August 4, 2023
Empowering Doctors and Patients: How Augmented Reality Transforms Healthcare

In healthcare, technological advances are constantly changing approaches to patient care and physician training. And augmented and mixed reality are among such innovations that have captured the attention of both healthcare professionals and researchers. Thanks to AR and MR, there are new ways to sharpen the work of surgeons and present educational materials for students and interns who are learning to work with patients. In this article, we will explore in detail the intricacies of mixed and augmented reality in healthcare and explore their applications and benefits. Primary Benefits  Modern hospitals are increasingly paying attention to augmented reality because it provides doctors and patients with such benefits as Improving processes visualization in education. As it has been repeatedly proven, immersive technologies can significantly improve the success rate of students who will become doctors. The first case is a digital visual accompaniment to books on the study of anatomy, which allows you to understand the structure of the human body better. The second one is interaction with a digital human body, which is an alternative to autopsies of real ones in cases when medical students do not have the opportunity to visit a real morgue. In addition, through a smartphone screen or MR glasses, students can independently interact with the digital organs of the body and learn more about their components. Read also: Augmented Reality Books: Next Chapter in Interactive Reading  Reducing the percentage of medical errors. The introduction of immersive technologies in hospitals and medical facilities reduces the percentage of medical errors, some of which can even lead to fatal consequences: from an incorrect diagnosis to an error during surgery. So, 40,000 to 80,000 patients die every year due to doctors’ mistakes. To reduce patient mortality and optimize the process of diagnosis and treatment, doctors are introducing augmented reality for training interns and AR-projection for training and direct operations. Increasing patient engagement. Visual digital content that can be interacted with allows not only professionals but also patients to better familiarize themselves with the processes in their own bodies. And augmented reality can be useful for studying the algorithm of health care and rehabilitation, where immersive technologies transform classic monotonous exercises into an exciting, gamified process. Read also: Virtual Reality is the innovative way of patient’s recovery  Spotlighting the Effective Use Cases of AR and MR AR at the Operating Table: Inspiring Applications Shaping Surgery’s Future With the help of augmented and mixed reality, collaborations between doctors during surgeries become easier and more accessible. Especially when experienced doctors need to advise young interns during complex surgical procedures. Like, for example, the Proximie medical AR platform for professional specialists, which allows them to virtually move into the operating room and consult other specialists from the beginning to the end of a complex procedure. A device, connected to the Internet, allows a doctor not only to see the entire process of the operation but also to superimpose body scans and X-rays on the patient’s body and point out to another specialist the areas that he should pay attention to. How AR and MR Revolutionize Symptoms Recognition in Healthcare Augmented reality training will help doctors determine the symptoms of a patient’s disease in a certain organ of the body. An example of such an application is the EyeDecide app created by OrcaMD, which allows you to simulate the activity of the human eye during a particular disease. This application was created so that doctors could more clearly show patients the consequences of a particular disease. For example the patient can learn about how the eye with cataract disease sees. AR and MR’s Impact on Medical Training Success Virtual and augmented reality training has long proven its effectiveness due to the fact that the employee acquires new knowledge and consolidates new skills in the most realistic environment. AR training for physicians is no exception. Like, for example, the CAE AresAR app that was built for medical students who use Microsoft Hololens 2. In this application, students learn the structure of the human body using the example of a digital copy of it lying on a real hospital bed. Also, doctors and students can interact with digital organs and study not only their structures but also how they work. For example, the video shows students zooming in on a digital model of a beating heart. Read also: How To Improve Your Manufacturing With VR Training  How AR and MR are Reshaping Patient Evaluation Besides of the professional help of doctors, patients can independently monitor the state of their own health. Augmented reality can give even greater independence in self-treatment and rehabilitation, with the visual digital content superimposed on the real world, they get more information about the state of their body and get more familiar with instructions on how to behave during a deterioration of health. This option for patients is provided by the Know My Beat AR application, developed by British specialists. With this application, patients can independently monitor their own pulse and also learn to identify the symptoms of fibrillation themselves.   Augmented and mixed reality provides innovative and comfortable treatment of patients in various directions — from surgeons who receive AR instructions in real time to medical students who work with complex anatomical models. Thanks to digital technologies, doctors can quickly and clearly learn the skills of treating patients and reduce the percentage of medical errors. Meanwhile, patients can actively participate in their treatment plans through interactive visualization. As we look to the future, the convergence of AR with healthcare promises even more breakthroughs — from improved diagnostic accuracy to personalized therapeutic interventions. Image: Freepik

July 28, 2023
Augmented Reality Books: Next Chapter in Interactive Reading

In the era of social media and binge-watching series on streaming services, people seem to be gradually forgetting about reading paper books. And this concern is confirmed by statistics from Wordsrated, which shows that in 2022, more than half of Americans have not read a single book. How can you solve this problem and develop modern literature? In this case, augmented reality can come to the rescue, allowing readers to go on interactive journeys blurring the lines between fiction and reality. In addition, AR experiences that appear on the pages are also actively used for educational textbooks, which help teachers better familiarize students with the subject being studied. In this material, you will learn in more detail how modern immersive technologies contribute to the development of a paper book and motivate the audience to read. Augmented Reality Books: Exploring Magic Between Pages and Screens Augmented reality books, also known as a-books, are paper books that contain markers on their pages that activate AR. Immersive digital content is brought to life with the help of smartphone applications. This function allows you to better visualize the concepts that the author of the book wanted to convey to their audience. To activate augmented reality for a book, a reader must download a smartphone app that uses a camera to scan pages with QR codes or 2D images. Thus, a-books combine the additional possibilities of modern digital technologies and the traditionalism of real paper books. For example, specialists at the Institute of Advanced Technologies at the University of Surrey are actively developing books with augmented reality, which will provide additional multimedia information along with the text on the pages. Read also: What’s The Difference Between VR, AR and MR “I’m not suggesting that this is going to be augmenting every single book, but there would be maybe fantasy novels, or user manuals, children’s books where you get all sorts of content coming out of the book; potentially wedding albums, where you could have a very precious item in itself and that would be the link to some multimedia, videos, and things like that,” said Dr. Radu Sporea, senior lecturer of the Institute of Advanced Technologies.  Empowering Next Generation of Learners with AR Books In terms of education, augmented reality provides an opportunity for students to go beyond just reading theoretical material with 2D images. WIth AR, students have a chance to see the material being studied from all angles and even interact with it. Such a function is especially relevant for many subjects, from geometry and physics to foreign languages and history. When children and teenagers study these sciences using augmented reality, their concentration level during the learning process is proven to increase. About 72% of students said they were more likely to participate in an AR-powered studying process.  Read also: Augmented Reality: Secret Weapon for Boosting Your Child’s Creativity and Imagination  For example, an illustrated guide with an augmented reality mobile app was released for Japanese English learners. By pointing the smartphone screen at the pages of the textbook, the student sees the animated characters of the book in front of them in AR and also listens to their dialogue. Thus, augmented reality not only makes learning more interactive but also allows you to save on audio cassettes and discs, which are usually included with textbooks for learning a foreign language. In addition, augmented reality can be useful in learning art, where the visual is a key component. Like, for example, a concept from the Torch company, supplemented the book on the art of Ancient Greece with AR projections of famous sculptures, bas-reliefs, and other works. Instead of just reading about these works and seeing photos that only show one angle of them, readers can explore the statues in their entirety and from all angles in the AR mode. Exploring AR Books in Fiction: Where Imagination Takes Flight Speaking about fiction, the main function of the book is to immerse readers in the world skillfully written by the author, to convey a certain moral of the story, or simply entertain and distract the reader from routine. Augmented reality for books makes the story more three-dimensional and allows you to more clearly show the author’s original idea and immerse the reader in his imagination. In addition, augmented reality for books is an effective and interesting way to attract the attention of young people to books. According to the American Psychological Association, one in three teens in America hasn’t read a book in a year, attributing it to social media and gaming. The gamified process of reading a book, whether it is a standard fiction or a comic book, can interest a young audience in reading. In this way, they not only read textual descriptions but also see three-dimensional images of the characters and their environment. Nine out of ten children said they would read more books if they contained augmented reality. Moreover, AR is able to attract the audience of a book franchise that has already gained worldwide popularity. In 2012, a book with augmented reality “Wonderbook™: Book of Spells” based on the universe of “Harry Potter” by J. K. Rowling was released for PlayStation. A specially prepared Wonderbook (marked book) activates digital AR content that transforms the book into an ancient spellbook. The experience is possible with the Playstation Eye camera and a controller that turns into a magic wand in augmented reality. Augmented reality has created new opportunities for audiences who can read books and interact with digital visual content on their pages. Thus, the gap between the author’s idea and the reader’s imagination is greatly reduced when they see the universe and its characters. For teachers, augmented reality is a convenient tool that helps to more easily convey the studied subject, thereby positively affecting the concentration of students. AR technology is an effective way to support the book business, as augmented reality complements the traditional reading experience instead of replacing it. Image: Freepik

July 25, 2023
Transforming Education, Not Replacing Educators: Unveiling the Power of Extended Reality in Classrooms

This article was written by our CEO Olga Kryvchenko and originally published on Linkedin. To get more biweekly updates about extended reality, subscribe to Olga’s XR Frontiers LinkedIn newsletter. Hello, LinkedIn readers! Today, I want to dive into an exciting topic that’s been rippling through the landscape of education – Extended Reality (XR). Let’s start with a quick clarification. By XR, I mean the whole suite of technologies that include Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR), and Mixed Reality (MR). Each of these has distinct features, but they all share a common goal: to blend the digital world with the real world in meaningful ways. Now, there’s been a lot of buzz lately about how XR is set to replace traditional classroom settings and the teacher’s role within it. However, I’d like to gently steer the conversation in a different direction. XR isn’t here to replace our beloved teachers but to adjust and enhance the learning process. It’s a tool, not a teacher substitute. To help illustrate this, I’ll be sharing a few examples from across the YouTube landscape. First, let’s take a look at the CurioXR channel on YouTube. This fantastic platform creates XR educational content that breaks complex topics down into immersive experiences. Take, for example, their interactive lessons on the solar system. Students can walk around the planets, watching as the solar system spins and works in real-time. Next, let’s discuss an impressive use of XR in the field of chemistry. I’d like to direct your attention to this VR Chemistry lessons app showcased on YouTube. Imagine being a student and having the ability to interact with atomic models in 3D, conduct experiments without the risk of dangerous chemicals, and see chemical reactions unfold right before your eyes. It’s an extraordinary way to deepen understanding and curiosity. Yet, this too doesn’t replace the teacher; it’s a tool that provides teachers with a new way to engage students and explain complex chemistry concepts more effectively. Another great example is the YouTube video ‘VR in Education: The Future of Learning,’ which explores the benefits of XR in the classroom. It shows how students can dive into history by walking through historical sites or explore human anatomy by stepping inside a larger-than-life human body. Again, it’s not about replacing teachers but augmenting the learning process. XR can transport students to places textbooks cannot and give them firsthand experiences that enhance their understanding. It provides a depth of learning that’s hard to achieve with traditional methods alone. Moreover, XR can accommodate different learning styles better. Some students learn by doing, some by seeing, and others by hearing. With XR, all these needs can be met in one place, making education more inclusive and accessible. But, despite the promise of XR, it’s essential to remember that it’s just another tool in our educational arsenal. No technology can replace the human connection, empathy, understanding, and passion a teacher brings to the classroom. The purpose of XR isn’t to replace these aspects but to support them. To conclude, it’s clear that XR has enormous potential to transform how we educate. However, this doesn’t mean it will replace our teachers. Instead, it’s set to work in tandem with traditional learning methods, adjusting the process to make it more engaging, immersive, and effective. Let’s look forward to an exciting future where technology and teachers work hand in hand to shape the minds of tomorrow! If you’ve had experiences with XR in education or have thoughts on its role in the future of learning, please share in the comments below. It’s always great to hear from you!  Image: Freepik

July 24, 2023
Virtual Tours of National Parks. Discovering Nature’s Beauty through AR and VR

In this article, we will explore the impact of augmented and virtual reality on national parks, specifically how they are changing our experience of visiting natural landscapes. We focus on free virtual tours that allow us to see the beauty of national parks without leaving home. We will also reveal the main advantages of augmented reality, which enrich the visiting of real parks with the help of digital content with interesting information. In particular, we will share our experience of creating tourist VR excursions using the example of the Carpathian Mountains Virtual Tour and Medieval Fortress Virtual Journey. We will also explore other famous AR/VR use cases, e.g., the State Parks of California, giving us a unique perspective on our national parks’ historical and ecological significance. Discovering Benefits of AR and VR in National Parks Virtual and augmented reality offer such benefits to national parks as Getting informative content on the spot. When visiting parks and other historical places, visitors usually don’t know about this or that type of plant or even in which part of the park they are. With the help of an AR application, a tourist can simply point the screen at a particular plant and get additional information about it. Read also: The Ways AR Redefines Modern Tourism  Speaking about orientation in place, AR navigation will come in handy here, which guides the tourist in the right direction with the help of digital pointers. Read also: From Outdoors to Indoors: AR Navigation as Game-Changer Visiting places that aren’t accessible for you. During the COVID-19 pandemic and home isolation, virtual tours of museums or national parks were one of the popular alternatives to visiting real tourist locations. Even though the pandemic began to gradually fade away, virtual tours continue to be relevant. By visiting free tours on museums or park websites, an Internet user saves money on the ticket, car fuel, and transportation. Especially when a person does not always have an opportunity to get to the place where, perhaps, he would like to go. “The advantage is that you can go somewhere and experience the same feelings without leaving your home. Virtual guides have musical accompaniment, the effect of presence thus allows you to immerse yourself in the environment. This is all about VR. Plus, not all of us can go to Papua New Guinea or somewhere else to look at bamboo, baobabs, etc. Or go on safari. Therefore, these are opportunities to visit somewhere without spending additional funds,” said Oleksandr Ivanov, project manager of Qualium Systems. Drawing attention to ecology, rare plants and animals. As you know, there are more than 35,000 species of endangered plants and animals in the world, 99% of which are endangered due to human activities. With virtual and augmented reality for parks that are the home for these species of animals, it becomes possible to tell about these endangered species to a wider audience. As of July 2023, there are almost 7 billion people in the world who have smartphones, which is more than 86% of the entire population of the planet.  Qualium System’s Virtual Tours of National Parks Qualium Systems has great experience in developing VR excursions. Carpathian Mountains Virtual Tour is an application for Meta Quest, created as part of The World Of Carpathian Rosettes — Activities For Preserving The Cultural Uniqueness Of The Carpathians project by the Euroregion Carpathians — Ukraine association with the financial support of the European Union. The main goal of this program is to preserve the cultural uniqueness of the Ukrainian Carpathians. The main challenge in the development of this virtual tour was to introduce more than 260 photo and video materials into the program while providing the VR headset users with such an experience as if they were visiting a real museum. In this application, a tourist can explore virtual settlements in the Carpathians, both with the effect of presence in these settlements and from a bird’s eye view. There is also the option of a “bicycle trip” available. A tourist can “ride” along the Franko route, which is a path in the forest, famous Ukrainian poet Ivan Franko liked to travel. Also, our developers are working on another virtual tour of the medieval fortress in the Ukrainian town of Tustan. Unlike the previous tour, a VR headset user will not only be able to see the digital environment with exhibits but also interact with them. “With the help of VR, you can not only be there, in that museum, but also take the artifacts, examine, bring them up to your forehead. You could see everything down to every crack,” said Oleksandr Ivanov, project manager of Qualium Systems. Unveiling Diverse Use Cases of AR and VR in National Parks Our company pays attention to virtual tours and giving people the opportunity to see places that are inaccessible to them due to various circumstances. We constantly monitor the latest trends in the modern IT industry, and there are other famous examples that will be mentioned later. Virtual Reality Adventures in California State Parks The California Department of Parks and Recreation has introduced virtual and augmented reality tours for 9 parks located in the state of California. In the Virtual Adventurer mobile app, tourists get a guided tour that tells the story of each of the parks, including Colonel Allensworth State Historic Park, Montana de Oro State Park, Old Town San Diego Historic Park, and others. Moreover, futuristic holograms and 3D reconstructions are also involved. “The app also supports and enhances the department’s Reexamining Our Past Initiative by developing content for parks that tells a more complete, accurate, and inclusive history of people and places,” said California State Parks Director Armando Quintero.  Great Barrier Reef’s Virtual Realms As mentioned above, virtual excursions allow gadget users to get to places they would be unlikely to get to in real life. The same is true for the underwater attractions. Not every tourist wants to spend their time and money not only to reach, for example,…

July 19, 2023
Exploring Spatial Computing and Its Impact on Industries

Spatial computing is a fast-growing field that is set to create a new way of interacting with the world around us. This technology has the potential to revolutionize many industries, from healthcare and education to manufacturing and more. The potential is seen by such well-known companies as Apple, Meta, Magic Leap, and others, which work with spatial computing and mixed, augmented, and virtual reality. By 2032, the total value of the spatial computing market will grow to more than $512 billion, compared to $87.5 billion in 2022. In this article, we will take a closer look at the concept of spatial computing and try to explain how it differs from mixed reality, as well as its potential impact on various industries.  Rise of Spatial Computing.  Historical Overview According to Wikipedia, the term “spatial computing” was first coined in 2003, in the eponymous research paper by Simon Greenwold, a former researcher in the Aesthetics and Computation group at the MIT Media Lab and current head of Story As… Simon Greenwald. The original definition of spatial computing is “a human-machine interaction in which the machine retains and manipulates referents to real objects and spaces”. With the development of immersive technologies, modern spatial computing primarily describes a direct human interaction with technologies and digital content. For example, spatial computing involves the use of gestures, head and eye movements, voice commands and their integration into the digital interface of a device, such as the latest Apple Vision Pro. As defined by Apple, spatial computing is a technology that seamlessly blends digital content with the real world. For example, this technology is useful for remote work, games, or movies, where a headset user can expand the screen to gigantic dimensions, making home viewing more like a real cinema experience. Spatial Computing vs. Mixed Reality. Understanding Key Differences There is a popular opinion that the term “spatial computing” is not so innovative. According to some experts, this technology works on the principle of mixed reality, popularized by Microsoft with the help of Hololens MR glasses. And indeed, according to Vladimir Grygoriev, Qualium Systems tech lead, both mixed reality and spatial computing impose digital objects on the real space, considering the physics of the space. “In fact, many devices already do the same spatial mapping as Apple does. And what is Apple planning to present, what is the main innovation and the difference? First, they want to add such image quality that a person will not feel the artificiality of it on devices. Meaning, you have a cup standing in front of you, and when being touched, it falls, spills, and breaks. But when you take off your glasses, it does not even exist,” Grygoriev said. On the other hand, when releasing the newest headset, Apple plans to use “spatial computing” as a collective term for other areas, such as spatial rendering, spatial mapping, spatial interactions, etc. The innovation of Vision Pro is also about its functionality, with the interface allowing you to turn on several applications at the same time. “Apple will provide an option, that allows you to run a bunch of applications in small windows in your room. It will also give other people access to your space. You can make 5–10 different screens, where various types of content are being sheared. Then you can close some apps and, wearing a headset, go from the dining room to the kitchen while checking your online chat,” Grygoriev said. Implementing Spatial Computing and Mixed Reality Spatial computing is used in such areas as 3D Modeling. Due to the fact that spatial computing technology can seamlessly integrate digital objects into real space, a user of an AR/VR headset can design a 3D model of their future project, whether it is a building, a car, a room, etc. With spatial computing, a user has the ability to zoom in and out a digital object, view it from all sides, etc. This gives the user the opportunity to see the future construction in more detail and correct errors that can cause serious financial losses. For example, in this video, an engineer wearing Hololens 2 glasses projects a future car model on his desk. Remote collaboration. With spatial computing and mixed reality, employees who are in different places can collaborate and see each other. It can be either a completely virtual environment (for example, a virtual office) or an MR option, in which the employee can see a digital screen with the image of their colleague or his own digital avatar in XR-glasses, without leaving a physical workplace. One of the interesting cases of remote collaboration through MR is the concept of mixed reality from the Airbus airline company. The company’s employees work with customers on the aircraft’s family cabin design. The concept offers a full recreation of the virtual cabin on portable devices, as well as the possibility of collective work of MR-glasses users on a digital model of the cabin superimposed on the real world. Training and skill development. Mixed reality and spatial computing have found their application for training employees in various fields. The convenience of MR training lies in the fact that the employee acquires practical skills at work with the help of digital instructions that are smoothly superimposed on the workplace. Mixed reality and spatial computing are not only implemented to train doctors and factory workers. For example, mixed reality is used to train military pilots for the F-16, F-18, and F-35 fighter jets. During training from Varjo, the pilot sits in the cockpit with a real control panel. A pilot, while training in MR glasses, sees a real image of himself in the cockpit alongside a virtual environment that reproduces the training ground. Spatial Computing Technologies. Where and How They’re Making an Impact  Empowering Medical Professionals: Spatial Computing’s Role Spatial computing is already finding its application in the field of medicine. This technology allows you to create interactive digital twins of patients, so that doctors can examine the body from any angle and…

July 13, 2023
From Novice to Pro: Dive into Best AR/VR Courses for Aspiring XR Developers

In recent years, IT and immersive technologies are one of the most popular fields that people choose for their future careers. According to Statista, as of January 2023, the number of IT workers was 3.1 million, and by 2032 the number of workers will exceed 6 million. Among those starting to work in the field of IT and XR, there are both young professionals and those who have career experience in other fields and want to change their lives. And free online courses, which introduce a beginner to the essence of the matter in an interesting and accessible language, are useful for future developers. In this article, we offer an interesting selection of the best free XR training courses online. Whether you’re looking to develop XR experiences for Unity and Magic Leap 2, shoot a 360o film, or create your own metaverse, our selection of courses will provide you with the necessary skills and knowledge needed for those just starting their XR journey. Create with AR: Face Filters by Unity A training course for those new to AR application development, including creating face filters. This course is designed for those willing not only to learn the basics of programming applications on Unity but also to expand their portfolio with new cases, which will make it much easier to enter the field of XR. The course is divided into three parts: Get Started With AR. The future developer will learn the types of features in augmented reality, such as AR face filters, and AR markers that allow you to place digital content in real space. One will learn how to integrate a finished 3D model design into a game. Create a basic face filter. The main goal of this segment is to create your own customized AR face mask, including creating face trackers and using various textures, 3D models, and other components that can be used for an AR mask; Create an interactive face filter. In the final part of the course, the student has to make their mask interactive. In particular, developers also learn to add a user interface to the created mask and use visual scripts to program functions. A student is able to independently monitor their own progress and mark the completed lessons on the page. The entire course is available here:  Virtual Reality Development Specialization by the University of London A virtual reality training program by the University of London is designed for beginners and consists of 5 courses. Its total duration is 6 months, 4 hours per week, with a flexible schedule. Each of the 5 training courses contains the following information: Introduction to virtual reality. Students get acquainted with the concept of virtual reality, its history, and basic principles; 3D Models for Virtual Reality. In this course, students will take the first steps in developing 3D models for VR, the basic principles of digital content development, and overlaying models in a digital environment. Students will also learn the basic principles of one of the most common VR engines, Unity3D; Interactive design with 3D models in VR. Students will learn to work with a key aspect of virtual reality, i.e., creating user interaction with the digital world. The course will cover the basic principles of creating interaction with virtual reality, taking into account the natural movements of the human body. In the end, students will receive useful advice from experts in the field of XR, and the main task to consolidate the result will be the creation of their own project where a person interacts with virtual reality; Creation of interactive 3D characters and dialogues. Students will learn to create communication between users of virtual reality, in particular the psychology of communication in VR, the basic principles of animation of 3D characters, in particular, game characters that will be used by the player and NPCs that will interact with a real player; Creating the First VR Game is the final course of the curriculum from the University of London, in which students have to create their first game in virtual reality and learn all the main stages of its development: idea, storyboarding, prototyping, testing, and implementation. The hosts of the Virtual Reality Development Specialization program are Professor Marco Gillies and Dr. Sylvia Xueni Pan. Gillies is an Academic Director of Distance Learning and Deputy Head of Computing at the University of London. Pan is a senior lecturer at the Virtual Reality department of the same university. You can sign up for the course here:  Extended Reality for Everybody by Michigan University  A learning program from the University of Michigan that introduces students to the general concept of extended reality. Its total duration is 3 months, 7 hours a week. The main goal of the program is to teach students the basic concepts of XR, the key problems of the development of augmented reality, and to correct them in further work with programs, as well as to learn how to create their own programs. The program consists of three main courses: Introduction to VR/AR/MR/XR, Technologies, Applications, and Key Issues. An introductory course to the concept of augmented reality where students will learn to understand the essential difference between virtual, augmented, mixed, and extended reality. Students will also learn more about the current state of XR, its main advantages, level of development, and problems; User experience and VR/AR/MR interaction design. In this course, students will learn the basic principles of creating XR experiences, including creating extended reality prototypes and putting them into operation. In addition, the issue of ethics in creating an interactive XR application for the user will be raised here; XR applications development with WebXR, Unity, and Unreal Engine. Students will gain practical skills in creating VR experiences in WebXR or Unity, AR applications with or without markers. The final course is where students will learn the basic concepts and techniques of creating complex applications in augmented reality, as well as learn to create their own apps taking into account the ethics, privacy,…

July 11, 2023
Boosting Productivity and Mental Health. XR Technology And Apple Vision Pro’s Potential Cases

When presenting the newest AR/VR glasses Vision Pro, Apple positions it as a device for entertainment and remote work through video conferencing and virtual offices. However, there are opinions that Apple Vision Pro can be useful not only for entertainment and games but also, for example, for increasing the productivity of an employee. This means caring for mental health, acquiring new knowledge, and honing old skills. Read also: Elevating Spatial Computing. Examining Technological Feats of Apple Vision Pro, Magic Leap, Meta Quest Pro, and Microsoft HoloLens  In this blog post, we will cover the basic concept of productivity and its main components. We will also consider examples from the field of XR, which are aimed at supporting human productivity. Enhance Productivity through XR Self-Development By the word “productivity” we usually mean a person’s ability to stay fit, as well as his ability to perform basic work tasks and be creative. The problem of productivity still remains relevant, as in the US only 33% of employees are interested in fulfilling their work duties. How can you solve the problem of interest and efficiency of your own work? There are several main components that support the productivity of a self-developed person: Ergonomics of the workplace Continuous self-development and education Physical support of the form Support of psychological health Organizing workplace with XR The first step in optimizing your work is improving your workplace. Completing your tasks becomes much faster and more efficient if the workplace is more sophisticated, and the person is isolated from various factors that distract them from work. According to National Association of Professional Organizers, a poorly designed workplace is a serious problem for employees in various businesses. Yes, 91% of workers said they would be more efficient and productive if their workplaces were better organized. An optimized workplace will allow a person to do work not only faster, but also better. And in this case, XR offers users several solutions for organizing the workplace: A virtual office is a fully immersive digital environment in which a person is completely isolated from various distractions. Also, the user of a VR headset can use the functions of creating a comfortable working environment (from a digital copy of the office to more non-standard, fantasy settings) and make the workplace more ergonomic by creating additional digital screens, panels with applications, etc. Such functions are offered by VR-office Immersed. Read also: How virtual reality makes remote work more convenient  Mixed reality solutions are another method of improving remote work. This option is suitable for those who aspire to make their workplace more ergonomic but do not want to completely isolate themselves from the outside world. For example, the well-known Meta Quest Pro has the function of overlaying digital screens on an already existing device, like a laptop, for example. Read also: What’s The Difference Between VR, AR and MR  How XR Transforms Self-Education The next way to improve the efficiency of your work is constant self-education and skills development. A person is also able to keep themselves in shape not only by consolidating old skills but also by learning new knowledge that will improve the quality of work. XR learning courses can be of help through several criteria: Realism of simulations. With the help of XR-gadgets, a student is able to learn new information in the most realistic environment, reproduced in a digital space; Emotional connection. Being offered a greater number of opportunities to interact with the content being studied (an opportunity not only to see and hear it but also to interact with digital elements), a person not only gets acquainted with new material but also better realizes and understands it with the help of illustrative examples; Situational learning. Instead of reading books with theoretical material, a student sees the situation with his own eyes and better understands the learned content. In addition, learning courses in virtual and augmented reality also increase the employee’s confidence in their knowledge and skills. According to PricewaterhouseCoopers, the level of employees’ confidence in their skills is increased by 275%, and training time on AR/VR devices is reduced by four times. A good deal of VR/AR training for employees are offered by companies to improve employees’ efficiency and increase their productivity. However, speaking about self-improvement, for example, a freelancer or remote worker can independently choose courses both for general education and comprehensive development. For example, if a person works with foreign partners and has to communicate with them every day, foreign language courses will come in handy. One such course is Global Academy XR’s Simmula for Meta Quest. These virtual courses are designed to improve the level of English, as well as confidence when speaking a foreign language. During these courses, a student wears a VR headset and immerses themselves in a virtual environment where they communicate with other students using digital avatars. The main goal of these VR English courses is more effective language learning with increased concentration and interest due to the fact that the student collaborates with other people in a digital immersive environment.    Harnessing XR for Physical Well-Being Many experts recommend constant physical activity for employees, in particular those who lead a sedentary lifestyle. After all, it has been proven that regular exercise has a positive effect not only on well-being and tone but also on mental health. According to the University of Bristol, employees who regularly engaged in physical activity reduced their stress levels by 33% and also improved their ability to cope with stress by 46%. Thus, remote worker or freelancer can improve their physical and mental well-being with the help of virtual training. Despite the fact that a VR headset user trains in a completely virtual environment, they receive real loads. Immersive digital reality fully reproduces the place of training in which a person engages in physical activity as if they were doing it in a real gym. For example, a person can punch a virtual punching bag, lift a dumbbell, or kick a ball. “Virtual reality games aren’t…

July 11, 2023
How Augmented Reality Is Rewriting The Story: A Peek into the Future of Literature

This article was written by our CEO Olga Kryvchenko and originally published on Linkedin. To get more biweekly updates about extended reality, subscribe to Olga’s XR Frontiers LinkedIn newsletter.  Hey there, bookworms and tech enthusiasts alike! Fancy a journey where age-old art meets futuristic tech? Join us as we dive into the world of literature and explore how augmented reality (AR) is spicing up storytelling! AR, the cool tech that adds a pinch of digital magic to our world, is at the heart of our tale today. Picture this: You’re reading a book, and suddenly the characters pop out of the pages, acting out the plot. No, it’s not Harry Potter magic. It’s the power of AR! It’s more than just virtual reality – it’s not about replacing your reality, but about adding a layer of digital awesomeness to it! We’ve all loved hearing, reading, and sharing stories. From cavemen’s grunts around a fire to eBooks on shiny tablets, storytelling has grown and evolved with us. Now, it’s time for another leap in this journey. AR, put on your superhero cape! We first saw AR waltz into literature with children’s books. It was like sprinkling fairy dust on pages – and voila! – the stories came alive with animations and interactivity. Suddenly, book-reading wasn’t just about sitting quietly; it was a whole new, exciting adventure! But folks, AR didn’t stop at that. Now, it’s not just for kids’ books but all sorts of literary works. Authors and publishers are embracing AR to add a dash of zing to their narratives. It’s not just a sprinkle of fairy dust anymore. It’s a full-blown magic spell, changing the way we read and interact with literature. Don’t believe me? Check out The Ice-Bound Concordance, a novel where AR lets you dive deep into the story and even shape it! Or the heartwarming AR children’s book. Imaginary Friends, which creates personalized story experiences. And then, there’s a delightful twist on a classic with the AR book, Alice in Wonderland , from the Ukrainian retail chain ATB. These examples underline the amazing possibilities AR brings to the literary world. But wait, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows. Creating spellbinding AR experiences can be quite a task – we’re talking advanced software and hardware capabilities here. Plus, it’s a challenge to make sure AR adds to the story rather than distract from it. And let’s not forget, not all of us have the necessary tech gear or might just prefer a good old paperback. Despite these hurdles, the future of AR in literature is brighter than a wizard’s Patronus! With tech getting more user-friendly and accessible, AR might soon become a common sight in our books. What’s next? Personalized stories? Even more immersive experiences? Time will tell! In the grand tale of storytelling, AR is a thrilling new chapter. It’s a bridge between the real and the virtual, giving us a fresh way to enjoy stories. As we turn the page to the future, it’ll be amazing to see how AR continues to transform our reading experiences. So grab a book (and maybe your AR glasses), and let’s journey on! Image: Pixabay

July 4, 2023
Revolutionizing Game Development: Unity’s AI Advancements with Unity Muse and Unity Sentis

AI has already begun to be applied in areas where it is necessary to analyze and generate content. In particular, artificial intelligence is implemented in game and app development. AI is getting popular primarily due to its ability to significantly speed up and facilitate the content development process. Instead of spending several hours manually creating graphics for games and applications, you can use AI to generate the necessary components on its own simply. Then the developer will make their edits. Therefore, it is not surprising that the number of companies using AI is growing. According to  Forbes Advisor, by 2027 the artificial intelligence market will be estimated at 407 billion USD. And 64% of enterprises believe that artificial intelligence will increase their productivity. Unity, one of the most famous app manufacturers for portable gadgets, is among the companies that are already gradually introducing AI into their work.  In this article, we will take a detailed look and analyze the new artificial intelligence developments from Unity and what they mean for the development of XR applications. Leveraging Unity AI for App Development Unity has been using AI for a few years now, but, firstly, it was mostly for marketing and non-game content to a wider audience. Like, for example, Luna, a platform that aims to improve the advertising strategy of brands. Or Supersonic which is a stand-alone platform that automates and accelerates game advertising. Secondly, artificial intelligence and neural networks for gaming have previously been created only for developers who have special qualifications for working with applications. Like, for example, ML agents, which allow you not to code the behavior of digital elements, because these elements themselves (smart agents) are independently learning the algorithms of behavior in the environment. For example, in a game from Unity, you can hone the behavior of a digital corgi that runs after a stick. Or the behavior of racing cars, as in this video. Read also: Transforming Reality: How AI Revolutionizes XR for Next-Level Experiences “In the carting micro game, our ML agent scenes are typically set up with a few major components: the training environment, the level, that we want our agents to observe and familiarize with. Which, in our case, is our racetracks. The agents are the game objects we want to train. So, that they can accomplish a goal, such as driving without colliding with the track walls. And, finally — our academy, which collects all observations, done by our agents and trains them”, said Unity’s official video. In March 2023, Unity announced their own AI game and application development features. Then there was the first presentation of an ecosystem with artificial intelligence, which operates according to the principle of many AI generators, such as Midjourney and ChatGPT. A few days ago, new AI tools for developing games and applications were announced: Unity Muse and Unity Sentis, which we will discuss in more detail below.  Unity Muse: Empowering AI Creativity Unity Muse is the newest platform with artificial intelligence, the main purpose of which is to accelerate the creation of applications with 3D graphics. In particular, the option of this platform includes such basic functions as: automatic creation of animated characters and digital doubles; creation of the movements of the animated model — for example, jumps or backflips; creating a texture for the environment; addition to ready-made 3D models — for example, the video shows how you can highlight the roof area on the digital model of the house, enter a prompt and select several options for a red roof from the database. “The Muse platform provides quick access to detailed information from the documentation and can also generate 2D sprites and 3D animations. This allows developers to quickly get the resources they need to create prototypes or new experiences without waiting for final versions of models and sprites. With Muse chat, developers can effectively communicate with other team members and get the help they need during development”, said Qualium Systems Unity tech lead Arcueid D’athemon. The main difference between Unity Muse and ML agents is ease of use. The newest platform looks like a chat with a neural network and the principle of operation resembles the sensational ChatGPT. As mentioned above, the user enters the required prompt to generate the 3D content required for the application. Harness the Power of Unity Sentis AI Unity Sentis is a cross-platform tool that integrates AI into Unity applications. According to Unity’s official announcement, Sentis enables in-app digital models to work flawlessly on all operating systems, browsers, and devices that support Unity, from smartphones and tablets to game consoles and XR glasses. Thus, applications with built-in AI models work more efficiently due to the fact that data is processed in real-time. However, according to Arcueid D’athemon, Unity tech lead at Qualium Systems, the range of  Sentis options is wider, and the platform can also generate voice acting and animation for a character. “It opens up opportunities to quickly create dynamically generated actions in the application that will depend on the environment or interaction with the user. With Sentis, developers can effectively create realistic character movements and high-quality voice acting that enriches the user experience”, said Arcueid D’athemon. In the end, the combination of the input of the own neural network can change the process of the application use. For example, the user can directly interact with an NPC, while would respond to him with lines that are not pre-recorded. It enhances the immersive experience of gameplay, using the example of a virtual AI character named Orb. Unity’s interest in AI in app development is evident with recent innovations such as Unity Muse and Unity Sentis. The first tool allows developers to quickly and efficiently create 3D models of game and non-game characters, environments, and textures. As for Sentis, this program allows you to modify the gameplay by introducing NPCs with their own artificial intelligence. Unity’s AI ecosystem continues to evolve, inspiring game and app developers to explore new horizons and reimagine what’s possible in…