Virtual reality has been the buzzword for some time now in gaming. Games that promise increased immersion via headsets, specialized controllers, and 360 degree environments abound on the market these days, with many critics and skeptics holding that VR is still just a gimmick.
Yet while gamers debate teleporting gunslingers and part time job simulators, VR is not being limited to the realm of gaming. The corporate world has also turned it’s attentions toward the virtual worlds and wonders offered by these innovations. Imagine having to set up a conference meeting with important persons or just gathering your team for a presentation. What happens when that important client is unable to visually experience the product you’re trying to sell them?
Or, say, your training of employees operating complex machinery or going into hazardous situations is not producing the level of competence required, yet you can’t afford to put them physically into those situations WITHOUT said training?
Those are precisely the end goals that Hewlett-Packard had in mind when designing their amazing, powerful HP Z VR Backpack! From HP’s news release: “HP’s fully immersive and untethered VR Backpack is light with an ergonomic backpack design and hot swappable batteries to provide unrestricted freedom within an immersive experience. It has high-end processing power and the latest high-fidelity graphic solution to help prevent disruptive dropped frames so users can work in VR for as long as needed. The Intel Core i7 vPro processor provides the power to process applications quickly and includes the vPro chipset. The HP Z VR Backpack is the first wearable VR PC in the market with the NVIDIA Quadro P5200 with a huge 16GB video memory3. Finally, its docking solution lets digital creators quickly transition back and forth between high powered desktop for content design and wearable VR PC to validate creations. The HTC Vive Business Edition HMD (sold separately) is part of the HP VR portfolio. HP Z VR Backpack is scheduled to be available in September starting at $3,299 USD.”
So what does this do in terms of the advantages in the corporate world? An architect can set up the HP Z Backpack in its docking station, work on the virtual walk-through area of their latest design, then allow their client to strap on the backpack and headset and move around the virtual space and experience it first hand. Employees that will be required to operate heavy, complex and possibly dangerous machines can train extensively in a virtual space, where mistakes won’t cost any damages or cause injury. Business partners separated by distance can meet in a virtual space, review plans and products, and provide sign offs without ever wasting a second of travel. Even healthcare benefits from VR, as students can learn techniques both simple and advanced on virtual patients.
The high power of the Backpack and the products supporting it, both the Mobile and Desktop Workstations, the EliteDesk 800 G3 Tower, and the OMEN X Compact Desktop, allow for both a deeply immersive on-the-go VR experience, as well as a dockable, high powered beast of a machine for desktop design and play. Much of the current VR market keeps a person tethered to one place, so the increased mobility allowed by the Backpack can bring the whole world alive in virtual reality!
Not content with creating a high-performance tool for experiencing VR, HP wanted to create a deeply rich VR experience! Enter, Project Mars!
A joint effort between NVIDIA, Technicolor, Fusion, Autodesk, Unreal, Launch Forth and Vive, HP Mars Home Planet seeks to create what life on Mars might look like in a city of a million residents. How they dress, transport, live and thrive! Initially a VR experience created by Fusion with NASA as ‘Mars 2030’, HP and its partners worked together to design this new world.
As you can see, they envision a sleek new home, with tall, tightly packed pockets of buildings, glass tubes connecting them for foot traffic, and what appears to be sky ways for human powered drone travel. We are also treated to a brilliantly hued Martian sunset, as a woman stares out over the agriculturally dominated plains of Mars, now green through human ingenuity. This design project is ongoing, and if you wish to participate, you can join the mission here!
VR might still be learning to toddle in the world of gaming, but in the world of suits, ties and briefcases, it’s hitting the ground running! Perhaps at your next tour of a home, you can do so in a virtual space! Maybe your next round of job training will be with a set of goggles on your head and 90 frames per second of digital input. Maybe that car you want to try is available by taking a seat in this chair and strapping on this headset! The virtual world is an asset that is just starting to be understood and implemented, who knows where it will take us next!