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US Fire Administration Advocates The Use Of VR For Firefighter Training

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An average of 11 firefighters have died every year since 2008 during training sessions; VR could help reduce those numbers.

Between 2008 to 2019, 110 firefighters lost their lives during routine training sessions that involved putting out real fires, climbing ladders, hauling heavy equipment, and performing other essential parts of the job that a firefighter would have to do during an actual emergency.

In response to these surprising numbers, a recently published article on The US Fire Administration’s (USFA) training and development page called “Coffee Break Bulletins”, advocates for the use of VR training to help keep firefighters safe during daily training sessions.

The article, entitled Virtual Reality May Save Firefighters Lives, dives into the benefits of VR training, explaining how trainees are able to experience unique and dangerous situations impossible of too expensive to replicate in a real-life training session. It also looks at how VR allows users to face incredibly dangerous situations without the risk of any real-world consequences.

Firefighters around the country have been incorporating VR into their training plans for some time. The Cosumnes Fire Department, for example, has been putting new recruits through VR training regiments designed to simulate dangerous California wildfires, while other departments have begun using immersive technology to prepare staff for a wide range of situations, including kitchen and submarine fires. 

In addition to VR, several departments have begun incorporating various haptic technology to enhance their training experiences, such as special suits that emit heat based on the virtual training and nozzle systems that match what you see in VR to create realistic force feedback. For practical on-the-job assistance, companies such as Qwake are in the process of developing AR-enhanced helmets which allow operators to see through thick smoke.

According to USFA, a division of FEMA, 70% of training-related deaths are due to stress and overexertion. The other 30% comes from falls, vehicle collision, self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) failure, or environmental exposure. 

In USFA’s report, the author writes, “While many of these may be attributed to personal health issues, the majority comprise a senseless loss of life. If you are a training officer looking for a practical, safe alternative to dangerous live fire scenarios, take a look at virtual reality training.”

By putting firefighters into VR, they are able to control and eliminate all of the dangerous elements of training while still providing them with the knowledge and experience that will keep them safe during a real emergency. 

The report also breaks down the benefits of VR training:

  • Safe training environments with 360 degree views.
  • Less wear and tear on personal protective equipment (PPE) and response equipment.
  • First-line equipment remains available in its response area.
  • Create VR 3D spaces from photographs and video of actual buildings in the response area.
  • Repeat after-action response scenarios.
  • Training anytime/anywhere.
  • Improve safety inspections and 3D visualizations of buildings within first-due areas. This gives the ability for walkthroughs and “what if” scenario development.
  • VR technology allows you to keep the learner immersed and present in the moment.

One company that specializes in firefighter training using VR technology is Flaim Systems. Their special firefighter trainer simulator is the first to use both VR and haptic technology through an HTC Vive Pro, heat suit, breathing apparatus, hose with haptic technology, and scenario software. The entire system can be set up in 10 minutes and can be easily integrated with current firefighter protective equipment.

Though the USFA does advocate for VR training, the organization is hesitant to endorse its use at all departments. While VR technology will no doubt drastically cut the cost of real-life training, there are still certain procedures and scenarios which can’t be replicated in VR, at least not as effectively.

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Source: https://vrscout.com/news/us-fire-administration-vr-firefighter-training/

AR/VR

From Environmental to Social: XR Tackles Global Issues

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As part of the VRFocus Awards – the largest ever survey on the VR/AR market -, VRDays Europe has been chosen to be the ambassador of one of the categories: ‘Global Impact Award’. Even more this year, VRDays tackles the future of XR and how immersive tech shapes the world of tomorrow.

VRDays Europe 2020

VRFocus introduces the ‘Better-Than-Reality Awards’

Have you always wanted to bring a VR/AR experience to light? VRFocus is giving you the opportunity to speak out! The virtual reality specialist website created the VRFocus Awards, the largest ever survey on the VR/AR market. “No judges, no committees, no bullsh*t”. Users have got the power. 

Best game, most promising startups, top influencer, favourite hardware… Altogether, 6 awards will be delivered. VRFocus asks its readers to vote for the best XR content of the year 2020. No industry professionals will be selected for the final vote. It’s up to us! VRFocus has listed nominations, but also offers the possibility to fill in an open entry section. This is the time to promote new projects and companies.

VRDays Europe – ambassador of Global Impact Award

In order to help promote the awards, VRFocus has chosen a selection of industry ambassadors for each category, encouraging “their VR fans to make their voices heard”. VRDays is one of the lucky ones! The XR international event from Amsterdam is the official ambassador of the Global Impact Award. 

For six years now, VRDays has been about: Business, Science and Art. But this year is special, and VRDays wants to make a difference. For its 6th edition, VRDays is exploring new horizons and taking up emerging challenges. This year, VRDays is about how immersive technologies are shaping the world of tomorrow. How can they help build a better future?

From environmental to social, XR tackles global issues the society is facing today. More and more, immersive technologies are used for sensibilization. Showing the past, present and future as a way to open people’s minds and find solutions to preserve the beauty and uniqueness of our world. XR is a powerful tool to tell meaningful stories.

VRDays Europe

Shaping the world of tomorrow

This year, more than ever, VRDays Europe wants to show how much immersive technology can make a difference. From November 4th to 6th, visionary XR experts will discuss how virtual reality has an important impact today and is becoming a valuable tool to build new perspectives for our future. Together, let’s explore new horizons – at the most immersive event of 2020.

Source: https://www.vrfocus.com/2020/10/from-environmental-to-social-xr-tackles-global-issues/

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New Japanese PlayStation VR Bundles to Include Camera Adaptor for PlayStation 5

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Sony Interactive Entertainment’s (SIE) next-gen console, the PlayStation 5 is due to launch in a month and while most details have been released including a recent teardown, one piece of information is still missing; how to get the PlayStation Camera Adapter. Unless you’re in Japan, with a couple of new bundles confirmed to include the device.

PlayStation 5

Over on the Japanese PlayStation Blog the site has announced two new PlayStation VR bundles which will go on sale from next Thursday, 29th October 2020. A ‘Variety Pack’ will offer the headset, PlayStation Camera, PlayStation Move controllers and four videogames (Astro Bot Rescue Mission, PlayStation VR Worlds, Everybody’s Golf VR and Ryan Marks Revenge Mission).

The other is an entry-level bundle with the headset, camera and PlayStation VR Worlds. Crucially, customers who buy either of these deals will be given the PlayStation Camera Adapter free at the time of purchase. Even if they don’t buy these particular bundles, customers buying a PlayStation VR after the 29th October will still be given the adapter free of charge.

However, SIE has yet to confirm how current owners either in Japan or the West go about applying for the free adapter. With the weeks quickly ticking away the chance of playing VR on the new hardware on launch day could be in doubt.

PlayStation VR third anniversary

Why all the fuss about the adapter? Well, it’s down to two reasons. Firstly, PlayStation 5 doesn’t have the correct port for the older camera and rather oddly, the new HD Camera doesn’t support PlayStation VR. So without said adapter, it’s impossible to switch your VR gaming to the new console. Luckily, when you have it most VR titles are supported by PlayStation 5, only two aren’t – Crytek’s Robinson: The Journey and DWVR by Mad Triangles.

When details regarding how to get the PlayStation Camera Adapter are released, VRFocus will let you know.

Source: https://www.vrfocus.com/2020/10/new-japanese-playstation-vr-bundles-to-include-camera-adaptor-for-playstation-5/

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Qualcomm’s XR Enterprise Program Doubles Membership, Includes Holoride, OssoVR & Talespin

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Qualcomm has been heavily invested in the XR industry since the early days, creating platforms like Snapdragon XR2 as well as its XR Enterprise Program (XEP) initiative last year. Today, the company has revealed that membership for the programme has doubled in the last twelve months, with over 30 new members joining.

Talespin
Image credit: Talespin

Qualcomm XEP is designed to help accelerate the adoption of virtual and augmented reality (VR/AR) technology by bringing together various solution providers from industries including architecture, aerospace, automotive, entertainment, food & beverage, healthcare, pharmaceutical, transportation, travel and many more.

Inaugural members included collaboration platform Spatial, education specialist VictoryXR and VRtuoso which helps businesses create immersive presentations. Joining this roster is SpringboardVR a software distribution platform for location-based entertainment (LBE), holoride which is putting VR entertainment into cars, surgical training platform Osso VR and workplace training solution company Talespin.

“We are all in on our commitment to driving the XR industry forward on a global scale, while simultaneously advancing XR technology for the enterprise,” said Brian Vogelsang, senior director of product management, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. in a statement. “We are incredibly proud of
what our Qualcomm XEP members have accomplished in the first year and are confident this collection of innovators will be a key component in meeting the increased demands in enterprise for collaboration and remote work, skills training, education and learning, data visualization, and health and wellness solutions.”

Osso VR - headset
Image credit: Osso VR

“holoride is extremely proud to have entered the Qualcomm XEP, as Qualcomm Technologies is a critical player in understanding what is necessary to ensure holoride readiness for both headsets and vehicles,” said Marcus Kuehne, CXO and co-founder of holoride. “Most consumers feel as though their time in the car is currently wasted. Our mission is to
change that with XR technology that provides passengers a way to be entertained, to learn and to even be more productive while getting from A to B.

New members of Qualcomm XEP:

  • Accenture
  • AppliedVR
  • Atheer
  • CoLearn VR
  • DataMesh
  • DengXian VR
  • Dyadmed
  • Exxar
  • Flow Immersive
  • Healium
  • Holoride
  • HypnoVR
  • Imaginate Technologies
  • ImmersiveRehab
  • Incontext Solutions
  • Jingteng Tech
  • Joinpad
  • Masters Of Pie
  • Maxst
  • MotusXR
  • OssoVR
  • PTC
  • Rescape ME
  • SIM8
  • Springboard VR
  • Talespin
  • UltimateCare
  • Virti
  • Virtuleap
  • VR Education Holdings / Engage
  • Xpllore

Expect lots more Qualcomm announcements in the months to come as more devices using the Snapdragon XR2 5G platform are unveiled. When those occur, VRFocus will let you know.

Source: https://www.vrfocus.com/2020/10/qualcomms-xr-enterprise-program-doubles-membership-includes-holoride-ossovr-talespin/

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