Mono: A Kid-Friendly Mixed Reality Device Unleashing Nature’s Wonders

When envisioning augmented or mixed reality, bulky visors may come to mind, but Mono, a revolutionary mixed reality device concept, takes a different approach. Breaking away from traditional headsets, Mono integrates mixed reality into a design reminiscent of a toy magnifying glass, opening up a captivating world of discovery for children. This innovative device overlays virtual creatures, insects, and animals onto real-world objects, allowing kids to experience nature’s wonders in their actual scale and environment.

Unlike conventional virtual experiences that may isolate users in a digital realm, Mono bridges the gap between the physical and digital worlds. The device resembles a magnifying glass, featuring a camera on one side and a screen on the other. Users can bring the screen close to their eyes, similar to using a real magnifying glass, offering an immersive encounter with virtual creatures.

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The Future of Gaming: Mind-Controlled VR and the Evolution of Immersive Experiences

In the dynamic realm of gaming, the future has arrived. With tireless efforts, virtual reality (VR) and neurotechnology companies are uniting science and imagination to create gaming experiences beyond our wildest dreams. Gone are the days of unwieldy and impractical VR headsets; today’s focus is on delivering the utmost in graphics and intuitive controls for an immersive gaming adventure.

To attain this goal, VR tech enterprises are joining forces with neuroscience experts to enhance both the technology and user interaction. At the forefront of their aspirations lies mind-controlled gaming, where brain-computer interfaces (BCIs) empower players to manipulate the game solely with their thoughts. This concept has intrigued researchers for years, recognizing it as the most “naturalistic” way to engage in gaming.

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Virtuix Unveils All-in-One VR Treadmill, Omni One, for Consumers

Virtuix, a pioneer in the VR treadmill space, is back with a new offering for consumers—the Virtuix Omni One. After a decade-long journey, the company aims to bring an all-in-one VR treadmill system to the masses. The Omni One promises to provide an immersive experience by allowing users to run in any direction while exploring virtual worlds.

The original Virtuix Omni treadmill concept took shape in 2013, well before the widespread availability of consumer VR headsets. The idea was simple—to create a treadmill that would sync with VR headsets, enabling users to move freely in the virtual environment. However, turning this vision into reality proved challenging due to the treadmill’s size, weight, and cost, making it more suitable for out-of-home VR attractions than consumer use.

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SCDF Introduces Immersive VR and XR Training for Enhanced Emergency Response

The Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) is taking its training to the next level with the introduction of deeply immersive virtual reality (VR) and extended reality (XR) simulations. Developed in collaboration with the Home Team Science and Technology Agency (HTX) and the National University of Singapore (NUS), the multi-sensory training suits engage four of the five human senses to provide trainees with a realistic and intense experience.

In these cutting-edge simulations, trainees wear VR headsets that transport them to virtual environments, complete with visual and auditory cues. However, the realism doesn’t end there. The suits are equipped with heating elements to replicate the heat from flames and a scent-emitting tube that releases smells associated with different scenarios, such as the smell of burning cars. A replicated spreader cutter with magnets simulates the resistance of cutting through real materials like car metal, providing trainees with tangible feedback during the exercise.

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Mercedes to use Nvidia’s digital twin tech to modernize its factories

Mercedes-Benz is joining the metaverse. Or at least its assembly facilities are.

By Rebecca Bellan

The automaker is one of Nvidia’s latest customers to use Omniverse Enterprise, a software platform used to build and operate metaverse applications. Nvidia said Tuesday ahead of the official kickoff of CES 2023 that Mercedes will use Omniverse to design, plan and optimize its factories. Specifically, Mercedes is preparing to manufacture its new electric vehicle platform at its plant in Rastatt, Germany.

Using Omniverse, the automaker is able to build a digital twin of the factory and simulate new production processes without disrupting existing vehicle production. Nvidia says having a virtual workflow will let Mercedes quickly react to supply chain disruptions and reconfigure the assembly line as needed.

Danny Shapiro, Nvidia’s VP of automotive, told TechCrunch that Mercedes has already been working with Nvidia to test out autonomous vehicle technology in simulation.

“Now what they’re talking about is using our Omniverse technology, bringing that down to the production level, and creating a digital twin of the entire factory,” said Shapiro. “So modeling all the vehicles going through the assembly, all the robots, all the factory workers, and being able to design and plan the production and the assembly plant before it is actually live. And so this is helping them streamline, moving over from an existing A class production into a new generation vehicle.”

A complete factory simulation could help automakers assess potential bottlenecks, create more ergonomic working conditions or determine where a robot might fail to complete a task before the facility actually starts production. Shapiro said Mercedes plans to scale this strategy to its factories globally in the future.

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Diver X, the Startup Behind HalfDrive Headsets, Launches VR Haptic Gloves

ByDisha Chopra

Diver X, a Japanese VR startup that pitched HalfDrive VR Headsets earlier this year, has launched a new Kickstarter campaign for a pair of Diver X VR haptic gloves that contain flexing and compressing membranes to mimic touch sensations. 

The HalfDrive Kickstarter fame saw the light in January as the campaign secured enough cash to be fully funded. However, the Diver X team decided against it and returned the funds as the device that clearly took inspiration from Sword Art Online failed the scalability test. 

Now, the company is back with another Kickstarter campaign with ContactGlove, a pair of Diver X VR haptic gloves that tracks fingers and positions with SteamVR and offers input emulation via buttons. 

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Virtual reality games, eye tracking and machine learning can be used to detect ADHD

By Emily Henderson, B.Sc.

Researchers have used virtual reality games, eye tracking and machine learning to show that differences in eye movements can be used to detect ADHD, potentially providing a tool for more precise diagnosis of attention deficits. Their approach could also be used as the basis for an ADHD therapy, and with some modifications, to assess other conditions, such as autism.

ADHD is a common attention disorder that affects around six percent of the world’s children. Despite decades of searching for objective markers, ADHD diagnosis is still based on questionnaires, interviews and subjective observation. The results can be ambiguous, and standard behavioral tests don’t reveal how children manage everyday situations. Recently, a team consisting of researchers from Aalto University, the University of Helsinki, and Åbo Akademi University developed a virtual reality game called EPELI that can be used to assess ADHD symptoms in children by simulating situations from everyday life.

Now, the team tracked the eye movements of children in a virtual reality game and used machine learning to look for differences in children with ADHD. The new study involved 37 children diagnosed with ADHD and 36 children in a control group. The children played EPELI and a second game, Shoot the Target, in which the player is instructed to locate objects in the environment and “shoot” them by looking at them.

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This Virtual Reality Suite Enables Carmakers in Three Cities to Collaborate

ST Engineering Antycip drives Renault with a VR solution for its teams in India, South Korea and Brazil.

ST Engineering Antycip has partnered with Renault Group to design and integrate a powerful virtual reality suite for one of the world’s largest automotive manufacturers.

Building on the companies’ previous collaborations in the VR world, and after a competitive tender process, ST Engineering Antycip was selected by Renault to develop a collaborative, 4K, powerwall-based solution which could be installed at Renault’s facilities in South Korea, India and Brazil.

“Renault France contacted ST Engineering Antycip as they are a historical client of ours in the automotive industry,” explained Johan Besnainou, ST Engineering Antycip’s regional director for France and Spain, recalling the genesis of the project. “We got involved in the request for a quotation and won the tender thanks to our VR expertise, experience of working to budgets and track record of delivering high-performance AV equipment, as well as our international network of strong local partners, including in South Korea, India and Brazil.”

The trio of installations, in Busan (South Korea), Chennai (India) and São José dos Pinhais (Brazil), utilize three identical systems comprising one powerwall, one high-end 5×2.5-meter screen and one plinth-mounted Christie 4K10-HS laser projector(opens in new tab). A PC cluster, monitor, desk, cabling, 5.1 audio system and wireless presentation hardware (Barco ClickShare) complete the solution, which was entirely sourced, designed and implemented by ST Engineering Antycip.

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Your next job interview could take place in virtual reality

How would you like to have a job interview conducted in virtual reality by a computer?

By Elizabeth Hotson

Going for a job interview is the stuff of nightmares for many people, while for others it is a chance to shine.

Either way you are typically still interviewed by other human beings, either after walking into a scary office with one or more bosses sitting behind a desk, or via an equally nerve-wracking Zoom call.

Yet thanks to advances in artificial intelligence (AI) and virtual reality (VR) technology, you may soon be interviewed for that job you really want… by a computer.

Earlier this year students at Sandwell College in West Bromwich put on VR headsets to do some mock interviews.

Their avatars – cartoon-like, 3D representations of themselves – were put through their paces by another talking avatar representing the AI software system.

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Stable Diffusion VR is a startling vision of the future of gaming

A glimpse into “Real-time immersive latent space.”

By Katie Wickens

A while ago I spotted someone working on real time AI image generation in VR and I had to bring it to your attention because frankly, I cannot express how majestic it is to watch AI-modulated AR shifting the world before us into glorious, emergent dreamscapes. 

Applying AI to augmented or virtual reality isn’t a novel concept, but there have been certain limitations in applying it—computing power being one of the major barriers to its practical usage. Stable Diffusion image generation software, however, is a boiled-down algorithm for use on consumer-level hardware and has been released on a Creative ML OpenRAIL-M licence. That means not only can developers use the tech to create and launch programs without renting huge amounts of server silicon, but they’re also free to profit from their creations.

I was awoken in the middle of the night to conceptualize this projectScottie Fox – Stable Diffusion VR dev

ScottieFoxTTV(opens in new tab) is one creator who’s been showing off their work with the algorithm in VR on twitter. “I was awoken in the middle of the night to conceptualize this project,” he says. As a creator myself, I understand that the Muses enjoy striking at ungodly hours.

What they brought to him was an amalgamation of Stable Diffusion VR and TouchDesigner app-building engine, the results of which he refers to as “Real-time immersive latent space.” That might sound like some hippie nonsense to some, but latent space is a concept fascinating the world right about now. 

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Space Force’s digital push focuses on ‘Spaceverse’

Goal is to create virtual, immersive environments that train Guardians and rapidly develop systems

By Courtney Albon

WASHINGTON — Last fall, the U.S. Space Force gave defense companies an unprecedented look at its initial plan to make missile warning satellites more resilient against potential threats from China.

The business fair was unique in a few ways. It offered industry a deeper understanding of the challenges the service expects to face over the next few decades as adversaries advance space and missile technology and test on-orbit weapons. It also paired that analysis with a roadmap of the capabilities the Space Force thinks it needs to protect against these growing threats — work the service doesn’t typically reveal until much later in the acquisition process.

Perhaps the most significant feature of that October 2021 meeting was that the models it shared with industry to show its analysis of the space environment and the counter-space threats were all digital.

Speaking at the Air and Space Force Conference in National Harbor, Md., last month, Chief of Space Operations Gen. Jay Raymond said the meeting and those models were a first step toward creating what the service calls a “digital thread,” which is essentially a virtual record of a product that continues throughout its lifecycle.

The idea, he said, is for programs to have that thread from the beginning, making it easier to define capability gaps, build a system, test it, inject into a simulated training environment and operate it over time.

“If we do this right, we can take everything from force design to requirements . . . to acquiring the capabilities and testing the capabilities and training our Guardians on those systems — all using the same digital thread,” Raymond said Sept. 20. “That’s nirvana. We’re not close to that. But we’ve taken a good step. We’ve done the digital design, we’re figuring out what that digital requirements process is, and I think it’s going to pay significant dividends for us as we move forward.”

While the thread is central to the Space Force’s vision to be the world’s first fully digital military branch, it’s only one piece. Last May, the service released a vision document that laid out its priorities in this area, which include developing a “digitally fluent” workforce, connecting its field commands in a virtual environment and ensuring that decision-making is informed by data.

Lisa Costa, the Space Force’s Chief Technology and Innovation Officer, told C4ISRNET in an interview that as the service’s leader on implementing this digital vision, her team is focused on three critical areas: creating virtual, immersive environments to train Guardians and develop systems; working with industry to procure digital infrastructure; and identifying future problem sets and capabilities to inform technology and research investments.

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Holograms have previously been mainly restricted to the sci-fi scene, but now that Cisco is introducing them into Webex, they are indeed on the cusp of moving into the real world.

At a recent presentation held at Cisco Toronto’s Innovation Lab, a group of media experienced the Webex Hologram in action, as work on the product continues to the point where there will be a full-fledged launch that delivers what the company describes as “photorealistic, real-time holograms of actual people.”

Aruna Ravichandran, senior vice president and chief marketing officer of Webex, said that “with this particular technology, we now have the ability to basically hologram a live person in regardless of where they are located on the planet. It’s not an avatar, you actually see a live person.”

According to the Webex Hologram fact sheet, a presenter can “share both physical content and digital content that allows users to co-create and truly collaborate.

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