan.

VR First Institutions (including new openings)

  • Aalborg University Copenhagen, Denmark
  • Academy of Art San Francisco, USA
  • Bahçesehir University (BAU), Turkey
  • California State University Monterey Bay, USA
  • Canterbury University, New Zealand
  • Carleton University, Canada
  • Comenius University Bratislava, Slovakia
  • Dania Academy of Higher Education, Denmark
  • Darmstadt University of Applied Sciences, Germany
  • Doña Ana Community College, USA
  • Graz University of Technology, Austria
  • HTW Berlin, Germany
  • Ilia State University, Georgia
  • Kajaani University of Applied Sciences, Finland
  • LLC Technology Companies Development Center, Ukraine
  • Manchester Metropolitan University, UK
  • Middle East Technical University, Turkey
  • NHTV Breda University of Applied Sciences, Netherlands
  • North Carolina State University, USA
  • North Metropolitan TAFE, Australia
  • Oklahoma State University, USA
  • Paneuropean University Bratislava, Slovakia
  • Purdue University, USA
  • Rochester Institute of Technology, USA
  • RUBIKA, France
  • Sogang University, South Korea
  • South East European University, Macedonia
  • State University of New York at Oswego, USA
  • Tallinn University of Technology, Estonia
  • Universität Hamburg, Germany
  • Universität Heidelberg, Germany
  • University College Cork, Ireland
  • University College London, UK
  • University of Florida, USA
  • University of Southern California (USC), USA
  • University of the Aegean, Greece
  • Vancouver Film School, Canada
  • VIGAMUS Academy, Italy
  • Vilnius Gediminas Technical University, Lithuania
  • Warsaw University of Technology, Poland

Update 04/13/2017: the article was updated to clarify that VR First initially incubated under Crytek, but is now a fully independent program. 

The post Crytek-Incubated ‘VR First’ Program to Double Number of Academic VR/AR Labs in 2017 appeared first on Road to VR.

Universities Expanding VR Hardware Inventories States VR First Survey

VRFocus has covered Crytek’s VR First initiative from the word go almost a year ago. With the aim of nurturing virtual reality (VR) development at universities, over the the past year Crytek has added more and more institutions to the roster, and today for CES 2017 its revealed the results of a recent survey.

The latest research, collected with the support of the CONTEXT and IEEE Digital Senses Initiative, reveals an increase in VR and augmented reality (AR) adoption at universities worldwide in 2016.  Collating data from 151 universities in 38 countries, the survey shows that the number of head-mounted displays (HMDs) per university has significantly increased from 1.5 to 5.6 in the last six months. At the beginning of 2016, 51 students on average had to share one headset, whereas today that has come down to 18 students per HMD.

VR First Lab_DACC

The data also shows what heads universities are actually using, with 44 percent using an Oculus Rift (either CV1, DK2 or DK1), 22 percent are using HTC Vive, while 19 percent have access to Samsung Gear VR. In terms of GPU and CPU preference, Nvidia dominates the GPU end with 94 percent to AMD’s 6 percent, while Intel dominates the CPU side with 98 percent to AMD’s 2 percent.

Ferhan Özkan, Director of Partnerships and Alliances at VR First said: “Our latest infographic exposes the growing appetite among universities to bridge the developer deficit facing the VR/AR industry, but there’s still a lot of work to be done. Moreover, given the available budgets from many universities, such institutions themselves could be a profitable market for vendors and resellers. In 2017, we look forward to many more high-profile partners joining the effort to make VR/AR development a priority at universities around the world.”

To date, 26 VR First Labs have been established, and more than 200 universities have submitted applications to join the program. Checkout the VR First infographic below on more on the survey results, and for any more updates on the initiative, keep reading VRFocus.

VR First Infographic

VR First an zwölf weiteren Bildungseinrichtungen gestartet

Mit der VR First-Initiative bringt Crytek Virtual Reality an Universitäten und Forschungseinrichtungen. Damit will Crytek natürlich auch seinen Stand im Virtual Reality Sektor sichern und gleichzeitig Virtual Reality insgesamt nach vorne bringen. Da Crytek derzeit voll auf VR setzt, ist dies auch ein nachvollziehbarer Schritt.

VR First an zwölf weiteren Bildungseinrichtungen gestartet

VR First Lab in Instanbul

Quelle: Crytek

Das VR First Projekt startete zum Anfang des Jahres 2016. Damals rief Crytek Universitäten und Forschungseinrichtungen auf, sich um eine Aufnahme in das Programm zu bewerben. Crytek stattete anschließend ausgewählte Institute mit Virtual Reality Hardware und Virtual Reality Software aus und möchte natürlich gerne, dass für die Projekte die CRYENGINE verwendet wird. Insgesamt sind jetzt 26 Bildungsstätten in dem Programm und Crytek weitet das Programm kontinuierlich aus.

Unter den zwölf neuen Bildungseinrichtungen sind auch einige Hochschulen aus Deutschland. So wurde die Universität Darmstadt, die Universität Heidelberg und die Universität Hamburg aufgenommen. Hier findet ihr die vollständige Liste der neuen Partner:

Dania Academy of Higher Education (Dänemark); Hochschule Darmstadt (Deutschland); Doña Ana Community College (USA); Universität Hamburg (Deutschland); Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg (Deutschland); Hochschule für Technik und Wirtschaft Berlin (Deutschland); International School Of Design – Rubika (Frankreich); Middle East Technical University (Türkei); NHTV Breda University of Applied Sciences (Niederlande); Sogang University (Südkorea); State University of New York at Oswego (USA); VIGAMUS Academy (Italien).

Der Beitrag VR First an zwölf weiteren Bildungseinrichtungen gestartet zuerst gesehen auf VR∙Nerds. VR·Nerds am Werk!