HTX Labs Awarded New Contract Expanding USAF VR Training

HTX Labs

Continuing the trend of virtual reality increasingly being used in work training, HTX Labs was recently awarded a new contract with the US Air Force, expanding their service which trains airmen in various mission and role specific ways using their EMPACT VR platform.

I’m curious whether even if these kinds of simulations aren’t super realistic, that seeing them in 3D and physically acting them out does something to the brain to increase learning, compared to textbooks and videos.

Samsung Display Acquires AMOLED Microdisplay Manufacturer


Samsung’s display manufacturing arm has also acquired, eMagin, a leading producer of AMOLED microdisplays, for $218 million.

This may signal their increased move into the realms of VR and AR, as eMagin recently announced their new Direct Patterning Display technology which allows for incredibly bright OLED microdisplays, which when compared to other VR headsets currently available, are approximately 5 or 6 times more luminous.

A Look Inside Bigscreen’s Tiny Virtual Reality Headset


From video description:

“In this Bigscreen Beyond teardown video, we give a detailed look at its inner workings and showcase what makes it so special.

Bigscreen Beyond, the world’s smallest VR headset. Micro-OLED displays with 2560 x 2560 pixels per eye, custom pancake optics, SteamVR tracking – all in an unbelievably small form factor weighing just 127 grams. And for ultimate comfort, each headset is custom-built for each customer using a 3D Face Scan.”

Spacetop Computer Ditches Screen for AR Glasses


The laptop-like system, designed by Sightful is basically a headless computer, replacing a standard display with AR glasses, which they say looks like a 100inch screen infront of you.

There’s isn’t much more information, though an early access version of the device costs $2000 and is available to 1000 early adopters through their website.

It is a cool concept, but unless they have some new glasses tech I’ve never seen, I would have reservations about the resolution and FoV.

Rollout of 20 Additional Training Simulators at UPS


The trend of VR and AR training simulators in work environments continues, as delivery company UPS recently announced their adding 20 more sites around the US to train their staff.

This includes using both virtual reality and a full sized truck sim to mimic standard operations a driver may encounter, as well as these weird shoes which simulate walking on icy surfaces.

New Prototype for Smelling in Virtual Reality

Yiming Liu et al

A team of researchers from Universities in Hong Kong and China have designed an interesting way to incorporate smell into virtual reality. Unlike existing solutions which usually contain liquids which require regular refilling, this design uses parrafin infused with different scents, and heats them up with a mini electric coil. The more heat applied, the stronger the scent.

They’ve experimented with two versions of this, one as a simple band-aid type design which goes on the top lip, and a more complex mask that emits up to nine scents, which when combined can create roughly 30 separate smells.

Though it’s pretty rough around the edges, it certainly is an interesting concept, and I bet it could be reduced further in size.

Google Unveils New Prototype for Project Starline 3D Display


Google says the newer prototype is a lot smaller than the previous version, taking advantage of recent advancements in AI and Machine Learning to create a live 3D human representation for teleconferencing.

Similar to the Sony spatial reality display I showed a few months ago, the Starline prototype seems to also track the users gaze and head position, so the person they are talking to appears to be sitting across from them instead of on a flat screen.

Motion Capture with Sensor Data from Phone, Watch, Earbuds

Future Interfaces Group

Researchers with the Future Interfaces Group at Carnegie Mellon have developed a way to fairly accurately track body movements in real time, using only a smartphone, smart watch and earbuds.

Called IMUPoser, this system takes inertial measurement unit data from the devices, providing a way to cheaply guess what the body is doing. It can work with all three devices (phone, watch and earbuds), down to just 1, using it’s algorithm to make a best guess on what’s happening.

This could prove a cheap and easily accessible way for users to track their bodies with technology most people already have.

Virtual Desktop Available for More HTC Vive Headsets


The app is now available on the Vive XR Elite and Vive Focus 3, meaning basically all systems and platforms can run it now.

While it’s not groundbreaking news, I think that the VR Desktop concept of creating virtual rooms to play games, watch movies or work is very interesting and an area I am watching closely. I think once these platforms get to a level where real work, collaborations and shared experiences can take place it will be a game changer.

Ikea 3D Product Catalog added to Google Search


The Swedish furniture giant has had some of it’s products available in 3D view on Google for some time, but now they have added their entire catalog of over 10,000 products to search.

Not only that, but now users can press a “View in your space” button to see what the product looks like with augmented reality.