“But listen—a movie that gives one sight and sound. Suppose now I add taste, smell, even touch, if your interest is taken by the story. Suppose I make it so that you are in the story, you speak to the shadows, and the shadows reply, and instead of being on a screen, the story is all about you, and you are in it. Would that be to make real a dream?”
Stanley G. Weinbaum, Pygmalion’s Spectacles
Virtual Reality in the Modern Age
In recent years, buzz about VR has reached new heights. The technology has reached a point where it is both immersive enough and accessible enough to finally be ready for large-scale adoption. To date, the majority of the mainstream applications for this technology has been in the gaming and entertainment industry. However, demos from numerous companies have allowed the world to see the practical applications for VR, beyond purely entertainment objectives. Facebook has put immense resources behind developing social VR and allowing its users to join meetings, take skype calls, or even just hang out with friends virtually. Ford’s Immersion Labs is using VR to help understand how their customers interact with and experience their cars. VR is also being used in healthcare, education, and training of various kinds. These are only a handful of the examples that already exist, but as the technology continues to improve, the possibilities for VR are growing immensely. As VR continues to become more realistic while simultaneously becoming cheaper to build, industries will be able to save money by utilizing VR applications versus building out real-world scenarios.
Hifyre Builds a Demo
The team here at Hifyre has been both excited and inspired by the latest developments in VR and as such, we decided to dive head-first into building a demo of our own. The world of virtual reality is rich with potential applications. As a means of demonstrating our vision for how VR can be incorporated into work and education, we chose to develop a training demo.
Using Unity – a widely used game building language popular for VR applications, and an HTC Vive setup – arguably one of the best consumer VR options on the market, the Hifyre team built our first VR demo. As we wanted to create something that demonstrated the functionality of VR when applied to work and education, we decided on creating a scenario in which the user enters a car garage and is tasked with rebuilding the car’s engine so that it runs.
The Future is Virtually Here
The goal for our team was to make an immersive experience for the user, so that they could imagine themselves actually walking into a garage in the real-world and being capable of placing the same parts onto a real engine. As you can see from the above video, the engine being built is already partially assembled, so the user only has to add a few key parts. Using this straight forward demo, Hifyre aims to introduce the concept of VR training to industries that have previously overlooked this technology as a feasible option for onboarding employees.