VR has truly disrupted the conventional therapeutic techniques and protocols coming to forth as an assistive technology that helps children with disabilities like Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), on a personal level and enables to remove some of the physical limitations that get in the way of their learning and development. Floreo, a VR company, specialized in ASD, is now penetrating its way in the Middle East to bring groundbreaking innovation in the Special Needs Education sector by offering VR learning tools designed to help improve social cognitive skills in autistic children.
Virtual reality provides conducive environments for children with special needs to interact with their surroundings in a different way, practice essential physical skills and support their rehabilitative goals. In the Middle East, immersive technologies innovation company VRXOne has been working to bring this technology to institutes and medical facilities for children with special needs, having recently conducted VR camp for the disabled during Bahrain Summer Festival 2018. Their One Million VR Expeditions program also puts a particular emphasis on the Special Needs Education.
Co-founder & CEO of VRXone and the ARVR & Ai Strategist MENA, Dr. Sana Farid belives that VR has transformed the domain of Special Needs Education forever, “There is a lot to be said about the way Virtual Reality has revolutionized the Special Needs Education by providing a customized approach and a unique set of learning and growth opportunities for students with disabilities, which was not possible before.”
Joining hands with Floreo – a VR startup working to help children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), VRXOne is working to extend the potential of Virtual Reality as a supplementary method to help develop social and communication skills for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. ASD is a developmental disability that typically restricts communication and interaction with others including difficulty in understanding complex facial expressions and to even recognize faces, causing significant social problems.
Unfortunately, little is known about diagnosis and treatment of ASD, and even the access to available therapy is limited for the majority. Although evidence states that early intervention treatment services can help with social skills development for children. To this end, Floreo is leveraging the potential of VR technology in facilitating multimodal adaptive social interaction integrating repeatable and supervised learning environments, automated performance data collection , and accessible, affordable therapeutic treatment. Floreo uses customized VR lessons to build real world skills that incorporate using/shifting eye gaze, cognitive development with the help of imitation and use of gestures, interaction in school environments, as well as various safety situations. Vijay Ravindran, Co-Founder & CEO of Floreo, talks about the pros of using VR for ASD saying:
“Virtual really allows the creation of immersive teaching environment that occur in 3D space, allow for repeatable practice, and can be designed to meet the learner where they are in complexity. We’re excited to partner with Dr. Farid and VRXOne to bring Floreo’s ground-breaking science-backed curriculum to the Middle East.”
The on-going research has already proved the effectiveness and usefulness of VR-based design system and places high hopes in the power of this technology to help bridge the gap between society and people affected with ASD by helping to considerably improve their social interaction.
Floreo is leveraging the power of Virtual Reality to develop a supplementary method of teaching social and communication skills for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Our VR learning tool is fun and engaging for the learner, while allowing a supervising adult to monitor and track the learner’s progress. Floreo is currently being used by schools, therapy practices, and parents. We are also running several research studies, including a study with the Center for Autism Research at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and National Institutes of Health.
VRXOne is a comprehensive virtual reality program for education and training.
With the use of creative and immersive technologies as well as hands-on practical tools, VRXOne offers cutting-edge customizable solutions applicable for any education or training environment in an efficient and risk-free manner while capacitating maximum optimization of productivity.
VRXOne aims at transforming the face of learning and development technologies in the Middle East as well as internationally by integrating a global operating framework interweaved with corporate and economic vision.
Goldman Sachs, a US-based multinational investment bank and financial services company predicts an investment of $700 million in the AR/VR applications in education by 2025. Will Mixed Reality in education also be as successful and promising contributor like other wearables applications in the market?
More than three years ago, the Florida-based company Magic Leap had released the first teaser video of its Augmented Reality glasses. Firm assertions were made by the company that the soon-to-be-unveiled device would be a disruptor and a game-changer in the wearables market.
Cut to August 2018, the much-awaited, much-anticipated, touted as groundbreaking Augmented Reality headset, Magic Leap One Creator Edition has been unveiled by the company. The headsets are available to developers in cities across the contiguous US.
The Creator Edition is intended for programmers so they can build applications and experiences on the platform.
Magic Leap claims that its device will present an unparalleled experience of ‘spatial computing’.
This claim is truly substantiated by the built of the wearable device. With elements like eye and hand-tracking technology that coordinate movements between the headset and a person’s body, Magic Leap devices have an aptitude of being more than just digital overlays. Its cameras, sensors, speakers, optical relay and a super-powered processor in the Lightpack give input to the visual system. It is linked through a wire to a small computer which can be clipped to a pocket.
With eight supported gestures, the device will maneuver the movement of students within the environment. It will also come with sensors to detect their movements. In a classroom, such kind of interaction allows digital elements to be a part of the real world. When such deeper interactions can be built in an environment, students experience a profound simulating experience where their real world is combined with real-like graphics. This brings them the best of both worlds. The simulations multiply their access to the world while they are still learning in their classroom environment.
Interestingly, the device can also react to the gaze, gestures, gait, voice and even the heartbeats of its user. This is made possible by tracking their geo-location in the world. A teacher can create penetrating learning experiences and show different concepts through an intelligent symbiosis of sensors, machine learning and visuals.
The Light Field technology used, enables the user to focus on graphic objects in the same way as a human eye would focus on real objects. Through this method, Magic Leap excels at constructing an altered or augmented world around a user.
In a demo video released by the company, a user was seen holding an elephant at the palm of his hand. While the elephant was a reel object, the user interacted with it much like it was actually present.
This is essentially where the device stands out. The reel objects are spatially aware of their environment.
So when this elephant would walk towards the edge of the table, it would actually fall down, just like a real one would. Through amazing spatial audio, the distance and intensity are devised with amazing accuracy and control.
Will Magic Leap in education be the groundbreaker it claims to be? Let’s wait till the user reviews start pouring.
Success stories are a result of courageous decisions. Nothing beats hard work and passion when accompanied by persistence.
Women in business are making big. Many working women out there are helping in making workplaces more inclusive and collaborative. A workplace with justice for both genders creates balance and stability.
It has been a known fact that women have excelled in education, even after women education hasn’t been a priority in many households. So what made things better on the professional front? While girls have won academic battles and brought home laurels, many other characteristics helped the world believe that women in business were an essential.
The proven ability of women in being emotionally intelligent helps them to understand their team, frame strategies, and win the support of peers. The revolution for women empowerment has helped us come so forward. And to fight the odds and come out victorious has only been possible because of never-dwindling courage of women in business.
Another factor that helps women succeed on the professional front is their ability to express their thoughts in a way the listener understands. Most women are able to present their thoughts concisely given that they self-introspect a lot. This can be another attribution to their well-preparedness.
When a woman is judged of being less capable, it instills some apprehensions. For that matter, when this woman will face a big client, or deliver a deal-breaking presentation, she will be more conscious, prepare more, work harder, to prove her mettle and contribute for the company growth. Challenges make a person and someone who has dealt with them will even be more prepared.
When a woman in a family steps out to make a living, it passes on to the future generations. Statistics have revealed that women with working mothers develop confidence and job preparedness better than other women whose mothers stayed at home. While home-making is a serious business as well, for women in business, it is certainly helpful when it runs in the family. The reason is simple – such women are aware of how hectic the job can get, accept their challenges well enough, and are more aware of the accepted payroll in the industry.
In various economic sectors, women are leading. A comparison between men and women leaders will be highly skewed, but the gap is decreasing.
Women leaders in professional, scientific, and technical services – 15.4%
Women leaders in real estate and rental and leasing – 9.5%
Women leaders in retail trade – 5.6%
Today, women leaders hold approximately 17% of the boardroom chairs in the Fortune top 500 companies against a feeble 9.6% in 1995 [Source].
Amongst the strong women leaders who shone in their careers are Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, Indra Nooyi, Pepsico CEO, YouTube’s CEO Susan Wojcicki, IBM CEO Meg Whitman and HP CEO Virginia “Ginni” Rometty.
Success stories of many curious and focused women prove that there’s no barrier that cannot be overcome. If you aspire to be a working woman, steer clear of the naysayers and clarify your purposes, and challenge your possibilities.
To do what you love and to love what you do, is the key.
Imagine you’re in a foreign land. You do not understand the language of this place, nor do you seem to know the ways. You happen to be alien to the language on the road signs and the money vending machine. Anxious and panicked, your hands stumble upon the pocket and you wish to dial up the number of an acquaintance or rescuer, only to find a blank screen, totally unreadable.
This might be horrifying to you, but then you know, it’s hypothetical.
For some people, it’s the gist of their lives. The world of visually impaired people is not much different than this.
Automatic gadgets all around and yet we expect the visually challenged to hold a stick and find their way. Scientists have invented more things than any Guinness Book will be able to record. However, very less has fallen in the kitty of the blind where their lives haven’t changed much.
Smartness is a virtue to some people but these people have to have it. From environmental challenges to social apprehensions, life can anytime throw unexpected trials.
What are major challenges of the visually impaired outdoors?
Traveling in a crowded metro and walking by a lane of fast moving vehicles can be dangerous. Down to this reason, people usually accompany a friend or family member.
Also, at the home or workplace, they need to be familiar with the blockages like a table, chair, doors, and any potentially harmful obstacle. The walkways need to be clear but not every place is made that friendly.
Even the public conveniences like toilets are usually not customized for blinds. Such challenges hinder the growth opportunities of these people and limit the possibilities for progress.
The simple yet the very important access, that is the internet is not available to many who are deprived of the advanced technologies. Obtaining and maintaining a job are also far-fetched dreams for many since people usually focus on the disability than the other abilities in them.
The world has developed but not much for the blind people. A century ago, a Brit photographer had invented a white cane so that his surroundings could identify his condition. A hundred years later today, not many path-breaking projects that could prove life changing for these individuals are present.
How is Augmented Reality helping Visually Impaired?
AIRA, a platform to the rescue of visually impaired people came into existence. The brainchild of the three enthusiastic professionals, Suman Kanuganti, Yuja Chang, and blind communications professional Matt Brock, the technology is intended to bestow autonomy and independent outlook to the unsighted. Through its transformative remote assistive technology, the differently abled person is connected with AIRA’s certified agents through an Augmented Reality dashboard. The certified agents are able to see what the visually challenged person faces in real life. The agents then guide them through the way and help them make sound decisions.
The concept is so simple and beautiful, that it’s amusing why someone couldn’t come up with the idea any sooner.
The meaning behind AIRA is deeper than you would imagine. Pronounced as EYE-rah, the technology derives its name from the combination of AI (Artificial Intelligence) and RA (an ancient Egyptian mythological symbol meaning Eye of Ra. The eye of RA is a representative of protection, healing, and the power to perceive.
Aira’s Certified Agents:
Joining the team means helping people and being soulfully satisfied. The unprecedented technology helps the blind enjoy the world and travel around without the need of an assistant all the time. With a strong desire to help people, AIRA makes it easy to explore the world through its real-time request feature which provides a virtual friend. The great feature is that the wearable device can connect to any smartphone pretty easily and is durable.
While providing help whenever required and wherever, AIRA is making a bold step towards the emancipation of those who were left with a stick.
Cinematic experience has never been the same again in Pakistan since the arrival of IMAX. The kind of immersive experience it provides adds tremendously to the viewing quality, excitement and entertainment. The good news is Pakistani classrooms will soon be transforming into much more engaging and immersive experiences enabled by Virtual Reality with Google Expeditions.
We have all heard the catchy phrase “When in doubt, travel!” The thing about traveling is that you learn more on an excursion than you do reading a dozen books on a topic. The reason being you are singularly focused, you are up for challenges and you are absorbing everything like a sponge. But as amazing as all that is, it is not always possible to travel especially when it comes to school trips what with limited budgets and feasibility of a tour. But all that can change if you don’t have to go on an excursion, but the excursion can come to you.
That is certainly possible with Virtual Reality. A multi-user, computer-generated environment, virtual reality enables learning through exploration of a world consisting of extremely realistic images and sounds – called virtual panoramas. The pre-programmed avatars or digital representatives of the user– in this case, the students – are able to freely roam these panoramas and interact with this virtual environment which is able to engage students fully and completely facilitating them to learn and understand optimally. These virtual interactions become particularly suitable in areas of study where concepts are difficult to elaborate like mathematics or where real experimentation and research can be risky, difficult or even impossible as in archeology.
Bringing the lessons to life for exploration in space, science, marine life, history, and art & design, specifically designed for K12 classes,Google Expeditionshave particularly become popular among students, teachers and educationists around the globe for their hands-on and comprehensive nature that allows for easy incorporation within the school curriculum. What if we were to tell you that students could swim through the mysterious depths of the Mariana Trench exploring the unique marine life there or walk the massive expanse of Grand Canyon or even the rocky surface of planet Mars just by donning a VR headgear without even ever leaving their classroom seats. Yes, it is as amazing as it sounds.
Since these virtual tours involve the use of sensory perception, it allows for the focus, learning and memory retention to significantly improve and enhance as VR enables students to “experience” the lecture. That is why VR in education is also termed as “experiential learning” or learn-by-doing. Based onEdgar Dale’s Cone of Experience, the best and most effective kind of learning happens through direct, purposeful experiences, allowing for information retention level to reach up to a remarkable 90 percent. This is a massive improvement compared to only 40-50% information retention in a traditional classroom.
It is immensely exciting for us as we look forward to experiencing this amazing technology in Pakistan as well and watch our classrooms transform from passive learning centers to incredible live and insightful environments. We can’t help but be enthusiastic about what new rounds of exploration and adventures will unfold within the confines of a traditional classroom as the world’s best program for VR in classroom learning is now headed our way withVRXOne.
VRXOne is already taking hordes of students on these fascinating virtual tours in the Middle East and receiving immensely positive response along the way.
Virtual reality is already changing the way students learn and understand things around the world transforming forever the manner in which instruction and learning is perceived, delivered, acquired and shared as well as applied to real-life experiences. By changing classrooms from boring places into interesting engaging panoramas, hard-to-follow lectures to memorable experiences, lack of interest to curiosity and creativity, as well as transforming students from passive learners to active learners, virtual reality is a complete packaged solution for a befitting 21st century classroom.