Dmitry Kirillov, president of the VR / AR development company for business and education projects Modum lab.
The technologies of virtual and augmented reality (VR / AR), coming from the games and entertainment industry, are used all in new areas: industrial training, sports and fitness, medicine. All over the world, large corporations have already begun to look at VR / AR as a practical and useful tool that allows them to solve important strategic tasks.
Russia is no exception, since in 2017 virtual and augmented reality were included in the list of key technologies of the Digital Economy of the Russian Federation program. This once again confirms that the perception of VR solely as entertainment or innovative toys is finally a thing of the past, which gives an impetus to the development and modernization of the industry.
As in any new technology, in the VR as testing, implementation and use in a variety of areas and industries, new features of application, needs and opportunities for development are revealed. There are all new challenges for developers. VR affects human vision and hearing, but how to make the technology even more realistic, make it cheaper, provide an option to make changes to the ready-made simulations? In the process of finding answers to these and other questions, real breakthroughs are being made and new facets of the application of technologies are being discovered.
Business VR platforms and their benefits
These are the breakthroughs of the technology, which will be discussed further, appeared on the VR / AR market over the past few years and which both VR developers themselves and industry, medicine, business and education really lacked.
A multifunctional and fairly new solution for companies today is a platform that can combine virtual and augmented reality projects, a single database of 3D models, communication systems for multi-user interaction, as well as a number of other technological tools that allow integrating and scaling solutions into workflows. customer processes. Simply put, today, some VR developers are ready to offer customers a complete system that includes a set of business solutions. Such platforms today can significantly reduce the cost of technology for the customer, and also – to make changes to the ready-made simulations, complement them for the customer. In addition, the platform simplifies many tasks for the developers themselves: simulations that are similar to each other will no longer have to be developed from scratch, it will suffice to assemble the simulation from ready-made elements.
The process of developing content for VR is, as a rule, long and expensive, so it is difficult for new professionals and companies today to compete with major players without actual cases, real customer reviews. In this case, the platform provides a service not only to its creators, their customers, but to the entire VR technology market: the platform is a tool that will allow newcomer companies to make projects faster and more profitable, referring to the experience of successful projects previously made on the platform. Thus, the service becomes better in terms of time and money.
The development of such a platform is currently a very laborious and costly process for companies. For example, the creation of such an ISP platform cost us about $ 1 million. Work on the project continues now, so these numbers are not even the final amount.
Teslasuit VR suit is a unique solution
Among the technical innovations that have emerged lately, the smart suit with tactile feedback Teslasuit stands out in particular, having received the prestigious CES Innovation Awards in the category of virtual and augmented reality at the largest electronics exhibition CES 2019. Development is actively interested in large industrial companies, medicine and the space industry.
Teslasuit opens up new opportunities for the development of VR / AR. The use of smart clothes in VR significantly increases the effect of immersion, allowing you not only to see and hear, but also to tactilely sense the virtual world. Teslasuit is the world’s first suit with tactile feedback based on electrical stimulation of muscles and nerve endings. It introduced a whole range of systems: a system for transmitting tactile sensations, motion capture and biometric sensors. The suit is completely wireless.
Due to electrostimulation through the skin, notifications are transmitted from suit to person. The motion capture system digitizes the movements and models the position of a person in the virtual space (a similar technology is used to animate characters in the film industry). Biometric sensors take ECG readings, read out the state of the muscles, determine the galvanic skin response, and in the future even be able to accurately determine the feelings of a person based on the smallest electrical impulses of potentials on the skin surface.
The use of Teslasuit in VR training potentially contributes to their efficiency, due to deeper immersion in the virtual environment and the connection of muscle memory through electrical stimulation. The suit can be integrated into industrial training in mining and processing industries, in the areas of high-tech construction and engineering, for trainings of firefighters and rescue workers.
A promising direction for the application of technology is medicine. Teslasuit can be effective in stimulating muscles and nerves during rehabilitation after muscle injuries and illnesses. Also, the suit can potentially be used in sports and fitness: control of biometric readings will allow you to accurately track your physical condition and optimize loads, the motion capture system works as a “personal trainer”, and electrical stimulation is used to work out specific muscle groups.
Today, Teslasuit is particularly relevant in corporate training, industrial training in areas related to hazardous industries, explosive substances and materials, and work in emergency situations.
Unique Teslasuit and Modum Lab Case
Together with Teslasuit, Modum Lab developers created a VR demo training case for simulating fire on an oil loading ramp. An employee of an oil rig, equipped in a smart Teslasuit suit, during the VR session is immersed in the situation not only visually, but also physically: he can feel the tension in the muscles when performing any manipulations, as well as simulated sensations arising in extreme conditions of an accident at the site (for example: flame heat, blast vibration). All this makes learning VR training much more realistic. The suit allows you to simulate conditions as close to real as possible, which is important when developing safety precautions and skills of employees at hazardous industries.
VR and AR in Russia
The trend of the last few years in Russia is the active growth and development of the VR / AR industry from a practical point of view in industry, medicine and sports, and not just in games and entertainment. This is due, among other things, to a change in the perception of formats for the use of immersive technologies on the part of business – it is understood that for the successful use of virtual and augmented reality systems, one eexpert in the technology itself is not enough and cannot be considered in isolation from the issues of integrating solutions into business company processes. For example, training VR simulations with the use of “smart clothes” opportunities, in the very near future have good chances to become an integral part of corporate training in the production of large industrial companies, since they really close the real tasks of the business and can prevent emergencies or minimize their consequences.