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by Bobby Carlton and Dilmer Valecillos

Unity, MRTK, Needle Tools and 8th Wall are just some of the tools you'll need to develop!

The Meta Quest Pro is available now and we have already seen some very cool things being teased from developers leading up to its launch. Of course, in order to develop, you need an amazing set of tools. Our Head of R&D, Dilmer Valecillos took a moment to take a deep dive into some of the top development tools you can use with your Quest Pro headset to develop and launch your own XR experiences.

Develop
Image from Meta

In the video, Dilmer gives us a little bit of comparison of between the Quest Pro and the recently released Magic Leap 2 MR headset. He also gives us some perspective on color passthrough and what that will mean not only for the Meta Quest Pro, but for XR in general.

Some of the tools mentioned here are Unity, Unreal, MRTK 3, Needle Tools, 8th Wall, and Mozilla, and a brief skimming of how to use them for the Quest and deploy your builds.

All of these tools along with others will be essential for you to develop incredible XR experiences on the Quest Pro headset that you can bring into your workforce as a training platform, or used for social events and entertainment.

You can expect an even deeper dive into the Meta Quest Pro in upcoming posts here on our blog and on our YouTube page.

Create a roadmap to Industry 4.0 by adopting a sequence of technology upgrades while also removing outdated systems.

By Bobby Carlton

The rise of Industry 4.0 has created new opportunities for manufacturers to improve their efficiency and deliver new revenue streams. Through the use of advanced analytics, XR solutions and machine learning, companies are able to collect and analyze crucial data to improve their operations.

The benefits of implementing advanced analytics and machine learning are numerous, such as improving product quality and reducing production downtime. However, implementing these technologies in a large-scale manner can be a bit of a challeng for some due to the lack of engagement and legacy operations.

The rapid emergence and evolution of Industry 4.0 has created a huge opportunity for companies to improve their efficiency. According to a report by Statista, the market for advanced analytics and machine learning is expected to reach $1 trillion by 2028.

Industry 4.0
Adobe Stock Image

The increasing interest in using sensor networks is due to their ability to create feedback loops to improve the efficiency of manufacturing operations. This process can help identify “hidden factories”. These are bottleneck points or costly problems that are miniscule but in the long run can slow down production.

At the same time, you’re able to use technology for predictive maintenance, explore what-if scenarios, and reduce the costs of operations and highlight advanced analytics.

Despite the widespread use of Industry 4.0, many companies fail to collect and analyze data quickly enough. This is because companies tend to implement the technology in a way that's faster than it can be used.

The biggest barriers to the implementation of Industry 4.0 are the legacy mindsets of employees and operations practices. Despite the significant investment in new technology, these practices still prevent companies from fully embracing the potential of Industry 4.0.

One of the core challenges industries face in embracing the potential of Industry 4.0 is the lack of standardization. This is because there are many different ways of working that make it hard to identify the most effective ways to improve productivity and reduce risk.

Some employees will revert to the old ways of working when new innovations are introduced. This is because they don't trust the new technology such as robotics or XR, and are afraid to take on the new challenge. The value of implementing new technology is not realized until the old methods are phased out.

One of the biggest factors that prevents companies from fully embracing the potential of Industry 4.0 is the lack of preparation. Although many companies have the necessary resources to implement advanced software and sensors, they underestimate the training requirements of their workforce, they lack a strategy to blend new workflow methods into traditional approaches.

A great example of this is introducing VR headset into the workforce. You need to consider what is the strategy to do this with the least amount of disruption and the least amount of employee alienation. 

A plan should be developed to avoid the trap of buying technology that's not being used properly or doesn't deliver the desired results. You should consider a more measured approach to the transition process that involves addressing cultural norms and systems thinking.

Image from FS Studio

This step will help companies develop a comprehensive plan that will guide their efforts in implementing Industry 4.0. It will also help them identify the most effective ways to improve their internal processes through technology.

One of the most important factors that employers should consider when it comes to implementing Industry 4.0 is identifying the most critical problems that will drive their transformation efforts. Unfortunately, many companies only install networks that are made up of hundreds of sensors and then try to solve them using a solution that's not designed to solve them.

Start small. For example instead of creating a digital twin of an entire factory floor that included interactivity, high fidelity 3D art, and avatars. You should start off by building out a single room or a section. Take a basic scan using LiDAR to introduce the virtual environment and use that as a foundation to introduce your employees to it. From there, you can then scale up and build off of those successes. 

Have a moderated approach that involves identifying the most critical problems that will drive their transformation efforts. This step will help companies identify the most effective ways to improve their internal processes. One of the most important factors that employers should consider when it comes to implementing Industry 4.0 is engaging their employees to identify the most critical issues that will drive their transformation efforts.

This exercise can help you identify the areas where they can make improvements. Another important factor that employers should consider is putting in place processes that can reduce the time it takes to implement the technology.

Before implementing Industry 4.0, it is important that employers adopt a sequence of technology upgrades while also removing outdated systems. With the help of advanced algorithms, sensors, and cloud platforms, workers can gain new insights. Unfortunately, once they encounter problems or outdated methods of working, they will revert to their old ways of doing business. So it needs to be a commitment.

To help the workforce adapt to the new technology, companies should introduce incremental and tightly scoped initiatives. Doing so will allow them to easily digest the changes and improve their performance. However, it is also important to remove outdated systems to prevent your teams from returning to their old ways of doing business.

New virtual tools for the workforce, avatars, and the Meta Quest Pro

Meta made some big announcements today that gave us a bigger and brighter view of their goals with XR technology. On top of new avatar technology, new tools for the virtual workspace, and their Horizon World platform opening up to be WebXR accessible, the company also officially launched their much anticipated Meta Quest Pro VR headset.

Quest Pro
Image from Meta

A huge social shift has taken place. A few years ago, the majority of time spent in VR was spent alone. Today, the vast majority of time spent in Meta Quest is in multiplayer experiences and the top apps in the Meta Quest Store are social.

"We’re seeing that many others also believe in this future. They’re living it, building new worlds, hanging out in VR, and exploring what’s possible," said Meta CEO, Mark Zuckerberg. "The VR ecosystem is thriving as social interaction powers the success of the most popular experiences, and now, we’re shipping our first high-end mixed reality headset, a key moment on the road to augmented reality."

Meta Quest Pro

Meta Quest Pro is the first in our new high-end line of devices, featuring the most advanced VR technology we’ve ever shipped. It’s built for collaboration, creativity, and getting things done.

Meta Quest Pro is packed with innovative new features including high-res sensors that enable full-color mixed reality. Thin pancake optics push the limits on state-of-the-art visuals while enabling a sleeker, more balanced headset design. Completely redesigned self-tracking controllers with upgraded haptic feedback help every gesture in VR feel second-nature. And with eye tracking and Natural Facial Expressions, your avatar can reflect your facial movements and make eye contact more naturally, so you can be authentically you while connecting with friends and colleagues. With all this and more, Meta Quest Pro expands what’s possible in VR.  

Product Features:

Additional Supporting Features:

Work and Productivity with Meta Quest Pro

Workrooms v1.8

Meta Quest Pro was designed with productivity in mind, and will be a major upgrade for those who use VR as a tool for work—but hardware is only part of the equation. We’re equally focused on creating software that improves the way you work and collaborate, both on Meta Quest Pro or Meta Quest 2. Horizon Workrooms is our VR space for teams to connect and collaborate. At Connect we announced the latest set of productivity and collaboration features; 

Meta Personal Office
Image by Meta

Meta Quest 2 Ecosystem

We’re seeing incredible progress across the Meta Quest ecosystem. It was only 2 years ago that we announced Meta Quest 2 at Connect. Since then, it’s become the first virtual reality device to break out into the mainstream with a whole ecosystem emerging around it. This is great news for developers, who are finding success on the platform.

Gaming

The Quest 2 ecosystem in gaming is thriving. Developers are already making amazing games and the next few months are going to see some of the most exciting releases yet.

Fitness

Every month, millions of people turn to VR to get physically active using fitness apps like LES MILLS BODYCOMBATFitXR, and Supernatural. People stick with it too, with around 90% of paid subscriptions still active after the first month.

Horizon Worlds

Entertainment

Avatars

Earlier this year we launched cochlear implants, over-the-ear hearing aids, and wheelchairs for Avatars, but we have more improvements coming.

Meta Avatars
Image by Meta

AR 

Quest Developers

We're introducing new products and features to help developers build immersive apps and successful businesses.

Future Technology

We showed off some of the future-facing research we’re conducting inside our labs, with a focus on next generation interfaces, bringing physical objects into the metaverse, and photo realistic avatars. 

This Meta SDK will bring hand interactions to your XR experiences.

By Dilmer Valecillos

Originally posted on LearnXR.io

Today I am super excited to share an announcement regarding the following new SDK which I believe will be a huge addition to anyone who wants to work with VR or Passthrough with Oculus, also be sure to watch THIS HAND INTERACTION SDK VIDEO and trust me that it will be worth your time.

The Oculus Interaction SDK is a hands and controllers interaction components library which provides very realistic interactions and allows to easily use prefabs when building games or apps for virtual reality with and without Passthrough features.

‪📌 To get started with the Interaction SDK be sure to check out this document with requirements and download links: https://developer.oculus.com/documentation/unity/unity-isdk-interaction-sdk-overview/

SDK
The PokeExamples scene showcases the PokeInteractor on various surfaces with touch limiting

The following sample scenes are available in the Interaction SDK:

👉 Basic Grab scene which showcases a scene with the HandGrabInteractor

👉 Complex grab scene which showcases a scene with the simpler GrabInteractor but with the addition of Physics, Transforms and Constraints on objects.

👉 Basic Ray scene which showcases ray interactions with Unity canvas.

👉 Basic Poke scene which showcases UI interactions such as buttons, scrollable areas, and box-based proximity fields.

👉 Basic Pose detection scene which demonstrates pose detection for several common hand poses such as Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down, Rock, Paper, Scissors, and Stop

Let me know if you have any questions after watching this announcement and know that I will personally be covering every single feature available in the SDK and I am working closely with Oculus to make sure I have all the info I need for future videos.

This new announcement and video series also contains source code examples which you can access from GitHub today.

Thanks everyone and enjoy it 🙂 time to play with XR !

Dilmer

By Bobby Carlton

When it comes to creating that perfect balance of realism and cartoony avatars that can be used across multiple VR platforms, Ready Player Me is the leader. Very easy to make and only takes minutes, a Ready Player Me avatar can be personalized with clothing, fashion accessories, and even outfits from popular movies, and that could be a big deal for Enterprise adoption.

Last week, the company announced that they raised $56M led by a16z to help grow their business and give people the ability to connect people to the metaverse in a more meaningful way. This is obviously a huge leap for pushing avatar technology, but it also means a big step for the metaverse as more people and companies explore the potential of these virtual worlds.

Creating your own 3D avatar is incredibly simple. Absolutely no coding skills are needed to create one which you can then import into platforms such as Spatial,  Mozilla Hubs, VRChat, and others with ease by copying and pasting a generated code made by the software.

You may think that avatars are something you would only use in socialVR platforms or in games, but there is a big push to bring this type of virtual representation into work environments. Ready Player Me has already positioned themselves into Enterprise solutions by lining themselves up with dozens of partners to use their avatar technology for corporate training, team building, and even having avatar creation being part of the onboarding steps for new employees.

As companies establish their digital twins in platforms like Mozilla Hubs, MeetinVR, Glue, Virbela, and others, avatars are how we represent ourselves as employees in VR, and it helps create a diverse workforce in both the real world and in the metaverse. Employees expect inclusion, culture, and heritage to be things that are represented at work.

Last year saw 24 companies adopting Ready Player Me avatars for employee representation in the metaverse, and with this new round of fundraising, the company looks to push that number even higher. 

FS Studio VR Hub
Image from FS Studio

Timmu Tõke, CEO of Ready Player Me believes that being able to represent your individual heritage in the metaverse, whether it’s for meeting up with friends for a concert or being part of a client meeting is important for all of us.

The thought is that your skin tone, your hair, the shape of your eyes, and how you dress all make up who you are and is part of the story behind you the person, and you the employee. 

In an interview with GamesBeat, Tõke talked about how his company will bring that representation and consistent identity across all experiences saying, “We’re doing cross-game answers for the metaverse, as we saw that people spend a lot of time in virtual worlds.” Tõke added, “The metaverse is not one app, or one game or one platform. It’s a network of thousands of different virtual worlds. So it makes sense for users to have an avatar to traverse across many different virtual worlds.”

Image from Ready Player Me

“You have to build the network out for diversity as a developer tools company,” said Tõke in a interview with VRScout. “That’s where we spend most of our time.”

The metaverse is expanding each day with more social experiences and more companies and industries uncovering its potential for everything from connecting consumers through a metaverse portal, marketing goals, B2B, employee training and recruitment and how we can improve things such as automation, robotics, infrastructure, warehouse management, and so much more. 

Earlier in the year Ready Player Me announced a partnership with the AR company 8th Wall that would allow you to bring the Ready Player Me avatars into any 8th Wall AR experience using A-Frame, which potentially could bring more personalization into AR training initiatives such as on-the-fly training or reskilling. It could also have an impact on how companies approach marketing, recruitment and onboarding.

Tõke realized that we’re not totally there yet but the metaverse is gaining a lot of momentum. “Based on our rapid growth rate (40% month on month), I think it is fair to say the VR industry is booming right now, and expanding quicker than many people realize. Like any new technology, however, its success largely depends on how quickly it is adopted by consumers, and in that respect we still have some way to go.”

You can create your own individual custom avatar at readyplayer.me.

By Bobby Carlton

There is no question about it. The COVID-19 pandemic changed everything for us. This includes our personal and professional life. Though we have started to see some normalcy in our day-to-day lives, we are seeing new concerns such as an evolving COVID virus and monkeypox, which is making people and businesses rethink how we socialize with our family, friends and the people we work with.

However a published research paper shows that people who use VR to hang out with friends through socialVR platforms, attended a virtual concert, played games, work in a VR environment, or “visited” other parts of the world, were actually really happy!

They socialized with friends and family, and they connected with work colleagues. There is a sense of normalcy inside of VR that isn't restricted with things such as travel limitations or having to worry about things such as COVID or monkeypox.

As the COVID pandemic completely disrupted and changed our lives, we found ourselves unable to participate in things that made sense to our identity. You no longer had that foundation of autobiographical memory, which is your memories of your own history. It sounds a little sciency and complex, but your memories actually play a role in your current happiness, and without them your days kind of blend into each other leaving you with this feeling of emptiness. 

This also includes your work memories. Collaborating with co-workers, approached training, and even having "water cooler" talk.

Image from Meta

So yes, the quarantine has created a long lasting impact and it's definitely making you feel pretty burned out, even in today's world.

Italian researchers worked with 400 participants over a three month period. Users were encouraged to view 360 photos and videos of other countries, visit virtual gardens, beaches, encouraged them to spend time with other VR users in platforms such as VRChat or Mozilla Hubs, work together, and even had users jump into VR to create a safe and comfortable personal bubble to reflect and be alone, a place referred to as the “Secret Garden.” 

Participants were then interviewed and researchers found them to be happier. They were much more engaging and felt better and more confident about their work.

During an interview with CNBC Make It, Professor Giuseppe Riva Ph.D., the author of the report and a professor of general psychology at Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore in Milan, said “We define who we are through the memory of people and events that occurred within the different places we frequent (home, events, work).

Riva and his team told participants to use VR anytime during the day. Morning, afternoon, before bed or anytime they felt anxious due to the lack of social activities. There were no restrictions. Use VR in the same way you’d text a friend or a co-worker.

Image from HTC Vive

The end results showed that people felt calm and connected during the height of the pandemic. They were happy. They had that sense of autobiographical memory that helped connect them with what makes them happy, and that this approach still works today, even without a global pandemic.

With more and more businesses moving to remote work or a blended work environment, using a digital twin or a metaverse portal to connect workers helps create happy employees. It creates an autobiographical work memory, which is really important for team collaboration and team moral. VR helps get people out of video calls and into something more meaningful.

As we start to see more and more positive benefits of VR, we’re starting to see VR adoption take hold on consumers and businesses in many industries.

But others are experiencing that true happiness from VR and not because they are gaining from it monetarily. They’re happy because it’s giving them a way to spend time with friends and escape the confinement of their homes. The metaverse is opening new opportunities for people to connect throughout the day and this includes workhours.

One VR user talked about why being in VR makes them happy, saying, “I work from home and being at home alone all day sucks. I wake up, work in my living room for 8 hours and then that’s it. I’ve never left my home. I live in a rural place so I don’t have a downtown I can visit. Going to work is my social time!” the individual goes on to say, “But once I put on my headset, I’m able to leave my house and hang out with the people I work with or people that I’ve made in virtual reality. I know I’m not actually leaving my house, but it feels like I do. I get to talk with people and socialize, and it makes me really happy to have that connection. It’s honestly saved me from going crazy. There have definitely been times when I’m really bummed out, but once I get into VR, I’m happy to see people I know.”

Image from USC Institute for Creative Technologies

During an interview with CNBC, Skip Rizzo, Ph.D., Director of Medical VR at the Institute for Creative Technologies at the University of Southern California talked about how an immersive VR simulation could be “emotionally evocative,” and explains that VR gives you the tools to develop your own relaxation strategies to cope with the stress of COVID-19 anxiety or any stressful situation. It gives you a portal to escapism. 

Through Riva’s research, he and his team have suggested the following VR user guide that you can use to help you stay happy. 

Image by FS Studio

Use VR to reflect on your identity and future goals. Jump into your "Secret Garden" to think of your family, friends, or maybe you just want to clear your mind. Or use the space as a way to work out a work problem. Of course, be social!

Point is, VR can make you happy. It connects you with the people you love, people that make you laugh, people you work with, and allows you to escape reality and even join reality. 

That’s a good feeling.

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