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OpinionsFrom NASA to Walmart, VR headsets give new dimension to research

From NASA to Walmart, VR headsets give new dimension to research


Indian Market is

now a big focus area of US big tech Apple

By Arun Kumar Shrivastav

Apple has released its first major product since the launch of the Apple Watch in 2015. Recently, Apple launched Vision Pro, a virtual reality headset priced at $3499. Apple CEO Tim Cook, who came to Apple's Fifth Avenue store in New York for the release event, justified the price, calling it “tomorrow's today.” “We think we priced it at the right level considering the value of it,” Cook added. “It's chock-full of invention. It's got 5,000 patents on it.” Big companies like Walmart, Nike, Vanguard, Stryker, Bloomberg, and SAP have invested in Vision Pro headsets to enhance customer experience and staff efficiency.

Apple Pro Vision is a spatial computing device that can blend seamlessly with space and the user's surroundings. In computing language, it can blend with natural data from your surroundings to create a seamless experience between the device and the surroundings. It creates an immersive where the display size is not limited to the size of the device but can be extended to 100 feet in 3 dimensions, can be an overlay on your wall, and can even be reduced to a few centimetres or inches to sit next to the car's part you are trying to repair. You can even allow a technician or a friend to see what you are doing remotely and guide you. VR headsets promise a whole new level of collaborative work experience.

In October 2023, Meta (Formerly Facebook) released its VR headset Meta Quest Pro, priced at $1499. While seamless experience in virtual and mixed reality is shared among all the VR headsets available on the market, Quest Pro includes inward-facing sensors that capture facial expressions and eye movements. Leveraging machine learning, Quest Pro replicates these facial and eye expressions in the user's avatar in the metaverse. Meta and Microsoft have announced a partnership to ensure Quest Pro has powerful work features, including Microsoft Windows 365 and Microsoft Teams applications.

In a related development, in a blog on April 9, NASA said it was using VR headsets to design its space station Gateway and train astronauts. In the photographs accompanying the blog, astronauts Raja Chari and Nicole Mann, who were part of SpaceX's previous missions, are seen using HTC's VR headsets VIVE. Lunar space station Gateway, which will orbit around the moon at least 386,243 kilometres from the earth, will be the first experience of deep-space human living. Astronauts have stayed at the Space Station, about 400 kilometres from the Earth.

The VR headsets help NASA create the environment and situations that Gateway will have in NASA's labs on Earth. VR headsets are game-changers in research and training, and with specific apps being developed by businesses and universities, the horizon keeps expanding and becoming more exciting.

In a recent press release, Lufthansa Aviation Training (LAT) announced that it has developed a crew training program with Apple Vision Pro. LAT worked closely with Apple before the release of Vision Pro to create a new dimension to crew training. Initially, they are trying to develop an application focusing on soft skills training.

For several years, LAT has used Virtual Reality (VR) for crew training. Its VR hubs in Frankfurt and Munich see nearly 20,000 training sessions conducted every year. It offers both cost-saving and training efficiencies. So far, the virtual and reality existed separately in their silos. But the VR headsets led by Apple's Vision Pro allow the two to coexist and complement each other, one overlaid on the other, for instance.

Apple's Vision Pro allows VR to merge with the real world, which is a significant milestone. Imagine a trainee running the tutorial video with Vision Pro and scaling it to fit into the side of the simulator screen or on the wall of the room.

VR headsets can be used for de-escalation training depicting disrupting passenger behaviour and crew responses. For example, with Vision Pro, realistic situations of passenger behaviours can be used to overlay a virtual cabin environment. Instructors can provide real-time feedback and can adjust situations or passenger behaviours. The aim is to equip the trainees with competencies to carry out de-escalation.

However, the high cost of VR headsets is a barrier to its adoption. Cook says he wants to position Vision Pro both as a consumer and enterprise-grade product. Compared to the enhanced consumer experience and staff competencies VR headsets can create, the price should look like an investment. A travel blogger recently wore Vision Pro during her 18-hour flight to keep herself detached from the cabin environment. She claims it gave her a new experience as she could completely dodge the cabin environment and has thanked Apple for creating such a device.




The Northlines is an independent source on the Web for news, facts and figures relating to Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh and its neighbourhood.

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