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OPLIN 4Cast #677: Reality is turning digital as the pandemic wears on

Posted in 4cast, and Virtual reality

A couple of years ago, I bought myself an Oculus Rift VR rig for a milestone birthday. I was a fairly early adopter of virtual reality for home use, but I’ve never regretted the purchase. Yes, it’s still got a cord (the newer Oculus Quest does not) and needs a graphics card with near-superpowers to run well, but it still gets regular use as I keep up my Beat Saber addiction. Everyone who’s tried it has been amazed, but has adapted quickly to the virtual environments.

However, even until recently, VR has widely been considered a niche purely for a specific type of gamer. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the technology is seeing more advancements and further adoption in other areas, outside of gaming. Oh, and AR (augmented reality, like Pokemon Go), has been getting a big boost, also.

  • Virtual reality is booming in the workplace amid the pandemic. Here’s why [NBC] “Companies like Spacial, which creates something like a virtual reality version of Zoom, has seen a 1,000% increase in usage since March, according to head of business Jacob Loewenstein. IrisVR, which specializes in immersive software for architecture and planning, can hardly keep up with demand for new subscribers, said CEO Shane Scranton. Meanwhile Accenture, a multinational professional services company, is using VR exercises for new recruitment techniques.”
  • Virtual try-ons are replacing fitting rooms during the coronavirus pandemic [Seattle Times] “Etsy, the online marketplace, has a new augmented reality feature on its app that shows customers how paintings, photographs and other decor would look on their walls. And Zeekit, which supplies augmented reality technology to brands such as Adidas and Tommy Hilfiger, is preparing to launch the world’s largest virtual fitting room, with hundreds of thousands of pants, tops and coats that shoppers can drag onto photos of themselves.”
  • Using virtual reality to keep students engaged amid a pandemic [ABC News] “‘Virtual reality really helps out not only students with learning disabilities but students with social-emotional problems or language barriers, who have never been outside the bubble,’ he said.”
  • Could the VR headset be the next Pelaton? [TechCrunch] “FitXR’s  game BoxVR, has become one of the better-known purpose-built exercise apps available for VR devices. The boxing title adopts a Guitar Hero-esque interface influenced by Beat Saber but focuses on more physically demanding movements like quick uppercuts and jabs. “

From the Ohio Web Library:

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