Blog

RELAYCARS

Virtual Reality Escape Room Transport Players into New Realms of Challenges

Virtual Reality Escape Room Transport Players into New Realms of Challenges

December 22, 2021

Escape rooms began popping up across the United States as a new form of entertainment for families and friends and even for corporate team building exercises. Escape rooms require players to solve multiple puzzles to ultimately escape the room. Some experiences are timed, and each room is themed for a unique experience. Now these game challenges are going virtual and immersing players into incredible new environments. Virtual reality escape rooms are taking players into underwater realms, the pyramids and even into ancient mythology to solve puzzles and, ultimately, complete the mission and escape. Some virtual reality escape rooms follow video games like Cyberpunk, A Prince of Persia, and Assassin’s Creed. While many are appropriate for most ages, some are now darker in design and are for ages 17 and up. Virtual Reality Escape Room [https://blog.relaycars.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/02/What-is-a-Virtual-Reality-Escape-Room.jpg] WHAT IS A VIRTUAL REALITY ESCAPE ROOM? In a traditional escape room, players entered and were locked in a room. Each room had a unique theme, and the rooms included multiple different puzzles that needed to be solved. When players completed all the puzzles accurately—and within a time limit—the room was unlocked and the game was complete. Throughout the game, a story might have unfolded to explain the adventure or theme of the room. As puzzles were solved, more details about the story might have been revealed. Each room had an end challenge that the players had to complete, but this challenge couldn’t be realized until all the other puzzles or challenges were solved. Players who were unable to complete all the puzzles or solve them within the time limit lost, and the room was unlocked without completing the game. Virtual escape rooms work the same way, but the experience is completely virtual. All players wear a virtual reality headset in the room to experience the story and help solve the puzzles. All escape room centers each have their own unique rooms, although some may offer similar puzzles. TRAP’T (CONNECTICUT) Trap’t, an escape room venue in Connecticut, offers Escape the Lost Pyramid (dubbed as an Assassin’s Creed experience), Beyond Medusa’s Gate (also an Assassin’s Creed adventure), Alice (as in “Alice in Wonderland”), and even Christmas. Each experience has its own mission or goal. In the experience “Christmas,” players need to light the Christmas tree, because Santa is caught in a snowstorm, lost all the presents he was carrying and can’t get home. Before players can light Santa’s way home via the tree, they have to figure out why the elves have decided to stop working. BANE ESCAPE (NEW YORK) Bane Escape in New York uses HTC Vive headsets to power the experience. Players wear a headset and a backpack that includes equipment to link team members together in the virtual realm The Bane virtual escape experience begins with a séance—team members must find the candles and book for the séance. This ceremony summons a demon and players are trapped in another realm. They must find their way out of three rooms in the new dimension and get back to their dimension within 30 minutes. To escape, they need to solve puzzles in each room. Players must be 10 years and older to play the virtual game. ATOMIC ESCAPE ROOMS (WASHINGTON) Atomic Escape Rooms offers multiple virtual reality experiences including: * Manor of Escape, which requires players to stop the evil Count Malum * Dragon Tower, which finds players in a small town ruled by an alchemist who sacrifices criminals to the dragon. Players must escape the dragon tower. * Time Travel Paradox, in which a team has created the first time machine but another member—Dr. Marek—stole it. The goal of the game is to stop Marek. Atomic Escape Rooms offers several more experiences including a virtual reality haunted house experience. Virtual Reality Escape Room [https://blog.relaycars.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/02/Are-Virtual-Escape-Rooms-Available-to-Download-for-Personal-Headsets.jpg] ARE VIRTUAL ESCAPE ROOMS AVAILABLE TO DOWNLOAD FOR PERSONAL HEADSETS? Some avid gamers have their own virtual reality headset. While those who want to experience virtual reality could pay for a virtual reality game room experience, can this unique game play challenge be experienced at home? Are there virtual reality escape room games that can be downloaded via personal headsets like the HTC Vive, HP Reverb, and Oculus Quest 2? Steam offers many escape room games that players can download via headsets. A few are free, but most are reasonably priced. The game “Escape Room” is priced at 99 cents! The game “Tested on Humans: Escape Room” is $14.99, and many others are less than $10.  Players who enjoy traditional escape rooms and want to experience these challenging games via virtual reality can check out all the options to find the best adventure. AUGMENTED REALITY ESCAPE ROOMS Virtual reality isn’t the only immersive high-tech escape room experience. Some venues offer augmented reality adventures, too. Augmented reality includes graphic elements depicted on top of the real environment. Aim Escape hosts its augmented reality escape experience outdoors. The game is two hours in duration and takes players throughout London to find clues. There are multiple adventures for players to choose; some are suitable for only older teens and adults. Unfortunately, this epic adventure is in London, but visitors might want to book an experience to escape via augmented reality. Virtual Reality Escape Room [https://blog.relaycars.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/02/Augmented-Reality-Escape-Rooms-at-Home.jpg] AUGMENTED REALITY ESCAPE ROOMS AT HOME For those bored and stuck at home, grab a phone or tablet and start experiencing an augmented reality escape room at home. Yes, both Google Play and the App Store offer several augmented reality escape room options. No headsets or augmented reality glasses are required to enjoy these experiences. The games use the camera’s lens to project the game graphics in the real environment. However, players will need to grant the app access to their camera. Those interested in finding augmented reality escape room experiences can search for “escape room AR” via the App Store or Google Play. Many of these games only have a handful of reviews, but they are often free to download. For gamers who haven’t explored an escape room before, using augmented reality could be a fun way to become introduced to these adventures. Again, players will need to solve puzzles to beat the game or realize the final mission. Some escape rooms include a time limit. Here are a few titles to explore via Google Play (for Android) and the App Store  (for Apple): EMERGE AR ROOM: THE PANDEMIC If the title is a little too close to reality, rest assured that players can play at home. Yes, Emerge lets players download the escape room game to their Android device. Unfortunately, it isn’t offered via Apple yet. Those with Android devices, though, can play this game anywhere. The game transforms the real world into a locked escape room. ARIA’S LEGACY – AR MYSTERY ESCAPE ROOM PUZZLE GAME Explore the truth behind Aria’s disappearance and understand her story. The real environment is transformed via augmented reality. The app is free, but there is an option for in-app purchases. SCRIPTUM AR ESCAPE Apple device owners can rejoice! Scriptum AR Escape can be downloaded via Apple devices. This game is horror themed and gives players 30 minutes to escape three rooms! THE LOCKDOWN In the Lockdown, players are Interpol agents who need to solve a case. The app is free to download via the App Store ESCAPE VIA VIRTUAL AND AUGMENTED REALITY Traditional escape rooms are now transforming into digitized games that utilize either virtual reality or augmented reality to power the adventure. These game rooms might require the player to wear a virtual reality headset to enter the experience. Virtual reality and augmented reality game rooms might be the transformative future of this unique entertainment—and team bonding—experience. While traditional rooms had to include physical props and other details, immersive virtual reality game rooms can transport players into another realm that is illustrated before them. Props are virtual, clues are virtual, and these experiences could be much more detailed and imaginative, too. Traditional escape rooms couldn’t really be transported under the sea or in an entirely new dimension, but virtual reality makes these realms and spaces a very real destination. Those who want to explore these escape room experiences from home can utilize augmented reality to power their puzzles and adventures. Both Android and Apple devices offer several different game titles that allow users to explore unique augmented reality escape room experiences and challenges. Gamers who have their own virtual reality headsets, though, might have even more adventures available to them. Steam offers a list of virtual reality escape room games at reasonable prices. In virtual reality, gamers can choose their own escape adventure via Steam’s offerings. Are these immersive puzzle games the future of gaming? Augmented reality puzzle games could become more common when augmented reality glasses are finally offered to consumers. However, as more tech companies pursue the metaverse and start creating experiences designed for this virtual realm, gamers may find that these mixed reality gaming experiences might become more virtual than reality.

Amazon Augmented Reality Player Transforms Programming Into an Interactive
Experience

Amazon Augmented Reality Player Transforms Programming Into an Interactive Experience

November 29, 2021

Amazon offers streaming content via its own platform, and like Netflix and other streaming giants, Amazon has its own list of original series titles, too. However, Amazon has taken the streaming service into an augmented realm with its Amazon Augmented Reality Player (AR Player). Those with an Apple or Android device can download the AR Player to experience the series The Wheel of Time in augmented reality. The AR Player lets users explore artifacts, landmarks and unique creatures from the series. Here’s how Amazon is using augmented reality to expand The Wheel of Time universe and invite fans into the unique realms of this show. ABOUT THE WHEEL OF TIME The Wheel of Time is a series of books by novelist Robert Jordan. Amazon adapted the books into a made-for-streaming series that is offered via Prime Video. The Amazon series follows Moiraine Damodred, a woman known as a channeler who has the ability to use The One Power, and her warder as they seek to find the reborn Dragon (or the male who can use The One Power). They end up at the land of Two Rivers, where it is determined that numerous individuals could be the Reborn Dragon. Jordan’s series comprises 14 books; the last three novels were actually the last novel that was broken into three different books. These installments were completed by a different author after Jordan died. However, book 14 titled “A Memory of Light” includes an epilogue written by Jordan. Amazon’s series currently only features one season with eight episodes. However, a second season has already been planned. EXPLORING THE WHEEL OF TIME UNIVERSE WITH AMAZON AUGMENTED REALITY Fans of the show might have binge watched the series in a few nights or maybe even in a single day. Those who aren’t yet ready to leave the fantasy world of The Wheel of Time can explore Two Rivers and other places in the book via augmented reality. Amazon’s AR Player lets fans of the show get up close with sites like the White Tower. They also can use a portal to visit the cave of the Women’s Circle in Two Rivers. Augmented reality also lets fans examine artifacts from the show like an angreal. To learn more about the dark Trollocs and Fades (the eyeless half-humans), fans of the show can use augmented reality to bring them to life and stand next to them. See how large and towering these creatures are compared to simple humans. Exploring the show in augmented reality is free, and the app can be downloaded via both Google Play (for Android) and the App Store (for Apple). While Amazon’s AR Player is now focused on The Wheel of Time, the company could pivot content, too! In fact, a past iteration of the app featured augmented reality experiences via Amazon’s famous boxes. Amazon Augmented Reality [https://blog.relaycars.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/02/How-Else-Does-Amazon-Let-Users-Explore-Augmented-Reality.jpg] HOW ELSE DOES AMAZON LET USERS EXPLORE AUGMENTED REALITY? While Amazon’s Augmented Reality (AR) Player lets fans of their hit show explore the world of The Wheel of Time, Amazon also offers other augmented reality tools for other platforms. Shopping on Amazon involves some guessing on the part of the consumer when ordering furniture or other products. To help buyers better understand certain purchases before they add it to their cart and make their purchase, Amazon offers preview experiences powered by augmented reality. The feature AR View is offered via the Amazon App, which can be downloaded via both Google Play and the App Store. Using the AR View, shoppers can preview furniture and other products by dropping them into the environment. Preview a couch in the living room or place an end table by a bed. The furniture appears to scale, so buyers can better understand how an item will fit into a room and see how it looks. Buyers also can swap in different products to decide what they like best. Like many preview experiences, AR View helps buyers simplify the buying decision by allowing buyers to see before they purchase an item. HAS NETFLIX JUMPED INTO AUGMENTED REALITY? Amazon Video augmented The Wheel of Time via the app Amazon AR Player, but what about rival streaming services like Hulu or Netflix? Are all streaming services embracing augmented reality experiences to give fans unique interactions with favorite programming? Netflix released an augmented reality hologram experience before premiering The Midnight Sky featuring George Clooney. The experience lets users take video and send them to friends and family as augmented reality hologram messages. Users also could view Clooney’s hologram message in their own rooms or environment as an augmented reality experience. Hulu also launched an augmented reality experience for the second season of “Light as a Feather.” However, the experience was only available at VideoCon and required a headset. Users, though, could try to find clues about the mystery of the show and had to interact with avatars of the show’s characters. Amazon Augmented Reality [https://blog.relaycars.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/02/The-Rise-of-Accessible-Augmented-Reality-Experiences.jpg] THE RISE OF ACCESSIBLE AUGMENTED REALITY EXPERIENCES Netflix and Amazon both launched augmented reality experiences tied to one of their own offerings and made these experiences available to the public. The accessible augmented reality experience is becoming more mainstream and popular among consumer brands. Fast food mainstays like McDonalds and Pizza Hut have deployed augmented reality on food packaging. McDonald’s released augmented reality content via its Happy Meal boxes. Pizza Hut lets consumers play a game of augmented reality Pac-Man on top of its pizza boxes. Even wine labels now include augmented reality experiences. Just use the phone’s camera to capture the label within an app, and an adventure springs to life. Sip on a glass of Chardonnay and learn about the brand’s history or play a game. These interactive experiences don’t just help entertain the consumer, but they also help brands and companies engage with the consumer. Augmented reality marketing and experiences are another way to hold the consumer’s attention and keep them focused and interested in the brand. If the consumer can use augmented reality to preview products or just to stay entertained, they will—hopefully—stay engaged with the company’s app or site. Using augmented reality preview experiences also could encourage consumers to explore other products and maybe lead them to something that they didn’t even know the company offered. Amazon’s preview experience could be used to drop in a couch, but what if consumers find a matching chair or end table? Maybe they want to see how those items look in the room, too. If they love the entire look, perhaps they buy the set. Before augmented reality experiences, customers really had to guess about online purchases. Would that loveseat really match the chair? How would that vase look on the table? Buying many products online could have been a hit or miss situation. Buyers really couldn’t know how shoes would look on their feet or if a pair of eyeglasses would flatter their face shape. With augmented reality, though, consumers can try on those shoes via graphics. They can even see how those eyeglasses look on their face. Augmented reality has become a magic mirror and a virtual dressing room in the online marketplace. Consumers may turn to these experiences more often as they begin to realize that more companies are making them accessible. AUGMENTED REALITY MARKETS ENTERTAINMENT In the case of The Wheel of Time, Amazon’s use of augmented reality is very much for entertainment purposes. Yet, the augmented realm also is a very astute marketing move. Fans of the show can explore unique worlds within Amazon’s app. They can even drop fictional creatures into their environment to size them up. Yet, the augmented reality experience is an experiential marketing campaign for the series. Those who haven’t seen the show might open up the app and explore the features. Then they may decide to tune into the show. Augmented reality experiences can be used to provide immersive entertainment for the consumer, but they also can be used to introduce consumers to new products or, in the case of Amazon, new shows. The Wheel of Time augmented reality experience can entertain current fans or even be the introduction that prompts someone to tune into the show. AUGMENTING AMAZON While Amazon offers an augmented reality app that provides entertaining content that ties into its shows (and previously its boxes), the company also provides an augmented reality preview experience that allows consumers to see an item in their space before purchasing. What’s next for Amazon and augmented reality? Amazon already offers its Echo Frames that connect to Alexa. However, could Amazon be the company that launches a consumer-driven pair of augmented reality glasses? Meta worked with Ray-Ban to release Stories smart glasses that include the photo and video capabilities. Stories also let the wearer listen to their favorite songs. Meta also is quite interested in augmented and virtual reality and in developing the metaverse. Many tech publications have been anticipating and waiting for some type of augmented reality glasses from Apple. However, nothing has been announced from the company. The public is currently waiting for which tech company might drop augmented reality glasses for the consumer. While no one knows who will augment reality through the lenses of augmented reality glasses, consumers who are plugged into Prime Video might keep an eye on Amazon’s AR Player to see what Amazon will augment next.

How Augmented and Virtual Reality Are Transforming Retail

How Augmented and Virtual Reality Are Transforming Retail

August 26, 2021

The global augmented and virtual reality market is expected to grow by over $125 billion by 2024. Experts predict that this growth will be fueled largely by the adoption of these technologies in many different industries. For example, the healthcare industry has used augmented and virtual reality technology to train aspiring healthcare professionals, plan surgeries, and provide personalized care to patients remotely. The travel and tourism industry has used these technologies to give consumers the opportunity to virtually travel to exotic destinations, tour museums, and compare different hotels. Augmented and virtual reality technology has changed many industries, but it’s completely transformed the world of retail. How are retailers using virtual and augmented reality technology? How do these technologies benefit retailers and consumers? Here’s what you should know: HOW RETAILERS USE AUGMENTED AND VIRTUAL REALITY TECHNOLOGIES Retailers are currently using augmented and virtual reality technologies to provide various services and unique experiences, including: * Virtual Try-On * Product Previews * Games * Virtual Merchandise * Product Tutorials * Employee Training * Virtual Showrooms Virtual Try-On [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/Virtual-Try-On.jpg] VIRTUAL TRY-ON Many retailers are using augmented reality technology to provide virtual try-on services to online consumers.  In the world of cosmetics, retailers use augmented reality to allow online shoppers to virtually try on different shades of lipsticks, eyeshadows, blush, and other makeup products. Sephora’s Virtual Artist and Ulta’s GLAMlab tools make it easier for online consumers to choose the right cosmetic products without ever trying them on in-person.  These tools were several years ago, but they surged in popularity during the COVID-19 pandemic. For example, consumers used Ulta’s GLAMlab tool to try on more than 50 million shades of foundation in the midst of the pandemic.  Consumers can virtually try on clothing items, too. Kohl’s customers can step inside a virtual closet powered by augmented reality technology, try on different items, and mix and match pieces to create different looks that work for their body type. Several shoe companies, including Nike, have also created virtual try-on tools for online consumers. Nike’s tool allows consumers to see what different shoe styles will look like on their feet before making a purchase. To complete their look, online consumers can even virtually try on different accessories such as sunglasses from Solstice Sunglasses. On the Solstice website, consumers can try on different frames from countless luxury brands to see which shape and style suits their face best.  Thanks to augmented reality technology, online consumers can try on head-to-toe looks without ever leaving home.  Product Previews [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/Product-Previews.jpg] PRODUCT PREVIEWS Just like virtual try-on tools, product preview tools allow consumers to “test out” different products before deciding which ones to purchase. But instead of trying these products on, consumers can use product preview tools to visualize products in their real world surroundings.   For example, say a consumer is shopping online for a new sofa from Ikea. The consumer likes a specific Ikea sofa, but isn’t sure what it will look like in their living room. Furthermore, they aren’t sure if the sofa is even the right size or shape for their living room layout.  This consumer can open the Ikea Place app, which is powered by augmented reality technology, to project a digital model of the couch into their living room. The digital model is an exact replica of the couch, so the consumer can see if the couch is the right size and how it complements the rest of their furniture. Ikea isn’t the only retailer that has used augmented reality in this manner. Other retailers, including Home Depot, Wayfair, Target, and Amazon, also offer product preview tools to consumers who are shopping online.  GAMES Both augmented and virtual reality technology are associated with the gaming industry, so it’s not surprising that some retailers have used these technologies to build entertaining games for consumers. Burberry, a British luxury fashion house, launched an augmented reality app that allows consumers to build their own digital sculptures. Consumers can choose from a wide selection of Burberry prints, patterns, and shapes to create their own custom virtual sculpture. Burberry also created a multiplayer arcade game, B Surf, where players can compete to unlock digital rewards, including an augmented reality character and face filter. Aircoins is an augmented reality app that is designed to increase foot traffic at brick-and-mortar retailers. Just like Pokemon Go, the app instructs players to walk around searching for three-dimensional objects in their real world. However, this app is designed specifically for consumers who are walking around shopping centers. Instead of Pokemon characters, Aircoin players are looking for coins, which they can collect to redeem rewards such as discounts or special offers from retailers within the shopping center. This app encourages consumers to visit local shopping centers by offering incentives, which can drive traffic to brick-and-mortar retailers.  VIRTUAL MERCHANDISE A number of retailers are using virtual and augmented reality technologies to create and sell virtual merchandise to consumers.  Louis Vuitton, for instance, sells digital clothing and accessories that can be used to dress virtual characters in League of Legends, an esports game.  Gucci is another luxury fashion label that has launched virtual merchandise. The company created the Gucci Virtual 25, a line of products that included an exclusively digital athletic shoe. Because the shoe was a digital design, consumers couldn’t actually wear it, but they could put it on their virtual avatars in Roblox, VRChat, and other apps. In the art world, artist Brian Donnelly, also known as KAWS, introduced an augmented reality art exhibition called “Expanded Holiday.” The exhibition featured augmented reality sculptures that were available for consumers to rent or purchase. These consumers were paying to rent or purchase a digital sculpture, not a physical art piece. PRODUCT TUTORIALS Some retailers are using augmented and virtual reality technology to create unique product tutorials for consumers.  Lowe’s used virtual reality to build its Holoroom Test Drive in-store experience. To participate, consumers must put on an HTC Vive virtual reality headset and hold onto a specially designed controller. The headset will transport consumers to a simulated environment created by Lowe’s where they can learn how to use and test out specific products.  For example, the Holoroom Test Drive experience allowed consumers to test out cordless hedge trimmers. Inside the virtual environment, consumers would be given helpful tips on how to use the product. This gave consumers the opportunity to learn how to use and test out a potentially dangerous product in a safe, virtual environment.  After the experience is over, consumers can take what they’ve learned and apply it to the real world to avoid making dangerous mistakes while using power tools and other equipment. How Augmented and Virtual Reality Are Transforming Retail [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/Employee-Training.jpg] EMPLOYEE TRAINING Retailers are also using virtual reality technology to train new employees. Instead of training in-person, employees are trained in a virtual retail environment. In this environment, retail workers can learn how to handle difficult customers, emergency situations, and other scenarios that they may encounter while on the job.  This type of training helps new employees build their confidence so they are fully prepared to handle whatever comes their way once they are out on the sales floor. It also helps them develop crucial interpersonal skills that they will need to achieve success in their role. Because it takes place in a virtual environment, the training won’t interfere with the retailer’s business operations. This means customers won’t have to be patient with new employees who are still learning the ropes. It also allows retailers to train large groups of employees at once, which is difficult to do when conducting in-person training sessions.  VIRTUAL SHOWROOMS Some retailers are using augmented and virtual reality technology to build virtual showrooms for consumers.  In the automotive industry, for example, many auto retailers now allow consumers to visit virtual showrooms using their smartphone or computer. Inside these showrooms, consumers can explore different vehicles just like they would if they were in a real showroom. They can see the vehicle from different angles, examine the exterior, and open the door to inspect the interior.  Consumers can use this experience to learn about different models, compare vehicles, and decide which one they want to purchase without ever stepping foot outside of their home. Thanks to virtual showrooms, consumers only have to visit a dealership when they are ready to purchase a vehicle. This simplifies the process of buying a new car and meets the needs of consumers who want to move as much of the car buying process online as possible. THE BENEFITS OF USING AUGMENTED AND VIRTUAL REALITY TECHNOLOGY IN RETAIL Both retailers and consumers benefit from the use of augmented and virtual reality technology. Some of the many benefits include: * Improve the Shopping Experience * Reduce Product Returns * Increase Conversions How Augmented and Virtual Reality Are Transforming Retail [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/Improve-the-Shopping-Experience.jpg] IMPROVE THE SHOPPING EXPERIENCE The internet dramatically reshaped the retail industry. Brick-and-mortar stores began to suffer, whereas e-commerce stores thrived in the new digital world. This transformation was underway long before the COVID-19 pandemic occurred.  However, IBM’s 2020 Retail Index report revealed that the pandemic accelerated the shift to online shopping by about five years. In other words, online shopping exploded in popularity as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. With this growth in e-commerce, it’s important for retailers to focus on enhancing the online shopping experience. One way to do this is by incorporating augmented and virtual reality technology. According to Nielsen, consumers want the opportunity to use virtual and augmented reality technologies to make their everyday lives easier and more convenient. Over half of consumers surveyed by Nielsen also said they would like to use these technologies to evaluate different products. To meet this demand, retailers must use augmented and virtual reality technologies to improve the online shopping experience for consumers.  REDUCE PRODUCT RETURNS Using augmented reality and virtual reality technologies can help consumers make more informed purchase decisions. This benefits consumers by increasing their satisfaction with their purchases, but it also benefits retailers by reducing product returns.  In the past, consumers didn’t have access to tools that allowed them to virtually try on or preview products before purchasing them online. Consumers who were shopping for cosmetics online, for example, may have chosen the wrong shade of foundation or an unflattering shade of lipstick. As a result, many online purchases were returned to retailers. But now, consumers can use augmented and virtual reality technologies to test out their options and choose the right product when shopping online. These technologies have given consumers the power to shop with confidence online. How Augmented and Virtual Reality Are Transforming Retail [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/Increase-Conversions.jpg] INCREASE CONVERSIONS A conversion rate is a metric that measures the percentage of visitors to a retail store that actually make a purchase. Every retailer strives to increase their conversion rate and generate more sales. In the past, retailers often invested heavily in digital marketing and SEO campaigns to increase conversion rates. But now, they may need to incorporate augmented reality and virtual reality into the mix in order to get the results they desire. Research shows that retailers can improve their conversion rates simply by using augmented and virtual reality technology. Some studies show that these technologies can increase conversion rates by anywhere from 10 to 200%. According to Shopify data, products with augmented reality content have a 94% higher conversion rate than products without this content.  Based on these statistics, it’s clear that retailers can greatly benefit from taking advantage of augmented and virtual reality technology. How Augmented and Virtual Reality Are Transforming Retail [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/How-Retailers-Can-Start-Using-Augmented-and-Virtual-Reality-Technologies.jpg] HOW RETAILERS CAN START USING AUGMENTED AND VIRTUAL REALITY TECHNOLOGIES It’s not too late for retailers to start using augmented reality and virtual reality technology. The first step retailers must take is defining their business objectives and goals. Retailers need to determine what they would like to accomplish by using augmented reality and virtual reality technology. The next step is identifying the right tools to implement their augmented and virtual reality strategy. The main challenge that retailers will face when implementing these technologies is the development of new software. Retailers may need to invest heavily in this strategy in order to develop software designed solely for their consumers. This might explain why Goldman Sachs predicts that the augmented reality/virtual reality software market will grow to $1.6 billion by 2025. Once the tools have been built and tested, retailers need to launch effective marketing campaigns to introduce them to consumers. Retailers can create instructional videos that show consumers how to use the new tools and feature them prominently on their websites. This ensures that all website visitors know about the tools and more importantly, how to use them.

What’s Cooking in Facebook’s Virtual Reality Labs?

What’s Cooking in Facebook’s Virtual Reality Labs?

July 12, 2021

Back in March, Wired marked the five-year anniversary of the Oculus Rift headset with an in-depth article focused on Facebook’s virtual journey. The social media giant is a major player in the extended reality industry, but Google, Microsoft, Snap and Apple all have their own unique augmented and virtual experiences and product offerings. In the tech industry, however, innovation is everything…and tech evolves quickly. Facebook’s Virtual Reality Labs is tasked for developing and researching new ideas for virtual and augmented reality. Of course, what’s cooking in Facebook’s Virtual Reality Labs might be the ultimate secret recipe. What’s Cooking in Facebook’s Virtual Reality Labs? [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/What-is-Virtual-Reality-Labs.jpg] WHAT IS VIRTUAL REALITY LABS? The Verge cited a study that noted that about one fifth of Facebook’s employee base is focused on virtual reality. Per The Verge, about 10,000 employees are part of Virtual Reality Labs. Facebook’s research labs focused on all things extended reality. While Facebook has created one of the most affordable virtual reality headsets on the market, the company’s team of developers is obviously not simply sitting around content with stopping with Oculus. So what, exactly, is Facebook creating in Virtual Reality Labs? Exact projects might be known to only employees, but, according to Facebook, “…We are developing all the technologies needed to enable breakthrough AR glasses and VR headsets, including optics and displays, computer vision, audio, graphics, brain-computer interface, haptic interaction, eye/hand/face/body tracking, perception science, and true telepresence. Some of those will advance much faster than others, but they all need to happen to enable AR and VR that are so compelling that they become an integral part of our lives, and we are making all of them happen.” Facebook’s Virtual Reality Labs also offers a comprehensive news section with articles and updates about current research. Check out some of the augmented and virtual reality experiences that could transform technology in the future. Keep in mind that all these potential experiences are just research…they are not hitting the market! What’s Cooking in Facebook’s Virtual Reality Labs? [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/An-Augmented-Reality-Hearing-Aid.jpg] AN AUGMENTED REALITY HEARING AID Could augmented reality integrate into a hearing aid? This could be a possibility in the future. The journal Ear and Hearing published an article from researchers at Facebook Reality Labs Research. The article describes potential scenarios and how augmented reality could aid those who suffer from hearing loss. Essentially hearing aids could work with other devices, perhaps even augmented reality glasses. While it doesn’t seem like the hearing aids would project any augmented reality experiences, the paper explores ways that augmented reality could work with hearing aids for more control of environments (like noisy parties). The paper also details how glasses could provide text for conversations. Perhaps this could be a technologically advanced closed captioning. While augmented reality advancements and connectivity with hearing aids isn’t currently a reality, the potential for this technology could provide greater support for those with hearing impairment. LIGHTWEIGHT VIRTUAL REALITY GLASSES Could those bulky heavy headsets disappear in the future? While Oculus isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, Facebook is looking at other ways to make the virtual reality experience sleeker. One of the Virtual Labs’ news stories focuses on lightweight virtual reality glasses that use holographic optics. The prototype that is shown looks like sunglasses. The glasses are a huge change from the headset. Facebook notes that it’s currently working on full color graphics for one of the smaller prototypes.   AN AUGMENTED REALITY BRACELET Fitness trackers and smart watches are nothing new, but Facebook is researching how to integrate augmented reality into a wrist-based device. The focus on the wrist was noted as this placement is comfortable and provides easy interaction. So how would the wrist device work? Electromyography deciphers ‘nerve signals’ into commands that then control the device. And the wristband or bracelet would work with augmented reality glasses! “We believe our wristband wearables may offer a path to ultra-low-friction, always-available input for AR glasses, but they’re not a complete solution on their own — just as the mouse is one piece of the graphical user interface, ”said Hrvoje Benko, research director for Facebook’s Research Labs on Facebook’s tech site “They need to be assisted with intent prediction and user modeling that adapts to you and your particular context in real time.” THE AUGMENTED REALITY SMARTWATCH The BBC recently reported on a possible Facebook augmented reality smartwatch. But this could be just another tech rumor, and consumers might not want to get too excited. The BBC quoted an executive for the company who noted that “We’re investing in technologies across the board… research doesn’t always lead to product development.” The BBC’s story cited a story from The Verge, which noted that the product could launch next summer. The Verge detailed that the watch would have two cameras that can even be detached from the watch. So what are the augmented reality features of the watch? According to the BBC the device would control future augmented reality glasses. Could the watch be wearable wrist tech? Until Facebook announces anything official about the possible watch, consumers might just be left speculating…and waiting excitedly for a new launch. FACEBOOK’S OFFERINGS NOW While Virtual Reality Labs is constantly working on new research and looking at ways to advance augmented and virtual reality, Facebook also has new tech offerings that will soon be available to the public. And Facebook’s Spark AR Studio is expanding into augmented reality for video calls! FACEBOOK X RAY-BAN In a partnership with luxury sunglass manufacturer EssilorLuxottica, sleek chic new smart glasses will soon be available to the public under EssilorLuxottica’s Ray-Ban brand. Unfortunately, there are no firm details about the tech that will be offered via the Facebook x Ray-Ban glasses. However, Facebook did tell The Verge that augmented reality will not be a feature of the eyewear. Even the design style of the glasses is a bit of a mystery. While a video launched on YouTube teasing the glasses, a photo of the product wasn’t shown. Will the glasses favor Ray-Ban’s popular Wayfarer style? Will there be numerous color choices? Consumers will simply have to wait for the official launch to find out! SPARK AR FOR VIDEO CALLS Augmented reality for video calls could be a reality. And Facebook is looking for participants to try out the Beta version of the tech. Unfortunately, those who want to sign up to try out this new experience are limited to “qualified creators and developers.” Those who are accepted to try out this new Spark tech can explore augmented reality graphics for Facebook Messenger. Facebook explains that the tech will expand to Instagram and Portal as well.   What’s Cooking in Facebook’s Virtual Reality Labs? [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/Whats-Next-for-Augmented-and-Virtual-Reality.jpg] WHAT’S NEXT FOR AUGMENTED AND VIRTUAL REALITY? Technology constantly and consistently changes and updates for the changing needs of the consumer. Augmented and virtual reality products, however, could be the future. Facebook and other tech players in the industry are constantly innovating. Facebook’s research could predict the future of what extended reality could deliver to the masses. Hearing aids that could communicate with augmented reality glasses could change the way that those with hearing impairments listen to the world. Augmented reality could provide them with better control and a more comfortable environment. Wrist-based devices could point to a more advanced smartwatch or other wrist device that is engineered to interact, once again, with augmented reality glasses. The device’s features and capabilities could include electromyography, as Facebook is currently exploring. However, different companies might introduce and create unique wrist-based devices. However, the future of what tech holds rapidly changes. While speculation could eye a wrist device, the future could include the launch of something entirely and uniquely different. As research continues, some products could prove to be unsuccessful or research findings could take developers and engineers into an entirely new and different direction. There is always buzz about some new product. Speculation about Apple, Facebook and other tech companies and their possible launches hits the news. Consumers begin to anticipate possible arrivals. However, until companies make their official announcement…speculation is only speculation. What’s next for Facebook could be augmented reality glasses. Or a wrist device. But, really, only those on the inside of product development know for sure what new gadget awaits the ever-anticipatory public. Until the next big announcement and the next latest greatest device is announced, consumers can look forward to the final unveiling of a product that has been officially announced. Those craving a new device, a new product may soon be able to wear a new pair of Ray-Bans, courtesy of Facebook. Of course, what consumers can see through those lenses is still a mystery. While no augmented reality experiences will appear to those who wear the glasses, there may be cool features beyond the sleek design of new frames. Will those new Ray-Bans link to Facebook somehow? Or instagram? Will they allow users to dictate posts? We’ll soon find out!

Google’s Floom Lets You See Other Side of the Planet

Google’s Floom Lets You See Other Side of the Planet

May 14, 2021

Google has launched a new augmented reality experience called Floom that allows the user to actually create a tunnel (or portal, as Floom looks a bit like a swirling cloud) and peek on the other side. Using the augmented reality tool, users become sort of like virtual explorers. There’s only one downfall, though: Floom is only compatible with Android devices. Consumers clinging to an Apple device won’t be drilling via Floom. Since Android is a Google device, though, there shouldn’t be any sense of surprise that Apple devices aren’t yet welcome. Those lucky enough to experience Floom have more adventures awaiting them. Ready to drill through the Earth? Here’s what you can discover with Floom. google floom [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/Traveling-to-the-Other-Side.jpg] TRAVELING TO THE OTHER SIDE Floom is incredibly creative in its adventure potential. Users don’t have only one way to dig through the Earth. In fact, the tunnel or hole you dig depends on how the phone is held. Tunnels or holes can angle in a different direction, and Google explains that in this way users can explore different areas with Floom. This is where the experience gets really interesting. While one hole may lead the user into an ocean, another could place you on top of a mountain. Then it’s time to explore the area. Once the user discovers their location, they can explore it on Google Earth. A writer for The Verge used Floom and could reach Antarctica, New Zealand and the Middle East at home. The potential to discover different parts of the world can be seemingly endless; imagine using Floom on vacation or in a different state. Every different location creates a unique experience. HOW IS FLOOM AUGMENTED REALITY? Floom uses WebXR, which includes augmented reality. The term ‘XR’ is typically a reference to extended reality, encompassing both augmented reality and virtual reality. Floom is considered augmented reality as users draw a hole (or tunnel) in their real world location. This could be on the carpet, on the kitchen tile…anywhere! The hole isn’t actually there, but graphic overlays provide the augmented experience of a tunnel. Once the user draws the tunnel, the vision of the real world environment on the other side of the Earth is shown. So Floom includes an augmented reality tunnel that leads to an augmented reality projection of another real world location. Confused, yet? Like most augmented reality experiences, Floom doesn’t require any special headsets or goggles. Augmented reality typically uses the camera from a phone or other mobile device to produce the graphics overlays on top of the real environment. GOOGLE IS ON A ROLL WITH AUGMENTED REALITY Since Floom is only compatible with Android devices, not everyone will have access to the experience. The bad news? Floom isn’t the only cool augmented reality experience created by Google for Android. There are actually several augmented reality experiences that can be enjoyed at home or anywhere…if and when the mood strikes. Check out these cool augmented reality experiences from Google: MEASURE UP If you’re curious about the volume of the empty coffee mug sitting on your desk, Google has you covered. Measure Up allows users to measure anything around you. Yes, Measure Up will even calculate volume. Just don’t share the experience with a middle schooler who desperately needs to learn how to calculate volume the old fashioned way! How does this experience work? With Measure Up, users can actually draw three-dimensional shapes around an object to gain the measurement. SODAR Sodar is the social distancing app for experience. We’re still living with a pandemic, and safety is a must. Sodar can be used to check social distancing guidelines. Google explains that the experience actually draws a ring around the user—the ring is two meters! Just be sure to stay in the ring! PICTURESCAPE This experience isn’t yet completed, per Google. But it’s going to be something that those with access will likely really enjoy. Picturescape will take the user’s photo library and turn them into augmented reality. You can explore your photos in augmented reality! AR FUN FOR USERS WHO DON’T HAVE AN ANDROID DEVICE Google’s immersive experiences are incredibly unique…and really cool. For those lacking an Android device, though, all hope is not lost. There are other ways to explore an augmented world using an Apple phone or table. Unfortunately, though, Apple users can’t yet tunnel through the Earth. So what’s available from the App Store? Here are some augmented reality experiences available on the App Store (some also might be available via Google Play, too): PORTALS: LEARNING WITH AR Instead of digging a tunnel through the Earth, Portals lets you open up portals to different lands or scenes. The augmented reality app is fairly immersive; users step into the portal and can virtually explore their new environment. Choose from different environments; portals also come in different designs. STACK AR Stack AR is an augmented reality stacking game. The blocks or playing pieces appear in the real world…on whatever surface the user chooses. INKHUNTER Want to get a tattoo but are afraid of the commitment? Get an augmented reality tattoo via INKHUNTER. Choose from many different designs and get inked! The app also might help you visualize what that dream tattoo might look like. AR SPIDERS AR Spider lets users place a spider anywhere. What’s the fun of this? Apparently the app states you can start stomping on the ground and freak out your friends. APPLE’S MEASURE Most iPhones or Apple devices include a measuring tool. This actually uses augmented reality as a graphic ruler to help you measure anything anywhere. google floom [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/Other-Ways-to-Experience-Augmented-Reality.jpg] OTHER WAYS TO EXPERIENCE AUGMENTED REALITY While tech companies are constantly introducing new products and experiences for users (like augmented reality or virtual reality), companies also have embraced the use of augmented and virtual reality to enhance the user experience. For those interested in exploring different augmented reality experiences, look no further than your favorite stores: IKEA PLACE Download IKEA place and start redecorating your home. Users can place IKEA products in a room in your home with the aid of augmented reality. This is a great way to preview a new rug, sofa and more. SEPHORA Sephora’s Virtual Artist lets you try on different cosmetics, thanks to augmented reality. Stop guessing what lipstick hue will flatter your complexion! The app doesn’t require a picture, instead it scans the face and applies the product (virtually, of course). ULTA GLAMlab is Ulta’s augmented reality experience. On Ulta’s website GLAMlab allows users to choose a face that closely matches their own to try on products. However, the Ulta app may be much more immersive. SHERWIN-WILLIAMS Not sure what paint hue will look best in the bedroom? Painting the room without actually painting the room with Sherwin-Williams’ ColorSnap Visualizer has multiple options. With iPads, users can paint their walls any hue they choose (take a picture of the room, and augmented reality does the rest). For Android and Apple phones, the ColorSnap Visualizer actually identifies colors from anywhere and matches them to a paint hue. HOME DEPOT Preview a new oven or refrigerator in the home with augmented reality from Home Depot. Just scan the room, and start previewing your product. Download the app for the experience. WARBY PARKER Shopping for new eyeglasses can be so frustrating, especially when shopping online. Will the frames look good? Are they flattering? Stop guessing. Warby Parker’s app lets users try on frames virtually to find the best look. MAGNOLIA MARKET Chip and Joanna Gaines are utilizing augmented reality, too! The Magnolia Market app lets users place different items in their home using augmented reality. Sorry, though, the app might not let users preview shiplap on their walls.   RELAYCARS Looking for a new car but don’t want to visit a dealership? Pictures only can give shoppers so much information. RelayCars offers both a virtual and augmented reality showroom where shoppers can preview new car models. With the augmented reality app, users actually drop the car into their environment. Walk around the vehicle and look inside; the app also allows the paint hue to be swapped out. The virtual reality app allows users to preview cars in a virtual environment; the experience can be viewed with or without a headset. While Android users might have a blast trying out the new Floom augmented reality experience (and other Google drops), there are many augmented reality experiences that can be downloaded to other devices, too. For those interested in exploring all that augmented reality has to offer, a quick search via Google Play or the App Store brings up a list of choices. And don’t forget to explore augmented reality experiences when you’re shopping. Many stores offer these unique experiences, and it’s fun to try out all the different options!

COVID Has Moved Us Closer to An Industrial AR and VR Revolution

COVID Has Moved Us Closer to An Industrial AR and VR Revolution

May 12, 2021

Over the course of history, there have been three industrial revolutions that completely transformed society. The first, which began in the 1700s, was sparked by the invention of the steam engine, which was used to mechanize production. The second took place in the late 1800s and was defined by the emergence of electric power, which was used for mass production. The third industrial revolution occurred as a result of the introduction of digital technologies and the internet. Each of these industrial revolutions has left its mark on society. Now, experts believe that a fourth industrial revolution is right around the corner, and it’s largely due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Experts predict that this revolution will be driven by the widespread adoption of two new technologies: augmented reality and virtual reality. WHAT ARE AUGMENTED REALITY AND VIRTUAL REALITY TECHNOLOGIES? It’s important to have a basic understanding of augmented and virtual reality technology before learning how they could spur the next industrial revolution. Augmented and virtual reality are two types of extended reality technologies, which are technologies used to enhance the senses. But the two technologies provide very different experiences. Virtual reality technology transports users to simulated worlds where they can move around and interact with their surroundings. This technology blocks out the real world so users can completely immerse themselves in the simulated environment. Users typically need a virtual reality headset such as an Oculus or HTC Vive to experience virtual reality technology. Augmented reality, on the other hand, does not completely block out the real world. Instead, it combines elements of the digital world with the user’s real world. It allows users to superimpose digital elements such as images, videos, and sounds onto their real world environment. Unlike virtual reality, augmented reality typically does not require the use of a special headset.  COVID Has Moved Us Closer to An Industrial AR and VR Revolution [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/COVID-19-Pandemic.jpg] HOW THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC CHANGED THE WAY PEOPLE WORK The COVID-19 pandemic changed many aspects of day-to-day life, including the way people work. Many offices and workplaces were forced to temporarily close as a result of COVID-19 stay-at-home orders. This left employers with no other choice but to let their employees work remotely until they could return to the workplace.  Prior to the pandemic, only one in five employees worked from home some or all of the time. But now, 71% of workers are working from home all or most of the time.  Although the coronavirus pandemic will eventually come to an end, many people hope that remote working is here to stay. In fact, more than half of the workforce hopes that they can continue to work remotely once the pandemic has been resolved.  Remote work benefits both employees and employers. It provides employees with flexibility and gives employers the chance to save money on operating costs. Because it is a win-win situation, many employers may be happy to let their employees continue working from home in the future.  This shift to remote work could completely transform the business world and increase demand for augmented and virtual reality technology. COVID Has Moved Us Closer to An Industrial AR and VR Revolution [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/image.jpeg]Focused young businessman in eyewear wearing headphones, holding video call with clients on laptop. Concentrated millennial man in glasses giving online educational class lecture, consulting customer. HOW AUGMENTED REALITY AND VIRTUAL REALITY COULD MAKE REMOTE WORK EASIER It was easy for some people to start working remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic. But shifting to remote work was impossible for other people who work in the field, one-on-one with customers or patients, or in industrial occupations. Performing their job duties remotely was not a possibility in the past.  But now, augmented and virtual reality can help people in these professions perform their work from any location. Not only will this change the way people work, but it could also change the way in which businesses operate, leading to a massive industrial revolution.   THE INDUSTRIAL APPLICATIONS OF AUGMENTED AND VIRTUAL REALITY There are many different industrial applications of augmented and virtual reality technologies, including: * Virtual/Interactive Demos * Training * Remote Support * Remote Meetings and Conferences * Product Design VIRTUAL/INTERACTIVE DEMOS Businesses can now provide virtual, interactive demos to consumers and third party partners using virtual reality technology. This gives consumers and third party partners the opportunity to test out new products without ever seeing it in person. The experience will be just like an in-person demo with one exception: it will take place in a simulated environment. TRAINING Both augmented and virtual reality technology have revolutionized the way in which businesses and schools train their employees and students. For example, aspiring surgeons and nurses practice everything from needle placement to neurosurgery on augmented reality models. This allows them to practice in a safe environment where mistakes will not have serious consequences. Augmented and virtual reality technologies are also used to train employees in the automotive industry. Some assembly line workers are now trained on how to put together different parts of a vehicle in a simulated environment. Pilots train in a simulated environment created by virtual reality technology, too. This gives pilots the opportunity to practice what they would do in certain emergency situations.  These technologies have even been embraced by law enforcement agencies, who use it to train personnel on how to make good judgment calls in stressful simulated situations.  All of these training sessions can take place remotely, which is a major change that the new industrial revolution will bring. REMOTE SUPPORT In the past, it was impossible to provide certain types of support to employees or customers from afar. For instance, an automotive technician typically cannot diagnose an issue with a customer’s car without inspecting the car in-person. An IT professional usually cannot help an employee troubleshoot an issue without running diagnostic tests on the computer in-person. But augmented reality technology makes it possible to provide remote support in situations like these. For example, if a customer has a problem with their vehicle, they can get remote support from an experienced automotive technician. The technician can use augmented reality technology to project instructions or highlight certain components of the vehicle into the customer’s field of view. This way, the technician can guide the customer through each step of the process of making simple repairs on their own.  An employee who is having trouble connecting to the company network can now receive remote assistance from an IT support representative. Just like the automotive technician, the IT support representative can guide the employee through the process of addressing their issue. These are just two examples of how augmented reality technology can be used to provide remote assistance to employees and customers.  COVID Has Moved Us Closer to An Industrial AR and VR Revolution [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/Remote-Meetings-and-Conferences.jpg] REMOTE MEETINGS AND CONFERENCES Remote teams can participate in audio or video conferences using services like Zoom or Skype. But virtual reality technology offers a better way for remote workers to meet and collaborate with one another. Remote workers can use virtual reality technology to attend virtual meetings and conferences with their co-workers. This technology can transport them to a simulated conference or meeting room where they will be able to see their virtual co-workers, write on a virtual markerboard, and sit at a virtual conference table.  This technology will make them feel as if they are actually in the same physical location as their co-workers, so it can satisfy their need for face-to-face time. It will also create a welcoming environment where remote workers may feel more comfortable sharing ideas, voicing concerns, and working together just as they would in a real office. PRODUCT DESIGN Thanks to virtual reality technology, engineers can remotely collaborate on the design of new products. In the automotive industry, for example, some manufacturers are now building virtual models of new designs instead of creating clay prototypes. Every member of the design team can access and make changes to the virtual model. As a result, an engineering team can create and finalize a design without ever touching a physical model of the vehicle or being in the same room with one another. Being able to remotely collaborate on virtual models isn’t the only benefit of using virtual reality technology to design new products. Building a virtual model is far less expensive than building multiple clay prototypes. It also allows the engineering team to make changes more quickly so they can finalize the design and get the product in the market as soon as possible. COVID Has Moved Us Closer to An Industrial AR and VR Revolution [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/Virtual-Reality-Industrial-Revolution.jpg] HOW TO PREPARE FOR THE AUGMENTED AND VIRTUAL REALITY INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION Businesses must start preparing for the upcoming augmented and virtual reality industrial revolution. Here’s how: * Budget accordingly. Businesses may need to invest in headsets or other extended reality accessories for their employees. Each headset should cost about the same as a laptop, so it’s important to factor this into budgets over the next several years. * Find the right team. Businesses may need to hire programmers with experience building augmented and virtual reality platforms. These programmers can ensure your augmented and virtual reality platform is designed with all of the unique features you need to reach your business goals. * Expect a learning curve. It’s not hard to use augmented and virtual reality technology, but businesses should still be prepared to provide training to employees. Some employees may catch on faster than others, so businesses should be prepared to provide additional assistance to employees if necessary. Taking these steps now will ensure your business is ready for the changes that the augmented and virtual reality industrial revolution may bring.

Facebook in the Virtual and Augmented Reality Market

Facebook in the Virtual and Augmented Reality Market

March 31, 2021

Virtual reality and augmented reality have become increasingly popular over the last several years. Virtual reality is technology that transports users to a simulated environment where they can explore and interact with their surroundings. Augmented reality, on the other hand, is technology that allows users to project digital elements onto their real world environment. Whereas virtual reality takes a user to a different world, augmented reality simply adds to the user’s existing world. The competition in the virtual and augmented reality market has become more intense as a result of the increased interest in these technologies. So far, the major players in the virtual and augmented reality industry are large tech companies, including Facebook. Facebook entered the market in 2014 when it acquired Oculus, a virtual reality headset manufacturer. The company released its first higher-end virtual reality headset, the Oculus Quest, in 2018. The headset was well-received by critics and consumers alike.  Now, Facebook is taking additional steps in an effort to become the leader in the augmented and virtual reality market. The company recently released an updated virtual reality headset, the Oculus Quest 2, and revealed plans to develop the first pair of augmented reality glasses. WHAT TO EXPECT FROM THE OCULUS QUEST 2 The Oculus Quest 2 virtual reality headset was released in October 2020. Just like the original Quest device, the Oculus Quest 2 can be used either as a standalone headset or while connected to a PC. At first glance, the Oculus Quest 2 looks very similar to the original Quest. But the Quest 2 has a number of new and exciting features that sets it apart from its predecessor, including: * Lower price. There are two Quest 2 models, each with a different storage capacity and price. The 64-gigabyte Quest 2 costs $299, whereas the 256-gigabyte Quest 2 costs $399. This means consumers can get the 64-gigabyte Quest 2 for less than the cost of the original Quest. * Lighter weight. The Quest 2 is nearly 70 grams lighter than the original Quest, so many consumers may find it more comfortable to wear. * More pixels. The Quest 2 features a high resolution screen that is designed with 50% more pixels than the original model. * Faster processor. The Quest 2 is much faster than the original model due to its upgraded Qualcomm XR2 processor. It also has 6 gigabytes of RAM, compared to only 4 gigabytes on the original model. * Increased storage. The original Quest came with either 64 gigabytes or 128 gigabytes of storage. But the Quest 2 is available with 64 gigabytes or 256 gigabytes of storage.  * Color. The original Quest device is black, but the new Quest 2 is a sleek white color. There are some similarities between the two models as well. Both the Quest and the Quest 2 have an estimated battery life of two to three hours. Each of these models is also designed with four built-in cameras that allow users to freely move around in their simulated environment. Both devices also give consumers access to a wide range of games within the Oculus library. Facebook in the Virtual and Augmented Reality Market [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/What-Can-You-Do-With-An-Oculus-Quest-2.jpg] WHAT CAN YOU DO WITH AN OCULUS QUEST 2? There are many ways to use an Oculus Quest 2, including: * Play Games * Exercise * Watch Movies and TV * Attend Live Events * Explore Nature * Relive Historic Moments * Hang Out With Other Users * Access A Virtual Desktop PLAY GAMES There are countless virtual games in the Oculus library, including puzzles, multiplayer battle games, shooting games, escape rooms, adventure games, and popular arcade games. Because there are so many games to choose from, there is truly something for everyone to play in the Oculus library. EXERCISE There’s more to the Quest 2 than fun and games. You can also use your Quest 2 device to engage in various types of virtual exercises, including dance, high-intensity workouts, and boxing. You can even burn calories while practicing your golf swing or playing a round of tennis against another virtual user. There are plenty of fun and exciting ways to break a sweat. WATCH MOVIES AND TV Binge watch all of your favorite TV shows and movies using the Oculus Quest 2 device. The movie or TV show will be displayed on a large virtual screen in a cozy virtual theater, which makes it feel like you’re at a real movie theater. You can use the device to access Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, and other major streaming services. It also connects to YouTube, so you can watch your favorite funny videos within your virtual theater. ATTEND LIVE EVENTS Use the Virtual Venues VR experience in the Oculus library to attend a live concert, comedy special, or sporting event without ever leaving your home. Once you’ve arrived, look around you to see other virtual fans who are attending from all over the world. You can get a front row seat at these live events for a small fee or watch from a box seat, which is positioned further away from the action, for free. EXPLORE NATURE Travel to far off destinations to explore beautiful beaches, tropical jungles, dusty deserts, and underwater oceans using the Quest 2 device. You can even see what it feels like to travel to the top of Mount Everest on the Everest VR experience within the Oculus library. You will be completely immersed in whatever environment you choose, so it will feel as if you are actually there. RELIVE HISTORIC MOMENTS A number of apps within the Oculus library allow you to relive famous historical moments. For example, the Apollo 11 VR experience recreates the historic mission to the moon. You can experience every moment from launch to landing inside the space shuttle with the rest of the crew. HANG OUT WITH OTHER USERS Most virtual reality apps are single-player experiences, but the Rec Room app gives you an opportunity to virtually hang out with friends, family members, or other virtual users from around the world.  What you do inside the rec room is up to you. Some people prefer simply hanging out and chatting with their virtual friends, whereas others like to challenge their guests to fun games such as dodgeball or paintball. ACCESS A VIRTUAL DESKTOP Interact with your desktop computer screen in a virtual world using the Virtual Desktop VR experience. You can connect up to four different computers and switch back and forth between screens in seconds. You can also seamlessly scroll between monitors if you have a multi-monitor configuration.  This app makes it easier–and more fun–than ever before to juggle more than one computer or computer monitor. However, this experience is only compatible with Windows 8.1 or 10.  Facebook in the Virtual and Augmented Reality Market [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/What-is-Facebooks-Project-Aria.jpg] WHAT IS FACEBOOK’S PROJECT ARIA? Facebook is already a major player in the virtual reality market, but it could soon be a leader in the augmented reality market as well. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg previously announced that the company is in the process of developing a pair of augmented reality glasses. But first, the company is launching Project Aria, which is a research project that will allow Facebook to gather the data that it needs to perfect the technology for augmented reality glasses. Last year, Facebook announced that they were sending about 100 researchers into the field in Seattle and San Francisco as part of the company’s Project Aria initiative. Each of the researchers will wear a pair of glasses equipped with sensors that will allow them to map their real world environment. The sensors on the Project Aria glasses are designed to capture video and audio footage of the wearer’s immediate surroundings. These sensors will also track the wearer’s eye movement and provide Facebook with location data.   The purpose of this project is to collect a vast amount of data that will help Facebook understand what it will need to build the necessary software and hardware for augmented reality glasses. This project is seen as Facebook’s first major step toward reaching its goal of developing augmented reality glasses. HOW IS FACEBOOK ADDRESSING PRIVACY CONCERNS RELATED TO PROJECT ARIA? Facebook’s decision to send researchers into the real world to gather audio and video footage of their surroundings has raised a number of privacy concerns.  The researchers will be wearing lanyards to identify themselves while out in public. But unless members of the public are familiar with Project Aria, they may not understand what these lanyards mean. This means anyone who is in the same area as one of the Project Aria researchers could be captured on audio or video without their knowledge or consent.  This isn’t the only reason why people are concerned about Project Aria. Many people are also concerned about the possibility that the audio or video footage could contain potentially sensitive information, including license plates. If this data is not properly protected, it could fall into the wrong hands. Facebook has acknowledged the public’s privacy concerns related to Project Aria. But the company has promised to handle all data with care and provide training to researchers to ensure they know how to use the devices responsibly. Facebook is only allowing employees and contractors to participate in Project Aria. Everyone who wears a pair of Project Aria glasses is given specific instructions on when and where to use the device. Researchers are allowed to wear the glasses to collect data in public places, but they cannot collect data in certain public areas, including public restrooms. According to Facebook, researchers will not have access to the data collected by the sensors right away. Instead, the data will enter a three-day quarantine period after it is collected. During this period, sensitive information and identifying facial features will be blurred. This process was put in place to protect the public and ease privacy concerns.  Furthermore, Facebook will encrypt the data before it is uploaded from the devices to a separate storage space. This will make it even harder for non-authorized parties to access the data. Facebook has also promised that the data will not be used to determine what ads people see when using the company’s apps. Instead, the company promises that it is only using the data to assist with the production of augmented reality software and hardware. It’s clear that Facebook has made an effort to address the public’s privacy concerns, but it’s not clear whether the company has done enough to make the public comfortable with Project Aria. Facebook in the Virtual and Augmented Reality Market [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/What-Are-the-Four-Ethical-Principles-Guiding-Facebooks-Augmented-Reality-Efforts.jpg] WHAT ARE THE FOUR ETHICAL PRINCIPLES GUIDING FACEBOOK’S AUGMENTED REALITY EFFORTS? Facebook released a set of four ethical principles that will guide much of their future work, including Project Aria and other augmented reality efforts. These four ethical principles are: * Being clear about what Facebook products do, which includes outlining how the products should and should not be used. * Putting the user in control of their own experience. * Evaluating the impact that the product has on the user as well as those around the user.  * Striving to meet the needs of both the Facebook business and the community as a whole. If there is ever a conflict between these two interests, Facebook will always do what is best for the community rather than the business. These are solid ethical principles, but many people are still skeptical about whether or not Facebook is committed to adhering by them. WHEN WILL FACEBOOK RELEASE AUGMENTED REALITY GLASSES? For years, Zuckerberg has repeated that Facebook is serious about developing augmented reality glasses. But last year, he admitted that developing augmented reality glasses is no small feat. He acknowledged that it may be years before Facebook’s first pair of augmented reality glasses ever hits the market.  However, it is possible that other Facebook products will hit the market in the years leading up to the debut of the company’s augmented reality glasses. In fact, Facebook is expected to release a pair of smart glasses within the next year. Few details have been released so far, but experts believe that the smart glasses will be similar to Snapchat’s Spectacles. Facebook’s actions over the last several years have shown that the company is committed to becoming a leader in virtual and augmented reality. The wait for the world’s first pair of augmented reality glasses is far from over, but for now, there are plenty of other virtual reality and augmented reality products available to consumers.

What is Extended Reality (XR) and How Do We Use It Everyday?

What is Extended Reality (XR) and How Do We Use It Everyday?

March 30, 2021

Virtual reality, augmented reality and mixed reality all hold different meanings. Virtual reality includes all graphic components that exist in a separate realm and is often accessed via goggles or other headsets. Augmented reality includes graphic overlays on top of a real-world environment. And mixed reality is a mix of the virtual and augmented realms; users interact with both real and virtual environments. Some consumers might also have seen a term called extended reality (XR). What is extended reality and how do we use it every day? Extended reality is simply the term used to encompass all these technologies—virtual, augmented, and mixed. Extended reality is not a separate technology. Elements of extended reality exist in many facets of our lives. Here’s how we can use extended reality as we go about our day. The incorporation of augmented reality, virtual reality, and mixed reality might surprise you! What is Extended Reality [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/Augmented-Reality-to-Display-Art.jpg] AUGMENTED REALITY TO DISPLAY ART Not everyone can own a one-of-a-kind masterpiece. For many, rare works of art are out of the budget. Augmented reality might be changing the art world by allowing masterpieces and unique art creations to become accessible to a wider audience. Smithsonian Magazine explored how art was going augmented…and could be enjoyed from home using this technology. Smithsonian reported that artist Jenny Holzer’s work can be displayed in the home via an app. The same article detailed how Serpentine Galleries had to find a safe way to showcase a virtual reality art experience called The Eternal Wave by artist Cao Fei; allowing patrons to don goggles wasn’t an option. An augmented reality experience via phones became the solution. The augmented reality experience could be accessed via an app called Acute Art. The full experience could be accessed in the gallery, but a smaller “sample” could be enjoyed from anywhere. Could augmented reality be the future of how we enjoy art? Both Holzer’s and Fei’s work were either conceptual and/or multimedia and could translate to a tech platform; Holzer’s work includes LED signs. Fei’s exhibit was supposed to be experienced via virtual reality so the augmented reality pivot made sense. Yet, the potential for augmented reality could lead to other uses in the art world. During Covid, museums offered virtual tours of galleries. Some even provided at-home art classes.  Perhaps famous works of art could be enjoyed via augmented reality at home. Art could be enjoyed and experienced in a living room. The home could transform into a gallery. What is Extended Reality [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/Cooking-with-Augmented-Reality.jpg] COOKING WITH AUGMENTED REALITY Augmented reality might be ready to invade the kitchen! Yes, you may soon be able to cook up some culinary masterpieces thanks to augmented reality. Zack Johnson and a few fellow peers at Dartmouth used Magic Leap to create an augmented reality cooking experience app called Cook Along. The app required that users wear the Magic Leap during the experience.  The augmented reality experience takes them through every step of the recipe. They see the directions as well as the ingredients. Johnson explained in an article via Forbes that users could even watch someone demonstrate a particular step. If you don’t know how to whisk, maybe this was shown. This helps simplify cooking, especially for those who aren’t masterful in the kitchen. While Johnson noted that the app wasn’t going to be available via Magic Leap, the article included a link to the app. Could apps like Cook Along be the future of cooking? Following a recipe can be frustrating, especially for those who are unsure how to interpret certain directions. A scene in Schitt’s Creek, for example, featured David asking Moira how to fold in the cheese while making enchiladas. Her response? You fold it in! Perhaps cooking apps that utilize augmented reality could show exactly how to fold in the cheese! AUGMENTED REALITY HELPS CONSUMERS PREVIEW RESTAURANTS, TOO While cooking apps could be a future phenomenon, there is an app that lets consumers see the food at restaurants or when ordering online. Not sure if that Chicken Carbonara is really going to be as amazing as the photos? Apps can help visualize the menu via augmented reality food. Could restaurants follow the trend and begin to offer augmented reality experiences of their food? Maybe previewing the menu happens via virtual or augmented reality in the future. Those interested in exploring augmented reality for ordering takeout can do a quick search for these apps via the App Store or Google Play. ESPRESSO MACHINES IN AUGMENTED REALITY Many enjoy a cup of coffee to perk up in the morning. Maybe the pandemic meant more of that coffee was brewed at home. Some may be considering upgrading to a fancy new espresso machine. But how will that machine look in the kitchen? Does it complement the other appliances? The hunt for the perfect espresso or coffee machine doesn’t need to be a mystery thanks to augmented reality. Whole Latte Love offers an augmented reality experience that lets consumers drop those investment machines that brew java magic right into their kitchen. See what model looks best…and fits the space. AUGMENTED REALITY WINE LABELS Pop open a bottle of Phantom Wine and have some fun with augmented reality, too. Wine has gone augmented! According to the Augmented Wine Labels app by the winery, Phantom Wines has been haunted by a presence…the phantom. Using the augmented reality app, the wine label becomes the ticket to a unique experience. Find the phantom and learn about the winery and its history. However, according to Wine Industry Advisor, the augmented reality wine label is becoming quite popular in the industry. The publication notes that hundreds (more than 500!) of wineries have embraced augmented reality and AI; the technology was built by Winerytale. That bottle of merlot now may have more body to it than the depth of the wine. The label may hold the key to a unique augmented reality experience! What is Extended Reality [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/Augmented-Reality-in-the-Car.jpg] AUGMENTED REALITY IN THE CAR The drive time includes augmented reality, too! Now more than ever, the vehicles consumers drive include high-technology features like augmented reality. Backup cameras not only show the real-world background behind the vehicle, but they also project grid lines detailing the turning radius. This is augmented reality! GPS systems used in vehicles often include augmented reality, too. They may show the real environment while also projecting directions or arrows showing when or where to turn. Some vehicles have these types of augmented reality details built into the car, too. Smart rearview mirrors also include projections of the rear scenes of the car along with other details or data. Cars of the future likely may include even more unique technological features. We could see smart windshields or even self-driving cars. Projections of helpful avatars could enter the vehicle, too. Car manufacturers are working on all types of new technology to improve the driving experience. AUGMENTED AND VIRTUAL REALITY FOR SHOPPING Many consumers shop online. Stores and businesses are adopting virtual or augmented reality experiences to improve the user experience in commerce. For example, there may be augmented reality features that allow shoppers to preview cosmetic colors or paint hues on walls. With augmented reality, shoppers no longer have to guess about the appearance of a purchase. They can preview those hues or maybe even virtually try on garments. Some apps even let users preview new hairstyles or hair colors. Will that bob haircut flatter the face? Stop guessing and use augmented reality! Even shopping for a new car became an augmented or virtual experience. RelayCars allows users to download either the augmented reality app or the virtual reality app to preview new cars and research their features before heading to a dealership. The augmented reality app lets users drop specific car models anywhere—inside a room or even in the garage or the driveway. The virtual reality app transports users to a virtual showroom. Both apps let users peek inside the vehicle and switch out paint hues. While many parts of the country may be opening back up to more foot traffic, some shoppers may prefer to research their options online. Buying a new car can now include virtual experiences to simplify the shopping process. Use augmented reality or virtual reality to find favorite makes and models, then visit the dealership to view them in person! What is Extended Reality [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/Augmented-Reality-and-the-Smart-Home.jpg] AUGMENTED REALITY AND THE SMART HOME Augmented reality could control the home in the future. According to an article via As Mag, Hayo is creating a device that will easily control appliances and other tech in the home. The Hayo device (which looks a bit like a small speaker) maps out the room. Using an app for Hayo, homeowners can create buttons to control functions in the home…and the buttons can be anywhere! Touching the couch cushion could turn on the coffee maker…or whatever the Hayo controls. The app apparently lets users control where they place ‘virtual buttons.’ While smart home technology has usually been controlled via a handheld device like a smartphone or a tablet, Hayo might simplify typical functions in the home and users won’t have to be tethered to their devices. There are so many ways that augmented and virtual reality mix into everyday life. And all these technological features in our homes, cars and within user experiences online make up extended reality. The advancement of tech know-how may mean that virtual and augmented reality will continue to creep into our daily routine. One day, we all may be wearing glasses to see the virtual and augmented world around us!

10 Ways to Create Augmented and Virtual Reality Experiences

10 Ways to Create Augmented and Virtual Reality Experiences

March 3, 2021

Virtual reality and augmented reality are two of the most game-changing technologies in existence. Virtual reality is technology that transports users to a simulated environment, whereas augmented reality is technology that allows users to superimpose digital elements onto their real world environment. To put it simply, virtual reality replaces your current reality with a simulated one, but augmented reality simply adds to your current reality. Many people associate these technologies with gaming, but both augmented and virtual reality have been widely used outside of the gaming world, including in the e-commerce, real estate, automotive, education, and healthcare industries. As these technologies continue to grow in popularity, more people may become interested in creating their own virtual or augmented reality experiences. Some people may want to create their own experience to benefit their business, whereas others may want to do it for their own personal enjoyment.  Either way, there are plenty of tools that make it easier than ever before to explore and create with augmented and virtual reality. Here are some of the best options: APPLE ARKIT AND REALITYKIT Apple has two tools that are available to anyone who is interested in creating augmented reality experiences: ARKit and RealityKit. ARKit is a software development tool that allows you to build augmented reality apps compatible with iOS devices.  Apple’s ARKit has a number of exciting features for augmented reality developers, including: * Location anchors: This allows developers to create apps that provide users with different augmented reality experiences for specific locations. For example, an app may launch a unique experience whenever it detects that a user is at the Eiffel Tower or Statue of Liberty. * Front face-tracking capabilities: Apple’s face-tracking technology now works on the front-facing camera, so developers can build apps that allow users to enjoy augmented reality experiences when using the front-facing camera.  * Instant placement: Newer Apple devices are built with LiDAR scanners, which are capable of detecting planes at an incredibly fast pace. Thanks to this technology, users no longer need to use their devices to scan their real world environment before engaging in an augmented reality experience. Now, augmented reality objects are instantly placed in a user’s real world environment. No scanning is required. * Occlusion: This feature makes the augmented reality experience more realistic by enabling augmented reality objects to pass behind and in front of objects in the user’s real world environment. RealityKit is a tool that you can use to create high-quality augmented reality content for your app. In other words, you can use ARKit to build the augmented reality app itself and RealityKit to build production-quality augmented reality content for the app.  Take your augmented reality app to the next level by using RealityKit to: * Place audio files into the user’s real world environment. * Animate augmented reality objects. * Build augmented reality objects using a wide variety of meshes, materials, and textures. * Enable group experiences, so users can share augmented reality experiences with friends and family. Together, these tools have been used to create thousands of different augmented reality apps that are available for download in the Apple App Store. Augmented and Virtual Reality Experiences [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/image-6.jpeg] GOOGLE AR CORE Similar to Apple’s ARKit, Google’s ARCore is a platform that provides developers with the tools they need to build augmented reality apps. Even though this platform was designed by Google, it can be used to create augmented reality apps for both Android and iOS devices. Some of the many features that developers can take advantage of on the ARCore platform include: * Environmental HDR: This feature extends the lighting from the user’s real world environment onto virtual objects to make the entire augmented reality experience more realistic and lifelike. * Cloud anchors: This feature enables multi-user augmented reality experiences, so users can experience augmented reality together. * Environmental understanding: Devices use this technology to detect horizontal and vertical surfaces and planes in the user’s environment.   Anyone can download the Google ARCore Software Development Kit (SDK) to start building their own augmented reality apps. The platform even provides augmented reality design guidelines which developers can follow to create a compelling, user-friendly experience for users. OVERLY APP In the past, creating a custom augmented reality experience may have cost thousands of dollars. But the process of building augmented reality experiences has become far more accessible and inexpensive thanks to apps like Overly. The app was designed with small- and medium-sized businesses in mind, but individuals can also use Overly to create their own augmented reality experience. Here’s how it works: 1. Upload a trigger image to the Overly app. This is the image that users must scan in order to see your augmented reality content in the Overly app. This photo must be unique to ensure no one else has already used it on Overly. 2. Upload the augmented reality content that you want to appear whenever your trigger image is scanned. You can upload a video, three-dimensional model, or animation.  3. Publish your augmented reality experience on the Overly app. That’s all it takes to bring your augmented reality vision to life using this innovative app. ADOBE AERO Adobe Aero is a platform that allows designers and developers to build unique augmented reality experiences on their smartphones or desktop computers.  This platform is incredibly user-friendly, so you don’t need to know the first thing about coding or software development to use it. If you aren’t sure where to begin, simply visit the homepage and watch the interactive step-by-step tour to learn more about how to use the platform.  The best part about Adobe Aero is that it can be used with other Adobe products. Adobe Aero allows you to build augmented reality experiences using two-dimensional images from Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator or three-dimensional digital elements from Adobe Dimension or Adobe Substance.  Being able to import your own creative assets gives you the opportunity to create something truly unique and special. But if you are exploring augmented reality for the first time, you may not have any assets of your own to import. In this case, you also have the option of importing creative assets from Adobe’s stock library or select third-party apps. Anything you create within Adobe Aero can easily be shared via a link or social media. This allows you to show off your latest creation to your loved ones or send a link to a key stakeholder for their review.  Many people use this tool to create augmented reality experiences for business purposes. If you have already built an app for your business, you have the option of exporting your augmented reality experience directly into the app once it’s done. Augmented and Virtual Reality Experiences [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/image-7.jpeg] COSPACES EDU CoSpaces EDU is a kid-friendly tool that has been embraced by teachers around the world. This tool can be used in a number of different ways. First, teachers can use CoSpaces EDU to help students understand difficult topics. The tool uses virtual reality technology to give kids the opportunity to explore art galleries, exhibitions, and classic stories in a new and exciting way. Using virtual reality to introduce these topics will keep kids engaged and interested in the curriculum. Using this tool, kids can also choose from a wide variety of environments, objects, characters, and other digital elements to build their own virtual reality experience. They can even upload their own images, videos, and sounds to customize their new virtual world. If they really want to go the extra mile, they can even record their own voiceover to play inside their virtual world. CoSpaces EDU also enhances the educational experience by allowing students to project augmented reality content into their real world environment. For example, students in a biology class may project a digital model of the human brain into the classroom. This way, they can physically interact with the subject matter instead of just reading about it in a textbook. The CoSpaces EDU platform makes the learning experience more fun for students—and makes life easier for teachers, too! DEVAR Augmented reality technology can be used in many ways, including to enhance the storytelling experience. Devar is an innovative platform that uses augmented reality technology to bring kids’ stories to life. For example, say your child wants to read a book from the My Little Pony series. Instead of simply reading the text and looking at the pictures, your child can bring the story to life using the Devar augmented reality platform.  Your child can project digital versions of their favorite characters from the My Little Pony book directly onto their real world environment. They can even interact with these characters while they continue reading the story. This platform makes reading more enjoyable for kids of all ages. It can also be used to help kids grasp more difficult topics in educational books. For instance, kids can use the Devar platform to bring a book on the solar system to life. Being able to visualize each of the planets, their rotations around the sun, and other details could help kids better understand this complex subject matter. THYNG APP Thyng is an app that is designed to help businesses and individuals create custom augmented reality experiences. Users can customize their augmented reality experience by adding digital objects available through the app or uploading their own videos or photos. After adding the objects to your augmented reality scene, you can adjust their size or modify the lighting until you create the look you desire. Once your creation is complete, the app allows you to take pictures or videos of your masterpiece so you can share it with your friends or family. There are many apps out there that allow users to create augmented reality experiences, but few that can compare to Thyng. The Thyng app sets itself apart from its competitors by allowing users to create digital versions of themselves that they can add to their augmented reality experience. This gives you the opportunity to see yourself do things that you wouldn’t be able to do in the real world, such as slam-dunking a basketball, doing acrobatics, or even flying. Augmented and Virtual Reality Experiences [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/image-8.jpeg] MERGE EDU Merge EDU is a teaching aid that is designed specifically for students studying science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM).  These subjects are difficult to learn without the use of physical models and objects. For instance, students may find it hard to learn about the composition of igneous rocks just by reading about it in a textbook. But they may quickly grasp this concept if there is a physical model of an igneous rock in the classroom that they can examine. Most schools do not have the resources to provide teachers with these helpful physical models and teaching aids. But fortunately, now students can get the same hands-on learning experience using Merge EDU. Merge EDU gives students access to over 1000 digital teaching aids and over 100 multi-sensory, interactive simulations. Not only will this help STEM students gain a deeper understanding of these topics, but it will also help them become familiar with augmented and virtual reality technologies, which could play a major role in their future careers. OCULUS VR TUTORIAL Oculus is one of the biggest manufacturers of virtual reality headsets, so it’s only fitting that the company offers a free tutorial on building your first virtual reality app. This tutorial will not teach you how to build a custom virtual reality app. Instead, the Oculus tutorial teaches you how to build a simple virtual reality app in Unity, which is video game software.  The tutorial will take you through the step-by-step process of designing a virtual reality game that features a ball on a flat surface enclosed by four walls. The goal of the game is to continuously keep the ball rolling to prevent it from colliding with one of the four walls. If it makes contact with a wall, the wall will change colors. Remember, the Oculus tutorial will only teach you how to create this simple virtual reality game. But even though you cannot create a unique virtual reality experience, this tutorial is still incredibly helpful.  By the end of it, you will understand the basics of virtual reality app development in Unity, including how to build scenes, add game objects, and define the behaviors of the game objects. You can then use these skills to build your own virtual reality experiences using Unity software. You don’t need to be tech-savvy in order to use these tools to build your own augmented reality or virtual reality experience. These tools make it easy for people of all skill levels to create a unique experience for business or personal use.

Virtual and Augmented Reality: The Most Disruptive Technology of the Next Decade

Virtual and Augmented Reality: The Most Disruptive Technology of the Next Decade

January 14, 2021

Historical eras are often defined by the technological developments of that period in time. For example, the 1400s were largely defined by the invention of the printing press, which made it easier to widely disseminate information to the masses. The 1800s were marked by several new technologies, including the development of the railways and the invention of the steamboat. The modern era has largely been defined by the internet, personal computers, smartphones, and social media. These technologies have completely changed everything about modern life, including the way that people access information, work, and communicate. But experts predict that two new technologies are set to take center stage over the next decade. In fact, virtual and augmented reality are expected to be the “most disruptive technology” of the next decade, according to IDTechEx. Here’s what you should know about the future of these innovative technologies: AUGMENTED VS. VIRTUAL VS. MIXED REALITY: WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE? The terms “augmented reality,” “virtual reality,” and “mixed reality,” are often used interchangeably, but they are not the same. Before learning about these disruptive technologies, it’s important to understand what makes them unique. Virtual reality is technology that allows users to completely immerse themselves in a simulated environment. Headsets such as the Oculus Quest or Google Cardboard are used to shut out the physical world and transport users to either real or imagined worlds.  Augmented reality is technology that allows users to superimpose various digital elements on their real world environment. Unlike virtual reality, augmented reality does not transport the user to a simulated environment. Instead, augmented reality gives the user the power to alter their existing world by adding digital elements. Mixed reality combines both augmented and virtual reality technologies. This technology can be used to create a hybrid world where digital and physical objects interact with one another. Mixed reality is still fairly new, so it is not as widely used as virtual and augmented reality technology. HOW ARE AUGMENTED AND VIRTUAL REALITY TECHNOLOGY CURRENTLY USED? Both augmented and virtual reality technologies are currently used in a wide range of industries. Some of the many ways these technologies are used today include: * Product Design * Online Retail Sales * Manufacturing  * Virtual Tours * Fun & Games * Education * Interior Design  * Navigational Assistance Virtual and Augmented Reality: The Most Disruptive Technology of the Next Decade [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-245.jpeg] PRODUCT DESIGN Augmented and virtual reality technologies are already used to improve the efficiency of the product design process.  In the automotive industry, for instance, manufacturers used to create clay prototypes of new vehicle designs. If someone made a change to the design, the team would need to build a new clay prototype to reflect the change. But now, many design teams use these technologies to create digital prototypes. Multiple changes can be made in real time, which means the design can be finalized and put into production much faster. ONLINE RETAIL SALES Dozens of online retailers now use augmented reality technology to help consumers make purchase decisions. One of these retailers is Sephora, an international cosmetics company. Sephora’s Virtual Artist tool, which is powered by augmented reality technology, allows users to try on different shades of lipstick, eyeshadow, blush, and other cosmetic products. This makes it easier to shop for cosmetic products online and ensures that consumers aren’t disappointed by the way a product looks once it arrives.  Many cosmetic, apparel, and shoe brands use augmented reality technology in this manner. But these aren’t the only industries to use augmented and virtual reality technology to make online sales. The automotive industry also relies on these technologies to help consumers make smarter purchase decisions. Automotive manufacturers use virtual reality technology to offer consumers the opportunity to take virtual test drives of new vehicles. Some manufacturers also use augmented reality technology to allow consumers to project digital images of a vehicle into their real world environment.  This way, consumers can explore the vehicle just as they would if they were at a dealership. In other words, the technology allows automotive manufacturers to create a virtual showroom for consumers to browse. MANUFACTURING The manufacturing industry has also embraced augmented and virtual reality. Some companies use virtual reality technology to provide virtual training sessions to employees. Providing this type of training is more convenient for employees and less expensive for employers, so both parties benefit. Augmented reality is sometimes used to help workers on the assembly line. If a worker needs help, they can use augmented reality technology to project step-by-step instructions or a how-to video onto their surroundings. There’s no need to consult an instruction manual or ask someone for help—they can quickly get the information they need thanks to augmented reality. VIRTUAL TOURS The real estate and travel industries both rely on virtual reality technology to provide virtual tours to consumers. In real estate, this technology is used to offer virtual home tours to buyers. This allows buyers to explore a home on the market without having to visit it in person. This is especially useful for buyers who are relocating to another city or state, which makes touring homes in person even harder. The travel and tourism industry uses virtual reality technology to provide consumers with virtual tours of hotel rooms, landmarks, and other attractions. These tours help consumers decide where to travel, what to do when they arrive, and where to stay. FUN & GAMES Augmented and virtual reality are often associated with the gaming industry, and it’s not hard to see why. Countless apps, video games, and computer games are powered by augmented and/or virtual reality technology. One of the most popular augmented reality games is Pokemon Go, which is an app available for both Android and iOS devices. The app is designed to project digital images of Pokemon characters onto your real world environment. Users must track down as many characters as they can find to earn in-game currency and beat each level. EDUCATION Both augmented and virtual reality technologies are currently used to enhance the educational experience for students of all grade levels. Teachers use virtual reality technology to transport students to simulated environments related to the curriculum. For instance, a history teacher might use virtual reality to transport students to ancient Rome or Egypt. However, an astronomy teacher might use this technology to virtually transport students to the surface of Mars.  Augmented reality is useful in the classroom, too. Geology teachers can use this technology to project digital models of crystalline structures for students to examine. Biology teachers can use augmented reality to project digital diagrams of organs and cell structures. History teachers can use this technology to introduce digital renderings of ancient artifacts to students. These are some of the countless ways that augmented and virtual reality technology can be used to improve the educational experience. INTERIOR DESIGN   It can be hard to visualize what furniture, rugs, and décor will look like inside a room. Fortunately, developers have created a number of augmented reality apps to help users overcome this challenge. The apps allow users to project various digital pieces of furniture and décor into their real world environment so they can see what each item would look like in their home. This makes it possible for users to visualize what everything will look like together so they can design a space with ease. Virtual and Augmented Reality: The Most Disruptive Technology of the Next Decade [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-246.jpeg] NAVIGATIONAL ASSISTANCE Augmented reality technology is also used as a navigational assistance tool. For example, the Google Maps app uses augmented reality to project digital elements such as arrows and street signs onto the user’s real world environment. These digital elements help the user figure out where they need to go in order to get to their final destination.  Some automotive manufacturers have also designed vehicles with navigational assistance tools supported by augmented reality. These tools project digital elements onto the driver’s windshield so they can see where they need to go without looking down at their phones or GPS devices. THE FUTURE OF VIRTUAL AND AUGMENTED REALITY TECHNOLOGY It is expected that businesses will continue to find new and exciting ways to use virtual and augmented reality technology in the future. Some of the ways that these technologies could be used in the future include: * Remote Workplace Transformation  * Promote Social Good  * Available and Affordable Healthcare  * Improve Quality of Life For the Disabled REMOTE WORK TRANSFORMATION Facebook has already announced plans to utilize virtual and augmented reality technologies in an effort to transform the remote workplace. Few details have been released, but so far, the company has revealed that remote workers will be able to type on their physical keyboards while working on a virtual three-monitor computer.  The concept, which is still in the early stages of development, would help overcome common remote work issues such as lack of space or equipment. As a result, this use of virtual and augmented reality technology could help more workers successfully shift to remote work. PROMOTE SOCIAL GOOD Many businesses use virtual and augmented reality to sell their products or services, but some experts believe that these technologies may also be used to promote social good in the future. For example, virtual reality technology can be used to transport people to different areas of the world so they can see what it’s like to live in poverty or in the middle of a war-torn country. The technology can take people to the Arctic Circle so they can see the effects of climate change with their own eyes. Some experts believe that this use of virtual reality technology could help raise awareness of global issues and inspire the public to take action. Virtual and Augmented Reality: The Most Disruptive Technology of the Next Decade [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-247.jpeg] AVAILABLE AND AFFORDABLE HEALTHCARE There are a number of ways that these technologies can be used in the future to make high quality healthcare more available, accessible, and affordable to the general public. For example, these technologies may make it possible for physicians to offer vision testing, psychiatric care, physical therapy, and other services remotely. Being able to offer these services remotely will not only make them more accessible, but more affordable as well. IMPROVE QUALITY OF LIFE FOR THE DISABLED Some experts predict that another future use of virtual and augmented reality will be to improve the quality of life for the disabled. Many people are forced to give up their favorite activities as a result of a physical disability. For instance, a person with a physical disability may no longer be able to run, bike, or swim. But virtual reality technology can give these individuals the opportunity to virtually enjoy the activities they once loved.  Being able to participate in these virtual activities could drastically improve their quality of life. WHAT FACTORS ARE DRIVING THE GROWTH IN VIRTUAL AND AUGMENTED REALITY TECHNOLOGY?  Experts predict that the market for augmented and virtual reality technology will experience exponential growth over the next decade. In 2020, the global virtual and augmented reality technology market was valued at roughly $12 billion. However, the market is expected to grow to nearly $73 billion by the year 2024.  There are a number of factors that are expected to drive this significant growth, including: * Better devices: Many consumers weren’t initially interested in these technologies because the headsets and glasses were bulky and uncomfortable. But now, the designs are becoming sleeker, lighter, and more comfortable to wear, which could attract a wider range of consumers. * COVID-19: The global pandemic caused a massive decline in foot traffic, which forced businesses in a wide range of industries to shift their focus to e-commerce. Many businesses used augmented and virtual reality for the first time in order to attract and sell to consumers who weren’t able or willing to visit a store in person. This increased the demand for augmented and virtual reality technology, and will continue to drive this market’s growth for the next several years. * Substantial investments: Over $4 billion was invested in the virtual reality and augmented reality market in 2019 alone. These investments will most likely translate to massive growth in this industry over the next decade.    * Integration into existing apps: More augmented and virtual reality features will be built into existing apps, which will expose more consumers to these technologies and drive growth in the market. One example of this is the integration of augmented reality into the Google Maps app.  * New applications: The augmented and virtual reality industry will continue to grow as long as companies continue to discover new and exciting ways to use these technologies to do business. Augmented and virtual reality technology have come a long way since they were first introduced to the world, but there’s no doubt that the best is yet to come. Over the next decade, these technologies will continue to change the way people communicate, shop, learn, travel, and make basic decisions in their everyday life.