The notion of existence of parallel worlds or universes has intrigued mankind for a long time and we keep trying to find a passageway into those mysterious worlds. While those efforts are still underway and have yet to see any success, we already have the virtual world in our access with increasing control through the use of immersive technologies like Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality or both,
This virtual world gives us complete control in a simulated environment and lets us be more creative and experimental with what is possible. This ability to control, experiment, learn and apply, is transforming the classroom experience all around the world. There is nothing better to make a child become more focused and learn better than by transporting them to a wonder world. As of now, this is the impact that these immersive virtual experiences are having on young minds where the two worlds of imagination and knowledge meet together.
What’s more exciting is that the technical and hardware limitations are also being progressively overcome by premium tech companies such as HTC, and we are able to do more within these virtual environments without breaking contact with the outside world. Dr. Sana Farid, the ARVR & Ai Strategist and Co-founder & CEO of VRXOne, has been taking HTC VIVE to classrooms all over Middle East, and has talked about her experience saying, “We have found HTC to be a game-changing experience in VR education. It has been a great experience exploring the potential of experiential learning and bringing classroom lessons to life with VIVE and the highly immersive platform of Lifeliqe, and we are hoping that the VR education will become still more enhanced in future.” Making school lessons fun and exciting, Lifeliqe is a visual learning platform that offers an extensive range of digital curriculum including highly interactive 3D as well as AR, VR and MR models designed for STEM learning.
Going back to the hardware, HTC VIVE FOCUS, the world’s first standalone virtual reality headset, actually packs some great updates to that end including smartphone integration which enables us to receive calls, messages and even view social media notifications within the FOCUS VR interface without having to take off the headset. Additionally, we have more control via FOCUS with the inclusion of gesture recognition, greater Depth of Field (6DoF) and better battery life as well as the Passenger and Surroundings modes. The ‘Passengers’ mode lets us enjoy a seated VR experience without tracking constraints whereas ‘Surrounding’ mode lets us view our surrounding real world through the Focus camera which means we don’t have to remove the headset every time we need to do something outside of the virtual world.
Alvin Wang Graylin, the China President of Vive at HTC, certainly has a bright vision for the VR future, “Standalone is a trend that will become the mass market product”, adding further he said, “I believe that VR can change the world.”
Indeed, standalone devices will have a big impact on the VR market increasing the overall accessibility and usability of the technology. As per the Technovio’s Market Research Report the global virtual reality market in education sector is expected to grow at a CAGR of over 59% until 2022 whereas the VR gear in education market is expected to reach $1,060.87 million in 2021. These are huge statistics for VR market and we certainly can’t wait for VR technology to become mainstream in education.
As the Virtual Reality continues to grow and emerge, the pool of VR tech companies and ventures continues to expand as well. The future potential of VR technology has opened up countless venues for the tech companies to identify and capture the market opportunities. However, at the moment, the VR hardware remains at the center of it all to give it a greater push in making it a commercially viable technology.
Among the giants, Homido is a well-respected, internationally recognized name in the field of Virtual Reality. Headquartered in Lille, North of France, Homido specializes in mobile app development, 3D cinema, product design, manufacturing and logistics. Homido offers cutting-edge VR headsets in three different categories called Homido V2, Homido Grab, Homido Mini.
Homido V2 and Homido GRAB are wireless VR headsets for smartphones (Android & iOS), with 100 degrees FOV (Field of View), a built-in action button that makes it possible to operate the smart phone without having to remove it from the viewer as well as a transparent front which makes them compatible for Augmented Reality Apps. V2 also features adjustable focal settings and a repositionable foam band that ensures optimal comfort and support for lengthy use. Grab is comparatively compact and lightweight, and a certified Google Cardboard. Homido Mini is an amazing little handy product – compact, affordable, adjustable and extremely convenient VR glasses that are ideal for experiencing VR anywhere, anytime.
Homido will be joining VRXOne for taking Google Expeditions to schools in the Middle East region as well. In the UK, Homido has already been involved with Expeditions (link). Homido Grab headsets will be part of the Virtual Reality kits used for the program in the classrooms.
Moreover, fortunately for VR enthusiasts in the Middle East, they will now be able to enjoy these amazing VR gadgets as Homido products will very soon be available in the ME market. Spurred by governmental pursuit of green technologies as well as renewed corporate focus for innovation, the Middle East is one of the fastest growing and most promising region for Virtual Reality, in gaming, enterprise applications and, increasingly, in edu-tech as well. As per the regional sources, only the MENA computer gaming market accounts for almost US1.5bn, and is expected to keep growing at a rapid rate, attracting most of the revenues from Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region. (link)
Top Virtual Reality Apps
Let us now look at some of the top VR apps, compatible with Google Cardboard, which can be explored for education purposes using Homido headsets.
Google Expeditions is a virtual reality teaching tool that lets you lead or join immersive virtual trips all over the world — get up close with historical landmarks, dive underwater with sharks, even visit outer space. Built for the classroom and small group use, Google Expeditions allows a teacher acting as a “guide” to lead classroom-sized groups of “explorers” through collections of 360° and 3D images while pointing out interesting sights along the way.
Unimersiv is one of the largest platforms for VR educational experiences. By downloading the app, you will have access to multiple experiences that will let you learn about history, space or the human anatomy.
The Discovery VR app has always been about driving curiosity – exploring new places, characters and ideas. With VR videos, Discovery embraces a new opportunity to tell these amazing stories immersing you in experiences like never before. We’re excited about what virtual reality will show us, and we’ll be adding new content regularly.
Sites in VR
Virtual tours of landmarks from Turkey, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Morocco, Kuwait, Yemen, Macedonia, Holland, Belgium, France and Space. Examine the marvels of Islamic architecture, visit mosques, tombs, palaces of sultans, museums, inns, baths, castles, towers, old houses, squares, parks, nature, religious sites, ancient cities, space and other places with more than a thousand 360 degree panoramic images in high quality
InMind 2 is an adventure game which places emphasis on the chemistry behind human emotion, greatly inspired by the Pixar/Disney movie “Inside Out” and (more scientifically) Lövheim’s theory of emotions. You’ll take part in the process of one teenager named John becoming an adult, and help shape John’s future self, while experiencing an exciting journey inside the human brain.
Bringing the arts to life through innovative VR technology. Boulevard is reshaping the landscape of storytelling and revolutionizing the way the world looks at art and culture.
VirtualSpeech – Public Speaking VR
The VirtualSpeech app helps you practice your public speaking, interview skills, sales, networking and mindfulness, by providing immersive virtual reality environments to train in.
Create and animate your own virtual worlds. Add coding to your creations in the companion web app and watch your worlds come to life, even in virtual reality.
Titans of Space
An interactive way to teach your students about the solar system, Titans of Space provides an in-depth tour of planets and stars in the galaxy. With great music and entertaining visuals, it makes learning about the solar system much more exciting.
A unique and totally immersive learning experience, using Anatomyou is like taking a non-invasive trip inside the human body to learn more about its various systems (i.e. respiratory, digestive, circulatory and more).