Virtual Reality for Autism Special Report: Research and Experiences

One of the wonderful aspects of virtual reality is the ability to experience presence through immersive story telling. In other words, to feel like you are actually there in your virtual environment and very much part of the story that is unfolding around you. This allows for creative imaginations to run wild and dream up some wonderful never before experienced scenarios. But what if we could use this technology to help understand reality more? What if we could help more of us appreciate how some people actually live on a day to day basis? A tool to transport us into how things that we consider to be basic everyday tasks but for others they may be challenging uncomfortable experiences. In a world where compassion and empathy seems to be a rare trait, how can we help ignite caring for other humans in a more profound way? Well, lets take an in-depth look at how virtual reality helps with this by shining a spotlight on VR for Autism.

I don’t have anybody in my immediate family who has been diagnosed with Autism but have many friends who have children who have been. I’m not an expert and actually, I don’t really know too much about it. From what I understand, old school stereotypes are not something that should be relied on. In fact, there seems to be a spectrum but individuals can have more or less of some conditions/symptoms than others. So there is a no one shoe that fits all. But what if you only know the stereotype symptoms? How full on do you know them? Do you really know them if you have never experienced them for yourself? Many symptoms of Autism are subject to perception and unless you are an individual with the condition then how can you possibly fully understand what it looks and feels like from an individual perspective? How can you then take an overview guesstimate of that and then dig beneath the layers to understand how those symptoms can flare up during certain triggers or how they impact going about your day to day responsibilities? The truth is that we can’t, really, not truly understand. We could raise our awareness by watching documentaries, listening to lectures, speaking with our friends and family with the condition but there’s still a gap between knowing the theory and experiencing it.

Autistic children using virtual reality. Source:

That’s where virtual reality comes in. In this special edition blog I will take you through virtual reality Autism experiences, Autism VR apps, virtual reality research papers, Autism VR articles and more. I have taken a great deal of time to compile this information for you in the hope that it helps somebody out there in one way or another. Supporting the immersive industry and encouraging more humanitarian projects within the sector is something that I am personally passionate about. I have spend many years working on virtual reality for dementia with my company Pivotal Reality and I know how time consuming research can be. I published an article for the Springer Biomedical Series last year about VR Dementia use cases and the cost to buy that book shocked me. So much so that I wouldn’t even buy a copy for my family. Yes, I am aware that as a founder of a company, society may frown upon that opinion but I am remaining true to myself and my roots. I’m not in the business of ripping people off! I never have and I never will. That’s not me. I am therefore creating this blog so that this information is out there for free. If you have found this to be useful then perhaps you might like to sign up to my monthly newsletter or follow this blog to show your support but there’s no pressure to do that.

Autism VR Simulators

According to the National Autistic Society 99% of people in the UK have heard of Autism but only 16% of autistic people feel the public truly understands it.

Taken from The National Autistic Society

As I’ve already alluded to, the most powerful way to help people understand what Autism is like is through VR apps and experiences that are designed to put the user in the shoes of someone who has the condition. One of my all time favourite real world examples of this is a VR app called iSenseVR developed by Friendly Access, Glasgow School of Art and Crag3D. Their VR app is focused on allowing people who have Autism to prepare for a visit to Aberdeen International Airport in Scotland using gradual scenarios and exposure therapy with a view to reduce anxiety for attending the airport in real life. Its such a beautiful concept and allows the user to build up on the amount of stress & anxiety triggers that they are exposed to such as a hand dryer in the toilets, a broken cup at the cafe, security check process and waiting at the boarding gate. In addition to the virtual reality exposure therapy they then have the opportunity to try it out in the real world! Aberdeen International Airport was recreated exactly as is in real life so users who did have the chance to experience the VR app had the benefit of already knowing the layout of the building. They tested their work with a small group and published their findings here. In summary, they saw an enthusiasm amongst the participants who were actively engaged with the experience. However, there is further research to be carried out. This I imagine is due to the rigid location of users because they would need to test both the virtual experience as well as attend Aberdeen International Airport too so that the results can be conclusive. Plus you need to have a large group of participants, all of which would ideally have been diagnosed with Autism too. Not an easy task and something to consider yourself if you plan to design and implement a VR experience that is reliant on a real world location too. It’s very niche but I love it. I think it’s extremely heartwarming that Glynn Morris CEO of Family Access went ahead and created this app with the support of Dr Matt Poyade from Glasgow School of Art and Crag3D. How meaningful will it be for families within the area or those needing to travel to Aberdeen International Airport to have this amazing accessibility tool at the ready for them?!

Another example of a VR app that helps you to understand what it may be like living as someone who has Autism is The Autism Simulator created by Autismity. In this virtual reality experience you are exposed to how visuals and sounds can be distorted for those living with Autism. It appears to be an extreme experience and I’m not confident that I would recommend trying this out to anybody who has epilepsy. Having said that, it looks pretty powerful and definitely an experience that you will not forget in a hurry. I believe once you’ve tried it, you’ll always remember what it felt like to be in those shoes and would hope that understanding and compassion for autism will stay with you for life!

Available from the Oculus Store

Sadly, I struggled to find many more examples of virtual reality applications to share with you. Other than Evenness Sensory Space which is available from Oculus Store, Steam & Viveport but it is geared more towards senses in general. Then there’s also Jam Studio available on Steam & Viveport. Jam Studio is quite expensive but that’s because it includes other medtech experiences too. I’m not sure if you are able to buy the Autistic experience/chapter as a standalone purchase.

Autism 360° Videos (VR Simulators)

Don’t be disheartened as there are a number of 360° videos that you can view in VR. Easily the most accessible method of enjoying an app for purpose like these ones. You can access them via ANY VR headset through the browser or YouTube VR app from the various VR stores. Or you can use a smartphone, VR viewer (e.g. a specific smartphone VR Headset or even cardboard VR Glasses would do the job) and view the 360° from YouTube. You should know that the quality of VR experience using Smartphones is such a basic level of what is available on today’s VR market. You should also be warned that VR sickness using these smartphone options is pretty high.)

Although the ultimate VR experience should be photo-realistic virtual reality graphics to allow for the most ‘believable’ experience, I do think there is still a place for 360° videos in the industry, regardless of their quality. How else are we going to experiment and explore new mediums to help society appreciate all members of our community? Nobody wants to put their foot in it, nobody wants to be rude, nobody wants to say/do anything offensive by mistake and nobody wants that awkwardness of not knowing what to say or do when faced with the unknown. Knowledge is power but experiencing is human. So even if it’s a big challenge to help us experience real world scenarios, I have massive respect for those who push the boundaries forward and at least try new things to help us improve as human beings. So 360° videos has earned their place in this Virtual Reality for Autism Special Report: Research and Experiences!

The National Autistic Society produced a 360° video called Too Much Information to help show what Autism can be like too. Warning: this video contains flashing lights, bright colours and sudden loud sounds. Their website states that they have helped over 56 million people experience “first hand” what Autism can be like. So don’t underestimate the power of 360° video, it would be interesting to see the numbers of those who have tried the virtual reality applications at the start of this report for a comparison. But I think it would be safe to say that 360° video is still the most accessible method to reach a larger audience. When you are working on something that ultimately is helping society as well as giving a voice to those with invisible disabilities then it should not be ignored.

Caution: Flashing lights, bright colours, loud and sudden noises. I would also add that it can be a difficult watch especially if watched via a virtual reality headset.

The Counselling Directory have uploaded a lovely video of some reactions to this experience which I think you may also like to see from a research perspective. In fact, we all would benefit from viewing. It would be lovely to be mindful of accessibility and understanding when we are creating new products or services or even for every day interactions that we may come across.

User reactions to The National Autistic Society’s Too Much Information VR Autism experience. Source: Counselling Directory via YouTube

The BBC made Creating a Positive Environment project (CAPE) to raise awareness of the struggles that people with neurodivergent conditions (Autism, ADHD, Asperger’s etc) have to overcome within a workplace environment. Caution: this video also shows flashing and strobe lighting.

The Guardian created The Party: A Virtual Experience of Autism. A 360° video where you follow the story of 16 year old Layla who has been recently diagnosed with Autism. Layla’s is attending a family birthday party and this film immerses us in what that looks and feels like from her perspective. It’s a lovely story and beautifully made. The Guardian had input from various Autism experts & foundations to ensure their effects were reflected accurately too. You can also access this experience via Oculus Video app from the Oculus Store.

More VR Autism Use Cases

Now that we have taken some time to look at both virtual reality and 360° videos that act as Autism Simulators, let’s move on to see how else VR is being used for Autism in other meaningful ways. Virtual Reality is a compelling medium for training solutions because of its simulation ability, storytelling delivery and emotional connectivity all whilst trainees are directly immersed within that virtual experience without distraction. It’s no surprise that virtual reality users report that they are more likely to remember content from within a virtual reality learning space than they would from more traditional teaching methods.


There was a terrible incident happened in 2016 when a man with Autism had been shot at 3 times by a US Police Officer after mistaking a silver toy truck he was holding as a weapon. The shots missed the Autistic man but his caretaker was wounded. Experts have said that some people with Autism may not know how to react to a police encounter with some looking away or not doing what they have been asked to do. This may be perceived as being defiant or resistant to the demands of the police.

After hearing about this, The Children’s Hospitals for Autism Research wanted to help kids and adults with Autism understand what it would be like to have a sudden encounter with the police. By even exposing them to the words that are commonly used or how the presence of the virtual experience would feel would all go towards preparing the user for a real world encounter, should that ever happen. The app was created by a company called Floreo and they have published a whole load of different VR Autism Research papers on their website. Here’s the related related research publication for this particular VR experience. The following clip was taken from a broadcast:

There’s another VR police for Autism experience made by Axon that uses 360° video as a virtual reality Autism police training experience to help people to understand more about people with Autism, how they can behave, interact and with the goal to raise awareness with their police forces whilst keeping innocent citizens safe.

Video from


You have to remember that virtual reality for Autism is such a niche area and it can be challenging to move the needle because the medium is relatively new compared to traditional methods. However, despite that, there is a vast amount of research, articles and video evidence of how impactful virtual reality is for people with Autism. Let’s show you some highlights below.


Watch the WIONews video below to see for yourself the impact using virtual reality experiences has on children with strong to severe Autism. In summary, the observations are that the children are engaged with their virtual experiences. We hear from both parent and professional practitioner perspectives and conclude that this technology is absolutely making a difference to these children.

Lets go back to Floreo for another one of their cracking videos that show you an observers perspective of what VR is capable of doing in terms of engagement, language improvement, calmness, behavioural and so much more. All from a 5 minute or so virtual reality app experience. That’s it. (For quickness, jump to 4 mins 21 secs)

Freethink video of Floreo VR for Autism (Play from 4 mins 21 secs to jump to example of results)

You would be forgiven after reading this Virtual Reality for Autism Special Report to think that in order to strike any meaningful impact you must have a bespoke customised VR application. Not true 🙂 I came across a lovely YouTube video by Justin & Nick that shows you otherwise. We watch as Nolan tries VR for the first time through a variety of consumer applications like Job Simulator, Google Tiltbrush, Space Pirate Trainer etc. Nolan’s reactions are endearing and shows that although a little awkward, the use of controllers is also possible for him so perhaps others with Autism too. I know from my research that elderly people and those living with dementia struggle with the controllers too so I tend to focus on that user pain point more than most people. The conclusion is that consumer virtual reality is also an option here too. And like Nolan says at the end of this video, you should “Try it”.

Source: YouTube Channel, Justin & Nick – My Autistic Brother Nolan Tried HTC Vive

Useful Research Papers

VR Used to Teach Driving Lessons to People with Autism

VR Training for Public Speaking for People with Autism

Autism and Virtual Reality Headsets

Effectiveness of Virtual Reality for Children and Adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorder: An Evidence-Based Systematic Review

Did I miss anything?

Thanks for reading this far! If you know about any virtual reality applications or experiences that are geared towards Autism then please get in touch to let me know. If you are working on something within this area then I would love to hear from you and learn more.

I am passionate about the virtual reality industry and want to concentrate my efforts on shining a light on those pioneers who are investing their time to help shape the landscape. Let me help you reach the eyes and ears of those who are hungry to learn about you. Have a virtual reality related product and want to advertise here? Get in touch.

What topic do you want a deep dive on next? I will be working on further blog posts but tell me what you are curious to learn more about and I will add your needs to my list.

Don’t forget to follow this blog to read more interesting use cases of virtual reality!

Take care & keep healthy

Suzanne Showcasing VR latest product review video – Kiwi Design 5 in 1 VR Face Cover Set for Oculus Quest

6 Day Conference Held in Virtual Reality

It’s 2020 and Mobile World Congress has announced its keeping it doors closed because of the threat of spreading coronavirus. Its the sensible thing to do but I can appreciate why people may feel disappointed that they cannot see the latest tech in action. Nor engage with industry leaders or connect with other like-minded people from the industry. I once had the privilege of visiting MWC in 2018 thanks to Lenovo. I was blown away by the sheer size of the event let alone the amazing people and things to see & do inside the venue. I learned so much about from listening to as many people as I possible could whilst there. Unfortunately I was hit with disruption when returning back home from Barcelona to Scotland because Glasgow Airport was covered in ‘Beast from the East’ snow and forced to close for 3 days.

So with potential health & environmental reasons you may find it difficult to attend conferences over an above the traditional more common reasons such as travel & accommodation (if applicable) costs, childcare arrangements, the stress of travel itself and not to mention being organised in advance to ensure you have scheduled the ‘freedom’ to attend if you are able to. Of course there are other factors that can complicate attending real world conferences and events if you have a health condition yourself or perhaps your native language is different from that of the venue too.

But there is an alternative. I’ve written blog posts before about virtual reality meetings, covered the world’s first full day conference in virtual reality and I’ve even spoken at these VR events before. I love them and I’m a passionate cheerleader to encourage more to happen! The financial, environmental & accessibility benefits are pretty clear but they are also fun and memorable too.

Educators in VR 2020 International Summit

The Educators in VR International Summit is the world’s first 6 day conference with +170 speakers with more than 150 events. They have been continually running for 24 hours a day so you can attend something no matter what timezone you live in. The hosts of this amazing summit are Daniel Dyboski-Bryant and Lorelle Vanfossen. My favourite social VR gurus Donna McTaggart and Andy Fidel are playing leading support roles and there are several volunteers who are helping with livestreaming, hosting & moderating duties.

Being the largest virtual reality conference to date it offers such a fantastic wide range of talks including the likes of:

The Basics of VR/AR/XR/MR
Research into Spatial Technologies in Education
Corporate Uses for Training and Education
vLanguage Arts
vCoaching and Personal Development
Diversity and Access
Medical and Science
Computer Science and Math
Corporate Use Examples and Cases
Developers and Creators of Immersive Apps and Technology

I am writing this on the last day of the Educators in VR International Summit so sadly you cannot attend most of the live events but they have been recorded and stored on their YouTube channel. The full schedule of events can be found here.

The community involvement has been spectacular. Folks from all over the world have joined in to speak, support or enjoy learning from industry leaders. Immersive companies have come together too and hosted events across platforms such as AltSpace VR, Immersive VR Education’s Engage, Rumii, Mozilla Hibs and Somnium Space. All of these platforms are multi-user social VR platforms. Some you may not be able to access without a VR headset whilst others you can access on desktop/PC, smartphone or tablets. This is a fantastic opportunity to take advantage of visiting each of them for a tour as well! Something I have been planning to showcase via my YouTube channel for a while now but still not managed to prioritise my time for those videos yet sadly. Videos don’t do these immersive spaces justice anyways so take the opportunity to join a personal tour.

The most endearing thing about this summit are the people who take the time to attend them. By coming along and listening to the speakers you are able to learn things from pioneers who are at the forefront the immersive tech community. Folks attend from all over the world. Yet the most inspiring message of all is that as an attendee or viewer, YOU are part of that. If you then choose to take your new learning and use it for something else then you are helping to move the industry too. What an opportunity to join the next wave of computing evolution and carve your place in the history books, if you so wish! I love that!

Various speakers are coming together to share their knowledge and expertise with you, for free. How about hearing from the ‘Grandfather of Virtual Reality’ Tom Furness and founder of the Virtual World Society in this livestreamed video clip? Or Alvin Wang Graylin, President of HTC Vive. Or how about watching Kent Bye from the Voices of VR Podcast who always has a way of making us smarter after listening to the wealth of knowledge he shares. There’s so many others to watch & re-watch in the future! You can even watch David De Jong (VRAR Innovator for Elder Care at Patyna) and I give a talk on Virtual Reality for Eldercare and Dementia if that is a subject that interests you too.


I’ve given a few talks in virtual reality now and it still makes me smile to see the floating emojis people give you. If you use a virtual reality headset to attend these events then you will be no stranger to the sensation of ‘presence’ or the feeling of actually being in the room with real people. The differences between each platforms avatar is fascinating and I find it interesting to look at how people choose to customise their avatar appearance. The event spaces allow for personal branding or sponsorship marketing materials to be in view too. The Educators In VR International Summit organisers even created a VIP Lounge for speakers to meet prior to their scheduled talk time. Having that space to ‘check-in’ and chill before heading to your talk venue/room was a lovely touch! I took a few photos of that for you below. As you can see we had a beautiful sunrise and could help ourselves to a little beverage to steady the nerves if we wanted 😉

It would be wonderful if the number of attendees was something that could be tracked. If you follow the hashtags #EducatorsInVR #2020EdInVR or #edinvr to follow what people had to say about the events, photos or even slides for talks. Overall it was an incredible summit, well organised and full of a wealth of learning! Congratulations to everyone involved and I hope that this becomes an annual occurrence. If you would like to support them then you can check out their Go Fund Me page.

You can connect, subscribe and follow them on the following channels:






Tribute and inspiration for this summit was for our friend, Chris Long. Chris was an engaging member of the VR community who actively worked towards pushing the industry forward.

Hopefully see you there next year []-)

Phenomenal Results When Using Virtual Reality for Dementia

I created this blogging site a few years ago to capture news, relevant immersive growth and my own musings of the industry. As we approach the end of another year I thought I should share my own personal learning with you. I set up Pivotal Reality Ltd 2 years ago and my main aim was to explore using virtual reality with people who are living with dementia. VR is a powerful medium that transports people to another place and potentially another time too. I was curious whether I could do good with this technology that I loved and help others at the same time. If you are a new startup or are curious to hear more about how this all came about then take a moment to read Lenovo StoryHub: Restoring Memories Frontiers of Treating Dementia with VR.

I’ve been volunteering in care homes and have so much to share with you but the main headlines are that VR is simply amazing in this setting. Initially I was concerned about whether anybody would want to try the headset or whether they may be put off. My experience is that the majority jump right in, others need a little reassurance by seeing a casting livestream before trying it (something we didn’t even have when I started on this journey but thankfully things are much simpler these days!) and a tiny proportion refused due to medical conditions (eg severe vertigo & eye conditions). Before starting I would advise to adhere to the headset manufacturers health and safety advice and explore compatibility. As a side note, if you are unsure about the VR headset market for elders or people living with dementia then get in touch – although anything that doesn’t require a mobile phone is more than adequate. Mobile phone VR can cause nausea and is extremely outdated in terms of where we are at with the technology today. In all of my sessions I have asked that people remain seated and I avoid swivel chairs and wired headsets for the obvious health and safety concerns. It goes without saying but permanent supervision is a must too. Industry standards is an area that my good friend, David De Jong and I are working together on. David has been focusing on the training side of elder care in care homes with Patyna. Hopefully we will have more to share on this topic soon.

Virtual Reality for dementia

The Research

Believe it or not there is an ever growing catalogue of research papers into this niche area of MedTech. There’s also a lot of research into specific areas that I was interested in – for me my themes are ‘immersive reminiscence’ (VR that promotes improved memory), immersive meditation/mindfulness and combatting loneliness. Meaning that I could study broader areas of virtual reality research papers & use cases to draw parallels for my own work. I would caution that you pay attention to the number of subjects involved in the scenarios and warn that sometimes the conclusions are confusing! As a non-academic myself the lack of plain English and sometimes the actual outcome being unclear was frustrating. I’m thinking about creating a list of all the research papers I’ve found useful and wondered if making these available via email would benefit anyone? I want to be able to help others by saving time so they don’t have to spend the hours that I have to just sift through the vast amounts of research papers to find those most relevant. You can get in touch and let me know if that would be useful at all.

Proud as punch holding my published chapter ‘A Showcase of Medical, Therapeutic and Pastime Uses of Virtual Reality (VR) and How (VR) Is Impacting the Dementia Sector’ in the Biomedical Visualisation Volume 3 from the Springer series.

Part of this incredible story is that I wrote a chapter for a Springer series book that was published. To others that might seem normal but in my world, this is simply unheard of. I’m incredible proud of myself and as cheesy as it sounds I consider it one of my ultimate life achievements, I seriously do. The book is priced out of my own price range so I have one precious copy that is shared around family members to read… ha! Madness but a true story. The chapter itself was detailing all of my market research when scouting the industry for use cases for VR & dementia. There are so many angles to approach how you can use this technology for this problem. There’s also a handful of amazing trailblazers who are building the paths for others to follow. But there is room for you and so many others so do not be put off by other players. We have an Ageing population across the globe thanks to medical advances (hooray!) but we still haven’t found a cure for Dementia. Until we do, I think it’s important to reach as many people living with the disease to help do what we can to help improve their quality of life. Yes, even a 15 minute VR session can make all the difference to someone.

My Findings

The impact of using virtual reality with pretty much anyone is an instant reaction and the same goes with someone who is living with dementia too. It’s transformational and I would argue even more so when you place the headset on an elderly person. Kids get VR, they just get it and its natural for them to look around, walk around and just get on with it. Its not quite a natural for people living in a care home environment. You need to remind most people to look around with their head because most will only look around the place using only their eyes. Especially so when its their 1st time using the technology.

The phenomenal power of VR that I have been part of or observed

The picture above shows the phenomenal drops in the ocean that I have witnessed. There are many others I can share such as an artist sitting enjoying the mesmerising colours within VR environments for an extended period of time. Others being ecstatic about experiencing things they never thought possible. You need to see it to believe it and I urge you to let your nearest & dearest experience it to see the outcomes for yourself! Its one of the most endearing activities I’ve ever done.

What’s next?

For Pivotal Reality, I’m going to be exploring building content. We already have a VR environment but I want to fill it with meaningful content from my design & experiences research. It’s a bit of a long game for me personally as I venture into the world of Unity and coding ideas for the 1st time. I’m also exploring hand tracking more closely because controllers are a barrier presently – especially for those with limited hand functionality & grip. Oculus have released their Hand Tracking update so I plan to explore that as well as play around with the Leap Motion (now Ultra Leap) sensor. There is a lack of tailored content that meets the needs of those living with dementia or indeed for the elderly population which needs addressed too.

Sadly, the value of bringing ‘joy’ and ‘meaning’ or ‘therapeutic outlet’ to people doesn’t quantify a strong ‘return of investment’ or solid business model especially because it can be difficult to ‘scale’ – at least as far as I have discovered. I joined the Transformative Technology Academy to try and learn from others who are innovating with new technologies to help improve humanity. Common sense tells us that it is harder to be one of the 1st when trying to navigate uncharted waters. However, I’m passionate about this technology and will endeavour to continue exploring this area whilst improving my skills in this industry.

Thanks for reading about my work and feel free to get in touch.

VR Awards 2019 – The Virtual Reality Event Showcase

Gratitude to the organisers, hosts & sponsors for bringing these awards to the community

The VR Awards was held in London on 11th November 2019 and I had the privilege of being there… in virtual reality thanks to AltSpaceVR! I will share my video footage with you as soon as I can.

An excited me attending a VR Awards ceremony whilst in virtual reality at AltSpace VR!

Rising VR Company of the Year

Winner: Fable Studios

Finalists: KageNova, Immotion, HOLOGATE, Maze Theory, Periscape VR, Lume, Enduvo and Atlas V

VR Education & Training of the Year

Winner: Working At Height by Vodaphone and Make Real

Finalists: Breaking Boundaries in Science by Filament Games, IsReality by Isbank, Virtual Training Ship Simulation (VTS) by Orka Informatics, Training: Replace low valtage fuses without life-threatening skills by Nanopixel & Fluvius, BODYSWAPS by Somewhere Else, Class VR by Avantis Systems, DHL: Gamification of the Cargo Loading VR Training Process by Immerse & DHL, Exoplanet Explorers 2 by Engine House VFX and Mighty Masters by MOYOSA Media

VR Healthcare of the Year

Winner: Fundamental Surgery

Finalists: GE Healthcare: Increasing training opportunities for radiographers through VR by Immerse, Oxford Medical Simulation by Oxford Medical Simulation, Augmented Baseplate Shoulder Simulation & Patient Specific Planning by Precision OS Technology, Fear of Heights (clinical acrophobia) by Oxford VR, VR for Psychosis Research and Treatment by Virtualware & King’s College London

Love that social vr events allows you to customise your event location like this! Allowing your audience to interact with your theme like this is fantastic!

VR Enterprise Solution of the Year

Winner: Virtualware Immersive Room by Virtualware by VIROO

Finalists: Lloyds Resilience & Vitality by Make Real & Lloyds Banking Group, MixCast VR Marketing System by Blueprint Reality, Autodesk VRED – VR Collaboration by Autodesk, Athena by Goodpatch and VR Command Center by Elara Systems

VR Social Impact Award

Winner: The 100% – Maggie’s Story by Springbok Entertainment

Finalists: Dementia Yn Fy Nwylo I / First Hand by Galactig, Anne Frank House VR by Force Field Entertainment, X-Ray Fashion by Vulcan Productions, RSA Consequences by BBDO DUBLIN, Children Do Not Play War by VILD Studio, Ghost Fleet VR by Vulcan Productions, Common Ground by East City Films, Mercy by Oculus For Good & Mercy Ships and The Right Choice – ICRC by Visualise, Don’t Panic & ICRC

Standing beside some of the most innovative immersive companies

Innovative VR Company of the Year

Winner: Emblematic Group

Finalists: Make Real, Fundamental Surgery, AmazeVR, Backlight, SpinView, Ballast Technologies and Avantis Systems.

Out of Home Entertainment of the Year

Winner: War Remains by MWM Immersive & Flight School Studio

Finalists: Ralph Breaks VR by ILMxLAB & The VOID, VRSlide by Ballast Technologies & Wiegand.Maelzer, Golem VR by DIVR, Chained: A Victorian Nightmar by MWM Immersive, Curse of the Lost Pearl: A Magic Projector Adventure by Dreamscape Immersive, FaBIOS Fantastic Fun Factory by Holocafe, Sol Raiders by Zero Latency, Arizona Sunshine LBVR by Vertigo Games & Jaywalkers Interactive, TOYLAND : CRAZY MONKEY by Ymagis & Backlight Studio, Beyond Medusa’s Gate by Ubisoft Blue Byte and HUXLEY 2 – THE ADVENTURE BEGINS by EXIT Adventures

VR Marketing of the Year

Winner: The Infrunite Slide by Oasis Pocket Adventure

Finalists: Porsche “Hall of Legends” VR Experience by UDG Ludwigsburg, Nerdindustries & Porsche, Qualcomm Snapdragon Tech Summit 2018 Invitations by Qualcomm Technologies, S 1000 RR VR by NUMENA & BMW, Ledvizor VR-presentation spac by Proektmarketing +1 & Ledvizo, VR experience for Santos de Cartier launch by LR Studio & Cartier, Lone Echo II: Trailer Experience by Ready At Dawn and Ford ‘WheelSwap’ VR by Happy Finish, H+K Strategies & Ford

VR Film of the Year

Winner: Wolves in the Walls by Fable Studios, Third Rail Projects and Oculus Story Studio

Finalists: The Bond by Axis Studios, Crow: The Legend by Baobab Studios, Cycles by Walt Disney Animation Studios, The Great C by Secret Location, Lucid by Breaking Fourth Limited, Traveling While Black by Felix & Paul Studios, Aripi by Simpals Studio and Grenfell: Our Home by Parable, Channel 4 & 59 Productions

VR Experience of the Year

Winner: Vader Immortal: A Star Wars VR Series – Episode 1 by ILMxLAB & Oculus Studios

Finalists: Awake by Start VR & Animal Logic, Curfew: Join The Race by REWIND & SkyVR Eleven Eleven by NBC Universal & Digital Domain, The Scream VR by Cinétévé Experience & ARTE France and Where Thoughts Go by Lucas Rizzotto

This photo will be a historic tribute one day showing us how far we have come with VR Headsets

VR Hardware of the Year

Winner: Oculus Quest by Oculus/Facebook

Finalists: Reverb VR Headset by HP, Rift S by Oculus/Facebook, Teslasuit by VR Electronics, Vive Pro Eye by HTC and XTAL 5K HMD by VRgineers 

VR Game of the Year

Winner: A Fisherman’s Tale by Innerspace VR & ARTE France

Finalists: Angry Birds VR: Isle of Pigs by Resolution Games, ASTRO BOT Rescue Mission by JAPAN Studio & ASOBI Team, Blood & Truth by Sony London Studio, CREED: Rise to Glory™ by Survios, Falcon Age by Outerloop Games, FREEDIVER: Triton Down by Archiact, Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice VR Edition by Ninja Theory, PROZE: Enlightenment by SignSine, Shadow Point by Coatsink , Transpose by Secret Location and Vacation Simulator by Owlchemy Labs

Lifetime Achievement Award

Winner: John Carmack

Yeay! Standing beside an incredible pioneer and creator or the virtual reality movement! The outstanding, one and only John Carmack
A selfie with all of this year’s winners – sorry my big head blocked quite the section out…

Well there you have it, an amazing achievement for all nominees, finalists and winners. Congratulations everybody! It’s inspiring to see the industry growing further every year.

Showcasing VR October 2019

I love October! The ever changing colours of the leaves high upon the trees or low on the ground fill me with so much joy at this time of year. A tree making the transition to its autumn colours reminds me that change occurs one leaf at a time. A timely reminder as those dark nights start to set in and when you may question if your efforts will ever start to become noticed. Well, if you can relate then I say to you, keep going!

This has been another action packed month for me but let’s start off with some fantastic news!

We’re now officially a Top Blog!

We feature in the Top 75 Virtual Reality Blogs & Websites to follow in 2019!

Can you believe it?! We’re not even last, not that last is a bad position in this case but I automatically figured that’s where we would sit. Suzanne Showcasing VR is ranked at 55th position on a list with all the major players and my role models such as Road to VR, VR Scout, VR Focus and my good pals Tony with The Ghost Howls and Tom with Virtual Perceptions! It’s such an honour to be featured alongside such high prestige, it really is. I would like to thank Anuj Agarwal for including us and for thinking so highly of us too 🙂 Make sure you go check out the full list because it is a fantastic resource for keeping up to date and hearing from so many different perspectives in and around virtual reality.

Being a Special Guest on a VR chat show!

A dream come true appearing on Steve Bambury’s #CPDinVR event as a special guest

I love Steve and everything he does for VR Education. I’ve regularly attended his events for the last few years now and learn so much from them every time I am there. His guests are always inspiring and engaging so to be part of his last show was a massive compliment to me. I featured alongside some remarkable pioneers in the industry and will share the recording on this blog as soon as it becomes available. Check this video out to give you a flavour of the epic’ness of these events: Steve speaking with the one and only Godfather of VR himself, Tom Furness

Check out Steve’s YouTube channel & subscribe to see more like this – or better yet come along to his event next month in VR []-)

Learning To Build VR Content & Experiences

I parked aside the Blender course because the Oculus & Unity course that I mentioned last month started. I’m only on Unit 3 of the Design, Develop & Deploy course, which is about 3-4 hours of the way through and my oh my… I 100% recommend this course to EVERYBODY who is interested in developing a VR app, game or experience! This course covers EVERTHING. We’re talking the pre-production, through to marketing, developing, the Oculus approval process (which is valuable insight in itself as so many developers have voiced their frustration at having work being rejected for the stores). This course is approx 23 hours long, it’ll take me longer because I’m note taking along the way. It’s in beta mode and it’s all FREE!!! You learn through pre-recorded videos but there is a community around this course on Unity that you can interact with, connect with tutors, ask questions etc. Definitely check it out, sign up and see you in class soon []-)

Completed TTA lessons & coursework

Learning Business Skills

The Transformative Technology Academy that I mentioned last month is now finished. We learned loads about how to create a successful technology for good business. It was an intense 4 weeks so I have had my head down a lot this month – if you follow me on Twitter you will have noticed a significant drop in my tweets. This was why. It was a great use of time and so much to digest. Your have virtual lessons to attend, mentor sessions, live pitch sessions then there’s the community side too with personal 1:1 meetings, sharing & learning as a group. I’d recommend this to anybody interested in starting up a company that uses tech to improve humans/society. Again it’s a free initiative which is amazing especially when you are learning about the inner workings of famous tech companies from their founders & CEO’s! Here’s the link again for good measure.

I managed to find some time to complete a site refresh for my start-up company, Pivotal Reality. Now is the time to be brave and push myself forward and let the world know what it is I do! Then came a bit of bad luck… I broke my Samsung S7 phone! Yes I know it’s an old phone but it was the only phone I can use alongside the Samsung 360 camera as a kind of preview mode before filming. I was working on a project to film a children’s home that one of our elderly residents grew up in and wanted to see again but couldn’t visit it because of mobility restraints. Luckily I had filmed enough to complete this project for her 🙂 But I’ll be on the market for a new 360 camera so please let me know what you would suggest. I was probably long overdue an upgrade to be fair anyway because my videos were not as clear & detailed as I would have liked. I like the look of the Insta360 or perhaps the Vuze but need to do my research and budgeting to see what would be best. If you use any yourself and can tell me your thoughts on any 360 cameras then I would be so extremely grateful to hear those from you 🙂 Thank you

Raising VR Awareness

Team Meetings in VR

Team meetings in Virtual Reality have become a bit of a regular thing for me at my day job. My boss is super cool and has the patience of a Saint listening to me harp on and on and on about virtual reality… Well he’s only gone and upgraded from a Samsung Gear VR to an Oculus Quest!!! Totally skipped out the Oculus Go that he initially planned and went for it. He’s not looked back. Buuut, this means that we can explore various Social VR locations, we previously always used AltSpace VR for our meetings for accessibility eg we could both log on to that cross devices/using different branded/makes of headsets. We tried Rec Room and he beat me at basketball so I’m not that keen on going there again… ha! Kidding! We’ve started to dabble in how to create your own Rec Room spaces. I want to check out Facebook Horizon so perhaps that could be our next location. It’s worth noting that if you love VR and want to introduce it into your business but feel like there’s not really a use case yet, VR Meetings is an easy one to pilot to give it a go 🙂

VR Content I Have Tried This Month

I sadly didn’t have much time to be in VR this month at all because of all the lessons I was to attend outside of my full-time day job & family life. Not making excuses but it has been a demanding month. I only really have 2 experiences that I tried out (aside from Steve’s customise VR Chat Show) was an immersive storytelling experience called AfterLife and Stunt Runner in Rec Room.

Interactive ‘you can choose the path to follow’ story experience

Afterlife was an exciting concept and I was most psyched about the possibilities of choosing your own path/story based on decisions that you made in the experience. I knew it was going to be heart-tugging story and if you watch the video you will learn why I was nervous about it being especially raw for me to play. If you do decide to play this then make sure your headset it fully charged ahead of playing (especially if you are using an Oculus Go to avoid overheating), sit down/do not stand and for heavens sake try moving the controller around more often than I did… ha!

Had the honour to be taught how to scale Stunt Runner by a Pro []-)

I accidentally stumbled across Stunt Runner in Rec Room. This is a cross between Ninja Warrior & Total Wipeout but in virtual reality. I was just messing around with the obstacles outside and having a bit of a giggle to myself tbh but this guy was flipping all over the place. I saw that he and another went through to a door and thought sure why not. Headed in and was put in front of a starting line with these guys ready to race. I sooo wasn’t ready for this but couldn’t back out now. We were off! Running along beams, scaling rope ladders, dodging moving parts, bouncing on trampolines and occasionally falling to our doom, ok that was just me.. and it was quite frequently rather than occasionally. This one guy was like the Flash! I didn’t get it, I was running as fast as he was but was falling a lot or getting hit by the moving obstacles until I seen him do it. A sneaky wee mario like short cut route. They must’ve felt sorry for how rubbish I was or perhaps they sensed I knew, I did try to follow them but fell so perhaps they saw all that lol! We did about 4 rounds or so of different courses and then the 3 of us teamed up. DrPovertyShoes spent so long with us and showed us how to do double jumps, triple jumps, where to jump jumps. DrPoveryShoes was amazing and such a cool wee person. They managed to beat their own personal best whilst with us so I said to take a selfie, glad I did or I wouldn’t have been able to shine a light on them like this.

What’s happening in November?

Virtual Reality Day is on Saturday 23rd November so I will be sure to write a post about all the publicised events that you can join. I haven’t signed up to do anything yet but I will definitely do that. I was disappointed that there wasn’t anything irl (in real life) based in Scotland and had hoped to arrange something this year but didn’t have a lot of interest at the time of approaching folks. It would be cool to host a Social VR hopper and just bounce about the various platforms. I might do something like that and livestream it as I imagine there should be a lot of people hanging around the different venues this year! I wonder if any of the 1st time virtual reality users/owners are even aware of this day? Make sure you help spread the word this year so folks know about it.

I’ll also be checking out Facebook’s Horizon and researching some Escape Room experiences so stay tuned for videos and written content on those soon.

I’m still waiting on further news about the FeelRealSensory Mask but it should be with me to test and show you by the end of this year at the latest. I’ll keep you posted on that one.

What will virtual reality smell like I wonder?

Thanks so much for sticking with me & reading this month’s blog. I hope you found it interesting? Have great fun Trick or Treating (Guising or Galoshan in Scottish terms) this Halloween!

Follow me on Twitter, Facebook or YouTube for more updates

Showcasing Virtual Reality – September 2019

Hi! I hope you are good ? You’ll probably noticed that his blog is a few days late in being published so let me explain what is going on… Last month’s summaries were extremely time consuming and I ended the latest blog by saying that I needed to rethink the layout a bit because there was soooo much activity in the industry. Well, the increase in activity is absolutely AMAZING and is only going to increase as the days, weeks, months and years approach us. As a result I have taken deep consideration into what I actually want the purpose of this blog to be. What value is it going to add to your time spent and my time spent. Historically, I’ve just summarised all of the most interesting news & stories which I did by reviewing, differentiating and then literally copying and pasting the items I wanted to share on this blog from my twitter feed. It took me hours to do! But I realised that this was just a duplication of effort, I didn’t provide any opinions or anything over an above the original tweet from my feed. If you follow me on Twitter, then why would you bother reading my blogs? If you don’t follow me on Twitter, you may read that content and think ‘Oh cool, I’ll follow you on Twitter’. However, my purpose isn’t to grow twitter followers, my purpose is to Showcase VR!

With that in mind, I am pleased to let you know that my new blog strategy is to share with you what activities I have been involved with or how I am personally helping to Showcase VR with the aim to support you with awareness or share the learning. I am confident that you will gain insight into a broad spectrum of the VR industry by continuing to read my monthly updates. You will read about people, companies, games & experiences, opportunities as well as how to create XR in this blog. My blog will accompany my existing Twitter feed and the YouTube channel, each serving their own purpose. Twitter for news & updates, YouTube for showcasing game-play as well as a soon to be released Showcasing VR video series that I am currently working on. Having said that, I am keen to hear what you think of this new strategy, new blog layout and the content that I am about to share with you.

Learning To Build VR content & experiences

This month I completed a fantastic free course that teaches you a terrific foundation for building VR content using Unity. VR Software Development is available through Udacity and is beginner friendly. I had some previous experience with Unity before starting this course so I found it be useful and an OK pace. Had I not had any Unity experience though and was completely brand new to the layout, coding or interactions then I think this would have been quite a stretching course. Having said that, this touched upon the explanation side quite a lot which I found valuable for my own understanding of being told not just what you can do but how and why are covered off too. My goal for starting this particular course was to help me understand C# scripting better for a specific project that I am working on. If like me, you haven’t any experience with coding or making any software projects then this is a course you should seriously consider investing your time in. Alternatively you can refer to a previous blog post I wrote called Where can I learn more about immersive technologies and content creations?

Taking the time to learn your craft is one of the best self-investments you can ever make!

I’ve just started a Udemy course to learn how to make a Blender scene for VR. There’s also an interesting looking course that you can sign up for just now too from Unity & Oculus that looks to use the VRTK. I’ll share more about both of those over the coming months – or even better see you there!

Learning Business Skills

As a 1st time entrepreneur working on an immersive health-tech service to say I have been on a steep learning curve is the understatement of the century! However, I stumbled across an amazing community of innovators and entrepreneurs who are all working on ideas that uses technology to improve or support humanity. Being based in Scotland makes it kind of tricky to feel part of the Silicon Valley bubble and nearly impossible to learn the ropes from fellow startups or stereotypical tech giants. The Transformative Technology Academy is a 4 week programme where the lessons are streamed online so you are able to join from anywhere in the world. Hurrah! I joined last year under the Innovator cohort and this year I am in the Entrepreneur cohort. We have learned the basics of building a company, how to change your mindset from founder to leader, investment advice, building a software company, building a hardware company, mentoring, collaboration opportunities and so much more! Oh and did I mention it is free? If this sounds like something you feel you could benefit from joining then I say go for it!

Another incredible use of time for anybody working with technology to service humanity #TechforGood

Supporting the VR community

I answered a request from a local university who were looking for participants to take part in a research study. They were looking to measure the differences in a Virtual Reality experience when using VR controllers vs using a traditional Xbox gaming pad. I didn’t know any of that ahead of helping out nor did I know anything about the virtual experience that they were using as their case study. Turns out it was Skyrim 🙂 I read & felt the buzz around this whenever it was announced and later released but had never tried it before myself. Holy Moly! The part of the game that I was to test was butchering folks at some sort of fort looking place. It was intense! I was incredibly immersed in there but knew it was a game but because I was using my controllers to swing my sword & shield, it felt so adrenaline rushing real! Once I completed the test I was to re-do it using the Xbox controller. Well, it was more traditional game like to me in that mode even though my body was still present in the immersive experience, it just didn’t feel like I was actually chopping anybody to bits this time… Another element that made me feel tremendously guilty was that the 2nd time round I could hear cries from people pleading & begging for mercy before the final chop. Flippin heck. Grim. That was an eye opening experience for me and a learning that I came away with. I wanted to show my support to the local immersive community so didn’t expect to learn anything myself – they also gave me an amazon voucher for participating! I’ve bought some business books with that to invest it back into the immersive industry (or at least once I’ve learned from the books then the value will come back to the industry!). Full circle baby!

I backed Low-Fi (a cyberpunk world for VR) through Kickstarter this month too. I’m not a cyberpunk fan, I’m not not a fan either but the appeal for me was the open free VR environment for the community. It concerns me that existing tech giants are the ones who can afford to buy up or build their own social VR environments. Most of which are closed off in terms of the ability to merge and connect to a bigger Metaverse. The industry is still working on the foundations (in my eyes) that will be the grounding of tomorrow. In other words, we need to think about not only how we are building each person or companys’ immersive environments but how we are going to connect that with others. For example, if I visit AltSpace VR I want to be able to ‘open a door’ to visit Facebook Horizon but the question is: are Microsoft and Facebook considering this? I believe the answer to be for those and other tech companies, no.

Low-Fi: A cyberpunk world for SteamVR, Oculus Home, Windows MR and Next-Gen PSVR . Kickstarter ended with 1628 backers and $108,191 raised of it $60,000 target!

So when I saw this Kickstarter I thought this team have been here before. They have learned lessons. Their environment looks really attractive, I do love the Low-Fi graphics, the concept, the freedom, the hint of story being shared and the idea of a grass roots multi-user VR space so I jumped on-board. They promise it is freedom of choice, freedom to roam, freedom to do as you wish with no linear story-line to follow. Stay tuned for more blogs and/or videos about Low-Fi once I have the chance to experience it for myself next year.

Raising VR Awareness

I spoke at a panel event where the topic was how volunteering can not only help your community but is also a great way for you to grow your own personal skills & experience. My work colleagues shared stories about volunteering at Loaves & Fishes (a charity for feeding homeless people in Glasgow) and Walk the Talk where they are going to be trekking through the Cambodian rain-forest to raise funds for Mental Health UK. I shared my story about volunteering via Pivotal Reality and how I am using virtual reality for people living with dementia in care home environments. By doing so I raised awareness of virtual reality and how it can be used for good. In addition to that I shared how anything is possible if you put your mind to it. Don’t get me wrong, it won’t be easy! Nothing worth doing is ever easy, it is meant to be hard but that doesn’t mean that you can’t be creative with how you learn. Compared to the other voluntary activities talked about I probably came across a little wacky but that’s ok with me 🙂 Planting seeds about VR at the very least is better than no seeds being sown at all, so I am comfortable with looking like the odd one out during those times.

This month there has been an increase in requests to learn more about virtual reality. I’ve been approached to produce content for 2 separate industries and with any luck I will be in a position to share more about that soon…

Back on the panel theme again – I’m mega excited to share the news that I will be a guest on Steve Bambury’s CPDinVR event in a few weeks time! If you don’t know who Steve Bambury is or his work then you should check him out, especially if you are in the VR Education sector. This upcoming panel event will be held in virtual reality using the Engage platform – sadly all of the tickets are now gone so you can’t attend this time but do keep your eyes open for future events. The Engage platform is accessible by using a VR headset or desktop PC. Its quite remarkable for all the various rooms and social vr avenues that it can be used for. I’ve linked a YouTube video I made when I got to tour it for the 1st time in VR mode! Prior to this video I attended in desktop mode, for like 2 years, so entering in VR and being completely immersed was a precious moment for me! Genuinely it was! I have nothing but admiration for the full VR Education team 🙂

Thoroughly enjoying my fully immersed exploration of the Engage social vr platform!

VR Content I Tried This Month

As I was exploring VR for empathy & storytelling themes I tried Anne Frank’s House, Afterlife and Traveling While Black. All of which are effective in their story and each different with their delivery. Breaking down the components and providing overviews is worthy of a separate blog or video but check them out if these are themes you are immediately focused on and can’t wait on my summary content. For a promotional piece of work I played and created content for Touring Karts. I tried to be a bit of a smart ass and use this Steam game as an excuse to try out Virtual Desktop using the Oculus Quest but as you will see from the start of my video below… I failed at that pahahaa! The second part of the video is in desktop steam mode because a) I had to show you all that the game is in fact AWESOME and b) had to show you that my driving game skills aren’t as lame as the first part of the video suggests… []-) I enjoyed playing this as a solo player but look forward to playing it as a multiplayer and giving VR mode another go – wish me luck!!!!

I truly hope you enjoyed reading this new format to my Suzanne Showcasing VR blog. If you miss the news summaries I am sorry and can only suggest signing up to Twitter to connect with the amazing community there. Please do share your feedback with me though as I am keen to hear your thoughts.

Enjoy your October and I’ll see you again after the spooky holidays!

OC6 – Oculus Quest Is The Next Computing Platform

The Highlights of today’s Facebook’s Oculus Connect announcement

I attended Oculus Connect via Oculus Venues in Virtual Reality rather than the San Jose McEnery Convention Center in California. It felt engaging to be part of the crowd even though I was only there as an avatar. Before we dive in to the highlights let’s cover off what we didn’t hear… Mark Zuckerberg has been very vocal about aiming to have 1 billion virtual reality users by 2020. That’s only 3 months away or 1 year 3 months away if we are going to stretch it out until the end of the year in 2020. We were told today how much they’ve made from VR Oculus Store content during its lifetime yet (spoiler alert) we weren’t told any numbers around how many HMD units have been sold overall, no breakdown of how well Rift S or Quest is doing. Well other than we are selling Quests like hot pancakes and struggling to meet the demand. Why then were we not told any numbers? We’ll go through some of these points later on in detail but how come when we are looking to support developers with building content & aiming for “critical mass adoption” of virtual reality we are not told how many players are in each team or even what size the playing field looks like in general? If virtual reality is now then share those numbers please.

As it so happens, I do believe that virtual reality is now even if I don’t have the corporate figures to back it up. I’ve been watching the market and community grow with a keen interest this year. The hype for the Oculus Quest and Rift S was the instigator for most of the new faces but we have had other hardware companies come along for their debuts this year too. Social media communities have bloomed too, there’s a handful of communities all around the Oculus Quest by itself, not to mention VR in general or other VR devices. Stepping outside the Oculus bubble a second, other external evidence to show that VR is now is all the amazing work that is being done! It is actually overwhelming now and I feel we are at a point for anybody joining us at entry level, will struggle to know which direction to focus their attention on with what platforms targeting what device. Its an amazing problem to have because it is a side-effect of this recent growth spurt but you get what I’m saying, there is evidence if you look. It would just be more compelling to be backed up by the various headset sales numbers is all…

Perhaps a reason for not mentioning the hardware sales figures is because the Rift S hasn’t been doing so well or as well as expected? I would be surprised if that were true but then again the standalone capability of the Quest is a pull point for most people. Perhaps the difference between the sales figures was too shocking to call-out? One thing we do know is that the Oculus Quest appears to be favoured by customers: “Oculus Store has made over $100m dollars in its lifetime and Oculus Quest accounted for over 20% of that!” That’s an extraordinary stat considering that the Quest is only 4 months old!

First up, we had the announcement of the new Oculus Link which will be released in November this year. This update will allow for Oculus Quest owners/users the ability to play Oculus Rift S games on their Quest simply by connecting to a compatible gaming pc using USB. Oculus will have a customised USB cable for this use too that you can buy and expect to be delivered in November too. Who remembers the controversy around Virtual Desktop’s ability to stream & play games from other platforms to Quest? And what does this mean for SideQuest? There’s still plenty of unique games in platforms outside of the Oculus Store I guess. To me this is the 1st aggressive competitor/market closing manoeuvre I’ve seen from Facebook and one that I am now switched on to. In fact, this triggered me into being alert for the rest of the 2 hour long keynote. Unfortunately, you will see other industry wide similarities and stake claims being announced as we proceed.

Mark Zuckerberg during OC6 Keynote

Hand Tracking coming to Oculus Quest early 2020!

That’s right! The Quest has the 4 cameras at the front for sensing your external environment as well as picking up the sensors on the existing Touch controllers. Well now it looks as though the research & development team have cracked the Machine Learning requirements for real time hand tracking using the Quest. Although, we have seen real time hand tracking in the industry already so this is not groundbreaking or new, however, absolutely a step in the right direction for complete immersive embodiment. Leap Motion being the most obvious, it was reported that Google and Media Pipe had cracked it too and Vive Cosmos is going to support finger tracking soon as well.

The ability to use simply your hands instead of controllers will open the accessibility door too. I work with elders who sometimes struggle mentally to grasp the concept of working controllers not to mention physically being able to grasp them. Speaking of which, I was hugely excited about hearing more about CTRL-Labs! I had only learned about this company a few hours earlier by watching this mind-blowing interview before the Facebook acquisition was announced. I recommend giving it a watch, it’s truly incredible! They use electrical signals from the nervous system and their modelling systems to make muscle movements through your thoughts! Perfect for accessibility as well as general evolution of interacting with computers & machines. The interview below really brings it to light and their dev kits are already shipping (be prepared to be on a waiting list for a while though given the interest in this groundbreaking technology).

Social VR comes to Facebook through Horizon

I’m a huge fan of social VR and I have never tried Facebook Spaces before. I’m not sure what has happened to Spaces but Horizon is the new thing. A social VR place where you can connect, create, interact and play games all within your VR headset. Learning to build things without coding is always appealing. Would I prefer this to existing platforms? Not sure. The intro video was quite cheesy for my taste… There were similarities to everything that is working well currently within the social VR sector of the industry. There were cross-overs with AltSpace VR and Rec Room with a particular focus on creating art. VR artists are making their way into the spotlight with their outstanding creations. Again I can’t help my thoughts turning towards Facebook taking the things that are working well and incorporating those for themselves. It is how business works I guess but I would be upset or lost if these other platforms were to be swallowed up as a result. Perhaps I’m jumping the gun especially given how early stage Horizon is.

Source: Oculus

The Evolution of Avatars

My words wouldn’t do this any justice so I found a tweet with a video clip so you can see for yourself

Credit and source: Robert AKA @webjournalist

Mixed Reality Capture Shared Spaces and Passthrough+ upgrade

It was briefly mentioned that we will be able to capture not only the VR gameplay footage but also ourselves playing in VR too. The mixed reality Beat Saber videos are extremely effective for sharing fun & engaging content. The ability to do this is coming. So is being able to have shared spaces virtually such as the basketball game photo below were 2 people are physically located separately but are together virtually.

The Passthrough+ on the Oculus Quest will have the ability to switch on and off so that you can flip back between real world and VR whenever you choose to. This is such a simple but useful function to add.

Oculus Media Studio

Media Studio sounded fantastic for content creators, developers and users alike. I’m not entirely sure I grasped all of this correctly though… So in essence for creators/developers it is a dashboard to help you to market your work through word or mouth because users will be able to see their friends playing your stuff through the ‘location’ section. Content creators will have the ability to use the media studio to stream and reference your work. But there will be dashboards to show numbers relative to your product & users. Next was the reason I can’t be sure of the detail beforehand relating to Media Studio. Next was, the newer style Oculus TV. I got lost in my thoughts again at this point, completely lost in my thoughts so can’t report on this other than saying it sounded exactly like Bigscreen VR. It was the ability to watch things together in virtual spaces – so perhaps this was the how the basketball example above worked or how you do that? Not sure, but yeah Oculus TV is being revamped into shared spaces to watch & stream content to. Another reason for Virtual Desktop to be told not to be compatible with streaming on Oculus platforms.

VR for Business

A smarter API and ability to manage multiple headsets simultaneously. Amazing case studies shared about working in virtual environments from remote locations. But the headliner was from Johnson & Johnson, Osso VR and partner’s surgical training outputs. They shared that 83% of newly trained surgeons who used VR training were able to carry on with surgical procedures unguided afterwards compared to 0% of students who received traditional training methods! The evidenced source or published research would be much appreciated if anybody could share that please.

Source OC6

AR Strategy at Facebook

Were we expecting Facebook to make AR glasses? I guess so, I mean AR is all over the many platforms and probably the driver behind the growth in mainstream awareness there too. Spark AR was only mentioned by name during the keynote but nothing more. However, aside from the glasses, we heard how Facebook are looking to do live maps. It works by using crowd source info from connected devices eg smart phones or AR glasses. The video looks impressive but I told you I was triggered and in that moment couldn’t help think about and the amazing work they are doing for smart phone photogrammetry real time mapping. What was exciting was the hologram AR part of their explanation video. Again, it’s nothing new but it is exciting. Yet, another way that Facebook are enforcing themselves as the tech giant that they are in the immersive space.

Game releases!

We heard a Beat Saber announcement about a new Panic At The Disco music pack being released next week and 360 degree gameplay being released next year. Stormland, Asgard’s Wrath, Medal of Honor: Above and Beyond and Vader Immortal 2 all announced. Vader being the only one released with immediate effect & the others can be pre-ordered (not sure Medal of Honor release date). Incidentally, Medal of Honor looked intense!!! You saw a lady pulling the pin out of her grenade controller with her real world TEETH before chucking it into the enemy line. It looks to be so immersive and as close to a war like simulation as you are going to get without getting hurt in real life.

The Future of Hardware

There was quite an interesting talk about the evolution of Half Dome’s. I’ll be honest, I had never heard of these before this talk. The level or detail in the research and prototyping is quite remarkable. Essentially, it the next gen HMD with specific sharp verifocals/lenses for clearer vision within an immersive experience. We watched footage of some of the basic VR intro programs with and without these specially adapted lenses. The Half Dome 3 (the newest one) was crystal clear – there were 6 lenses altogether that help to achieve this result. I listened to this intently but I’m sorry I can’t articulate how genuinely interesting it was!


This was an action packed keynote speech with many different things to take in and digest! The Oculus Quest came out best throughout the messages by being upgraded quite significantly I felt. The Rift S, I actually feel sorry for and think it’s being overlooked – could that be because of the Half Dome coming even though we’re being told that it’s not there yet? Well, what about the Oculus Go? The Go didn’t get mentioned really – only when it was said that we will be able to play our Go games in, yep you guessed it, Quest… I don’t think Go games were coming to Rift S? Surely they must, it’s just through the Oculus Store right? Hopefully you Rift S users will have that at least, not much of a party bag but at least you didn’t go home empty handed… like the Go users have… I dunno what to make of it all. Great to be able to experience all of these technology elements with my Quest – especially hand tracking and easier content creations BUT mixed feelings about the dominating strategy. With any luck I’m just being over-sensitive to it all because I was initially triggered…

Would love to hear your thoughts and ideas if you want to get in touch @TheHappyLass

Evolution at Oculus (Minus the Go)