Davenport University using virtual reality to deliver ‘you are there’ classes, events – Detroit Free Press

As the speaker begins his talk, a student strolls in the back of the auditorium. She goes down a couple of rows and then slides in a few seats.

Looking around the auditorium, there are other people sitting, each dressed a little differently from each other and with their name floating above them. Over the course of the presentation, they stand, raise their hand and even make facial expressions the speaker can see to watch whether his message is being understood.

Nobody in the auditorium is really physically there. Neither is the auditorium there at least not in a traditional brick-and-mortar sense.

Welcome to virtual reality instruction.

Davenport University, a private nonprofit college headquartered in Grand Rapids with campuses across the state, had been running a pilot program for the past year of software enabling virtual reality online classes, speeches and events.

With the school switched over to online instruction because of the coronavirus outbreak, the school is poised to expand its use.

Davenport is usingvirtual reality software VirBELA to run its virtual reality program.

A screen capture of a virtual auditorium from Davenport University. Davenport University is using virtual reality to deliver classes and events.(Photo: Davenport University)

"We want to try to make sure we are in front of the curve," said Brian Miller, Davenport'sdean of the global campus. "What really makes a school is a sense of place. That's missing in most online-learning programs."

Through the software, Davenport can designate classroom space, auditorium space, conference rooms and other places. Each person can set up their avatar, personalizing clothing, hair, skin color and other items. It is not photo-realistic.

The schoolrecently held a career fair using the software, setting up business representatives on a virtual soccer field. Students visiting the fair could walk their avatar around the fair and see the different booths.

A screen capture of the virtual campus from Davenport University. Davenport University is using virtual reality to deliver classes and events.(Photo: Davenport University)

Therealso canbe conference rooms, where students can gather around a table, with screens and boards in the background. The screens are saved even when users log out. The users' avatars sit at the table. Nobody else can get in. A professor can knock on the door to come in and check on students. The students' avatars will stand up and go open the virtual door to let the teacher in.

Rooms can be set up differently. For example, a large space could handleround tables with space for eight people at each table, or rows of chairs, or other configurations.

Once in, people using their avatar can raise hands, look puzzled or take other actions. If there is a conference going on, when one speaker introduces the next speaker, that person's avatar steps out of the audience and talks at the podium.

"It creates visual clues and a sense of being there," Miller said. "It's also good for helping with skills for students. For example, it's hard to replicate in online classes the feeling you get when standing up and looking at a bunch of people sitting there looking at you. This does that. It also offers visual feedback from the audience, so you can learn how to read an audience and adapt your message."

A screen capture of a virtual conference room from Davenport University. Davenport University is using virtual reality to deliver classes and events.(Photo: Davenport University)

The school plans to use the technology in its online bachelor's in health administration management program, starting this spring, and adding more courses after that.

"Davenport has a 20-year history of offering bachelor and graduate programs online, Richard Pappas, Davenport's president, said in a statement. That is why we are well-positioned, during this challenging time of a pandemic, to expand our university's use of online technologies and create an even more effective classroom experience for both our professors and their students.

Contact David Jesse: 313-222-8851 or djesse@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter: @reporterdavidj

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Davenport University using virtual reality to deliver 'you are there' classes, events - Detroit Free Press

Virtual Reality Is Growing In Importance: Study 03/30/2020 – MediaPost Communications

Commerce Connected Playbook, the new report from content provider PYMNTS, is hardly timely.

Obviously created prior to the pandemic outbreak closed down stores, it states thatin-store shopping still fills a void that online and mobile browsing have yet to replace.

Not this week. Still, it is probably correct in stating that mobile is the comer,despite a statistic showing that only 14% of retailers consider themselves mobile-first organizations.

Being prepared for mobile is essential for brands using email marketing. So ispersonalization.

The study states that consumers expect mobile, online shopping and in-store experiences to be individualized.

In addition, it reports that virtual realitytechnologies will generate $1.8 billion via retail and marketing through 2022.

Moreover, 72% of millennial and Gen Z customers will try visual search options, the study continues.

Retailers need to engage consumers in the channels they prefer. Email ranks high in virtually every other study.

For example, 35% of retail prefer email prior to a shopping visit, versus19% who like text, enVista, an ecommerce software and consulting firm, recently reported in the 2020 Customer Engagement Survey.

Further metrics on these issues may have to wait until retailstores begin opening again.



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Virtual Reality Is Growing In Importance: Study 03/30/2020 - MediaPost Communications

Virotea: virtual reality for seniors and elderly care – Health Europa

The concept behind Virotea first came about when the founder, Ivan Perlesi, tried VR for the first time. Fascinated by how easy it was to be digitally transported to the other side of the globe and experience sceneries both previously discovered as well as undiscovered, the thought arose that those who are in most need of VR are people who are physically limited in this reality.

With this in mind, Perlesi started the company Virotea, which today helps elderly people as well as the physically disabled to be able to travel to each and every corner of the world without ever having to physically make the same journey.

Virotea VR is a service specially designed for the needs found within elderly care and LSS (The Swedish Act concerning Support and Service for Persons with Certain Functional Impairments).

With the elderly becoming more and more comfortable with computers and electronics, there is clear indication that VR have a higher demand for the elderly population of the future.

There is already a trend where elderly care centres are beginning to offer VR tools in order to accommodate the needs of having meaningful activities and experiences, VR is perceived to be an efficient way to combat depression, loneliness and anxiety.

Virotea have already helped a few elderly care centres to handle the challenges they have experienced. Virotea offers meaningful activities even to those who are restricted to their beds.

80-90% of the elderly who have tried VR have told Virotea that their experience brings back positive memories. Furthermore, their studies include several positive effects that has also had positive effects on the caretaker as well.

Want to learn more about Virotea? Discover further information here: Virotea Virtual Reality.

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Virotea: virtual reality for seniors and elderly care - Health Europa

Here’s how virtual reality can bring ancient cities back to life – CityMetric

An extract from Designing the Megaregion: Meeting Urban Challenges at a New Scale, out now from Island Press.

A regional transportation system does not become balanced until all its parts are operating effectively. Highways, arterial streets, and local streets are essential, and every megaregion has them, although there is often a big backlog of needed repairs, especially for bridges. Airports for long-distance travel are also recognized as essential, and there are major airports in all the evolving megaregions. Both highways and airports are overloaded at peak periods in the megaregions because of gaps in the rest of the transportation system. Predictions for 2040, when the megaregions will be far more developed than they are today, show that there will be much worse traffic congestion and more airport delays.

What is needed to create a better balance? Passenger rail service that is fast enough to be competitive with driving and with some short airplane trips, commuter rail to major employment centers to take some travelers off highways, and improved local transit systems, especially those that make use of exclusive transit rights-of-way, again to reduce the number of cars on highways and arterial roads. Bicycle paths, sidewalks, and pedestrian paths are also important for reducing car trips in neighborhoods and business centers.

Long-distance Amtrak trains and commuter rail on conventional, unelectrified tracks are powered by diesel locomotives that can attain a maximum permitted speed of 79 miles per hour, which works out to average operating speeds of 30 to 50 miles per hour. At these speeds, trains are not competitive with driving or even short airline flights.

Trains that can attain 110 miles per hour and can operate at average speeds of 70 miles per hour are fast enough to help balance transportation in megaregions. A trip that takes two to three hours by rail can be competitive with a one-hour flight because of the need to allow an hour and a half or more to get to the boarding area through security, plus the time needed to pick up checked baggage. A two-to-three-hour train trip can be competitive with driving when the distance between destinations is more than two hundred miles particularly for business travelers who want to sit and work on the train. Of course, the trains also have to be frequent enough, and the travelers destination needs to be easily reachable from a train station.

An important factor in reaching higher railway speeds is the recent federal law requiring all trains to have a positive train control safety system, where automated devices manage train separation to avoid collisions, as well as to prevent excessive speeds and deal with track repairs and other temporary situations. What are called high-speed trains in the United States, averaging 70 miles per hour, need gate controls at grade crossings, upgraded tracks, and trains with tilt technology as on the Acela trains to permit faster speeds around curves. The Virgin Trains in Florida have diesel-electric locomotives with an electrical generator on board that drives the train but is powered by a diesel engine.

The faster the train needs to operate, the larger, and heavier, these diesel-electric locomotives have to be, setting an effective speed limit on this technology. The faster speeds possible on the portion of Amtraks Acela service north of New Haven, Connecticut, came after the entire line was electrified, as engines that get their power from lines along the track can be smaller and much lighter, and thus go faster. Catenary or third-rail electric trains, like Amtraks Acela, can attain speeds of 150 miles per hour, but only a few portions of the tracks now permit this, and average operating speeds are much lower.

True electric high-speed rail can attain maximum operating speeds of 150 to 220 miles per hour, with average operating speeds from 120 to 200 miles per hour. These trains need their own grade-separated track structure, which means new alignments, which are expensive to build. In some places the property-acquisition problem may make a new alignment impossible, unless tunnels are used. True high speeds may be attained by the proposed Texas Central train from Dallas to Houston, and on some portions of the California High-Speed Rail line, should it ever be completed. All of the California line is to be electrified, but some sections will be conventional tracks so that average operating speeds will be lower.

Maglev technology is sometimes mentioned as the ultimate solution to attaining high-speed rail travel. A maglev train travels just above a guideway using magnetic levitation and is propelled by electromagnetic energy. There is an operating maglev train connecting the center of Shanghai to its Pudong International Airport. It can reach a top speed of 267 miles per hour, although its average speed is much lower, as the distance is short and most of the trip is spent getting up to speed or decelerating. The Chinese government has not, so far, used this technology in any other application while building a national system of long-distance, high-speed electric trains. However, there has been a recent announcement of a proposed Chinese maglev train that can attain speeds of 375 miles per hour.

The Hyperloop is a proposed technology that would, in theory, permit passenger trains to travel through large tubes from which all air has been evacuated, and would be even faster than todays highest-speed trains. Elon Musk has formed a company to develop this virtually frictionless mode of travel, which would have speeds to make it competitive with medium- and even long-distance airplane travel. However, the Hyperloop technology is not yet ready to be applied to real travel situations, and the infrastructure to support it, whether an elevated system or a tunnel, will have all the problems of building conventional high-speed rail on separate guideways, and will also be even more expensive, as a tube has to be constructed as well as the train.

Even if new technology someday creates long-distance passenger trains with travel times competitive with airplanes, passenger traffic will still benefit from upgrading rail service to fast-enough trains for many of the trips within a megaregion, now and in the future. States already have the responsibility of financing passenger trains in megaregion rail corridors. Section 209 of the federal Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act of 2008 requires states to pay 85 percent of operating costs for all Amtrak routes of less than 750 miles (the legislation exempts the Northeast Corridor) as well as capital maintenance costs of the Amtrak equipment they use, plus support costs for such programs as safety and marketing.

Californias Caltrans and Capitol Corridor Joint Powers Authority, Connecticut, Indiana, Illinois, Maines Northern New England Passenger Rail Authority, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin all have agreements with Amtrak to operate their state corridor services. Amtrak has agreements with the freight railroads that own the tracks, and by law, its operations have priority over freight trains.

At present it appears that upgrading these corridor services to fast-enough trains will also be primarily the responsibility of the states, although they may be able to receive federal grants and loans. The track improvements being financed by the State of Michigan are an example of the way a state can take control over rail service. These tracks will eventually be part of 110-mile-per-hour service between Chicago and Detroit, with commitments from not just Michigan but also Illinois and Indiana. Fast-enough service between Chicago and Detroit could become a major organizer in an evolving megaregion, with stops at key cities along the way, including Kalamazoo, Battle Creek, and Ann Arbor.

Cooperation among states for faster train service requires formal agreements, in this case, the Midwest Interstate Passenger Rail Compact. The participants are Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, and Wisconsin. There is also an advocacy organization to support the objectives of the compact, the Midwest Interstate Passenger Rail Commission.

States could, in future, reach operating agreements with a private company such as Virgin Trains USA, but the private company would have to negotiate its own agreement with the freight railroads, and also negotiate its own dispatching priorities. Virgin Trains says in its prospectus that it can finance track improvements itself. If the Virgin Trains service in Florida proves to be profitable, it could lead to other private investments in fast-enough trains.

Jonathan Barnett is an emeritus Professor of Practice in City and Regional Planning, and former director of the Urban Design Program, at the University of Pennsylvania.

This is an extract from Designing the Megaregion: Meeting Urban Challenges at a New Scale, published now by Island Press. You can find out more here.

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Here's how virtual reality can bring ancient cities back to life - CityMetric

Virtual Reality: To Be or Not to Be? – IDTechEx.com

XR is a term which has become more prominent in the last few years. It encapsulates virtual, augmented, and mixed reality topics. The definition of each of these has become saturated in the past decade, with companies using their own definitions for each to describe their products. The new IDTechEx Report, Augmented, Mixed and Virtual Reality 2020-2030, distils this range of terms and products, compares the technologies used in them, and produces a market forecast for the next decade.

The report discusses 83 different companies and 175 products in VR (virtual reality), AR (augmented reality) and MR (mixed reality) markets. This article specifically discusses the findings on the virtual reality market.

Virtual reality (VR) involves creating a simulated environment which a user can perceive as real. This is achieved by stimulating the various senses with appropriate signals. This is most commonly visual (via displays and optics) and auditory (via headphones or speakers) signals, but also increasingly involves efforts around haptic (touch) sensations. The generation of realistic virtual environments requires the generation of appropriate stimuli and systems to direct how the stimuli should change, whether automatically or due to user interaction. As such, this relies on a variety of components and systems including displays, optics, sensors, communication and processing, delivered via both hardware and associated software to generate this environment.

There are three main groups of VR headset - PC VR, Standalone VR and Smartphone VR. PC VR has a user interface & display worn on the body, but the computing and power are offloaded to the external computer. This is where most of the commercial hardware revenue is made today. Standalone VR is a dedicated standalone device (no tethering) with all required computing and components on board. Finally, smartphone/mobile VR uses the smartphone processor, display and sensors used to power VR experience, with only a very cheap accessory necessary to convert to VR. The report discusses the revenue split for these three sectors in full, and an example image is shown in the figure below.

Top image: Pixabay

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Virtual Reality: To Be or Not to Be? - IDTechEx.com

XR Association Releases Results Of Fourth Augmented And Virtual Reality Survey – PRNewswire

WASHINGTON, March 30, 2020 /PRNewswire/ --Today, the XR Association (XRA), global law firm Perkins Coie LLP, and industry venture capital firm Boost VCreleased the results of the fourth annual Augmented and Virtual Reality Survey, which surveyed respondents from startups, enterprise technology firms, and investors in the XR industry in early 2020. The survey, conducted before the COVID-19 pandemic, concluded that plummeting hardware and software costs, increasingly impactful applications outside of entertainment, and the ubiquity of mobile devices are contributing to the rise of XR technologies.

Results indicated both expanding avenues for monetization and growing momentum for nearly every area of immersive technology's use. With applications ranging from sports, video games, and entertainment to healthcare, education, and disaster preparedness, it is evident that immersive technology will create significant opportunities across industries.

"Industry leaders are noticing tangible and significant advances in the adoption of AR, VR and MR across sectors, such as healthcare, education, workforce training, manufacturing including advanced manufacturing and retail," said Elizabeth Hyman, CEO of XRA. "During times of global economic uncertainty, feeling connected and maintaining efficiency and productivity are more important than ever. We are hopeful that the results of this survey demonstrate that the fundamentals are in place for a bright future of XR technology."

Additional key findings include:

These insights represent further progress toward XRA's mission of promoting the thoughtful advancement of XR technology globally. The survey indicates strong tailwinds, with nearly 200 professionals representing, showing stronger optimism for the future of immersive technologies than ever before.

Get more information on thestudy.

ABOUT THE XR ASSOCIATION The XR Association represents headset and technology manufacturers across the broad XR industry, including Facebook, Google, HTC VIVE, Microsoft, Samsung, and Sony Interactive Entertainment. The Association promotes the growth and development of the XR industry, fosters dialogue among public and private stakeholders, develops industry best practices, and provides education, training, and marketing information related to the industry.

ABOUT PERKINS COIE LLP Perkins Coie is a leading international law firm that is known for providing high-value, strategic solutions and extraordinary client service on matters vital to our clients' success. With more than 1,000 lawyers in 19 offices across the United States and Asia, Perkins provides a full array of corporate, commercial litigation, intellectual property and regulatory legal advice to a broad range of clients, including many of the market leaders in XR technology, products, services and content. The firm represents clients in identifying, anticipating and resolving legal issues raised by this developing technology, including corporate financings, IP protection, software licensing, privacy and data security, product liability, commercialization and content strategy execution.

About BOOST VCBoost VC is an early stage investor and accelerator investing in startups working with cryptocurrency, virtual reality, augmented reality, and space technology, among other technologies of the future. Boost VC has invested in over 250 companies from over 30 countries and aims to build an ecosystem of visionaries, leaders, mentors, and investors to build the future.

SOURCE XR Association


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XR Association Releases Results Of Fourth Augmented And Virtual Reality Survey - PRNewswire

Combination of Virtual Reality and Data Analytics – Analytics Insight

Virtual reality is an innovation with boundless opportunities. These can be seen when it is combined with another tech to make new opportunities. At the point when paired with gaming, for instance, VR has empowered the user to enter the virtual universe of the game, for example, in an online casino where the user can enter a virtual casino from the comfort of their own home. When utilized in marketing, property developers can demonstrate houses to potential buyers any place they were on the planet.

We are living in an exceptional time. Information technology is changing basically every part of present-day society: how we work, play, learn and talk. The pace of the change is remarkable with the significant changes occurring on the size of years instead of decades or hundreds of years. One result of this unrest is an exponential growth of data rates and data volumes, mirroring Moores law that depicts the rapidly evolving technology that produces the data. Just as significant is the growth of information quality and data multifaceted nature.

Before IoT and analytics tools, data fit pleasantly on a spreadsheet and could, with a little creative mind, be exported visually in a chart or graph. Presently, in the time of Big Data, the activity of reading data often falls to data scientists who apply models to remove helpful insights from large data sets. Organizations that dont utilize data scientists may use third-party Software-as-a-Service products to churn through data.

Yet, imagine a scenario in which there was an approach to visualize huge data sets that in a flash uncovered significant patterns and trends. Consider the possibility that you would associate with the information, move it around, truly stroll around it. That is one of the lesser talked about promises of mixed reality. If engineers can deliver on the promise, it just might be one of the most significant enterprise applications of those rising innovations, also.

Despite the fact that its initial days, augmented reality and virtual reality could on a very basic level change the manner in which we interact with and decipher the information. Going ahead the impact points of the big data revolution, 3D visualizations in mixed reality are the correct tool at the ideal time to help decision-makers comprehend and gather insights from huge data sets. The innovation will open the intensity of big data in realms as unique as community health & medicine, agriculture, board rooms, and governments, and it could hasten the adoption of enterprise AR/VR, which has had a rough gathering up until now.

Things being what they are, a perception of the patterns and relations present in the data works much better when we are completely submerged in such a data space, taking a look at the data from the back to front as opposed to from the outside glancing in, just like the case in all traditional visualization approaches. This impact has been shown by various research studies in different domains. We are animals improved to manage the physical 3D world in which we are submerged, and our brains are best if we are looking for patterns in such a space regardless of whether space itself is abstract in nature.

Moreover, VR is a characteristic platform for collaborative data visualization and visual exploration. Users can interface with the data and with one another in a common virtual space regardless of whether they are continents apart in the physical world. Such connections are incomprehensibly better than any remotely coordinating experience. They are now nearly on a par with physically being there however, as the innovation improves they will be similarly as successful. Simply saving time, cost, and effort of travel is a great advantage in and of itself.

The next big application of VR technology will be consolidating it with Big Data to tackle the issue made by the constraint of human perception. The tremendous amount of data which is accumulated through user interaction is an amazingly incredible asset if it can be sorted into useful information.

Sorting this data is essential to settle on informed decisions in the competitive condition regarding online businesses. Conventional visual diagrams and pie outlines on 2D screens are not slicing it with regards to processing large data sets. VR hence gives an elective method for reviewing information by utilizing its immersive abilities to take care of complex issues. This idea is alluded to as data visualisation which includes making an immersive experience where the information models encompass you.

It utilizes smart mapping, smart routines, machine learning and natural language processing to find significant patterns and show them in the virtual environment, which would then be able to be customised by users. The primary explanation and reason for consolidating VR with big data are to improve the comprehensiveness of the immense amount of analytical data. One startup specifically has combined artificial intelligence, Virtual Reality and Big data to make a platform which permits users to analyze up to 10 elements of data.

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Combination of Virtual Reality and Data Analytics - Analytics Insight

For Shut-In Pilgrims, the Worlds Holiest Sites Are a Click Away – The New York Times

For nearly two years, Eilat Lieber, director and chief curator of the Tower of David Museum in Jerusalems Old City, has been excited for this April, when Passover, Easter and Ramadan touchstone holidays of three major religions would collide for the first time in nearly two decades.

To prepare for the 400,000 or so tourists who had been projected to visit Jerusalem this April, the Tower of David Museum began collaborating with two virtual reality production houses Blimey, based in Israel, and OccupiedVR, based in Canada to create an immersive augmented reality experience for the crowds expected at its medieval stone citadel.

And then coronavirus shut everything down. Israel closed its borders to foreign visitors; all nonresidents are now banned from the Old City. So Ms. Lieber made the decision to put The Holy City, a virtual reality experience that lets viewers drop in on Jerusalems holiest sites and festivals, online for free starting April 9. Her move came as virtual reality experiences of holy sites across the globe are more readily available, allowing shut-in pilgrims of multiple religions a window into virtual worship in an unprecedented time.

We thought about the people from all over the world who wont be able to come here this year, and how we can bring the spirit of Jerusalem to them, Ms. Lieber said in a phone interview from Jerusalem. This year, all the festivals are canceled, but we can still show the beauty of Jerusalem to the world.

The Holy City, a documentary shot in stereoscopic, 360-degree virtual reality, takes viewers to some of Jerusalems most important religious events: the Holy Fire ceremony (the Orthodox Easter celebrations at the Holy Sepulchre); Ramadan prayers at Al Aqsa Mosque, and the priestly blessings for Passover at the Western Wall. The documentary consists of footage from the 2019 ceremonies as well as sweeping shots of Jerusalems archaeology and architecture.

One thousand miles south of Jerusalem, in Saudi Arabia, the annual Hajj pilgrimage which traditionally brings some two million or more Muslim faithful to Mecca has also been banned this year. Ehab Fares, the chief executive of BSocial, a digital agency in Cairo, said he could never have imagined that Mecca would be closed when he began working on an updated version of Experience Mecca, an app that offers a virtual walk-through of the Kaaba, Islams holiest site. He is aware that the timing will likely mean a spike in downloads. First released in 2017 through OculusVR, Experience Mecca uses 3-D modeling to give viewers a firsthand walk-through of Islams holiest city and the rhythmic circumambulation of the Tawaf ritual that bookends each annual Hajj.

The application is built by Vhorus, BSocials production arm, and its 2.0 version will be available for Google Cardboard, the technology giants virtual reality platform, before Ramadan begins on April 23.

The timing was purely coincidence, Mr. Fares said in a phone interview from Cairo. We were planning to release the updated version in June or July for the Hajj pilgrimage, but when the epidemic hit the world, the mosque and all the landmarks were locked and no one can enter. So I asked our team, please accelerate.

Mr. Fares says that Experience Mecca was not designed as a substitute for the Hajj, but in a time of lockdown, it does offer an opportunity to connect to the ritual. Its not a replacement for the real experience. But its educational and inspiring, and it gets you closer to the experience, he said.

And in Rome, where Holy Week usually sees crowds of tens of thousands, this year the Pope will preach to an empty pulpit. Catholics who would have otherwise attended Easter services, including Palm Sunday Mass, Good Friday commemoration and the Easter Vigil, have all been banned because of the coronavirus pandemic, but those who still wish to drop in to Vatican City virtually can do so via the Vaticans website, where a number of landmarks can be visited in 360-degree immersive panoramas, thanks to a 12-year collaboration between the Vatican and Villanova University.

If someone wanted to see these locations, or, better yet, if they wanted to get themselves into the spirit of their sacred season, they could set up a virtual pilgrimage to all the papal basilicas, said Dr. Frank Klassner, a computer science professor at Villanova who has helped oversee the project. More than ever, these experiences are very valuable right now.

For Nimrod Shanit, a Jewish Israeli who created The Holy City and co-directed it alongside Timur Musabay, a Canadian Muslim, theres also a silver lining to this homebound holiday season.

Jerusalem is a holy ancient city for Jews, Christians and Muslims, Mr. Shanit said. In times of crisis, people do look for guidance from something more powerful than they are. And if they are looking to connect virtually to their faith this year, I hope they wont see just their religion, theyll see how all three religions are sharing this moment, and this need for the power of spirituality.

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For Shut-In Pilgrims, the Worlds Holiest Sites Are a Click Away - The New York Times

virtual reality (VR) technology in the fight against COVID-19 at george washington university hospital – Designboom

the george washington hospital in washing D.C. is using innovative virtual reality technology to assess its first COVID-19 patient. co-developed by GWU thoracic surgical chief keith mortman and surgical theater a well-known developer of VR imagining software the video takes us inside a coronavirus-damaged lung.

the GW hospital is using virtual reality (VR) technology in the fight against COVID-19 as this technology enables the medical team to see into the patients lungs. this video in particular shows the lungs of an infected man in his late 50s who was transferred from another hospital after his initial symptoms escalated. in the video, the lungs are shown in translucent blue, with infected areas in yellow. the visualization highlights how the body reacts to COVID-19 by creating inflammation zones.

what were seeing is that there was rapid and progressive damage to the lungs so that he needed higher levels of support from that ventilator and it got to the point where he needed maximal support from the ventilator, said sr. keith mortman in an interview for the hospitals podcast, HealthCast. that was when the outside hospital reached out to our expert team here at GW and the patient was transferred to us for something called ECMO, which stands for extracorporeal membrane oxygenation.

there is such a stark contrast between the virus-infected abnormal lung and the more healthy, adjacent lung tissue, he continues. and its such a contrast that you do not need an MD after your name to understand these images. this is something the general public can take a look at and really start to comprehend how severe the amount of damage this is causing the lung tissue. the damage were seeing is not isolated to any one part of the lung. this is severe damage to both lungs diffusely.

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virtual reality (VR) technology in the fight against COVID-19 at george washington university hospital - Designboom

RICHARDSON: Living and working in a new, virtual reality – Fredericksburg.com

While watching television one night, I saw a commercial for home grocery delivery.

Soon, we wont have to leave our house for any reason, I said to my husband.

We can get our entertainment at home, and professional development and education through our computers. While going to the gym is nice, some of us have home gyms or use videos or online exercise classes. I can download books through free services from my public library or have a subscription service provide me with everything I want to read. Our news is delivered online. I can use TeleMed for many medical needs.

Then theres food delivery. In addition to the tried-and-true pizza delivery options, we now have companies like GrubHub and DoorDash. Retailers allow you to order online and have products delivered to your door. Need some clothing? Its just a click away. You can stay home and enjoy your worship service online or on television, too. Some organizations have allowed employees to telework, at least occasionally, for years. And now you can get your groceries delivered? Why would I ever need to leave home?

Fast forward a couple of months, and we are living this reality. I certainly never expected to have to stay home, but were doing it.

While its wonderful to live in 2020 and have these options, is it desirable? Some of us are introverts and we havent had to change our lives very much. We prefer staying home in solitude.

But those extroverts among us? This is not pleasant. We get our energy from other people so being forced to socially distance ourselves is negatively impacting us.

And what about our friends who dont work for trucking companies and grocery stores, especially those who own or work in small businesses and restaurants? There is an added stress to their lives wondering if their businesses will survive. Our health care community is under tremendous stress, but they will have jobs after the pandemic is over. Thats one thing they dont have to worry about.

So in this unprecedented time, how do we turn lemons into lemonade?

I think we first have to take care of each other. For your neighbors who cannot get out, can you get them groceries and touch base with them electronically. Reach out to your friends who live alone to make sure theyre OK. Find games to play remotely. We love Bananagrams at our house. I could play Bananagrams with my game in my house while you play in yours. Lets get creative about staying in touch. Go knock on windows of shut-ins. I see thats what many nursing homes are allowing.

A friend who is teleworking said shes holding virtual coffee hours with her staff. I love this idea!

Figure out how to support small businesses. Perhaps you can shop online with them. Birthdays and anniversaries still need to be celebrated, so consider purchasing from a small retailer for a birthday gift to be delivered. Youll make both the birthday boys day as you help out a small retailer.

Restaurants are adapting to this situation by offering curbside pickup. Think about using that option a couple times a week. If we dont support restaurants and small businesses during the next several months, they may not survive, and we dont want that.

We are living in interesting times. We will get through this, but will be different on the other side of this pandemic. Lets hope we have kept our humanity by taking care of others. While I can stay home and get all of my daily needs fulfilled electronically or through delivery, its not the way I want to live my life.

Lynne Richardson is the dean of the College of Business at the University of Mary Washington.

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RICHARDSON: Living and working in a new, virtual reality - Fredericksburg.com

VR Education believes enforced home working will be game changer for virtual reality – Proactive Investors Australia

Homeworking is one of the things that has changed dramatically in thepast month of the coronavirus pandemic.

How do you organise or attend a conference from your own study and when there is a travel ban, for example.

One answer isto host a conference in virtual reality and if you have the technology to hand, like Ireland's VR Education PLC (), this period of enforced homeworking is set to be a company maker.

Dave Whelan, chief executive and founder of VRE, says his phones have been ringing off the hook since coronavirus restrictions wereimposed,with the company employing additional business development staff to handle the extra workload.

Two weeks ago, it ran a virtual conference for Taiwanese electronics group HTC.

The Hyve conference is normally an event with physical attendees, but as it was due to be held in China HTC asked VRE if it could host the event virtually.

Whelan says it had over 1,000 logged in atthe event through its virtual reality platform Engage.

Speakers and attendees from Europe and the US were able to interact naturally with visitors from China while over 1.1mln watched the live streaming of the conference.

Since then, it has been inundated with queries from event organisers through the world.

Because of the virus, organisers are really assessing how they have done business in the past and asking can we do this online in future, he says.

Whelan adds that a key advantage of its Engage VR platform is that it has a very low bandwidth requirement for conversations inside the platform.

We dont transmit video. What we transmit is positional data, which is a large text file, and MP3 audio.

For people, who cannot run a Skype meeting or video conference because of bandwidth constraints, Engage will work perfectly well, he adds.

Whelan believes the last couple of weeks have been a game-changer for the VR sector overall, which up to now has promised much but struggled to deliver.

VR headsets have fallen in price so you dont need a computer while a 5G connection works extremely well.

Anyone who has used Zoom and Skype for meetings knows they can get very busy, very quickly with people talking over each other.

Using VR, enables a meeting-style connection at home.

Engage uses3D spatial audio, he explains, so if you are in a group of 50 people in a virtual room and there is a presentation going on at the front, you can still lean over to the person next to you and whisper as if you were sitting next to them.

You can also draw on the virtual whiteboard or make a presentation, he adds.

Headsets are around US$400 each and can connect directly to W-Fi, while each 'virtual seat' on the enterprise version of the Engage platform costs US$300.

Originally, Engage was set up as an educational tooland here too business is flying at present.

Games activity has rocketed since the lockdowns and that has translated into big rises in the usage of VREs software.

A new game Space Shuttle Commander is due to come out shortly on best selling headset Oculus, but Whelan says Engage is also being used a social medium to help people keep in touch in the current situation.

Going forward, the prospects look bright.

Following the success of the Hyve conference, HTC wants to be become a reseller of VREs software in China and combine it with its own hardware.

Discussions areunderway with other large conglomerates including telecoms companies and hardware businesses.

Trading is going really well," says Whelan, adding thelast few weeks have been transformative.

"Now one saw this coming. We thought 5G was going to be the push for VR technology, but with the virus causing a lot of people to reassess how they work and communicate, now is the time that this technology is going to flourish."

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VR Education believes enforced home working will be game changer for virtual reality - Proactive Investors Australia

Art in a virtual reality: the platforms bringing exhibitions home – Wallpaper*

Liu Ye, Catherine Deneuve, 2012. Acrylic on canvas, 60 x 45 cm. Private Collection, Beijing. Photography: Roberto Marossi; courtesy of Fondazione Prada Milano

Fondazione Prada looks inwards and outwards for its virtual presence

On the back of show postponements, the Milan institutionhas amped up its virtual presence, offering a visual lab of creativity to keep the inspiration flowing. Across platforms including Vimeo, Youtube, Facebook and the website, Fondazione Prada is forming virtual exhibition experiences, opening up the archives, presenting video projects and more.Inner Views takes a visual dive into three recently-opened exhibitions: Storytelling, by Chinese painter Liu Ye, K, a multi-platform exhibition inspired by three uncompleted Franz Kafka novels and The Porcelain Room, exploring the historical significance of Chinese-exported porcelain. Here, the institution thinks beyond the gallery experience, offering new interviews and videos encouraging intimate engagement with the exhibitions and the creative minds behind them. In Outer Views, the foundation transcendsphysical and virtual walls, documenting thecuratorial contribution of Collezione Prada, including recent loans for major retrospectives of Donald Judd, Bruce Nauman and Richard Artschwager.fondazioneprada.org; instagram/fondazioneprada

Writer: Harriet Lloyd-Smith

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Art in a virtual reality: the platforms bringing exhibitions home - Wallpaper*

Virtual Reality Can Transform The Remote Workforce – Allwork.Space

As technology allows workers to meet through video communication tools and conference call software, replicating real-life meetings or product demos can be challenging. That is where virtual reality comes in. Companies can use VR to hold meetings with both employees and customers and interact as if they were physically together.

Furthermore, VR technology can reduce the need to go to a new location for meetings, which also cuts the costs of commutes for employees as well as your companys carbon footprint.

VR meetings also help cut down on distractions, which keeps employees engaged and makes for more meaningful and productive meetings. For instance, MeetinVR allows users to move, point, sketch and interact with objects and people like in real life. This makes brainstorming and team-building activities that much more effective.

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While there are numerous resources and tools like Slack to keep colleagues communicating, a VR breakroom or lunchroom can encourage employees to make a more meaningful connection with one another.

VR technology can also be used to better cater to remote workers well-being. For instance, companies can design VR environments such as meditation rooms and quiet spaces.

Introverted employees can also look to gain a lot from VR meetings as it offers them a way to socialize and engage with colleagues, without the exhaustion that an in person meeting can cause.

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Virtual Reality Can Transform The Remote Workforce - Allwork.Space

Next Generation HP Virtual Reality HMD Teaser – 8Bit/Digi

Following the successful launch of Half-Life: Alyx, Hewlett-Packard has announced the next generation of the Virtual Reality HMD.

The next generation of the HP Virtual Reality HMD is being developed in collaboration with Microsoft and Valve. The announcement was made in the teaser featured above. While not much is known about it at the moment, its clear that they are trying to go head to head with Oculus Rift, PlayStation VR and the HTC Vive.

More details will be announced in the future. Its unknown if it will appear at major expos and conventions during the late Summer or early Fall season.

8Bit/Digiis an independent media outlet that provides an insight into the video game community and industry of theSan Francisco Bay Area.

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University researcher uses virtual reality to fight COVID-19 – CTV News

SUDBURY -- Researchers from around the world have been working non-stop, using a variety of tools, to come up with a treatment for COVID-19. Laurentian University's Stefan Siemann has those means at his fingertips.

Hes just one of several researchers that answered a call from the United Kingdom to study the virus using virtual reality.

"What I'm doing is I've shifted my focus from typical enzymology, so studying enzymes and proteins, to something particular related to COVID, to the new virus" said Siemann.

They're looking at potential molecular targets that could block a protein that is made by the COVID virus.

"You have to kind of imagine the virus itself, and related viruses like the AIDS virus and SARS virus, they make this giant protein and it's really non-functional, but what this protein that we're looking at does is it chops it into pieces and these pieces are absolutely vital to replication of the virus, so if you could block that from working, this particular protein that chops, then the virus wouldn't replicate so it's a very attractive drug targeted that's already been exploited with AIDS treatments and SARS treatments as well," said Siemann.

The hope is that something like this could work with the new coronavirus.

He anticipates that it could take another year for a vaccine to emerge, this is just providing researchers with additional avenues to take.

"If you can come up with pharmaceuticals that can bind and block this one protein from functioning, the virus is not replicating and eventually your immune system will pick up and eventually get rid of the virus."

The program he's been using has allowed him to immerse himself into the protein world, to visualize the cavity on COVID-19 they are trying to fill.

"It's like building lego with little fragments and pieces and block this big cavity and so when you do that, the protein will not work and it will not do the chopping so virtual reality allows you to dive right in," said Siemann.

He first became aware of the technology more than a year ago. Since then, he's introduced it into his course load and has been showing it to students.

"I think this is where education will go for chemistry, bio-chemistry and probably other disciplines," he said. "In this case you even collaborate with people around the world so they can enter the same virtual reality world where you can talk to them, interact with them and work on the protein together."

"I don't think it's going to be a quick fix, so this is kind of exploratory, someone still has to make these types of molecules so there's organic chemists involved, so what we're doing is coming up with ideas and uploading our ideas onto a central server in the UK. They're going to look at what we propose and then actually have to make those types of molecules and that's a major challenge in some cases," he said.

"So it's a good step, it's a step in the right direction but it'll take time, it's not a quick fix by any means," said Siemanns.

Any sort of medication would have to be synthesized, tested and then approved before it could be used on the market.

"The hope is to find something that's already out there like a drug or something that was explored as a drug, maybe something that was approved that might work against the virus, that would be quick," he said.

Siemann's efforts have been just one of several Laurentian faculty have been undertaking since the campus was shut down.

Another professor has also been making hand sanitizer for the Greater Sudbury Police Service.

Laurentian University President Robert Hache adds they've been making every effort to continue research projects including those aimed at COVID-19.

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University researcher uses virtual reality to fight COVID-19 - CTV News

Israel Opens Jerusalem to World This Easter Through 360 Virtual Reality – CBN News

JERUSALEM, Israel Every spring, the streets of Jerusalem are bursting with Jewish and Christian pilgrims ready to celebrate Passover and Easter. And this year the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan begins in April, too.

This year, that wont be possible due to the devasting COVID-19 global pandemic. However, technology is allowing people from around the world to visit the heart of Jerusalem from their own homes. Israels iconic Tower of David Museum is using virtual reality to allow pilgrims to visit the Western Wall during Passover, the Church of the Holy Sepulcher during Easter and at the Dome of the Rock and the Al Aqsa Mosque during Ramadan.

The museum Innovation Lab has created an immersive 360-degree virtual reality experience that anyone with an internet connection can access. Visitors will be able to see Jerusalem as it is today and how it looked 2000-years-ago with several virtual reality tours.

The Tower of David Museums Innovation Lab has worked with companies such as Blimey and Lithodomos and is supported by the Jerusalem Development Authority. The tours and experiences encapsulate the essence of the innovative vision at the Tower of David Museum - to create a modern, dynamic, unique language for the rich story of Jerusalem. VR can enable emotions felt as close to possible as when one is physically present. We hope that for those looking for hope in these uneasy times and for those that might turn to prayer and to Jerusalem - might find a little bit of hope when becoming immersed in the holy city of Jerusalem, says Eilat Lieber, Director of the Tower of David Museum.

Lieber hopes the virtual tours will give people hope as they continue to battle the coronavirus.

These are challenging times for us all, she continued. Millions of prayers and dreams of people from all over the world have been caught between the towers, spires, and domes of the city for thousands of years. The city has given hope and inspiration for centuries.

People will be able to access the virtual reality tours free of charge from the first day of Passover, through Easter, to the first day of Ramadan April 9-24.

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Israel Opens Jerusalem to World This Easter Through 360 Virtual Reality - CBN News

Virtual reality brings ancient sites of Syria and Iraq to life – The Times

The wars in Iraq and Syria have cut off some of the most celebrated ancient cities in the world from public view.

However, virtual reality technology means that the sites can now be visited remotely, and the scale of the destruction they have suffered more fully appreciated.

An exhibition in Washington titled Age Old Cities: a Virtual Journey from Palmyra to Mosul has brought to life five significant sites in three cities: Aleppo and Palmyra in Syria, and Mosul in Iraq.

The mosque was one of the historical sites which have been ruined by conflict in Syria

The exhibition, at the Smithsonian Institutions Arthur M Sackler Gallery, is closed at present because of the coronavirus pandemic but the virtual reality parts can still be downloaded from the internet, where they have been posted by the video-games company that helped to create

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Virtual reality brings ancient sites of Syria and Iraq to life - The Times

The virtual reality of the class of 2020: A high school senior’s perspective – Montgomery Advertiser

Nya McClain, Special to the Advertiser Published 10:37 a.m. CT March 30, 2020 | Updated 10:47 a.m. CT March 30, 2020


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The class of 2020s senior year recently tested positive for Coronavirus.

The better part of a year spent anxiety-ridden over deadlines and testing, mentally exhausted by college essays and class projects, and full of anticipation over reaching the end of our thirteen-year journey and the starting a new chapter of independence, now comes to a screeching halt. A global-pandemic-sized halt. A halt that tosses us into unfamiliar territory of having spare time and questions that neither Google nor Wikipedia can answer. A halt filling us with uncertainty. Uncertainty that looks like prom dresses ready to be worn or returned, college visits postponed or held virtually, and pre-dated graduation invitations that may or may not be mailed.

After spending this school year meticulously managing and mapping out time, time now leaves us hanging in the balance of a short abbreviation TBD.

As cohorts of Generation Z, we are often characterized as being entitled and self-absorbed. Should we ignore the sadness of unfulfilled expectations for our senior year, perhaps replacing it with the worlds shared malaise of the COVID-19 crisis? Is expressing frustration and disappointment symbolic of our selfish generation, or is it typical of any high school senior, regardless of birth year, to wants a special acknowledgment of past accomplishments and future potential?

Nya McClain is a senior at LAMP High School in Montgomery.(Photo: Contributed)

Surely this is why senior photo shoots, class rings, custom invitations and graduation ceremonies were invented to memorialize this milestone year.

My fellow classmates, in due time we will move beyond the uncertainty of the present and refocus on the future that lies before us. In the meantime, lets remind ourselves and others that we are owed the grace to express our unique feelings about this very odd period in time that caught the entire world off guard. As the generation also characterized as being great multitaskers, we are capable of feeling both the personal and earthly gravity of this situation.

We mourn for the loss of getting to fully experience the end of our senior year. In typical response, the world around us is shouting for us to get over ourselves, that people are dying, that we should stop crying about a petty dance. These remarks tend to come from older generations that got to experience these things, the generations that already have their feet on the ground. However, we are not upset because of the dance itself.

We are mourning the loss of the remaining shreds of stability in our lives.

More: 'Don't make me cry': Coronavirus pandemic robs high school seniors of precious memories

For many seniors, we have already spent months stumbling through the college application process, trying to figure out what our futures will look like for the next 4+ years. Before that, we spent our high school years preparing for senior year. Many of us have been anticipating this year since elementary school. Is it wrong to feel upset about losing something you have worked towards for twelve years?


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We understand that many people are suffering. We are just trying to figure out how to cope.

The world often forgets that we are still kids trying to grow up.

Since our childhood, my generation has been told that we will be the ones to change the world.We were not, however, warned of the baggage that came with this responsibility. For many high school seniors, the world has changed drastically in the time it took us to reach our final year of education. Every day, the news cycle spins faster and faster, and for those of us that havent even had the chance to put our feet on the ground, the fear of being swept away feels imminent.

Climate change continues to deteriorate the life span of our planet, and many of us feel powerless against the forces causing it. We have never lived in an America that is not at war. In 2019, there were more school shootings than days in the year. Every day it feels like a new tragedy is thrown at us, and the next one is hurtling towards us before we can even figure out how to deal with the last. Because of this, many of my peerscomment that they feel numb or desensitized.This sensation comes with much guilt and thoughts that we should feel something more, but it is also a necessary copying mechanism.

If we felt the full scope of our emotions every time we were informed of a new tragedy somewhere in the world, we would be reduced to hollow husks of despair. Instead, we take in the world around us, cataloging and analyzing and coming up with creative solutions to our problems. This pandemic has brought about destruction and disruption of the lives we once knew. It also brings with it a new experience in learning and preparation for our generation.

One day, when the world is left to our care, we will be more than ready.

Nya McClain isa senior at LAMP High School in Montgomery

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The virtual reality of the class of 2020: A high school senior's perspective - Montgomery Advertiser

Kaleidoscope and the Museum of Other Realities Step In to Help the VR Industry During the Pandemic – Filmmaker Magazine

One thing thats been uplifting to observe throughout all the recent closures of movie theaters, festivals, and other cultural institutions has been how individuals and companies have stepped in to provide relief, support, and camaraderie during an unprecedented crisis. This is true in the virtual and augmented reality community as much as in the broader film industry, as content creators and distributors have come together to support each other as their work has come to an essential standstill.

Of course, some companies and services have seen an uptick in their business, as consumers explore using VR products to hold meetings, even in gaming platforms like Rec Room that werent intended as business solutions. Likewise, the social music platform WaveXR and the VR cinema space Bigscreen have provided ways for isolated individuals to still unite virtually with a larger audience. But despite increased use among some consumers and businesses, a plethora of cancelled contracts and delayed projects have combined to create an uncertain future for producers, and the loss of premieres at festivals like SXSW and Tribeca has been just as devastating for VR filmmakers as for traditional ones, besides the closing of VR-centered location-based entertainment spaces.

Amidst this turmoil two organizations are joining forces to support these artists and businesses: Kaleidoscope, an XR networking and funding organization that I wrote about in 2017, and the Museum of Other Realities, a virtual gallery that showcases VR artists and connects them with funding and audiences; Danny Bittmans Night Snow, seen above, is one piece that has shown at MOR.On March 16 Kaleidoscopes Ren Pinnell and MORs Robin Stethemand their associates announced that they would use their relative strengthsKaleidoscopes online market and MORs capacity to host large groups onlineto host premieres, screenings, conferences, or any related events. And they have continued to reach out to other partners: on March 23 Kaleidoscope announced another project with AmazeVR to host a showcase for distribution-ready VR films on April 24.Details for submitting projects or attending that event are here.

Virtual reality by its nature does have the advantage of being able to be distributed online and viewed while buyers, funders, and audiences continue social distancing at home, and these types of efforts are taking full advantage of that. Those interested in showing their work with MOR or Kaleidoscope should write to the email address events@kaleidovr.com or reach out to Pinnell, Stethem, or any of their colleagues to find out more, but Pinnell also provided Filmmakerwith a statement about their purpose in the weeks going forward:

Pinnell:In many ways events are the lifeblood of the VR/AR industry. Its where artists are discovered and where deals get done. The XR industry is a relationship-based business. Its all about who you know and building trust and friendships. And events are still the best way to form and solidify working relationships. But now that we are entering a new world where in-person events are no longer safe for at least the next three to six months, many artists and professionals are at risk of having their careers and livelihood significantly disrupted. At Kaleidoscope our mission has always been to help artists secure the funding and support they need to be successful. By bringing together artists and industry at highly curated events weve been able to help XR creators raise millions for amazing projects like Spheres, Battlescar, Vestige, and Terminal 3. But we realized early on that the only want to scale up events and support more artists was to move our events online. So over the past few years we built the Kaleidoscope platform to help us produce, manage, and promote online events. Until recently all of our online events were hosted via streaming video, because the available social VR apps were either designed for small groups or were aesthetically unappealing. That all changed when I discovered the Museum of Other Realities. It is the first virtual venue that is architecturally stunning and designed for large audiences. After hosting our First Look Market there last month, I firmly believe the Museum of Other Realities is a game changer.

Witnessing the cancellation of major festivals like SXSW, Tribeca, and Laval Virtual as well as countless local events, Robin and I felt compelled to act. Together, Kaleidoscope and the Museum of Other Realities have the tools and resources needed to help migrate our industrys events into virtual reality. So we wanted to get the word out that we are here to help. If youve had to cancel your festival, conference, or industry gathering, then we want to hear from you. Or if youre an artist who has had to indefinitely postpone your premiere, let us know. We can help. Please email us directly at events@kaleidovr.com to discuss how to host your events in virtual reality.

Now is the time to come together as a community to support the artists and industry professionals most impacted by this global crisis. And until we get to the other side of the pandemic, that means coming together in virtual reality.

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Kaleidoscope and the Museum of Other Realities Step In to Help the VR Industry During the Pandemic - Filmmaker Magazine

Calling on Virtual Reality in the Wake of COVID-19 – Grit Daily

As this pandemic continues to loom over us, we see the world around usas well as our ownalter radically. Its time to employ a different technique: the use of virtual reality the kind of tech thats been utilized for medical advancements, educational advancements and assisting businesses in their growth. Lets review some of the ways virtual reality (VR) has made itself a necessary means in the wake of COVID-19.

After continuing to deteriorate, a man in his 50s who had tested positive for the virus was transferred from an area hospital to George Washington University Hospital; deeming him the first COVID-19 patient GW would encounter.

The condition of the patients lungs were progressively worsening. In the hospitals podcast, chief of thoracic surgery at GW hospital, Dr. Keith Mortman, said that the patients lungs needed higher levels of support from that ventilator and it got to the point where he needed maximal support from [it]. And thats when the initial hospital reached out to GW for help.

The patient had been admitted to GW to receive ECMO, a process where oxygen is pumped back into the blood. GW decided to employ VR to inspect the state of the patients lungs and assess how much damage this disease is causing; the results were uncanny.

The VR tech allowed for the medical staff to recreate 360 degree images of the patients lungs, providing a clear image of what they were working with. Its such a contrast that you do not need an MD after your name to understand these images, Dr. Mortman says, This is severe damage to both lungs diffusely. GW was the first hospital in the nation to utilize VR for thoracic cases and continues to turn to VR in the battle against COVID-19.

Museums, tourist attractions and national parks have joined forces with this interactive tech to keep cultural content alive, and the escape to nature an option as we close our doors to the outside world. A week ago today, the National Park Service announced that it would be modifying operations in its 419 parks in response to the social distancing and safety guidelines pressed by the White House and the CDC during the COVID-19 pandemic. NPS has made it possible for people to virtually visit sites like Yellowstone National Park, the Denali National Park and Preserve, the Upper Delaware Scenic and Rec River, and even the Statue of Liberty.

For those lacking a cultural and art fix, museums and art galleries have taken a similar approach. New York Citys Metropolitan Museum of Art has made a few of its exhibits available online and promises to surface their greatest hits and hidden treasures via social media; LAs Getty Museum plans to promote content via their social media and their blog The Iris; Paris Louvre Museum is offering tours of Egyptian antiquities, the remains of the Louvres Moat, and the Galerie dApollon; Romes Vatican Museum is has also contributed a 360-degree virtual tour showcasing its multitude of art collections. These are only a few of the many museums and galleries that are making their content available to the public right now via VR.

Another factor that this global pandemic has struck: our businessesour employment, and the way we function as workers. Those fortunate enough to work remotely, have all been ordered to do so.

Big tech companies have transitioned entirely to remote work until further instruction is given; disrupting the kind of collaborative work and the valuable hands-on-approach in training that employees benefit from in an office environment. In response, companies have implemented VR to mimic the hands-on training employees wouldve received in a workplace environment; allowing employees to continue sharpening their skill-set while under lockdown. 20% of workers claim their biggest struggle with working from home is Difficulties with collaboration and communication. Where collaboration gets stifled, virtual reality can bridge the gap. Remote meetings can be hosted through VR, allowing colleagues to communicate complex concepts coherently and efficiently; almost as if they were in the same room.

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Calling on Virtual Reality in the Wake of COVID-19 - Grit Daily