Fundamental VR Is Offering A Free Ventilator Course For Health Professionals
The medical simulation company has collaborated with Imperial College to train the skills to ventilate COVID-19 patients.
There is an unprecedented demand for ventilators due to the coronavirus pandemic, yet the physical machines are really only part of the equation.
In the United Kingdom, the country’s National Health Service (NHS) is having to quickly redeploy doctors and nurses from other disciplines as well as those coming out of retirement to provide support in the Intensive Care Units.
To help medical staff (re)acquire the necessary skills to do that, FundamentalVR, a start-up that develops immersive simulations to train surgeons, has worked with Imperial College London and Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust to develop an online tool that allows medical professionals, to gain the key knowledge they need to properly ventilate patients in around 30 minutes.
The program, which consists of short how-to videos and educational graphics, is being rolled out at Imperial College London prior to its deployment nationally and internationally to help combat Covid-19.
“It takes years to specialize a clinician in intensive care; while this new training course is not designed to replace this expertise, it will enable health systems across the world to act now and provide the care that their patients desperately need,” says project lead Professor Ara Darzi, co-director of the Institute of Global Health Innovation at Imperial College London. “With greater capacity, we can help more people survive this illness, and prevent health systems from becoming overwhelmed during this crisis,” he added.
FundamentalVR is also helping hospitals with another impact of the COVID-19 situation, as student surgeons are seeing their studies interrupted as hospitals are reserved for essential care. With non-urgent surgeries cancelled, the company, based out of London and Boston, recently made its Fundamental Surgery platform multiuser. This allows students to exercise their skills at home while in isolation using the company’s @HomeVR system which was launched two weeks ago for standalone VR headsets such as Oculus Quest and HTC Vive Focus Plus. Other VR medical training platforms, such as Oxford Medical Simulation, have also been aiding in the fight against COVID-19, offering its free medical training platform free-of-charge to hospitals and facilities across the U.S., Canada, and U.K.
It allows students and teachers to join each other in the virtual OR, where they can interact, ask questions, view each other’s procedures and get feedback all done remotely and safely. This remote system is also currently live at Imperial College London and a dozen @HomeVR headsets have been sent at the request of a New York teaching hospital. The procedures available are being phased in for existing customers starting with Total Hip Arthroplasty (Anterior Approach).
Fundamental Surgery has been deployed with medical institutions around the world, including Mayo Clinic and UCLA in the U.S., UCLH in the U.K. and Sana in Germany. Their hardware-agnostic software solution fuses Cutaneous (tactile vibration) and Kinesthetics (force feedback & position) haptic technologies. The platform, which can be optimized for different stages of the learning process, mimics the physical cues of surgical actions, medical tools, and tissue variations.
Studies have shown that this aids learning in helping trainees develop the muscle memory essential for surgical skills. The platform utilizes off-the-shelf hardware (PCs/laptops, VR headset and haptic arms), making it less than a tenth of the cost of current learning practices.
The platform’s data dashboard tracks hundreds of data points to provide a high level of analysis to course directors or trainees.
Every user interaction is measured and recorded, such as surgical gaze, respect for tissue and efficiency of movement, widely connected with surgical proficiency, to provide accurate real-time feedback all within a single display that can be accessed anywhere by any device, which again lends itself nicely to the new normal of remote learning and working which is likely to persist in the coming months.
“When COVID-19 struck we were delighted to work with the team at Imperial College London on the rapid development of this important Ventilator Trainer and are pleased to see it roll out to help build confidence and competence with Healthcare professionals at this challenging time,” concludes Richard Vincent, CEO and Co-Founder of FundamentalVR, saying this is a good example of how technology companies are coming together to support the work of healthcare professionals and work through the many challenges presented by the pandemic.
Image Credit: Getty Images / FundamentalVR
VR sharks doo doo doo doo doo doo!
The viral children’s song “Baby Shark,” ranked on the Billboard Hot 100 list for 20 straight weeks, the first Korean non-pop song to do so. Collectively the Pinkfong YouTube channels have garnered over 27 billion views and more than 53 million followers, becoming one of the hottest child-friendly entertainment platforms in the world.
Since 2015, Smart Study’s Pinkfong has continued to expand its brand through toys, games, books, and various other innovative collaborations. With many families actively looking for more fun ways to stay entertained while under lockdown, Pinkfong thought what better time to launch Baby Shark VR Dancing and Baby Shark Handwash Challenge, two new interactive VR & AR experiences perfect for keeping younger ones entertained in their favorite musical content while teaching them the importance of proper hygiene?
Baby Shark VR Dancing
Swim with the Baby Shark family! The Baby Shark VR Dancing game, created by VAR Live International Limited, gets families swimming, dancing, and singing along with the Baby Shark family in a wonderfully-charming inside their magical underwater world.
Players are equipped with a powerful bubble blaster and sent on a mission to save the Baby Shark family from the clutches of a naughty octopus. Grab your blaster, take aim, and keep blasting until the Baby Shark family is “safe at last” doo Doo doo doo doo!
Baby Shark VR Dancing was expected to arrive on SteamVR compatible headsets today, though at the time of this writing the experience remains unavailable for purchase. According to the developer, support for other platforms and additional content are currently in the works.
Baby Shark AR Handwash Challenge
In an effort to help educate kids and families on the importance of proper handwashing, Pinkfong added a hygienic twist to one of its most popular songs, releasing “Wash Your Hands with Baby Shark,” and launching the #BabySharkHandWashChallenge campaign.
As part of the campaign, Meitu teamed up with Pinkfong to create a Baby Shark themed hand-washing filter designed to promote good hygiene and positive habits. The filter has been released on BeautyPlus, Meitu’s flagship photo editing app, which features auto beautification, AR camera filters, and a suite of photo editing tools; available now on the App Store and Google Play.
Meitu and Pinkfong released a total of 11 Pinkfong and Baby Shark themed filters last year, which generated more than 6.5 Million downloads.
With these VR and AR experiences, the Pinkfong Baby Shark brand continues to educate, engage, and inspire kids and families through song and dance.
Image Credit: Pinkfong / Meitu
Celebrate The 50th Anniversary Of Earth Day With EarthXR
Learn how XR technology is changing the world of environmental conservation.
The annual EarthXR event is scheduled to kick-off this week, offering remote event-goers a series of virtual discussions between XR and environmental leaders as well as an online showcase of XR experiences designed to transport viewers to untouched habitats and distant vistas.
Starting tomorrow through April 25th, audiences can immerse themselves in a collection of captivating 360-degree films and virtual panels that shine a much-needed spotlight on numerous conservative efforts. This includes indigenous communities working to protect the world’s biodiversity, scientists creating resilient future cities, researchers exploring how AI technology can be used to protect the rainforest, and NASA astronauts monitoring global climate changes from space, and many other impactful endeavors.
From untouched wildlife and the plights of pollution to the effects of over-consumption and the destruction of the natural world, the ability of XR technology to bring the beauty and carnage of nature to our doorsteps could reignite a sense of urgency to act in the face of another powerful and threatening pandemic – climate change.
With a range of experts from Google, YouTube, HTC Vive, VR for Impact, Habitat XR, Gorillapallooza VR, Predicament of Pangolins, the International Anti-Poaching Foundation, Akashinga, and other influential organizations scheduled to speak over the next few days, I look forward to hearing their thoughts on XR’s future role in protecting our world.
Several noteworthy discussions include “EarthXR: Wild Immersion endorsed by Jane Goodall,” “EarthXR: Ghost Fleet + The Outlaw Ocean,”, and “EarthXR: Virtual Diving with Google Earth’s Filmmakers Underwater Earth”.
Complete programming and information on free registration for EarthxFilm and EarthXR is available online at www.earthxfilm.org.
Image Credit: EarthxFilm
ThirdEye Is Deploying Mixed Reality Smartglasses To Help COVID-19 First Responders
The New Jersey-based company believes its technology could help save lives during the pandemic.
The X2 MR Glasses weigh just 300 grams and claim to be the world’s smallest mixed reality glasses. Nick Cherukuri, CEO of ThirdEye Gen, says the devices can give front-line medical personnel treating COVID-19 patients access to critical life-saving data and communicate with emergency rooms and command centers in real-time.
“A doctor located 100 miles away could see exactly what the medic sees live from the camera point of view of the glasses. So the medic is hands-free, they can still be helping out the patient,” says Cherukuri, explaining that ThirdEye’s remote help platform allows on-the-scene medical professionals to stream what they’re seeing directly to a remote expert and receive live feedback all while remaining hands-free.
The company normally provides immersive hardware and software solutions for enterprise customers in industries such as healthcare, construction, automotive, and manufacturing. Its MR glasses and AR software platforms are currently used by companies like Verizon, Department of Defense, and Boeing.
The pilot scheme is being rolled out by Marcus Hook Trainer and Upper Merion fire departments in Pennsylvania, spearheaded by Congressman Curt Weldon and sponsored by Energy Transfer and Sunoco LP, which are paying for eight pairs of the X2 Glasses.
“This is about protecting the men and women who are on the front lines,” Weldon told 6abc Action News in a recent report adding that his goal was to push the government and corporate sponsors to provide one of these sets off glasses for every fire and rescue unit in America.
The military-grade technology glasses are equipped with a thermal sensor that allows a paramedic, for example, to take a patient’s temperature with a thermal scanner without needing to touch them, generating a thermal heat maps to detect if the patient has a fever.
Another feature Cherukuri mentions is the ability bring up a patient’s relevant medical history automatically through face recognition technology.
This type of hands-free functionality can prove useful in all manner of practical scenarios, including a pandemic situation where it is imperative to minimize how much you touch surfaces. ThirdEye’s MR technology could be helpful in managing the virus spread.
“This is something we feel can help and save people’s lives and also improve efficiency,” said Cherukuri.
The glasses, which run on Android 8.1, feature a 42-degree field of view and are powered by a Snapdragon xR1 Qualcomm processor chip.
The devices also feature a built in SLAM (Simultaneous Localization and Mapping) system with dynamic occlusion, visual odometry tracking, and environment meshing-domination plane detection.
The ThirdEye App Store already has over 500 software developer partners creating AR/MR free and paid applications ranging from B2B to entertainment and gaming. The custom software development tool for the X2 glasses also includes an AR training platform for developers.
The X2 MR glasses are available for pre-order at $1,950 USD. There is also an option to lease the glasses on a two-year program, which spreads the costs in smaller payments.
Image Credit: ThirdEye Gen
Pro NFL Players’ First Endorsement Deal Is A Lineup Of VR Products
“The Lamar Jackson Experience” will include an at-home VR experience, arcade games, and a live activation.
For professional athletes, their image is their brand. Often times the endorsements they make and products they sponsor can be just as important as what they do on the field, perhaps even more so. So when the 2019 NFL MVP decides that the first official endorsement deal of his career will be a suit of custom VR products and activations, you tend to take notice.
Status Pro, a sports technology company specializing in VR and AR-powered coaching and training solutions, has previously worked alongside several NFL teams by helping players practice and prepare for games using their immersive platform. “The Lamar Jackson Experience” will use Status Pro technology to deliver a suit of first-person immersive experiences, including an at-home VR game, a live activation, and several arcade games. According to the company, the platform will be powered by player tracking data in order to create a variety of authentic game scenarios, allowing players to step into the cleats of their favorite pros. Jackson himself was supposedly heavily involved in the strategic planning and development, not to mention its promotion.
“Like most people from my generation I am a huge gamer, and the first time I demo’d the Status Pro experience I was blown away by how realistic and fun it was,” said Jackson in an official release. “Ever since I was a kid, I always wanted to play in the NFL and now that I do, I am excited about sharing my experience with fans and especially kids through this VR gaming platform.”
“Our goal as a company has always been to create experiences powered by player’s data that brings fans as close as they’ve ever been to experiencing what it is like to play professional football,” added Troy Jones, Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder of Status Pro. “We want to accomplish this by aligning ourselves with NFL players and combining their experiences with our platform. Thus, giving them ownership and creative freedom to ensure we bring the most realistic products to market. Lamar Jackson’s unprecedented journey and skill set makes him the perfect partner to assist us in launching this platform. We are excited about sharing his experience with fans worldwide.”
No word yet on an official release date or confirmed platforms, however based on the photo provided it appears as though at least one experience will feature support for the Oculus Quest.
Image Credit: Status Pro / Blachwood LLC: Marcell Pickens, Jr.
Because Pokémon Go wasn’t dangerous enough already.
The amount of money I’d pay for a peek inside the mind of Elon Musk is embarrassing. But can you blame me? The billionaire entrepreneur and CEO of SpaceX and Tesla is easily one of the most interesting—not to mention provocative public figures of our time.
Over the past few weeks Musk has doubled-down on his unpredictable behavior. In a series of slightly-unhinged tweets the billionaire philanthropist playboy claimed he was selling all his physical possessions in preparation for life on Mars, declared Tesla stock prices were “too high“, and compared himself to Deus Ex Machina protagonist, JC Denton; which, by the way, isn’t going so well. More importantly he’s also been downplaying the seriousness of the COVID-19 pandemic, all the while supplying custom ventilators to hospitals free-of-charge. Confusing? Yes. Boring? Definitely not.
Yesterday, Musk’s tweets took a lighter turn when the Tesla CEO reached out to the community in search of a potential AR game for his line of self-driving vehicles:
“Anyone think they can get a good multiplayer Minecraft working on Teslas? Or maybe create a game that interacts virtually with reality like Pokémon Go while driving safely? Like a complex version of Pac-man or Mario Kart?”
What’s most interesting about this request is that Musk appears to be suggesting an AR experience that can be played while the vehicle is in motion, most likely in conjunction with Tesla’s self-driving capabilities. Many Twitter users were quick to point out the obvious risks that come from taking the drivers attention away from the road, even with autopilot activated.
Others were more skeptical of the request altogether, believing it to be a thinly-veiled attempt at buying back some good after his Tesla tweet caused stock prices to plummet.
Whatever the case, it’ll be interesting to see how the community responds to his request. Musk’s tweet has already attracted the attention of various industry professionals, including Nils Wollny, CEO and founder of in-car VR entertainment company Holoride, as well as Minecraft developer Nathan Adams aka “Dinnerbone”.
Image Credit: PinkJava / TechAU
Cheating The Physical World: How AR Allows Retail To Become Digital First
How will modern retail adapt to a post-COVID-19 world?
Retail in early 2020 will see a decade of digital transformation compressed into a year due to COVID. But how can digital replace the physical? We are physical beings. We need physical goods to live our daily lives. There’s no replacing this. But we have been forced into a situation where augmented reality is necessary for us to cheat our physicality.
Today AR is being used from the point of conception all the way to the post-purchase customer experience. It gives us the ability to create and sell physical goods using virtual and digital tools to speed things up.
Driving Online Traffic
To make up for the lack of foot traffic and brick and mortar revenues, retail will have to focus on driving more traffic from digital channels if it wants any chance to stay afloat.
With more people inside, more internet devices, and growing online communities, there are new ways to reach people.
AR experiences are a new form of marketing that can generate buzz around product launches and interest in purchase.
OnePlus just released their new device in an AR unboxing on Instagram.
From a OnePlus forum post:
“We’re using simple AR tech to bring a virtual experience of our new products to the community. We’re launching two AR filters on our Instagram channels. One for the OnePlus 8 and the other for the 8 Pro. These filters are a sweet setup to help you virtually unbox the OnePlus 8 Series at any place and at any time.”
These filters allow for a richer connection between the customer and the product, further communicating the brand or product’s value.
Driving Foot Traffic to Brick and Mortar
For retailers to stay alive following COVID, there will be a great need to get people back into their physical stores. Location-based foot traffic, in-store dwell time, and brick and mortar buying habits have all been thoroughly disrupted. So what are retailers to do?
In-store experiences will be vital in adding value and attracting customers. AR can help here by:
- Having affiliated AR games or experiences that place virtual objects or tasks in store. According to YES Marketing study, 57% of consumers said they were using smartphones and mobile devices to enhance their in-store shopping experience.
- Having specialized AR campaigns that are geofenced in the store like Pokemon Go’s characters are hidden in the real world. This can be discounts that are only revealed through your phone while in store and provided to the customer in a way that communicates the brand in a special way.
What happens to a company that has the most interesting, rich, and mature AR environment designed as a virtual layer in its physical stores? Will they increase dwell time? Will brand loyalists be reinvigorated and stay loyal? Will employees enjoy the working environment more? Will conversion rates for in-store purchases rise?
AR is now essential for the customer buying experience. According to this USA AR survey:
- 72% of customers purchased items they didn’t plan to buy because of AR.
- 71% of customers shopped more when they used AR.
- 61% preferred stores with AR experiences.
The best quality product models in AR are coming from M-XR who have mastered lighting of virtual objects to make them real. For example, the shoe you see below is not really there. Can you tell?
Facebook’s campaign with Michael Kors saw a 14% lift in incremental purchases.
Ikea’s Place AR app is changing how furniture is sold.
Macy’s furniture app increased Average Order Revenue by 60%. And maybe more impressive: shoppers who used VR had less than a 2% return rate on transactions.
AR for Post Purchase
Completing the move to cheat physicality, AR will also transform and become the standard for post purchase product experiences. It can be used for instruction guides, product information, and training. It can also become part of the product experience, further developing a brand’s impact in everyday life.
Assembling furniture and other complex products has been a problem for consumers and brands alike. Beautiful tables in store or in photos are meaningless if you can’t put it together as advertised. Product assembly like the conceptual mobile app called AssembleAR allows people to see the optimal setup and steps for assembling furniture at home once they take the product out of the box:
AR also allows for the spatial layout of information, making it easier for the brain to process individual parts and how they fit together. This can help customer support professionals and technicians better access information they need in the field.
AR and 3D Asset Management
It’s clear that AR is becoming prevalent throughout the product design and purchase journeys. So how can your organization best take advantage of this transformation? Find a team like Shape Immersive to lead you through the journey and help you build your assets and experiences.
- All your physical products should be created in multiple 3D formats and made accessible across the organization.
- A common CMS (content management system) should be employed org wide.
3D Asset Creation
You should create a working group that meets periodically to assess and synthesize your 3D asset activities. 3D artists produce most 3D assets for AR manually. While parametric modelling programs like Revit, AutoCAD or Rhino can be used to quickly generate 3D objects from CAD, STEP, or STL files, no matter which technology is used these initial 3D models will require additional tuning to achieve photorealistic results and highly skilled 3D artists in order to produce the best 3D models.
Bringing together engineers, marketers, designers, software developers, and customer experience leaders will allow you to create cross-functional strategies for best managing your virtual assets.
If you need help selling more with 3D commerce, developing 3D assets for AR and VR, or immersive brand experiences feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Feature Image Credit:
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