Top 10 Innovative Uses of Mixed Reality

Created by Max Harris, Media Producer at 360dgrees.com

Over the past few years, the immediate tactile excitement generated by Virtual Reality (VR) gaming and clever Augmented Reality (AR) marketing campaigns has become an increasingly mainstream novelty. VR and AR exist on the Mixed Reality (MR) spectrum, referring to any combination of virtuality and reality, and while MR is still generally associated by the layman simply with gaming and gimmickry, this could not be further from the full picture. MR is an extremely powerful tool for driving outcomes with a limitless diversity of applications across every industry. It is the key for the future success of so many industries and is primed to create an unpredictably enormous disruption, changing the landscape of our entire society within the next 5-10 years. To give you an idea of why this is the case, we’ve put together a list of our ten favourite innovative uses of MR that already exist today.

1. Safety Training

MR safety training is an exciting innovation set to drastically improve workplace safety across limitless industries, saving countless lives and dollars. MR training means using VR headsets to place employees within a real, interactive, 360-degree video workplace where they encounter real-life safety hazards and situations. This means inhabiting scenarios that are unfeasible or unsafe to practice in the real world, while learning to make important decisions in real time and under pressure. MR simulations provide the ability to experience the consequences of safety complacency in a visceral manner, dramatically raising retention rates. This means moving towards zero medically treated incidents and lost time incidents.  According to research, using MR for safety training may improve safety outcomes by a factor of an estimated 30%.

2. Live music

MR offers an incredible gift to any lover of live music, and one that promises to revolutionise the way music and performance is consumed. By placing a range of 360-degree cameras in choice locations around a venue, and live-streaming the spherical footage, music lovers can experience the thrill of seeing their favourite artists perform live, from the comfort of their own home, with the full buzz of the concert-going experience. Augmenting the 360 footage with interactive hotspots means giving the viewer total control to watch the concert from every angle and navigate between different cameras. Audience members at the venue then have the ability to get out their mobile device and enjoy the concert as if they were on stage with the artist – making bad seats a worry of the past.

3. Training Medical Students

MR training is also being used as a tool within the medical industry. In many cases, acquiring real world experience on-the-job simply isn’t feasible for healthcare professionals, as their decisions carry a grave deal of weight and can even imply the difference between life and death. With MR, medical professionals are able to explore every procedure and learn how to care for patients without any risk involved. They can participate in realistic tutorials that allow them to interact with medical equipment, and face the pressure of making choices under duress. These simulations are able to teach and train in a way that is not possible with other types of lessons, by realistically imparting experience and consequence rather than just facts. This translates into lower liability insurance costs and fewer cases of malpractice and negligence.

4. Travel

MR promises to change the way we perceive the world, and this means changing the way we travel the world. Learning about history can now mean experiencing history, and travelling through space can now mean travelling through time. Using AR, you can now be accompanied by a virtual tour guide with you as you travel, interacting with your surroundings and explaining the history behind them. Furthermore, this technology means this history itself can be fully brought to life. Imagine the immersive thrill of visiting the Roman Coliseum and using AR to experience gladiator battles right in the world before you.

5. Simulation

MR has begun to be used across many industries a powerful tool for simulation, prediction, and visualisation and one of the most powerful applications of this approach is in agriculture. Using artificial intelligence, machine learning and advanced algorithms, MR simulations can demonstrate crop growth based on weather patterns, practices, and other variables. Researchers can collect data, test and import it into the simulations in order to observe the crop growth and suggest changes in practices. This will help farmers prepare their crops against any unwelcome environmental changes while at the same time realistically understanding the consequences of not following right practices, raising total shareholder return and net cash generated from operating activities.

6. Therapy

VR has been used to varying degrees in therapy for over a decade, but the limitations of the technology has made this application sparse. However MR is being increasingly implemented as an effective tool in psychological and occupational therapy. Patients occupy a virtual or mixed environment and digitally navigate through specifically designed environments, completing tasks in order to treat specific mental ailments. One successful example of this innovation is in exposure therapy, whereby patients overcome phobias by interacting with virtual simulations of trauma in order to allow them to overcome their fear response. This has also proven to be particularly successful in treating post-traumatic stress disorder.

7. Anaesthetic

Continuing in this psychological vein, MR is also proving capable of disrupting the pharmaceutical industry. The use of a VR headset playing a calming simulation, as a tool of distraction during surgery in place of anaesthetics, has proven surprisingly successful. Doctors have used soothing digital simulations to lull patients into a calm and distracted state rather than chemically inducing numbness or serenity; displaying striking and immersive vistas which completely block out the reality of the operating room. These simulations have proven to lower blood pressure and heart rate, reduce stress, and even fully remove the necessity of a general anaesthetic.

8. Retail

Online shopping represented a massive disruption in the retail industry, drastically changing the way we consume in the 21st century. Yet online shopping in itself does not fully compete with the tangible and tactile relationship that many consumers hold with the products they purchase. Many customers still feel the need to experience a product in a real space, and admit to appreciating the ritual of exploring a physical shop. With MR, real spaces can be digitally recreated and consumers can find themselves in floating online shopping spaces, visiting and navigating a physical shop in a virtual world, without leaving their house. AR also means demonstrating what purchases would look like on your person or in the context of your own home. Investment group Goldman Sachs has predicted the MR retail industry will be worth USD$1.6 billion by 2025.

9. Real Estate

Using 360-degree video and virtual simulations, immersive virtual tours can be taken of properties without having to physically visit them. Furthermore, simulation means that these properties can still be in construction, while a rendering of how they will appear when finished can be fully explored using a headset. Furthermore, potential buyers can now use MR to experience how a property will look once they have painted and furnished it their own way, letting a buyer be sure that this is the right space for them.

10. Architecture

Also in the realm of real estate visualisation, MR presents a clear and potent advantage to designers and architects because it empowers them to immerse into three dimensional spaces which simulate and render architectural designs. This means replacing traditional renderings and completely reducing the time spent reworking designs, efficiently eliminating costs and improving safety. The true power of this technology is the ability to convey the reality of designs and explore them. From experiencing the reality of a room’s lighting, to the strength of a building’s foundations, to the physical feel of a space; we can now realistically test how quickly a building can be evacuated, or how it might look once it is populated with furnishings. All this while it is still in the design phase, saving an incredible amount of money and time.

While these 10 innovative applications are some of our favourites, they only scratch the surface of what is possible with MR. Hopefully this list has opened your mind to the limitless realm of endless cross-industry application. This technology is going to dominate and dictate our future, with real and effective outcome-driving solutions. If you’re interested in learning more, or are wondering how MR might be relevant to you and your industry, contact us at 360dgrees.com. Our experts are waiting to empower you to commercialise using these radical innovations.

5 ways technology is changing the work

All around the world, jobs are evolving thanks to technology such as virtual reality

Technology is all around us. So much so that some people are fearing for their jobs. The perception is that their skills will be replaced by robots and they’ll find themselves out of work.

While many jobs are now relics from days-gone-by (think the ice delivery man, the vinyl record manufacturer and the switchboard operator), what technology does do is create opportunities for new jobs. For example, the aforementioned jobs have given way to the refrigerator repair man, the digital sound engineer and the online customer care consultant.

An article recently published by Forbes about whether or not technology will be responsible for economic turmoil caused by job loss concludes that “Technology doesn’t create new jobs for people to do. It frees people to go off and invent new jobs to do, ones which meet some other human desire or want.”

So what kind of jobs will technology allow us to have in the future? These are some professions that will increasingly be in high demand.

Aerial Drone Technician

With the use of drones on the rise, the people who service and operate them will also increase. Drones are useful for a lot more than fancy wedding photography… they are already being used to survey disaster areas, to help with insurance claims and even to transport human organs high above the busy streets of a city.

As the concept of self-flying, passenger carrying dronesinches towards reality (prototypes have already gone on show at tech conferences), a career in drone supply, management or maintenance is well worth considering.

Artificial Intelligence Developer

With the influx of Siri, her pals Alexa and Cortana as well as countless chatbots, artificial intelligence is quickly integrating with our lives. But as smart as these systems appear to be, right now someone does have to be at the wheel.
Artificial Intelligence offers a range of employment opportunities, including software developer, trend researcher, and data analyst. These jobs will be in high demand in the near future until we figure out a way to automate the automation process!

Virtual Reality Designer

While we’re preparing to step into virtual worlds via our fancy Oculus Rift headsets, somebody has to create these worlds for us to step into. These designers don’t just have to understand technology, but also interiors and vast outdoor landscapes. They will have to have a deep knowledge of how humans interact with their environment in order to create believable, compelling virtual worlds that will completely surround us.

Quantum Computing

Quantum computing is being described as the ultimate disrupter. In a nutshell, it creates a complex system that is able to process exponentially more information than the computers we use now. A basic explanation of this technology is that today’s computers have to solve problems in sequence, whereas in the future they will be able to solve countless problems at once.
Quantum Computing is fledgling right now, with labs being set up around the world to investigate the possibilities that this new science can contribute. The more minds that are on deck, the faster we will be able to develop and test new drugs, accelerate space exploration and even more accurately forecast the weather.

360 Degree Videographer

Filming in one direction at a time? How turn of the century?
Modern videographers are adding 360degree cameras to their equipment swags, making the most of this latest way of capturing all the action. 360 video can be used for tourism videos, museum and educational tours, shopping experiences and immersive gaming. The best videographers will be experts at capturing everything in intricate detail and in a way that feels as realistic as possible.