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By Bobby Carlton

In a move to bring the best of Walmart to life in a digital world, the company is announcing the launch of two unique experiences in the metaverse platform Roblox. These are called Walmart Land and the Universe of Play. The former offers customers an interactive experience that brings the best of the retailer's offerings to life.

Walmart Land will bring the best of the retailer's fashion, beauty, and entertainment products to the Roblox community. The company will also continue to bring the fun to the platform through its subsidiary, the Universe of Play. This virtual toy store is the ultimate destination for all the kids.

”We’re showing up in a big way – creating community, content, entertainment and games through the launch of Walmart Land and Walmart’s Universe of Play,” said William White, chief marketing officer, Walmart U.S. “Roblox is one of the fastest growing and largest platforms in the metaverse, and we know our customers are spending loads of time there. So, we’re focusing on creating new and innovative experiences that excite them, something we’re already doing in the communities where they live, and now, the virtual worlds where they play.”

Walmart Land will feature various immersive experiences, such as a virtual store of merchandise and a Ferris wheel that can be used to take a bird's-eye view of the world. It will also introduce new ways for players to earn badges and tokens through various games. The company is focused on creating innovative experiences that will appeal to the next generation of customers.

The Electric Island, which is inspired by the world's greatest music festivals, features an interactive piano walkway and a dance challenge. It also has a variety of other interactive features, such as a DJ booth and a Netflix trivia game featuring Noah Schnapp.

The House of Style, which is a virtual dressing room, features an obstacle course, a roller-skating rink, and a variety of other interactive features. It will also offer products from brands such as ITK by Brooklyn & Bailey and af94, as well as some of the most popular international retailers.

In October, users will be able to go back to Electric Island and experience the Electric Fest, a motion-capture concert celebrating the best of music. It will feature performances by some of the most popular artists such as YUNGBLUD and Madison Beer.

Walmart Land
Image from Walmart

The best toys of the year will be featured in Walmart's Universe of Play, which will allow players to explore different toy worlds and collect coins for virtual goods. They can also complete challenging tasks and unlock secret codes. The company will also introduce five new games that will allow players to experience different characters and products from its various brands, such as L.O.L. Surprise!, Magic Mixies, and Jurassic World.

Walmart's goal is to provide its users with the most sought-after rewards through its various virtual toys. They will be able to try and collect as many virtual items as they can in order to earn coins. In addition, the company will introduce e-mobility items, such as drones, in its Universe of Play. These will allow users to travel through the world faster and can help them find the hottest toys of the season.

Image from Walmart

To celebrate the launch of Walmart Land, users can now access the experience through its website and on any device, including Android, iOS, Amazon devices, and Xbox consoles.

Of course Walmart and their Walmart Land isn't the first big name store to enter the metaverse. We've seen other brands successfully launch their own metaverse worlds such as Nike and Coca-Cola.

Lets Talk Simulation

By Caio Viturino and Bobby Carlton

As companies and industries uncover the potential of the metaverse and digital twinning, and leverage it to streamline their workforce, improve employee training, embrace the automation of warehouses and much more, they will need a process that would allow them to quickly and easily create 3D content. This is especially important since the creation of virtual worlds and complex content will become more prevalent for businesses moving forward.

One way of speeding up this process is through something called Neural Radiance Field (NeRF), and this process can help us create and launch 3D digital solutions that can be used in a wide variety of Enterprise case uses. However, there are some questions about the technology. 

What is NeRF? 

NeRFs are neural representations that represent the geometry of complex 3D scenes. Unlike other methods, such as point clouds and voxel models, they are trained on dense photographic images. They can then produce photo-realistic renderings which can be used in various ways for digital transformation. 

This method combines the power of a sparse set of input views with an underlying continuous scene function to generate novel views of complex scenes, and can be taken from a static set of images or something like a blender model. 

In a Medium post by Varun Bhaseen, he describes NeRFs as a continuous 5D function outputs the radiance direction (θ; Φ) at each point (x; y; z) in space, and it has a density that acts like a differential opacity to determine how much energy is collected by a ray passing through (x; y; z). 

Bhaseen explains it further with a the visual below showing the steps that are involved in optimizing a continuous 5D model for a scene. It takes into account the various factors that affect the view-dependent color and volume density of the scene. In this example, the 100 images were taken as input. 

NeRF Drums
Image from Medium/Varun Bhaseen

This optimization is performed for a deep multi-layer perceptron, without using any additional layers. To minimize the error between the views that are rendered from the representation and the observed images, gradient descent is used.

Can We Reconstruct the Environment Using Some Equipment?

We can! In addition to being able to model the environment in 6 minutes, the equipment from Mosaic can also generate high-quality 3D models.

Unfortunately, this method is very expensive and requires a lot of training to achieve a high-quality mesh. AI-based methods, on the other hand, seem to do this using a cellphone camera. Another option that could be very useful is NeRFs.

Who First Developed the Well-Known NeRF? 

The first NeRF was published in 2020 by Ben Mildenhall. This method achieved state-of-the-art results in 2020 when synthesizing novel views of complex scenes from multi-RGB images. The main drawback then was the time it took for training the network which was almost 2 days per scene, sometimes more, considering Mildenhall was using a NVIDIA V100 GPU.   

Why NeRF is Not Well Suited for Mesh Generation? 

Unlike surface rendering, NeRF does not use an explicit surface representation, instead it focuses on objects in a density field. This method, unlike surface point for rendering, takes into account multiple locations in a volume in order to determine the color. 

NeRF is capable of producing high-quality images, but the surfaces that are extracted as level sets are not ideal. This is because NeRF does not take into account the specific density levels that are required to represent the surface. 

In a paper released by Nvidia, they introduced a new method called instant NeRF, which can generate a high-quality image of a density and radiance-and-density field. Unfortunately, this method was not able to produce good meshes as well. The meshes generated through this approach did produce a decent volumetric radiance and density field, however they seemed "noisy". 

What If We Use Photogrammetry Instead?

Unlike photogrammetry, NeRF does not require the creation of point clouds, nor does it need to convert them to objects. Its output is faster, but unfortunately the mesh quality is not as good. In the example here, Caoi Viturino, Simulations Developer for FS Studio, tested the idea of generating meshes of an acoustic guitar from the NeRF volume rendering by using the Nvidia NeRF instant. The results are pretty bad with lots of "noise".

Image by Caio Viturino

Viturino also tried to apply photogrammetry (using a simple cell phone camera) through existing software to compare with NeRF mesh output using the same set of images. We can see that the output looks better but NeRF can capture more details of the object.  

Image by Caio Viturino

Can NeRF Be Improved to Represent Indoor Environments?

In a paper released by Apple, the team led by Terrance DeVries explained how they were able to improve the NeRF model by learning to decompose large scenes into smaller pieces. Although they did not talk about surface or mesh generation, they did create a global generator that can perform this task.

Unfortunately, the algorithm's approach to generating a mesh is not ideal. The problem with NeRF is that the algorithm generates a volumetric radiance-and-density field instead of a surface representation. Different approaches tried to generate a mesh from the volumetric field, but it was for single objects only (360 degrees scan):

Can NeRF Be Improved to Generate Meshes?

It is well known that NeRF does not admit accurate surface reconstruction. Therefore, some suggest that the algorithm should be merged with implicit surface reconstruction.

Michael Oechsle (2021) published a paper that unifies volume rendering and implicit surface reconstruction and can reconstruct meshes from objects more precisely if compared to NeRF. However, the method needs to be applied to single objects instead of scene reconstruction.

Do We Really Need a Mesh of the Scene or Can We Use the Radiance Field Instead?

NeRF is more accurate than point clouds or voxel models when it comes to surface reconstruction. It does not need to perform precise feature extraction and alignment.

Michal Adamkiewicz used the NeRF to perform a trajectory optimization for a quadrotor robot in the radiance field produced by NeRF instead of using the 3D scene mesh. The NeRF environment used to test the trajectory planning algorithms was generated from a synthetic 3D scene.

Unfortunately, it is not easy to create a mesh from the NeRF environment. To load the scene into Isaac Sim, we need a mesh representation of the NeRF.

Can We Map an Indoor Environment Using NeRF?

According to a report written by Xiaoshuai Zhang (2022), not yet. “While NeRF has shown great success for neural reconstruction and rendering, its limited MLP capacity and long per-scene optimization times make it challenging to model large-scale indoor scenes.”

The goal of Zhang’s paper is to incrementally reconstruct a large sparse radiance field from a long RGB image sequence (monocular RGB video). Although impressive and promising, 3D reconstruction from RGB images does not seem to be satisfactory yet. We can observe noise in the mesh produced by this method.

What If We Use RGB-D Images Instead of RGB Images?

Dejan Azinović (2022) proposed a new approach to generating 3D reconstruction of scenes that is much better than NeRF.

The image below shows how noisy the 3D mesh generated by the first proposed NeRF is compared to the Neural RGB-D surface reconstruction.

Enter the SNeRF!

A recent study conducted by Cornell University revealed that creating a variety of dynamic virtual scenes using neural radiance fields can be done at a speed that is more than enough to handle the complexity of complex content. This is a stylized neural radiance field (SNeRF).

Led by researchers Lei Xiao, Feng Liu, and Thu Nguyen-Phuoc, the team was able to create 3D scenes that can be used in various virtual environments simply by using SNeRF to adapt to the real-world environment and then use points to create the virtual scene. Imagine looking at a painting and then seeing the world through the lens of the painting.

What Can SNeRFs Do?

Through their work, they were able to create 3D scenes that can be used in various virtual environments. They were also able to use their real-world environment as a part of the creation process.

The researchers were able to achieve this by using cross-view consistency, which is a type of visual feedback that allows them to observe the same object at different viewing angles, creating an immersive 3D effect.

They were able to create an immersive 3D effect by using cross-view consistency. This type of visual feedback allowed them to observe the same object at different viewing angles.

The Cornell team was also able to create an image as a reference style and then use it as a part of their creation process by alternating the NeRF and the stylization optimization steps. This method allowed them to quickly create a real-world environment and customize the image.

“We introduce a new training method to address this problem by alternating the NeRF and stylization optimization steps,” said the research team in their published paper. “Such a method enables us to make full use of our hardware memory capacity to both generate images at higher resolution and adopt more expressive image style transfer methods. Our experiments show that our method produces stylized NeRFs for a wide range of content, including indoor, outdoor and dynamic scenes, and synthesizes high-quality novel views with cross-view consistency.”

The researchers had to address another issue with the NeRF memory limitations, which they had to solve in order to render more high-quality 3D images at a speed that felt like real-time. This method involved creating a loop of views that would allow them to target the appropriate points in the image and then rebuild it with more detail.

Can SNeRF Help Avatars?

Through this approach, Lei Xiao, Feng Liu, and Thu Nguyen-Phuoc were able to create expressive 4D avatars that can be used in conversations. They were also able to create these avatars by using a distinct style of NeRF that allows them to convey emotions such as anger, confusion, and fear.

Currently the work being done by the Cornell research team on 3D scene stylization is still ongoing. They were able to create a method that uses implicit neural representations to affect the avatars' environment. They were also able to take advantage of their hardware memory's capabilities to create high-resolution images and adopt more expressive methods in virtual reality. 

However, this is just the beginning and there is a lot more work and exploration ahead.

If you’re interested in diving deeper into the Cornell research teams work, you can access their report here.

Jens Huang talks about the future of AI, robotics, and how NVIDIA will lead the charge.

By Bobby Carlton

A lot was announced and I did my best to keep up! So let's just jump right in!

NVIDIA CEO Jens Huang unveiled new cloud services that will allow users to run AI workflows during his NVIDIA GTC Keynote. He also introduced the company's new generation of GeForce RTX GPUs.

During his presentation, Jens Huang noted that the rapid advancements in computing are being fueled by AI. He said that accelerated computing is becoming the fuel for this innovation.

He also talked about the company's new initiatives to help companies develop new technologies and create new experiences for their customers. These include the development of AI-based solutions and the establishment of virtual laboratories where the world's leading companies can test their products.

The company's vision is to help companies develop new technologies and create new applications that will benefit their customers. Through accelerated computing, Jens Huang noted that AI will be able to unlock the potential of the world's industries.


The New NVIDIA Ada Lovelace Architecture Will Be a Gamer and Creators Dream

Enterprises will be able to benefit from the new tools that are based on the Grace CPU and the Grace Hopper Superchip. Those developing the 3D internet will also be able to get new OVX servers that are powered by the Ada Lovelace L40 data center. Researchers and scientists will be able to get new capabilities with the help of the NVIDIA LLMs NeMo Service and Thor, a new brain with a performance of over 2,000 teraflops.

Jens Huang noted that the company's innovations are being put to work by a wide range of partners and customers. To speed up the adoption of AI, he announced that Deloitte, the world's leading professional services firm, is working with the company to deliver new services based on the NVIDIA Omniverse and AI.

He also talked about the company's customer stories, such as the work of Charter, General Motors, and The Broad Institute. These organizations are using AI to improve their operations and deliver new services.

The NVIDIA GTC event, which started this week, has become one of the most prominent AI conferences in the world. Over 200,000 people have registered to attend the event, which features over 200 speakers from various companies.

A ‘Quantum Leap’: GeForce RTX 40 Series GPUs


NVIDIA's first major event of the week was the unveiling of the new generation of GPUs, which are based on the Ada architecture. According to Huang, the new generation of GPUs will allow creators to create fully simulated worlds.

During his presentation, Huang showed the audience a demo of the company's upcoming game, which is called "Rover RTX." It is a fully interactive simulation that uses only ray tracing.

The company also unveiled various innovations that are based on the Ada architecture, such as a Streaming Multiprocessor and a new RT Core. These features are designed to allow developers to create new applications.

Also introduced was the latest version of its DLSS technology, which uses AI to create new frames by analyzing the previous ones. This feature can boost game performance by up to 4x. Over 30 games and applications have already supported DLSS 3. According to Huang, the company's technology is one of the most significant innovations in the gaming industry.

Huang noted that the company's new generation of GPUs, which are based on the Ada architecture, can deliver up to 4x more processing throughput than its predecessor, the 3090 Ti. The new GeForce RTX 4090 will be available in October. Additionally, the new GeForce RTX 4080 is launching in November with two configurations.

  1. The 16GB version of the new GeForce RTX 4080 is priced at $1,199. It features 9,728 CUDA cores and 16 GB of high-speed GDDR6X memory. Compared to the 3090 Ti, the new 4080 is twice as fast in games.
  2. The 12GB version of the new GeForce RTX 4080 is priced at $899. It features 7,680 CUDA cores and 12 GB of high-speed GDDR6X memory. DLSS 3 is faster than the 3090 Ti, making it the most powerful gaming GPU available.

Huang noted that the company's Lightspeed Studios used the Omniverse technology to create a new version of Portal, one of the most popular games in history. With the help of the company's AI-assisted toolset, users can easily up-res their favorite games and give them a physical accurate depiction.

NVIDIA Lightspeed Studios used the company's Omniverse technology to create a new version of Portal, which is one of the most popular games in history. According to Huang, large language models and recommender systems are the most important AI models that are currently being used in the gaming industry.

He noted that recommenders are the engines that power the digital economy, as they are responsible for powering various aspects of the gaming industry.

The company's Transformer deep learning model, which was introduced in 2017, has led to the development of large language models that are capable of learning human language without supervision.

Image from NVIDIA

“A single pre-trained model can perform multiple tasks, like question answering, document summarization, text generation, translation and even software programming,” said Huang.

The company's H100 Tensor Core GPU, which is used in the company's Transformer deep learning model, is in full production. The systems, which are shipping soon, are powered by the company's next-generation Transformer Engine.

“Hopper is in full production and coming soon to power the world’s AI factories."

Several of the company's partners, such as Atos, Cisco, Fujitsu, GIGABYTE, Lenovo, and Supermicro, are currently working on implementing the H100 technology in their systems. Some of the major cloud providers, such as Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud, and Oracle, are also expected to start supporting the H100 platform next year.

According to Huang, the company's Grace Hopper, which combines the company's Arm-based CPU with Hopper GPUs, will deliver a 7x increase in fast-memory capacity and a massive leap in recommender systems, weaving Together the Metaverse, L40 Data Center GPUs in Full Production

During his keynote at the company's annual event, Huang noted that the future of the internet will be further enhanced with the use of 3D. The company's Omniverse platform is used to develop and run metaverse applications.

He also explained how powerful new computers will be needed to connect and simulate the worlds that are currently being created. The company's OVX servers are designed to support the scaling of metaverse applications.

The company's 2nd-generation OVX servers will be powered by the Ada Lovelace L40 data center GPUs. Thor for Autonomous Vehicles, Robotics, Medical Instruments and More.

Today's cars are equipped with various computers, such as the cameras, sensors, and infotainment systems. In the future, these will be delivered by software that can improve over time. In order to power these systems, Huang introduced the company's new product, called Drive Thor, which combines the company's Grace Hopper and the Ada GPU.

The company's new Thor superchip, which is capable of delivering up to 2,000 teraflops of performance, will replace the company's previous product, the Drive Orin. It will be used in various applications, such as medical instruments and industrial automation.

3.5 Million Developers, 3,000 Accelerated Applications

According to Huang, over 3.5 million developers have created over 3,000 accelerated applications using the company's software development kits and AI models. The company's ecosystem is also designed to help companies bring their innovations to the world's industries.

Over the past year, the company has released over a hundred software development kits (SDKs) and introduced 25 new ones. These new tools allow developers to create new applications that can improve the performance and capabilities of their existing systems.

New Services for AI, Virtual Worlds

Image from FS Studio

Huang also talked about how the company's large language models are the most important AI models currently being developed. They can learn to understand various languages and meanings without requiring supervision.

The company introduced the Nemo LLM Service, a cloud service that allows researchers to train their AI models on specific tasks, and to help scientists accelerate their work, the company also introduced the BioNeMo LLM, a service that allows them to create AI models that can understand various types of proteins, DNA, and RNA sequences.

Huang announced that the company is working with The Broad Institute to create libraries that are designed to help scientists use the company's AI models. These libraries, such as the BioNeMo and Parabricks, can be accessed through the Terra Cloud Platform.

The partnership between the two organizations will allow scientists to access the libraries through the Terra Cloud Platform, which is the world's largest repository of human genomic information.

During the event, Huang also introduced the NVIDIA Omniverse Cloud, a service that allows developers to connect their applications to the company's AI models.

The company also introduced several new containers that are designed to help developers build and use AI models. These include the Omniverse Replicator and the Farm for scaling render farms.

Omniverse is seeing wide adoption, and Huang shared several customer stories and demos:

  1. Lowe's is using Omniverse to create and operate digital twins of its stores.
  2. The $50 billion telecommunications company, Charter, which is using the company's AI models to create digital twins of its networks.
  3. General Motors is also working with its partners to create a digital twin of its design studio in Omniverse. This will allow engineers, designers, and marketers to collaborate on projects.
Image from Lowes

The company also introduced a new Nano for Robotics that can be used to build and use AI models.

Huang noted that the company's second-generation processor, known as Orin, is a homerun for robotic computers. He also noted that the company is working on developing new platforms that will allow engineers to create artificial intelligence models.

To expand the reach of Orin, Huang introduced the new Nano for Robotics, which is a tiny robotic computer that is 80x faster than its predecessor.

The Nano for Robotics runs the company's Isaac platform and features the NVIDIA ROS 2 GPU-accelerated framework. It also comes with a cloud-based robotics simulation platform called Iaaac Sim.

For developers who are using Amazon Web Services' (AWS) robotic software platform, AWS RoboMaker, Huang noted that the company's containers for the Isaac platform are now available in the marketplace.

New Tools for Video, Image Services

According to Huang, the increasing number of video streams on the internet will be augmented by computer graphics and special effects in the future. “Avatars will do computer vision, speech AI, language understanding and computer graphics in real time and at cloud scale."

To enable new innovations in the areas of communications, real-time graphics, and AI, Huang noted that the company is developing various acceleration libraries. One of these is the CV-CUDA, which is a cloud runtime engine. The company is also working on developing a sample application called Tokkio that can be used to provide customer service avatars.

Deloitte to Bring AI, Omniverse Services to Enterprises

In order to accelerate the adoption of AI and other advanced technologies in the world's enterprises, Deloitte is working with NVIDIA to bring new services built on its Omniverse and AI platforms to the market.

According to Huang, Deloitte's professionals will help organizations use the company's application frameworks to build new multi-cloud applications that can be used for various areas such as cybersecurity, retail automation, and customer service.

NVIDIA Is Just Getting Started

During his keynote speech, Huang talked about the company's various innovations and products that were introduced during the course of the event. He then went on to describe the many parts of the company's vision.

“Today, we announced new chips, new advances to our platforms, and, for the very first time, new cloud services,” Huang said as he wrapped up. “These platforms propel new breakthroughs in AI, new applications of AI, and the next wave of AI for science and industry.”

By Bobby Carlton

The aviation industry is expected to benefit from the advancements in augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) technology, as these innovations can reduce the risk of accidents and improve the efficiency of the operations of the industry, and can create new opportunities that will impact KPIs and ROI.

The aviation industry is one of the most expensive industries in the world due to the numerous errors that can happen in its operations. This is why it is very important that the various errors that can occur in the industry are fixed and accounted for properly, and XR technology is one of the tools that can help airlines and airports highlight and be a solution for those issues.

In addition to improving an airlines overall operations, XR technology can also help airlines improve areas such as customer service and efficiency. Employees can use virtual reality to train in areas such as a difficult passenger, helping someone who has aerophobia, or proper procedure for assisting a passenger with a disability. The objective is to use XR training to enhance the experience of their passengers.

Several airlines, such as Qatar Airways, Air France, Japan Airlines, and Lufthansa, are currently implementing virtual reality training programs for their employees. These programs are being conducted in collaboration with other companies that provide virtual reality and augmented reality training. In addition, Airbus and Boeing also preparing their staff members through XR training.

For instance, SIA Engineering Company uses virtual reality solutions to help improve the efficiency and safety of its operations by allowing employees to simulate and monitor the various conditions of an aircraft. The company also uses these systems for repairs and maintenance.

Through the use of augmented reality glasses, SATS Ltd., a cargo handling company, can now check and handle cargo containers in real-time. This technology can help improve the efficiency of the entire process and reduce the time it takes to board a plane.

In a collaboration with technology company, Dimension Data, Air New Zealand is currently testing augmented reality systems that will allow its cabin crew members to use the technology. The systems will allow them to collect and analyze data related to their passengers.

Japan Airlines, Air France, and Joon are also working with various companies to develop in-flight entertainment systems that will allow their passengers to experience the latest in virtual and augmented reality. They have partnered with companies such as SkyLights VR and Dreamworks to create innovative solutions for the in-flight entertainment industry.

Safety and Training

Despite the various economic costs that airlines face, one of the most important factors that the industry takes very seriously is the safety of their passengers. Even though there are relatively low number of fatal accidents in the aviation industry, it is still important that the industry continues to improve its overall operations to ensure employees and passengers are safe.

One of the most important factors that the industry considers when it comes to improving its operations is the training of its pilots and staff members. With the help of augmented reality and virtual reality, training can be conducted in a more effective and efficient manner.

Virtual reality can help flight deck crew members improve their skills and knowledge about flight controls. It can also help them become familiar with the various procedures involved in flying.

In addition to improving the skills of flight deck crew members, virtual reality can also help them adapt to various situations during a flight. Through the use of augmented reality, the crew can additionally receive necessary guidance and information during the course of a flight.

In addition to improving the skills of flight deck crew members, virtual reality can also help them adapt to various situations during a flight. Through the use of virtual reality, inspection teams can conduct training sessions in a more rigorous and safe environment. This eliminates the possibility of issues that could occur during the actual flight. In addition, AR can help the crew perform an improved assessment of an aircraft before it takes off and when it lands as they prep for the next flight.

Virtual reality and augmented reality provide a platform for training cabin crew members. With the help of these two technologies, they can perform various tasks and improve their skills to serve their customers better. They can also help the crew monitor the situation of the passengers and provide safety instructions in case of an emergency.

The cost of developing and designing an aircraft is one of the highest in the industry. Due to the huge amount of money that goes into the design and development of an aircraft, even engineers don't have enough training and practice with the necessary parts.

Due to the lack of training and practice with the necessary parts, engineers often don't get the chance to test and experiment with genuine parts. With the help of augmented reality and virtual reality, they can now perform various tasks and improve their skills to serve their customers better.

Through the use of virtual reality and AI, researchers can now develop new aircraft concepts and improve the design and development of an aircraft. With the minimal cost of these technologies, rapid testing and development can be achieved.

Due to the availability of virtual reality technology, engineers can now design aircraft mechanics and machines with greater creativity. This will allow them to improve the R&D process and develop new aircraft concepts at a faster rate.

Including virtual reality and augmented reality in business is advantageous. However, it can also lead to better product innovations and provide more opportunities for companies.

The use of virtual reality and augmented reality in aviation can help close the gap between the training that engineers receive and the physical training that they get. Through the use of immersive environments, which are designed with 3D models and realistic VR worlds, aviation organizations can improve their efficiency and proficiency.

In addition to improving the efficiency of maintenance and repairs, augmented reality and virtual reality can also help improve the efficiency of aircraft inspections and repairs. With the help of these two technologies, maintenance and repair crews can now perform more effective and efficient inspections.

Through the use of augmented reality and virtual reality, parts and sections of an aircraft can undergo a more thorough inspection, which is faster and more efficient than traditional methods. This process will be especially beneficial for large aircraft.

Not only can XR technology improve airline safety, but even passengers can use XR as a way to improve their travel experience. For example Lufthansa created a "glass bottom" experience for passengers that allowed them to see lakes, cities, and mountains underneath them as they traveled through the sky. In addition to being able to see 360 videos and games, passengers will also be able to interact with the various features of the aircraft.

Image from Lufthansa

The global market for virtual reality and augmented reality in aviation was valued at around 78 million US dollars in 2019. It is expected that the technology will grow at a robust rate and reach a value of over $1 billion by 2025. This shows that the adoption of these technologies is rapidly increasing in the industry.

The rapid emergence and growth of the virtual reality and augmented reality market in aviation is expected to create numerous opportunities for companies in the future. These technologies can help improve the efficiency of various aspects of the industry, such as maintenance and repairs, product development, and in-flight entertainment and connectivity.

By Bobby Carlton

Technology is evolving faster than ever, so are the myths about VR and AR training. With this rapid development of technology, companies and industries are more than eager to integrate and use these technologies for product innovation, research, and development. Emerging technologies like simulation technologies, Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR) are progressing very fast alongside their convergence with technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI) with Machine Learning (ML) and Deep Learning.

Not only is technology evolving, but its acceptance and adoption among the general consumers and public is also increasing. We can see that by the rapidly growing market of these emerging technologies. Furthermore, the move of the whole industry towards their digital transformation to prepare themselves for the next industrial shift, the Fourth Industrial Revolution (FIR) or Industry 4.0, is also propelling this adoption faster.

Image from Gartner

Read more: Why Should You Be Paying Attention to WebXR?

However, due to a lack of adequate general awareness of these technologies, people may hold onto certain misconceptions. Sometimes due to insufficient sources for additional knowledge or sometimes even through the deliberate spread of wrong information. Although the world is moving towards a haven for digital technologies and cutting-edge innovations, these rumors or misconceptions can keep this movement from reaching enough people.

To understand these misconceptions and differentiate between myths about VR and AR training and reality, we first need to know enough about these technologies.

What are VR and AR?

AR and VR are mixed reality technologies or also sometimes Extended Reality (XR) technologies. These XR technologies can streamline various services and product experiences to enhance their capabilities and help companies provide their customers with more affluent and enhanced expertise. Moreover, companies and these technologies can also help companies by enabling various product innovations and newer R&D technologies.

Augmented reality (AR), enables interactive experiences with real-world environments and various elements. AR allows the enhancement of these environments and features through different digital information and sensory feedback. For instance, AR systems can use multiple digital aspects like overlays, visual graphics, and elements alongside other elements like sound and sensory elements like haptic feedback.

The AR system delivers all these elements to immerse the user in the AR environment completely. However, AR systems also must be careful of not overusing digital features or making them unable to blend in with the real-world elements. Since the goal of any AR system is to immerse the user in the new world that it creates by augmenting these digital elements with real-world stuff.

Virtual Reality (VR), on the other hand, provides an entirely virtual experience. VR technology enables interactive experiences with a completely virtual world. The VR system builds upon a computer-generated 3D world. The VR system places the users in this 3D world consisting of different environments and virtual objects alongside sensory feedback, including sound and haptic feedback. As with the AR systems, the VR systems also deliver all these visual and sensory elements to the user. Along with this, the goal of a VR system is to blend all these digital elements in such a way to immerse the user in it entirely and make them feel like they are part of this VR environment.

Read more: Reason Why Big Companies are Using AR

AR and VR enable numerous possibilities in the entertainment sector and almost any industry and industry possible. AR and VR have their uses for rapid prototyping, design, development, maintenance, and monitoring various sites, machines, and objects from industrial and production environments to the aviation industry. One of the applications or uses of AR and VR comes in the training industry too.

Effects of the Myths About VR and AR Training and the Hype Cycle

Consider this scenario in industries like aviation, robotics, or space, for developing a respective product; these industries have to spend a fortune. The equipment, components, and systems necessary for these industries are costly, including considerable risk. This risk comes in terms of financial and resource wastage risk and terms of human lives.

Industries like these have a significant risk of losing human lives. When every new component, machine, or vehicle goes through testing and verification, human life may be at risk. Not only for testing but also during the whole developmental process with design, evaluation, and prototyping phases, real-world equipment and components are in use if AR and VR systems are not at service. Even a simple failure of these expensive and valuable components or systems may hamper the project’s future or even companies.

Add in the mix of risk of losing human lives during the developmental phase, either for testing of the equipment, vehicle, or machine or even for training purposes of their operators, and the risk becomes very substantial. Since not putting human lives at stake is a significant factor in these industries, one should try as much as possible to avoid putting humans at risk in the first place.

It’s where AR and VR come in. With AR and VR technologies in the fray, humans or even machines can go through the developmental phase and the testing or training phase without the actual need to put anything from the real world at risk, which means a much safer, faster, and efficient cycle of the project.

Similarly, soldiers can train in AR and VR in industries like the military with a complete immersion in a real battlefield without risking their lives. It can prove to be a real game-changer when training soldiers for their better performance and keeping them safe.

Furthermore, training pilots and astronauts in AR and VR simulations can eliminate the risks while also giving out real-like immersive training experiences for astronauts. Moreover, these types of training in AR and VR are also much more efficient, faster, and cost-effective compared to the substitution methods in use.

Hence, AR and VR training is evolving faster than ever due to these advantages and benefits, with various industries adopting these technologies swiftly. But this adoption of AR and VR faces several problems, including misconceptions and false myths. Therefore, we are going to bust the top 5 myths about AR and VR.

Myth 1) AR and VR Training is Not Effective

It is probably the most prevalent misconception among people. Even people familiar with AR and VR tech can fall into these myths about VR and AR training due to the lack of availability of these applications in the consumer market. But every other new technology gets labeled as a “gimmick.” So often, new technologies get over-hyped and quickly disappoint end users due to the lack of fulfillment of those promises. But these also rely on the actual development of the technology and the effectiveness of research and end product.

However, AR and VR are genuine and effective innovative technology. Consequently, industries are already adopting and integrating these technologies in their training processes. For example, various aviation industry giants already use AR and VR to train to keep their pilots and even take their tests. Likewise, the Militaries of different countries are already using VR and AR for teaching their soldiers in different scenarios and environments. Furthermore, many organizations/companies/industries are swiftly moving or are in the process of adopting these technologies. 

For example, Kellogg's used VR for market research and saw brand sales jump up 18%.

Myth 2) AR and VR Training is Costly

The myths about VR and AR training might have been true in the past, but today, even the most realistic and high-quality VR and AR sets are available for a few hundred dollars. Although this also may seem a lot for some but in comparison, this is very much cheaper. Moreover, the technology is also getting more reasonable and efficient; meaning, it will become more affordable and efficient in the future.

The use of AR and VR tech makes the product development and training processes more cost-effective and efficient. It is also data rich and can give you supercharged KPI's and can have a financial impact on an organization by cutting costs in the time it takes to train employees. 

Some XR companies have found: 

Myth 3) AR and VR Training are Too Complex

AR and VR technology have been progressing at such a high rate that today, it's possible to get these rolling with even a smartphone or a simple computer device. All you need is an AR VR headset or AR VR device, and you are good to go. The VR and AR contents are also widely available and easily accessible, making it easier to try them out.

Myth 4) It Reduces Physical Activity/ It is only helpful in Gaming/It is only helpful for Physical Training

XR (AR and VR) has a wide range of applicability. Although it's very famous today in the gaming industry due to XR technologies finding their way towards the gaming consumer market, it certainly is not only for gaming.

As discussed earlier, it can use its product development, enable new innovative R&D technology, and train. The training is also not limited to physical activity. VR and AR help you simulate various environments and conditions; it allows you to train people in virtually every setting, scenario, and condition.

Guest Post by Joshua Kennedy

When we think of the term "metaverse", the mind often drifts to images of the matrix, modern-day gaming experiences, or the movie "Ready Player One", which was a fairly good watch all things considered. However, concepts such as virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and the metaverse are all associated with informal gaming circles or the immersive experience you get at a science and technology fair.  

Image from Warner Brothers Pictures

These days, the metaverse and the accompanying technology are seeing more and more permeation into more formal sectors, like businesses and educational institutions. A great example is how businesses are using the metaverse to create virtual rooms to hold conferences and interviews in. They are literally creating a digital copy of their workplace.  

If you look at the evolution of this form of long-distance communication, we started working in offices pre-pandemic. Then came the lockdown, and we all shifted to Zoom meetings during those pressing times. So, even though the peak of the pandemic is tentatively behind us, the need for long-distance communication solutions in the workplace remains constant.

This is mostly due to the fact that we seem to have permanently adopted remote and hybrid work models, which have proved to be quite beneficial. This in turn gave rise to another trend that rose alongside the metaverse and that is automation. A good example of this is Credibled, which is an automated reference checking platform that helps streamline the back-and-forth process between employers, employees and referees. 

With that in mind, you could consider the further permeation of the metaverse as the next logical step in meeting those needs. Even with this need, there are certain gaps that we will address in this blog and speculate where it might lead us later down the road. 

There Is a Gap in Metaverse Adoption 

Most of us have heard of the metaverse but have never experienced it for ourselves.For the most part, we are only seeing VR and AR tech being used in business arenas and educational settings. But why is that? Why is it that, unlike Zoom meetings and phone calls, metaverse tech isn’t more commonly used by every-day-people? 

One of the main reasons that could be a contributing factor is that technology is still in its infancy. The level of immersiveness that we have been able to achieve so far has been great, but there is still room for improvement. And to be fair, we are far from the Matrix level of immersive. 

Another reason why there is a gap preventing the normalization of the metaverse every day is that there are a lot of misconceptions surrounding it. For the purposes of this article, we will focus on five of the biggest misconceptions.

Misconceptions When It Comes to the Metaverse  

  1. The Metaverse is for Gaming - This seems to be one of the biggest misconceptions about the nature of the technology. Yes, gaming and VR/AR tech are like bread and butter. They do go hand in hand. But the same is true for PC games, PlayStation, Xbox, and so on. Metaverse tech has a wide range of applications aside from just catering to the gaming world.
  1. The Metaverse is VR - Calling the metaverse a virtual reality is like saying your phone is the Internet. It is simply a tool to interface with the Internet. The same applies to the metaverse, where you experience it through tools like VR, AR, and XR. Why, you can even experience it on your laptop.
  1. It’s the Gateway to a Dystopian Future - Despite what movie tropes would have you believe, the metaverse does not mean we are going to get pulled into the virtual and leave the real world a wasteland. The reality (no pun intended) is far less bleak. The metaverse is simply an addition that will open up new venues in the virtual space for humans to socialize, work, create, explore, and so on.
  1. It Is a Passing Fad - To say the metaverse is a fad is like saying the advent of phones or the internet was a fad. To be fair, we are a few years away from a fully realized metaverse. Technology still needs to grow and evolve for that. Having said that, we are living in what you might call, "a primitive version" of the metaverse. At the end of the day, our needs as humans to socialize, connect, and learn won’t change. Neither will they in the realm of business. What will change is the ways in which we achieve our goals.
  1. Metaverse Will Be Monopolized - While companies like Microsoft are doing great things with XR tech and the metaverse, that doesn’t really mean that they will have a monopoly on it. Yes, they are able to scale fast and latch onto new trends, but that doesn’t guarantee a monopoly. The metaverse and its technology is part of the Web3 era. One of the core tenants of this is the decentralization of the internet through blockchain technology. This means that, by its very nature, the metaverse cannot be controlled by one entity. 

How Metaverse Tech is Meeting the Future of Work 

Image from FS Studio

Decentralization: As mentioned before, decentralization is one of the biggest ways that the metaverse will meet the future of work. Rather than looking at it as an entity that no one has control over, we can see it as a truly democratic ecosystem. It will be a landscape that has diversity and equality as its foundation. This will essentially translate to digital sovereignty for all those involved, and in terms of the inclusive workspaces that companies are working towards, this aligns quite well. 

Spatial Computing: The ability of the metaverse to replicate real-world spaces in 3D models is something that will play a huge role in the seamless transition. The intricate modeling frameworks and 3D visualizations will allow businesses to more easily adopt and operate within this space. A good example of this is how some companies are already conducting virtual interviews and conferences in the metaverse.  

Human Interface: With the growing demand for the metaverse in the workplace, so too, grows the need to interact with it. This pushes the development of tools like VR headsets, AR glasses, haptics and the like. This brings us back to the previous point of a seamless transition and ease of operation for those who take this path. What this also means is that we will have better, more immersive ways to communicate with one another in the digital realm. 

Creator Economy: Since 2014, we have seen the rise of a creator economy in the virtual space through NFTs (Non-Fungible Tokens). This has become intertwined with the cryptomarkets and blockchain technology. And with Web3 and the metaverse of the future being all about the blockchain, we might see a new form of business integration with the creator economy. 

Universal Experience: One of the biggest benefits of the metaverse is the universality that it brings to the table. In the future, the metaverse will enable people to communicate without having to learn a new language just so they can work together. Voices can be changed, languages can be translated and workplaces in the digital space can become more inclusive, diverse, and globally spread out.  

Where Is the Metaverse Heading? 

According to a Pew Research Report, 54% of experts believe that by 2040, the metaverse will be more refined and immersive. They also expect it to become a fully integrated and functional aspect of daily life for around half a billion people or more, worldwide. The other 46% think that this won’t be the case. 

Image from Pew Research

As of now, metaverse tech isn’t there yet, but still in its infancy. So, how do we bridge the gap and get it out there more? Well, everything points to one common answer: time. With time, technology will develop, and so too will the ability of the average person to access and interact with metaverse technology. 

One thing that the experts are agreeing on is that augmented reality and mixed reality applications will be on the frontier of these advances. These advances will appeal to people because they will be additive to real-world experiences. 

Why Experts Think It Will Take Off vs. Why It Won’t 

The portion of experts who think it will take off cited several reasons for it. For one, technological advancements drive profits through investments and vice versa. They also mentioned that it could see much more use in not just business sectors but also areas like fashion, art, sports, health, entertainment, and so on. 

On the other side of the pond, we have those who say it won’t take off to this degree. They cite reasons like the lack of usefulness in daily life for the average person. They also shared concerns about issues such as privacy, surveillance capitalism, cyber bullying, and so on. It was also speculated that the technology to reach more people wouldn’t be ready by 2040. 

Summing Up 

No matter how you look at it, no one can say for certain how things will go. There may be legitimate concerns surrounding the emergence of the metaverse, but at the same time, there are plenty of benefits. At the end of the day, it is no substitute for meeting someone in person, but it does serve as a close second. Just like Zoom calls were the next stage following phone calls, meeting people in the metaverse and automation are the next steps in the evolutionary ladder of communication technology. 

It all just becomes a matter of how well we balance it with the real world and the uses we put it to. When all is said and done, the metaverse is a space, but more so, it is a tool. It is a tool that has unexplored potential for all sectors and industries.