Last week a group of edubloggers were invited for a session at the HTC office in Utrecht to learn and experience the HTC Vive. HTC Vive is a Virtual Reality system (hardware and software). First we got a presentation of Graham Breen. He is the senior product manager of HTC Vive. After the presentation we all got the play around in the VR world.
HTC Vive products
The HTC Vive product lines consists of five parts:
- Studios: for creating content
- Port: for the distribution
- X: an investor/accelerator for startups
- Port Arcade: to support the arcades you see in many US malls
- Enterprise: support specific industries, such as automative, architecture, design and education
Something he emphasized is that from the beginning they have focused on minimising the delays. If your brain notices delays, this can cause the nausia and dizziness that some people experience. Many people have experienced google cardboard, but that isn't the full experience according to Graham. He is very confised about VR and used this quote:
"There are two kind of people: people who love VR and people that haven't tried it"
For education VR can offer a way of engagement that you can't reach other ways. What you can do is limited to your imagination (and your budget). There is no gravity, you can zoom in and out, there is an history. During the demo we could go through the content of Engage platform:
ENGAGE is a new free to use education and presentation platform that seeks to transform how people share ideas and teach lessons to each other globally by harnessing the power of virtual reality technologies such as the Oculus Rift & HTC Vive.
Engage is created by Immersive VR Education Ltd.. This is a virtual reality software company dedicated to creating quality educational experiences for all students. This video gives a nice overview of the platform:
HTC is currently put a lot of resources and time in supporting developers. The key to succes of VR is great content. I definitely see the added value for the learning experience, but I also see the limitations. The current developments are fast paced, so these limitations will disappear in no time.
Activities in Delft
At the TU Delft we have different departments that are experimenting with VR. In our new teaching lab we will organise a bi-weekly Virtual Playground to bring together teachers that are interested in VR/AR/360 videos. Our NewMediaCentre has already built up expertise in this field with the HTC Vive. We also offer an AR/VR educational accelerator to promote the usage in our education.
The photo below is the group of Edubloggers with Graham. My colleague Michel is wearing the HTC Vive.