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Fire fighting VR training can save lives

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Health and safety is paramount in fire fighting. But live training exercises are dangerous and put lives at risk. According to the US Fire Administration, VR is the answer

Quick read

➨ USFA recently highlighted VR training as “a practical, safe alternative to dangerous live fire scenarios” that cost the lives of 110 firefighters between 2008 and 2019
➨ ‘Off the shelf’ VR equipment and apps can be adopted for use in the fire service with a low entry cost. At a higher price point, enterprise business VR solutions and custom software for emergency services are available that will provide a robust VR system
➨ VR training solutions for fire fighting range from the ultra realistic, aimed at putting trainees through simulations that are as close to the real thing as possible, to softer introductions covering the basics

The story

VR training has received a glowing recommendation from the US Fire Administration (USFA).

USFA, a division of the Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency dedicated to supporting and strengthening fire and emergency medical services, recently highlighted VR training as “a practical, safe alternative to dangerous live fire scenarios” that cost the lives of 110 firefighters between 2008 and 2019.

VR is “raising the bar in firefighter training while helping save lives and conserve valuable resources”, according to USFA. Its chief advantage is enabling training for incidents that cannot easily be replicated or may be very costly to recreate, not to mention eliminating the hazards involved in live training.

Other benefits include less wear and tear on personal protective and response equipment, which can also be left where it’s needed when responding to incidents.

VR also allows for the development of training scenarios using actual locations. They can be reused, provide training by repetition, and offer the opportunity for walkthroughs and ‘what if’ scenario development.

USFA went on to explain the options available to fire and emergency medical services interested in adopting VR for training.

‘Off the shelf’ VR equipment and apps can be adopted for use in the fire service with a low entry cost. At a higher price point, enterprise business VR solutions and custom software for emergency services are available that will provide a robust VR system.

“Critical” to the use of VR is the quality, according to USFA. Sound and visual quality with intuitive interactions creates “the truly immersive experience”.

Fire fighting is an ideal application for training in VR, where seasoned personnel and new recruits can practice strict processes designed to save lives in relative safety and at a significantly lower cost to their employers.

VR training solutions for fire fighting range from the ultra realistic, aimed at putting trainees through simulations that are as close to the real thing as possible, to softer introductions covering the basics.

FLAIM Trainer is a high-end solution for fire departments. The simulator provides an immersive, VR environment combined with a haptics feedback system, breathing apparatus and heated personal protective clothing.

UK-based RIVR has developed several VR training solutions for firefighters, ranging from scenes for investigators to learn how fires begin and spread, to recreations of California wildfires so that new recruits at the Cosumnes Fire Department can visualise and experience how fires in the wilderness develop.

More recently, Vobling, the enterprise-focused subsidiary of Nordic XR company Bublar, launched VR Fire Trainer on Oculus Quest for emergency training in businesses.

VR Fire Trainer is a mobile, easy-to-use off-the-shelf programme, targeting businesses in need of readily accessible VR fire emergency training. Vobling developed the progenitor for the first-of-its-kind simulator for Oculus Quest in partnership with Vy Group, one of the largest transport groups in the Nordic region, last year.

Ole Johnny Haugen, head of development at Vy, echoed USFA’s focus on the safety benefits of training in VR in an interview with VRWorldTech.

He said: “VR simulation is very useful for this kind of training in many different ways. It gives us the opportunity to train in a safe environment. There are no real flames or smoke that could harm the trainee or instructors.”

“VR also gives us the opportunity to train in a simulation that is as close to the real life experience as possible. It is nearly impossible for us to create this kind of realistic scenario in real life. With the use of VR, we can develop scenarios with both flames and smoke in our own recognisable trains. It also gives us the possibility to focus training specifically on what we need.”

“We can develop our own scenarios so that they focus on different risks.”

Whether you represent a fire department working on the front line to fight fires and save lives, or a business where the threat of fire is a real risk, there are multiple VR solutions available to effectively train your employees.

Let VRWorldTech know what you think via Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook or editor@vrworldtech.com.

Main image: Top, FLAIM Trainer, and bottom, an expert from the International Association of Arson Investigators goes through one of six RiVR Investigate burn scenarios

Source: https://vrworldtech.com/2020/07/27/fire-fighting-vr-training-can-save-lives/

AR/VR

Unity announces plans to release experimental version of Unity OpenXR early next year

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In Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality and Mixed Reality News

October 24, 2020 – Unity Technologies, a leading platform for creating and operating interactive, real-time 3D content, has recently announced that it plans to have early previews of its support of OpenXR on some platforms as early as the end of this year (Unity 2020 release cycle). The company noted that it has been closely monitoring the development of the OpenXR standard, and has accelerated its efforts to enable OpenXR in Unity.

OpenXR is an open standard created by the Khronos Group, aimed at simplifying augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR) development by allowing developers to seamlessly target a wide range of AR/VR devices. Unity is a member of the Khronos Group and is an active contributor to the OpenXR standard.

In a blog post on the announcement, Matt Fuad, Sr. Technical Product Manager, AR/VR at Unity, commented: “We’re at an inflection point now, where OpenXR 1.0 has been ratified and OpenXR runtimes by various vendors are reaching maturity. This inflection point has accelerated our efforts to enable OpenXR in Unity. Though we’re still working through some details, we want to reiterate our commitment to OpenXR and are excited to share our latest plans.” 

As OpenXR becomes the primary backend for many platforms, Unity added that it is working with its partners to ensure full Unity support of their OpenXR runtimes, along with the necessary OpenXR extensions to ensure parity with existing features. The company stated that its development efforts and support will be focused on providing the best developer experience on Unity supported platforms.

Furthermore, by enabling OpenXR support on partner platforms, it affords Unity the ability to make support widely available for other OpenXR runtimes/devices. Early next year, the company plans to release an experimental version of Unity OpenXR that works with other conformant OpenXR runtimes based on the OpenXR 1.0 specification. Of course, the company clarified that given the unbounded combinations of possible hardware/software configurations, it will not be able to test or guarantee that all configurations will work optimally. However, as issues are discovered with runtimes, Unity stated that it will work to contribute conformance tests and specification changes back to the Khronos working group to help the community as a whole. Additionally, the company will also make sure that it is clear to developers which platforms have been fully tested and thus supported by Unity.

Fuad added: “Our mission is to make it as easy as possible for developers to take their content to the widest set of desired platforms. OpenXR is an important part of that story, and will be implemented as a part of our XR plug-in framework (XR SDK).”

This means developers will be able to continue using Unity’s suite of XR workflows and frameworks (AR Foundation, XR Interaction Toolkit, Unity MARS) for platforms that adopt OpenXR, as well as platforms that may choose not to adopt it.

Unity noted that it will be announcing more updates over the coming months. For more information on OpenXR, please visit the Khronos Group’s website.

Image credit: Unity Technologies / Khronos Group

About the author

Sam Sprigg

Sam is the Founder and Managing Editor of Auganix. With a background in research and report writing, he covers news articles on both the AR and VR industries. He also has an interest in human augmentation technology as a whole, and does not just limit his learning specifically to the visual experience side of things.

Source: https://www.auganix.org/unity-announces-plans-to-release-experimental-version-of-unity-openxr-early-next-year/

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AR/VR

Competition: Win Either Angry Birds VR or Acron: Attack of the Squirrels! for Oculus Quest

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It’s coming up to the season of giving and what better way to start the celebrations early than with a competition where you can win some videogames. Today’s giveaway is a double bill, with Resolution Games’ Angry Birds VR: Isle of Pigs and Acron: Attack of the Squirrels! up for grabs.

Angry Birds VR

Rovio’s iconic Angry Birds franchise came to VR in 2019 with a selection of core levels which have been expanded upon over time. One of the major updates to the bird flinging experience was the addition of a level builder late last year, followed by online sharing to massively enhance the gameplay possibilities.

Acron: Attack of the Squirrels! on the other hand, is a purely multiplayer experience. One person is in VR controlling a tree trying to protect its golden acorns from a bunch of thieving squirrels. All the squirrels are controlled by players on mobile devices – via a free app – who are able to select characters with particular traits such as burrowing short distances underground. All making for a fast and entertaining party game.

Most recently, Resolution Games released a Halloween update for both titles, adding new levels as well as spooky themes to get into the spirit of the season as a lot of developers like to do.

Acron: Attack of the Squirrels

So onto the competition. VRFocus has got six codes to give away, three for Angry Birds VR: Isle of Pigs and three for Acron: Attack of the Squirrels, both for the Oculus Quest platform. There are multiple ways to enter the giveaway with the standard prize draw entry rules applying: Follow us (or already be following us) on Twitter or alternatively, visit our Facebook page or YouTube channel to get an entry for each. Winners will receive a single randomly drawn code. The competition will be open until 11.59 pm GMT on Monday 26th October 2020. The draw will be made shortly thereafter.

Win Angry Birds VR or Acron: Attack of the Squirrels!

Source: https://www.vrfocus.com/2020/10/competition-win-either-angry-birds-vr-or-acron-attack-of-the-squirrels-for-oculus-quest/

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AR/VR

Sayduck enters three-year license agreement with Forms+Surfaces to create 3D product models for AR visualization

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In Augmented Reality News 

October 23, 2020 – Bublar Group has announced that its subsidiary Sayduck has expanded its collaboration with one of its oldest customers and entered into a three-year licence agreement with design and manufacturing company Forms+Surfaces based in the US.

The new assignment will consist of Sayduck building an online 3D configurator for over 80 of Forms+Surfaces’ different furnishing products for public spaces. Forms+Surfaces designs and manufactures architectural products used in public spaces, from walls and elevator interiors to site furnishings and lighting.

According to Bublar, the 3D configurator will make it possible to realistically present complex products that come in a multitude of variations and combinations that typically are not easily showcased online. It will also allow Forms+Surfaces customers to visualize product selections in augmented reality (AR), a core feature of the Sayduck Platform.

“We are truly excited about our continued collaboration with Sayduck. We knew that we were only scratching the surface as far as business opportunities when Forms+Surfaces introduced the AR technology to architects and designers for select products back in 2013. This new 3D configurator project is a natural extension of our digital outreach, helping streamline the specification process of our entire outdoor product line for our customers,” commented Jeffrey Stork, President, Forms+Surfaces, Inc.

Examples of Forms+Surfaces’ products

Earlier assignments from Forms+Surfaces have included an AR-enabled iOS app. In addition, Sayduck states that it has created multiple products as simpler, non-configurable items in the past.

Commenting on the agreement, Niklas Slotte, Managing Director at Sayduck, said: “I am very happy that we have gained continued trust from one of our oldest customers. We have had a strong collaboration for more than seven years and with this agreement we will develop our partnership even further.”

Bublar added that Sayduck’s strategy is to help product manufacturers and e-commerce companies to showcase and present their products in more immersive ways. The Sayduck Platform allows companies to create unique web 3D and AR experiences for their customers, helping to drive product engagement and customer confidence.

For more information on Sayduck and its 3D Configurator product, please visit the company’s website.

Image credit: Sayduck / Forms+Surfaces

About the author

Sam Sprigg

Sam is the Founder and Managing Editor of Auganix. With a background in research and report writing, he covers news articles on both the AR and VR industries. He also has an interest in human augmentation technology as a whole, and does not just limit his learning specifically to the visual experience side of things.

Source: https://www.auganix.org/sayduck-enters-three-year-license-agreement-with-formssurfaces-to-create-3d-product-models-for-ar-visualization/

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