Navigating the Ethical Frontier: Privacy and Trust in the Era of AR/VR Headsets

The Apple Vision Pro promises to transport users into a realm where digital interactions seamlessly intertwine with reality. With an arsenal of cameras, microphones, and sensors, this device enables users to summon apps and navigate virtual landscapes with gestures. However, as the boundaries between physical and digital worlds blur, questions arise regarding data privacy and trust. In the wake of heightened interest in augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR), concerns about the use and protection of sensitive data loom large.

Privacy in the AR/VR Sphere The Apple Vision Pro boasts an impressive array of sensors, including twelve cameras, microphones, gyroscopes, and more. While the sheer number of sensors is noteworthy, privacy experts caution that the real concern lies in the intimate perspective these devices offer into users’ lives. Unlike traditional devices like smartphones, which are not physically attached to users, AR/VR headsets accompany individuals through every moment, raising questions about unintentional data collection and intrusion into private spaces.

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iCub 3 Humanoid Robot Allows Remote Attendance at Events

An innovative humanoid robot, iCub 3, is breaking new ground by enabling users to experience events remotely using haptic feedback gloves and a virtual reality (VR) headset. Weighing 52 kilograms and standing at 125 centimeters tall, the iCub 3 boasts 54 points of articulation, with cameras and sensors strategically placed across its aluminum alloy and plastic body. These sensors send data to the robot’s “brain,” allowing it to replicate sensations on a suit and VR headset worn by a person located hundreds of kilometers away.

Equipped with two cameras in its head resembling human eyes and an internet-connected computer functioning as its brain, the iCub 3 captures visual data and transmits it to the remote operator. The suit worn by the operator also features sensors that pick up their movements, enabling the robot to mirror their reactions. While there may be a slight delay of up to 100 milliseconds in capturing and transmitting visual footage, users can adjust by moving slightly slower than normal.

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Navigating the XR Landscape: The Role of Virtual and Augmented Reality in Modern Workspaces

Jussi Havu, CEO of Glue Collaboration in Helsinki, opens his workweek immersed in a virtual-reality meeting room with 30 colleagues. Glue Collaboration’s mission is to integrate VR into conventional knowledge-work office settings, presenting a compelling business case for the transformative technology.

While initial expectations of XR (extended reality) revolutionizing knowledge-work offices on a broad scale haven’t materialized, XR tech companies like Glue Collaboration emphasize the continued relevance and potential of augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) in the evolving landscape of hybrid work.

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Walt Disney Imagineering Unveils Revolutionary ‘HoloTile’ Floor for Shared VR Adventures

Walt Disney Imagineering has introduced an innovative technology known as the ‘HoloTile’ floor, designed for omnidirectional virtual reality experiences. The creative mind behind this groundbreaking invention is Lanny Smoot, a Disney Research fellow and member of Walt Disney Imagineering’s research and development (R&D) division. This unveiling coincided with Smoot’s induction into the prestigious National Inventors Hall of Fame, making him the first Disney Imagineer to receive this honor and only the second individual from the Walt Disney Company to be recognized—following Walt Disney himself in 2000 for his contributions to the multiplane camera.

Described as the “world’s first multi-person, omnidirectional, modular, expandable, treadmill floor,” the HoloTile floor allows numerous individuals to partake in a shared VR experience, enabling them to walk unlimited distances in any direction without colliding or stepping off the surface. The technology also holds the potential to serve as an insert in theatrical stages, providing a platform for performers to explore new movements or for stage props and structures to move around or seemingly arrange themselves.

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Exploring Human Perception Through Virtual Reality: The Phantom Touch Illusion

Virtual reality (VR) is proving to be more than just a tool for gaming and entertainment; it’s becoming a valuable asset in scientific research and medicine. Researchers at Ruhr University Bochum, Germany, have delved into human perception using VR and uncovered a fascinating phenomenon they describe as a “phantom touch illusion.” Led by Dr. Artur Pilacinski and Professor Christian Klaes from the Department of Neurotechnology, the study sheds light on the intricacies of how our brains interpret virtual interactions with our bodies.

Published in the journal Scientific Reports in September 2023, the study involved subjects interacting with their own bodies using virtual objects in VR scenarios. Surprisingly, the participants reported experiencing a tingling sensation at the exact spot where the virtual object made contact, despite there being no physical interaction. Pilacinski explains, “People in virtual reality sometimes have the feeling that they are touching things, although they are actually only encountering virtual objects.”

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Navigating the Boundaries: AR and VR Contact Lenses Reshape Reality

In the ever-evolving landscape of technology, the line dividing reality from virtuality is progressively blurring. The emergence of augmented and virtual reality (AR and VR) contact lenses serves as a testament to this convergence, ushering in a potential revolution that promises to reshape our daily existence in ways previously unimaginable.

These cutting-edge AR and VR contact lenses stand at the forefront of wearable technology, designed to overlay digital information onto our physical world or submerge us completely within virtual realms. Unlike conventional VR headsets, these lenses offer an immersive experience that seamlessly integrates real and digital elements, enabling users to interact with both realms concurrently.

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Medical students get ready to diagnose and treat patients with realistic 3D virtual simulation

Wolters Kluwer and Body Interact collaborate to build clinical reasoning skills and confidence of medical and PA students with realistic virtual patient simulations, in a safe-to-fail environment.

Wolters Kluwer, Health, a leading global provider of information and point of care solutions for the healthcare industry, has announced a new collaboration with Take the Wind, the company behind the leading digital simulation platform Body Interact, to help expand virtual training tools and resources for medical and physician assistant students. The offering allows students to interact with virtual patients in life-like scenarios, where they are encouraged to assess, order tests, and diagnose in a safe environment. 

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UCLan medical students to use VR technology in classroom

UCLan medical students using the new VR technology at the Burnley campus

Medical students will be using virtual reality headsets to diagnose heart attacks and treat sepsis from the comfort of the classroom.

The University of Central Lancashire will be introducing the technology to Preston, Burnley and Westlakes to allow medical students to diagnose heart attacks, treat sepsis and examine the respiratory system following the development of technology by UK-based Oxford Medical Simulation (OMS).

It allows students studying within UCLan’s School of Medicine to practise treating acutely unwell patients in a simulated, virtual environment without risking patients’ lives.

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NVIDIA Researchers Demonstrate Ultra-thin Holographic VR Glasses That Could Reach 120° Field-of-view

By Ben Lang

A team of researchers from NVIDIA Research and Stanford published a new paper demonstrating a pair of thin holographic VR glasses. The displays can show true holographic content, solving for the vergence-accommodation issue. Though the research prototypes demonstrating the principles were much smaller in field-of-view, the researchers claim it would be straightforward to achieve a 120° diagonal field-of-view.

Published ahead of this year’s upcoming SIGGRAPH 2022 conference, a team of researchers from NVIDIA Research and Stanford demonstrated a near-eye VR display that can be used to display flat images or holograms in a compact form-factor. The paper also explores the interconnected variables in the system that impact key display factors like field-of-view, eye-box, and eye-relief. Further, the researchers explore different algorithms for optimally rendering the image for the best visual quality.

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Osso VR nets $66 million for surgical training

San Francisco’s Osso VR collected $66 million in Series C funding led by Oak HC/FT, the parties tell Axios exclusively. 

Why it matters: Surgical training hasn’t evolved in 30-plus years, but Osso VR is looking to change that by empowering health care professionals with virtual reality. 

Training and assessing surgeons more efficiently can drive up the adoption of modern and hard-to-learn medtech, and democratize surgical education. 

“The innovation from the medical device industry is providing us an incredible opportunity to treat patients much more consistently and with optimized outcomes,” said Justin Barad, Osso’s co-founder and a practicing pediatric orthopedic surgeon. 

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Study suggests VR games may help children better cope with painful medical procedures

by Johns Hopkins University

A recent study by Johns Hopkins Medicine researchers suggests that gameplaying using virtual reality (VR) headsets may provide an engaging and practical distraction therapy for children undergoing painful medical procedures, such as venipunctures. Credit: Public domain, Jessica Lewis

Dealing with a painful medical procedure is difficult for anyone, but often more so if the patient is a child. For example, a venipuncture—the penetrating of a vein for a procedure such as drawing blood or inserting an intravenous tube—may make a young patient anxious or uneasy. Many hospitals, including Johns Hopkins Children’s Center (JHCC), have a dedicated child life services team to help children cope with these procedures, while others depend on more traditional methods of diversions such as toys or books. Now, a recent study by Johns Hopkins Medicine researchers suggests that gameplaying using virtual reality (VR) headsets—if the games are appropriate and carefully chosen for pediatric clinical situations—may be an engaging and practical addition to the list of distraction therapy options.

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The future of remote work is a lot like living in a video game


I didn’t know the closest I’d get to bonding with my coworkers in 2020 would be by strapping a screen to my face. 

I never got to meet the bulk of them — you know, my East Coast work “family” — before lockdown life locked me into the Bay Area. Sure, there was the occasional weekly video chat. But that was really the extent of it. 

“We’ll fly you out for a visit in the New Year,” management told me. That was the plan and I was fine with that. 

Thing is, that New Year — the 2020 that will go down in infamy — brought with it a very unwelcome surprise. (Do I even need to spell it out?) 

Eventually, we all adjusted to our new socially distanced world. Zoom soon became a buzzword even grandmothers knew. Webcams were often out of stock online.  Life became one unending series of scheduled screen time.

Then the novelty wore off, the WFH fatigue set in, the cold winter months approached, and many wondered how we could continue on living and working this way. 

And when would it end?

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