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Virtual Reality, VR Training

“I want to add virtual reality to my training program — but where do I start?”

This question, in some form, tends to kick off our first conversation with corporate training managers and executives. By now, most have heard the benefits of adding VR training to their programs, but there’s still something of a learning curve.

In this article, we’re going to discuss VR software for training and get you up to speed, quickly.

What Exactly is Virtual Reality?

It might seem silly to start here, but there’s a fair amount of confusion in the very definition of ‘virtual reality’.

When we talk about virtual reality, we’re describing a fully immersive, virtual world that completely replaces the physical environment (the “real” world). To achieve this immersive experience, the user’s eyes, and often ears, are completely obscured from the outside world by a screen and headphones, often built into the same HMD (head-mounted display). The computer then fully controls the inputs to these sight and sound sensors.

When you’re in a virtual reality experience, you’re operating within a simulated and, (in the case of PIXO’s VR), three-dimensional, photo-realistic, computer-generated world. This virtual world can be realistic, fantastical, or a blend of both.

In the realm of VR training, we’re typically creating realistic environments to simulate real-world scenarios and measuring various performance factors.

So that’s a working definition of virtual reality.

However, before we depart this topic, I think it’s necessary to differentiate virtual reality from two other closely related concepts — augmented reality (AR) and 360-degree video.

Augmented reality is adding computer-generated content to the world around you, augmenting it with additional visuals, sounds, and data. This technology is meant to ‘enrich’ the real world, but the virtual and real remain distinctly separate and neither interact with the other.  

A 360-degree video environment is a type of virtual experience. However, instead of being placed in an interactive world, you are placed inside of a static video and allowed to navigate and control your viewpoint within that world. Again, there is no active engagement in this virtual video environment.

For this guide, we’re going to focus on true virtual reality only.

Virtual Reality Authoring Tools

You want your virtual reality training environment to be as close to reality as possible, especially if you’re doing something like military, construction, safety, or first responder training. There’s little room for error if you’re teaching folks how to get a dangerous job done right the first time they encounter it in the real world.

These are ideal scenarios for VR training and far superior to most non-virtual alternatives.

Training programs that need this level of quality will require you to know more about the underlying technology to get the right experience. One of the best places to start exploring VR technology is by learning about the VR engine itself — this is the software that will run your virtual world.

The strengths and weaknesses of these software tools, along with the talent and experience of the development team using them will determine the quality of your training content and VR experiences.

Let’s take a look at some of the most popular virtual reality engines.

  • Unreal is the premier VR engine, (in our experience). It produces higher quality visuals and smoother movement than other alternatives. Created by Epic Games, Unreal gives VR content designers and programmers access to the full C++ source code. This access provides developers ultimate control and few limitations. However, it does require more experienced talent — advanced 3D designers and skilled programmers, but that’s ultimately an advantage to the production of your training content.  Learn more about Unreal on their website.
  • Unity is very popular, especially among indie and small team VR studios. Some of their biggest strengths include an excellent development community and their use of C# and Javascript, which tend to be fundamental skills for any software engineer. However, Unity does not provide access to source code, which can be limiting for the purposes of high-quality enterprise deployment. Learn more about Unity on their website.
  • CryEngine is a lesser-known game engine which has been used for VR, but most VR studios will tell you it suffers from an outdated user interface. The biggest criticisms include disorganized documentation, its popularity seems to be waning, and there are several gray areas in their licensing agreement. Learn more about CryEngine on their website. One interesting note, related to CryEngine is that Amazon grabbed a lot of CryEngine engineers and built what some consider the modernized version of CryEngine — Amazon Lumberyard.

While all of these virtual reality authoring tools are excellent, the requirements of your VR training are going to inform which of these engines make the most sense.

In the case of PIXO VR, we specialize in and have developed a growing library of safety and high-impact training content for the construction, manufacturing, energy & utility verticals. We’ve found that, for these training programs, the superior visual fidelity and full access to the C++ source code allows for our proprietary forking of the Unreal engine, creating an improvement in quality of experience over our previous use of Unity.

Popular VR Headsets and Environments

Even though this article is about VR software, it’s essential we touch on hardware. The virtual reality immersive experience is highly dependent on the headset, and your VR hardware requirements can influence your VR software decisions.

Here is a brief rundown of VR hardware and the ideal VR training uses of each.

Professional Training Content

HTC Vive Pro – HTC’s Vive and Vive Pro are among the most advanced VR headsets on the market today. This headset is going to deliver some of the most realistic training experiences and leave your employees actually asking for more training time. Crazy resolutions, powerful hardware, and tons of sensors make this the preference for enterprise training departments in need of highly realistic and detailed VR content.

HTC Vive Pro

Windows Mixed Reality – Microsoft has taken a slightly different approach to the VR headset, using a variety of hardware manufacturers (HP, Lenovo, Dell, etc.), allowing it to run on both high-end and more basic desktops. As the name suggests, the Mixed Reality headset straddles the fence between VR and AR experiences, accommodating both. Critically, the HP Windows Mixed Reality headset can be paired with the HP Z VR Backpack — a high-powered wearable unit that allows for a tetherless VR experience. For pure mobility, the WMR and HP Z can’t be beat. (If, for whatever reason, a tetherless experience isn’t necessary, the HP Z can also be run in a more basic docked, desktop mode.)  

HP Z VR


Oculus Rift — As “the one that started it all”, Oculus has been aggressively improving their platforms since the debut of the Rift in 2016. While Oculus was one of the earliest entrants in the VR headset market, they have struggled a bit to get out of the R&D and beta phase. Only recently have they become a robust and professional peer competitor to HTC’s Vive and Vive Pro models.

Oculus Rift
Introduction to VR and Gaming

Sony PlayStation VR — If you’re a console gamer this is a great way to get a pretty good first virtual reality experience within a consumer price range.

Playstation VR

Cheaper “VR Lite” Experiences

The last three headsets on our list are only recommended as entrees into the world of virtual reality — “beginner-level”, if you will. These are meant to work with your mobile phone and can provide a teasing glimpse into the potential of a more complete virtual reality.  

Lower Cost VR Headsets

  • Samsung Gear VR
  • Google Daydream View
  • Google Cardboard

IMPORTANT NOTE: If you’re serious about sampling a true VR training experience, buy one of these if you like, but know they are not the final destination of your journey, merely the first steps. If you want to jump ahead to the good stuff, contact one of our VR training experts, and we’ll bring “the real thing” to you.

How to Invest in the Best VR Training Software

As you start considering an investment in VR training, here are the most crucial steps:

  1. Talk to a VR Training Expert Early – They can cut through all of the techno-babble in the market, educate you on the right trends and innovations to follow and help you explore the possibilities, opportunities, and ideal places to introduce compelling new training scenarios.
  2. Find a Good Starting Point – Focus on one or two specific areas of training that will benefit from a virtual reality — fully-immersive and realistic — training environment. Typical starting points are to replace training that is traditionally dangerous, expensive, or disruptive to normal operations.
  3. Content, Content, Content! – This is probably your most important consideration. A fully realized VR Training program will require a solid library of training content that meets your training needs — but how do you get what you need? While many training requirements will require some amount of custom content creation, it’s not necessarily one or the other — custom or premade experiences. Instead, employ a combination of both: existing training modules that can be customized for your needs. If you can find a company like PIXO VR that offers an existing library and a subscription pricing model, (and to our knowledge, we’re one of very, very few doing this), you can start much faster and substantially cheaper by leveraging some nimble, lightweight personalizations that can tailor existing VR Training content to meet your own specifications. This avoids the sticker shock of starting from scratch with a fully custom VR experience that only you can use. If you’d like to know more, ask us about our VR Content Library subscriptions.

As always, PIXO VR is happy to help you explore this fascinating and compelling new world of training. If you have any questions about VR training software, content, or hardware we always enjoy talking shop. Schedule a free consultation with one of our VR training experts today!

Further Reading

Getting Started with VR: The Best Software Tools are Free, Makezine

Feature Photo by Lux Interaction on Unsplash
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Construction Safety Training, News, Virtual Reality, VR Training

In 2016, there were 370 fatal falls out of 991 construction fatalities, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Construction safety and fall protection training, in particular, is a severe problem that needs a better solution. Consider this true story…

Bill enters the job trailer, after a little small talk, he grabs his harness. Giving it a quick once-over he puts it on along with the rest of his safety equipment, like every other day for months.

On his short walk over to the construction elevator, his mind wanders off. He wonders if his daughter remembered the appropriate bow to accent her cheer uniform for this afternoon’s football game. Otherwise, he’s going to get a panicked text message on his way home to track it down and get it to her before kick-off — just like last week.

A quick and sudden jerk brings him back to reality as the elevator abruptly stops and opens to a scaffolding catwalk, three stories up. After a little over a month on this job site, this view is pretty standard stuff. He hooks up his safety line and walks out to where he’s working this morning and gets to it.

A little over thirty minutes into the job, he reaches down for a tool. Suddenly Bill feels uneasy. Then he realizes the platform is giving way under him. Just as what’s happening fully hits him, he tries to grab for something, anything to stop his fall. He feels himself helplessly flailing.

Just as he begins to panic, he lurches to a stop. He thinks, “My harness!” Thank goodness for my…

Something snaps and Bill falls three stories to his death.

Luckily, today Bill is doing fall protection training in a safe, but shockingly realistic, virtual reality training environment. But, the missed fracture in the D-ring on his harness is an oversight that is not likely to ever go missed again.

Our ability to identify and assess risk is acquired through training and experience. In the case of construction workers, this training can be just as dangerous and unforgiving as the actual day-to-day, on-the-job experience. Which is precisely why the benefits of virtual reality training for construction safety is so compelling.

Let’s review just a few of the most important benefits of using VR training in your construction training program.

1. Virtual Reality Provides a Safer Training Environment

Construction is inherently dangerous.

Not only are the skilled construction activities dicey — moving tons of lumber, drywall, steel, and other building materials, pouring thousands of pounds of concrete, running and connecting electricity, and on and on — but we also put these men and women in tiny buckets and on narrow scaffolding at dizzying heights.

Then, we ask them to stay safe.

Keeping these workers safe is its own dangerous game. Putting these folks into realistic training scenarios is essential. To be effective, this training must recreate not only realistic scenarios, but also the emotions, sensations, and distractions that haunt these hazardous work environments.

Historically, attempts to achieve quality construction safety training has required building large, expensive, and roughly equivalent construction environments. Of course, in recreating these simulated construction sites, you necessarily recreate, to some extent, all of the same danger zones and risks of injury and even death.

Virtual Reality Training solves many of the safety issues inherent in the traditional safety training that many construction companies continue to use. The VR training environment is 100% safe and gives an arguably more accurate construction environment in which to train.

2. Ability to Create Riskier, More Realistic Training

Creating physical construction simulations has so many limitations. Try finding a training facility that can accommodate a fifteen story superstructure, swinging tons of steel with an enormous crane, or pouring thousands of pounds of cement footing.

It’s impossible. So, what do we do?

We build structures to reasonable heights, we swing simulated loads, and we role play or inject equivalent distractions. The limitation of the physical world, training budgets, and rational risk tolerances force us to train in environments that can only simulate a tiny fraction of the real risks and hazards of a real job site.

Virtual reality training allows us to push training exercises to the very edge of realism, up to and including deadly hazards and actions.

Simulating the actual hazards and results of following (or not following) safety procedures is one powerful advantage. We can practice most, if not all, of the hazardous activities that a worker will be expected to perform in accordance with the project plan. Also, they can practice these assignments under the same working conditions they will experience on the job site.

With VR training you can also introduce the realistic sensations of heights, distractions, stress, and environmental hazards. These mental and emotional hazards are often missed in training because we simply can’t push the risk envelope.

3. Virtual Reality Training Allows for Endless Repetition

Repetition is the secret to mastery.

Malcolm Gladwell, in his best selling book Outliers: The Story of Success, introduces the idea that mastery in a well-defined discipline can be achieved with approximately 10,000 hours of deliberate practice. In construction, that kind of repetition is prohibitively expensive, and consequently, the majority of that deliberate practice necessarily takes place on-the-job.

Virtual reality training has the power to make this level of deliberate practice much more, well, practical. The incremental cost of running a VR training scenario is de minimus, unlike more traditional training in the physical world.

With VR training, workers get to strap on the VR headset and go at it again and again until they can accomplish the task flawlessly — and safely.

4. Real Life is Random. Virtual Reality Software Can Generate That Randomness

We all know that the world is full of random moments. However, when most training is being designed, that kind of unpredictable randomness — interruptions, distractions, weather, changes of all kinds — is marginalized or removed in order to maintain focus on the teaching of core concepts. Unfortunately, when this is done, realism is reduced and training becomes less contextual and relevant to the real world.

We often think we’re basically “stuck” with this less-than-optimal training for a variety of reasons. The two most common challenges in randomizing training are cost and trainee evaluation. In the physical world, it is simply too expensive to build the requisite number of training scenarios. In this same constraining physical world, it’s difficult or impossible for trainers to effectively evaluate trainee performance when there are too many extraneous secondary scenarios and variables.

Once again, virtual reality software removes those barriers. The best VR training modules are just now introducing randomization of the kind you might experience in a high-quality video game. Randomization ensures you never “teach to the test”, or allow trainees to temporarily memorize “the hard parts” of certain lessons — things they might quickly forget after the completion of their training.

What’s more, this randomization comes at no increase in cost and leverages one of the most significant advantages of premium virtual reality training: much of the trainee evaluation is baked into the software itself.

5. Virtual Reality Provides a Safe Environment to Test and Evaluate Procedures

When we think about administering training, we often forget about the testing and evaluation that has to go into validating the actual training. In construction safety training, this is particularly important.

Too often, we rely on assumptions, or even worse, accident reports to develop and assess our safety procedures. This approach is made even more ineffective by the fact that construction safety is often dynamic, based on the current project plan, available equipment, and working conditions/environment — all factors that probably should require refinements in on-site safety procedures.

With virtual reality training software, we can construct scenarios that are specific to the job site or project planning scenarios and then realistically and safely test and evaluate those procedures. You can also test project plans to ensure that you are creating project plans that are realistic and can be safely executed.

6. Immersive VR Training Can Increase Trainee Focus

How many times have you been in a training room and your attention wanders? Thinking about lunch, returning a text message, wondering why you’re covering this again, just waiting for it to end, or simply daydreaming are only a few examples of all-too-human mental distractions that can degrade the training process.

Sitting in a classroom or even waiting in line for your turn on the platform are all limitations of the physical training environment; restrictions that allow for trainees to lose focus and miss critical points of instruction.

Virtual reality has the advantage of being fully immersive. Because VR training strives to fully replicate the physical world and all of the disparate elements in that real-world, you have to stay on your toes at all times. And while, depending on the supply of hardware, some trainees may have to wait to get into a VR headset, others can follow along, watching their journey and lesson unfold from a first-person perspective on a nearby HD screen, turning passive waiting into active learning.

This realistic and immersive training environment helps trainees maintain their attention and concentration on each training task posed to them.

7. Virtual Reality Training Gives Trainers Better Evaluation Tools

We previously mentioned the challenges of evaluating trainees and even the training itself. These challenges are particularly acute in construction training.

In many of the construction safety training programs used today, trainers are struggling to evaluate trainees under less than ideal circumstances. Trainers are either assessing from a safe, but obscured vantage point, or struggling to evaluate from the same precarious positions as the student – extreme heights, narrow spaces, unstable platforms.

In contrast, a training environment constructed with virtual reality software can put trainers in the best possible position to observe and evaluate their trainees. Besides, the software can also capture data points that help analyze why trainees are experiencing success and failure – view and movement tracking as well as biometrics.

Another benefit to evaluating training in virtual reality is the simplicity of collecting and analyzing data – no more clipboards and tally sheets.

8. Training Can Be Customized for Specific Sites, Scenarios, and Standards

Every company and job site is unique. And no matter how consistent we try to be with construction safety, the real-world will always throw some curveballs our way.

Each project will likely have its own special challenges and problems because of location, unique requirements, weather, or just the complexity of the project itself. General construction safety training can leave workers exposed to or unfamiliar with local job hazards.

Virtual reality software provides a huge advantage in the flexibility and costs to offer site- and company-specific construction training.

Physical training facilities rarely can be reconfigured to approximate any particular job site realistically. And most construction projects can’t absorb the lost time and additional cost of shutting down portions of a job site for training.Necessarily, with increased customization comes increased cost, but these costs will almost certainly pale in comparison to those of closing a real-world job site for one or more days for training purposes, or the inherent risks of O.J.T., (on-the-job training) for the same purpose.Further, different companies often have slightly different ways of doing things; specific protocols and standards that help define how a company operates. Premium VR training can accommodate these variations for a more tailored training experience.

9. Virtual Reality Can Make Training More Efficient

Many of the benefits that we have reviewed so far point to the overall efficiency and effectiveness of virtual reality over traditional, physical training environments.

Virtual reality training allows for your construction training safety programs to be far more relevant, site-specific, frequent, and repeatable without significantly increasing cost or time. In fact, studies and real-world applications of VR Training show it drives down the time needed to learn the same information usually taught with more traditional training methods. This Deloitte Insights article points out that in 2017, KFC employed a VR Training simulation to help teach their trainees their world-famous “secret recipe” for preparing chicken. According to KFC, with VR, trainees mastered the five steps needed to make the brand’s namesake fried chicken in just 10 minutes — as compared to the 25 minutes needed to the learn the same thing using conventional training.

10. Virtual Reality Training Research Indicates Higher Retention

All the training in the world is worthless unless it sticks.

While VR Training is still relatively new, there is a lot of research around what helps trainees to retain their training. Many of these factors are inherent characteristics of virtual reality training.

Here are just a few VR training characteristics that increase retention:

  • Consistency – By using software, even with randomization, every training scenario can be reliably delivered in a precise and controlled way.

  • Frequency – VR training can be run over and over again with no additional incremental cost or trainee risk.

  • Relevance – Software allows us to reconfigure and customize the training environment cheaply.

  • Immersion – Virtual reality gives us the luxury of dropping a trainee into a fully immersive and realistic training environment that can be pushed to extremes.

The research continues to reaffirm the overall effectiveness of virtual reality training, especially in studies targeted explicitly at the challenges of delivering construction safety training.

Bonus: Virtual Reality Training Lowers Training Costs

By this point, you’ve probably already picked up on the thread of cost savings throughout this list of benefits. Using software and some relatively inexpensive hardware can slash the cost of realistically simulating a broad spectrum of construction hazards and evaluate the proper execution of safety procedures.

Cost-savings permeate all facets of a comprehensive safety training program. But, probably some of the biggest savings are realized in reducing the need to either physically create or travel to an adequate training facility or temporarily shutting down an actual job site to provide a viable training environment.

The bottom line is construction safety training is a non-negotiable expense. However, if you can do it at a fraction of the cost and time, and it’s more effective than the alternative, then the business case for VR training becomes overwhelming.

How PIXO VR Can Help Your Construction Safety Training

PIXO VR is currently developing a ‘Focus Fourpack’, providing Virtual Reality Training experiences concerned with construction’s “Fatal Four,” four of the leading workplace killers, responsible for more than half of the industry’s worker deaths in 2016. The first of these, PIXO VR Fall Protection, is now available, with the remaining three slated for completion by early 2019. The Fatal Four include:

  1. Falls – (38.7% of total construction deaths in 2016)

  2. Struck by Object – (9.4%)

  3. Electrocutions – (8.3%)

  4. Caught-in/between – (7.3%)

As the economy drives increased construction activity and our construction sites become increasingly complex and technological, these sad statistics will only decline if and when we improve and innovate our current training to make it more effective.

PIXO VR is aggressively working towards a VR Training solution that protects your workers with the most realistic and effective training environment available.

But, talk is cheap, we want the opportunity to show you.

Contact us to experience the cutting edge of construction safety training.

 
Photo by Tuan Minh on Unsplash
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Expert Insights, Virtual Reality, VR Training

A recent article published on Futurism.com declared, essentially, that virtual reality has finally become reality-reality: it’s here to stay. But the article was quick to point out that, despite the progress VR technology has made in recent years — better, more cost-effective hardware, streamlined user experience, radical advances in animation, etc. — one key problem has annoyingly persisted: nausea.

Motion sickness. Vertigo. Sea-sickness. Car-sickness. Butterflies. Queasiness — whatever you call it, we all hate it, and as a Virtual Reality Training company, it’s one of the most common questions we’re asked at conferences and expos: “will it make me sick?” While our answer to that question is a confident “No”, (more on that in a minute), not all VR companies can say the same, despite the evolution of our industry. 

The simple fact is: not all virtual reality is created equal.

So we thought it made some sense to briefly explore why some virtual reality experiences can cause motion sickness and why, in the three years we’ve been designing and engineering VR Training modules for enterprise, we’ve never seen or heard anyone complain of getting that awful, upset feeling.

How and Why Does Motion Sickness Happen?

Let’s start by understanding the phenomenon of motion sickness and nausea a little better from a scientific perspective.

Reason One: Battle Of The Senses

In a nutshell, the primary reason we feel motion sickness comes down to our ‘perception of reality’, so to speak.

Most of us are born with a central nervous system that helpfully provides us with five essential senses that allow us to move through physical reality with at least a basic idea of what the heck’s going on around us, (not counting what we experience while driving on the freeway, which is anyone’s guess). Those senses are: sight (vision), hearing (audition), taste (gustation), smell (olfaction), and touch (somatosensation).

When there’s “argument” between these five senses, our brain gets confused.

For instance, think of the sensation in the pit of your stomach one gets on an elevator. Though your body is in rapid motion on an elevator car, you, yourself, are not really moving. The effect it produces is typically slight, but definitely noticeable. (The same thing goes with car sickness while riding, or reading, in an automobile.)

Essentially, you’re experiencing a sensory mismatch and your brain — always gamely trying to make sense of the world it’s in — doesn’t like it.

There’s more complex science behind all this, of course, but at root, what we feel is a tug-of-war between groups of senses to determine “who’s right”: the vestibular inputs (concerned with balance and located in your inner ear), the visual inputs (associated with your eyes), or the kinaesthetic inputs (which assist in movement).

Reason Two: When Seeing Isn’t Believing

Beyond the issue of multiple senses battling it out to determine what’s real, there’s also a problem specific to our sense of vision, (and by extension, the brain’s ability to process images).

You see, in the real world, as the name suggests, things are more or less real. (We could nerd-out here about probability clouds and whatnot, or make the argument that our brains are the ultimate virtual reality machines, but for now let’s keep things simple and say boldly, Things Exist.)

When we walk to the store, or take a shower, or do anything at all, the things we’re seeing are really there, in what we consider physical reality. Our eyes may play tricks on us from time to time, but the persons, places, and things they observe occupy time and space and are mostly static and unchanging. They obey the laws of physics.

Not so in virtual reality.

In VR, the images we see have to be dynamically generated and refresh to reflect new simulated realities — constantly and incredibly rapidly.

Think of a flip-book: to create the illusion of motion, a large number of static images must rapidly pass by our eyes and convince our brain that the figures we see are moving and doing things. “Good” flipbooks have many more images, more precisely drawn, and thus appear more fluid and natural when flipped-through than “bad” flipbooks that have fewer images and produce hiccupy jumps — what we call ‘lag’ — in their attempts at motion.  

“Good” and “bad” virtual reality operates in a similar way.

How We Overcome VR Motion Sickness

PIXO VR has successfully fought motion sickness and greatly reduced any chance of it happening using two important methods.

Method One: A Frame Rate ‘Faster Than The Eye Can Think’

To combat the issue of lag, our Virtual Reality Training simulations have a refresh frame rate of 90 FPS (frames per second). That means every time you turn left or right, or look up or down, these individual, static images of the virtual world around you — the people, machines, birds, cars, etc. —are zooming by your eyes (and brain) at an almost entirely unnoticeable rate of 90 images per second, just like an ultra-fast, photo-realistic, digital flipbook.

By offering a superior, industry-best 90 FPS frame rate, we help put the brain at ease that the things it observes through the eyes are, (to the best of its ability to tell), really there.

Not all virtual reality runs and refreshes at this amazing pace, which is why some VR (not ours, but some), can make people feel physically ill.

Method Two: ‘Going Nowhere…Fast’

The second way we’ve conquered motion sickness is by addressing what we discussed earlier: the cognitive dissonance created in the brain when groups of senses compete to “explain” what’s happening to our physical bodies. While some amount of actual bodily motion is helpful and, indeed, necessary to explore and train in a fully immersive and interactive VR environment, too much motion can produce that feeling of nausea, as we’ve mentioned.

To avoid the jostling, brain-flummoxing disconnect between what our eyes see happening, and what our bodies feel happening, we use a technique we call “teleporting”.

Teleporting is a simple, elegant solution to the problem of moving — physically and virtually — through a simulated, photo-realistic world. Using your thumb to depress a button on our hand-held controllers, you simply point to your intended destination, your pathway is illuminated, and by the time you release the button — you’re there. No extra motion necessary; it can be done while sitting in a comfortable chair.

Teleporting helps in a couple of ways: first, by limiting the degree to which your brain and body feel differing sensations, and thus, greatly reducing the chances of motion sickness. Second, teleporting makes navigating a to-scale VR environment far simpler, easier, and quicker.

After all, if one were to attempt to physically explore a 20,000 square-foot photo-realistic VR workspace, it would, of course, require 20,000 square feet of empty space in the physical world, to say nothing of the requisite time needed to travel by foot from one end to the other, and so forth. If this were how VR worked, the time and space-saving advantages of Virtual Reality Training would be completely lost.

So, anyway, that’s how virtual reality can induce motion sickness — and two big reasons why PIXO VR experiences never have in the three years we’ve been pioneering Virtual Reality Training for enterprise clients.

Have you ever suffered motion sickness after using VR? We invite you to try ours and experience the difference.

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News, Virtual Reality, VR Training

The results are in – and the winner is virtual reality training.

According to a recent study by the University of Maryland, virtual reality training is more effective in recall accuracy than traditional desktop CBT (computer-based training). With a median recall accuracy percentage of 90.48 percent for immersive HMDs – head-mounted (virtual reality) displays – compared to desktop display’s 78.57 percent, the long-awaited study has further validated the efficacy of virtual reality training as a learning tool over traditional e-learning methods.

As the study’s abstract reads:

“Virtual reality displays, such as head-mounted displays (HMD), afford us a superior spatial awareness by leveraging our vestibular and proprioceptive senses, as compared to traditional desktop displays.”

The study’s findings are particularly important for employers in high-stakes verticals, where skills and safety training for workers represents a critical aspect of how those businesses function.

Put in the context of a standard grade scale, at 90+ percent recall, VR training would score in the A-range, while desktop computer training, at a shade below 79 percent, would be stuck back in the C’s.

When managing operations at a construction site, manufacturing plant, oil and gas pipeline, or other heavy industrial environment, a workforce recalling their training and performing their tasks consistently at an “A-level” would mean substantial gains in productivity, efficiency and, perhaps most critically, fewer mistakes that eat away at the bottom line or in worst-case scenarios, could even open the door for potential fines and litigation.

When talking about the ability of trainees and users to retain important information, it’s easy to see how these kind of numbers – an almost 12 percent improvement in median recall and an 8.8 percent improvement in overall recall accuracy – can make a sizable positive impact for enterprise users of VR training technology.

“This data is exciting in that it suggests that immersive environments could offer new pathways for improved outcomes in education and high-proficiency training”, said Amitabh Varshney, professor of computer science at the University of Maryland (UMD) and co-author of the study.

Beyond the findings, the UMD study itself is notable as data on the effectiveness of virtual reality training has been somewhat hard to come by, due to the newness of VR training, the number of variables involved in testing, and the difficulty in arranging for true “apples-to-apples” comparisons of the two learning methodologies, VR and CBT. But the research is finally catching up with the technology and the story it’s telling is a compelling one.

“By showing that virtual reality can help improve recall, it opens the door to further studies that look at the impact of VR-based training modules at all levels – from elementary school children learning astronomy to trauma residents acquiring the latest knowledge in lifesaving procedures,” Professor Varshney continued. “We believe the future of education and innovation will greatly benefit from the use of these new visual technologies.”

It won’t surprise you to learn that we at PIXO VR agree.

Thinking about how Virtual Reality Training could transform your business’ workforce? Reach out to us for a Free Consultation.

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Virtual Reality, VR Training

Training workers in the utility industry can be especially difficult.  Real-world training conditions are complex, dangerous, expensive and hard to simulate.


PIXO has responded to these challenges by developing industry-specific virtual reality modules that provide highly effective approaches for skill and safety training.  


Chicago-based Peoples Gas, for example, employs PIXO’s Gas Meter Safety Inspection VR training module to train field technicians and its 1,600 employees on the myriad range of meter types, installation configurations, and defects.  Trainees are quickly exposed to numerous different scenarios drawn from the millions of possibilities, without having to travel to separate locations and shadow more experienced workers for extended periods of time.


Trainees embark on a virtual route where they locate and report common and uncommon defects, in a lifelike 3D environment. The randomized scenarios provide a unique experience for each user, every time they train. Trainers gain unparalleled visibility of the training process, with access to user management, reporting, and analytics to monitor and measure trainees’ performance and progress over time.





The VR environment provides virtual on-the-job training as workers repeatedly practice responding to varying scenarios.  They use realistic diagnostic tools to check for mechanical defects and gas leaks, and they learn to file accurate and complete reports. The VR modules also train workers on emergency response, meter locating, corrosion activities and safety inspections.


The immersive and highly engaging VR environment can be as fun as a game, while at the same time provide a highly effective way to train workers to reliably perform their critically-important job of ensuring the safety of natural gas installations.

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Virtual Reality, VR Training


















Members of the PIXO VR team visited Concordia University’s Portland, Oregon campus recently to participate in the Emerging Technologies Symposium for Emergency Solutions. Ben Mazza and Erica Schaffel from PIXO VR were invited to join professionals from academia, technology, government, and emergency preparedness to learn and discuss the benefits of integrating virtual reality simulations into their training programs. Representatives from FEMA, the Office of Homeland Security, police and fire departments, and emergency medical teams participated in the event and many took part in the VR training demo.


Intel Corporation’s Mike Premi and Grant Tietje from Pacific Northwest National Laboratory were the keynote speakers at the event, which combined presentations, panel discussions, and interactive demonstrations.

PIXO VR’s demonstration allowed emergency professionals to work in teams to contain a virtual fire caused by an overturned oil truck. The firefighters coordinated their efforts, reacting to the oil spill and ensuing blaze in real time. Since the platform allows emergency personnel to follow established protocols as they work to control crises, responders were able to react realistically to fire, heat, and smoke. The fire also reacted as it would when doused with foam or water, creating a lifelike situation.

Trainers and emergency managers attending the symposium quickly realized the value of virtual reality’s realistic, immersive experience as a low-risk teaching method for firefighters, emergency medical technicians, and other first responders. The dangerous nature of those professions makes it difficult to teach new skills in the field. Virtual reality, augmented reality, and mixed reality simulate crisis conditions without placing emergency responders in jeopardy.

Reactions to the VR training demo were overwhelmingly positive. Emergency personnel were impressed with how real it felt and looked. They praised the attention to detail and visual fidelity. Many noted the importance of realism, especially in exercises trainees would have to perform seventeen or eighteen times to get exactly right.

Firefighters and fire chiefs from all over the country participated in PIXO’s three-minute immersive simulation. Tony Fletcher, Division Chief of Training of the Vancouver, WA fire department said, “While invaluable, traditional hands-on training exposes participants to injury, and is often too expensive to repeat. The value of virtual reality training like PIXO’s is that it exposes participants to realistic experiences without putting them in danger, and it’s extremely easy and cost effective to repeat.”


PIXO VR’s Erica Schaffel preps a first responder for the VR training demo. (Photo courtesy PIXO VR)

 

The challenge, danger, and cost in recreating realistic emergency situations in the field make virtual reality training even more valuable. First responders are constantly learning new skills and striving to maintain their current ones to certify or recertify in their positions. The ability to practice newly-learned procedures without danger and expense will maintain proficiency and build muscle memory. That means when a firefighter faces a real burning building or overturned oil truck, their response will be second nature.

Concordia University’s symposium brought together representatives from different emergency management agencies to discover new technologies that will ultimately make their jobs safer and easier.

It was a great opportunity to meet the people who perform these dangerous, life-saving jobs and show them a safer way to train.


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Virtual Reality, VR Training

 

 

 













If you’ve ever seen Ron Howard’s 1995 film, Apollo 13, you’ll recognize the phrase “failure is not an option.” In the film, Ed Harris plays NASA flight director, Gene Kranz, and the quote refers to the accident in the 1970 Apollo 13 lunar mission and NASA’s efforts to get the men home safely. Taken in context, the statement makes sense. Of course, Kranz does not want to fail. What flight director wants to lose his men?


Taken in the context of training personnel for dangerous situations; however, the phrase should be, “failure IS an option.” Mistakes, misjudgment, and failure are teaching tools. Getting things wrong while practicing helps people get things right when real problems arise. It’s the reason troops drill over and over before heading out to the field. It’s also the reason schools conduct fire drills. When kids know the procedure ahead of time, they don’t panic when faced with an actual emergency.


Training is positive and making errors while training is natural, but people are still injured and killed in training accidents. What if there were a way to train for dangerous situations without risking injury or death? Many consider virtual reality solely as a platform for gaming. It is used in games, but virtual reality training is also a risk-free way for firefighters to practice their approach to a wildfire. It’s also a safe method for nuclear engineers to perform emergency or even everyday procedures without entering the reactor.

PIXO VR has devised safe, multi-platform virtual reality software that enables people in dangerous jobs to train safely. Our AAA gaming quality visuals place each user IN the appropriate environment. This immersion training allows the trainee to be there—in the fire, the gas leak, or the battle—without leaving headquarters. Trainees in these lifelike scenarios act and react in real time, learning what works and what doesn’t. Squads drill together, often performing different tasks, to practice working as a team. Preparation like this builds muscle memory and confidence without danger.  

 

 

What does PIXO’s virtual reality software mean for first responders? It means they get the training they need to deal with life-threatening conditions and they get to go home at the end of the day.

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Virtual Reality, VR Training

Essential Insights on AR in a Transforming World

 

Artificial Reality could be the one device to disrupt the world of technology. It is opening new opportunities that will transform business, lifestyle and reality itself. Our AR research can help you understand this power, and explore the impact to almost every industry.

 

A Robust AR Market is Already Taking Shape

 

Investments in the AR market are growing. Consumers are showing interest in AR, and industry leaders recognize their enthusiasm as a potential opportunity for growth.

VC Investments in AR

Target Audiences

 

Growth is Expected to Be Outsized

 

As millions of projected users embrace AR, products and services will need to adapt. But as with most transformative technologies, adoption will be a curved line, not straight.

Size of Global VR Market by 2022
VR Users count
 

The Impact on Industries is Far Reaching

 

Across industries, AR will change how products are created and delivered, which could translate into increased productivity and operational efficiencies.

 
Retail

Retail

8 OUT OF 10 CONSUMERS ARE INTERESTED IN USING VR SERVICES5

Healthcare

Healthcare

VIRTUAL REALITY SIMULATIONS CAN REDUCE SURGICAL PLANNING TIME BY 40%6

Manufacturing

Manufacturing

AR PLATFORMS CAN PROVIDE 25% IN COST SAVINGS IN INSTALLATION OF EQUIPMENT7

 

Understand the Differences of Artificial Reality

 

Virtual reality (VR)

Users enter fully immersive digital reality

Blocks out the user’s natural surroundings

Augmented reality (AR)

Text, sound, graphics or video is superimposed atop the physical world

Users see synthetic light bouncing off real objects

Mixed reality (MR)

Real and virtual objects are integrated into real space

Virtual objects are meant to look believable

 

Read Our Research on AR

 
For More Insights, Read the report

For a deeper look into this emerging trend, read Future Reality: VR, AR & MR Primer, part of our Transforming World series.


This article was originally posted by Bank of America. You can find the original article here: https://www.bofaml.com/ar/augmented-and-virtual-reality-market.html?cm_mmc=GCB-Integrated-_-Google-PS-_-vr-_-Non%20Brand%20Virtual%20Reality%20Phrase%20-%20VR%20Phrase&gclid=CMDQwcecvtQCFcWZMgodezkHMw&gclsrc=ds

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Virtual Reality, VR Training

Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) have the potential to become the next big computing platform, according to Goldman Sachs Research.

In the first report from a new Profiles in Innovation series, Goldman Sachs Research examines how VR—which immerses the user in a virtual world—and AR—which overlays digital information onto the physical world—can reshape existing ways of doing things, from buying a new home to interacting with a doctor or watching a concert.

Download an excerpt [30 pages] of the report below. You can also watch a video preview of the research featuring lead author Heather Bellini.


This article was originally posted by Goldman Sachs. You can find the original article here: http://www.goldmansachs.com/our-thinking/pages/virtual-and-augmented-reality-report.html


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