14 January 2019Comments are off for this post.

The Top 5 EdTech Trends 2019 – AI, AR, VR and more!

I started 2018 with the article Introducing the Top 8 EdTech Trends for 2018.

The article featured EdTech experts from different backgrounds and highlighted the top trends from the world of educational technology.  

Fast-forward 12 months and now I’m excited to present the EdTech trends again for 2019! 🎉

This time I reached twice as many experts and asked them two key questions:

  1. Which Edtech trend/s are you looking forward to in 2019?
  2. What were your biggest challenge/s in 2018?

I’ll reveal the survey results later in the article. So stay tuned!

I’ve skipped the funding part this time as it pretty much remains the same as last year. You may read the 2018 article if you want an overview on EdTech's valuation. 

Let’s dive in then!

What are the EdTech Trends for 2019?

1. Making EdTech more accessible

Continuing from 2018, one trend which stands out again is to make learning technology more accessible to more people.

“Schools and teachers should be given exploration and innovation budgets.”  Says Kristian Lundquist from Gro Play. This will see teachers getting more involved in EdTech product design and development.

Becky Sage from Interactive Scientific believes efficacy is the most important trend in EdTech right now.

“The metric of success is whether we are delivering an education ecosystem that gives learners the opportunities to thrive in 21st-century careers solving 21st-century challenges." - Becky Sage

becky-sage

Becky Sage, CEO, Interactive Scientific

 

Lowering the cost of EdTech can help penetrate the developing world says Juan Manuel Pico from Education Soul.

“EdTech needs to address the needs of millions of students. Governments can help to implement different solutions as long as the cost per child is below $3. Today the average retail price per child is around $30.”

Mervi Pänkäläinen from Mightifier is concerned with the low adoption of EdTech licenses.

30% of the EdTech licenses are never used and over 97% of licenses are never used intensively in US K-12 districts. This is highly alarming and will push EdTech developers to focus on UX and pedagogical value for teachers.

Also, Märt Aro from Nordic EdTech Forum "N8" agrees that we should focus on making EdTech accessible to more people globally.

"I am convinced that we have all the means and knowledge available to significantly increase the quality of learning experience and provide access to education to everybody globally." - Märt Aro, Nordic EdTech Forum

Build a Successful EdTech Product

2.  Augmented Reality

According to AR insider, there will be almost 1.5 billion AR-compatible smartphones by the end of 2020 and 3.4 billion by 2023. No wonder the adoption of AR in educational apps is growing every year.

Let’s find out what the experts have to say about ARinEdu!

"In 2019, teachers expect EdTech solutions that augment the reality of the classroom where the physical and digital realms can be seamlessly merged and a more holistic, multidisciplinary approach can be taken." - Pouria Kay, CEO, Grib

team grib

With Grib's AR app anyone can create 3D models and hone their creativity.

 

Anshul Dhawan, Founder, Equally

Augmented reality is poised to be the next frontier of computing with big players like Apple, Google, Microsoft, putting their weight behind the development of this technology.

anshul-dhawan_Equally

Anshul Dhavan, founder Equally demonstrating the DaVinci AR app

 

Milena, Product Owner, Learn Teach Explore

“I believe that 2019 will be the year when teachers focus on meaningful EdTech solutions that allow for the creation of new tasks which were previously inconceivable. Augmenting the classroom with immersive technologies and collaboration tools is a top priority for 2019 for Shapes 3D Geometry Apps.”

3. Virtual Reality

Another immersive technology which is gaining more and more momentum in Education is VR. Perhaps the most important value learners get from VR is empathy. And with VR going cordless - it may speed up immersion in learning.

Barbara Anna Zielonka a renowned English teacher from Norway and top 10 Global Teacher Prize Finalist hopes there will be more apps that will offer social VR experiences to students.

“I have been using Google expeditions as a teaching tool, but I am looking for more social VR platforms that could be used in teaching.“ - Barbara Anna Zielonka

According to Paola Paulino from XR Pioneer, in 2019, 5G + standalone headsets are going to level up the VR industry to new accessible heights.

Discover 6 Companies That Master the Use of VR & AR in STEM education

Hege Tollerud from Oslo EdTech Cluster believes VR will become more accessible as the prices of the equipment will drop in 2019!

hege_oslo edtech

Hege is working to build a more coherent Nordic EdTech community. Photo Credit: Gorm K Gaare/Oslo Innovation Week

 

Margherita Berti from University of Arizona says:

“In 2019 virtual reality will become increasingly accessible with affordable, yet sophisticated, viewing devices. Higher education institutions will begin to implement virtual reality inside the classroom.”


Building an educational app? Find out how Setapp can help you deliver an exceptional EdTech Product.


Lukasz Jaruzal from edujobs believes there will be an increase in the use of AR and VR apps in the educational sector

"2019 seems to me to be a year of bringing reality into learning" - Lukasz Jaruzal, CEO, edujobs

4. Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence in education will continue to mature in 2019.

“AI can help fill needs gaps in learning and teaching and allow schools and teachers to do more than ever before.” - Bernard Marr on Forbes.

Check out the full article by Bernard: How is AI used in education - Real-world examples of today and a peek into the future.

Jaime Donally, founder of ARVRinEDU and a renowned EdTech consultant is excited about the progression of immersive technologies that improve the user experience with artificial intelligence.

“The newer resources are continuing to move students from users to collaborators and content creators.”

At the same time Mika Kasanen from School Day Finland says:

“Analytics & AI will play a significant role in the early identification of both positive and negative issues at schools. At the end of the day, it's all about giving students and teachers a voice and a channel for their well-being."

Transparency and social impact of AI aided learning platforms are important to ensure the quality of education. That's according to Meri Sestola from Metka.

 5. Standardization in EdTech

Making EdTech standardized was a key trend last year. This year the trend continues.

Jannie Jeppesen from Swedish EdTech Industry says:

“EdTech is developing fast with many new interesting services being launched. Our main challenge is building powerful, interoperable digital ecosystems where developing standards, information, and structured data can be processed on a larger scale.“

jannie swedish edtech industry

Niclas Mein from EdTech South East Sweden adds:

“I'm hoping for a more systematic approach to EdTech solution development and deployment. A move away from solutions that solve 'everything', to capable solutions that integrate with other solutions.”

Neil O'Toole from the organization EDvisor Finland has developed a quality assurance framework that prepares companies for the Kokoa Standard. Finnish pedagogy provides sound methods to integrate technology with everyday classroom practice, something EDvisor Finland views as critical to the future of EdTech.

Other trends to look out for in 2019

STEM

Both Sari Hurme-Mehtälä from Kide Science Olli from Kokoa Standard believes companies focusing on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) will be in the spotlight in 2019.

Olli vallo kokoa

"I visited China at the end of 2018 and saw the insane fuzz around STEM education." - Olli Vallo, Kokoa Standard

Extended reality in MOOCs

Antti Lähtevänoja from ZOAN expects schools to adopt extended reality technologies. Especially with MOOCs.

However, he points out that research in this area is vital. Every new device or technology used in schools must have proven results in improving learning or teaching.

I’m excited to see the progression of immersive technology improving the user experience with artificial intelligence. The newer resources are continuing to move students from users to collaborators and content creators. - Antti Lähtevänoja, ZOAN

Offline Solutions

Another aspect to focus in 2019 are offline solutions. Fast-reliable internet is still out of reach of millions of learners around the world. So building EdTech product which doesn’t need internet connection all the time will be key.

Svenia Busson, founder of Paris based EdTech accelerator LearnSpace agrees that offline solutions are the way to go at least in the near future. She adds "I am quite confident Edtech in 2019 will evolve more and more around evidence-based products and active learning."

Survey Results!

As promised here's the survey result from mini-research. In total, I got 40 respondents for the first question and 38 for the second.

1. Which Edtech trend/s are you looking forward to in 2019?

 

edtech trends 2019

 

2. What were your biggest challenge/s in 2018?

 

biggest edtech challenges 2018

Final thoughts

As you can see 2019 is looking bright for artificial intelligence and immersive technologies. Both educators and entrepreneurs regard these two technologies very highly!

On the other hand, the biggest challenge for educators in 2018 was funding, followed by technology and user experience of the educational products.

It seems those who succeed in balancing “Ed” and “Tech” will definitely make a positive impact in 2019.

Building an educational app? From UX to Design to development, Setapp can help you deliver an exceptional EdTech Product.


So how do you see the above trends unfolding in 2019? Let us know in the comments below!

In the end, I'd like to thank everyone who contributed to this article. Without you all, it wouldn't have been possible. I enjoyed every minute of it and can't wait to do it all again in 2020!

I am a placeholder image
The Ultimate Guide to Build a Successful EdTech Product
It covers 10+ different topics, including UX, law & latest tech, that will show you how to build a successful educational app.

10 October 2018Comments are off for this post.

6 Companies That Master the Use of VR & AR in STEM education

There are still a lot of false assumptions and stereotypes about virtual and augmented reality (VR & AR). Do you still feel like it’s just a silly new thing used only by gamers? Or maybe you just can’t see how it can be used outside of the entertainment industry?

You are not alone. A lot of people seem to put these new technologies in a box of just more fun gadgets that no one takes seriously. So, we will try to show you a different side of immersive reality. If you haven’t read it yet, you can check out our article about non-game apps developed in Unity.

But contrary to such popular assumptions, project by project and app by app, it is constantly being proven that VR & AR can be incredibly powerful tools in education too. And guess which field of education is on everyone’s mind right now? STEM!

STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math and these are undoubtedly the most crucial skill areas in today’s economy. Governments, businesses and education experts try really hard to come up with innovative ways to teach STEM subjects. But how can VR & AR help them?

Why use VR & AR in STEM education?

How exactly does immersive technology add value and create new possibilities in STEM education? VR and AR provide several benefits that apply to any field of education, but there are certainly some that apply particularly to STEM:

  • VR & AR help to accommodate a risk-free environment in school classes. A lot of traditional experiments in STEM involve potential risks. Fire, electricity or corrosive substances make the teacher limit the extent of experiments or even skip them altogether. With the help of immersive technology, teachers can show all of these great things in a safe environment.
  • Use of VR & AR enormously cuts costs. The costs of developing immersive reality are nothing compared to building a professional laboratory. In this way high quality STEM education is not limited to affluent areas and wealthy educational institutions.
  • Cutting costs leads to one of the most important issues in education now - democratization of education. VR & AR can provide quality access and opportunities to a huge mass of students, that would be impossible to reach otherwise.
  • STEM education, especially biology and medical research, happen to get involved with ethical dilemmas. Animal testing or patients rights are one of the examples of how traditional education can be morally questionable. With VR & AR students can get involved with a lot of experiments in a cruelty-free and ethical environment.
  • A lot of STEM scenarios are just impossible to show in  traditional education. There’s no way to take students on a trip to Mars or put them inside a blood cell. With VR & AR impossible is nothing!
  • Immersive technology can change STEM perception. For a lot of students math, physics or biology are boring and difficult to understand. With immersive technology we can change the image of those subjects so that they become much more attractive to our kids.

How does it look in practice?

This is all theory. But how exactly does it look in the real world? To answer this question we’ve gathered some great examples  to show the enormous potential immersive technology has when it comes to teaching STEM subjects.

1. Labster

The Copenhagen based Labster VR app is a perfect example of how immersive reality can really change STEM education. The Danes launched their lab simulation software 5 years ago and now in partnership with Daydream by Google, they have created a tool used by a dozen universities across the globe.

With help from experts at Arizona State University, Labster created a truly useful product, which meets the needs of the education industry. But how exactly does Labster VR work? The app provides an incredible virtual reality laboratory experience. It covers the subjects of cell and molecular biology, ecology and physiology.

The Labster VR app lets students perform experiments and practice their skills in a fun and risk-free learning environment. Because of the ability to alter time, students feel more comfortable to try new things without any risks. As a result, they learn from their mistakes.

And it works! Research shows that students using Labster are learning over 100% more. Above all, it’s not only an additional flashy new gadget anymore. Arizona State University became the first university to provide full course credits to students using VR simulations!

2. Shapes

A whole new way of learning Geometry! That’s how Shapes promotes its great app for elementary and middle school geometry teachers. Even though the app is four years old, this year Shapes launched its new version that brings those geometric objects to life.

Now Shapes allows kids to augment 3D objects directly onto virtual spaces like tabletops or the floor. The app received AppAwards in 2014 as the best educational app, decided unanimously both by juries and users - and we totally get why!

But what is Shapes really about? Children can play with three-dimensional geometric objects, using simple gestures to zoom and rotate shapes in any direction. By doing this, Shapes improves kids’ spatial imagination and makes them familiar with geometry terminology. Don’t you wish you had such a geometry tool when you were in school?


If you like what Setapp did for Shapes then drop us a line! We’ll be happy to hear and help you create your 3D product.


3. zSpace

zSpace is an accomplished company from California. They provide over 800 school districts, tech centers, med schools and universities around the world with a VR & AR experience.

With Unity engine, they create apps such as ‘Curie’s Elements’ – a wholesome experience in which students can explore a periodic table with Bohr and atomic models for each element. Whats more, students can also build elements by adding protons, neutrons, and electrons. This way, chemistry class is anything but boring!

But this great company didn’t stop at creating incredibly useful software, now they also provide students with  great hardware too! As Amanda Austin, Marketing Director of zSpace, shared with us:

This year, we unveiled the world’s first extended reality (XR) laptop, allowing students to lift images from the screen using a stylus and examine them in detail, gaining a deeper understanding of concepts by physically manipulating virtual simulations, from energy and motion to molecules and organisms.

Risk-free learning environment is often pointed out as the most important characteristic of immersive education apps for STEM. zSpace is no exception. One of the greatest powers of this app is that it allows students to make – and most importantly – correct their mistakes. They can manipulate many variables and they don’t have to worry about the costs or cleaning up after the experiments. Saving time and money at the same time!

4. MEL Science

What made a few highly accomplished science geeks turn their attention to creating educational apps? They started to raise their own children and realized that the existing level of education is very poor. That’s how MEL Science started. As Vassili Philippov , MEL Science funder, told us:

We need to find better, more efficient ways to teach. So, what doesn’t work today? Memorizing does not work! “Kids, memorize this fact.” “Class, memorize this formula." This just doesn’t work. Sure, the class memorizes the fact short-term. But what happens once they have taken the test? They replace the facts they just studied in their short-term memory with new facts they need to learn for their next test. Yes, they memorize. But they do not retain.

 

What’s their answer to this problem? In science principles are based mostly on what happens at a micro-level. The most interesting things in chemistry happen at the molecular level. Most modern biology is about what happens inside a cell. That’s when Virtual Reality becomes incredibly useful.

MEL Science provides tools for kids to actually see molecules interacting all around them. MEL Chemistry VR lessons are aligned with the school chemistry curriculum, covering all of its main topics. Atoms in gases or electron affinity? MEL Science covers it all.

5. Explore Interactive

The combination of tabletop card games and augmented reality technology is how Explore Interactive builds its highly educational app. Through Explore! kids can play with various challenging and involving educational games and tasks. Gamification of learning combined with augmented reality enormously changes how children take their first steps in STEM education.

The Explore! Kit is suitable for kids between 8 and 12 years old - that’s exactly when you need to unleash a kids’ imagination! With the Explore! application your surroundings fade away as you experience the world of science, technology, engineering, and math through the window of a ground-breaking augmented reality technology.

6. Virtuali-Tee

Virtuali-Tee is an incredible, award winning classroom tool, created by Curiscope, a start-up from Brighton, UK. What’s special about Virtuali-Tee is that it’s actually...a t-shirt. But it’s not an ordinary t-shirt. Virtuali-Tee, when worn and viewed through a connected app, displays a life-like view of the internal organs. Kids can explore human anatomy through their tablets, smartphones or a VR headset.

Virtuali-Tee allows kids to learn about Digestive, Respiratory, Skeletal, Renal and Circulatory Systems. The VR/AR experience catches kids’ attention in a way that’s just simply impossible when traditional tools are used. Real-life context helps children to understand and remember human anatomy much quicker.

One of the app’s founders Ed Barton has been placed in Forbes’ 30 Under 30. That shows what a huge success Virtuali-Tee is. And we are not surprised, just take a look at how kids react to it:

Key Takeaways

As you can see, virtual and augmented realities are taking the education world by storm. The advancements in technology, such as Unity engine, allow developers to come up with highly innovative ways to bring education to a whole new level.

While a few years ago VR & AR were treated as just another toy for gamers, now no one can have any doubt that they’re incredibly powerful tools for a whole range of purposes. In today’s world of constant stimulation of all our senses, kids need something extra to actually focus on things that are crucial for their education. That’s where immersive reality really does the job.


How can Setapp help?

Our great developing team has a lot of experience when it comes to educational apps. We are proud developers of Shapes, the app that changes how geometry is being taught.

Choosing an experienced team of developers is crucial for the success of your project. If you are thinking about creating educational product that will involve AR, VR, but also mobile and web development, we are ready to help you out. Our experts will not only develop your product, but they will actually help you from the day one to truly discover and define the scope of your project. Just leave us a message, we’ll be happy to hear about your idea!

Check why you should build app with Setapp

9 August 2018Comments are off for this post.

AR, VR and more – 6 Non-game apps developed in Unity

In my earlier blog post of the Unity blog series, I wrote about why Unity for developing non-game apps is becoming a viable option, especially to create 3D apps and experiences. In this blog post, I’ll share with you some non-game apps developed in Unity.

Let’s dive in!

Building AR and VR experiences with Unity

There’s no doubt that Unity is a great platform to build AR and VR apps. In fact, according to Unity, over 91% of HoloLens experiences are created using Unity’s cross-platform engine.

Apart from HoloLens, Unity supports all major VR platforms including Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, Google Cardboard, Playstation VR, SteamVR and more. It also supports AR platforms such as Apple ARkit and Google ARCore. So if you’re thinking about launching your app on these platforms, then Unity is an excellent choice.

Now I won’t get into the technical nitty-gritty on why Unity is a great choice for developing AR/VR applications. But if you’re curious to read more, then I recommend checking out Unity’s page on VR and AR

Non-game AR & VR apps built using Unity

1. Shapes (Education)

Shapes is an award-winning educational app assisting teachers to teach geometry to elementary and middle school students. It aims to improve creative thinking, spatial reasoning and manual skills among pupils.

In June the new AR version of the app went live. Students can now augment 3D objects directly onto virtual spaces such as tabletops or the floor. How cool is that?

Shapes 3D are currently working on more Immersive EdTech apps for geometry and mathematics. Follow them on Twitter and Facebook and never miss an update!


If you like what Setapp did for Shapes then drop us a line! We’ll be happy to hear and help you create your 3D product.

2. Nano Simbox (Education)

“Making the Invisible world visible.” With the Nano Simbox immersive platform, you can actually see how molecules work and interact in the real world. Don’t believe me?

Here’s a little sneak peek into the product.

Here’s what Mark, creative technologist at Interactive Scientific had to say about Unity.

Nano Simbox relies on sophisticated interactive and dynamic visualisation of complex molecular systems. Unity3D gives us a powerful cross-platform 3d rendering framework that allows us to provide our learning experiences on a wide variety of devices in and out of the classroom.

3. Kavtek (Home Design)

Kavtek is an AR-based home remodeling app for real-estate professionals and their clients. With Kavtek you can place digital flooring, walls, furniture, cabinets, appliances, and even paint walls in the real world.

Making changes to a home is often a collaborative experience, which is an important insight for Kavtek's team. Currently, real estate agents can add their clients and provide them access to AR home remodeling from their Kavtek account.  More multiuser AR experiences will be launched in the near future.

Check out the video to see it yourself.

Here’s what Sanu Somaweera, co-founder at Kavtek had to say on using Unity:

When creating interactive experiences with the latest technology, we need a tool that has the power to create 3D environments while still being able to add traditional Mobile Application features. For Kavtek, Unity offers this perfect balance. We can design tools for our users to create immersive environments and offer a wide range of additional mobile features.Unity’s roadmap is very focused on Augmented Reality, which is aligned with Kavtek's vision of immersive technologies as the next mainstream computing platform.

4. 3D Bear AR (Education)

With 3D Bear’s AR application students can build Augmented Reality scenes using virtual 3D models and their surroundings. The app allows students to think and then visualize their ideas in 3D. The app allows kids to think and then visualize their ideas in 3D.

Did I say, students? Anyone can use the app and have tonnes of fun. Here’s me trying to find the best spot for this stool in our office.

3d bear ar

5. ARILYN App (Marketing)

Arilyn Manager is an AR publishing platform that allows the user to create, publish and manage full-fledged global AR campaigns. No coding is needed and users can start creating captivating AR content straight away. Be it marketing, advertising, packaging or events, Arilyn can be used to add a layer of AR quickly and cost-effectively.

arilyn app iphone

Using Arilyn is a piece of cake. Just fire up the App when you see the Arilyn logo in a magazine, a poster or an outdoor advertisement to reveal the augmented world in glorious 3D!

 

Arilyn has clients in over 20 countries, including Unilever, Warner Music, Huawei, FOX, Marriott Hotels and All Nippon Airlines.

6. Grib (Education/3D Modelling)

The biggest drawback of many 3D modeling tools is that they’re complicated to use and require quite a bit of time to start using them effectively. That’s where Grib comes in. 3D modeling on Grib is so easy and intuitive, that all you need is your phone and a pen & paper.

Here’s a short video explaining how Grib is utilizing the power of AR to make 3D modeling quick & easy for everyone.

Unity to build location-based applications for Airport

Apart from building AR and VR apps, at Setapp we are also using Unity to create a tablet application that will use geolocation and IoT beacons to act as a personal assistant inside massive buildings.

For example, inside an airport terminal building, It’ll be used as a link between passengers, the airport, and airlines. It is also planned to use this app in supermarkets to guide customers to the ultimate shopping experience.

Wrapping up

As you can see using Unity is not only limited to developing games. More and more developers are finding its use to create business and other non-game apps valuable. Mainly because of its multi-platform support and being the platform of choice to develop immersive experiences such as AR and VR.

On Unity's website, you can discover more non-game Unity experiences ranging from education to transportation to even gambling!


How can Setapp help?

As with any technology, developing in Unity bring its own challenges and uncertainties. Understanding the full capabilities and shortcomings of immersive technologies (AR/VR) requires deep knowledge and familiarity with the status quo of this flourishing industry.

That’s why choosing the right Unity partner who can help you discover your product and define its scope before the actual development can be critical to the success of your project. Setapp is one such development company. Making us experts not only in immersive tech but also mobile and web development.

Our team created the first ever VR multi-player air combat game in the world, created the highest trending educational app on the app store for several weeks, and developed a 3D location-based app for one of the biggest and most transited airports in the world. From design to delivery, we know the process and we can guide you through the whole lifecycle of your product. Want to work together? Then write us an email, we’ll be happy to hear about your idea!

 

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5 October 2017Comments are off for this post.

Getting started with VR/AR – Part 1: The key differences

Both Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) have grown into a billion-dollar industry over the last couple of years. According to Digi-Capital, the VR/AR market is expected to grow by more than $100 billion dollars by 2021. It's important to understand that AR is NOT a competitor with VR, but a different kind of technology with very different use cases.

In this article, we will look at the fundamental difference between the two technologies and the various options currently available on the market.

Introduction to VR

Virtual Reality (VR) came a long way in the last century. A decade ago, VR machines were out of reach for ordinary people as their prices were very high. They could cost in the tens of thousands of dollars. Therefore, this technology was reserved for institutions such as NASA.

Modern VR started with the Kickstarter campaign of developer-centric Oculus DK1 and the prototypes made by Valve in 2012. It was not until 2016 when the first consumer-focused VR devices were released. This summer we saw major cuts in VR hardware prices. Now you can buy a VR headset that suits your budget and needs. From Google cardboard ($15) to HTC Vive ($799) - the possibilities are endless.

Nowadays people use VR hardware primarily as a gaming platform and for watching 360 videos but its potential is much wider. With VR you can simulate dangerous or unavailable environments which are otherwise hard and expensive to reach and maintain. NASA, for example, uses VR for staff trainings. During simulation sessions the astronauts learn how to fix instruments of the International Space Station in space.

VR is an ideal place to create, draw, build and sculpt. It lets you be a spectator or fully immerse in the environment. VR can put you in ‘life-like’ situations helping you learn faster.

Multiple levels of VR

There’s something for everyone in VR. However, the technology itself is quite fragmented so choosing the right option can be tricky. To make it easier for you I’ve broken down the modern VR tech into three categories.

Cardboard compatible (Entry-Level VR)

In VR various technologies can transport you to different virtual places. But the key difference is what you can do there. Some experiences don’t need any controllers like Google Cardboard. It’s an entry-level VR headset which encourages interest and development in VR applications.

google cardboard

The best part of headsets like the Google cardboard is that they work with most regular smartphones. Its affordable price makes Google cardboard a hot favourite in industries like education, advertising or media.

Pros

  • Works on most modern smartphones.
  • Affordable (Google cardboard starts from $15 and there are a lot of compatible ones which you can often get for free).
  • The most popular VR device used in schools.

Cons

  • It’s not a top-notch device and lacks some key features.
  • Not stable in terms of looking around.
  • It doesn’t have any controllers.
  • In most experiences you’re just a spectator (you can view photos, videos or 3D objects).

High-quality smartphone based (Mid-Level VR)

VR headsets with interaction such as Google Daydream or Samsung Gear VR (powered by Oculus) provide you with add-ons that you will not get if you use the basic VR headsets, for example:

  1. You have a controller
  2. The Virtual world is much more superior
  3. Due to low latency and high precision of motion tracking the virtual world is very stable.
Samsung gear VR setapp

Testing Samsung Gear VR at PGA 2016

 

What is missing is the ‘positional tracking’. This means you can’t move around the scene physically. However, the fix is coming with the future mobile standalone headsets as Google announced and Oculus reportedly will.

Pros

  • You can interact with objects using a controller and move them around.
  • Lots of content is already available.
  • Relatively low prices - Samsung VR is available for $129 & Google Daydream for $79.

Cons

  • Only works on high-end smartphones like Galaxy S6 or higher, Google Pixel.
  • No positional tracking (so far).

PC Based (High-end VR)

These are the very top of the line VR experiences you can get your hands on. High-end VR systems like HTC Vive, Playstation VR, etc. have full tracking capabilities. You feel as if your real hands were embodied in the experience.

Oculus VR a Setapp

Michał Wroblewski, our head of VR with Oculus Rift

 

Unlike Mobile based VR, they’re wired and have to be connected to a PC or a console at all times.

Pros:

  • Full positional tracking. You can walk around, pick up stuff, throw it or stretch it, etc.  Within the play area the possibilities are (literally) endless.
  • Most immersive experiences trick your mind. You feel as if you were actually there (The Lab, Job Simulator, Robo Recall or Tilt Brush).
  • Highest possible quality of virtual worlds you can design.

Cons

  • Expensive. Both HTC Vive and Oculus Rift cost over $600. Additionally, it requires a high-end PC to run (which is also expensive).
  • Development costs are higher as the interactions need much more fidelity.
  • A cord (which attaches a headset to a PC/console).

Introduction to AR

Augmented Reality or AR for short is expected to outshine VR in terms of revenue with a market value of $83 billion by 2021. Mobile AR being the primary factor to its imminent success since it’s much easier and cheaper for a consumer to adopt than VR.

AR augments YOUR existing reality with useful information. It uses your current location and learns about your current environment. Unlike VR, it doesn’t transfer you to another, ‘virtual’ place. AR lets you scan surfaces, understand objects or play and interact with virtual elements.

For example, with the new IKEA Place app, you can preview how a new sofa or a piece of furniture looks like in your living room on your smartphone.

Smartphone-based AR

The AR on iOS can track face, find predefined images, rectangular shapes like a sheet of paper, process voice etc. Its possibilities are defined by two technologies: ARKit and Machine Learning (Core ML).

As per Apple's development guidelines Apps can use Apple's augmented reality (AR) technology, ARKit, to deliver immersive, engaging experiences that seamlessly blend realistic virtual objects with the real world. In AR apps, the device's camera presents a live, onscreen view of the physical world. Three-dimensional virtual objects are superimposed over this view, creating the illusion that they actually exist. The user can reorient their device to explore the objects from different angles and, if appropriate for the experience, interact with them using gestures and movement.

A similar system to ARKit is also available on some Android devices. It’s called ARCore.

Finnish startup 3DBear uses AR in its online learning application to make learning a fun experience. Kids can contribute to their school and community. Among many other things, they can create ideas for interior design, plan and produce a 3D model of their room.

3D Bear AR app

Download 3D Bear AR app for iOS and Android

 

There are hundreds of millions of iOS devices compatible with ARKit technology (iPhone 6S or later). Android platform will also add another 100 million this year. It’s a huge immediate market and a viable consumer/business market for AR apps.

Headset based AR

One of the AR headsets which is already available is Microsoft's HoloLens. In my opinion, it has the best mix of AR traits: mobility, space awareness, hand gestures and voice recognition. The current generation of headsets has a pretty low field of view (FOV) which is a significant drawback. Based on its high price and target it’s mainly focused on business/enterprise rather than consumers.

Microsoft calls it Mixed Reality (MR) because of its deeper integration with the surrounding world and being able to place virtual objects in between real ones. Keep in mind that you can see MR labels on devices that are basically VR.

There are some other AR/MR headsets like Meta 2, Daqri, ODG or upcoming (and still unknown) Magic Leap glasses.

Summing up.

It's exciting times for the VR/AR enthusiasts as you are spoilt for choice! There is an enormous variety of VR/AR devices available to you right now. Areas like education, media, healthcare, retailing, etc. are already noticing a broad adoption of immersive experiences (VR and AR).

I’m looking forward to how the rest of this year will unfold. There are some exciting products planned from both Google and Oculus which without a doubt will add another layer to the immersive reality experience.

The best way to understand the difference between VR and AR is by experiencing the different technologies by yourself. If you would like to experience and fully understand AR or VR, just drop me a line, and I’ll be happy to arrange a demo for you at Setapp’s HQ in Poznan, Poland.

 

Overflight VR setapp

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+48 506 798 998
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OUR OFFICES

POL: Wojskowa 6, 60-792 Poznań, Poland
+48 506 798 998
office@setapp.pl

ISR: 220 Hertzel Street, 7630003 Israel

COMPANY DATA

Setapp Sp. z o.o.
VAT ID: PL7781465185
REGON: 301183743
KRS: 0000334616

PRIVACY POLICY

OUR OFFICES

PL: Wojskowa 6, 60-792 Poznań, Poland
+48 506 798 998
office@setapp.pl

ISR: 220 Hertzel Street, 7630003 Israel

COMPANY DATA

Setapp Sp. z o.o.

VAT ID: PL7781465185
REGON: 301183743
KRS: 0000334616

PRIVACY POLICY

OUR OFFICE

Wojskowa 6, 60-792 Poznań, Poland
+48 506 798 998
office@setapp.pl

COMPANY DATA

Setapp Sp. z o.o.

VAT ID: PL7781465185
REGON: 301183743
KRS: 0000334616

PRIVACY POLICY

 COMPANY DATA

Setapp Sp. z o.o.
VAT ID: PL7781465185
REGON: 301183743
KRS: 0000334616

PRIVACY POLICY

OUR OFFICES

POL: Wojskowa 6, 60-792 Poznań, Poland
+48 506 798 998
office@setapp.pl

ISR: 220 Hertzel Street, 7630003 Israel

COMPANY DATA

Setapp Sp. z o.o.
VAT ID: PL7781465185
REGON: 301183743
KRS: 0000334616

PRIVACY POLICY

OUR OFFICES

PL: Wojskowa 6, 60-792 Poznań, Poland
+48 506 798 998
office@setapp.pl

ISR: 220 Hertzel Street, 7630003 Israel

COMPANY DATA

Setapp Sp. z o.o.

VAT ID: PL7781465185
REGON: 301183743
KRS: 0000334616

PRIVACY POLICY

OUR OFFICE

Wojskowa 6, 60-792 Poznań, Poland
+48 506 798 998
office@setapp.pl

COMPANY DATA

Setapp Sp. z o.o.

VAT ID: PL7781465185
REGON: 301183743
KRS: 0000334616

PRIVACY POLICY

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