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Category Archives: Virtual Reality

How Virtual Reality Is Providing Comfort To Elderly Hospice Patients And Others – wgbh.org

Posted: November 7, 2019 at 3:47 am

Phyllis Holmes, a former art teacher, is surrounded by family photos and by watercolors she has painted. She's 91 and recently moved into hospice care in Burlington, Mass., but she's still able to travel.

Her destination one recent day was Harbor Springs, Michigan. There was no bag to pack, no ticket to buy, nothing to plan. Instead, Holmes and her daughter, Rebecca Oteri, returned to their beloved vacation spot with the help of virtual reality headsets.

"This is great," said Holmes as she looked through her headset and took in the 360-degree view.

Once largely the domain of gamers, virtual reality (VR) for seniors is a now a booming field, as an aging population and a shortage of elderly care-givers have added impetus to find new options for senior care. The technology is mostly used in group settings to connect residents in shared social experiences like reminiscing, games and 'bucket list' travel. VR also has applications that address a wide range of health issues, from exercise, to dementia to pain management.

"We have to look at innovation and different tools to come up with new solutions to address issues of social isolation and loneliness and allow people to stay engaged and active," said University of Pennsylvania Professor George Demiris, an expert in the use of technology for the elderly in care settings.

In hospice settings like Holmes', VR is a popular way for patients to return to a childhood home and find joy in remembering.

"Our whole goal is to help somebody to have a peaceful passing, said Casey Cuthbert-Allman, executive director of Continuum Care Hospice, which operates the facility where Holmes is receiving care. Part of that process is to do a life review. This technology really helps us transport them to accomplish that. This VR project also helps them reconnect with family members."

Looking through her VR headset, Holmes marveled as she recognized familiar streets. She said VR helps stimulate her thoughts.

"Its all based on that one little glimmer that comes about when you look at something that you havent seen for a long time. When you look at these things, theyre about you or about what you would have liked," she said. "That to me is a continuation of growing and keeping your mind working as you age."

"The vacations were our absolute favorite time," said Holmes' daughter, Rebecca Oteri, "so I like to re-live them with her so that she can remember, as well. And then, you know, we spent some time talking about things that werent so good. And [we] have come to some understanding and agreement about those."

Demiris said VR has also shown early promise for dementia patients. While studies so far are small and he says more studies are needed, there is some evidence virtual reality can have a calming effect for older adults who have experienced dementia and show anger or aggressive behavior.

Experts are also looking at other uses for VR in seniors' lives. Benedictine Health System, which runs a network of Catholic nonprofit senior living centers in five Midwestern states, has partnered with the company MyndVR. Benedictine uses the content for group social activities and to draw out isolated residents, but they've recently started using VR for pain reduction during wound dressing. A 2019 review of studies in the Journal of Pain Research concluded that VR is an effective treatment for reducing acute pain.

Headsets are put on patients who can choose from a menu of content to relax just before a dressing is changed.

"The goal is to provide diversity in non-pharmacological interventions, " said Dr. Neal Buddensick, Benedictine's chief medical officer, "We're trying to cut down on the number of pills."

Still, Demiris and others caution that VR should augment and not substitute for human encounters.

"We would never say that technology could replace the human touch," Grace Andruszkiewicz, marketing director for Rendever, the Somerville-based company that makes the VR technology Holmes uses. "What were trying to do is augment the human touch."

At the end of her VR session, Holmes decided she'd also like to travel in VR to places she never got to in real life. As she looked around at a 360-degree virtual view of the marbled halls of the Vatican, she joked about not having to stand in line, as she did on so many real trips.

Would she consider a safari?

"At this distance, yes," Phyllis said with a laugh.

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How Virtual Reality Is Providing Comfort To Elderly Hospice Patients And Others - wgbh.org

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Virtual Reality Field Trips Take Students Around The World – WUNC

Posted: at 3:47 am

Cole del Charco reports on how classrooms are using technology to take students on virtual field trips.

Earlier this semester, students in sixth grade at St. Timothys School in Raleigh took a trip to the Roman Coliseum and Greek Parthenon. But they did so without ever leaving their classroom.

All it took was a set of virtual reality headsets and help from the schools technology teacher.

"If youre moving around a lot, you will get motion sick," technology teacher Bradon Bogumil warned the kids as they donned the headsets. "So dont do that."

Bogumil can bring VR to any classroom, and he helps teachers craft the "trips." St. Timothy's School started using the technology this school year, and the goal is for all students to go on at least one VR field trip before the end of the school year.

In Kim Balentine's sixth-grade art class, students lift the red and white headsets up to see ancient rock pillars and ruins of two of the worlds best-known structures. The class is learning about Greek architecture for a pottery project.

Balentine leads students through the virtual site and asks them to identify the "tall, worn, rock things."

Hands across the room shoot up, but one student is particularly excited.

"Ooh, maybe those were part of the buildings?" Ella Burnhamsaid. "And they were the columns of the buildings."

Balentine nods in approval. "Excellent, yes ma'am!" she responds.

The field trip goes on like this, Balentine pointing students toward specific aspects of the 360-degreee landscape, asking questions.

But just like on any field trip, students notice more than the one or two things theyre supposed to be focusing on.

"Oh my gosh," yelps one of the students. "Thats a giant dead squirrel."

Down to the right, just in front of the Roman Coliseum is, indeed, a dead squirrel. It causes quite a distraction, as students call across the room to others to ask where it is and how they can find it.

Students, are, after all, still kids. But in a virtual reality field trip, they do have more control over their indiviudal learning experience than on a normal field trip.

"In virtual reality, every student has agency to drive their own learning," said Iulian Radu, who develops and researches emerging educational technology at Harvard University. "Thats where one of the benefits is in these kinds of experiential learning experiences."

Radu said these kinds of student-led opportunities are what make virtual reality, and even augmented reality, a benefit in the classroom. But, he said, educators have to think differently for this kind of learning experience to be effective.

"Theres an expression, instead of the 'sage on the stage,' they have to switch to being the 'guide on the side,'" Radu said. "So the teacher is more of a guide through the virtual experience and their role is now changing."

Field trips have always been the standard for experiential learning. But trips to museums or other locations are subject to permission slips and local opportunities. Anything more than that has always been little more than fantasy.

In the animated TV show "The Magic School Bus," Miss Frizzle would shrink the bus and take her students on wild rides inside the human body or rain clouds. In books like "The Magic Tree House," readers can follow the characters as they are transported to a different historical time and place.

But now with virtual reality, students can get much closer than an imaginary world or pictures on a screen. The technology is shown to provide - on a deeper psychological level - the experience of actually living a different experience.

Creating these field trips is complicated and expensive. As the technology improves, it will get cheaper, and students will be able to experience more and more.

Right now, VR field trips are likely out of reach for large-scale use in public schools.

"I think we will see a lot more field trips," Radu said. "But on a shorter scale."

But even if virtual reality field trips became cheaper than actual field trips, Radu says he hopes they never completely replace getting out of the classroom.

"Theres still something about reality that youll pick up by just going to a place," Radu said.

At St. Timothys School, leaders say the technology wont be replacing normal field trips any time soon.

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Virtual Reality Field Trips Take Students Around The World - WUNC

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Virtual reality field trips take Raleigh students around the world – WRAL.com

Posted: at 3:47 am

By Cole del Charco, WUNC Fletcher Fellow for education policy reporting

Raleigh, N.C. Earlier this semester, students in sixth grade at St. Timothys School in Raleigh took a trip to the Roman Coliseum and Greek Parthenon. But they did so without ever leaving their classroom.

All it took was a set of virtual reality headsets and help from the schools technology teacher.

"If youre moving around a lot, you will get motion sick," technology teacher Bradon Bogumil warned the kids as they donned the headsets. "So dont do that."

Bogumil can bring VR to any classroom, and he helps teachers craft the "trips." St. Timothy's School started using the technology this school year, and the goal is for all students to go on at least one VR field trip before the end of the school year.

In Kim Balentine's sixth-grade art class, students lift the red and white headsets up to see ancient rock pillars and ruins of two of the worlds best-known structures. The class is learning about Greek architecture for a pottery project.

Balentine leads students through the virtual site and asks them to identify the "tall, worn, rock things."

Hands across the room shoot up, but one student is particularly excited.

"Ooh, maybe those were part of the buildings?" Ella Burnham said. "And they were the columns of the buildings."

Balentine nods in approval. "Excellent, yes ma'am!" she responds.

Sixth graders Ella Burnham and Oliver Kilani try to get a better view of ancient ruins during a virtual field trip. (Cole del Charco/WUNC)

The field trip goes on like this, Balentine pointing students toward specific aspects of the 360-degreee landscape, asking questions.

But just like on any field trip, students notice more than the one or two things theyre supposed to be focusing on.

"Oh my gosh," yelps one of the students. "Thats a giant dead squirrel."

Down to the right, just in front of the Roman Coliseum is, indeed, a dead squirrel. It causes quite a distraction, as students call across the room to others to ask where it is and how they can find it.

Students, are, after all, still kids. But in a virtual reality field trip, they do have more control over their individual learning experience than on a normal field trip.

"In virtual reality, every student has agency to drive their own learning," said Iulain Radu, who develops and researches emerging educational technology at Harvard University. "Thats where one of the benefits is in these kinds of experiential learning experiences."

Radu said these kinds of student-led opportunities are what make virtual reality, and even augmented reality, a benefit in the classroom. But, he said, educators have to think differently for this kind of learning experience to be effective.

"Theres an expression, instead of the 'sage on the stage,' they have to switch to being the 'guide on the side,'" Radu said. "So the teacher is more of a guide through the virtual experience and their role is now changing."

Field trips have always been the standard for experiential learning. But trips to museums or other locations are subject to permission slips and local opportunities. Anything more than that has always been little more than fantasy.

In the animated TV show "The Magic School Bus," Miss Frizzle would shrink the bus and take her students on wild rides inside the human body or rain clouds. In books like "The Magic Tree House," readers can follow the characters as they are transported to a different historical time and place.

But now with virtual reality, students can get much closer than an imaginary world or pictures on a screen. The technology is shown to provide on a deeper psychological level the experience of actually living a different experience.

Creating these field trips is complicated and expensive. As the technology improves, it will get cheaper, and students will be able to experience more and more.

Right now, VR field trips are likely out of reach for large-scale use in public schools.

"I think we will see a lot more field trips," Radu said. "But on a shorter scale."

But even if virtual reality field trips became cheaper than actual field trips, Radu says he hopes they never completely replace getting out of the classroom.

"Theres still something about reality that youll pick up by just going to a place," Radu said.

At St. Timothys School, leaders say the technology wont be replacing normal field trips any time soon.

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Virtual reality field trips take Raleigh students around the world - WRAL.com

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R01 grant to study ways virtual reality can assist with low vision rehabilitation – UAB News

Posted: at 3:47 am

A grant in the School of Optometry will enable researchers to study the use of virtual reality and intelligent tutoring in an effort to make low vision rehabilitation more accessible and affordable.

Lei Liu, Ph.D., School of OptometryLei Liu, Ph.D., associate professor in the School of Optometry at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, has received a four-year, $2.5 million R01 grant from the National Institutes of Health to study the use of virtual reality and intelligent tutoring in an effort to make low vision rehabilitation more accessible and affordable for at-risk populations.

The long-term objective of Lius research is to integrate Virtual Reality-based Intelligent Orientation and Mobility Specialists into orientation and mobility rehabilitation practice so that this valuable service becomes accessible and affordable to all who may benefit from it.

Currently, O&M rehabilitation is the primary method to restore independent travel to those with low vision and improve their quality of life. However, factors like a shortage of O&M specialists and socioeconomic constraints make access to O&M rehabilitation tough.

A VR-IOMS is a computer program that mimics human O&M specialists teaching strategies and tactics to conduct automated and individualized O&M skill training to individuals with low vision in safe virtual environments. When VR-IOMS courses are delivered through the internet, low vision travelers can receive quality O&M training at their convenient location and time with little cost.

We believe that if low vision travelers can learn O&M skills in a safe environment in their convenient location and time, and if such learning is self-regulated, with minimal intervention from an O&M specialist, we can overcome the accessibility and affordability barriers to O&M rehabilitation. This led to the idea of Virtual Reality-based Intelligent Orientation and Mobility Specialists (VR-IOMSs), Liu said.

This research is built on Lius previous study of teaching O&M skills in virtual streets. It includes the technical development of VR-IOMSs, in collaboration with the University of Alabama, and a clinical trial to compare the training effectiveness of the VR-IOMS and human O&M specialists, in collaboration with Alabama Institute for Deaf and Blind.

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R01 grant to study ways virtual reality can assist with low vision rehabilitation - UAB News

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Mayor Pete Buttigieg cut a ribbon in virtual reality Wednesday – ABC 57 News

Posted: at 3:47 am

'); if(!WVM.IS_STREAMING){ $videoEl.append('' + '' + ''); } setTimeout(function(){ $('.mute-overlay').on('touchstart click', function(e){ if(e.handled === false) return; e.stopPropagation(); e.preventDefault(); e.handled = true; player.muted(false); //console.log("volumee " + WVM.activePlayer.volume()); $(this).hide(); $(this).css('display', 'none'); var currentTime = player.currentTime(); if(currentTime 0){ if(deviceName == 'desktop'){ WVM.VIDEO_TOP = $('#media-container-' + videoId).offset().top; }else{ WVM.VIDEO_TOP = $('#media-container-' + videoId).offset().top - $('.next-dropdown-accordion').height(); } if(deviceName == 'desktop'){ WVM.VIDEO_HEIGHT = $('#html5-video-' + videoId).outerHeight(); }else{ WVM.VIDEO_HEIGHT = $('#html5-video-' + videoId).outerHeight(); } WVM.CONTAINER_HEIGHT = $('#media-container-' + videoId).height(); //console.log("container height: " + WVM.CONTAINER_HEIGHT); $(window).on( "resize", function() { if(deviceName == 'desktop'){ WVM.VIDEO_TOP = $('#media-container-' + videoId).offset().top; }else{ WVM.VIDEO_TOP = $('#media-container-' + videoId).offset().top - $('.next-dropdown-accordion').height(); } if(deviceName == 'desktop'){ WVM.VIDEO_HEIGHT = $('#html5-video-' + videoId).outerHeight(); }else{ WVM.VIDEO_HEIGHT = $('#html5-video-' + videoId).outerHeight(); } WVM.CONTAINER_HEIGHT = $('#media-container-' + videoId).height(); console.log("container height: " + WVM.CONTAINER_HEIGHT); }); //console.log("VIDEOTOP: " + WVM.VIDEO_TOP); //console.log("VIDEOHEIGHT: " + WVM.VIDEO_HEIGHT); $(window).on( "scroll", function() { if(!WVM.IS_FLOATING){ if(deviceName == 'desktop'){ WVM.CONTAINER_HEIGHT = $('#media-container-' + videoId).height(); }else{ WVM.CONTAINER_HEIGHT = $('#media-container-' + videoId + " .hlsvideo-wrapper").height() + $('#media-container-' + videoId + " .now-playing-container").height(); } } //var top = $('#media-container-' + videoId).offset().top; var offset = WVM.VIDEO_TOP + (WVM.VIDEO_HEIGHT / 2); var offsetBack = WVM.VIDEO_TOP; var changed = false; //console.log("VIDEOTOP: " + WVM.VIDEO_TOP); //console.log("VIDEOHEIGHT: " + WVM.VIDEO_HEIGHT); //console.log("scrolltop " + $(window).scrollTop()); //only float if playing var isPlaying = WVM['player_state' + videoId]['IS_PLAYING'] || WVM['player_state' + videoId]['AD_IS_PLAYING']; if(isPlaying){ $('.vjs-loading-spinner').hide(); } if($(window).scrollTop() > offset && isPlaying && !WVM['player_state' + videoId]['CANCEL_FLOATING']){ $('#media-placeholder-' + videoId).height(WVM.CONTAINER_HEIGHT); $('#media-placeholder-' + videoId).css('display', 'block'); if(!WVM.IS_FLOATING){ changed = true; } WVM.IS_FLOATING = true; $('#media-container-' + videoId).addClass('floating-video'); //set right var sWidth = window.innerWidth || document.documentElement.clientWidth; var sHeight = window.innerHeight || document.documentElement.clientHeight; if(deviceName == 'desktop' || sWidth > 900){ var leftPos2 = $('aside').get(0).getBoundingClientRect().left; var leftPos = $('aside').offset().left ; $('#media-container-' + videoId).css('left', leftPos + "px"); var newWidth = Math.floor(sWidth / 3.5); $('#media-container-' + videoId).css('width', newWidth + "px"); } else{ $('#media-container-' + videoId).css('width', "100% !important"); $('#media-container-' + videoId + ' .now-playing-container').css('display', 'block'); $('#media-container-' + videoId + ' .next-dropdown-accordion').css('display', 'block'); } //floating-video $('#media-container-' + videoId + " " + '.page-carousel-wrapper').hide(); setTimeout(function(){ var hWrapper = $('.floating-video .hlsvideo-wrapper').height(); var npWidth = $('.floating-video .now-playing-container').height(); var ndWidth = $('.floating-video .next-dropdown-header').height() + 20; var scrollerHeight = sHeight - (hWrapper + npWidth + ndWidth); scrollerHeight = 180; //scrollerHeight = parseInt(scrollerHeight * 0.5); if(WVM.device_name == 'desktop'){ $('#media-container-' + videoId + " " + " .mobile-list-videos").height(scrollerHeight); } }, 100); }else if($(window).scrollTop() 0){ var container = document.querySelector('#page-carousel-' + fullVideoId); imagesLoaded( container, function() { var screenWidth = window.innerWidth || document.documentElement.clientWidth; if(screenWidth > 850){ WVM.IS_DESKTOP = true; $('#page-carousel-' + fullVideoId + ' .page-carousel-lg-slides').css('display', 'block'); WVM['player_settings' + fullVideoId].slider = $('#page-carousel-' + fullVideoId).bxSlider({ maxSlides: 4, minSlides: 4, slideWidth: 305, infiniteLoop: false, hideControlOnEnd: true, useCSS: true, pager: false, slideMargin: 15, moveSlides: 1, nextText: '', prevText: '' }); }else{ WVM.IS_DESKTOP = false; $('.page-carousel-wrapper').css('display', 'block'); } }); } }; WVM.setupToggleButton = function(fullVideoId, player){ if($('.nextplay-switch-' + fullVideoId).length > 0){ new DG.OnOffSwitchAuto({ cls:'.nextplay-switch-' + fullVideoId, height: 24, trackColorOn:'#F9F9F9', trackColorOff:'#222', textColorOn: '#222', textColorOff: '#222', textOn:'On', textOff:'Off', listener:function(name, checked){ var theVal = 1; if(!checked){ theVal = 0; } $.ajax({ url: '/ajax/update_autoplay_video/', data: { autoplay_on: theVal }, type: 'POST', dataType: 'json', success: function(data) { WVM['player_settings' + fullVideoId]['autoplay'] = checked; }, error : function(){ console.log("Error loading video"); } }); } }); } }; WVM.setupAccordionButton = function(fullVideoId){ var deviceName = 'desktop'; $('#next-dropdown-accordion-button-' + fullVideoId).on('click', function(){ if($(this).find('i').hasClass('fa-chevron-up')){ //hide $(this).find('i').removeClass('fa-chevron-up'); $(this).find('i').addClass('fa-chevron-down'); if(deviceName == "desktop" && !$('#media-container-' + fullVideoId).hasClass('floating-video')){ $('#media-container-' + fullVideoId + " " + '.page-carousel-wrapper').slideUp(); $('#media-container-' + fullVideoId + " " + '.mobile-list-wrapper').hide(); }else{ $('#media-container-' + fullVideoId + " " + '.mobile-list-wrapper').slideUp(); $('#media-container-' + fullVideoId + " " + '.page-carousel-wrapper').hide(); } var currVideoId = WVM['player_state' + fullVideoId]['VIDEO_ID']; var nextVideoId = WVM.getNextPlaylistIndex(currVideoId); //playerId, mediaId, fieldName var myTitle = WVM.getPlaylistData(fullVideoId, nextVideoId, 'noprefixtitle'); //alert("Getting title " + myTitle); $('#video-slider-nexttitle' + fullVideoId).css('display', 'inline'); $('#video-slider-nexttitle' + fullVideoId).html(myTitle); }else{ //expand $(this).find('i').addClass('fa-chevron-up'); $(this).find('i').removeClass('fa-chevron-down'); $('#media-container-' + fullVideoId + " " + '.mobile-list-wrapper').css('display', 'block'); if(deviceName == "desktop" && !$('#media-container-' + fullVideoId).hasClass('floating-video')){ $('#media-container-' + fullVideoId + " " + '.page-carousel-wrapper').css('display', 'block'); $('#media-container-' + fullVideoId + " " + '.page-carousel-wrapper').slideDown(); $('#media-container-' + fullVideoId + " " + '.mobile-list-wrapper').hide(); if(!WVM.player_state108329['CAROUSEL_INIT']){ WVM.setupCarousel(fullVideoId); } }else{ $('#media-container-' + fullVideoId + " " + '.mobile-list-wrapper').slideDown(); $('#media-container-' + fullVideoId + " " + '.page-carousel-wrapper').hide(); if(!$('#media-container-' + fullVideoId).hasClass('floating-video')){ if(!WVM.player_state108329['CAROUSEL_INIT']){ WVM.setupCarousel(fullVideoId); } } } $('#video-slider-nexttitle' + fullVideoId).css('display', 'none'); } }); var currVideoId = WVM['player_state' + fullVideoId]['VIDEO_ID']; //console.log("current Video " + currVideoId); var nextVideoId = WVM.getNextPlaylistIndex(currVideoId); var myTitle = WVM.getPlaylistData(fullVideoId, nextVideoId, 'noprefixtitle'); //console.log("setting title " + myTitle); $('#video-slider-nexttitle' + fullVideoId).css('display', 'inline'); $('#video-slider-nexttitle' + fullVideoId).html(myTitle); }; WVM.sendbeacon = function(action, nonInteraction, value, eventLabel) { var eventCategory = 'Video'; if (window.ga) { //console.log("sending action: " + action + " val: " + value + " label " + eventLabel); ga('send', 'event', { 'eventCategory': eventCategory, 'eventAction': action, 'eventLabel': eventLabel, 'eventValue': value, 'nonInteraction': nonInteraction }); } }; WVM.getNextPlaylistIndex = function(mediaId, returnArrayIndex){ var currId = null; if(mediaId == null){ return null; } for(var x =0; x 20){ if(fullDuration > 1 && ((fullDuration - fullCurrent) > 1) && !$('.vjs-loading-spinner').hasClass('badspinner')){ console.log("hiding spinner"); $('.vjs-loading-spinner').addClass('badspinner'); } } var duration_time = Math.floor(this.duration()); //this is a hack because the end video event is not firing... var current_time = Math.floor(this.currentTime()); if ( current_time > 0 && ( fullCurrent >= (fullDuration - 10) )){ var currId = playerState.VIDEO_ID; var newMediaId = WVM.getNextPlaylistIndex(currId); //if(playerSettings.autoplay_next && newMediaId){ if(newMediaId){ if('desktop' == "iphone" && playerState.AD_ERROR){ console.log("skipped timeupdate end"); }else{ WVM.load_video(newMediaId, true, playerState.ORIGINAL_ID); } } } if(!playerState.START_SENT){ WVM.sendbeacon('start', true, playerState.VIDEO_ID, playerState.VIDEO_TITLE); playerState.START_SENT = true; } var currentTime, duration, percent, percentPlayed, _i; currentTime = Math.round(this.currentTime()); duration = Math.round(this.duration()); percentPlayed = Math.round(currentTime / duration * 100); for (percent = _i = 0; _i = percent && __indexOf.call(playerState['PERCENTS_TRACKED'], percent) 0) { playerState['PERCENTS_TRACKED'].push(percent); } } } }); //player.off('ended'); player.on('ended', function(){ console.log("ended"); playerState.IS_PLAYING = false; WVM.sendbeacon("complete", true, playerState.VIDEO_ID, playerState.VIDEO_TITLE); var currId = playerState.VIDEO_ID; var newMediaId = WVM.getNextPlaylistIndex(currId); //if(playerSettings.autoplay_next && newMediaId){ if(newMediaId){ WVM.load_video(newMediaId, true, playerState.ORIGINAL_ID); }else{ console.log("Playlist complete (no more videos)"); } }); //player.off('adserror'); player.on('adserror', function(e){ //$('#ima-ad-container').remove(); WVM.lastAdRequest = new Date().getTime() / 1000; console.log(e); console.log("ads error"); var errMessage = e['data']['AdError']['l']; playerState.AD_IS_PLAYING = false; playerState.IS_PLAYING = false; // && errMessage == 'The VAST response document is empty.' if(!playerState.AD_ERROR){ var dTime = new Date().getTime(); WVM.firstPrerollTagUrl = WVM.getFirstPrerollUrl(); console.log("calling backup ad tag url: " + WVM.firstPrerollTagUrl); WVM.activePlayer.ima.changeAdTag(WVM.firstPrerollTagUrl + "?" + dTime); WVM.activePlayer.ima.requestAds(); //WVM.activePlayer.src({ // src: masterSrc, // type: 'video/mp4' //}); //WVM.firstPrerollTagUrl = ""; } playerState.AD_ERROR = true; }); //player.off('error'); player.on('error', function(event) { if (player.error().code === 4) { player.error(null); // clear out the old error player.options().sources.shift(); // drop the highest precedence source console.log("now doing src"); console.log(player.options().sources[0]); player.src(player.options().sources[0]); // retry return; } }); //player.off('volumechange'); player.on('volumechange', function(event) { console.log(event); var theHeight = $('#media-container-' + playerState.ORIGINAL_ID + ' .vjs-volume-level').css('height'); var cssVolume = 0; if(theHeight){ cssVolume = parseInt(theHeight.replace('%', '')); } var theVolume = player.volume(); if(theVolume > 0.0 || cssVolume > 0){ $('#media-container-' + playerState.ORIGINAL_ID + ' .mute-overlay').css('display', 'none'); }else{ $('#media-container-' + playerState.ORIGINAL_ID + ' .mute-overlay').css('display', 'block'); } }); WVM.reinitRawEvents(playerState.ORIGINAL_ID); setInterval(function(){ WVM.reinitRawEvents(playerState.ORIGINAL_ID); }, 2000); } if(!WVM.rawCompleteEvent){ WVM.rawCompleteEvent = function(e){ var playerState = WVM['player_state108329']; console.log("firing raw event due to all other events failing"); var currId = playerState.VIDEO_ID; var newMediaId = WVM.getNextPlaylistIndex(currId); //if(playerSettings.autoplay_next && newMediaId){ if(newMediaId){ WVM.load_video(newMediaId, true, playerState.ORIGINAL_ID); } }; } if(!WVM.rawTimeupdateEvent){ WVM.rawTimeupdateEvent = function(e){ var playerState = WVM['player_state108329']; var rawVideoElem = document.getElementById('html5-video-' + playerState['ORIGINAL_ID'] + '_html5_api'); var fullCurrent = rawVideoElem.currentTime * 1000; var fullDuration = rawVideoElem.duration * 1000; var current_time = Math.floor(rawVideoElem.currentTime); console.log("raw timeupdate: " + fullCurrent + " out of " + fullDuration); if ( current_time > 0 && ( fullCurrent >= (fullDuration - 50) )){ var currId = playerState.VIDEO_ID; var newMediaId = WVM.getNextPlaylistIndex(currId); if(newMediaId){ console.log("loading new video from rawtimeupdate"); WVM.load_video(newMediaId, true, playerState.ORIGINAL_ID); } } if(!$('.vjs-loading-spinner').hasClass('badspinner')){ $('.vjs-loading-spinner').addClass('badspinner') } }; } WVM.reinitRawEvents = function(playerId){ var playerState = WVM['player_state' + playerId]; var rawVideoElem = document.getElementById('html5-video-' + WVM['player_state' + playerId]['ORIGINAL_ID'] + '_html5_api'); //COMPLETE EENT if( WVM['player_state' + playerId].COMPLETE_EVENT){ rawVideoElem.removeEventListener('ended', WVM.rawCompleteEvent, false); } rawVideoElem.addEventListener('ended', WVM.rawCompleteEvent, false); //TIME UPDATE EVENT if( WVM['player_state' + playerId].TIMEUPDATE_EVENT){ rawVideoElem.removeEventListener('ended', WVM.rawTimeupdateEvent, false); } rawVideoElem.addEventListener('ended', WVM.rawTimeupdateEvent, false); WVM['player_state' + playerId].COMPLETE_EVENT = true; WVM['player_state' + playerId].TIMEUPDATE_EVENT = true; };

SOUTH BEND, Ind. Mayor Pete Buttigieg attended a ribbon cutting ceremony on Wednesday morning for a new Technology and Resource Center in downtown South Bend.

The Technology and Resource Center was built in order to teach members of the community technological skills and give them access to technology they do not have at home.

Mayor Pete, who attended the event, said, The important thing about the Technology and Resource Center is its not just a hub for work thats going on in city administration. Its for the community; its allowing us to help close the digital divide and provide more opportunities for people to get the skills that they need and the access that they need to thrive in the digital age.

Around 25% of South Bend homes do not have internet access, and some homes do not have computers. The center will allow these community members to utilize this technology and will teach them how to use it effectively.

Some of the skills that will be taught there include data analysis and coding.

The Chief Innovative Officer for the City of South Bend also commented on the project, saying, I want everyone to think about the Technology and Resource Center here in South Bend as a place where technology is for everyone, so whether you are a worker in South Bend that wants to upscale and learn more data skills, theres something here for youReally this is all about bringing people together to solve common problems, to work together and to skill up as a city.

The project was approved in 2017 by the Redevelopment Commission and cost about $2.7 million.

The ceremony concluded with Mayor Pete cutting the ribbon in virtual reality.

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Mayor Pete Buttigieg cut a ribbon in virtual reality Wednesday - ABC 57 News

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Virtual reality helps caregivers understand what it’s like to have Alzheimer’s – KSBY San Luis Obispo News

Posted: at 3:47 am

CHICAGO, Ill. November is Alzheimer Awareness Month. And with nearly six million Americans living with the disease, healthcare providers are looking for innovative ways to treat patients.

One pilot program is putting caregivers inside the mind of Alzheimers patients.

Using a virtual reality headset and console, Amelia Williams is immersing herself into the mind of a fictional dementia patient known as Beatriz.

Williams is a research coordinator at Rush University Medical Center .

I didn't expect it to be as disorienting as it was, said Williams.

And thats the point.

The program created by Los Angeles-based Embodied Labs provides a window into life for a person in the advanced stages of Alzheimers.

She just can't remember stuff that she does anymore. Sounds really scary like I can't even imagine myself, explained Martha Oluwadamilola Ajeigbe, a certified nursing assistant who cares for patients with dementia and Alzheimers disease.

The helplessness of becoming disoriented in a grocery story is simulated in one vignette.

Beatriz cant find the words to ask for help as food labels become unclear and she forgets where she is.

Its that experience that many who encounter someone with Alzheimers often wonder about.

What does it feel like? That is the question I used to get all the time, said Dr. Neelum Aggarwal. Shes a cognitive neurologist at the Rush Alzheimers Disease Center in Chicago.

For the last year and a half, Dr. Aggarwal has utilized the VR technology to train 35 medical students, transporting them into an alternate world.

What I've heard is I had no idea. I had no idea this is what it's like, explained Aggarwal. Wow. How do people go through the day like that?

Third-year medical student Emily Phelps has been the student coordinator for the pilot project and says the training has been invaluable.

I think for a lot of students they realize that the way that they ask questions the cadence at which they ask questions can change if they realize that they're working with somebody who might have sensory and cognitive impairment, said Phelps.

The training is also being piloted amongst family members, interns and direct care staff in facilities with Alzheimers and dementia patients. For the last two years, Ann Brennan, the director of volunteer services at Chicago Methodist Senior Services , has been using it to train staffers.

It creates an understanding and an empathy, said Brennan, whose own father was recently diagnosed with Alzheimers disease. To me it's a game changer.

Its a virtual experience, bringing deeper understanding for those who need it most.

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See the Berlin Wall and Escape Beneath It in New Virtual Reality Show – The New York Times

Posted: at 3:47 am

LONDON A new YouTube show and virtual reality experience transports people to the streets of Berlin to relive the sudden construction of the hated wall in 1961 and its toppling 30 years ago this week.

Viewers stand alongside three young people in a residential street and see the initial coils of barbed wire that overnight closed off East Berlin, the Soviet-occupied sector of the city, from West Berlin.

The Berlin Wall was built to stop East Germans fleeing to the West. It began as a barbed wire and cinder block wall but was then fortified to become a heavily guarded 160 km (100-mile) white concrete barrier that encircled West Berlin.

At least 138 people were killed trying to escape to the West and many who were captured ended up in jail.

New technologies allow viewers of the show to stand in the middle of the so-called "death strip", which ran alongside the wall, and sense its scale and menace.

"I think it's really important ... that we get young people to engage in this story because there is a bigger story around the Berlin Wall and putting up walls and closing borders ... which feels very pertinent in today's world," said the show's director Joff Wilson.

"We want people to experience it not just as a historic document but as something they can take and [which has] an emotional impact as well."

The show also brings young Germans face to face with their grandparents as youths and lets them experience the impact the wall had on their lives.

In a virtual reality scene reconstructed from an old photo Anton von Keussler, a 20-year-old engineering student from Stuttgart, sees his grandfather Klaus-Michael helping dig a tunnel from a building in West Berlin to the East, through which 57 people escaped over two nights.

Von Keussler even crawls through the 145-metre (475 ft) long tunnel in virtual reality, which is just 1 meter high.

"The biggest surprise for me was to see how deep the tunnel was and also how narrow and long it was. It must have been so much work to dig," he said.

"The students who did that, including my grandfather, were really selfless ... they did not actually flee themselves, they just dug a tunnel into the East to help other people that they didn't even know to flee."

Youtube's "Virtually History" series aims to bring the realities of young people's experience of major historical events to life.

(Reporting by Hanna Rantala; writing by Alexandra Hudson)

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Virtual reality is going to teach the YouTube generation about the Berlin Wall – inews

Posted: at 3:47 am

CultureTVA new YouTube documentary uses VR to take young Germans back in time to meet their parents who experienced the Berlin Wall first hand

Wednesday, 6th November 2019, 1:54 pm

Not many of us will have had the chance to crawl through Berlins Tunnel 57, an underground route which allowed 57 East Berliners to to the west side of the wall in October 1964, but 19-year-old Anton Von Keussler has. Even fewer people can say theyre related to the men responsible for digging the tunnel, but again, Anton can - his grandfather is Klaus Von Keussler, a man who helped the fugitives escape with their lives when he was just 23. Theres a photo of the elder Von Keussler during the excavation that the family has kept and, thanks to the wonders of virtual reality, his grandson can now jump inside and experience for himself.

The project is part of YouTubes foray into its own programming, YouTube Originals, the latest of which is the one-off documentary Virtually History, presented by historian Emma Daibri, to whom the VR aspect particularly appealed. Its thrilling to be able to be so immersed in such a different period of time, she says. I feel like theres a lot of history that younger people would be fascinated by if it was sold in the right way and this feels like a really innovative way to get those audiences engaged with history.

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Broadcast to coincide with the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, this standalone show invites Anton, along with others with personal connections to the wall and a number of YouTube creators, to step back in time and experience what it was like to live in such a dangerous, divided part of Germanys recent history.

While Anton virtually squeezes into the cramped space that his grandfather built, Franzi Rosin - whose grandmother appears in a famous photograph of her family fleeing East Berlin just days after the border closed - visited the street her relatives lived on as it would have looked at the time. It was very weird, but in a very special way, she says of revisiting her familys past. My grandma would show us the picture when I was younger because shes very proud of it, as she should be, but I didnt actually know much about the story until I stepped into the photo with VR.

Virtually History is a new, innovative way to present historical documentaries and one that director Joff Wilson hopes will attract younger viewers to the medium. A lot of the YouTube audience werent alive for the fall of the Berlin wall and the experiential moments really bring this important world event alive. When Anton went into the tunnel, that was the first time he realised how small it had been.

Watching the young Germans experience the Berlin of their ancestors makes for an enjoyable documentary, but its the second strand of the VR experiment that is really exciting. Viewers at home will be able to visit the streets of Berlin themselves by watching the specially made VR videos that will accompany the doc on YouTube - no fancy equipment is needed as you can just hold your phone in front of you, but for the full VR experience, viewers can buy a cardboard headset for less than a fiver.

To give more insight into the meticulously designed virtual world of Berlin, the creators enlisted YouTubers Hannah Witton and Riyadh K to go back to discover what it was like on the citys so-called death strip, the area between the two walls littered with guard dogs, watchtowers manned by snipers, trip-wired machine guns and perhaps most terrifyingly, floodlights. The creators werent chosen at random, as they too have personal connections to the event or others like it - Hannahs grandmother is German and lived through the period, while Riyadhs father fled from Iraq during Saddam Hussains regime.

I felt quite lucky, says Hannah. Its the closest well ever get to time travel. Riyadh agrees: Our job is to be the voice and eyes of the viewing public, who might know the very basics of what we were taught in school but dont actually know what it was like to actually be there. If you were watching a history documentary like this on a terrestrial broadcast, you wouldnt be able to then experience it yourself - the VR adds such an interesting new level to learning.

School does us a huge disservice in making learning seem like a chore, says Daibri, You start to feel really resentful towards the information youre given and reject it. There are so many subjects Ive rediscovered as an adult but school just made me hate them. There shouldnt be an inherent division between entertainment, like Virtually History, and education.

Virtually History is available to watch on YouTube now.

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Virtual Reality Experiences Can Be Violent and Intrusive. They Need an Artists Touch. – EdSurge

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An artwork has a point of view, a perspective informed by the artist who created it.

So does a virtual world. But when youre immersed in someone elses vision with a headset on your face, the designers intentions, attitudes and biases can be much less obvious than when youre looking at a painting or sculpture from a distance.

Thats the kind of insight Yale art students and faculty bring to Blended Reality, a cross-curricular applied research program through which they create interactive experiences using virtual reality, augmented reality and 3D printing tools. Yale is one of about 20 colleges participating in the HP/Educause Campus of the Future project investigating the use of this technology in higher education.

Interdisciplinary student and professor teams at Yale have developed projects that include using motion capture and artificial intelligence to generate dance choreography, converting museum exhibits into detailed digital replicas, and making an app that uses augmented reality to simulate injuries on the mannequins medical students use for training.

The perspectives and skills of art and humanities students have been critical to the success of these efforts, says Justin Berry, faculty member at the Yale Center for Collaborative Arts and Media and principal investigator for the HP Blended Reality grant.

If you leave VR and AR in the hands of technologists alone, you lose something really important. Youre trying to answer questions and youre not asking them, Berry says. One of the things Im interested in is getting people to ask questions so that we can get better answers.

Art and humanities students have made observations that Berry calls simple but powerful. Their feedback, both positive and negative, can inform how educators approach the possibility of introducing blended reality tools into their classrooms.

The first step? Anticipate a range of reactions.

If you have this impression that this is just this delightful thing, that youre going to put it in the room and everyone is going to jump on it, you might be surprised that half the room might not be willing to put it on their face, Berry says. I think the dynamic it creates in the classroom is complicated. How these emerging technologies are going to translate or transform into a classroom experience, we have to think these things through from top to bottom so that theyre meaningful and effective.

For example, Yale art student Valentina Zamfirescu was initially skeptical of incorporating VR into her work.

She said virtual reality is an inherently violent medium, Berry says. Youre sticking a device on your face, and that device is shoving input into your eyes and ears so you can only see and hear something that someone else has designed. Thats someone you dont know, you dont have direct access to, and you dont know what they did or why they did it. Youre basically submitting yourself to someone elses vision of reality.

Zamfirescus critique might apply, for example, to the immersive sound and video experiences created by Yale language instructor Dinny Risri Aletheiani to show her students what its like to visit a traditional early morning market or encounter afternoon street performers in Indonesia. Aletheiani selected and edited her footage to present specific scenarios and convey contexts in which students might find themselves speaking and hearing Indonesian.

Students have had strong reactions to the experience of slipping into the world their professor created.

When they are in the busyness of the street and the market, they feel pressure. They actually have a bodily reaction, Aletheiani says. It makes them think differently and feel differently.

Not every student arrives in Aletheianis class familiar and comfortable with using a VR headset, she says. Indeed, the tools most commonly used to create blended reality experiences can be divisive. Thats one of the motivations behind Clamshell Controller, a project that aims to design a new kind of device that offers different ways to participate in blended reality settings.

If you look at almost all current controllers, they are gun-based. You pull a trigger to interact, says Lance Chantiles-Wertz, a member of the Clamshell research team who recently graduated with degrees in film and mechanical engineering. The idea is to create a platform to allow new kinds of experiences.

To get a wide range of perspectives on how students would like to interact with virtual worlds, the Clamshell researchers held open design sessions during which they offered participants craft supplies like clay and wire to model possible controllers.

Working with people of varied backgrounds has yielded practical advice about matters such as the level of user difficulty appropriate for non-technical experts, Chantiles-Wertz says. It has also pushed his team to stretch their imaginations when presented with a new idea.

Theres no reason to say no to it at all, Chantiles-Wertz says. Would it be possible? Why not try it?

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The future and challenges of augmented and virtual reality – Cambridge Wireless

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Earlier this year, the CW Future Devices & Technologies SIG were joined by five mixed reality experts, each of whom presented their ideas for what the future of augmented and virtual reality technology could be, and what was stopping a rapid rise to success.

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The first of the modern generation of virtual reality equipment landed on the market in 2012. The idea of the Oculus Rift took the world by storm and soon major hardware manufacturers were racing to create alternatives that hit shelves shortly after in the form of the HTC Vive, PlayStation VR and others. It was at about this time too that smartphones became capable of delivering basic manipulations of the camera feed in the form of augmented reality experiences, and Google Glass entered the fray before exiting quickly.

At that time, the optimism around virtual and augmented reality experiences was palpable. But many years on and despite the investment of companies with already large user bases, consumer adoption remains low. Last November, only 11% of US adults reported owning VR hardware and/or software, up from 7% in August 2017 (YouGov).

So what does the future of augmented reality and virtual reality look like now, in 2019, and what are its challenges? The CW Future Devices and Technologies SIG gathered five experts for an event in London and heres what we learned.

CW puts on almost 50 events a year like this one. To get access for you and all staff to any of these events, why not consider CW membership? Prices start at 165 per company for the year.

Interior design and corporate training experiences are target markets for companies Unit9 and Immerse. Not to be heavy handed with data, but James, the CMO of Immerse, casually referred to a 2017 report by ABI that expects the market for virtual reality training to be thirty times larger than its 2018 level. And apparently Immerse has seen a market pick up in the past twelve months which corroborates the estimations.

Elsewhere, Unit9s Project HYPER reduces the design cost of complex interiors, like the 1st class section of an airplane, and engages high-profile customers in plans throughout the project process. They have found that immersive technology such as virtual reality is a highly effective way of demonstrating interior designs before a single order for paint, furniture or lighting is placed.

A 2018 market report from IDC believes that worldwide spending on AR/VR will be led by the commercial sectors, with key industries being personal and consumer services, retail and discrete manufacturing. However, gaming is still the largest use case racking up an estimated $4Bn consumer spending in 2019.

Nadia, an Innovation Consultant at Unbounded Future, is confident about the future of augmented reality in marketing. With an emphasis on Facebook and Snapchat, she identified successful augmented reality campaigns that have already taken place (such as Kylie Jenners cosmetics filters and Burger Kings Burn the Ad campaign in Brazil which saw half a million customers engaging and getting a free burger as a result.

The trick for marketers is designing an experience that can be shared (to boost brand visibility) or converted into an action (such as getting someone into your shop). Nadia sees social media influencers as a complementary tool to augmented reality campaigns.

The other option for marketers is to not just create your own augmented reality experience, but to advertise within somebody elses creation. Unity (the popular game engine for mobile developers) now offers an augmented reality advertising platform, so as AR experiences become more popular they can become a new channel for entrepreneurial marketing teams.

Playfusion is an expert in the use of artificial intelligence and IoT technology in the creation of augmented and virtual reality experiences. Schuyler Simpson, their VP of Strategic Partnerships and Operations, spoke about how right now their engine blends visual, audio, haptic and intelligent components to create highly personalised, immersive and most importantly, valuable experiences for organisations and their audiences, but that in the future they hope to develop an easier way to deliver an experience where the audiences perception of reality is more than just what someone sees.

Touch in particular is seen as important, and is to some extent possible using ultrasound to project sensations. This is something particularly important to the Unit9 team working on their interior design projects. For them, tangibility works like a physical mirror for our presence, reinforcing our perceptions of what is real. To create a fully immersive virtual reality experience, touch needs to be added to the sensory stimulations, along with sight and sound.

Personalisation has become the accepted trade-off between companies gathering data on individuals, and their users.

When you take one of Immerses training sessions, they gather 30 data points per second on your engagement. This helps the developers understand what elements of the training works and what needs further production. It also ensures that the sponsoring organisation understands the effectiveness of the learning experience.

It is already possible to create interactive storylines within virtual experiences. While Aki, a Senior Experience Researcher at the Digital Catapult, will remind you that these are very complex to design effectively, it is expected that in the future the users virtual experiences will be tailored to the individual. This could be in the form of ones virtual appearance (what colour do you want your nails painted?) or in the choices presented to you within the game (a low risk person may not be taken to a cliff-edge).

And there are techniques available for lowering the cost of production. While the Head of Emerging Design at Adobe may hold quite off-putting opinions such as:

Designing for the future with AI-powered spatial computing requires a great diversity of skills and a deep understanding of human behaviour by everyone involved.

Aki from the Digital Catapult found that very affordable techniques such as brownboxing laying out cardboard boxes in the real world to help you plan your virtual environment - can help to reduce development hours by almost a quarter.

And for augmented reality experiences, Facebook has its Spark AR platform which magically packages up facial and emotional recognition algorithms, camera vision, graphics design, scripting, build and deployment technologies for easy use by people without any coding experience.

The continued challenge with virtual and augmented reality becoming mainstream is the slow investment by businesses in new content and by individuals in the hardware.

For content, Playfusion finds that augmented reality experiences are rarely part of a companys long-term strategy (yet), and those that do invest often underestimate the amount of time it takes to develop a high quality experience. Current financiers tend to be innovation departments, or a marketing teams slush fund. Up until the point where immersive experiences consistently prove their ROI, investment will continue to be slow; and investment may also depend on the uptake of hardware by consumers. However, consumer investment in hardware could be seen as slow because of the lack of content, so the industry is very much in a chicken and egg scenario.

The easy access to hardware is one of the reasons why many firms see augmented reality as the much larger market opportunity. Already reports such as e-Marketer suggest that 12% of the US population experience augmented reality on a monthly basis, compared to just under 3% experiencing virtual reality.

James, of Immerse, comments that lack of hardware isnt an issue just for consumers. It is often overlooked by companies interested in using virtual reality for training. While HR teams can see the way that VR could boost the way that their staff learns, the practicalities of deploying the experience at scale is a complicating factor. High end headsets have a lot of component parts and some require external sensors to track the space this may not be in a companys skillset to deploy across multiple sites, especially when taking into account the need for a high-end gaming PC and a good internet connection.

CW puts on almost 50 events a year like this one. To get access for you and all staff to any of these events, why not consider CW membership? Prices start at 165 per company for the year.

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