Virtual reality tools can be very useful in construction work, as they can allow design teams to collaborate and model in virtual space.
- So we're back in our VR cave. VR stands for virtual reality. And now, to many of you, this sounds like a super nerdy topic, but we're actually going to dive into some of the basics, so you understand how this technology works, and really, the implications that this has for bridging something I call the visualization gap. You see, most people just aren't very good at translating two-dimensional plans to three-dimensional objects. They just can't do it very well. They look at a set of plans, and a site plan elevation drawing, or, and they can't really translate it in their head.
And that's really where I think virtual reality bridges the gap. Even the difference between viewing a model on a screen in three dimensions versus viewing it in virtual reality on three dimensions is really dramatic. It's a massive gap of a difference. So let's just look at a couple of things. And I brought out a few of our VR headsets to explain how some of these work. Because most of these work, I mean, they really all work by putting a screen, like an iPhone screen, or, in this case, the Note 4 screen, directly in front of your eyes.
Now, if you were to hold a screen directly in front of your eyes, you wouldn't be able to see anything. So, a good part of every VR system is the lenses. These lenses allow your eyes to focus on a screen very, very close to you. I should mention, by the way, I actually had my first virtual reality headset in 1996. It was a Mercury Control that, the sensor array on this was hilarious. But I played Doom on this thing in 1996, and I got motion sick with it in 30 seconds.
That's because at the time, we had really low resolution screens. The headsets were enormous. It was gigantic. And we had all kind of other problems. We just didn't have enough computing power, and the screens weren't high resolution enough, the sensors weren't ready. But a few years ago, everything came together into a perfect storm, and allowed us to combine really high-resolution screens with actually a really fast processor on these mobile devices, or in the case of the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive, super fast graphics cards, into a sensor package that was able to detect not only what our head's looking at, but also where our bodies are walking.
And so you're seeing like, this is one of my original, the Dive. And this was a 3D-printed VR headset that we actually printed on the printers over here in the office. Then we move on to manufacturing 'em. There's a huge array of Chinese VR headsets that you can basically buy and put your iPhone inside of, and close it up, and then put it on and run an app. Now, by the way, if you want to download a fun app for this, Dive City Coaster. It's a roller coaster app that makes you feel like you're actually in a rollercoaster ride. You also have a more dedicated solution in the Samsung Gear VR.
That's what Samsung came out with. And these are two different generations right here of Samsung Gear VRs. And they run on the Note. Now, the Note is the phone that did explode, so I would warn you, if you have a recalled version of the Note, don't put it next to your face, right? That would be bad. You should've returned it already. This isn't the Note 4, though, and it's safe. Mostly. Okay, yeah, it's safe. And so, when you actually clip it in, it's communicating with the VR headset, and what Samsung did, in this case, is really give us a leap forward in being able to touch and have a touch pad and a back button on the VR headset, so we don't have to use a Bluetooth controller.
Again, what we're doing is putting a screen in front of your eyes and putting a sensor package on, so that you can put this on, and then see everything in 360 degrees and in three dimensions. So, a really incredible progression of hardware, mobile hardware, from the 3D-printed headset on through the portables, through the Gear VRs, and this is my current favorite mobile portable VR headset. This is actually by Occipital. And this is the Bridge. Now, the Bridge actually has a 3D sensor array and a macro lens, so while you're inside VR, it can actually bring in real-world objects that are around you into VR.
So this is more of a mixed-reality application. You can also use your hands. I mean, there's some really interesting stuff you can do when you combine an inertial measurement unit and a 3D scanner and a lens with a VR system, because you can bring real-world content into VR. So you can see the hardware keeps getting better and better. The immersion keeps getting better and better. Just remember, the objective of all of these companies is true presence. They want you to forget that you're not in reality. Now, if you have children who play Minecraft, this should scare the hell out of you.
Because I've played Minecraft in VR, and trust me, you don't want to leave. There's some really incredible stuff. Now, when you get to the desktop products, like the HTC Vive, what you're really doing is using the Vive as the display. So this is actually connected through HDMI to my computer. I would point out to you, if you're going to buy the Oculus Rift or the HTC Vive, make sure you buy a compatible desktop. I don't know of any of these that work really well with laptops, because they haven't, they're not supporting laptops in general at this time, and so you need to buy a Vive or Oculus compatible headset.
So, this is the Vive, and here in our VR cave, we actually have two sensor blocks on the room that allow us to detect where I'm walking. The really neat thing about the Bridge is that it actually put the sensor block on top of the VR headset, so we call that inside-out tracking, whereas the HTC Vive is outside-in tracking, both of which allow you to walk around. So there's some really neat stuff that we'll actually explore in a demo video coming up next.
Follow James Benham—the CEO of JBKnowledge, Inc.—as he explains how construction science and computer science are merging into one joint field of study. James shares essential terms that you need to know to speak intelligently about topics like the cloud and machine learning. Plus, he dives into topics like the Internet of Things, the evolution of drones, and 3D printing. To wrap up the course, he covers IT budgets, staffing, and investing in research and development.
- Learning about the origins of construction technology
- Reviewing essential construction tech terms
- Understanding the Internet of Things
- Reviewing the evolution of drones
- Learning about the 3D printing process
- Investing in IT
- Investing in research and development