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Unleashed VR
  • Walmart widely adopting VR soft skills training
  • Google standalone VR headsets
  • Unleashed VR motion capture animations

 
 


15 JUNE  2017
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Dear family, friends and colleagues,

I hope this update finds you well.

In this newsletter we discuss a couple of recent earth-shattering developments for VR and soft skills training for the workplace.

Ever wondered how the big Hollywood film makers create such realistic animations for characters such as Gollum in Lord of the Rings?  Read below to find out how it’s done and how we’re using the technology in our programs.

Please feel free to send any comments or enquiries and don’t forget to follow us on social media.

Regards,
Ben

 
 
 
INDUSTRY NEWS
 

WALMART WIDELY ADOPTING VR SOFT SKILLS TRAINING
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As VR quickly takes hold in mainstream gaming and entertainment, it is still in its infancy in workplace training.  Therefore, we were extremely excited to read that Walmart is not just dipping their toes into the VR-training swimming pool, they are launching themselves 8-feet in the air and cannon-balling into VR soft skills training. 

The world’s largest physical retailer has been trialling VR customer service and leadership training in 31 of its development academies.  Having received excellent results thus far, Walmart have announced that all 200 of their training academies and over 150,000 employees will be using VR training by the end of this year. 

Walmart will be using VR training in a variety of additional areas such as sales, safety and HR.  The company has decided to make this large investment in the technology after running a successful pilot program with US-based VR developer, StriVR Labs.

Click here to read more about Walmart’s VR training announcement.
 

 

 

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR UNLEASHED VR'S CUSTOMERS?
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We see a significant implication from Walmart’s mass adoption of VR soft skills training: Validation of the value Unleashed VR's programs can add to our customers

Unleashed VR helps people improve their workplace capabilities in difficult person-to-person interactions through immersive simulation programs.  Walmart is now investing millions of dollars and thousands of employee hours into the medium (VR) and training areas (soft skills) that Unleashed VR is focused on.

We believe Walmart’s recent announcement will help shape the views of organisations considering training their employees in VR.


VR AS 'VALUE-ADDING' AND 'DE-RISKED'

Walmart is moving to full adoption of VR training only after running a partnership pilot that validated this wider business case. 

VR training is immersive, experience-based and allows for people to safely fail within specifically designed simulations.  VR easily records performance and results and is the perfect tool to provide actionable insights to staff and their employers.  This unique combination of factors results in more effectively trained staff that are better prepared for the challenges they will encounter in their jobs. 

This is the logic that Walmart have tested and confirmed over the past six months.

 
 
 
HARDWARE
GOOGLE STANDALONE VR HEADSETS
 
Google announced mid-last month they are working with Lenovo and HTC to produce standalone VR headsets that do not require a mobile phone or gaming computer
 
The new headsets will contain everything needed for high-end VR experiences, including tracking a user’s physical movements in space and interactivity through a controller.
 
Initial reports indicate the device will be similar in price to market leaders, Oculus Rift and HTC Vive (~$1,000), but without the ~$2,000 cost of a gaming PC.
 
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WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR UNLEASHED VR'S CUSTOMERS?
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The implication for our customers is a significant decrease in hardware costs for high quality VR.  Within the next few months, you will be able to source VR equipment at close to 1/3 the current cost OR supply additional headsets for your staff without increasing your budget.

Click here for more information about Google’s announcement.

 
 
 
UNLEASHED VR MOTION CAPTURE ANIMATIONS
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Our team recently spent a day at Edith Cowan University’s motion capture (mo-cap) facility, affiliated with the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA).  We shot various movements that are being incorporated into our suite of animations, to ensure the highest quality movement and realism of our program characters.


WHAT IS MOTION CAPTURE AND WHY IS IT SO REALISTIC?
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Mo-cap is the process of capturing the live movement of a person (or object) and mapping it onto a computer-generated model.  By capturing a person's movements mo-cap allows us to ‘import’ actual movement onto our 3D character models.


WHY IS IT IMPORTANT FOR UNLEASHED VR TO CAPTURE REALISTIC MOVEMENT?
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Numerous studies focusing on how people respond to computer-generated characters have found that realistic movement / animation is the most influential factor to determine if people relate well to a character.  Movement is generally considered more influential than facial accuracy or anatomical correctness for this purpose.  The reason for this is due to our ‘reptilian brains’ triggering our ‘fight or flight’ systems when we observe moving objects.


HOW DOES THE MOTION CAPTURE PROCESS WORK?
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As you’ve likely seen from production shots of movies such as Lord of the Rings and Avatar, data is gathered using special markers attached to an actor.  These markers look like little balls coated with a retro-reflective material that reflect light to cameras

Surrounding the actor is a series of cameras that are calibrated to provide overlapping projections and 3D positioning of the actor through specialised software.  Over time these projections create motion data that is linked to the ‘skeleton’ of one of our 3D models.
 
 
 
 
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Unleashed VR's very own Simone Jennings in her best Mo-cap attire

Click here to view a short video of our mo-cap magic in action.

A big thank you goes to Luke Hopper and Jess Watson of ECU, for lending their guidance and expertise on the day.

 
 
 
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