Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality Isn't Just for Gaming Anymore

By Chris Preimesberger  |  Posted 2016-03-31 Print this article Print

Improved audience research

A VR-enabled ethnography for improved audience research is also something that could help to build more relevant communications, Melton said.

"Getting more practical, AR/VR will enable a surgeon to perform a life-saving procedure while thousands of miles away," he said.

"And much of it is already happening. For example, jazz record labels are already offering live concerts in 360. We're already seeing '360' videos on Facebook and YouTube ... the social media experience will explode. AR/VR truly has the potential to change the entire globe."

As for the enterprise, Eyefluence CEO Jim Marggraff had some insights to share with eWEEK. Milpitas, Calif.-based Eyefluence claims to be the first eye-interaction technology for AR and devices that transforms intent into action through a user's eyes.

"We see huge potential for AR and VR to impact the nearly 40-million hands-free, desk-less workers in a broad range of enterprise applications," Marggraff told eWEEK. "AR and VR technologies provide rapid access to information in context and connect people to one another unlike any other technology platform. We see the greatest benefit coming from the ability to be heads-up and hands-free in the field, which will lead to big improvements in productivity, efficiency, and safety."

Even Oil Rig Workers Will Use AR

For example, in the oil industry, rig workers currently complete security compliance checklists with a large marker and clipboard because they are wearing gloves, Marggraff said.

With next-generation augmented reality, which will be controlled with eye-interaction, those same workers will conduct the checklist with their eyes with time-stamped and identity-stamped data entry, which will improve procedural adherence in this extreme environment—in a fraction of the time.

"Imagine what will happen when you are no longer constrained to the screen real estate of a computer monitor," Marggraff said. "Virtual reality headsets open up a 360-degree environment to display high volumes of information, applications, and experiences.

"When you add the speed of eye-interaction to AR and VR user interfaces, which we are developing at Eyefluence, you can engage, navigate, and access information at the speed of thought. The adoption of AR and VR by big industries will revolutionize the way we work, communicate, and think."

The Future of VR and AR

Marggraff and Eyefluence are thinking way ahead of the curve on the deployment and usage of VR and AR, because he believes the user interface hasn't been perfected yet.

"Today's tap, swipe, nod, point, and talk methods for controlling first-generation AR and VR devices are limiting their adoption," Marggraff said. "Once they are enabled with eye-interaction, the ability to transform intent into action through your eyes opens up a world of possibilities in a broad range of applications.

"In critical care and emergency room environments, instant hands-free access to patient data, through eye navigation, will improve treatment and reduce bacterial-spread from fingers touching patients then HMD controllers.

On a construction site, workers will document compliance by taking photographs with their eyes, matching blueprint details, and searching databases—all as fast as they can move their eyes to look and think. 

Instant Access to Data in AR

In manufacturing, instant access to instructions, visual dashboards, and eye-messages will enable workers to complete their jobs more effectively and efficiently, saving time and reducing costs.

"Although there will be immediate industry-specific applications, eye-interaction's deepest impact will be accelerating human-computer interaction, which expands our learning, decision making, and ultimately intelligence," Marggraff said.

As the '60s/'70s pop singing group the Carpenters once sang so eloquently, "We've Only Just Begun" to touch the influence of both virtual and augmented reality here in 2016.

Oh, and to remind the fashion-conscious: Don't worry about those big, strange-looking headsets. You won't even notice the new ones we'll use in the future.

Chris Preimesberger

Chris Preimesberger is Editor of Features and Analysis at eWEEK. Twitter: @editingwhiz


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