Why Does Virtual Reality Make Some People Feel Sick?
November 20, 2020
For some, it is surprising that virtual reality ends up making some people sick. After all, virtual experiences between friends are meant to be fun and a way to escape from reality. Yet, the sickness caused is very real for those who suffer. The impact on a person can range from a mild headache to a total blackout. The problem is, most people don’t know if they’ll be affected until they try. Only those with related conditions impacted by lights or rapid visual movements are likely to have any awareness of the potential of feeling unwell from virtual reality games or experiences. Motion sickness is commonly known about throughout the world, particularly in regards to boats and cars. Seasickness is often largely triggered by the rocking motion of the boat and not much can be done to help the person feel ‘balanced’ (although some say that looking at the horizon can help). Almost all car drivers will at some point in life experience someone being sick in their car from motion sickness, while not the end of the world, it can be embarrassing for the person and also a cleaning nightmare for the owner. The simple truth is that some people are more sensitive to motion and balance changes than others. There are sometimes fixes, but for those that suffer, this sensation can completely ruin a boat trip or virtual reality experience that was intended to be some fun times with family and friends. So, here we look at what causes this phenomenon and some ways that it can be reduced in order for everyone to be able to enjoy the wonders that virtual reality has to offer. VIRTUAL EXPERIENCES CAN INDUCE REAL VOMIT EXPERIENCES It is known by manufacturers that certain conditions can be triggered by virtual reality headsets. For example, the makers of the Oculus Rift headset clearly state: “Some people (about 1 in 4000) may have severe dizziness, seizures, eye or muscle twitching or blackouts” This is regardless of whether a person has had a previous issue, although that would certainly increase the likelihood that they could be one of the ones affected. One person in four thousand doesn’t sound like a lot, but let’s put that into perspective: Approximate population of the USA: 331,000,000 1/4000 of that population means that in the USA alone 82,750 people could be affected by virtual reality devices. In many cases, this is triggered by either the sensation of movement that isn’t matching what the body is sensing or by light flashes or patterns that trigger a feeling of nausea, dizziness, seizures, or even total blackouts. Fortunately, for most without serious issues such as epilepsy, many would only experience temporary discomfort from the virtual experience. But, the risk of something serious occurring increases if people play for extended periods, so be sure to take breaks! [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-148.jpeg] WHAT IS VIRTUAL REALITY MOTION SICKNESS? Motion sickness is caused by the sensation of movement, normally when using transport such as boats, cars, trains, etc. However, in virtual reality, the user isn’t moving. So, how can virtual reality possibly trigger motion sickness? Well, virtual reality is quite a unique experience for the body. Our bodies and brains crave balance, and in general, that’s exactly what happens with our senses working in synergy. In the normal world, our senses work together and provide feedback on what is happening. However, in a virtual world, what is happening is often quite different from what our senses tell us. We could be in a boat or on a rollercoaster in the virtual world but are simply standing in the living world in the real world. It has been suggested that the cause of sickness is because the brain interprets the ‘incorrect signals’ from the body (as the real world senses don’t match virtual world effects) as intoxication. It possibly assumes that a person ate something poisonous or that the body is ill in some way, resulting in the feeling of nausea. Others have also suggested that lags in response times between a real-world action and it happening virtually could be the reason. The truth, however, is that no one really knows yet but that it is a real problem for those who suffer the effects. Many believe that it is this crossover of senses that lead to people feeling sick. Our balance is telling us that we are stationary, but our eyesight and hearing are telling us that we are moving differently in the virtual adventure. It confuses the brain for some people and causes different reactions, of which nausea is a common effect. This is often referred to as simulator sickness or cybersickness. Wearing the headset can cause other discomforts, with rapid flashing lights and high-speed games, people can suffer from headaches, sore eyes, blurred vision, and other aspects that can also contribute to the feeling of nausea. Anyone experiencing these feelings should take a break. While the symptom might be ‘ignorable’ to some degree, it could also be an early indication that a person is sensitive to virtual reality and it isn’t worth risking a seizure or blackout just to finish a level in a game. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-149.jpeg] HOW TO PLAY VIRTUAL REALITY GAMES WITHOUT FEELING SICK While not perfect or instant cures, there are many ways to reduce the effects of virtual reality sickness. The idea is to try and get the body to adjust to the virtual experiences, without the person pushing their limits and causing further or more serious issues. Consider trying games with other supporting devices. Driving games with a car seat that moves in response to the game or other interaction assists like virtual gloves can help senses connect more with the virtual world. Another approach is to try playing while sitting down. Some games even have an option for this. The benefit is multifold, as firstly the user’s brain has the comfort of knowing that they are seated, the game can match what they are feeling in the real world, and of course, they can’t fall over easily and hurt themselves. Finally, a breeze often helps those on boats and who get sick in cars. One of the first responses to motion sickness is to open a window or get up on deck. The breeze really can help a person feel better and is easily created at home with a fan. Of course, users can combine all of the above solutions as well. Start with games that are sitting compatible, have a fan near the game area (don’t make the breeze too strong), and maybe include some other devices that stimulate the senses and distract the brain from the real world sensory inputs. Preparation can also play a factor in how people feel. If playing a game after a night of drinking, even the most hardcore virtual reality gamers could end find themselves feeling a little green. So, once someone knows that they are sensitive, they should consider: Stay energized with snacks or a meal before gaming Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water Try motion sickness medication Stop playing if symptoms start to get worse [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-150.jpeg] CAN VIRTUAL REALITY PROVIDERS HELP FIX THE ISSUE? Virtual reality is mostly used for gaming and training at the moment. While some other uses are developing in industries, such as designing automobiles for manufacturing or virtual car showrooms, a lot of the virtual reality industry’s revenue is earned from education and entertainment. Regardless of the source of income, most of these uses are not ‘required’. They are not a necessity where users are likely to be willing to endure feeling sick to use virtual reality, unlike using a car or ferry as a part of traveling somewhere. Because of this, it is important that producers of virtual reality headsets also have a focus on making it usable by as many people as possible, if not everyone. As lag has been highlighted as an important factor in causing nausea, manufactures can look to increase refresh rates as much as possible. This would help to reduce the lag in games and also to provide a smoother and more realistic experience. This could also be combined with devices that allow the user to experience the ‘real’ sensory feelings of the virtual world. Devices such as treadmills that allow people to walk and run in the real world to control the virtual world. These devices could also tilt or adjust to fit the landscape. Sensory suits may also help, but the full effect of all of this is yet to be tested much, due to the present high costs of such devices. So, for those that suffer, at least for now, mixed reality or augmented reality headsets could be the best solution. Allowing fun virtual elements in the real world, and thus, overcoming a lot of the sensory conflicts caused by full virtual reality experiences.
How Technology is Driving Innovation in the Gaming Industry
November 18, 2020
Technology is the second-biggest buzzword of 2020, and it’s no wonder why leading video game innovators are taking advantage of this exploding market. An increase in telecommuting, distance learning and remote healthcare has also had an impact on the advancement of the gaming industry. While we continue to adjust to a world that’s more digitally connected than ever, gaming professionals, designers, and developers are also jumping on the bandwagon. Check out some of the top ways technology is driving innovation in the gaming industry. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-144.jpeg] HISTORY OF INNOVATION IN GAMING Once upon a time, Snake and Pong were the height of video game advancement and everyone shared the same love of the signature themes and familiar patterns. Today, it’s possible to play a game for days at a time and never come across the same scene or landscape. There are more than 2.7 billion gamers today, and that number just continues to grow. The first major gaming boom caused the Video Game Crash of 1983 that sent a shockwave across the console sphere, which lasted about two years and took the industry’s success with it. Mobile gaming has reached unprecedented numbers worldwide and is the fastest-growing segment of the market. With nearly a million unique games available today, an immense shift took place when Snake was introduced in 1997. Virtual reality, cloud computing, artificial intelligence, and dynamic image generation are all playing major roles in the growth of gaming as a primary tech industry. In the past five years, gaming has become a keystone in the entertainment sphere – replacing TV and even movies in key demographics. Photorealistic cut scenes and compatibility with immersive audio/visual devices is a sharp contrast from the angular, two-dimensional designs that were popular less than a decade ago. Rapid growth within the technological development of new games and systems has led to a shift in the gaming community as a whole. Consoles are individualized for one unique user account, and nearly every major game on the current market has a cooperative mode for collaborative gaming. Increased interconnectivity, easy cloud-based remote gaming, and cross-platform compatibility are setting the tone for the entire gaming community in 2020. HOW HAS THE GAMING INDUSTRY CHANGED? Video games and computing platforms have seen a major shift in recent years. What started as a simple combination of images and commands is now an entirely different world that includes AI, self-generating graphics, and even fully stacked computing setups. As society has transitioned from an analog lifestyle to spending most of the day online, video game companies have built a collaborative world for players to thrive. Here are a few key developmental areas that have seen the highest rate of advancement among the most widely used gaming systems, platforms, and tech leaders: ADVANCED COMPUTING As computer systems become smarter and more sophisticated, video game innovation follows closely behind. Popular gaming systems are backed by the most efficient software and database management systems available to consumers. Artificial intelligence solutions are able to identify patterns in user behavior to conserve energy, extending the lifespan of the device and battery. The same technology that is being used to predict volcanic activity is being used to make games faster, smarter, and easier to use than ever before. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-145.jpeg] MOBILE GAMING From apps to browser-based games, there are a wide range of options on the mobile gaming market – and this sphere is only starting to grow in 2020. With so much of the population spending time at home, this industry has seen an increase of 35.7% in the last year alone. Now, mobile gaming generates billions in revenue from consumers all across the globe. Simple touch-and-go applications like Candy Crush are still going strong among this growing audience, but other popular games this year have included: * Mario Kart Tour * Mini Motorways * Exit the Gungeon * Fortnite * Minecraft As phones get faster and more robust in their hardware, games can continue to handle more dynamic elements, impressive graphics, and fun add-ons. This has created a unique synergy between mobile gaming and traditional platforms because many popular consoles and PC games also have a mobile-friendly counterpart. Many states have been practicing distance learning in schools for months, which has driven parents toward new innovative solutions to keep their kids engaged and learning effectively. This technological shift was responsible for a 23.7% increase across the educational gaming market. ONLINE GAMING Remember when online games were only for the most tech-savvy individuals (who could afford expensive PC rigs)? Playing video games online is easier and more accessible than before, and this model actually makes up the vast majority of this industry’s target audience. Online gamers don’t need expensive, cumbersome servers or devices to play their favorite games. Cloud-based gaming systems create a flexible, cost-effective alternative for people who don’t want to commit to a specific console. Cross-platform gaming has also shown an impressive increase in interest and development this year. More games than ever allow users from a variety of devices play together in online arenas. The ongoing pandemic has put a high level of demand on computer developers to keep coming out with new, innovative ways for users to interact with data online. In many ways, this shift has dictated how technology has changed the face of gaming in the current landscape. VIRTUAL REALITY Whether you’re buying a house or trying on an outfit online, virtual reality technology has come a long way since its inception in the 1800s. Yes, you read that correctly. But, the high-tech systems we use today combine photorealistic qualities with responsive sensors and focus points to build digital environments that can truly transport gamers into an alternate reality. Using a virtual reality headset, gamers can really teleport into the world their games create. The stakes in a hectic first-person shooter become even higher when the game takes your own heart rate into account when building the obstacles that surround your character. Bright, vivid graphics become even more stunning when you have a full 360-degree, first-hand view of the entire digital landscape. Virtual reality hasn’t just improved the visual aspects of console and PC gaming. Audio and tactile elements add a whole new set of sensory benefits like: * Biometric tracking for ambiance development * Immersive surround sound * Responsive machine-learning tools using voice or movement controls * Tactile commands that simulate the feeling of touch For those who have been staying home for months out of safety, VR games have provided an escape that is getting even closer to becoming adjacent to reality. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-146.jpeg] AUGMENTED REALITY Instead of replacing the user’s reality entirely, augmented reality allows video games to penetrate the player’s active reality by superimposing digital elements into their actual line of sight. Interest in augmented reality games has been growing consistently since Pokemon Go exploded onto the scene in 2016. After the cute little digital creatures took the gaming world by storm, other AR advancements boomed – from matchmaking services to virtual driving games. Video game developers have been using this increased interest as a catalyst for new products. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-147.jpeg] WHY IS CYBERSECURITY IMPORTANT FOR GAMERS? You might think that logging on to your favorite gaming platforms exposes little more than your gamer tag, but online or cooperative gaming can leave users vulnerable to cyber attacks. Nearly every game you pay, whether or not you’re playing through an online server, requires the creation of a specific persona. These digital accounts often need certain pieces of personal information like the players: * Name * Phone * Email * Address * Credit card * Security questions Providing anything that’s linked to your identity can make you a target for online scams and identity theft. Engaging in microtransactions, subscriptions, or other transactions that use your payment information can increase cybersecurity risk even more. For gamers who use their computer to play, they could be bringing viruses and other threats to their work files or personal data. Additionally, it’s critical to know where your games are really coming from. Pirated games and software is a hot button entry point for cyber attackers to gain access to your console or computer system. Not only is using pirated content a major security risk, but knowingly using unauthorized content is illegal and violators can expect hefty fines – and even jail time. When you throw gambling elements into the mix, these risks rise exponentially. Many online gambling features that are included in video games don’t adhere to liability and tax regulations, which can affect both sides of the transaction. Preventative action and early intervention are key for preventing online attackers from getting their hands on your personal or payment information. The best defense against data theft and fraud is to use antivirus protection and monitoring software on your computers, and maintain common sense when playing on a console to stay secure at all times. Many households have recently joined the wide world of digital gaming, and veteran gamers are taking advantage of the perks available. Competition is strong among video game creators in 2020, but so is the incentive for increased collaboration. No matter how you play, there’s no doubt that technology is a foundational part of the gaming process for casual users and expert-level players alike.
What is the Difference between Augmented Reality and Mixed Reality?
November 16, 2020
With virtual reality, augmented reality, and now a mixed reality, it is understandable that people are getting a little confused. This is often worsened by the devices used, many of which support virtual reality, augmented reality, and/or mixed reality on similar-looking devices. As there is a lot of confusion between these terms, here we look at the properties and differences of each. Putting it in simple terms, here are the key differences: * Virtual Reality (VR) puts you in an immersive virtual environment * Augmented Reality (AR) can augment reality and add elements to the real world around us with which we can interact with in limited ways * Mixed Reality (MR) takes augmented reality to a new level, allowing for more accurate integration of objects and also more natural ways of interacting with these virtual elements The technologies that are driving these experiences are developing at impressive rates. This is largely due to various industries taking an interest in and adopting the use of these for business and government services. The market is no longer simply about entertainment but is now attracting big businesses, such as airports and medical services. With this injection of new and large amounts of corporate and government capital, combined with far more potential for uses, the augmented reality and mixed reality markets are expected to grow significantly over the next 5-10 years. According to Mordor Intelligence, the mixed reality market is “expected to register a CAGR of 47.9% over the forecast period (2020-2025)”. The fact that devices are also becoming more affordable leads to even greater rates of adoption. For many of these apps and games, all you need is a mobile device and maybe a headset that you can slide your phone into. VISIONARIES OF AUGMENTED AND MIXED REALITY Scientists and storytellers have been predicting a future where we could change the world around us for a long time. Think of the Holodeck in Star Trek for example, where people could interact with solid holograms in a virtual world. While we aren’t quite there yet, these virtual reality technologies are starting to get us close. We have treadmills and ‘centers’ with equipment that can allow us to explore virtual worlds, walking around almost like we are actually there. As the interaction becomes more natural and we can manipulate or grab virtual objects, the possibilities of such a holodeck style experience increases. WHAT IS VIRTUAL REALITY? The majority of people have a clear idea about what virtual reality is. They have seen the headsets and games advertised, or played with some themselves. However, before diving into augmented reality and mixed reality, it is important that we set the base of what virtual reality offers. Virtual reality is what led to other related technologies developing. The devices that were originally intended for virtual reality inspired other ways to change the world we see and our interaction with those virtual creations. PCMag explains it as “VR headsets completely take over your vision to give you the impression that you’re somewhere else”. This is an accurate description of virtual reality. As the headset blocks out the real world and replaces it with videos or virtual images. It is more than just a cinema though, as when you move your head, you can look around the virtual environment as though you were truly there. However, as the world is virtual, it also means you need to be careful about your movements in the real world (which you can no longer see). Interaction is also currently fairly limited, often needing special digital devices such as controllers to allow you to move and interact with the digital environment. The available tools are expanding and the experience is slowly becoming more realistic and more natural, but at the moment there is no way to interact completely naturally, such as simply running around the environment and ‘feeling’ what you touch without needing special gloves or equipment. Adding external cameras has, however, allowed for more natural integrations with some devices. It has made it possible to add virtual hands into the environment and motion tracking does allow some movement in the space. However, the problem remains that you can’t see the real world and natural movement is fairly limited at this time. Much of this is coming about as technologies of virtual reality, augmented reality, and mixed reality cross devices and help to improve aspects of each approach. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-140.jpeg] WHAT IS AUGMENTED REALITY? Augmented reality adds more to the world we see. Instead of being a virtual environment in our view, it is the real world with virtual objects added. Augmented reality can be delivered through mobile devices and specialist headsets. An example of this at its basic stage was the game Pokemon Go, where players ran around in the real world chasing down and collecting virtual Pokemon. The combination of virtual with the real-world environment was revolutionary for its time. It was touted as being a great achievement for bringing exercise to mobile gaming. However, not all of it was good, as there were numerous cases where people focused too much on the virtual aspect and missed dangerous real-world objects (such as holes, drains, cars, etc.). This technology allows some level of interaction with what is added, however, this interaction is not normally in a ‘natural’ movement sense. Instead, device movement or touching the screen can allow digital objects to be affected, such as pushing a cartoon character over by touching the screen with your finger. You can’t reach into the real world behind the screen and push them over. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-141.jpeg] Augmented reality has also become popular in a lot of camera apps and augmented reality recreational apps such as Instagram, allowing cute or funny images or augmentations of people and objects seen by the camera. These photos and even TikTok videos have become popular in recent years. They add a fun element to a normal photo or video. It allows people to play with ideas, looks, and just generally have a bit of silly fun with family and friends. Although initially known mainly for entertainment, this technology is now being adopted to make airports more ‘user friendly’, enhance services in the medical sector, and even used by retailers to allow for promotions to be highlighted or ‘virtual advertising’ in their real-world shops. Augmented reality is great for ‘adding’ information and assistance in real-world scenarios as well, from virtual tour guides to the Google Lens app, access to information is becoming easier and more enjoyable. In airports, this is largely achieved by having an app that has a lot of information stored, but also reads information from wireless internet connections or nearby sensors for updates. It then presents this information to the user via a virtual ‘addition’ to what they are seeing. This allows for ‘live’ updates and assistance for passengers. It can overlay guidance for directions or how to use things in the airport. It would also be possible to alert passengers of changes, or to notify them when they are passing something interesting, or perhaps heading too far away from their designated gate given the time until their flight. All of this helps make the user experience more fluid and less stressful, which is good for customers and the companies using augmented reality systems. WHAT IS MIXED REALITY? Mixed reality takes augmented reality and adds both natural interaction and recognition of real-world objects. It allows people to interact with the objects, but also for the objects to react to the real environment that they are added to. This means that instead of being able to move a character by touching the screen, you could reach out to shake their hand virtually. It also means that the same character could trip over a ball on the floor, or realistically climb up the stairs in the real world house. The fact that the virtual objects are added in such a realistic way expands the possible uses of this kind of technology. The image isn’t simply projected into the real-world but becomes a ‘believable’ part of it. The technology required is different from that of augmented apps. This is because the virtual glasses need to be able to accurately read and interpret the world around them. The software needs information from sensors, such as motion, distance, depth, etc. This is then translated into realistic effects of real world objects on virtual objects. This tech is also not limited to games and entertainment either. As these devices can accurately assess the real world, it further expands the uses of augmented reality in real-world businesses and services. Providing virtualization that is responsive to and understanding the physics of the real world is a huge step towards being effective in many work environments. As objects are digitally tethered to and able to respond to the real world accurately, it opens up more possibilities for use and provides higher levels of accuracy to generate experiences or add information for users. Mixed reality means that the real world and virtual worlds can merge, with the virtual reality elements being able to interact with and respond to real environments. This can be as simple as having an accurate measuring app for rooms and spaces, to producing far more advanced applications. However, even a measuring app can solve many difficult real-world problems, such as accurately measuring the shaping of non-uniform objects, providing exact sizes or templates for cutting tiles, etc. This could even be connected with 3D printing to fix or develop something to perfectly fit around such structures or objects. In the medical sector, as an example, mixed reality could assist doctors or nurses by accurately highlighting veins or guiding doctors through complex surgeries with overlaid scans or x-rays. These could also be assisted with AI, providing significant support and vital additional information to medical professionals. It also allows interesting training scenarios, such as trainee surgeons being able to practice on virtual patients using both real and virtual medical equipment. Controllers or screens are often required to interact with virtual or augmented realities. But, with the accuracy and natural interaction of mixed reality, medical trainees could be supported and observed while practicing on completely virtual patients, organs, or even practice entire emergency scenarios. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-142.jpeg] HOW IS AUGMENTED REALITY DIFFERENT TO MIXED REALITY? There are numerous differences, but the biggest noticeable aspects are device requirements and realistic interaction. Nowadays, augmented reality is usable on most smartphones or tablets, with the added option of specialist headsets. However, to provide a mixed reality experience, more power and sensors are required. A lot of digital devices would not currently have these built-in as standard, but may in the future. Augmented reality offers limited interactivity with the virtualized elements. This is by far the most obvious difference. The freedom to interact fully with virtual aspects in a natural and real-world way (such as by picking up an item or pushing something) makes the experience more fluid. Virtual objects also respond to real-world objects. This not only allows for more accurate insertion of objects but also interaction. For example, a virtual remote-controlled toy car could crash into a desk or be struck by a real object. In the case of headsets, augmented reality or mixed reality headsets have to allow people to see the real world. This is only possible in two ways. One is to feed the real world through cameras to a screen where digital objects are added. The other is to provide a translucent screen which can insert solid-looking digital objects into the real view of the current surroundings. WHICH SECTORS WILL ADOPT MIXED REALITY TECHNOLOGY? The total impact of mixed reality on business is yet to be fully discovered. Its possible uses are so diverse, from being able to accurately measure a room or scan its shape, to tricky surgery support. It can also be used for training – from guiding racing car drivers, to highlighting options to soldiers. This technology is one of the most adaptable new technologies and is likely to exceed virtual reality dramatically in both general adoption, its uses, and market share. The commerce sector is jumping on this technology as well, as it is quite diverse regarding uses for advertising. The automotive industry is now able to provide people with at-home augmented reality or virtual reality examples of cars. With augmented reality or mixed reality, users could see what different cars would look like parked outside their house and virtually interact with the car images. Even cars themselves are using mixed reality, such as reversing cameras that insert directional lines or other information accurately over the real world image. The uses are almost only limited by programmer imaginations. This is especially true as these virtual technologies start to allow real-world interactions. Instead of only being able to see the virtually projected environment, the user can fully interact with it. This provides a more ‘natural’ use and educational environment. It makes virtual reality a powerful tool for training, as the experience of the user is much like actually performing the task in the real world. It provides a familiar merger of ‘on the job training’ and gaming. Instead of trying to remember what they read, the learner remembers an experience. However, it isn’t just that objects can be virtualized. Virtual representations or recordings of real instructors can be included. These could be added as mixed reality ‘holograms’ in the real world or as a part of the recorded environment in a virtual space. As devices progress and become more affordable, virtual and mixed realities are likely to become a major part of many sectors. The reason for this is: * Interactive training without needing a trainer * Increased staff safety * Increased productivity * Adaptability * Effective remote collaboration * The adaptability of using virtual ‘tools’ or ‘inputs’ Environments can be simplified by virtualizing interactive aspects Information can be intercommunication real-time from anywhere As 5G comes in and usable robots also become cost-effective, there is also a high chance of remote working for specialists with the ability to interact with the real world via robotic devices. SUMMARY Mixed reality is still a developing and relatively new technology. However, it is a technology that has great potential due to its ability to connect the online and virtual worlds with the world we live in. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-143.jpeg] Price, interactivity, and connectivity will also be a key to its long term success. What might be worth paying for a headset in specialist sectors is unlikely to be worthwhile to the average person. However, as prices reduce and natural interaction with virtual data improves, it could be how we perform many of our current activities in the future. Imagine, for a moment, virtualized computer displays, TVs, or even exercise activities such as sports. Many of the normal technologies and equipment required today could feasibly be replaced by visualized items in mixed reality glasses or contact lenses of the future.
How Nissan is using Augmentative & Virtual Reality
November 16, 2020
During Covid lockdowns, automotive manufacturers were forced to find quick solutions that allowed design and engineering teams to continue moving forward with model development and conceptual innovations. What many don’t know is that augmented and virtual reality played an active role in design and safety innovation for years prior to the pandemic. While Covid might have accelerated the adoption of this technology for automotive design, manufacturers like Nissan have actively embraced augmented reality and virtual reality to develop innovative mechanical advancements and elevated safety features within automobiles. Here’s how Nissan is using augmented and virtual reality to improve driver/passenger safety and simplify design methodologies. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-138.jpeg] HOW NISSAN IS USING AUGMENTED & VIRTUAL REALITY FOR AUTOMOTIVE DESIGN For some manufacturers, the virtual space became the perfect platform conducive to fluid connectivity between team members separated by miles or even an entire ocean. Executives could wear a headset and step into a hyper-realistic space displaying the newest automotive model conceptualized in 3D graphics; design critiques pivoted to this virtual space, and, even as the world seemingly shut-down, the design process continued without interruption. In March 2019—a year before the pandemic—Nissan announced a partnership with Haptx that would incorporate virtual reality technology into the design process. According to a press release announcement by Haptx, Nissan team members would utilize Haptx gloves to interact with models in the virtual space. The gloves provide a tactile component to virtual design; while clay models allow designers to touch and feel a concept, the virtual space lacked this sensory experience. The partnership between Haptx and Nissan could be a prelude of what the future holds for automotive design. There is a need for designers, executives and other team members to feel out the concept of an in-process design. As Joel Piaskowski noted in an interview with Automobile magazine, there may always be a need for clay for automotive design. Clay provides the 3D tactility that, in the past, was not feasible in virtual reality. However, gloves or other accessories could allow for virtual reality design processes to incorporate an integrative sensory experience similar to clay. While clay models might be the norm for the foreseeable future, virtual reality accessories may one day mimic reality so concisely that they allow virtual reality platforms to overthrow clay as the preferred design medium. Pehraphs 3D printing could become a secondary technology to assign in creating these models while remaining fully virtual? [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-139.jpeg] HOW NISSAN IS USING AUGMENTED & VIRTUAL DESIGN REALITY TO IMPROVE SAFETY FEATURES Augmented reality is found in many standard and upgraded automotive safety features. Backup cameras display the rear view of the vehicle when drivers put the car into reverse; however, the backup camera screen featured in the dashboard also shows grid lines so drivers can visualize their turning radius. These helpful graphics are an example of augmented reality. When drivers plug their smartphones into the vehicle, they can utilize GPS functions from apps on their phone. The screen may show surroundings as they normally appear but display the vehicle’s path in computerized graphics. This combination of real-life imagery and graphic overlays are the hallmark feature of augmented reality. Nissan is elevating its augmented reality safety features with its Invisible-to-Visible (I2V) technology that is forecasted to rollout in Nissan models in 2025. How does this new technology work? I2V utilizes sensors located throughout the body of the automobile. These sensors collect info and data from the location, but the Omni-Sensing Cloud system also collects data about the location. Together, these sensors and data structures piece together the environment ahead to provide crucial information to the driver about road hazards, construction and more. Drivers can receive ample warning about pedestrians who may be crossing the street ahead or even a recent accident. This allows the driver to take necessary precautions to slow down and take measures to prepare for an incident. I2V also can predict and show drivers other random obstacles located around a street corner; maybe a garbage can rolled onto the road or a group of employees are lingering on the sides of a building chatting about the day. Nissan’s Seamless Autonomous Mobility (SAM) technology also would provide drivers with up-to-date traffic info, which may be a bit like a constant stream of traffic reports. There will be no more surprises about congestion during the morning commute, and those once-standard messages via Waze users may be obsolete. I2V AND PARKING ALERTS + AVATARS What else can I2V do for drivers in the future? Nissan explains that this technology also can alert drivers about an open parking space! That mad rush to find one parking spot at a sporting event or at major stores for holiday shopping may be simplified. The new technology also would generate personalized avatars that are programmed to resemble friends and relatives. Driving alone? Grab a friend or parent to provide conversation and companionship during the road trip. Avatars could help ease driver tension and stress. I2V also would allow avatars to be generated to provide guidance when a driver is in a new area. Nissan explains that these virtual tour guides could give recommendations on places to visit or maybe even provide directions to restaurants, historic places and museums and galleries. For drivers lacking confidence or perhaps even permit drivers needing extra assistance, an avatar also could be utilized to provide driving instructions. These avatars would be real driving professionals and would offer help during the drive-time. Imagine parents having the ability to request an avatar to help during those grueling early lessons. While Nissan doesn’t provide a full rundown of avatar limitations, the potential for what they could do is incredible. I2V IMPROVING THE DRIVING EXPERIENCE I2V also can improve the ambiance of the driving experience by changing visual elements of the driver’s surroundings. The dark dreariness of a rainy day can be transformed into a cloudless blue sky, as I2V would create a perfect picture of ideal weather onto the windows. This could possibly lower the stress of driving in bad weather or maybe improve the driver’s mood. How would Nissan provide a pro driver or tour guide within this technology? The answer is found in the way that users of I2V communicate. Nissan’s site on this innovative technology explains that to visualize and experience all elements of I2V, the driver would wear augmented reality glasses while an individual in the “metaverse” would use a virtual reality headset. So pro drivers would wear the virtual reality headset, and the driver would see the pro appear thanks to the augmented reality glasses. BEYOND 2025: AN AUGMENTED REALITY FUTURISTIC DREAM SCENARIO We are years away from Nissan’s I2V from becoming a reality, yet 2025 isn’t as far off as it seems. Once I2V launches and users begin to experience all these multi-dimensional components of augmented reality, driving might never look or feel the same again. The predictive technology encapsulated within I2V’s design has the potential to improve driver and passenger safety and even ease tension during the drive time. Changing the appearance of the weather via the windows may be a small graphic detail, but relieving the driver of the darkness of a drizzly day could potentially boost the driver’s mood and, ultimately, improve that long drive. Predictive technology that alerts the driver of dangers ahead has far-reaching implications related to safety. The driver could always be prepared for upcoming hazards, word work or even a pedestrian about to cross the road. This technology might be able to notify drivers of crazy obstacles lurking in areas unseen; many drivers have faced a situation where they needed to quickly navigate around a hazard without much warning. A mattress that fell from a truck might be known to drivers for miles in advance instead of at the last minute. PERSONALIZING DRIVING Avatars bearing the appearance of family members or friends can make the travel much happier and less stressful. That drive across the country solo for a new work venture can now be shared with someone else. Not only does this improve the driving experience, but, when another individual is connected to the car and the drive, they can be aware of the driver’s stress or any possible issues during the travel time. Communication between the avatar and the driver would be virtually free of distraction, as conversation wouldn’t involve a screen or a phone. Imagine in the not-so-distant future that personalized avatars become the norm. Maybe these avatars aren’t just driving instructors, tour guides or friends but other professionals and service providers. If the car suddenly starts making a strange noise, maybe a mechanic could listen in. Want to order a pizza or make a dinner reservation? Perhaps a host or hostess appears in the car to put your name on the waiting list. Maybe during the drive you need to schedule a night in a hotel. The desk assistant may suddenly appear and book your room hours before you drive into town. Is your head pounding? Do you feel feverish? Are you hours from an urgent care facility? Maybe a doctor can appear for a virtual visit. The driver could simply pull into a rest stop and schedule a check-up. No waiting necessary. NISSAN AND THE FUTURE OF DRIVING New technologies could be predictive of what the future could hold. While I2V doesn’t feature virtual doctors, hotel staff or other virtual car mechanics, the technology could evolve to be inclusive of these types of conveniences. If I2Vs rollout is successful, embraced by consumers and without glitches, other companies may follow Nissan’s lead and develop their own multimodal virtual and augmented reality system. Who knows? Car models may begin to communicate with each other. All of Nissan’s models may one day communicate car-to-car. So if a husband and wife both drive Nissans, their cars and their driving experiences could one day be synced. Maybe all cars, regardless of make/model, are wired to communicate. Perhaps law enforcement vehicles are wired to digitally connect, too, and this could improve safety protocols during traffic stops and perhaps ensure greater transparency. I2V could be the beginning of a virtual and augmented reality revolution in the automotive industry, and the invisible connectivity between vehicles could be more tightly tethered than we could ever imagine.
Mercedes-Benz Technicians in the US will now Use Microsoft HoloLens 2 and Augmented Reality to Fix Cars
November 13, 2020
The automotive industry has already been experimenting with augmented reality (AR) in many different sectors. This is especially true in the sales field as a tool to use at dealerships such as virtual showrooms to help customers explore different vehicles and features including optional extras. However, now automakers are finding new innovative ways to improve cars with augmented reality. Mercedes-Benz has introduced this innovative technology into their dealerships in another way other than showrooms. The luxury automaker is changing the auto repair process by using augmented reality to fix cars. They have begun equipping their dealerships in the US with Microsoft HoloLens 2. Using this enhanced technology, technicians at Mercedes-Benz are now able to use augmented reality to fix cars at a faster service speed and in a safer way. Through the HoloLens 2 technology, Mercedes-Benz technicians can simply put on the AR headset which is powered by Dynamics 365 Remote Assist tech and see remote assistance in real-time from specialists all over the world including engineers at the Mercedes-Benz headquarters in Germany. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-134.jpeg] INITIAL TRIALS Initially, Mercedes-Benz had a small trial of 13 dealerships to try the technology. Now, they have released the technology to 383 of their dealerships to utilize. Mercedes hopes that the mass distribution of augmented reality to fix cars will help make the process of vehicle repairs easier and safer as technicians are able to receive guided support from experts in real-time. The process of repair will also become more streamlined and quicker for Mercedes-Benz auto technicians. Mercedes-Benz has a very specialized repair process that can often take a long time for some repairs. When a vehicle in the United States needs to be repaired, the first step the car owner will take is to bring it to a dealership for repair. Usually the technicians are able to easily make repairs, but if the vehicle has a complex issue or the technician is not able to figure out the issue, they will contact a company specialist in Florida. The remote specialist will then have to diagnose the issue over the phone or via email with the local technicians. However, if they can not resolve the issue, they would need to send a field expert to travel to the dealership and fix the vehicle in person. This will all change thanks to HoloLens and augmented reality technology. With HoloLens, the field specialists, engineers, and experts are able to diagnose problems more accurately. They are able to actually see that the dealership technicians are actually seeing and in real-time. While HoloLens will surely help cut the costs of repairs and labor, the technology itself is not cheap. Mercedes-Benz is making a big investment by equipping hundreds of dealerships with the technology as the headset alone costs about $3,500 plus the cost of the Microsoft software, Dynamic 365 Remote Assist, being used to implement the tools. The implementation of augmented reality to fix cars is not a first for Mercedes-Benz. The company had originally utilized HoloLens headsets to train mechanics using 3D models of vehicles and parts. The success of using it as a training tool led to it actually being implemented in dealerships for actual auto repairs. Mercedes-Benz is not the only major automaker turning to the innovative technology of augmented reality to fix cars. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-135.jpeg] AUGMENTED REALITY TO FIX CARS Using augmented reality in the process to repair cars, is a big investment for these automakers. However, it seems to be an investment that many of them are finding to be worth it. It is not just luxury automakers that are getting into augmented reality tools either. Companies like Ford and Toyota are also providing their dealerships with the technology to help technicians improve their repair process. * Toyota has also used HoloLens on its vehicles. Although not included in dealership repairs, the automakers has utilized the augmented reality technology on a more experimental level with speeding up the process of measuring the thickness of a vehicle’s paint and ensuring consistent color and coating for rust-prevention. * Porsche as well is tapping into augmented reality to fix cars at their dealerships. Starting with 189 dealerships in the US, Porsche will outfit their repair technicians with augmented reality glasses similar to the HoloLens. Technicians will be able to contact a specialist from Porsche’s headquarters in Atlanta. Through the augmented reality called Tech Look Live, Porsche’s repair technicians and specialists can work together on a vehicle in real-time and remotely. * BMW is another luxury automaker that is providing their dealership technicians with augmented reality to fix cars. At all 347 dealerships, BMW has provided their technicians with TSARAVisian Smart Glasses that work similarly to the HoloLens. Technicians will be able to directly contact and work with specialists from the BMW North America headquarters to repair vehicles remotely. Just like HoloLens, these smart glasses also allow for overlaying and projecting instructions and information directly in the technician’s field of vision, so they can easily see their next steps for repair. Using AR for auto repair will likely be the new standard as more and more dealerships take on the technology as it appears to streamline the repair process and increase safety for workers. The push for augmented reality also comes as COVID regulations across all industries demand more out of remote working. However, with such success in the field, the practice of using augmented reality tools to help with car repairs will likely stay and continue to be utilized by major automaker dealerships. While augmented reality to fix cars is fast becoming the new innovation among dealerships, augmented reality in the auto industry is nothing new. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-136.jpeg] AUGMENTED REALITY IN THE AUTOMOTIVE INDUSTRY Augmented reality has been utilized within the automotive industry for years, but is now reaching a new level of innovation when it comes to commercial vehicles. Originally heavily used for military vehicles, augmented reality is helping to make every part of the auto industry much more convenient, engaging and safer for consumers of commercial vehicles. The auto industry might not be the first thing you think of when it comes to augmented reality. However, the industry has been at the forefront of incorporating this technology into every sector of their market. From design and production to the sales floor, augmented reality has found a home with automakers. Major automakers like Ford and Honda are already using augmented reality at the very beginning of their production process. The two major automakers are utilizing augmented reality to help their designers and engineers to work together to create innovations in new models. Using augmented reality technology like smart glasses, they are able to overlay designs over previous models and make instant changes and modifications. This has helped to streamline the design and production process as previously designers would need to send their designs to engineers for approval and review then wait for feedback. Through augmented reality designers and engineers can work in real-time and remotely to develop projects together. The most common way augmented reality is being utilized is at dealerships where virtual showrooms are the new norm. Virtual showrooms allow for potential buyers to see a dealership’s inventory and their buying options before even going into a dealership. Through high quality photos and augmented reality technology companies like RelayCars help potential buyers shop for cars conveniently from their own home. Potential buyers can also use these virtual showrooms to apply the different features and add-ons to their vehicle to see how they will look in real-life and also get a price estimate. Even within the cars themselves, augmented reality is changing and updating what it feels like to drive. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-137.jpeg] The next step for augmented reality for vehicles seems to be headed towards creating intricate and immersive heads-up displays (HUD) in commercial vehicles. Today, HUDs implemented with augmented reality are quite simplified. They display similar information as a dashboard such as a speedometer, gas levels, and turn signals. However, advancements in augmented reality technology is pushing to bring more tools to heads-up displays. Now, AR developers are working to make heads-up displays actually overlay the view of the driver more naturally. For example, navigation would actually curve arrows in the same way the street curves. The newest models of these advanced heads-up displays are also including more safety features such as obstruction detections and blind-spot alerts. They are also developing heads-up displays to span across the entire windshield and have split screen capabilities so that the driver can have driving features displayed on one side of the windshield but a passenger can be viewing a movie on their side of the windshield. Augmented reality to fix cars is the latest innovation for commercial vehicles and is likely the beginning of a widening trend to incorporate more advanced and engaging technology to the auto industry. Major automakers like Mercedes-Benz and AI startups like RelayCars are leading the industry into making augmented reality an important tool in every aspect of commercial vehicles.
Augmented Reality Could Transform the Geology Learning Experience
November 11, 2020
Augmented reality is technology that allows users to overlay information and digital objects onto their real-world environment. Although it is often associated with the gaming world, augmented reality technology is actually utilized in many other industries. Retailers, for example, use augmented reality technology to give consumers the power to virtually try on clothing items or cosmetics from the comfort of their own home. Consumers can see what a specific shade of lipstick would look like on their face without ever seeing the item in person. Automotive manufacturers use this technology to create virtual showrooms for consumers who want to shop for a new vehicle without stepping foot in a dealership. These are two examples of ways that augmented reality has been used to enhance the shopping experience for consumers. But augmented reality can also be used in other ways, including for educational purposes. In fact, geology professors across the country may start to utilize this innovative technology to enhance the learning experience for their students. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-131.jpeg] THE CHALLENGES OF TEACHING GEOLOGY TODAY Teaching is never easy, but this is especially true when it comes to teaching geology. Professors who teach geology face a unique set of challenges that professors in other departments may never encounter. It’s hard for students to comprehend some of the complex topics in geology without having physical models to reference. For instance, looking at a picture of a crystalline mineral structure is not the same as being able to see the structure in person. Without this type of physical model, students may not be able to visualize and comprehend the concepts they are taught. However, geology professors often have no other choice but to teach their students without these crucial physical models. These models are expensive, so many universities simply cannot afford to purchase them. Furthermore, physical models typically take up a lot of space, so geology professors often have no room to store them. This isn’t the only challenge that professors face when teaching geology. In other science classrooms, students can typically recreate or observe the concepts that they are studying. For instance, a student in a biology classroom may dissect a frog or other small animal to observe its organs. A chemistry student, on the other hand, may conduct experiments in the classroom to recreate a specific reaction that they are studying. But it is impossible for geology professors to provide students with this type of hands-on activity. After all, there’s no way for geology students to recreate an earthquake, volcano, or ocean current in the classroom. As a result, geology students do not get the benefit of learning from hands-on instructional activities. Instead, these students must learn strictly from listening to lectures, analyzing photos, watching videos, and reading text. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-132.jpeg] THE USE OF AUGMENTED REALITY IN THE GEOLOGY CLASSROOM Geology professors may be able to overcome these challenges and enhance the learning experience for their students thanks to augmented reality technology. Students and professors can use augmented reality technology to overlay digital objects onto their real-world environment in the classroom. For example, a geology professor may not have access to physical models of the various types of rock formations and crystalline mineral structures. But this doesn’t mean that students are limited to looking at still photos of these objects. Instead, augmented reality technology can be used to project 3-D visualizations of these objects onto a student’s desk. This gives students an opportunity to analyze and evaluate the object just as they would if it was a physical model. But unlike physical models, these digital objects don’t take up space or cost a fortune. Augmented reality technology can also be used to help geology students learn about large-scale phenomena such as earthquakes, volcanoes, and the heating of the earth’s atmosphere. Students may not be able to recreate these phenomena in a lab setting, but they can observe them using augmented reality technology. For example, students can use augmented reality technology to project 3-D objects that help them understand how earthquakes occur at fault lines where the planet’s plates come together. Students who read about plate tectonics may struggle to visualize this concept, but augmented reality technology can bring it to life and make it easier for students to comprehend. HOW CAN PROFESSORS USE AUGMENTED REALITY TO TEACH GEOLOGY? A group of developers are currently working on a series of augmented reality apps that can be used to help professors teach geology to their students. The apps are available for use on augmented reality headsets, such as the Microsoft HoloLens, as well as Apple and Android smartphones. The first app created by this group of developers allows users to explore USGS earthquake data in 3-D instead of a 2-D map. Using this app, students can learn more about the geometry of the planet’s tectonic plates. This app can also help students understand the science behind how and where foreshocks and aftershocks occur before and after an earthquake. Being able to visualize this information in 3-D makes it much easier for students to grasp this difficult concept. These developers also created the GeoXplorer app, which is available for Apple and Android devices now. Students can use this app to explore 3-D models of various crystalline structures in the classroom. Instead of just looking at pictures of these structures, students can get a detailed look at how these structures are formed and how the atoms are arranged. Students and professors can even take virtual field trips using the GeoXplorer app. Instead of exploring a single rock or crystalline mineral structure, students and professors can use the app to take a virtual field trip to an actual rock outcrop, which is a large rock formation. Being able to virtually explore the physical features of the planet without leaving the classroom can drastically improve students’ learning experience. As of right now, these apps are only designed for solo experiences. But the developers hope to build upon the apps to make it easier for professors to use them in the classroom. For example, in the future, a professor may choose to use their smartphone to project a certain 3-D digital image of a crystalline mineral structure. Then, the professor could invite their students to join the session, which means every student would get to explore the same 3-D digital image at the same time. This would greatly enhance the geology classroom experience—especially for remote students. The developers also hope to add new 3-D visualizations to their apps in the near future, including interactive simulations. For instance, researchers at Columbia University are currently working with the app developers to create a glacier interactive simulation that allows students to see how glaciers grow and shrink over time. This type of simulation will help students build upon the knowledge they have acquired by reading textbooks and listening to lectures. Every geology professor should take advantage of these augmented reality apps to create an unforgettable learning experience for students. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-133.jpeg] THE USE OF AUGMENTED REALITY OUTSIDE OF THE GEOLOGY CLASSROOM There’s no doubt that augmented reality technology should have a place inside every geology classroom. But this technology can be used to enhance the learning experience in other classrooms, too. History teachers can use augmented reality technology to help students visualize certain locations or time periods. Using augmented reality technology, astronomy teachers can help students explore the sun, planets, and the rest of the solar system. Students in medical school could benefit from the use of augmented reality technology, too. Augmented reality could give these students the unique opportunity to explore human anatomy in a way that has never been done before. Schools may not need to budget for field trips anymore thanks to augmented reality technology. Now, teachers have the power to take their students to far off destinations without ever leaving the classroom. Students can explore the pyramids of Egypt one day before jetting off to Machu Picchu in Peru. Students of all ages can benefit from augmented reality technology. In fact, there are a number of augmented reality apps that are designed to help students in elementary school learn basic counting and reading skills. Other apps are designed to help elementary school children stay physically active. For example, physical education teachers can project digital objects onto the wall of a gymnasium and encourage their students to throw balls at the wall to hit as many digital objects as they can. Augmented reality is still a fairly new technology, so educators may find even more new and exciting ways to use this technology as it continues to grow in popularity. But for now, it’s safe to say that augmented reality may make it easier—and more fun—than ever before for students to study geology.
How GM is Making Driving Safer with Augmentative and Virtual Reality
November 9, 2020
Augmentative reality and virtual reality has been making waves in the automotive industry for years, and General Motors has taken the revolutionary technology one step further. The leading auto retailer is making the manufacturing, buying, and driving processes safer and more enjoyable for everyone using AR/VR capabilities. Read on to learn how GM is using augmentative and virtual reality to reach customers and improve the driving experience. WHAT IS AUGMENTED REALITY? If you remember the digital explosion that was Pokemon Go, you’ve been exposed to the basic idea of augmentative reality. This technology uses digital visual elements superimposed over the user’s line of sight to enhance the real-life experience with responsive, mobilly accessible digital elements. In the auto industry, this technology is being used to help manufacturers and drivers interact with cars using a higher level of detail and control – without blocking or impeding their line of sight. In GM vehicles, drivers can use augmented reality from their smartphones to shop for vehicles in a higher level of detail than ever before. Additionally, amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, this same technology is being used to connect designers, sellers, manufacturers, and potential buyers without the need for a brick-and-mortar dealership. This phenomenon can be made possible using mobile apps, responsive in-person demonstrations, or even reactive imagery via any internet-connected device. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-127.jpeg] WHAT IS VIRTUAL REALITY? While augmented reality works by combining reality and a virtual landscape seamlessly, virtual reality involves a completely manufactured digital environment that is independent from the real world. Virtual reality technology often uses auxiliary equipment, such as sensory-cancelling headsets, to remove the user from reality in order to transport them to a digitally created environment. This can be used to make video games more realistic, or to improve the accuracy of training and educational programs. In the automotive industry, car makers and technicians can test vehicles virtually without the need for a full outdoor course. This has great potential to improve safety, while saving money by lowering overhead and reducing operational costs for the manufacturer. Virtual reality is also being used by leading automakers to improve the passenger experience by providing them with safe, fully immersive entertainment. Everyone in the vehicle (with the exception of who’s in the driver’s seat) can dive into realistic games, videos, and even music by removing themselves from the “real world.” Passengers can truly enter a completely digital landscape using connected headsets, glasses, or even their mobile phone. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-128.jpeg] AUGMENTATIVE REALITY IN THE MANUFACTURING PROCESS Leading car brands like GM are using augmented reality to save money, increase safety, and streamline processes across the entire manufacturing process. This technology has made it easier than ever before for remote employees, onsite employees, and digital elements to communicate from any physical location. Allowing technicians to work on realistic digital models using augmented reality has reduced costs associated with operations by giving remote employees even more agency and control. This lowers the amount car retailers need to spend on office space, as well as equipment required for physical models as opposed to digital renders. Augmented reality has greatly improved the auto manufacturing process in three key ways. TESTING Vehicle safety and operational testing is easily the most critical part in the manufacturing process. Since augmented reality superimposes digital elements over actual sensor points and physical cues, workers don’t need to use physical test vehicles or drive tracks. Additionally, digital renders can be created to show how the car can perform in different terrains and driving conditions. Eliminating the need to test physical vehicle models in dangerous environments makes the process accurate, but safer, for everyone involved. PROCESS AUTOMATION Traditionally, the auto manufacturing process has been expensive and variable, leading to a dramatic shift in value and innovation across the industry. Working in a secure digital environment makes it easier to determine whether or not employees are staying on task, while reducing the amount of time workers spend on repetitive, rote tasks. Augmented reality systems are able to track a dynamic production schedule, while controlling machines remotely to increase the amount of time workers are able to spend on creative engineering and tasks that require human innovation. Additionally, AR-enabled tools can provide assistance and training in the absence of a human manager or educator. This reduces company spend on employment costs, while giving each worker control over their learning speed and style. On demand digital assistance, corporate training resources, and communication tools give workers more power to utilize their unique skills to help the company grow as a whole. STREAMLINED PRODUCTION Social distancing measures have largely limited workers’ ability to collaborate efficiently. Augmented reality has made it easier than ever for technicians, designers, and retailers to collaborate effectively on new models. By building and connecting individual parts digitally, technicians have more control than ever on the models they’re working on. Augmented reality gives them the ability to zoom into small details, manipulate the positioning of individual parts and features, and test functionalities virtually using responsive visual elements. HOW IS AR/VR IMPROVING DRIVER SAFETY? How many times have you taken your eyes off the road to check your GPS navigation or find driving directions? Just a few seconds with your attention off the road is all it takes for a devastating accident to change (or take) your life. Augmented reality gives drivers a way to see upcoming accident alerts, road construction, blockages, and even nearby businesses without taking their view off of their windshield. Augmented reality is also changing in-car entertainment for the better. Drivers no longer need to distract themselves with changing the radio station or adjusting the temperature in the vehicle. Now, augmented reality shows all of these features in the driver’s natural line of sight using visual projections that appear on the road. Additionally, voice-controlled technology makes it easier than ever for driver’s to enjoy a fully hands-free experience. Although we all need to pass a test to get a driver’s license, it’s no surprise that many drivers forget the rules of the road over time. Auto manufacturers like GM have developed realistic road simulators using virtual reality to help drivers sharpen their real-life skills, without the real-life risk. Whether it’s being used in the road or off the street, augmented and virtual reality technology has reduced driver risk significantly in just a few short years. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-129.jpeg] WHAT IS A VIRTUAL REALITY SHOWROOM? The Coronavirus has changed the way Americans interact with commercial brands in a major way, and the auto industry has responded by increasing their virtual shopping tools to boost sales. General Motors is just one of the brands that has created digital showrooms with virtual and augmented reality to allow prospective buyers to shop safely from home. A virtual showroom is essentially what it sounds like. Using their desktop or mobile device, shoppers can tour all of the retailer’s inventory using 360-degree product photography and interactive digital renders of their prospective purchase. Fewer automotive shoppers are heading to the dealership, and this has opened up a major opportunity for AR/VR tech to enter the market. Now, buyers can complete the entire buying process in just a few minutes – from their initial research period to applying for financing. As more businesses respond to the changes caused by the ongoing pandemic, augmentative and virtual reality is becoming integrated into the showrooms of large and small companies across the auto industry. Using a virtual showroom eliminates the need for dealers to keep a vast physical inventory on site, dramatically cutting overhead costs and the need for a large commercial space. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-130.jpeg] VIRTUAL AND AUGMENTATIVE REALITY DRIVING FUTURE PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT When it comes to product innovation, AR/VR tech has helped developers perfect upcoming vehicle models in far less time. GM is using augmentative and virtual reality capabilities to fine tune their products and provide buyers with an even more reliable shopping (and driving) experience. Before digitally rendered models eliminated the need for physical product testing, bugs had to be predominately addressed with trial and error. Multiple physical testing trials and recalls could be necessary to improve the car’s features, from aesthetic changes to safety measures. Now, cars are hitting the marketplace with fewer design and functionality flaws because they’ll be released after rigorous virtual testing and prototype development. Instead of building costly prototypes to make these adjustments, technicians can work on an infinite number of virtual models until the product meets set specifications. Additionally, virtual reality tools allow designers and technicians to immerse themselves in their work environments without spending time in an expensive lab or warehouse. Augmentative and virtual reality technology is making waves across a wide variety of industries, but the automotive sphere is largely paving the way. GM is using this growing tech system to keep their staff, and buyers, safer than ever before while also reducing costs and boosting value for the corporation as a whole. Immersive media is likely to become the next major medium for consumers and companies to interact and communicate, no matter their location. Take a closer look at how high-quality automotive images and responsive mobile applications are helping auto shoppers and manufacturers go through each transaction with more safety and ease.
How Dogs are Using Augmented Reality Goggles in U.S. Army Trials
November 6, 2020
In recent prototype tests conducted by the U.S. Army Research Laboratory, combat dogs have been using augmented reality goggles developed by Command Sight to enhance their support services. This technology is actively being developed to help dogs safely perform deployment tasks without the need for a trainer to be close by. Removing the need for hand signals and physical cues allows trainers to give commands remotely, while providing the dogs with a higher level of support. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-123.jpeg] AUGMENTED REALITY TECHNOLOGY FOR MILITARY DOGS Command Sight has been working on developing AR technology for working combat dogs since 2017. Founder Dr. A.J. Peper started this small company to help military service dogs receive and respond to instructions from their handlers. In fact, most of the initial research has been performed using Peper’s own pet, which is a Rottweiler named Mater. Using the AR-enabled goggles, dogs can determine the location of a possible explosives cache or enemy troops using guides and cues displayed in their eye line. Removing the use of conspicuous hand signals and laser commands protects both the Army handler and the dog from enemy attention. Augmented reality is also a more discrete and flexible replacement for audio cues, such as walkie-talkies and verbal commands. Initial U.S. Army trials with augmented reality goggles for dogs have determined that trained animals are able to recognize highlighted digital elements that are within their natural line of sight. This eliminates confusion, without the need for attention-grabbing commands that can put the dog and handler in immediate danger. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-124.jpeg] IMPROVED SAFETY FOR SOLDIERS Combat dogs have played a major role in the military for decades. From drug and explosive detection to strategic attacks, military dogs are a vital asset across every branch of the U.S. armed forces. However, traditional training techniques leave dogs and their handler’s vulnerable to distraction and detection. Dogs typically rely on hand signals, verbal commands, and tactile cues to respond to commands. This can cause problems when a dog’s assistance is needed in the field. Hand and voice signalling puts handlers at risk of unwanted attention, and external factors can heavily impact a soldier’s ability to successfully communicate with their combat dog. Using virtual cues creates a buffer for dogs and their handlers in the event of a rescue operation or other dangerous scenario. This will also increase the level of support dogs are able to give soldiers, by reducing the need for their handlers to join them side-by-side in combat. Due to their heightened sense of smell and hearing, dogs perform exceedingly well in explosive hunts and operations involving dangerous materials. Giving commands virtually over the dog’s active line of sight helps them to do their jobs unobstructed, and without endangering their human handlers. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-125.jpeg] INCREASED PROTECTION FOR COMBAT DOGS While dogs are better equipped for a wide range of combat tasks and operations, risk to military animals should always be minimized as much as possible. US Army trials augmented reality goggles for dogs have shown that AR gives dogs more autonomy, while also reducing the risk of collateral damage. Using augmented reality goggles as a training tool allows handlers to give commands remotely, independent of their location. Instead of staying within the dog’s line of sight, soldiers can communicate with their dogs virtually. This eliminates the handler’s need to join their dogs in dangerous or volatile situations. Additionally, this protects the dogs by preventing additional attention from putting them in harm’s way. Dogs can use augmented reality to receive directions in real time without physically connecting with their handler. This is especially helpful when either party is in the midst of a dangerous environment. Outfitting cameras at eye level and using dynamic reporting allows military dogs and their handlers to effectively: * Process commands discreetly * Communicate in real time * Maintain location independence * Improve onsite security Combat dogs are essential for domestic and international military operations, and augmented reality goggles are just another tool that’s helping to make their jobs safer and easier. ENHANCING CURRENT WEARABLE EQUIPMENT The concept of using wearable technology for combat animals isn’t brand new. In fact, military dogs have been accustomed to using goggles as protective gear for a while. Protective eye and headwear is used to protect combat dogs from environmental hazards, shrapnel, and even air drops. Since military dogs are already used to the look and feel of goggles, adding augmented reality capabilities has been a fairly seamless transition. Now, dogs are being trained to recognize visual commands through the goggles as an augmented reality projection. This has proven to be even more effective than silent cues like laser pointers, since lasers aren’t able to bend around corners. Instead, dogs have a more accurate sense of direction using illuminated or highlighted focus points through their AR-equipped goggle headset. By using the visual information from the dog’s goggles, U.S. Army handlers are able to key points of interest. These subtle details can mean the difference between life and death for the soldier or the dog. With the assistance of augmented reality in a real-life situation, handlers and dogs can be protected from hostile attacks and active fire. As the U.S. Army trials augmented reality goggles for dogs, military service animals are being given a way to build their skill sets safely and out of harm’s way. SIMPLIFIED TRAINING AND COMMUNICATION Training and command implementation are the most important aspects of using working dogs effectively in a combat environment. When it comes to communication between military dogs and their handlers, less is more and every second counts. Augmented reality goggles give combat dogs clearer and more direct commands, without confusion caused by: * Device interference * Physical barriers * Presence of enemy soldiers or equipments * Distractions In a dynamic and volatile combat environment, soldiers and their service dogs can not afford to waste any time on misfired or distracting command methods. They also can’t afford to risk giving up their position or physical location as a result of conspicuous communication tactics. Once fully wireless augmented reality goggle technology is available for the U.S. military, deployments and domestic operations will become safer and more efficient for everyone involved. AUGMENTED REALITY PROTOTYPE DEVELOPMENT FOR COMBAT DOGS Although combat canine units have been utilizing wearable technology for years, augmented reality developers are still in the initial stages of the applied use for military dogs. This revolutionary system has passed the initial phase of official testing. But, as the U.S. Army trials augmented reality goggles for dogs continue, there are still two more critical phases to complete. Augmented reality doesn’t exactly function the same way for dogs as it does for humans. Humans rely on more audio and visual elements to communicate effectively, while animals are able to recognize more simplified cues. Instead of giving the dog a digital image of the trainer, augmented reality goggles give the dog one-dimensional commands. The purpose of this technology is to simplify the training tactics being used between the handler and animal, not to effectively replace in-person interaction. Also, using goggles that are outfitted with cameras allows handlers to see from the dog’s point of view. Soldiers can take advantage of the live feed that is being recorded via the dog’s AR headset, and they can help to guide the dog by sharing their actual perspective. In current applications, cameras are instead fixed to the dog’s back harness. Using the goggles to see from the animal’s perspective provides soldiers with more control, and a much higher level of visibility. Additionally, this positioning helps to stabilize the live video feed for a clearer picture overall. But, these capabilities will likely expand with more widespread adoption across different departments and command functions. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-126.jpeg] MAINSTREAM AR GOGGLE USE FOR MILITARY DOGS When it comes to the innovation and development of augmented reality for military service dogs, this is just the beginning. Current versions of this technology included a wired headset, requiring the handler to still be within close proximity to the subject. But, developers expect to bring a wireless version to the market in the next two years. Perfecting a wireless model will provide dogs and handlers with even more freedom and, in turn, safety while they’re out in the field. Eventually, real-life applications will help soldiers to obtain critical operation information, identify explosives, and evade enemy contact. Once a wireless model becomes available for general testing and production, U.S. Army researchers can work on enhancing the technology for different dog breeds and activity capabilities. Augmented reality is becoming an increasingly important part of mainstream technology, so it’s no surprise that the military is utilizing AR to improve day-to-day operations. Increasing safety by improving communication between military animals and their handlers has great potential to prevent dangerous incidents from endangering soldiers or combat dogs. Command Sight is just one of the leaders in this growing sphere, but augmented reality is certainly here to stay.
Museums Are Using Augmented Reality To Boost Entertainment Value
November 4, 2020
Museums are bringing new worlds to visitors like never before by using augmented reality to educate. Major museums, like the Getty Museum or the Louvre, have long been regarded as cultural epicenters. They are often frequented by thousands of tourists and locals every year. Today, museums are looking to not only educate and inform their visitors but also entertain and keep them engaged. This is especially true for smaller local museums that often do not get the same rate of visitors or revenue as major museums. The revolution of smartphones and tablets has meant that museums need to keep up with and integrate mobile technology into their exhibits. However, many museums are taking their technology a step further and incorporating augmented reality through games, apps, and recreating worlds with virtual reality. While using augmented reality and virtual reality as a form of entertainment might be new for museums, they often are already using such technology in their research and preservation methods. USING AUGMENTED REALITY TO RECREATE THE PAST Augmented reality is not necessarily new technology at this point, especially in the fields of research such as anthropology and archaeology. For many years now, augmented reality has been used to recreate worlds and artifacts that have vanished. Through augmented reality, researchers can discover more information about how past civilizations lived and can piece together more information about the past. It is often a tool employed especially in Egyptology and ancient archaeology, where much evidence is destroyed, incomplete, or missing. Artifacts that are destroyed or damaged can be scanned and turned digital so that researchers can try to recreate what the actual item could have looked like. One researcher is looking to adapt such advanced technologies into a more accessible version for tablets that can be a more cost-effective version of the technology so that researchers all over the world and average consumers can utilize the technology. AUGMENTED REALITY TO SMELL AND HEAR THE PAST Archeologist Stuart Eve is working to create an app that recreates ancient ruins as they originally looked. Eve wants to develop this even further and create an app that can also help users not just see what ancient ruins used to look like but also what they smelled and sounded like to give a truly immersive experience. Although a very rudimentary model now, Eve has developed an add-on of a tiny fan that would give off the smells that might have been present in the area and time period. A recording of the sounds of the area such as a crowded market or street would also be playing. Eve says that by using AR we can render simulations of the ancient world by using the real world as a canvas. Eve hopes that his device will further research and provide insight into how ancient peoples lived. This can help researchers understand how certain landscapes might have played a role in shaping civilizations and helps to give a more engaging and at-hand experience rather than just sitting behind a computer screen. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-120.jpeg] MUSEUMS ALREADY USING AR In addition to research, many museums are already using augmented reality for their visitor experience. * The Annenberg Space for Photography While the Annenberg Space has since had to permanently close its doors due to COVID-19, the small museum was once a gallery dedicated to using photography as a means to educate. In past exhibits, they utilized augmented reality and virtual reality to help enhance visitors’ experience. Its exhibit last year of photographs of Cuba and Cuban culture also included a virtual reality room where visitors could use VR goggles and feel as if they were standing in a busy street in Havana. * The Smithsonian Institute The famous Smithsonian introduced AR to help enhance the experience of one of its oldest and most famous exhibits. The museum’s Bone Hall has a massive collection of skeletons on display. Some have been displayed since 1881 and now they are coming back to life through the app Skin and Bones. First introduced in 2017, the app features 13 skeletons from the collection, and through the app, the creatures are reconstructed using superimposed images. Users can see how the animals would have looked and moved and can see the various layers of skin and muscle looks like over the bones. The app helps to educate visitors on how some extinct animals would have looked like and interacted in their environment. * The Cleveland Museum of Art Using augmented reality, the museum was able to bring a much more interesting and interactive experience for museum visitors. Using an app, visitors could view artifacts such as pottery as they once were in ancient times. * The Kennedy Space Center The ancient and extinct worlds are not the only ones coming to life through AR. The Kennedy Space Center’s Heroes and Legends exhibit is another great example of how AR can be utilized in museums to educate visitors about key moments in history. Using augmented reality, the exhibition uses holograms throughout to help visitors see and hear from actual astronauts talk about their work in their own words. * The National Museum of Singapore The museum used a game-like feature in their exhibit of the William Farquhar Collection of Natural History Drawings. Using an app on their phone or tablet, the visitors can explore the paintings and find plants and animals within the paintings. They can then add them to their virtual collection as they walk around the museum and they can learn facts about each plant or animal they find. * England’s Historic Cities While not an actual museum, England’s Historic Cities app is a great example of how augmented reality can help to promote and educate heritage sites in countries. Using the augmented reality app, visitors to the country can learn more about the famous heritage sites across the country such as the Roman Baths and Durham Cathedral. Famous historical figures like William Shakespeare act as virtual guides and information is superimposed onto the walls and artifacts at the sites. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-121.jpeg]Woman wearing vr headset augmented virtual reality in history city center. Concept of virtual museum. HOW TO GET VISITORS TO USE IT Museums everywhere seem to be embracing augmented reality as a way to revitalize their museums and enhance their visitor experience. However, it remains unclear if visitors are really embracing the technology themselves. PalaeoGo is looking into how museums, particularly natural history museums and national parks, can best implement augmented reality to their facilities. The group found that although many museums were using augmented reality through apps, it was not necessarily popular among visitors. They concluded that visitors were wary about downloading such a specific app that really only had use within the museum, and they were also concerned with data privacy. Museums can encourage visitors to download the app by: * Making it relevant outside of the museum – a big concern for users is that the augmented reality app will have no usage outside of the museum and will end up just taking up space on their smartphone or tablet. Incorporating other educational or game-like elements that can function outside of the museum can help to encourage them to download it and to continue to use it. * Gamifying its usage – Turning the app into an augmented reality game is a great way to get visitors to use it especially for children. This can help them have fun while at the museum and also helps to educate at the same time. * Being transparent with data usage – Before visitors download the app, it is a good idea to provide them with information about how their data might be affected. This includes letting them know about email subscriptions and offering an option to opt-out. Transparency about their information can help them feel more at ease with using the app. * Use it to advertise discount offers – An augmented reality app can also be a great way to encourage visitors to come back by offering discounts or deals if they download the app. Museums can also use the app to send offers to them. * Partner with another museum – Again, many visitors are wary of downloading an app that is limited in usage. To help encourage them to download it, museums can partner with one another to help make the app more versatile and is great for visiting tourists to be able to use the same app at different museums and sites. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-122.jpeg] AR AND OUR EVERYDAY LIVES Many aspects of our everyday lives are using augmented reality. Museums are one of many industries that are embracing augmented reality to help enhance their visitor and user experience. Everywhere you go bits of augmented reality are incorporated into our lives. Most smartphone users already have augmented reality apps like games or shopping apps. You can even use augmented reality to shop for a car as companies like RelayCars are making virtual showrooms the new norm. Shoppers at stores like Ikea and Target can see how a piece of furniture will look in their home before even purchasing it using augmented reality features on their shopping apps. Augmented reality is allowing us to not just enhance our real-world experience, but also is allowing us to visit the worlds of the past. Through augmented reality museums are bringing the past back to life and using it to educate a new generation in a way that keeps them engaged and curious.
How Honda is using Augmentative & Virtual Reality
November 2, 2020
The use of augmented reality and virtual reality technologies is expected to completely transform the automotive industry. These technologies have already been embraced by some companies in the automotive industry, including the Honda Motor Company. Over the last several years, Honda has started to incorporate augmented and virtual reality technologies into the creation, promotion, and use of their vehicles. Here are some of the many ways that Honda utilizes augmented and virtual reality technology: SHOWCASE NEW VEHICLES Honda is one of many automotive manufacturers that has utilized augmented and virtual reality technologies to introduce and promote new vehicles. At the 2017 Los Angeles Auto Show, the automotive manufacturer used augmented reality technology to introduce consumers to the redesigned Honda Accord sedan. Attendees were asked to put on a Microsoft HoloLens augmented reality headset. Then, they were presented with a brief history of the Accord sedan presented on an augmented reality timeline. The next part of the experience used augmented reality to show attendees how the design of the Accord has evolved over time. Attendees were able to see digital projections of the various designs. Then, attendees were able to sit behind the wheel of the new Accord sedan. Using augmented reality technology, Honda showed attendees how the vehicle’s new safety technology helped drivers navigate through dangerous road conditions. After this augmented test drive was over, attendees were able to learn about other features of the new Accord, including the turbocharged engine, Wi-Fi capabilities, and Honda Link app-based platform. Augmented reality technology was used throughout this portion to keep attendees engaged with the content. By the time the experience was over, attendees had learned everything they needed to know about the redesigned Accord. Augmented reality was also used to promote the new 2021 Acura TLX. To promote this vehicle, Honda launched the “Inside Track” campaign, which allowed consumers to use augmented reality to project a small version of the TLX onto their surroundings. Then, consumers could challenge their friends to a race through various environments, including the streets of a big city or windy roads on a mountaintop. The entire experience—from the small-sized TLX to the environment—was powered by the use of augmented reality technology. In this case, using augmented reality helped Honda create buzz around the TLX and engage with consumers in an interesting and compelling way. GIVE BACK TO THE COMMUNITY Honda used virtual reality technology in a way that many other automotive companies have not: to give back to the community. In 2018, the automotive manufacturer used virtual reality technology to create “The Magic Snow Globe” experience for patients at the Children’s Hospital of Orange County. The technology was used to transport kids inside a snow globe, where they could interact with various holiday-themed characters and other elements. For example, kids could work with the characters inside the snow globe to create a virtual snowman using virtual snow. Kids could also interact with virtual clouds in order to make it snow inside the virtual globe. Thanks to virtual technology, Honda was able to create an unforgettable holiday experience for the pediatric patients at this hospital. INTERACT WITH AUTO SHOW GUESTS Honda used augmented reality technology to make its exhibit stand out and appeal to more attendees at the 2019 Los Angeles Auto Show. Anyone who attended this event could visit the manufacturer’s exhibit to use the augmented reality photo booth, which the company called the “Honda Winning Moment.” Once inside the photo booth, attendees were able to take pictures of themselves participating in a selection of historical sports moments. For example, attendees could take photos of themselves celebrating with the National Hockey League winners of the Stanley Cup. Using augmented reality technology in this manner allowed Honda to interact with guests at an auto show in a unique way. It also created a memorable and fun experience for guests, who were able to take home photos of themselves as souvenirs. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-118.jpeg] ENHANCE THE PASSENGER’S EXPERIENCE Honda revealed its Honda Dream Drive prototype at the Consumer Electronics Show in 2017. This prototype, which is supported by virtual reality technology, was created in an effort to make riding in a Honda more fun and exciting for passengers. How does it work? Using a virtual reality headset, passengers would be transported to a virtual world. The prototype, which was created in partnership with DreamWorks Animation, took passengers to the fantasy world depicted in the studio’s animated movie Trolls. The motion of the vehicle triggers what the passenger experiences in the virtual world. For example, if the car accelerates forward, the passenger may start to glide forward through the virtual world. Honda Dream Drive has not been incorporated into vehicles yet, but if it is, it could completely transform how passengers experience riding in a Honda. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-119.jpeg] OFFER VIRTUAL TEST DRIVES Honda uses virtual reality technology to give consumers the opportunity to test drive certain Honda vehicles without ever visiting a dealership. This virtual test drive feature is available on most local Honda dealerships’ websites. To take a test drive, consumers simply need to visit a Honda dealership website and click on “Take a Virtual Test Drive.” To get the full experience, it’s best to visit the dealership website on a mobile device. Then, consumers will get to choose which vehicle they would like to virtually drive. After making a selection, consumers will get to watch a short video shot from behind the wheel of the vehicle. As the video plays, consumers can rotate their phone to explore the vehicle and its surroundings. This virtual reality test drive is perfect for today’s consumers, who typically start the process of searching for a new vehicle at home. BETTER SAFETY FEATURES In 2016, Honda quietly filed a patent for a new safety system supported by augmented reality technology. According to the patent filing, the system would use sensors placed around the outside of the vehicle to detect pedestrians in all directions. If a pedestrian is detected, the system would use augmented reality technology to display an avatar on the windshield. This would alert the driver of the location of the pedestrian to help them avoid a collision. Because the sensors detect pedestrians in all directions, the system would also improve drivers’ situational awareness by helping them locate pedestrians they otherwise would not have seen. Honda is far from the only automotive company that is taking advantage of these technologies. But Honda is one of the few companies that continues to find new and exciting ways to use augmented and virtual reality technology to stand out from its competitors.