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Take a Celebrity-Guided Virtual Reality Cultural Tour with Google Perspectives

Take a Celebrity-Guided Virtual Reality Cultural Tour with Google Perspectives

July 14, 2021

Google has amped up its augmented reality offerings and now it’s expanding virtual reality experiences, too. Google Perspectives is part of Google Arts & Culture and lets anyone at home, in the office or anywhere with computer access really take celebrity-guided cultural tours and experiences in virtual reality. Who are the tour guides? Lin-Manuel Miranda hosts a tour of New York, Venus Williams guides a tennis experience, Muzi hosts a tour of all the places in South Africa that hold meaning to his life and career, soccer player Danielle Espinoza showcases futbol history in Mexico and more. Each experience features a different perspective. WHO CAN TAKE THE TOURS? Google Perspectives can be viewed via a PC, a phone or tablet. High-speed internet will likely improve the experience, as tour guides showcase up close virtual looks at certain locations. Experiences include videos hosted by the guides, but they also include additional perspectives on specific topics. For example, Dani Espinoza hosts a video looking at different places in Mexico; viewers can see the historic arch formation that is visible every four years when the tide is low. Espinoza’s experience also includes a more detailed look at the history of futbol in Mexico. As with most Google experiences, Perspectives is free to view. And, while Perspectives includes some virtual reality-type visuals during tours, this doesn’t require any special goggles or headsets. Those who want to experience Perspectives via a phone or tablet should download the Google Arts & Culture app. The app is free. There are numerous experiences via Perspectives, and users might want to scroll through the options. Take a Celebrity-Guided Virtual Reality Cultural Tour with Google Perspectives [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/Google-Arts.jpg] GOOGLE ARTS & CULTURE: THE EXPERIENCES! The Arts & Culture app includes many virtual and augmented reality experiences, and, quite frankly, users can spend hours exploring all the offerings. Users can tour Paris rooftops, museums, create a blob opera and more!  “WALK AROUND 5 PARISIAN ROOFTOPS!” The rooftop tours of the City of Lights include the Eiffel Tower, of course! Really, what is a Paris experience without views from atop the Eiffel Tower? Take a virtual walk on the roof of the Paris Opera, the Grand Palais, Philharmonie de Paris, and Saint-Jacques Tower. Users navigate through the rooftop tours via arrow icons. Just use your fingers to walk around and see different views of Paris.   THE EASTER ISLAND MOAI Google Arts & Culture also gives users a close-up encounter with Easter Island’s Moai statues. This experience includes different tours of Easter Island. Users can explore Ahu Ura Uranga, Ahu Nau Nau, and the Moai. This isn’t just a picture experience or a slideshow. Users navigate the tours and can get an up-close look at the monuments. Google also provides information about the different sites, too. THE BLOB OPERA While not exactly virtual or augmented reality, the Blob Opera is entertaining nonetheless. Users create their own operatic experience featuring cute blog animations. Blobs drop in front of the user, and the pitch can be changed for each character. Record the masterpiece and send the blobs on tour, too! Take a Celebrity-Guided Virtual Reality Cultural Tour with Google Perspectives [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/Museum-Tours.jpg] MUSEUM TOURS Multiple museums offer virtual tours via Google Arts and Culture. Parents who just don’t know what to do on a rainy day and who may be desperately trying to find something cool for kids stuck at home can schedule some virtual visits. Museums that offer virtual tours on the Google app include: ART INSTITUTE OF CHICAGO Users are given a street view of the museum, and then they can scroll down via the app to tour the museum. What does Google prompt users to find? That would be the painting “American Gothic” by artist Grant Wood. This painting features an elderly couple in front of their home; the husband holds a pitchfork. Unfortunately, other paintings are blurred.However, there also is an option to take a scavenger hunt at the museum…virtually! GUGGENHEIM The virtual tour of Guggenheim (in Bilbao, Spain) lets users explore different works featured in the museum. “The Renowned Orders of the Night” by Anselm Kiefer can be enlarged to see the details up close! Other works also can be viewed up close via the tour. ROYAL ACADEMY OF ARTS Walk up the staircase to view the Wohl Entrance Hall. The main page for the Royal Academy of Arts tour also includes tours of other galleries and even the Poster Bar. PERGAMONMUSEUM Located in Berlin, the museum tour includes a look at different pieces found in the museum, including the Quran Box, the Temple of Zeus Sosipolis from Magnesia on the Maeander, the Statue of Athena Parthenos and more. SNAP A SELFIE TO FIND ARTWORK One of Google Art & Culture popular features is the Art Selfie tool. The experience requires letting Google access the device camera. Users then snap a selfie to find out what famous artwork best resembles them. Google’s recognition tool will include several results sorted by the match percentage. The results can be really cool, maybe even a little horrifying and sometimes downright odd. It can be fun to find out what artistic masterpiece most resembles each individual, though! Results may differ depending on face angle, too. It can also be fun to make ridiculous faces and see what artwork the distorted selfie might twin. Art Selfie isn’t augmented or virtual reality…at least not completely. Graphic dots will appear over the selfie photo showing that the software is working to find an artful match. AUGMENTED REALITY AND GOOGLE While many experiences in Google Arts & Culture use virtual reality-type features to navigate the tours, Google also offers many augmented reality experiences worth highlighting yet again! To help individuals social distance, for example, Google offers Sodar (which is short for “social distancing radar”). Sodar creates an augmented reality circle around the individual to show where six feet ends in every direction. Floom is one of the newer augmented reality releases from Google. Users aim their camera anywhere in the home, outside or wherever. They can then dig a virtual hole or tunnel (although the swirling looks more like a vortex) to see the other side of the Earth. Users can then explore the new location. Floom lets users angle their vortex, too, so one location can actually show different new places on the flipside. Unfortunately, Google’s augmented reality features only work for those with Google devices…Android! Apple or Windows users are out of luck. Android users can explore all the augmented reality experiences for free. There is no cost to download or access them. AUGMENTED SEARCH RESULTS Anyone with a PC, smartphone or tablet can enjoy Google’s augmented reality search results, though. While there isn’t a comprehensive list of the vehicles, animals and other characters augmented in the Search engine, the mystery is kind of part of the fun. Media reported that famous anime characters like Hello Kitty, Ultraman, Pac-Man and others are part of the augmented world of search. But animals and cars tend to be hit or miss. Users will have to search for animals or other creatures to see if Google offers an augmented option. The augmented reality features can be entertaining. For example, dropping Pac-Man into the user’s environment showcases the anime character chomping away at pellets with a gang of ghosts following him. Hello Kitty says hello in Japanese and converses, too (also in Japanese and English) when dropped in the space, and she can be moved around, too. A shark also can be augmented, and it swims in the room (or wherever). Users can move it around, and the experience features the bubbling sound of its underwater habitat. An augmented reality lion moves its head a bit and roars. Take a Google augmented search scavenger hunt to see what new experiences can be uncovered. GOING VIRTUAL BEYOND GOOGLE? Virtual tours have likely increased in popularity during the year (and beyond) of the pandemic. Families and individuals were stuck at home and many didn’t want to travel…maybe even when mandates were lifted. While museums might have offered virtual tours before Covid, taking tours from home might be a new alternative form of travel. Many individuals are still working from home, and some simply don’t feel entirely comfortable exploring places where crowds congregate. During Covid, some museums offered virtual classes and tours. These experiences might have included a fee. However, the offerings allowed families stuck at home to enjoy cultural experiences from their couch, their office or even while working out on a treadmill. Virtual tours and experiences like those offered via Google also provide glimpses into places where some simply cannot travel. Finances could limit travel and cultural experiences for many families. These tours and ‘perspectives’ help introduce different sites and cultural experiences to a wider audience. Virtual experiences could be a way to create more equitable cultural tourism. While museums and even cultural sites rely on donations and ticket costs to help keep doors open (and employees paid), some could expand virtual offerings or maybe even offer paid virtual tours (perhaps at a more affordable cost). Augmented reality and virtual reality experiences will likely evolve both within Google and other platforms, too. Perhaps augmented reality will drive all search engines in the future. Perspectives could expand to include more narratives, tours and…perspectives. Popularity may drive demand, and the user’s adoption of these experiences could propel them into everyday use…and necessity.

Categories: Virtual Reality
How Virtual Reality is Used for Car Design

How Virtual Reality is Used for Car Design

July 2, 2021

Virtual reality is a unique technology that transports users to a simulated environment. It creates a fully immersive experience by shutting out the user’s real world, so everything that the user sees, hears, and senses is part of the simulated environment. Many people associate virtual reality technology with the gaming industry. It’s true that virtual reality has been used to develop a wide range of fun games for consumers, but it has also been used in a multitude of ways outside of the gaming industry.  In the automotive industry, for example, virtual reality technology has been used to completely revolutionize the process of designing new vehicles. How can automotive manufacturers use virtual reality for car design? What are the benefits of using this technology in this manner? Here’s what you should know: WHAT INSPIRED AUTOMOTIVE MANUFACTURERS TO DESIGN CARS WITH VIRTUAL REALITY? A few automotive manufacturers have been experimenting with using virtual reality to design vehicles for the last several years. But the COVID-19 global pandemic was the main factor that led to the widespread adoption of using virtual reality technology in this way. Stay-at-home orders and lockdown restrictions forced many companies, including automotive manufacturers, to temporarily close their offices for months in 2020. Automotive design teams were temporarily unable to work together under the same roof, so they were forced to find new ways to collaborate on future designs. As a result, many automotive manufacturers turned to virtual reality technology to design new vehicles. Even though COVID-19 lockdowns and stay-at-home orders have now been lifted, many automotive manufacturers are still using this technology to simplify the design process.  How Virtual Reality is Used for Car Design [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/How-Are-Cars-Designed-With-Virtual-Reality.jpg] HOW ARE CARS DESIGNED WITH VIRTUAL REALITY? Before learning how virtual reality is used to design new vehicles, it’s important to understand how automotive manufacturers designed vehicles in the past. The design process typically starts out the same regardless of whether or not virtual reality is used. It generally begins with several meetings where designers can share ideas and get feedback. After these meetings are over, the designers will create concept sketches to present to the company’s decision makers.  The next steps will vary depending on whether the design team is using virtual reality technology. If the team is not using virtual reality technology, they will create a clay prototype of the design once the concept sketch has been approved by the decision makers. The design will then go through multiple rounds of edits based on the team’s input. Each time the design is revised, the team must create a new clay prototype to reflect the changes. This process continues until the design has been finalized.  However, if the team is using virtual reality technology, they will not need to go through the trouble of creating multiple clay prototypes. Instead, the design team can use virtual reality technology to create a virtual model of the vehicle once the concept sketch has been approved.  Design teams must use virtual reality technology to create these virtual models. Designers can put on a virtual reality headset to instantly transport to a three-dimensional work environment. They use handheld controls to sketch lines, make edits, and manipulate the design of the vehicle. Using these controllers, they can rotate the model so they can view it from any angle. Designers can even place a virtual driver behind the wheel or step inside the virtual model to view the interior.  The design will still go through multiple rounds of edits, but all changes will be made directly to the virtual model rather than a clay prototype. How Virtual Reality is Used for Car Design [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/What-Are-the-Benefits-of-Using-Virtual-Reality-for-Car-Design.jpg] WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF USING VIRTUAL REALITY FOR CAR DESIGN? There are many benefits to using virtual reality for car design. First, the use of virtual reality can speed up the design process. According to Ford, the process of creating a model or prototype used to take weeks. But using this technology, an experienced designer can create a virtual model in under an hour. In other words, virtual reality technology can help automotive manufacturers quickly finalize new designs so they can start production on new vehicles right away.  Virtual reality saves automotive manufacturers money, too. It eliminates the need to create multiple clay prototypes, which are costly and time-consuming to produce. Eliminating this step in the process leads to significant savings for automotive manufacturers.  Virtually designing also gives designers the chance to get up close to a life-size model of the vehicle. This makes it easier for designers to spot design issues so they can be addressed earlier on in the process.  For example, virtual reality software allows designers to adjust their perspective so they can put themselves in the driver’s seat of the vehicle. This gives them the opportunity to identify and address issues with the driver’s visibility in the early stages of the design process.  It doesn’t take long to train designers on how to use this technology, either. Ford’s Design Manager, Michael Smith, has stated that it only takes about eight hours of training. Plus, many younger designers are already being taught how to use this technology in school. These are some of the many reasons why virtual design has become increasingly popular among automotive manufacturers. THE MANY APPLICATIONS OF VIRTUAL REALITY IN THE AUTOMOTIVE INDUSTRY The automotive industry uses virtual reality technology outside of the design process, too. Some of its many applications in the automotive industry include: * Employee Training * Market Research * Virtual Showrooms * Virtual Test Drives EMPLOYEE TRAINING Many automotive companies now use virtual reality technology to provide training to manufacturing and maintenance employees. Using this technology gives these employees the chance to get hands-on experience in a simulated environment where mistakes don’t have consequences.  Automotive companies also use virtual reality technology to train sales employees. Using this technology helps sales employees get familiar with the different features and selling points on a wide range of vehicles so they are prepared to interact with customers. It can also put sales employees in simulated environments where they learn how to respond to different circumstances that may occur during the sales process. This extensive training could help sales employees improve their sales techniques and close more deals. MARKET RESEARCH Automotive manufacturers often conduct market research by hosting car clinics, which give consumers a chance to review and provide feedback on different models. Manufacturers receive invaluable feedback on what consumers like and don’t like during these car clinics, but they are expensive to host. However, virtual reality technology allows automotive manufacturers to host these clinics at a fraction of the cost.  Hosting a virtual car clinic allows a manufacturer to avoid the cost of booking a venue and transporting consumers and vehicles to the event. Eliminating these costs makes conducting market research far more affordable for manufacturers of all sizes.  VIRTUAL SHOWROOMS Ten years ago, automotive consumers used to visit an average of five dealerships before deciding which vehicle to purchase. But the days of visiting multiple dealerships to learn more about different vehicles are over. Thanks to virtual reality technology, automotive consumers can now step inside virtual showrooms to explore countless vehicles using only their smartphones or computers. A virtual showroom is just like a real showroom, except it exists in a simulated environment created by virtual reality technology. Automotive consumers can still walk around each vehicle, inspect the interior and exterior, and see it from different viewpoints and angles. Consumers can even see what the vehicle looks like in every color option available. This gives consumers the power to conduct extensive research on their options from home, so they only need to visit a dealership once they’re ready to purchase a vehicle. This is one of the reasons why the average consumer now only visits one or two dealerships before making a purchase. How Virtual Reality is Used for Car Design [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/Virtual-Test-Drives-1.jpg] VIRTUAL TEST DRIVES Surveys reveal that the vast majority of consumers are open to purchasing a vehicle online. However, one of the main issues that consumers identified with buying a car online is the inability to take a test drive. Fortunately, there is a way to move the car buying process online without forcing consumers to sacrifice the test drive. Many automotive manufacturers now offer consumers the option to take virtual test drives of vehicles they are interested in purchasing. This gives consumers the opportunity to test out different vehicles without ever stepping foot inside a dealership. They can see what it’s like to sit behind the wheel and take the vehicle for a virtual spin from the comfort of their home.  Taking a virtual test drive is easy, especially because it doesn’t require the use of a virtual reality headset. Instead, consumers can take advantage of this test drive option using just their smartphone or computer. Using virtual reality in this manner makes it easier for consumers to research and compare different vehicles, narrow down their options, and choose a vehicle that’s right for them. These are some of the many ways in which virtual reality technology is used in the automotive industry. The COVID-19 pandemic may have sparked the widespread adoption of virtual design, but there’s no doubt that this technology is here to stay in the automotive industry.

Categories: Virtual Reality
How Virtual Reality Will Impact Auto Sales

How Virtual Reality Will Impact Auto Sales

June 29, 2021

The automotive industry is known for its willingness to embrace new technologies. Over the last several decades, the industry has used GPS, bluetooth, electromagnetic sensors, on-board diagnostic systems, cruise control, and other technologies to create more advanced vehicles. Many major players in the automotive industry are now turning to another technology in an effort to boost their profits: virtual reality.  Virtual reality is not a new technology. In fact, it’s been used in gaming, shopping, and other industries for years. However, it is fairly new to the automotive industry, and many experts believe that it will help automotive companies boost their sales.  How are automotive companies using this technology? How will it impact automotive sales? Here’s what you should know: WHAT IS VIRTUAL REALITY TECHNOLOGY? Virtual reality is a type of technology that is used to generate a simulated environment with scenes and objects that feel real. The user is completely immersed in this simulated environment and is even able to interact with their virtual surroundings. Because virtual reality is fully immersive, everything the user sees, hears, and experiences is part of the simulated environment.  Users typically need a virtual reality headset in order to experience this technology. Some of the most popular virtual reality headsets include the Oculus and HTC Vive. However, sometimes it is possible to experience virtual reality using just a smartphone or computer.  Virtual reality is often confused with augmented reality, but these are two very distinct technologies. The main difference is while virtual reality completely immerses the user in their simulated environment, augmented reality combines elements of the digital world with the user’s real world.  How Virtual Reality Will Impact Auto Sales [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/How-the-Automotive-Industry-is-Using-Virtual-Reality.jpg] HOW THE AUTOMOTIVE INDUSTRY IS USING VIRTUAL REALITY  Automotive companies have found a number of different ways to use virtual reality technology. Some of its many applications in the automotive industry include: * Market Research * Automotive Design * Employee Training * Virtual Showrooms * Virtual Test Drives MARKET RESEARCH Before designing new models, automotive manufacturers often conduct market research by hosting car clinics. During these clinics, automotive consumers are asked to provide feedback on the latest models. This gives automotive manufacturers an opportunity to find out what consumers like and don’t like about the newest designs.  Hosting a car clinic is not cheap. Manufacturers must book a venue, pay for the consumers to travel to the selected location, and transport vehicles to the area as well. But now, manufacturers are drastically cutting costs by hosting virtual car clinics.  At these virtual car clinics, consumers can evaluate countless different makes and models of vehicles using a virtual reality headset. They can explore the interior and exterior just like they would if they were seeing the vehicle in person, but at a fraction of the cost.  In fact, using this technology allows manufacturers to solicit feedback on a wider range of vehicles since they are no longer limited by space or budget constraints.  Using virtual reality technology in this manner has significantly enhanced the market research process for automotive manufacturers.  How Virtual Reality Will Impact Auto Sales [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/Automotive-Design.jpg] AUTOMOTIVE DESIGN Designing a new vehicle is not easy. Every design may go through dozens of rounds of edits and tests before it is finalized. Every time the design changes, the design team must take the time to create a new clay prototype that reflects the latest revisions. This is why designing a new vehicle is so time-consuming and expensive. But now, automotive manufacturers are streamlining the design process with virtual reality technology. The design may still go through dozens of rounds of edits, but the team doesn’t need to take the time to create new clay prototypes for each round of revisions. Instead, the design team can quickly create a new virtual model. This is far less expensive and much faster than building a new prototype, which allows manufacturers to speed up and save money on the design process.  Using virtual models also allows teams to collaborate on a design from thousands of miles away. This brings global design teams together in a way that was not possible before.  EMPLOYEE TRAINING Automotive manufacturers are also using virtual reality technology to improve employee training programs.  In the past, maintenance and manufacturing workers were trained under the supervision of more experienced employees. Because of the complex nature of the work, new employees often made costly errors even though they were supervised. But now, these employees can receive hands-on training in a simulated environment thanks to virtual reality technology. This gives them the opportunity to learn from their mistakes in a safe environment before they start working on vehicles in the real world. Maintenance and manufacturing workers aren’t the only ones who are being trained in virtual environments. Some automotive companies are also using virtual reality technology to provide training to sales employees.  In this virtual environment, sales employees are taught about each model’s different features and selling points. They are also trained on how to interact with customers, guide them through the sales process, and close the deal. This virtual training thoroughly prepares sales employees for the showroom sales floor.  VIRTUAL SHOWROOMS Before the introduction of virtual reality technology, automotive consumers had to visit multiple dealerships in-person to research different vehicles and narrow down their options. However, it’s no longer necessary for consumers to travel to different dealerships to explore vehicles they are considering purchasing. Now, they can use virtual reality technology to visit a virtual automotive showroom without ever leaving home.  Inside this virtual showroom, consumers can explore the interior and exterior of countless vehicles just like they would if they were in a dealership’s showroom. They can see what a vehicle looks like in different colors, from different angles, and even see what it’s like to sit in the driver’s seat.  This makes it far more convenient for consumers to research and compare vehicles when deciding which one is right for them. It also makes it easier for automotive dealerships to cater to consumers. Because of this technology, consumers can explore a wider range of vehicles, so dealers don’t need to pay the costs of keeping as many on-site. Virtual Test Drives [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/Virtual-Test-Drives.jpg] VIRTUAL TEST DRIVES Automotive consumers can use virtual reality technology to do more than just explore the interior and exterior of the vehicle. This technology also gives automotive consumers the power to take a virtual test drive without ever stepping foot inside the actual vehicle. Because virtual reality technology creates a fully immersive experience, a virtual test drive feels just like a real test drive. Automotive consumers will still get the chance to see what it’s like to sit behind the wheel of a vehicle, but they won’t have to travel to the dealership to get this experience. They can also test drive as many vehicles as they want without spending hours in a dealership’s showroom.  Plus, consumers won’t need to invest in a virtual reality headset to take a virtual reality test drive. All they need is a smartphone or computer to hit the virtual road in a car of their choice.  Many automotive manufacturers are already using virtual reality technology in this manner to make the car buying journey more convenient for consumers.  WHAT CHALLENGES WILL VIRTUAL REALITY PRESENT TO THE AUTOMOTIVE INDUSTRY? There are always challenges associated with using new technologies, and virtual reality is no exception. Automotive companies must be willing to invest in virtual reality technology in order to experience its benefits. Even if the upfront costs are steep, using this technology could translate to higher sales, so companies could recoup the money they invested in the long run.  It could also be a challenge to get certain segments of consumers to adopt this technology. For example, researchers asked consumers of all ages to rate the usefulness of different information channels at automotive dealerships. Thirty-six percent of younger consumers were able to obtain useful information from an augmented or virtual reality headset provided by a dealer.  However, only 6% of Baby Boomers found this information channel useful. This could indicate that older consumers are less likely to adopt new technologies like virtual reality, which could present a challenge to automotive companies targeting this demographic.  How Virtual Reality Will Impact Auto Sales [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/How-Will-Virtual-Reality-Impact-Automotive-Sales.jpg] HOW WILL VIRTUAL REALITY IMPACT AUTOMOTIVE SALES? There’s no question that the automotive industry has warmly embraced virtual reality technology. Although utilizing a new technology is always risky, many experts believe that the decision to use virtual reality technology in so many different ways will pay off for the automotive industry.  Using virtual reality technology to streamline employee training, the design process, and market research will save automotive companies a significant amount of money. By reducing these operating costs, automotive companies can boost profits or allocate the money toward other areas of importance.   Other uses of virtual reality technology, including virtual showrooms and test drives, may have a direct impact on automotive sales. The idea of purchasing a vehicle online is becoming increasingly popular among automotive consumers. In fact, 60% of automotive consumers in the U.S. are at least interested in the concept. These consumers are interested in moving different parts of the sales process online in order to minimize the amount of time they spend at the dealership. By offering virtual showrooms and virtual test drives, automotive companies are giving consumers exactly what they want. Offering these virtual experiences may help automotive companies set themselves apart from their competitors, win new customers, and increase automotive sales.

Categories: Virtual Reality
Blockchain-Based VR and How It’s Taking Virtual Reality to its Next Level

Blockchain-Based VR and How It’s Taking Virtual Reality to its Next Level

June 25, 2021

If you’ve paid any amount of attention to the investment world, you’ve likely heard of cryptocurrency, which incorporates blockchain, which is a record-keeping technology made famous by the Bitcoin network. Blockchain might come off as a complicated concept, so much so that some people avoid the subject due to its perceived complexity. Although there are definitely complex aspects to blockchain, the core concept behind blockchain is actually pretty simple. WHAT IS BLOCKCHAIN? Think of blockchain as a kind of database, which is a collection of information stored electronically — on a computer or computer system. Blockchain is different from a traditional database in the way that the data is structured. Blockchain collects information in groups (also called blocks). Different blocks will have certain storage capacities. Once a block is filled it is added (or chained onto) the previous group of filled blocks, which ends up forming a chain of data. This chain of data (you guessed it) is known as “blockchain.” The normal databases we deal with structure data into tables while blockchain arranges its data into chunks/blocks that end up being chained together. As a result, all blockchains are databases, but not all databases are blockchains. Another result of this way of record keeping is that it creates a definite and unchangeable timeline of data when blockchain is implemented in a decentralized system. As each block gets filled it becomes set in stone, becoming a part of this living timeline. Not only that, but each individual block in a blockchain is given a digital timestamp the moment it is added to the chain. Blockchain-Based VR and How It’s Taking Virtual Reality to its Next Level [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/decentralized-systems.jpg] “DECENTRALIZED” SYSTEMS Since blockchain can be implemented into decentralized systems, this has users quite interested in its capabilities.  Let’s talk about Bitcoin a little more for a second before we get into virtual reality and more blockchain. Just like a company would need a computer system to store its data, Bitcoin needs a collection of computers in order to store its blockchain.  With a company, it’s likely that all of their computers are going to be located under one roof, while with Bitcoin (via blockchain), each computer (or multiple computers) holds its blockchain while being located in an entirely different geographic location, operated by separate individuals or even groups. Fun fact: computers that make Bitcoin’s network are referred to as nodes. Using this sort of model, Bitcoin blockchain ends up being utilized in a decentralized way while private, centralized blockchains are located on computer systems owned and operated by a single entity. Blockchain is not limited to cryptocurrency. Virtual reality companies are using blockchain to create full-fledged virtual worlds which can become populated by its users and its users’ creations, operating off of rules created by the users themselves. These virtual worlds can be experienced without intervention from platform developers, which many users find desirable. Blockchain is helping virtual reality developers create worlds that truly live on their own, allowing users to experience these worlds without risk. HOW DOES BLOCKCHAIN RELATE TO VIRTUAL REALITY There seems to be no limit to the ways we can benefit from blockchain applications. Recently, a project has been underway that links blockchain with virtual reality. Just like technologies like augmented reality and virtual reality can be incorporated into industries other than gaming (think medical, dental, advertising) just like blockchain can be used in areas other than cryptocurrency. This particular blockchain project claims to be taking virtual reality to an exciting next level via “3D internet” — a three-dimensional virtual world built, owned, and operated by the people who use it.  Victoria VR is set to offer its Massive Multiplayer Online Open World that features photorealistic graphics set in glorious VR. Victoria VR aims to be a universal platform which encompasses games and utilizes a decentralized application.  What results is a metaverse shared in a virtual realm where people can be free to do absolutely anything they like, everything from playing zombie shooters to selling or trading jewelry creations.  Just like in video games, certain objectives and quests can be completed that will help a user gain access to various rare rewards — sort of like Legend of Zelda.  Victoria VR gives its users the freedom to craft their very own avatars — as realistic as one likes. Obviously, with cutting-edge technology such as this, the user is able to create incredibly detailed customization. Billions of customizations are at Victoria VR user fingertips. Avatars can also express emotions, conveying emotions and reactions as well. Blockchain-Based VR and How It’s Taking Virtual Reality to its Next Level [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/Not-Your-Average-Non-Fungible-Tokens.jpg] NOT YOUR AVERAGE NON-FUNGIBLE TOKENS Victoria VR also supports NFTs (non-fungible tokens), and not just in a way that serves as some sort of decoration. NFTs on Victoria VR and its platform can be used in a much more compelling way, delivering a variety of different, even giving certain players superpowers as well as additional values and resources. NFTs can also be modified, even combined or created from scratch. Victoria VR also provides a 3D marketplace for its users and its NFTs, enabling beautiful digital assets that can be viewed, interacted with, and traded. Victoria VR also converts 2D NFTs into 3D objects, which helps them take on a lifelike dimension. Artists can also publish works of art, which can be enjoyed by everyone (even those who do not have virtual reality hardware) via a special plugin. Blockchain-Based VR and How It’s Taking Virtual Reality to its Next Level [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/Going-Where-No-One-Has-Gone-Before.jpg] GOING WHERE NO ONE HAS GONE BEFORE… VIRTUALLY! Game players and VR enthusiasts have been waiting for the day when life can be lived online and via a cooperative platform, which Victoria VR seems to be the latest answer to this consumer desire. Victoria VR users can do really cool things, like purchase VR land where users can stake their claim and create anything they like, monetizing it. Users do not have to experience limitations governed by the laws of physics and even space. Things like shops, boutiques, casinos, schools, and showrooms can be created in this new virtual horizon. VR tokens will be the way this multifaceted ecosystem runs — this will be the cryptocurrency of choice as far as settling user transactions goes. 3D INTERNET Victoria VR has stated that their pioneering portal system puts forth an ecosystem which can be connected to by all VR projects, games, and even worlds. This will end up creating a 3D internet that simply has not existed before. The platform itself is also decentralized  and autonomous, completely controlled by its own engaged and passionate community. But who can create this amazing VR content? Well, again, anyone! Victoria VR users will be able to create content without having a lick of prior programming experience or applicable skills.  Victoria VR personnel adds that “The gaming industry is booming, businesses, communication, education and processes are transferred online, and the next logical step is virtual reality and the 3D internet. The interest in VR is also going up because of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, social isolation, and lockdown measures. There is no doubt that virtual reality will change everything in every field, and in every industry.” But where is this whole blockchain/VR relationship headed? Blockchain-Based VR and How It’s Taking Virtual Reality to its Next Level [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/Blockchain-VR-Moving-Forward.jpg] BLOCKCHAIN VR MOVING FORWARD This whole blockchain and VR thing has some serious synergy. Not only are VR companies creating virtual communities and landscapes, but blockchain VR is also being used and incorporated into entertainment events, like concerts, where a person with a VR headset can gain access to private and secure content, paying for such content and services with virtual tokens. Token holders can often vote for acts they’d like to see with smart contract technology. Fund-curated content can also come from such a community without celebrities or famous musicians being involved at all. Blockchain helps create a unique model that encourages users to get and interact. Virtual venues utilizing blockchain will act like actual concerts with areas for users to hang out and even chat with others while they watch the show together. Virtual reality and blockchain seem to have few boundaries and those boundaries are continuously being tested and expanded. Innovators have stopped waiting for the next best thing and many are making moves to create it themselves. Each industry and contributor ends up taking a different approach to incorporating blockchain and VR technology, but this means that the possibilities for future development are endless. VR  and blockchain will continue to evolve as the technologies are made available to and embraced by the mainstream. New highly immersive virtual experiences and opportunities will continue to take shape as time goes on and innovation occurs.

Categories: Virtual Reality
Virtual Reality Car Simulator: How It Works

Virtual Reality Car Simulator: How It Works

June 23, 2021

Car sales exploded in April, but that run on the dealerships also put a crunch on inventory for May. According to Cox Automotive, the remaining supply after the April sales boom was 2.24 million vehicles—approximately 440,000 fewer vehicles than the available inventory at the end of March. Unfortunately, that lower inventory also may be further exacerbated by the microchip shortage. Looking for a new car might need to begin online for consumers looking for favorite models or backup models to add to their wish list. Consumers can test drive RelayCars’ virtual car simulator to preview vehicles online and find the models that fit their personal taste, budget and lifestyle needs. CAR SHOPPING WITH A VIRTUAL REALITY CAR SIMULATOR According to data from Cox Automotive’s 11th annual Car Buyer Journey Study,  third-party sites like Kelley Blue Book (a Cox Automotive site) were popular with shoppers with “…up to 79% of buyers noting they used a third-party site in 2020.” These sites might be popular research destinations for shoppers wanting to find out how much their car is worth or to browse data about other makes or models. Other third-party sites like RelayCars can be used during the research phase of the hunt to further explore vehicles beyond typical two-dimensional photos. Car shopping with a virtual reality car simulator offers shoppers a virtual showroom that displays the car in 3D and allows consumers to interact with the vehicle, too. Virtual Reality Car Simulator [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/Exploring-the-VR-Car.jpg] EXPLORING THE VR CAR Exploring the car in virtual reality is fun…and easy! Using just the fingertips, consumers can enlarge the vehicle or even look inside. The VR car also can be viewed from different angles and vantage points so that users can get more insight about the car, its shape and its overall size. The VR cars and vehicles are all scaled model representations of the real vehicle. In the virtual reality car showroom, users also can swap out the paint hues of the vehicle. This can help shoppers decide what paint colors they prefer. THE PRE-OWNED VIRTUAL CAR RelayCars doesn’t just include new makes and models. The virtual car inventory also includes older models, which can help shoppers who might be on the hunt for pre-owned vehicles. An earlier model of the same vehicle could be an option for consumers who really want a specific car.   The virtual cars on RelayCars aren’t depictions of any single pre-owned model; they are simply a 3D replica of that specific model year. These virtual cars can provide insight about the interior and other features of earlier models. EXPLORING VIRTUAL CARS Looking for an SUV? Click through the offerings from different brands. Compare Volkswagen to Nissan or Infiniti. Look inside the different models and get an idea about the leg room and interior set-up. For some buyers, the color of the car might be a big deal. Right now, though, when some car models might face an inventory crunch, getting particular about color might not be an option. Use RelayCars to check out all the offered hues for a particular model. When heading to the dealership, shoppers will know in advance if they like the look of a certain color. Virtual Reality Car Simulator [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/Augmented-Reality-Cars.jpg] AUGMENTED REALITY CARS VS. VIRTUAL CARS The RelayCars app is offered in augmented reality and virtual reality. What’s the difference? The virtual reality showroom app displays cars in a virtual environment.   With RelayCars, users choose a vehicle from the inventory list. However, instead of the car being displayed in a virtual showroom on the phone, the user actually drops the car into their environment. How does this work exactly? The app accesses the device’s camera to show a 3D image of the chosen vehicle in whatever space the user chooses to place it. The vehicle can be dropped in the driveway, a garage, the backyard or even the living room. Users can then walk around the vehicle while viewing the augmented reality image with their phone. Yes, users can even look inside the car and change the paint color, too! WHY USE A VIRTUAL REALITY CAR SHOWROOM? In the past—before Covid—car shoppers might have researched options online and then visited dealerships for a test drive or to explore the car in person. Dealerships might have closed to foot traffic, which meant shoppers had to find other ways to preview vehicles. The virtual showrooms might have been a great option to simulate the in-person experience. An augmented reality showroom may save time and cut down the need for a lengthier visit to dealerships. With RelayCars, car shoppers can preview many popular makes and models and see these cars up close…albeit virtually. This can help buyers sort through cars they don’t like and find the models that best meet their needs. And their budgets. Visiting the dealership then can become more of a streamlined process. Shoppers enter the dealership with a list of top vehicle models—or maybe just one. Then they can explore the vehicle in person, take a test drive and pursue the deal. Or they may simply decide to move forward with a different model. EXPLORE VIRTUAL CARS Covid might have relaxed the shopping experience for consumers. It’s true that online shopping has been quite popular for some time, but car buying really wasn’t so virtual before the pandemic. Consumers researched online, but many visited the dealership for test drives and to iron out the paperwork. Staying at home, working virtually and shopping virtually might have led to more consumers feeling comfortable using online resources to go virtual with bigger purchases, too. Online resources like RelayCars might help decrease the time at the dealership, while dealer resources like virtual test drives delivered to the door could give the buyer a bit more control. Consumers can now find the ideal vehicle then research prices, promotions and other incentives at dealerships. If one SUV is out of the budget, explore other options virtually…then look up those prices. Exploring the virtual inventory is fun, but it’s also empowering. Preview those cars, then dig deeper. Find prices, promotions, and maybe even read reviews. Use RelayCars to begin the car-shopping journey and to take the driver’s seat of the buying process.

Categories: Virtual Reality
The Virtual Reality Workout

The Virtual Reality Workout

June 21, 2021

The pandemic changed daily habits, and, for some, it also decreased workouts or made them a bit less exciting. Gyms were closed, and, let’s be honest, most people during the height of the pandemic might not have been venturing outside to mingle. While walks and runs were still an option, not everyone had the space to social distance on the pavement. The world may be getting closer to the old normal, but workout options have broadened. During quarantine, some might have discovered virtual workouts. For those who own a virtual reality headset, virtual workouts could have brought joy back into fitness. Not familiar with virtual reality workouts? Here’s everything you need to know to go virtual with fitness. DO YOU NEED A HEADSET? To enter the virtual realm, users do need a headset. Virtual reality fitness apps might require this, especially if users are downloading apps from Steam. During the pandemic, the term ‘virtual’ was conflated to mean anything that wasn’t in-person. School was virtual. Work was virtual. Conferences? Yes…virtual. Platforms like Zoom aren’t virtual reality. They are simply video applications. The meeting or school session is ‘virtual’ because it isn’t in-person. Virtual reality is a different kind of virtual. Accessing virtual reality platforms typically—although not always—requires a headset. Using the headset, individuals enter virtual realms. This can be a fantasy realm or a replica of a gym, studio or some other destination. Virtual reality can really take users anywhere. Users can have a virtual workout or fitness routine with or without a headset. Both options will be highlighted, as not all consumers have access to a headset. FITNESS IN VIRTUAL REALITY: YOU NEED THE HEADSET Steam offers many fitness apps that users can access via a headset. Want to feel the burn in virtual reality? Try out these apps for a fun, virtual and heart-pumping workout: BOOT CAMP FITNESS Described as “a home cardio and bodyweight workout app/game,” Boot Camp Fitness offers a built-in playlist of more than 150 songs to keep users moving. The game offers 13 ranks and 18 different locations users can unlock. Select the length of the workout and fitness level (beginner, normal or advanced). The app offers workout tips, too! VR IMMERSIVE FITNESS GYM The app includes football, cycling, running and other games. A yoga option is ‘coming soon.’ REALFIT (VR FITNESS) Stick with standard fitness options or opt for a game to make the competition a bit more fun. Earn points for exercises, too! Do squats, jumping jacks and more! This game keeps fitness fun and provides a unique immersive environment to pull users from their home-bound rut. VR FITNESS This is a game that combines fitness with action. User’s participation will burn calories. Go after the enemies and then discover how many calories were burned during the mission. VIRTUAL YOGA RETREAT Namaste! Practice yoga virtually. Features tranquil scenery to add to the ambiance. Users can choose their appropriate level, and, yes, beginners can use the app, too (just choose ‘beginner!’). All the above apps require a headset to enter the virtual lesson. Some may require other equipment, too, like a stationary bike. Users can explore the different apps and choose the one they like best…or the app that fits their needs. Virtual Reality Workout [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/Virtual-Fitness-Without-the-Headset.jpg] VIRTUAL FITNESS WITHOUT THE HEADSET Virtual workouts don’t always require a headset. Working out from home with the aid of a video or conferencing app also could be considered ‘virtual.’ The internet offers many virtual workout options, and many can be found on YouTube. Check out these workout videos to get moving at home: BEGINNERS YOGA SERIES: 10 MOST IMPORTANT YOGA POSES FOR BEGINNERS New to yoga? Beginners can start a routine by learning the easiest positions. This video shows 10 yoga poses for beginners and may be a nice introduction to the practice. The video is less than five minutes long, so this is very much just an introduction to a few poses. Yoga for Complete Beginners-20 Minute Home Yoga Workout! Looking for an actual yoga workout as a beginner? Try this video from Yoga with Adriene. Not only does the video provide a good introduction to the practice, but it also provides a full yoga workout. HULA HOOP HOP (A WORKOUT FOR EVERYONE) All you need for this brief workout is a hula hoop. And, yes, that hoop will get your body moving and your blood pumping. The video progresses in difficulty, so prepare for some challenges. DANCE OFF THE CALORIES PopSugar posted a 30-minute Cardio Latin Dance Workout. Have fun, move the body and get dancing for fitness! 10 MIN BEGINNER JUMP ROPE WORKOUT Jumping rope is actually great cardio. This video is for those new to jumping, and it’s not long. Although 10 minutes of jumping rope can get the heart pumping. Grab a jump rope and embrace this fitness routine. AUGMENTED REALITY WORKOUTS Virtual reality workouts may require the need for a headset while virtual at-home workouts are typically just a workout done at home via a video or other platform (no headset required). However, there are also augmented reality apps for fitness. The difference between augmented reality and virtual reality is that augmented reality features the real environment with graphic overlays while virtual reality is viewed in a separate virtual environment. Both of these technologies are part of extended reality (XR). Some apps let users race against augmented reality zombies or an augmented reality competitor. Want to get fit in augmented reality? Try these options: ZOMBIES, RUN! The app is a game combined with a fitness program. Users are running, jogging or walking away from zombies, which are shown via a device in augmented reality. There could be zombies behind the runner. So look out! During the game, users have to complete tasks (like getting supplies) while outrunning the zombies. THE GHOST PACER This isn’t an app but a headset that lets runners train against an augmented reality competitor. They also can race against friends. The headset also features Strava. AR RUNNER For less than $1, users can download the app and race against friends. The app takes users through various checkpoints. Try to beat the previous time! Virtual Reality Workout [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/Why-Use-Technology-for-Workouts.jpg] WHY USE TECHNOLOGY FOR WORKOUTS? Covid restrictions are easing around the country and the globe. More people may be heading back to the gym and back outside for sports and other fitness routines. Yet, technology may still be a perfect fit for fitness enthusiasts. Not everyday is ideal for outdoor activities, and virtual and augmented reality fitness options provide indoor fitness routines that won’t get rained out. Those who are still working from home or whose employers have permanently pivoted to virtual offices might use these virtual platforms for a fitness break during the day. Virtual reality also breaks up the monotony of workouts. Fitness enthusiasts may enjoy a virtual day of workouts, as apps and games can offer something unique to the fitness journey. And those who are new to running might enjoy an augmented reality platform that transforms their surroundings into a game…or a zombie apocalypse! DOWNLOAD THE DATA BEFORE THE WORKOUT Before starting a workout, users should check with their doctor first. And before downloading that app, research what it offers. Not every workout is ideal for every individual, and some apps may provide advisories or warnings related to who should use the app. And while some apps are free, others are not. Ghost Pacer, for example, isn’t an app but a headset. So, in some cases, there is an investment cost. Going virtual via videos, though, might be a budget-friendly way to find a fun but free workout. Beyond yoga, hula hooping, dance and jumping rope, there are so many workout options on YouTube. Find belly dancing tutorials, running in place videos, weight training videos, ab workout videos and more. Yes, there are even surfing lessons on YouTube! BEGINNERS AND THE VIRTUAL WORKOUT While apps via Steam require a headset, virtual video workouts require nothing but an internet connection. Thanks to the internet anyone can workout virtually. Some studios or gyms may even offer virtual classes or fitness training. Videos and virtual tutorials are a great way to learn a new exercise without any awkwardness. Even one-on-one virtual classes can help a beginner grow confident with a new routine. While the gym or studio can be intimidating to those new to a practice, a home-based introduction can ease the beginner into the routine and help them become comfortable. IS VIRTUAL FITNESS THE FUTURE? While working out via video, augmented reality or via virtual reality is unique and convenient, is it the future of fitness? As Covid restrictions have eased, many people may be craving their old routine. This might mean heading back to the gym or pounding the pavement with friends. Virtual and augmented reality fitness apps and programs, though, may have a place for those who are new to a practice and want to grow confident without a crowd. And virtual videos and apps also may be a great option when the weather isn’t quite so great or when an individual just doesn’t have time for the gym. While many may crave the social interactions of the gym or just the experience of an outdoor environment, virtual and augmented reality can provide a unique element to add to the fun of a workout routine. After all, who doesn’t want to be chased by zombies!?

Categories: Virtual Reality
How a Virtual Reality Car Showroom Simplifies Car Shopping

How a Virtual Reality Car Showroom Simplifies Car Shopping

June 9, 2021

Car buying has moved online because of Covid, and while the automotive industry might not have anticipated the sudden pivot to the virtual world, consumers have embraced the new virtual trend. According to Cox Automotive’s Digitization of End-to-End Retail study, “…64% of shoppers want to do more of the purchase process online the next time they buy a vehicle.” Shopping for a car online might be the future of car buying, and many dealerships may be adding more online resources—like a virtual reality car showroom—to aid potential buyers. Here’s how a virtual reality car showroom simplifies car shopping and why and how consumers can use these resources. Virtual Reality Car Showroom [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/What-is-a-Virtual-Reality-Car-Showroom.jpg] WHAT IS A VIRTUAL REALITY CAR SHOWROOM? Before Covid, most consumers on the hunt for a new car might have looked at dealership inventory online, scrolled through pictures, priced their favorites and then headed out to visit a few dealerships for the best price. When the pandemic shut down most nonessential businesses, car dealerships might have moved their business online. This meant that many consumers might not have been able to leisurely stroll around the showroom. While pictures might capture the basic look of the vehicle, those photos don’t—and really can’t—tell the whole story. Yes, there can be photos of the interior. Dealerships can even take videos or up-close snapshots of the details. However, those photos don’t allow for much interaction beyond clicking through a slideshow or watching a video. Virtual reality car showrooms allow dealerships to digitally replicate the in-person experience in a virtual realm. These showrooms can be accessed via an app, with or without a headset. In its most basic form—without headset navigation—consumers can choose a vehicle and view it in a three-dimensional space. The vehicle is shown to scale, and consumers can look inside, change the color of the body paint…and more. With a headset, these spaces are much more interactive. Users actually come up close to these three-dimensional virtual cars and can interact with them in the virtual space. Again, this allows the consumer to access the interior of the car, swap out the paint hue and even look at the vehicle from different vantage points. Virtual reality car showrooms—like the one offered by RelayCars—provide consumers with the option to preview many different makes from multiple manufacturers, including luxury brands like Porsche and Ferrari. HOW DO VIRTUAL REALITY CAR SHOWROOMS SIMPLIFY SHOPPING? While Covid restrictions kept many consumers at home or limited their visits to stores, some consumers still needed to purchase a new car. Virtual reality car showrooms allowed the car shopping experience to be accessible at home…or anywhere. But it also may help to simplify the experience beyond Covid. In fact, dealers surveyed for the Cox study believed that online experiences might be more personalized. The study noted that “…75% agree that digital retailing provides shoppers a more customized experience.” How can online resources and digital retailing provide this type of experience? Online resources can be used however the consumer desires. Customers using a virtual reality showroom might only preview the vehicles on their wish list. They don’t have to scroll through a list of online inventory. They can look at the cars that interest them, and then pursue the dealerships. Dealership experiences also could allow for more customized experiences in that even the sales interactions can happen virtually. This may help customers cut through the red tape of the experience by simply requesting info on the cars they need or want and not getting sidetracked with other vehicles in the inventory. Online interactions also could be more direct and to the point, eliminating a time-consuming in-person experience that could have taken hours. When shopping online, consumers also can look at their leisure, without pressure. If needed, they could request a virtual test drive or head to the dealership to view their favorite vehicles in person. USING VIRTUAL REALITY CAR SHOWROOMS TO COMPLEMENT THE IN-PERSON EXPERIENCE The light at the end of the Covid tunnel is visible, and this may mean that in-person shopping may come with fewer restrictions to consumers. However, the online experience may still be valuable and can work to complement the in-person shopping experience. Consumers can use virtual reality car showrooms as a research tool to preview the vehicles that most interest them. The virtual realm can help consumers explore the look of the vehicle and what it has to offer. Using their online favorites as a guide, consumers can then check out local dealerships to find price points and any promotions or savings. Or consumers may have a list of their favorite vehicles and then visit the dealership for a test drive. Virtual reality car showrooms also can help consumers understand what they don’t want. Maybe a specific vehicle seemed ideal, but previewing the vehicle in the virtual space might have revealed space constraints in the back seat or perhaps other issues that crossed that dreamy vehicle off the list. Pictures are two-dimensional, but viewing the car in 3D may provide a better physical understanding of the vehicle. Virtual Reality Car Showroom [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/Future-of-Virtual-Reality-Car-Showrooms.jpg] THE FUTURE OF VIRTUAL REALITY CAR SHOWROOMS While RelayCars can be accessed via a headset, a more immersive virtual reality experience is on the horizon. The future of car shopping will be virtual…and very close to the in-person experience. The next generation of the virtual reality car showroom will be accessible via Steam. The app is known as Roomscale, and the experience is a true virtual reality showroom experience. In this new virtual realm, users will be able to walk around and interact with whatever vehicle is on the must-see list. There will be an inventory of vehicle choices, and the interactions will closely mirror those in an actual showroom. Even better? Users can explore whatever car they wish. If it’s in the inventory, check it out! Not only does this give users the freedom to explore new types of vehicles, maybe it also helps some car buyers set a goal for a dream car of the future. Or, of course, users can just check out cars for fun. Roomscale and the immersive virtual reality car showroom may represent what the future holds for car buying. Consumers have shown that they like the virtual shopping option. Perhaps this is due to the laid-back atmosphere that the virtual realm offers. There is no sales pressure when visiting virtual showrooms. The power might shift to the consumer. VIRTUAL REALITY CAR SHOWROOMS WITHOUT THE HEADSET Roomscale will require that users have a virtual reality headset. However, RelayCars will continue to offer a virtual reality car showroom that can be accessed by anyone…with or without a headset. Using the standard app, users can preview cars in the virtual environment and interact with the vehicles via a phone or other device. Multiple app options provide accessibility to a wider audience. And, for users who want an augmented experience, RelayCars also offers an augmented reality car showroom. This app lets users preview the vehicle of their choice within their own environment. Drop a vehicle in the garage, the living room, the backyard…anywhere. With augmented reality, users can walk around the vehicle, peek inside and switch the colors of the exterior of the vehicle. Augmented reality provides a different type of immersive experience. By allowing users to drop a vehicle anywhere, it also allows users to customize their car hunt. Now shoppers can actually see what that car looks like in the driveway! It might be too big. Or too green! Change it up! WHAT’S THE COST OF A VIRTUAL REALITY CAR SHOWROOM? For consumers, the big question about online resources is “what’s the cost?” All the apps offered by RelayCars can be downloaded for free. There is no cost to experience virtual reality or augmented reality…unless, of course, users want to purchase a headset. Buying a new car is a major purchase. MarketWatch reported that the average cost of a new car has soared to more than $40,000. While there are models far below this average, many consumers may face sticker shock when hunting for that new vehicle. Researching options helps consumers find the best car for their lifestyle and, hopefully, helps them find the best price, too. While virtual reality or augmented reality car showrooms don’t provide price data, they can help consumers better understand what vehicles they like so they can narrow down their choices. Maybe a consumer finds a few favorites via the virtual reality showroom only to research the models and discover that they are just too expensive. That shopper didn’t have to spend gas money driving to a dealership or waste time looking at cars that simply were beyond their budget. Instead, shoppers can browse the virtual inventory, taking their time to find the best car for them…and then focus on finding deals at local dealerships. Not only can these online resources simplify the shopping experience, but it also can help lower stress, frustration and time waste. Shoppers who know what they want also might be a dream customer for sales teams who can then focus on finalizing the deal…instead of touring a lot. A win-win for everyone!

Categories: Virtual Reality
Is VR Mindfulness More Than a New Workplace Trend?

Is VR Mindfulness More Than a New Workplace Trend?

June 7, 2021

Many of us know the concept of virtual reality and it is likely that most of us have experienced it in some form or another over the years — most likely in the form of an immersive virtual experience or via video games. Family fun centers have been utilizing virtual reality to create amusement park style experiences within the confines of a single building for years. Oculus Rift has been utilized by not only gamers but also by a variety of professionals to trick the mind into thinking that it actually inhabits a virtually constructed world. Early precursors of virtual reality have been popping up here and there since the sixties — but nothing really caught on until recently due to technological limitations. Virtual reality is in a far better place than it was in the 80s for multiple reasons. To say that virtual reality has influenced video gaming is nothing new. What is new is the fact that VR is being used for a variety of purposes beyond creating an immersive gamer experience. For instance, the medical industry utilizes virtual reality for examining human biology, not to mention helping prospective surgeons practice certain methods and procedures virtually. The health and wellness industry is worth around 4.5 trillion dollars globally, statistics show, and it’s an industry that spends a lot of resources developing high end products that are aimed toward a socially and health conscious demographic. It’s no small wonder that businesses and brands around the world are now looking to utilize virtual reality in order to assist employees, especially those who are feeling less inspired within the constraints of a normal 9-5 job.  Is VR Mindfulness More Than a New Workplace Trend? [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/VR-and-the-Health-and-Wellness-Industry.jpg] VR AND THE HEALTH AND WELLNESS INDUSTRY Virtual reality has been adopted by and incorporated into the health and wellness realm in a variety of exciting ways. As VR technology moves forward, the idea of VR only being associated with video games will seem like more and more of an antiquated concept.  VR technology is helping individuals: * Deal with pain management * Learn crucial health and wellness education in a new and interactive way * Treat PTSD and undergo certain parts of the injury rehabilitation process VR can now provide people with stress relief, enhance various fitness and wellness practices, and assist those who are aging in place in retirement homes. How does virtual reality help someone feel better or feel less pain? Virtual reality inherently aims to create an immersive experience for people, which ends up having an effect that leaves a person feeling pulled away from daily realities. When we are in pain or in states of distress or confusion, our awareness of our own pain increases and alleviates. When we can be released and delivered from our own pain and ailments, our mind is able to focus on other things, which provides a therapeutic effect. As virtual reality becomes more and more sophisticated, each and every sense will aim to be captured and integrated into a high caliber virtual reality experience. Once taste and smell can be successfully and convincingly incorporated into a virtual experience along with sight, touch, and sound, virtual therapy and virtual mindfulness will evolve as well. BUSINESSES AND HEALTH AND WELLNESS Nowadays people are highly aware of a business and/or brand’s social standing, which might include how businesses treat their employees. Now that just about each and every person has a platform to be seen and heard, stories are getting told about harsh and undesirable circumstances that some employers may or may not be subjecting their employees to. Perhaps as some sort of response, more forward-thinking companies are spending thought energy coming up with ways to promote wellness at the workplace. You might have heard about that hot new tech company downtown that has a yoga studio in their building and buys vegan food every Friday for their employees, or maybe there’s a new smoothie machine in the break room that is indicative of many employers at least making an effort to promote wellness at the workplace. Is VR Mindfulness More Than a New Workplace Trend? [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/VR-Mindfulness-and-Wellness-in-the-Workplace.jpg] VR MINDFULNESS AND WELLNESS IN THE WORKPLACE Employers have a vested interest in putting energy into making sure their employees are happy and healthy, especially in their work environment, which inspires creativity and productivity. On the contrary, anxiety and stress can seriously curb someone’s ability to perform their job successfully, not to mention spend precious time and energy that could be better spent on day-to-day operations.  But it’s not so easy to see what is going on in the mind, especially since people always try to put their best foot forward while at work. There is still a negative connotation with mental illness, which might also be a reason why VR mindfulness is catching on in the workplace, where anonymity can be held intact. VR mindfulness tools enable users to engage in an illusory experience alone, in the comfort of their office or cubicle. Speaking of cubicles, one of the number one complaints that employees have is feeling trapped at work, especially when working in smaller spaces. A VR experience is an easy and cost-effective way for an employee to escape their everyday working environment and visit a faraway place or even a newly constructed virtual reality that doesn’t exist in the waking world. The Sunday scaries are a real thing, and they have to do with the average worker dreading going into work on Mondays, so much so that it compromises their ability to enjoy their Sunday, which accounts for 50% of the average worker’s weekend. It turns out that being able to teleport to new realms (albeit only momentarily) has a lot of benefits for someone working at a brick and mortar establishment — upper brass and groundfloor ranking employees alike. VR is more than simply technology that gives an employee the ability to view a new environment, they can also interact with it via tracking performed by remotes equipped in the hardware in the three-dimensional space. Workers can now interact with virtual environments, creating a more well-rounded immersive experience. Is VR Mindfulness More Than a New Workplace Trend? [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/VR-Games.jpg] OKAY, SO THERE ARE GAMES… Obviously some employers might want to create a fun and entertaining virtual experience for their employees that will allow them to blow off steam during breaks from productivity. Taking rest from work is a good way to recharge the batteries and attack an old problem from a new angle. Many employers have dart boards and foosball tables that allow employees to entertain themselves, but these forms of entertainment have obvious limitations. Only 2-4 people can play foosball. Only a few people can play darts. However, a virtual game can be used by every employee simultaneously, as long as there are enough headsets and hardware for the entire team. On the wellness side, there is far more serious and therapeutic work to be done. Meditation apps are utilizing virtual reality to help users surrender to meditative processes, which helps the mind slow itself down, which is a prime state to try to let thoughts settle down. Turns out there is a ton of stimulation at work. Top stresses that employees and employers experience at work is: * Financial Troubles * Unrealistic Goals and Expectations * Workplace Politics * Deadlines * Lack of Clear Leadership * Lack of Accountability These sorts of issues can seriously compromise an individual’s ability to perform their job in a functional manner, much less excel at what they do. Once one team member is feeling down and out at the workplace, they might feel the inclination to lament to others, which will ultimately lower the team morale in immeasurable ways. VR mindfulness tools that don’t go the gaming route are more geared toward education, often providing instructions and even tutorials that provide benefits to the user, especially when it comes to stress management.  VR guided meditation is tremendously beneficial to employees, especially since common complaints about meditation in general include:  * Inability to concentrate * Boredom * Futility * Difficulty A VR guided meditation aims to assist a user in the meditation process by using sound and virtual imagery that will capture a person’s attention and interest, while guiding them into a more meditative state. Before an employee knows it, they’ve just completed a 10-20 minute guided meditation and get to experience all of the wellness benefits that come as a result. Doing a VR guided meditation a few times a week or even once a day is a small investment in creating a new culture at any given workplace. Instead of asking employees to do it on their own time, employers can show some initiative and show a caring gesture by providing this sort of experience during business hours. VR wellness technology is showing up in workplace wellness rooms for businesses that have the resources to construct an immersive virtual reality experience in their own offices. Otherwise, it’s much simpler and cost effective to invest in a few headsets that employees can utilize during down time. One thing is for sure, VR is a new and exciting coworker for many employees around the world.

Categories: Virtual Reality
HTC VIVE’s List of Top Virtual Reality Social Influencers

HTC VIVE’s List of Top Virtual Reality Social Influencers

May 28, 2021

Influencers are held up high within their specific market segment. This could be fashion, automotive, beauty or virtual reality. HTC VIVE released its list of 100 social influencers in virtual reality for 2021, but it isn’t just a random list of who’s who in virtual reality. According to the company’s press release individuals “…were ranked according to several factors including reach, levels of engagement, and how much of their content is dedicated to VR. Additional recognition was awarded to influencers who have a voice in mainstream media, such as Forbes.” Here’s a look at Vive’s list of top virtual reality social influencers, with a focus on the top 10. NUMBER 10: BEN LANG, ROAD TO VR (US) Lang started Road to VR about a decade ago, and he worked at several tech publications for nearly a decade prior to founding the site. Lang has documented the virtual reality industry for years. Road to VR has more than 90,000 Twitter followers, and more than 40,000 followers/likes on Facebook. Lang is followed by more than 22,000 on Twitter and serves as Road to VR’s executive editor. NUMBER 9: VRLOLATHON (THE UNITED KINGDOM) The popular YouTube channel has more than 840,000 subscribers. The channel posts videos like “How to Scare People in VRCHAT” and “Borat but its VR (VRchat funny moments).”  The bio on the channel reads simply: “Just a guy from the UK who loves VR and clowning around.” VRLolathon began in 2018, and has seemingly surged since then. So who is the person behind the channel? The identity seems to be a mystery. However, in the Fandom site for VRChatLegends, VRLolathon is a revered name in the world of virtual reality. The description for Lolathon states: “Lolathon is a content creator of VR Chat, who has been around since the damn concept of the game. For every stream he does, he tries to make a new avatar to show off. His many meme avatars delight, scare, or confuse people, or make them ponder their existence. His home is the VR Chat Circus: the asylum of laughter and screams. Lolathon is one of the Great Meme Pillars of VR Chat.” NUMBER 8: MULLY (AUSTRALIA) Mully is a YouTuber from Australia. The channel has more than five million subscribers. Content includes videos like “when nightmare no no comes for you” and “the strangest vr game of 2021.” The description for the channel? A simple note: “if ur reading this u r cool.” So who is Mully? According to Fandom, his real name is Mullen, and he’s 27; he’s also known to collaborate with YourNarrator, JoshDub, EddieVR, JuicyFruitSnacks. Collectively, per Fandom, they are known as “The Boys.” NUMBER 7: GAWR GURA (JAPAN) Hailing from Japan, Gawr Gura is a YouTuber with more than 2.6 million subscribers. Virtual reality videos often feature anime characters. Per Fandom, Gura uses Hololive. Fandom describes her ‘personality’: “Gura is friendly and readily likeable, and often amuses her viewers with foolish antics. She has no sense of direction, often misspelled and mispronounces words, has trouble remembering her own age, and consistently fails to solve basic math problems, leading viewers to affectionately call her a “dum shark”.” Gura, however, is simply a character…with a backstory! Fandom notes that she is descended from Atlantis, and she swam to Earth. She also wears a shark hat! NUMBER 6: IAN HAMILTON & JAMIE FELTHAM, UPLOADVR (UNITED STATES) Ian Hamilton is the executive editor of Upload VR, and Jamie Feltham is the senior editor (UK) and show producer for the site. According to their bios on the site, Feltham has covered virtual reality for about seven years; Hamilton started covering Oculus virtual reality back in 2012 and has been a full-time virtual reality journalist for about six years. NUMBER 5: APOKI (KOREA) Apoki has more than two million followers on Tik Tok. The main character in videos is a cotton candy pink haired girl, who often is featured with rabbit ears. Apoki also takes on some of TikTok’s viral dance challenges…via virtual reality, of course! Videos have garnered hundreds of thousands of views. And it isn’t uncommon for Apoki to @ other TikTok influencers like Charli D’amelio. NUMBER 4: DRUMSY (USA) Drumsy is a popular YouTuber with more than two million subscribers. Some videos include anime, others include other popular cartoon animations. Drumsy’s official Twitter account has more than 120,000 followers. So who is this YouTuber? Once again, Fandom has the details: he has been dubbed “the #1 news reporter of VRChat,” and his videos are created like news stories or documentaries. NUMBER 3: JOSHDUB (AUSTRALIA) Yet another popular YouTuber, JoshDub has more than eight million subscribers. The description of his channel reads: “weird vr memes with the boys.” Of course, the boys are YourNarrator, EddieVR, JuicyFruitSnacks and Mully! Wikitubia notes that JoshDub’s management “…described him as being a pioneer of VR entertainment on YouTube.” NUMBER 2: EDDIEVR (UNITED STATES) Although JoshDub has amassed the most YouTube followers of “The Boys,” EddieVR has more than five million followers…he and Mully are pretty close. So how or why has EddieVR passed Josh on the list of 100 influencers? TikTok could be part of the answer, Eddie has amassed more than seven million followers…and more than 16- million likes…but while Josh still beats him with more than eight million followers…he trails in likes (150 million likes). NUMBER 1: JONATHAN NAFARRETE & MALIA PROBST, VRSCOUT (UNITED STATES) Jonathan Nafarrete is the editor-in-chief and co-founder of VRScout; he also co-founded Scout House, a virtual production studio. Nafarrete has more than 68,000 followers on Twitter. Malia Probst is a founding partner of VRScout and a producer and investor in virtual reality. Probst has more than 11,000 Twitter followers. VRScout, however, has more than 73,000 followers. On YouTube, VRScout’s channel has 31,000 subscribers. Nafarrete and Probst snagged the top spot because of VRScout’s influence and reach. In the press release announcing the list of 100 influencers, HTC VIVE explained VRScout’s place within the industry: “This LA-based start-up has grown to become the world’s leading immersive media network, with a reach of over 250 million people.” Influencers are held up high within their specific market segment. This could be fashion, automotive, beauty or virtual reality. HTC VIVE released its list of 100 social influencers in virtual reality for 2021, but it isn’t just a random list of who’s who in virtual reality. According to the company’s press release individuals “…were ranked according to several factors including reach, levels of engagement, and how much of their content is dedicated to VR. Additional recognition was awarded to influencers who have a voice in mainstream media, such as Forbes.” Here’s a look at Vive’s list of top virtual reality social influencers, with a focus on the top 10. Number 10: Ben Lang, Road to VR (US) Lang started Road to VR about a decade ago, and he worked at several tech publications for nearly a decade prior to founding the site. Lang has documented the virtual reality industry for years. Road to VR has more than 90,000 Twitter followers, and more than 40,000 followers/likes on Facebook. Lang is followed by more than 22,000 on Twitter and serves as Road to VR’s executive editor. Number 9: VRLolathon (the United Kingdom) The popular YouTube channel has more than 840,000 subscribers. The channel posts videos like “How to Scare People in VRCHAT” and “Borat but its VR (VRchat funny moments).” The bio on the channel reads simply: “Just a guy from the UK who loves VR and clowning around.” VRLolathon began in 2018, and has seemingly surged since then. So who is the person behind the channel? The identity seems to be a mystery. However, in the Fandom site for VRChatLegends, VRLolathon is a revered name in the world of virtual reality. The description for Lolathon states: “Lolathon is a content creator of VR Chat, who has been around since the damn concept of the game. For every stream he does, he tries to make a new avatar to show off. His many meme avatars delight, scare, or confuse people, or make them ponder their existence. His home is the VR Chat Circus: the asylum of laughter and screams. Lolathon is one of the Great Meme Pillars of VR Chat.” Number 8: Mully (Australia) Mully is a YouTuber from Australia. The channel has more than five million subscribers. Content includes videos like “when nightmare no no comes for you” and “the strangest vr game of 2021.” The description for the channel? A simple note: “if ur reading this u r cool.” So who is Mully? According to Fandom, his real name is Mullen, and he’s 27; he’s also known to collaborate with YourNarrator, JoshDub, EddieVR, JuicyFruitSnacks. Collectively, per Fandom, they are known as “The Boys.” Number 7: Gawr Gura (Japan) Hailing from Japan, Gawr Gura is a YouTuber with more than 2.6 million subscribers. Virtual reality videos often feature anime characters. Per Fandom, Gura uses Hololive. Fandom describes her ‘personality’: “Gura is friendly and readily likeable, and often amuses her viewers with foolish antics. She has no sense of direction, often misspelled and mispronounces words, has trouble remembering her own age, and consistently fails to solve basic math problems, leading viewers to affectionately call her a "dum shark".” Gura, however, is simply a character…with a backstory! Fandom notes that she is descended from Atlantis, and she swam to Earth. She also wears a shark hat! Number 6: Ian Hamilton & Jamie Feltham, UploadVR (United States) Ian Hamilton is the executive editor of Upload VR, and Jamie Feltham is the senior editor (UK) and show producer for the site. According to their bios on the site, Feltham has covered virtual reality for about seven years; Hamilton started covering Oculus virtual reality back in 2012 and has been a full-time virtual reality journalist for about six years. Number 5: Apoki (Korea) Apoki has more than two million followers on Tik Tok. The main character in videos is a cotton candy pink haired girl, who often is featured with rabbit ears. Apoki also takes on some of TikTok’s viral dance challenges…via virtual reality, of course! Videos have garnered hundreds of thousands of views. And it isn’t uncommon for Apoki to @ other TikTok influencers like Charli D'amelio. Number 4: Drumsy (USA) Drumsy is a popular YouTuber with more than two million subscribers. Some videos include anime, others include other popular cartoon animations. Drumsy’s official Twitter account has more than 120,000 followers. So who is this YouTuber? Once again, Fandom has the details: he has been dubbed “the #1 news reporter of VRChat,” and his videos are created like news stories or documentaries. Number 3: JoshDub (Australia) Yet another popular YouTuber, JoshDub has more than eight million subscribers. The description of his channel reads: “weird vr memes with the boys.” Of course, the boys are YourNarrator, EddieVR, JuicyFruitSnacks and Mully! Wikitubia notes that JoshDub’s management “…described him as being a pioneer of VR entertainment on YouTube.” Number 2: EddieVR (United States) Although JoshDub has amassed the most YouTube followers of “The Boys,” EddieVR has more than five million followers…he and Mully are pretty close. So how or why has EddieVR passed Josh on the list of 100 influencers? TikTok could be part of the answer, Eddie has amassed more than seven million followers…and more than 16- million likes…but while Josh still beats him with more than eight million followers…he trails in likes (150 million likes). Number 1: Jonathan Nafarrete & Malia Probst, VRScout (United States) Jonathan Nafarrete is the editor-in-chief and co-founder of VRScout; he also co-founded Scout House, a virtual production studio. Nafarrete has more than 68,000 followers on Twitter. Malia Probst is a founding partner of VRScout and a producer and investor in virtual reality. Probst has more than 11,000 Twitter followers. VRScout, however, has more than 73,000 followers. On YouTube, VRScout’s channel has 31,000 subscribers. Nafarrete and Probst snagged the top spot because of VRScout’s influence and reach. In the press release announcing the list of 100 influencers, HTC VIVE explained VRScout’s place within the industry: “This LA-based start-up has grown to become the world’s leading immersive media network, with a reach of over 250 million people.” The List Next Year VIVE HTC isn’t the first to name the top influencers in virtual reality. In 2017, Onalytica released its own list; that year, Rick King (@RickKing16) was named the top virtual reality influencer. King was listed as a consultant. Ian Hamilton and Jamie Feltham (who were both with Upload) also made the list at #9 and #10 (Feltham). Malia Probst came in at #39. So will another list pop up in 2022? With the way technology is advancing, and the boost virtual and augmented reality had during Covid, there could be an update on who holds the most influential reins in the virtual or augmented worlds. There may be many contenders next year. However, there also could be a halt in not necessarily influence but advancement because of the microchip shortage. What’s On the Virtual Horizon? For consumers who aren’t following virtual reality or augmented reality, it’s never too late to delve into these technologies and try them out. New products may soon hit the market. Facebook is working on prototypes for wristbands or bracelets with augmented reality. While headsets remain a portal into the virtual world, consumers don’t necessarily have to spend high dollars to step into an augmented (or virtual) world. There are many free apps and experiences via phones or other devices. Augmented reality is an incredibly popular technology for apps, and whether users have an Apple or Android device, the list of augmented reality apps can be vast. There are popular augmented reality games including Pokemon GO, Harry Potter: Wizards Unite, Jurassic World Alive, and Zombies, Run! Many stores also use augmented reality to heighten the user experience. Preview paint colors via augmented reality, or use augmented reality apps to place new furniture in a room before buying. Augmented reality apps even let consumers preview cosmetics hues. Individuals with an Android device can try out some of Google’s new augmented reality experiences. <a href= [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/The-List-Next-Year.jpg]Floom lets users draw a whirling portal (or hole) into their environment and see the world on the other side. Sodar is an augmented reality experience that lets users draw an AR perimeter around themselves to better stay socially distant. Google also is working on an experience that will allow photos to come alive with augmented reality. Even cars offer augmented reality experiences. Backup cameras provide grid lines over the real world to detail how the car will turn. Smart rearview mirrors also may show augmented reality images to better aid the driver. And virtual reality can be used to preview cars during the at-home shopping experience. Use sites like RelayCars to open up and experience a virtual reality showroom; look inside the car, change paint colors and more. RelayCars can be used via an app without a headset or via an app on Steam with a headset for a more immersive experience. Next year, the game could change for augmented reality and virtual reality. Who knows what new experience, game or device will be developed. And new influencers could change the world of virtual reality and augmented reality in 2022. THE LIST NEXT YEAR VIVE HTC isn’t the first to name the top influencers in virtual reality. In 2017, Onalytica released its own list; that year, Rick King (@RickKing16) was named the top virtual reality influencer. King was listed as a consultant. Ian Hamilton and Jamie Feltham (who were both with Upload) also made the list at #9 and #10 (Feltham). Malia Probst came in at #39.   So will another list pop up in 2022? With the way technology is advancing, and the boost virtual and augmented reality had during Covid, there could be an update on who holds the most influential reins in the virtual or augmented worlds. There may be many contenders next year. However, there also could be a halt in not necessarily influence but advancement because of the microchip shortage. Influencers are held up high within their specific market segment. This could be fashion, automotive, beauty or virtual reality. HTC VIVE released its list of 100 social influencers in virtual reality for 2021, but it isn’t just a random list of who’s who in virtual reality. According to the company’s press release individuals “…were ranked according to several factors including reach, levels of engagement, and how much of their content is dedicated to VR. Additional recognition was awarded to influencers who have a voice in mainstream media, such as Forbes.” Here’s a look at Vive’s list of top virtual reality social influencers, with a focus on the top 10. Number 10: Ben Lang, Road to VR (US) Lang started Road to VR about a decade ago, and he worked at several tech publications for nearly a decade prior to founding the site. Lang has documented the virtual reality industry for years. Road to VR has more than 90,000 Twitter followers, and more than 40,000 followers/likes on Facebook. Lang is followed by more than 22,000 on Twitter and serves as Road to VR’s executive editor. Number 9: VRLolathon (the United Kingdom) The popular YouTube channel has more than 840,000 subscribers. The channel posts videos like “How to Scare People in VRCHAT” and “Borat but its VR (VRchat funny moments).” The bio on the channel reads simply: “Just a guy from the UK who loves VR and clowning around.” VRLolathon began in 2018, and has seemingly surged since then. So who is the person behind the channel? The identity seems to be a mystery. However, in the Fandom site for VRChatLegends, VRLolathon is a revered name in the world of virtual reality. The description for Lolathon states: “Lolathon is a content creator of VR Chat, who has been around since the damn concept of the game. For every stream he does, he tries to make a new avatar to show off. His many meme avatars delight, scare, or confuse people, or make them ponder their existence. His home is the VR Chat Circus: the asylum of laughter and screams. Lolathon is one of the Great Meme Pillars of VR Chat.” Number 8: Mully (Australia) Mully is a YouTuber from Australia. The channel has more than five million subscribers. Content includes videos like “when nightmare no no comes for you” and “the strangest vr game of 2021.” The description for the channel? A simple note: “if ur reading this u r cool.” So who is Mully? According to Fandom, his real name is Mullen, and he’s 27; he’s also known to collaborate with YourNarrator, JoshDub, EddieVR, JuicyFruitSnacks. Collectively, per Fandom, they are known as “The Boys.” Number 7: Gawr Gura (Japan) Hailing from Japan, Gawr Gura is a YouTuber with more than 2.6 million subscribers. Virtual reality videos often feature anime characters. Per Fandom, Gura uses Hololive. Fandom describes her ‘personality’: “Gura is friendly and readily likeable, and often amuses her viewers with foolish antics. She has no sense of direction, often misspelled and mispronounces words, has trouble remembering her own age, and consistently fails to solve basic math problems, leading viewers to affectionately call her a "dum shark".” Gura, however, is simply a character…with a backstory! Fandom notes that she is descended from Atlantis, and she swam to Earth. She also wears a shark hat! Number 6: Ian Hamilton & Jamie Feltham, UploadVR (United States) Ian Hamilton is the executive editor of Upload VR, and Jamie Feltham is the senior editor (UK) and show producer for the site. According to their bios on the site, Feltham has covered virtual reality for about seven years; Hamilton started covering Oculus virtual reality back in 2012 and has been a full-time virtual reality journalist for about six years. Number 5: Apoki (Korea) Apoki has more than two million followers on Tik Tok. The main character in videos is a cotton candy pink haired girl, who often is featured with rabbit ears. Apoki also takes on some of TikTok’s viral dance challenges…via virtual reality, of course! Videos have garnered hundreds of thousands of views. And it isn’t uncommon for Apoki to @ other TikTok influencers like Charli D'amelio. Number 4: Drumsy (USA) Drumsy is a popular YouTuber with more than two million subscribers. Some videos include anime, others include other popular cartoon animations. Drumsy’s official Twitter account has more than 120,000 followers. So who is this YouTuber? Once again, Fandom has the details: he has been dubbed “the #1 news reporter of VRChat,” and his videos are created like news stories or documentaries. Number 3: JoshDub (Australia) Yet another popular YouTuber, JoshDub has more than eight million subscribers. The description of his channel reads: “weird vr memes with the boys.” Of course, the boys are YourNarrator, EddieVR, JuicyFruitSnacks and Mully! Wikitubia notes that JoshDub’s management “…described him as being a pioneer of VR entertainment on YouTube.” Number 2: EddieVR (United States) Although JoshDub has amassed the most YouTube followers of “The Boys,” EddieVR has more than five million followers…he and Mully are pretty close. So how or why has EddieVR passed Josh on the list of 100 influencers? TikTok could be part of the answer, Eddie has amassed more than seven million followers…and more than 16- million likes…but while Josh still beats him with more than eight million followers…he trails in likes (150 million likes). Number 1: Jonathan Nafarrete & Malia Probst, VRScout (United States) Jonathan Nafarrete is the editor-in-chief and co-founder of VRScout; he also co-founded Scout House, a virtual production studio. Nafarrete has more than 68,000 followers on Twitter. Malia Probst is a founding partner of VRScout and a producer and investor in virtual reality. Probst has more than 11,000 Twitter followers. VRScout, however, has more than 73,000 followers. On YouTube, VRScout’s channel has 31,000 subscribers. Nafarrete and Probst snagged the top spot because of VRScout’s influence and reach. In the press release announcing the list of 100 influencers, HTC VIVE explained VRScout’s place within the industry: “This LA-based start-up has grown to become the world’s leading immersive media network, with a reach of over 250 million people.” The List Next Year VIVE HTC isn’t the first to name the top influencers in virtual reality. In 2017, Onalytica released its own list; that year, Rick King (@RickKing16) was named the top virtual reality influencer. King was listed as a consultant. Ian Hamilton and Jamie Feltham (who were both with Upload) also made the list at #9 and #10 (Feltham). Malia Probst came in at #39. So will another list pop up in 2022? With the way technology is advancing, and the boost virtual and augmented reality had during Covid, there could be an update on who holds the most influential reins in the virtual or augmented worlds. There may be many contenders next year. However, there also could be a halt in not necessarily influence but advancement because of the microchip shortage. What’s On the Virtual Horizon? For consumers who aren’t following virtual reality or augmented reality, it’s never too late to delve into these technologies and try them out. New products may soon hit the market. Facebook is working on prototypes for wristbands or bracelets with augmented reality. While headsets remain a portal into the virtual world, consumers don’t necessarily have to spend high dollars to step into an augmented (or virtual) world. There are many free apps and experiences via phones or other devices. Augmented reality is an incredibly popular technology for apps, and whether users have an Apple or Android device, the list of augmented reality apps can be vast. There are popular augmented reality games including Pokemon GO, Harry Potter: Wizards Unite, Jurassic World Alive, and Zombies, Run! Many stores also use augmented reality to heighten the user experience. Preview paint colors via augmented reality, or use augmented reality apps to place new furniture in a room before buying. Augmented reality apps even let consumers preview cosmetics hues. Individuals with an Android device can try out some of Google’s new augmented reality experiences. Floom lets users draw a whirling portal (or hole) into their environment and see the world on the other side. Sodar is an augmented reality experience that lets users draw an AR perimeter around themselves to better stay socially distant. Google also is working on an experience that will allow photos to come alive with augmented reality. Even cars offer augmented reality experiences. Backup cameras provide grid lines over the real world to detail how the car will turn. Smart rearview mirrors also may show augmented reality images to better aid the driver. And virtual reality can be used to preview cars during the at-home shopping experience. Use sites like RelayCars to open up and experience a virtual reality showroom; look inside the car, change paint colors and more. RelayCars can be used via an app without a headset or via an app on Steam with a headset for a more immersive experience. Next year, the game could change for augmented reality and virtual reality. Who knows what new experience, game or device will be developed. And new influencers could change the world of virtual reality and augmented reality in 2022. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/Virtual-Horizon.jpg] WHAT’S ON THE VIRTUAL HORIZON? For consumers who aren’t following virtual reality or augmented reality, it’s never too late to delve into these technologies and try them out. New products may soon hit the market. Facebook is working on prototypes for wristbands or bracelets with augmented reality. While headsets remain a portal into the virtual world, consumers don’t necessarily have to spend high dollars to step into an augmented (or virtual) world. There are many free apps and experiences via phones or other devices. Augmented reality is an incredibly popular technology for apps, and whether users have an Apple or Android device, the list of augmented reality apps can be vast. There are popular augmented reality games including Pokemon GO, Harry Potter: Wizards Unite, Jurassic World Alive, and Zombies, Run! Many stores also use augmented reality to heighten the user experience. Preview paint colors via augmented reality, or use augmented reality apps to place new furniture in a room before buying. Augmented reality apps even let consumers preview cosmetics hues. Individuals with an Android device can try out some of Google’s new augmented reality experiences. Floom lets users draw a whirling portal (or hole) into their environment and see the world on the other side. Sodar is an augmented reality experience that lets users draw an AR perimeter around themselves to better stay socially distant. Google also is working on an experience that will allow photos to come alive with augmented reality. Even cars offer augmented reality experiences. Backup cameras provide grid lines over the real world to detail how the car will turn. Smart rearview mirrors also may show augmented reality images to better aid the driver. And virtual reality can be used to preview cars during the at-home shopping experience. Use sites like RelayCars to open up and experience a virtual reality showroom; look inside the car, change paint colors and more. RelayCars can be used via an app without a headset or via an app on Steam with a headset for a more immersive experience. Next year, the game could change for augmented reality and virtual reality. Who knows what new experience, game or device will be developed. And new influencers could change the world of virtual reality and augmented reality in 2022.

Categories: Virtual Reality
The Future of VR and Facebook Reality Labs

The Future of VR and Facebook Reality Labs

May 26, 2021

Virtual Reality is classified as computer-generated simulations of three-dimensional images or environments — images and environments which can be interacted with.  The VR industry as a whole happens to be growing and being applied at a rapid pace. The global VR market size is projected to increase from around 5 billion U.S. dollars (in 2021) to more than 12 billion U.S. dollars (by 2024). The overall aim of VR technology is to set the table for a consumer to engage with VR technology and be immersed in a convincingly real artificial world. VR systems generally come with special electronic equipment — usually a helmet or goggles with a screen equipped inside and sometimes with sensor-fitted gloves. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/The-Early-Days.jpg] VR: THE EARLY DAYS VR history goes back a little further than many might think. Technologists have been working on developing simulated environments for decades. The earliest VR milestone was the Sensorama (1956), developed by Morton Heilig, who had a background in motion pictures. Wanting to create an experience for viewers where they felt like they were actually in the movie, Heilig created a machine which created an experience that simulated a real city environment.  Viewers/users could ride through this city on a motorcycle, completely virtually. Multisensory stimulation would allow users to see the city road, hear the motorcycle engine, feel various vibrations, and even smell motor exhaust in this simulated world. Heilig would also develop and patent a head-mounted display device, which was called the Telesphere Mask (1960). Obviously, future inventors would start to build upon Heilig’s foundational work — and VR masks/headsets are now commonplace as a result. OCULUS RIFT UPS THE ANTE Then came Oculus Rift, which is a line of virtual reality headsets that was developed and made by Oculus VR (which is a division of Facebook Inc.). This technology was released to the public on March 28, 2016. Oculus Rift headsets were first made available in 20 countries — at a starting price of $599 in US dollars. In their early days, Oculus Rift raised 2.5 million dollars on Kickstarter in order to start making their products — this was in 2012. Facebook would end up purchasing Oculus Rift for $2 billion dollars two years later.  Although it’s a little bit strange to be talking about the history of Oculus Rift when it’s only been around for half a decade, it’s easy to say that Oculus Rift is on the forefront of VR technology.  VR IN THE 80S AND 90S VR wasn’t in the best spot in the 80s and 90s — dozens of companies and organizations had tried to turn VR headsets into some semblance of viable commercial success, but all of them ended up failing… and failing hard. Many VR systems were far too expensive for the average person to even consider purchasing. Most VR systems didn’t work properly or create a convincing experience, either. Some VR systems were even far too ahead of their time. Components were too expensive and difficult to source and most home version computers were not powerful enough to help create a truly immersive experience. The Future of VR and Facebook Reality Labs [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/History-of-Oculus-Rift.jpg] A BRIEF HISTORY OF OCULUS RIFT The earliest iterations of Oculus Rift were meant to be used by developers and early VR adopters in order to help pioneers get their first experiences with virtual reality. These bulkier headsets were not exactly meant to sit on store shelves, but the original intent was to provide a palate cleanser for old VR experiences as well as get people to start building things in VR in order to utilize and expand the technology. Although the original prototypes and early models were still effective, there was missing technology that we consider commonplace today. Initial headsets did not have positional tracking, which is essential in order to track movement. Early headsets were said to cause motion sickness due to poor resolution, no positional tracking, etc. Subsequent Oculus Rift headsets would utilize new technology, powered by OLED displays instead of LCD displays, which offered brighter screen viewing and far less motion blur. They also cut delay in half and began using black frames to fool the brain into thinking it sees a smooth-moving image. One thing that Oculus Rift has always had going for it was the way people perceived the company. People have been rooting for this underdog since it was first conceived. The Oculus Rift story was one of those tech world fairy tales about brilliant whiz-kids turning their garage project into an actual company making millions. The Future of VR and Facebook Reality Labs [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/Facebook-Gets-Involved.jpg] FACEBOOK GETS INVOLVED The fact that Oculus Rift originally launched on Kickstarter is a crucial decision/detail — Oculus Rift was able to glean a sort of “homegrown” street cred that mainstream organizations simply cannot emulate. There was something undeniably “indie” about Oculus Rift, which is perhaps part of why they were able to easily raise around $100 million from shrewd venture capitalists. This street cred was understandably under fire when Oculus Rift was acquired by Facebook. Backlash began to commence from Oculus Rift’s biggest and loyal fans. Many fans cancelled their DK2 orders and even began to predict that Oculus Rift would go under in no time flat. Oculus Rift assured their customers and fans that they would remain independent from Facebook.  Since then, Oculus Rift has been very careful to ensure that its products remain autonomous from Facebook. There is no Facebook messaging or branding associated with Oculus Rift or any of its products… and probably rightfully so. Most people who are still onboard with Oculus Rift have accepted their involvement with Facebook and adopt a “throw money at it but leave it alone,” mentality. Since the early days of Oculus Rift VR hardware has come a long way and virtual reality is being utilized in many different industries — not simply for video gaming, although obviously VR has some excellent synergy with gaming in all forms. VR tooling and technology became more versatile and developers seemed to have unlocked secrets about what makes a good VR experience and video game. The fact that Oculus Rift was first launched with an Xbox controller seems like a long time ago and possibly even a world away by now. The Future of VR and Facebook Reality Labs [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/How-Facebook-Helps-Oculus-Rift.jpg] HOW FACEBOOK HELPS OCULUS RIFT Facebook has actually helped Oculus Rift in the innovation department. VR evolution has been exceptionally fast as shown with Facebook’s headset, the Oculus Go, which arrived to consumers in 2018. Oculus Go would be the affordable entrypoint into VR for the average consumer, not to mention represented the company’s first all-in-one (AIO) device. This would set the groundwork for future Oculus endeavors. Next would come the Oculus Quest and Oculus Rift S — which were both launched in May of 2019. These headsets heralded a new era in which 6 degrees-of-freedom (6DoF) would then become the baseline. These products had an extremely short lifespan — Oculus Go’s 3DoF control was just a little too simplistic for consumers, which resulted in the technology being discontinued as of late 2020. Oculus Quest was superseded in 17 months (succeeded by Oculus Quest 2). Rift S will end up being discontinued very soon as well. Do not be discouraged by short lifecycle trends, which are going to continue as Facebook Reality Labs (FRL) continues “working on the next few generations of virtual reality and what Quest 3 and 4 are gonna look like,” says Facebook head honcho Mark Zuckerberg.  VR: WHAT NOW? VR systems are still trying to deliver a fully immersive experience. While VR is being used by advertisers, the medical industry, various tech sectors, the military, and more, it will continue to evolve and develop, ultimately creating a fully convincing experience that incorporates sight, sound, touch, taste, and smell. VR technology has also shown how beneficial and useful it can be during the COVID-19 pandemic, where VR technology was used to show houses, automobiles, and other products, give virtual tours of spaces, and more. Even websites are starting to incorporate VR and AR technology in order to help connect audiences with companies and products in a more effective and engaging way. Facebook Reality Labs’ Chief Scientist Michael Abrash went on record saying that, “We are at the very beginning. All this innovation, all this invention still has to happen with VR. People should realize that we’ve come a long way and we’ve done a great job—but this road stretches out for the rest of their lifetimes.” VR technologies include face tracking, hand tracking, eye tracking, not to mention incorporating brain-computer interfaces (BCI) and AI-powered interfaces — all of which have an important part to play. The extent and reach of these technologies and their uses and applications remains to be seen.

Categories: Virtual Reality