The top of a wind turbine a hundredstories up from the ground is not the best place to be makingmistakes, but making mistakes and learning from them is the wholepoint of on-the-job training. That’s why VR Vision Inc helpscompanies produce XR training modules, so trainees can make mistakesin a safe, controlled environment. COO Lorne Fade drops by to talkabout it.
Alan: Today’s guest is LorneFade, co-founder of VR Vision. Lorne is a serial entrepreneur thathas built several businesses over the last 15 years. He’s had thepleasure of working with some of the world’s largest Fortune 500brands and award winning marketing agencies all across North Americaand Europe. His previous agency, Academic Ads, was acquired, and hewent on to found VR Vision Inc. As the co-founder and COO of VRVision, they’re a virtual and augmented reality startup that’senhancing immersive training outcomes for some of the world’s largestbrands using VR, AR, and AI technologies. He’s also the founder ofReality Well, a healthcare technology platform to improve the qualityof life for those living in long-term care facilities. You can learnmore about VR Vision by visiting vrvisiongroup.com. Lorne, welcome tothe show.
Lorne: Thanks for having me,Alan. Thanks.
Alan: My absolute pleasure, man.We’ve known each other for quite some time through the VR/ARAssociation in Toronto, and we shared some booth space together, andit’s always great to see what you guys are working on. I know thelast time we saw each other, you were showing me an automotivemanufacturing facility in virtual reality and how you were usingthat. So let’s dive in there. Let’s talk about how you guys are usingVR and 360 video to make better training.
Lorne: Yeah, that’s that’s oneof our bigger use cases with Toyota, where we’re training about10,000 employees currently using 360 video, in immersive trainingscenarios in VR. And it works really well for eliminating risk andproviding a safe environment with zero harm. And it’s totallyimmersive. So the employees that are getting trained in VR, nodistractions, they can’t be on their phone or anything. It was reallysimple the way we did it. We just storyboarded various scenarios withToyota on various processes, on safety concerns, on their assemblylines or processes that were mundane and replicable. And then we wentout and filmed with a stereoscopic 3D camera, so when they put on theheadset they feel like they’re there, fully 3D. And we mapped out, Iguess about two to three minute scenarios, various parts of theirassembly lines and filmed it all in full 3D and then ported it overto VR, added some overlays, some voice overs, some touch points andinteractivity so that the employees could be trained in a completelyimmersive environment. Nothing like this is, from my knowledge, hasever been done before. So it’s really cool to have this typeopportunity to work on a project like that.
Alan: So how are they measuringsuccess? For example, STRIVR is doing 360 video with Wal-Mart andtheir key performance indicators. They’re measuring training times,how long it takes to train. They’re also testing retention rates.What are the KPIs that you and Toyota decided on, how to measurethat?
Lorne: Yes. Great question. Wedeveloped a in-house analytics engine for tracking where the user islooking, the various touch points of the training scenarios. Andevery user that uses the platform gets their own log-in, so we trackeach user, their effectiveness, and how well they’re being trainedwith the scenarios. And then within the scenarios, there’ll be, let’ssay, about 20 interactive touch points for various risks, or hazards,or processes that the employee needs to learn. And then at the end ofthis scenario, they’ll get a breakdown or a test results screen thatwill get pushed to Toyota’s LMS on the backend so they can see howthe employee performs. But also within the headset, the user will getto see where they performed and get to learn again on the variousthings that they might have missed throughout the course of themodule.
Alan: So it’s really giving theemployees the opportunity to learn through making mistakes, which isfunny because our whole lives in school, we learn not to makemistakes: you get an F, and that means fail, and you’re screwed, andyou can’t go into university, and it’s beaten into us never to makemistakes. But in the real world, we make mistakes every day, and welearn from them, and we move on. But this is even better, becauseit’s not the real world. You’re able to make mistakes in the privacyof your own headset, you’re not feeling embarrassed.
Lorne: And it saved you a ton ofmoney for Toyota overall. Basically, instead of having an employee ona live assembly line making those mistakes, where they would have toshut down production, then that could be super costly over time forthe plant itself. This way they’re able to train in a risk-freeenvironment without shutting down of production, so that when they’reready to hit the assembly line – for whatever the processes thatthey’re tasked with – they’ll be way ahead of the game, it’ll causeless mistakes and save a ton of money for Toyota overall.
Alan: So how are you measuringthat specifically, are you measuring training times?
Lorne: Yeah, we’re measuringtraining times. We’re measuring efficacy for the employees. And thenwhen we put them on the live line, we get to compare and contrastbased on their test results, how many mistakes they’re making on thelive line. Now, we’re not fully testing just our training scenariosas the end-all, because Toyota has a number of other training LMSsand dojos that they’re using for training the employees, but theyweren’t seeing an improvement overall with the employees that haddone the VR training.
Alan: That’s really interesting.In your analytics, you mentioned that you’re pushing it to their LMSsystem. How difficult was that, to go from one company to another? Iwould assume there are different ways of working.
Lorne: The biggest challengethere was working with their IT, because they had a pretty strictregimen for their firewall. And then accessing it is a very tightnetwork. A lot of restrictions, a lot of loopholes we have to gothrough. So it took a couple of months of working with their IT teamto be able to pass through data from the headsets, and have theheadsets themselves connect seamlessly to their network, and makesure they were all on the same MAC address. It’s actually outside ofmy technical scope. I’d have to ask our IT guy internally here. Butbasically, once we figured out how to pass through their network, itwas seamless.
Alan: What about things likedevice management? Because if you’re going to train 10,000 employees,how many devices does[sic] that?
Lorne: That’s definitely a greatconcern that enterprise groups need to be aware of. We’re seeing thebrands like HTC and Oculus start to catch up with their businesssolutions that are going to start to offer enterprise management. Wekind of hacked it for the get-go because it wasn’t available as ofyet. There’s a great company you can look up called 42 Gears thatbasically provide a mobile management solution, that can be ported toAndroid for any devices that are being programmed with Androidbackends. And that allows us to see all the devices on the network,push updates through them, and manage them remotely. And then we wenta step further and we developed a mobile management application fortablets and cell phones, so that a practitioner or a trainer that’smanaging the training serials for the users can manage which modulesthey’re placing the user into, and see where they’re at within thetraining program.
Alan: Now, is that done from atablet or a phone or something?
Lorne: Yeah, yeah, it can bedone from either a tablet or a phone. Anything Android or iOS based.
Alan: When you’re making thescenario– so, for example, take us back to the beginning. You meetwith Toyota. They say, “Hey, this is great. We want to do atrial.” What is the lead time from this first meeting you had,to deployment to 10,000 employees. Is that like a year or two years?What’s that look like?
Lorne: I think the developmenttimeline was about six months, back and forth to storyboard out allthe various modules. We started with a proof of concept with onesimple module to see how effective it would be. They loved the 3D,they love the immersiveness of it. So we move forward with fivemodules, and then those films and the whole processing,post-production took about a year overall for all five modules. Andnow we’re in talks to scale that through more facilities throughoutNorth America. Per module, it really doesn’t take that long. It’sjust that we have a 360 development production crew, goes on site,films, takes about one or two days, and then we take it back andpost-produce it with various touch points and voiceovers. And thatwhole process for one module takes anywhere between three to fourweeks, overall. I guess the back and forth that took the longest wasworking with IT and figuring out some of the other complexities, likepushing updates to their LMS, things like that.
Alan: I would think also justthe simple procurement process. [laughs]
Lorne: Yeah. Oh, that too.They’re very–.
Alan: Take longer thaneverything.
Lorne: Yeah. Yeah.
Alan: Standard across allenterprises, yeah. There’s a note to people listening: if you’reworking in the C suite of a large enterprise, perhaps considerfiguring out a way to work with startups more efficiently, throughstreamlined procurement processes, because it really is onerous for astartup trying to innovate on technology, while trying to run thegauntlet that is procurement.
Lorne: [laughs] And then keepyour overhead going, and runway.
Alan: Exactly. Part of thereason we started XR Ignite was to really be that – for those of youwho don’t know, XR Ignite is our community hub and connector – so ourgoal with XR Ignite is to be the connector between startup studiosand developers and corporate clients, and be that conduit forconversations back and forth. What our corporate is looking for – andyou mentioned some of them, safety, security, networking, devicemanagement, LMS, integrations – and then bringing that knowledge overto startups and saying, “OK, what do startups need to dobusiness with corporate?” and that’s streamlined procurementprocesses, faster payments and more streamlined communications. So Ithink it’s a time in a place where we need to really bring everybodytogether. So that’s what we decided to do with XR Ignite.
Let’s talk about the actualexperiences, because I’ve tried one, it was really interesting. Youput on the headset and it was really cool because I’ve never been toa car factory, where they build car parts and doors and things, and Iwas in there and there’s this woman stamping giant pieces of aluminumand she’s doing her job. And then you have to look for anomalies. Youhave to look for things on the ground, or is she not wearing ahardhat, or whatever it is? Did they provide you those things or didyou look at the space and go, what if we put a banana peel over hereor…?
Lorne: We basically work withthem on the storyboard to provide the highest risk items that wouldbe the biggest safety concerns for the employees. Like not wearingproper PPEs, walking in the laneways where they shouldn’t be walking.Just not using proper safety gear or leaving things in the wrongplaces. And then we went a step further and added our own flair, ifyou will.
Alan: I love it. Now, were theyaccepting of adding your own flair to that? Because sometimes thisstuff can be really dry and boring.
Lorne: The basic secret sauce,though, that we provided: we developed this for standalone VRheadsets and a lot of the standalone VR headsets really max out at 4Kresolution, whereas we’re filming in 8K resolution. So we wanted topush the best quality that we could for the experience, so it wascompletely immersive, was exciting. It had replicability and it wasscalable. So on our backend for the post-processing side of things,kind of did some optimizations with the 360 video to make it appeararound 6K instead of 4K in the headsets. Reduce some of thescreen-door effect, really just to optimize the visual aesthetic ofit so that when they’re playing it in the headset, it just appears asbest as possible for the experience.
Alan: I can attest to that. Itreally was a clear situation. It was–
Lorne: It’s like watching a 3Dmovie. [laughs]
Alan: It wasn’t even like a 3Dmovie. It was like I was in the factory. But by the time I put theheadphones on and the headset, couple minutes in and I was rightthere on the factory floor watching this process of stamping thesethings out. I’ll never forget it, because I feel like I was rightthere, watching it. And I got a few of the things wrong, but…
Lorne: I think that’s the truevalue of VR. It’s being able to replicate any type of scenario that’sin the real world but in a safe, controlled environment. And I thinkthis works really well for enterprises that have a lot of potentiallyharmful, or carry a high risk-versus-reward type of training that maybe expensive for onsite, or dangerous for the people that aretraining. There’s another scenario we’re working on right now with awind turbine manufacturer, and they’re developing maintenancetechnician training and it carries a high risk to go up to the top ofthose wind turbines and work on them with a tether. And they’d ratherhave these employees trained in a dojo in a safe, VR controlledenvironment before sending them up hundred stories high to the top ofa wind turbine.
Alan: You know, that seems tomake sense. I went to a talk the other night and they were talkingabout– there was a gentleman who’s making nuclear reactor training,for the nuclear reactors here in Ontario. And one of the scenarios isthe CANDU reactor, which is a huge reactor. It’s maybe 30 feet highand it’s got all these little tubes. And in real life, you can’t walkin front of the tubes, because they emit radiation and there’s justlike invisible beam of radiation. So if you walk in front of thebeam, well, you’re–
Alan: Well, no, you’re justgoing to have a paid vacation. But one of the things that they showedis, how it’s managed today is, they literally have a piece of tape onthe floor. They have duct tape on the floor saying, “Don’t walkwithin these duct tape lines.”
Lorne: Oh, jeez.
Alan: That’s the safetyprotocols in a nuclear reactor. So being able to recreate that with aHololens – is what they used – and be able to recreate visibly whatthat beam of radiation looks like. Then you can get a visualrepresentation so that when you’re in that facility and you have togo because it is not something that people do every day, it’s very,very rare that they have to go in there. But when they have to go inthere, they have this visual representation of these beams ofradiation coming out. And I think that’s a little bit better thansome duct tape on the floor.
Lorne: Yeah, I think nuclearreactor training is one of the better use cases for creating a safecontrolled environment versus a live test bed.
Alan: You would think, yeah. Youknow, we don’t really want to go down that road. You talked aboutwind turbines. That’s another big, big area because I mean, cleanpower is becoming huge and wind turbines, they’re– I don’t know ifyou’ve ever been in one.
Alan: But I have, in VR. I’vebeen in a wind turbine. I climbed up the ladder on the inside. I gotinside. I looked at the motor. I stood on top of one, all in VR. AndI’m good with that. I don’t necessarily need to do that in real life.
Lorne: I’ve definitely been inone in VR. I haven’t been in a real one. [laughs]
Alan: It’s pretty awesome. Andthere’s so many things that can be done with this. And let’s talkabout the cost to deploy something like this. For example, companycomes, XYZ company. They say, “hey, we saw what you’re doing orwe heard the podcast. This company is doing this. We make widgets andhere’s our machine factory. We want to start doing safety training inVR.” What does that typically look like, for as roll-out, yourmeasurements of success, and the costs as well?
Lorne: The costs of actuallycome down with the standalone headsets, because there’s lessgraphical work that needs to be done. It’s really linear overall.Basically, there’s two ways that we develop up here at VR Visioninternally for these training applications. There’s 360 video that’sported into VR scenarios, that’s going to be filming or any type ofreal world environment. Typically, the 360 video form factor is goingto be cheaper and more cost effective than creating a CGI basedenvironment, which is basically the other way that we developedtraining applications. For the 360 side of things, per module, wecharge anywhere from 15 to 20,000 dollars, but you also need aplatform to interact with those 360 videos. So we start with like abase layer for anywhere from five to seven thousand dollars for aplatform that’s built out. It’s kind of like the menu selectionscreen of Netflix, if you will. And then once you’re in thatplatform, you can select the various modules or training outcomesthat business may want to use. And basically, each training outcomeis anywhere from 10 to 20,000 dollars, with interactivity and voiceovers and fully optimized. It really depends on the length of thetraining outcome. These are averaging about three minutes long. Butif you have a longer one, it will take more post-production, whichwould be more costly.
For a CGI based environment, thosecosts can be far reaching. It really depends on the scope and brevityof the application. The ones that we’ve developed, they fall intolike the 40 to 50,000 dollar range, for basically a three to fiveminute CGI based training scenario. We did one for a fire safetydrill for a company down in Texas called Alchemy Systems, and it wasbasically replicated version of their factory, one-to-one in a CGIbased environment. And it trained the users that worked in thefactory how to find the fire exit, and what to do in case of anemergency.
Alan: So how did you get thefactory one-to-one scale? I mean, obviously, they have themeasurements of the factory. You just import that into CAD modelingprogram or, how did that work?
Lorne: Yeah, they had FBX filesof a lot of their factory. And then there was another way that we didit was using LiDAR, which basically went on the floor, scanned thewhole factory. It was pretty boxy, rectangular shaped factory, soit’s pretty easy to do. Just scanned the length and then the size ofit, and then ported it over into a virtual environment.
Alan: Well, that’s easy.
Lorne: It sounds easy, butthere’s a lot of technical expertise, but…
Alan: If I had asked you thesame question three years ago, it probably wouldn’t have been thateasy.
Lorne: Yeah. Yeah.
Alan: One of the things thatwe’ve been seeing as a repetition on this show, is that thesetechnologies are getting better, faster, cheaper every day. There’smore talent coming out that know how to use these technologies. But Ithink one of the key takeaways is that, this isn’t something that youshould be looking at five years down the road. This is something thatpeople are utilizing now and getting dramatic results. So let’s talkabout some of the results that your clients are getting.
Lorne: They’re havingresolutions of conflicts that can arise in a workplace scenario.That’s one of the biggest ones, just avoiding those risks andavoiding downtime for various training scenarios. They’re getting alot of assessments, post training. So with our analytics engine,we’re tracking where the users are looking, we’re seeing where theproblems may arise, or where things are being missed. And then let’ssay they’re missing an easily overlooked area of just handling a boxor flipping a switch properly. And we see after training 10,000employees, that maybe half of them are missing this one simple thing.So now we know that this training outcome needs to be pushed a littlebit heavier for those employee, so they can reduce the problems withwhatever that specific process is.
Alan: Or maybe the processitself is flawed.
Lorne: Or maybe that as well.Yes.
Alan: We never want to talkabout that. But let’s be honest, sometimes things were done justbecause they were always done that way. And now this can shed a lighton certain processes that are maybe antiquated or out-of-date.
Lorne: Something that helped usoptimize our training programs was to learn from the employeefeedback, and then getting multiple iterations of our trainingprograms in place, so that the frontline employees can help optimizetraining elements to maximize effectiveness.
Alan: So maybe unpack that alittle bit.
Lorne: So basically with thepost-training assessments, we did a lot of surveys on the employeesto see how effective they were finding it. We had some trainingmodules that were rated much higher than others. So we can go back tothe ones that were lowly rated and find out “Well, maybe thiswas too hard for the employee to learn various elements of thetraining protocols.” so we can make it a little bit easier forthem to find whatever the risks were or the safety concerns were forthe training scenario.
Alan: So now in that case, youhave to go and refilm this, if it’s 360 video, for example.
Lorne: Yes, it would be tore-storyboard it from the ground up for 360 video. For CG, it’s justa matter of tweaking things in-house.
Alan: I think therein lies theexact cost-benefit analysis of 360 versus CG, because if you’refilming in 360 video, it’s 15 to 20k to film each one of thesemodules. And in CGI you’re looking at 40 to 50k. The difference beingif something needs to change, you have to go re-record that, that’sanother 20k. In CG, if you need to change something, you can changeit on the fly. And one of the things that I love about computergraphics is that you can reconfigure the warehouse. You can addelements real time. You can add things in. So there is that benefitof–
Lorne: Future proofing.
Alan: Yeah, future proofingthat. But it’s not always necessary and it’s not always warranted. Sowhen do you decide which one to use over another?
Lorne: There’s also factors toconsider, like multiplatform support, having VR/AR functionality, butalso being able to push those exact scenarios to the web. In casethere’s not a VR headset available, being able to have a 360 video onthe web for the user to learn in a dojo or LMS environment, thatdoubles the effectiveness and accessibility of the training programsas well.
Alan: What devices are youpushing up to now and how does that look like? Let’s take 360 andthen we’ll move into CG, for example, because the headsets arechanging daily. We’ve taken a complete device agnostic approach,because who knows what the next big thing is gonna be. So how do youthen future proof the content to be available in such a broad range?How does that look like and what devices does that go to?
Lorne: We’ve kind oftransitioned away from PC powered VR. We think that a lot of thefuture is going to be based around standalone devices. And as thecomputers get smaller and faster and more portable, people are justgoing to want to get away from the cumbersome setups of sensors andjust move toward easily portable and scalable device. Things like theOculus Quest, Oculus Go make it really easy for adoption. Then yousee Vive Focus and the Focus Plus, work equally as well. They’re muchmore portable and scalable for businesses to adopt, whereas two,three years ago these devices didn’t exist. So it’s hard to predictwhere things are going to be in another two years based on how fastthe industry is moving.
Lorne: From the backend side ofthings, for programming, something to be aware of when developingthese – CG based, especially – is there’s a lot of downsizing ofsampling for various graphics, because the standalone devices simplycan’t push the same amounts of power and graphic quality that the PCpowered devices can. So a lot of the times we have to really dumbdown or filter down the polygon counts, just to make sure that thestandalone devices can still push a decent looking scenario but notoverload them, so not to cause frame rate issues and nausea.
Alan: Very interesting.
Lorne: It’s definitely somethingthat developers should be aware of, or businesses looking to adoptthe technology.
Alan: What’s the biggestchallenge that you’ve found in the adoption of this technology?
Lorne: Tracking issues has beenone of the biggest hiccups for us. Before the Focus Plus came out, wewere really stoked that finally stand alone VR is here and we portedover a lot of our platforms to the Focus and then we ran into a wallwith tracking issues, the controllers would lose focus when you putthe controller behind your head, for example, simply because theheadset only had cameras front facing. The Oculus Quest has helped alittle bit with that because they have four cameras on the front andthey’re kind of like a fish eye lens. So they track a little bitbetter for fronts to the sides and above you and below you. Butstill, you’re going to lose tracking if you have to put your handbehind your back for whatever reason. So that’s something that’s beena challenge for us, for developing some training scenarios.
Alan: I think the hardwareitself is growing by leaps and bounds. They’ve made really, reallybig strides in bringing that one unit without having to have acomputer. And I think that’s one of the biggest challenges with VRhas always been the challenge of just getting it to work. You set itup, and then all of a sudden you’ve got 30 Windows updates, and thenanother Steam update. And then by the time you’re ready to go,there’s an hour gone. Your training time is missed.
Lorne: Yeah. Definitelysomething to be aware of. I think we’re going to see a lot ofadvancements in technology in both consumer markets, as well asindustrial and commercial applications. Something that we’ve beenreally excited about is, we’ve just been testing the RealWear ARheadset.
Alan: They raised 80 million.
Lorne: Yeah. They raised a tonof money, but they’re really competing with the Hololens. It’s notreally competing in a sense because Hololens is more for a staticenvironment, where the RealWear is more for on the job task based,ruggedized training. And I think there’s gonna be a lot of potentialfor hardware – mixed reality based hardware – in the future. I thinkthey’re going to combine a lot of AR and VR for ruggedized use in thefield. I think that’s where the immersive training side of thingswill move towards, although it is hard to predict.
Alan: I got to go to PTC’sLiveWorx in Boston and I tried the RealWWear headset, and basicallywhat it is, is a little articulating arm that mounts to yourconstruction hat, and it’s like pulling down a screen in front ofyou. Like imagine pulling up your phone, right? But you pull up alittle screen and it’s like having a 9 inch, 10 inch tablet that’sabout maybe a foot away from your face, in one eye.
Alan: But it’s ruggedized. Soit’s waterproof, it’s bombproof. It’s like this big rubber arm. Nowthe issue with it – and they’re going to address this, I’m sure, onsubsequent ones – is that finding that little sweet spot of gettingit right in front of your eye in the right spot is kind of finicky,you kind of wiggle it. And then once you get it, it’s usually fine.But I put it on and they have this thing called Expert Capture. Andwhat that means is, you can use the camera on this thing to capture–let’s say, for example, I’m an expert, I go up to a machine – in thiscase that I went on, it was a tractor – I look at the tractor and Isay, OK. And I hit record and I record how to replace the air filter.And then I hit stop. Now, that’s recorded forever and it can bepushed out of every headset. Now, what I do is I put on the glass. Itwalked me through step by step. A little video said, “here, gohere, pull off this cover, replace the thing, put the cover back,make sure the switch is turned.” And that was it. And I replacedan air filter on a tractor. And I’ve never touched that before. I’dever been on a tractor before. But that little heads-up display gaveme all the information I needed, real time.
Lorne: So do you think you coulddo that on a real world tractor now that you’ve learned it in theheadset?
Alan: Oh my God, yes. I’ve doneit. So it’s in my head. Obviously, I don’t know the model of tractor.So it would vary by model. But if you put me in front of that modeltractor and said change the air filter, I go to the back of thetractor, I climb up, I pull the air filter out. I know exactly whereit is. Yeah, I did it.
Lorne: It’s amazing.
Alan: It’s not something thatyou told me about or I learned on YouTube. I did it. I did it in reallife with my hands. And I think this is something that being able totrain people on in VR is one thing, where you need a completelyvirtual and safe environment, but also taking elements of that 360video elements or those elements of just the information you need atthe time you need it, into the real world is really important. That’swhy I think RealWear it is a really excellent, elegant solution,although it is very low tech, if you think about it.
Lorne: Yeah, I think being ableto use your hands in the real world. I think just a hands-on element,it creates much better retention for learning overall, versus thescenario where you’re using controllers. You’re still learning, butbeing able to get your hands dirty, if you will. And I think thatmore than even VR may help learning retention. So it’s interesting tosee where the space goes in the next couple of years.
Alan: Yeah. There’s a trialwe’re going to test. There’s an excavator, a VR experience made by aToronto company called Career Labs. And the first thing you do, youlearn how to start it, what all the controls do, and then you driveit. You go grab some rocks and put it in a dump truck. So we’re goingto put my daughters, who are 11 and 15 in the scenario for an houreach, and then we’re gonna take them out onto an excavator and see ifit translates from an hour in VR to being able to operate a realexcavator.
Lorne: That’s great.
Alan: Well, we’ll see.
Lorne: See how the results are.
Alan: It’ll either be awesome orthey’ll destroy a couple hundred thousand dollar excavator.
Lorne: [laughs] Let’s hope not.
Alan: I hope not. I haveconfidence in the VR training.
Alan: So what’s next for youguys? You’re expanding, you’re growing, you have a new office inToronto. What’s next?
Lorne: I guess I’d like to touchon Reality Well, because that’s a subsidiary brand that we’relaunching. We actually just launched the website and we’re doing abunch of PR right now for it. It’s basically a platform built forstandalone VR – for the Vive Focus or Oculus Quest – with a healthcare focus, for measuring improvement of quality of life. So we’rereally focused on retirement homes, hospice centers, places like thatfor the elderly. We want to help with cognitive thinking, memoryretention, improving mobility, as well as just adding entertainmentand increased mood for people that are otherwise bedridden or justbored out of their minds.
The platform itself is fully contained with three sections. The first section is CG based environments that are playful and fun, with animals and interactivity, and they’re just meant to be light and fun for the users to explore. There are things like winter scenes, beaches, forests, very vibrant colors, all CG based. The second part of the platform is real world 360 videos and photos, that we’re slowly procuring in 8K stereoscopic 3D. The highest quality that we can really develop for, it’s all our own content. And it’s just places like landmarks all around the world, bucket list items. I’m actually going to Italy in two weeks to film more content there as well. And that’s a great way for the users to visit places that they may not get a chance to visit in their lifetime. The last part of the platform is minigames, but they’re called exer-games, or serious games in the healthcare community. And we’re working with the University of Waterloo to validate these games, to help with things like mobility, to help with memory retention. Some of the games are like rock balancing games. There’s like a music game. It’s kind of like Beat Saber, but you’re on a beach and there’s just some beach balls coming at you instead of the Beat Saber blocks. It’s a lot of fun. They really enjoy it so far. We’re developing more games for that as well. There’s a fishing game that we’re almost finished and there’s gonna be a farming game as well.
Alan: So let me get this straight. You’re hitting beach balls on the beach. Is it things like, [hums jitterbug tune]? Is it like big band swing music? Clearly not techno music like Beat Saber.
Lorne: No, no, it’s not techno.It’s more classical chill, laid back, relaxing type of music. This isdefinitely aimed at a different crowd than the Beat Saber crowd..
Alan: Not going to have theSkrillex remix?
Lorne: No, no dubstep here. It’sto help increase their mood and just overall entertainment. So it’s–
Alan: Are you collecting dataabout these people as well?
Lorne: Yes. Yes.
Alan: The health care providersso that they can help with, because I can imagine there’s somedepression and there’s some loneliness, so…
Lorne: Yeah, there’s analyticsfor all of our platform and there’s a rating system, as well for alot of the experiences. So after they’ve tested out each one, theycan rate it on a scale of 1 to 10. So we can try and drill down whatthey like the most. And right now we have pilots in about sixdifferent health care facilities. And we’re gauging and measuring tosee which type of scenarios and environments that they like the best.And so far, they seem to love animals. We filmed at Toronto zoo, andthat’s one of the favorite 360 video experiences that we’ve shownthem so far. Because you know what it is? It’s the 3D. When you’refilming in stereoscopic 3D, – let’s say you’re looking like a horserange – you almost want to reach out and touch the horse’s head,because it feels like it’s right there in front of you. So it’sreally amazing what we’re able to do with the technology nowadays.
Alan: It’s really fantastic,being able to provide such a wonderful service to seniors who may ormay not be able to get out, or maybe their memory is failing. Andit’s just, it’s wonderful.
Lorne: Yeah, it’s definitelyheartwarming. And I really hope that it helps. And we can grow thisto provide it to as many facilities as possible, because I think thiscould be super beneficial for a lot of people. You know what it is?It’s like bucket list items. If I’m 80 years old and I can’t travelanymore and I never got to go to Machu Picchu, bring me a headset andgive me a 3D video or tour of Machu Picchu, so I can feel like I’mthere. To me, that is truly amazing. And that’s what we’re trying toprovide.
Alan: That’s wonderful. So thatleads me to my last question. What is one problem in the world youwant to see solved using XR technologies?
Lorne: I think the mostimpactful thing that XR technology can do is train people that savelives, people that are in roles like firefighters or policemen, inhigh risk scenarios – army’s definitely a huge one as well – any typeof role that carries a really high element of risk for real worldscenarios, and has the impact to potentially save lives. I think thatis where I’d like to see the technology used the most. If we couldleverage the technology to mitigate risk in those risky environments,and at the end of the day, this technology is used to save lives, Ithink that would be a beautiful thing to use the technology for.