VR First, the global initiative to enable AR/VR innovation, today announced that it has achieved significant progress in its mission to provide state-of-the-art AR/VR facilities to academic institutions worldwide. The initiative, first unveiled in January 2016, intends to almost double its roster of operational labs in universities and science parks across the globe by the end of 2017, for a total of 50 labs. There are currently 26 labs operating in the United States, Europe, Asia and Oceania, with another 14 labs coming soon and more in development.
The Crucial VR First Lab Initiative
Teachings and modern equipment are essential to ensure a healthy future job market driven by innovative VR/AR content. VR First engages with top universities and science parks to setup or renovate current PC labs into AR/VR-ready facilities. Each lab gets state-of-the-art equipment plus active fostering of collaboration between labs and the AR/VR community.
- VR First Network: Currently includes 581 universities and science parks.
- Labs: 26 labs are currently open and 14 to open soon. Today, VR First labs are located in 23 countries worldwide. For a complete list, visit VR First Universities.
- Developers: VR First labs have so far supported an estimated 3,783 developers worldwide.
- Diverse Technology and Industry Verticals: VR First Labs are dedicated studios equipped with the latest VR/AR hardware and software, all from VR First technology partners, to reflect the diversity and potential of immersive technologies. The applications for content range from gaming, education and architecture to cinematics, psychology and other sectors.
- IEEE Standards: VR First is working with the IEEE and industry stakeholders to create new standards for creation and consumption environments in VR, AR and mixed reality and all related devices. The new standard, IEEE P2048.5, is one of eight AR/VR standards being developed as part of the IEEE Digital Senses Initiative. VR First is partnering with Futuremark to support the benchmarking requirements through standardization efforts. Through its Lab Renovation Program, VR First will promote the adoption of these new standards by lab partners, governments and science parks. The first Working Group meeting of major industry partners will be held at VRLA, April 14.
VR First Unveils New VR Creations
Today, there are more than 50 projects in development at VR First labs, located at universities worldwide. The projects target a range of verticals, with games accounting for 35% of those projects, 12% focused on psychology and neuroscience, 7% on education, 7% on tourism, 6% on architecture and real estate, among other verticals. While all VR First labs are equipped with all major VR/AR platforms and technologies, most of these initial projects were developed for the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift platforms, each accounting for 31% of projects created. Unity is the preferred engine (48%) followed by Unreal (20%) and CRYENGINE (14%).
“VR First is fully independent, and supports VR First labs no matter their choice of engines or platforms, and welcomes all hardware and software providers. We believe that if you have a noble vision like “Democratization of VR/AR Innovation,” it deserves to be protected from any competitive sacrifice. This vision could only be achieved with a vendor-neutral approach,” added Özkan.
Check out a few at VR First Project Showcase which features the following projects and more:
- Doña Ana Community College (New Mexico): The Virgin Galactic/Challenger Center Outreach Project provides an immersive virtual aerospace simulation experience and explains core concepts of spaceflight fundamentals in VR.
- Bahcesehir University (Turkey): The VitiVR Viticulture Training Experience teaches viticulture practices for agriculture, enology, viticulture faculties and wineries. VitiVR will support the transfer of theory into practice and focus on the training of winter pruning on three different grape vines at three locations, including Burgundy, Napa Valley and Umbria.
- Oklahoma State University: The AR based mobile app project is an augmented reality-based object locating and information system for individuals with physical disabilities and mild memory loss due to strokes. The application functions as a mapping device for locating certain objects and providing information within the living space of the individual.
- Kajaani University of Applied Sciences (Finland): VirtualAutoedU is a gamified VR environment for learning car mechanics. Students learn about car structure and how to perform basic car maintenance with animations and videos, and then perform maintenance tasks with instructions and without, in VR.
- University of Canterbury (New Zealand): The Spider Therapy Phobia application uses AR to create a virtual spider that helps people confront their fear of the arachnid in a safe and virtual manner.