Versoteq

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Synopsis

I talk about the real world and augmented reality. The real world is not the beautiful street where you can walk your AR robot, not the park where you find Pokemons but the real gritty world with poor phone and data reception, the problems of dirt, weather and so on. Where danger means loss of limb or life instead of tipping your latte.

Real World Problems

Most everyone knows that technology is made for “civilized” world where we have great 4G data, good infrastructure, cleanish streets and a café at every street corner. The western world is in most important ways a laboratory environment when it comes to such things as mobile data and voice, augmented reality and other such advanced things.

However, we live in a bubble we have trouble seeing out of. The real world is the rest 98% of the world that is in turmoil, at war, in humanitarian crisis, where weather and conditions alone can be lethal, the world covered in forests, ice, snow and sand. Where animal attacks, mishaps and violence are quick to maim and kill. This is the real world where technology too often fails, the real world where technology and the software powering it must be robust, hardened and rugged along with the rugged electronics. This is also why boutique and bespoke software is more expensive than your run of the mill software. These types of software solutions are extensively tested for faults, bugs and reliability. When your software is used by doctors or explorers thousands of miles in the jungle or warzone, in the desert or the arctic wastelands you do not get to do a quick patch to fix the problem. The software has to work and it has to work every time, no different than sending the Space-X rocket to orbit to send billion dollars worth of equipment into space. You get only one shot and failure may kill people.

Augmented Reality as a Guide

In previous blogs I’ve covered Boeing’s and other companies’ use of augmented reality as a training tool as well as quality assurance tool and a guide. Similarly, AR can be used in almost any situation as a guide. For example, when we look at a humanitarian crisis. In the developing world and crisis areas there are always civilians with knowledge and skills in some sort of medical aid and while doctors and nurses attending to the more acute trauma we could use AR-glasses with large databases of different non-invasive care guides. This could lead to crowdsourcing refugee camps so that already skilled people could be employed as carers to change bandages, do smaller care jobs and this way we can free up the skilled nurses and doctors to the more acute situations. Of course. I personally believe from experience that doing things and helping others will help the person doing things to cope with bad things better than just waiting on things. Naturally, your mileage may wary and above-mentioned example is far from perfect and does not account cultural problems into it.

While the cameras in AR-glasses are still far from perfect they can still be used to convey Point-of-View (POV) to another site and this can, again, help professionals do things they might not know how to do. The idea is taking the telepresence consulting idea and bringing it to medical procedure instead of just second opinion and consulting over the two-dimensional photographs and X-rays. In elevators and other technology there are cases where a telepresent specialist has been consulted and they’ve been able to draw on the mechanic’s field of view in augmented reality to help identify and fix problems.

We can bring this to doctors or specialist nurses. The AR-glasses allow specialists to see what the normal doctor is looking at almost in real-time (data streams, video, etc. are never real-time, but close). Also, if the doctor or specialist nurse is not all too familiar with the procedure the specialist can talk the AR-wearer through the procedure, just like in a teaching hospital. Naturally this requires steady and good and reliable internet service in the area through satellite or other such media.

There are other such things that can be done with AR, for example container hospitals and their setup might need only one engineer while the rest of the labor could be guided through the glasses.

Robust and Hardened Code

When dealing with lives and safety the quality of software is important as is the quality, ruggedness and robustness of the technology running it. This is why the physical systems will always need to be at least industrial if not military spec in order to be reliable. This means that the technology might not be the fanciest around but the most error-free and such that can be dropped from great heights, beaten, thrown, immersed in water for extended times and still keep going.

The software needs to match the physical part and this leads us to the bespoke and boutique software.

Many software houses speak of customized code where they take already existing code, software, and customize it to the customer. Versoteq of course does the same, however we also do bespoke software that matches up to the customer’s standards and needs. When lives are dependent on software’s quality the software has to be error free and if some bugs are found they must not cause crashes and have to be quickly mended. Software support has to be second to none and customer also has to own their bespoke software to allow them to have it customized or corrected even if the original creator was no longer operational. Versoteq is able to offer all of this to our customers as well as full AR and VR integration of software tools into the rugged computer systems.

Information Networks and Life in the Bush

In this case “bush” means the difficult situations found in the real world. Even in the industrialized, modern world networks can be spotty at times as everyone of has experienced situations where cellular network cuts you off, does not work as fast or as reliably as stated. Add to this the spotty satellite networks and difficult environment and you have a major problem. Add on top of this the medical operators’ need for consulting and data storage, retrieval, communications and so on and you have an ever-growing Gordian’s Knot of problems.

This is why we need to keep redundancies in mind when talking about data in the bush, all networks need to have redundancies, everything has to be backed up more than once and we’d suggest that even the software used in computers and other devices are also kept on site. Should there be a problem you can just swap a different drive in and go. Of course, network information packages need to be transferred more than the specs term needed, etc.

This all makes a difficult landscape of information but when automating data collating and forming a required picture of it Versoteq is second to none. Our software is, from the start, designed to work in distributed systems and through the internet, but also is quite able to return to work locally and go online once network is restored. All this without any problems when shifting between layers, no cuts or pauses in service. Because of the "distributed" use of local and cloud systems our software libraries and software are robust and use information networks sparingly and quickly with minimum losses making our software perfect for mission critical use.

Quality Assurance

Above-mentioned situations and specifications are such that they demand enormous amounts of work for quality assurance and here we strive to be the best in the world. We can provide fixes to our products quickly and efficiently. However, if the product is truly mission critical we can and have dispatched our engineers to the site to make sure everything is in working order.

While software’s ability to recover from error situations is always crucial it is even more important when dealing with software and devices that cannot be accessed by the IT helpdesk to help during the problem situations. The software and devices have to be intuitive to use, easy to understand and recovery has to happen with just a push of a button or flick of a wrist if the automatic recovery does not work. Even still this recovery must take no time and must not affect any critical systems.

Therefore boutique and bespoke software is more expensive than the bulk software customized by large companies. Everything is carefully and meticulously designed and created to keep problems at minimum.

Jaani's picture
06/01/2018 - 09:06
Jaani

HANDS ON WITH VARJO’S BIONIC DISPLAY

SYNOPSIS

I had the opportunity to visit Varjo and Jani Ylinen. I will be taking a quick look at the extremely impressive Bionic display HMD that takes the visual side of Virtual Reality to the level at which it should have been from the beginning.

BACKGROUND DATA

Virtual reality (VR) is a potent and powerful tool for teaching, learning, design and creating new worlds and experiences as well a gaming platform. However most know and see it from games even though it has been around for decades as a scientific tool. With the eruption of consumer level tech like Oculus Rift and HTC Vive and Vive Pro as well as the PlayStation VR this world of computing and computer entertainment has come to our homes. However the Bionic display is not a consumer system even if they probably will sell it to a consumer customer if someone wants to buy it. This HMD is an industry system and priced at the level while outperforming everything on that level.

ON THE WRITER

If you’ve followed my blogs you know that I see augmented reality (AR) as more pertinent tool for everyday life and see VR as a precision tool, but I am somewhat skeptical towards it mostly because of the quality and the usability of the HMDs currently on the market. I for one seem to have a larger head than the Vive is designed for and I wear glasses. Thus using Vive is anywhere from extremely uncomfortable to not being able to see anything for me. If VR is to really become an everyday technology it has to have the same possibilities and abilities as the current AR devices, namely mobile handsets. This means they have to work whether the user has a big head, glasses or is normal.

USABILITY

Bionic display (Bd) is comfortable even with glasses. It is the first headset I have tested that actually takes people’s eyes, eyewear and so on into account. The prototype I tested did not yet have the automatic Interpupillary distance (IDP) measuring and adjusting functionality integrated so it was hand-adjustable. The finished product will also include eye-tracking and focusing, which according to Mr. Ylinen, will work even with glasses.

The viewport in the HMD is interesting as you have a sort of a Heads-UP Display (HUD) in the middle where your vision will be at the sharpest. It took me a couple of minutes to get a handle on it and after that I no longer noticed it and the experience became a natural one. In my mind I believe that a VR experience that can be described as natural is the highest praise I can give for usability and immersion and the Bd deserves it.

TECH-SPECS

At the moment Varjo seems to project that their HMD, which uses Full HD and adjusts for the wearer’s vision, to be about 20% heavier for the computer running it than the normal Vive. I frankly was amazed because of this. The quality of picture and the over-all performance made me expect a Quadro and Xeon combination, however the testbed used was your basic high-end gaming PC with quad core at 4GHz, GeForce 1080TI and 64GB of RAM. This means that you can run the HMD on a laptop.

Currently Varjo uses Steam tracking for the headset and HTC Vive’s Lighthouses. Similarly the development is on both Unity and Unreal engines for the foreseeable future. While this gear is basic, the HMD is not yet Vive compatible and does not support gaming. This is a serious piece of industry tech for simulations, design and so forth. Perhaps in the future we might see gaming compatibility, but it is not important.

OPINION

I am not easily impressed with VR-hardware because of my standards. I believe that VR has to be easily accessed by everyone and currently it is not. Bd is not wireless (I understood Varjo is looking into this, but wireless technology is always problematic), but as it stands out it is far the best VR HMD and system I have ever used. My first contact with VR was in a Trocadero arcade in London in the late 1980s and to me they have seemed to have been stuck in in time ever since. I believe that the Bd is the first true leap forwards in decades because of the quality of picture, performance and comfort. Perhaps we will at some point also get some sort of cooling inside the eyepiece.

On Friday I found the future of VR, which Versoteq will support. All our VR software can easily be updated to support this HMD. While most of our customers will be quite alright using Vive or Oculus, certain types of software and projects are better handled with this level of technology.

Jaani's picture
05/22/2018 - 14:46
Jaani

We celebrate the International Women's Day by giving a tech blog post since there should be more women involved in technology. We'd actually thrilled to see more women in our company doing 3D software, so if you're looking for a position contact us!

The picture above is from an augmented reality (AR) demo of a collaboration software where one can teach the insights of a hearth. As you can see there's a business card underneath the hearth working as a target image. This has now become ancient history. Apple brought ARKit to iOs and Google followed fast with ARCore for android. Both of these enable mobile devices to show AR content on any flat surface. We're glad to see that companies like us get benefits from this competition, since now Google has published ARCore 1.0 which enables positioning content on walls and even on more complex forms. This will let us place the heart to your chest for instance or create curtains to your window frame with ease and it will work on millions of "normal" mobile devices. Apple will most lightly follow up soon and maybe provide us with even better tools to create stunning experiences but also value adding software solutions which will make a difference. We understand the technology, but the real revelations come from our customers once they know the possibilities, which we among others are trying to educate. So spread the word (especially to women): Possibilities for great value adding solutions for AR are growing!

Facebook is also doing development on this front by allowing people to publish 3D models online, so I'm going to share our 3D scanning reference piece when I'll share this post to Facebook. Be sure to check it out! Facebook is also developing on the 3D front with AR studio which is also a promising platform. It has very good facial recognition features which have produces many cool marketing campaigns from Game of Thrones to Star wars to Supercell. Even though many women watch and play these brands I get the feeling they aren't the optimal audience. More women in the tech scene would definitely help to create content which is aimed for all!

Rauno's picture
03/07/2018 - 15:58
Rauno

Laajennetun todellisuuden lasit ovat tällä hetkellä ainoa tapa tuoda laajennettu todellisuus (AR) kunnolla kaikkien käyttöön. Jotta AR vihdoinkin saavuttaisi ansaitsemansa arvostuksensa ja käytettävyytensä kuluttajille tarkoitetut lasit ovat ehdoton seuraava askel teknologiassa.

Lasit mahdollistavat ”hands-free” käytön esimerkiksi kännykälle tai videolle, jne. Eli helpoimmillaan mobiililaite tuodaan käyttäjän näkökenttään isolla ruudulla. Parhaimmillaan GPS, kuva- ja ääniteknologia mahdollistavat tietokoneen luoman todellisuuden ja esittämän tiedon esittämisen oikean maailman päällä. Näin käyttäjälle luodaan laajennettu tai ”tehostettu” todellisuus.

AR-lasien kuvan esittämisessä on käytännössä kaksi ”koulukuntaa” jotka ovat ns. kaareva peili ja aalto-ohjain. Peilillä on montakin haastetta: kuvan väärä muoto ja pieni alue jolla silmä näkee kuvan. Ehkä pahimpana on lähettimen paikka ja näin käyttäjän kärsimä näköeste. Nämä ongelmat ovat kalliita ratkaista ja näin peililaseista ei ole tullut suosittuja.

Waveguide, aalto-ohjain, laseissa on monia eri tapoja ohjata kuva silmään, mutta näilläkin on omat ongelmansa, mutta myös vahvuutensa. Tässä artikkelissa tarkastellaan järkevän hintaisia, siis kuluttajille sopivia, teknologioita. Koska nämä teknologiat ovat suhteellisen uusia nousevat niiden ongelmat päällimmäisiksi.

Difraktio-laseissa käytetään hiloja kuvan luomiseen. Tämä on ns. Nokian malli ja esimerkiksi Vuzix on lisensoinut sen itselleen, myös Microsoft käyttää sitä HoloLens-laseissaan. Kyseessä on erittäin käyttökelpoinen teknologia, mutta tällä on myös haasteita, joiden takia teknologia ei ole yleistynyt. Ohjaimen luominen on kallista, koska siihen joudutaan luomaan nanometrisiä ritilöitä, joilla valo ohjataan ohjaimen sisällä. Samalla valo menettää muotonsa ja luo sateenkaariefektin näkökenttään. Siksi tämä onkin parhaimmillaan monokrominäytön kanssa. Kolmas kehityskohde on kapea näkökenttä. Vaikka tämä onkin erittäin käyttökelpoinen tapa luoda lasit, sen sisäiset ongelmat vaativat paljon prosessointia ja laite on kallis valmistaa. Edellä mainituista asioista huolimatta parhaat AR-lasit käyttävät tällä hetkellä difraktiota kuvan luomiseen.

Holografiset lasit kärsivät myös sateenkaariefektistä, kapeasta näkökentästä ja suurimpana haasteena on vain yhden värin läpäisy kerrallaan. Näin tarvitaan kolme lähetintä luomaan täysi kuva: punainen, vihreä ja sininen. Ihmisen silmä on erittäin hyvä huomaamaan värien erot ja näin holografiset lasit kärsivätkin epätasaisesta värien sekoituksesta. Sony ja Konica-Minolta ovat uranuurtajat tällä teknologialla, mutta tämä teknologia kuitenkin poikii edelleen uusia yrittäjiä, mutta vain Sony on saanut markkinoille toimivan laitteen. Jälleen palaamme monokromaattiseen valoon ja tuotteen hintaan. Näin tämä ei sovellu kunnolla kuluttajille.

Polarisoivaa aallonohjainta on käyttänyt Israelilainen Lumus, mutta he ovat siirtyneet heijastavaan aallonohjaimeen. Polarisoinnissa on todella monta käytännön ongelmaa: linssien tekeminen on anteeksiantamatonta ja täydelliselläkin tuotteella menetetään noin 70 prosenttia valosta ja läpäisystä. Näin käyttäjän näkökenttä sumenee pahasti, mutta näköalue on laaja. Silti tällä teknologialla on paljonkin käyttöarvoa, mutta kuluttajamarkkinoiden ulkopuolella.

Tällä hetkellä paras aalto-ohjain teknologia perustuu heijastavaan aallonohjaimeen, siis mediaan. Linssin aineena voidaan käyttää muovia ja väriongelmia ei ole, koska heijastaminen tapahtuu suorilla peileillä. Ehkäpä tärkeimpänä kuitenkin on se, että tämä teknologia ei käytä eksoottisia materiaaleja tai kemikaaleja, joten kustannukset saadaan pidettyä järkevinä. Samoin tehonkulutus on pientä, koska valon polarisaatiota ei ole ja näin voidaan käyttää mitä tahansa näyttöä alkuperäisen kuvan luomiseen. Niin Optinvent kuin Lumuskin käyttävät tätä teknologiaa. Epsonin Moverio-laite käyttää samaa ideaa. Googlen Google Glass on hiukan poikkeava, mutta silti periaatteessa samaan teknologiaan pohjautuva laite. Suurimpana ongelmana tällä teknologialla on se, että näyttöalue on yhtä iso kuin heijastava linssi paksu.

    Miksi siis käyttää AR-laseja tulevaisuudessa?
  1. AR-lasit kehittyvät teknologian kehittyessä. Alkuperäinen matkapuhelin on ihan erilainen kuin nykypäivän kännykkä.
  2. AR-lasit toimivat ja niitä on hyvä käyttää. Kannattaa aina kokeilla ennen hankintaa.
  3. AR-lasit mahdollistavat laajennetun todellisuuden töissä ja ovat työkalu. Kännykän AR-käyttö on hankalaa ja oikeasti tarvitset kummatkin kätesi työntekoon.
  4. Ne mahdollistavat laajennetun todellisuuden oikean käytön. AR on muutakin kuin työkalu ja lelu. Sille voidaan luoda mitä tahansa peleistä navigaatioon, lokaation perustuvaan sisältöön, jne. Lasit ovat ainoa aikoa immersiivinen ovi uuteen maailmaan.

Kaikilla teknologioilla on omat ongelmansa kuvan luonnissa ja tehon käytössä, mutta parhaimmat tulokset tähän asti on saatu niin difraktio-laseilla kuin heijastavillakin ja näin Versoteq voi suositella vain näitä kahta eri teknologiaa. Erikoisuutena ovat Lumusin uudet waveguide-heijastusnäytöt. Kyseinen yhtiö myy myös pelkkiä näyttöjä ja näin niillä voidaan luoda uudenlaisia AR-laitteita ja tuoda AR-näytöt eri tavoin käyttöön.

Tulen myöhemmin tekemään listauksen hyvistä laseista, mutta kannattaa aina muistaa, että teknologia sinällään ei ole tärkein, vaan käyttötarpeita vastaavat tuotteet, ohjelmistot ja varsinkin käyttöliittymä. Tästä Applen iPhone on loistava esimerkki. Alkujaan puhelimen teknologia ei ollut mitään erikoista ja tuskin erosi massasta. Laitteen suurin juju oli käyttöliittymä ja sen luomat mahdollisuudet. AR-tuotteita pitää lähestyä samalla lailla. Kaikkea teknologiaa voidaan hyödyntää, mutta jos perus ajatusta ei ole viety tarpeeksi pitkälle on tuote valmiiksi kuollut. Siksi meihin Versoteqillä kannattaa ottaa yhteyttä. Meillä on paljon osaamista niin elektroniikan kuin ohjelmistojen puolelta. Samalla meidän ohjelmistomme aina räätälöidään käyttötarpeen mukaan helppokäyttöisiksi.

Lähde ja lisää luettavaa: http://www.optinvent.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/Position-Paper-AR-Gl...

Jaani's picture
11/24/2017 - 15:31
Jaani

Check out the great introduction to use cases of augmented and virtual reality within the heavy industry.
Full article in Finnish

Summary in English:
AR and VR technology are moving fast and adopted by more and more companies around the world. Both Apple and Google are releasing developer tools to enable AR content on new smart phones. AR glasses are not yet a big thing in the consumer market, but they're being used for various tasks inside companies. New standalone VR glasses are coming with an adoptable price range of 200 euros. Virtual reality is expected to emerge first, but augmented reality is going to be bigger in the future. Great thing about experimenting now is that the developed applications can be used with future devices. Also if one should develop a VR application now, the software can be ported to AR in the future with small efforts.

For the heavy industry main use cases for AR are:

  • Assembly - Live instructions, checks for quality and manuals when ever need
  • Maintenance - Live instructions and remote expert knowledge via internet
  • Internet of Things - Sensor data displayed while looking at the device or production line
  • Quality control - Track errors instantly while working
  • Automation - Simple and even more complex reporting can be automated
  • Inventory - Aid in logistics, reporting and checks

Main use cases for VR are:

  • Virtual prototyping - Saves a lot of money if some of the physical prototyping steps can be skipped
  • Collaboration - Work on the products in virtual environment
  • Training - In the virtual space you can allow errors, give feedback and train people for the real thing
  • Remote operation - Devices can be operated though the virtual space
  • Planning - Virtual check of the production line or product before it has even been built

Contact Versoteq to book a time to discuss your potential:
Rauno Huttunen
0503099104
rauno.huttunen@versoteq.com

Rauno's picture
10/16/2017 - 12:02
Rauno

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