The Wild: A Brief Introduction

Yep, YARTVRA. YARTVRA! (Yet another remote teams virtual reality app.) This one is rather imaginatively named The Wild, by a Portland-based company:

Here the focus seems to be on architecture and design:

Bring your work to life before it’s built​. Experience your 3D models at scale, and gain critical insights that come from working together in a shared virtual space.

According to a recent press release on the AECCafé website:

Today, The Wild launched support for Oculus Quest, adding Facebook’s newest standalone virtual reality headset to its growing list of supported devices.

The Wild is a VR/AR collaboration platform that allows architects and design teams to experience their work together at human scale, in real time, from anywhere in the world. Oculus Quest is the first all-in-one VR headset to hit the enterprise market. With this latest offering from The Wild, immersive collaboration is easier and more accessible than ever. The Wild’s mission is to help teams do their best work. For spatial design teams, that means being able to inhabit your designs long before they’re built—catching errors, gaining critical context, and making more informed decisions together.

Reviewing architectural and environmental designs at human scale is vital. With The Wild, teams can meet in real time with up to eight people, fully synchronized, from anywhere in the world. The Wild offers native sketching and annotation tools, is compatible with most 3D file types, and integrates with Revit and SketchUp. The software is cross-platform as well—users can access The Wild from VR, iOS, or desktop (macOS and PC).

The Wild supports the Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, and Windows Mixed Reality headsets as well as the recently-announced Oculus Quest.

I’ll leave you with a cute, cheerful promotional video for the product:

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STAGE: A Brief Introduction

*sigh* I’m officially coining a new acronym here on my blog:

YARTVRA = Yet Another Remote Teams Virtual Reality App

Now, repeat after me: YARTVRA (“YART-verr-uh”). Yes, you’ve got it!

Yep. I found another one. (Actually, more than one. This is just the first post for today.) This one is called STAGE, by a Munich-based company called vr-on:

STAGE describes itself as:

STAGE – the secure virtual reality collaboration platform where teams can watch, experience, and discuss designs and layouts as people do in reality.

Among the suggested use cases for the product are:

  • Design reviews
  • Layout planning
  • Training
  • Market research
An example of layout planning using STAGE

Here’s their pricing info (all prices are in Euros, per user per month, billed at the yearly rate):

One feature that their website has that I thought was quite interesting was a calculator for determining just how much money your company would save by using STAGE:

This is something that High Fidelity (and other YARTVRA firms) should consider putting on their websites (along with a detailed comparison chart of all their competitors, listing their platform features). Hint, hint…

Question: why is almost everybody in this promotional video using only one hand controller? Did they lose the other one? 😉

No Man’s Sky Now Supports VR

Of course, the big news today (unless you are living under a rock or in a cave somewhere) is that No Man’s Sky, a fantasy science-fiction game set in an infinite, procedurally-generated universe, has issued a major update that, for the first time, supports players in VR headsets (Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, and Valve Index). It’s all gamers are talking about today on places like the No Man’s Sky subReddit.

Now, I must confess that I’m really not that much of a gamer, although I did manage to get to level 20 in Lord of the Rings Online (mainly because I was a such a Tolkien fan). But the lure of exploring an infinite, seamless universe in VR was just too much. So I bit the bullet and bought the game (it is on sale on Steam for 50% off until August 21st).

Wish me luck! I am off to milk some aliens and explore new worlds…

New Study Proves VR Reduces Pain in Hospital Patients

Cedars Sinai Hospital, Los Angeles

Today, the largest study to date at Cedars Sinai Hospital of the impact of virtual reality on pain relief was published in the open access scientific research journal PLOS ONE. This study provides the clearest evidence yet that in-hospital therapeutic VR could be an effective treatment for patients in pain.

Here’s a video narrated by Dr. Brennan Spiegel, the director of health research at Cedars Sinai and the lead author of today’s research paper, explaining how VR was used with patients:

The paper (which is freely available to anybody without a subscription to the journal) is titled Virtual reality for management of pain in hospitalized patients: A randomized comparative effectiveness trial, and had as its research objective:

Therapeutic virtual reality (VR) has emerged as an effective, drug-free tool for pain management, but there is a lack of randomized, controlled data evaluating its effectiveness in hospitalized patients. We sought to measure the impact of on-demand VR versus “health and wellness” television programming for pain in hospitalized patients.

Patients were split into two random groups. One group was treated with VR and the other (control) group viewed flat-screen relaxation television programming. The researchers concluded that the VR group reported significantly reduced pain when compared to those just watching TV. Not only that, the study found that virtual reality was the most effective for severe pain (i.e. pain that ranked 7 or higher on a scale of 1 to 10).

Mobi Health News reports:

“There’s been decades of research testing VR in highly controlled environments — university laboratories, the psychology department and so on,” Dr. Brennan Spiegel, director of health services research at Cedars-Sinai and the study’s lead author, told MobiHealthNews. “This study is really letting VR free and seeing what happens. What I mean by that is it’s a pragmatic study where we didn’t want to control every single element of the study, but literally just see [what would happen] if we were to give it to a broad range of people in the hospital with pain; how would it do compared to a control condition already available in the hospital?”

This strength — alongside the substantial size of the patient population, variety of pain types included and direct comparison to an existing multimedia intervention — helps make the clearest case yet for VR’s clinical potential within the hospital, Spiegel continued, and paves the way for live deployments of the technology as part of inpatient care.

“We don’t need more science at this point to justify deploying VR in the hospital or creating virtualist consult services in the hospital. We’ve got enough evidence now, in my opinion, to begin using this in the inpatient environment,” he said. 

Citation: Spiegel B, Fuller G, Lopez M, Dupuy T, Noah B, Howard A, et al. (2019) Virtual reality for management of pain in hospitalized patients: A randomized comparative effectiveness trial. PLoS ONE 14(8): e0219115. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0219115