The new HP Reverb G2 Omnicept Edition and software development kit will open new possibilities for virtual reality development and its impact on enterprise training, remote education, collaboration, and much more
➨ The HP Reverb G2 Omnicept Edition features sensors for sight and heart rate to provide insights for training and learning applications, and facial expressions for naturally expressive avatars while collaborating
➨ The integrated eye tracking of the HP Reverb G2 Omnicept Edition will also track gaze direction. This will also reduce GPU load and improve image quality within the user’s foveal region
➨ While the HP Reverb G2 will be available for $599 in November, no price has been confirmed for the Omnicept edition, which has been slated for an early 2021 release
HP introduced the HP Reverb G2 Omnicept Edition at the virtual VR/AR Global Summit today and billed the new virtual reality headset as the “world’s most intelligent virtual reality headset”.
The HP Reverb G2 Omnicept Edition is aimed directly at enterprise, offering sensing and tracking capabilities that promise to deliver training and learning results, while enhancing collaboration and design.
Building on the optics, inside-out tracking, spatial 3D audio, and improved controllers of the HP Reverb G2, the Omnicept Edition features sensors for sight and heart rate to provide insights for training and learning applications, and facial expressions for naturally expressive avatars while collaborating.
The integrated eye tracking of the Omnicept Edition will also track gaze direction. This will also reduce GPU load and improve image quality within the user’s foveal region.
HP is packaging the new headset with the Omnicept software development kit, which interprets all of this data via machine learning so that developers can use it to create new virtual reality experiences, based on how users engage and respond.
Any business conscious of the privacy implications of the headset’s data gathering capabilities should be aware that no data will be stored on the Omnicept Edition. Inbuilt firmware will safeguard sensor data at every moment of capture, according to HP.
In prepared remarks, Jim Nottingham, general manager and global head of advanced compute and solutions at HP, said: “We’ve designed a powerful, adaptive VR solution to dramatically accelerate the use cases for VR, its potential to transform society, and the way we interact with technology.”
“The HP Omnicept solution will open new possibilities for VR development and its impact on enterprise training, remote education, collaboration, research and development, and specialised wellbeing. This type of data-driven approach will be fundamental to creating user-centric experiences for better VR in the future.”
While the HP Reverb G2 will be available for $599 in November, no price has been confirmed for the Omnicept edition, which has been slated for an early 2021 release.
Speaking at the VR/AR Global Summit, Jeremy Bailenson, founding director of Stanford University’s Virtual Human Interaction Lab, discussed the science behind the new headset.
Bailenson and a team of experts have worked with HP for the past year to understand how physiology can be used to develop better virtual reality training experiences, if a headset was able to gather this data.
They decided to focus on cognitive load—how much of a brain’s working memory resources are being used—because it’s scientifically well understood and is a useful indicator for businesses reliant on people.
Bailenson, his team and HP ran a study of more than 1,000 participants across four continents. Each participant was assigned tasks in virtual reality that would test their cognitive load and allow the study’s organisers to understand what was happening to them based on their physiological responses.
The data from this study will be made available so that others can run their own tests, Bailenson said.
HP’s XR product manager, Brianna Havlik, said the company’s aim is to develop an ecosystem around Omnicept that is underpinned by the hardware’s capabilities but enhanced by its software potential.
As a result, the Omnicept software development kit will be available in three tiers, with the core tier offering free access for developers interested in gathering sensor data. This includes eye tracking, pupillometry, heart rate and face expression.
A revenue share model will be available for developers that want to build apps and make them available through HP’s independent software vendor partners, while enterprise developers will be able to obtain software licences for in-house development and deployment.
One of the first tools to take advantage of the HP Reverb G2 Omnicept Edition will be Theia Interactive’s Claria, a new suite of bioanalytic software tools designed to analyse a user’s physical responses while in virtual reality.
Utilising the sensors within the HP Reverb G2 Omnicept Edition, Claria can record and track heart rate, heart rate variability, cognitive load, eye vector, pupillometry and saccade.
US-based Theia Interactive says architects and designers can use this information to determine which builds command attention, while marketers can tell which locations and features within a virtual reality project attract a person’s gaze.
The biometric results recorded by Claria can be configured to provide the user with easy-to-understand results, including heat maps, graphs and videos, or huge amounts of raw data to help better understand what users feel about what they saw.
Claria is also designed to work natively with Theia’s Optim software, a suite of tools created to help streamline and enhance the creation process within Unreal Engine.
Bill Fishkin, founder and president of Theia Interactive, said: “It’s easy to look at something and know if you like it or not, but defining exactly what isn’t working can be much trickier. With Claria, we can determine how you feel about a design before you can even put it into words.”
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Main image: The HP Reverb G2 Omnicept Edition