Category Archives: By Daniel Sternklar

ABB Introduces Augmented Reality for Remote Technicians

ABB’s Ability Remote Insights system will allow field service technicians to carry out tasks and communicate using augmented reality.

ABB is introducing augmented reality functionality into its Ability suite of digital enterprise solutions. ABB’s Ability Remote Insights service will give field service technicians an AR interface that includes remote guidance, screen sharing, and document sharing to guide them through performing specific tasks. ABB says in addition to improving the performance of technicians working in remote locations in terms of speed and efficiency, the system will improve response times and extend asset lifecycles.

The AR system can also be leveraged for training purposes and to improve worker safety, the company said.

“With this technology, an ABB expert can guide remote field service personnel through a sequence to replace a part, for instance,” Michael Kerley, research & development manager for pulp and paper quality control and web imaging systems at ABB, said in a press statement. “The high-level remote support technician can see what the local user sees via the AR device and guide them through the service action.”

ABB is supplying the AR software and says its system will remain hardware agnostic. Ideally the system will be used in conjunction with an AR or mixed reality headset such as the Hololens, Google Glass Enterprise, or Vuzix AR glasses. The clear advantage here is allowing workers to have both hands free for working and to use hand gesture controls to navigate the Remote Insights interface. ABB says the system can also work on smartphones, tablets, or other wearables as well however.

Traditionally an automation company, ABB has been at the forefront of implementing AR, mixed reality, and virtual reality into its enterprise product offerings. ABB’s primary focus in bringing these technologies into the enterprise space has been in playing up the remote access and collaboration applications enabled by AR and VR.

Back in 2016, ABB demonstrated a proof of concept that used AR to remotely control and configure factory robots:

The AR hardware space also looks to be falling in line with ABB’s ambitions. Google has pivoted its Google Glass into a strictly enterprise product. And Microsoft has promised a number of new features in its upcoming Hololens 2 including lighter weight, a wider field of view, and eye tracking capability, to make it a more attractive tool for enterprise users.

There are even smaller companies entering the AR hardware landscape. Earlier this year New Jersey-based ThirdEye Gen debuted its X2 Glasses, calling them the lightest available on the market. The X2 Glasses also come equipped to handle 5G connectivity, which is sure to feature ever-more prominently in smart factories.

ABB has said it plans to implement ABB Remote Insight into multiple industries and is currently working with “several field service organizations and industry groups in developing further augmented reality applications that will provide enhanced service delivery using best-in-class tools, tailored to meet customer needs.”





Foto: ABB Remote Insights will use augmented reality to train technicians and remotely assist them with repair, maitenance, and installation tasks. (Image source: ABB)

Veteran Spacewalkers Begin Complex Work to Repair Cosmic Particle Detector

NASA astronaut Andrew Morgan and ESA Commander Luca Parmitano
NASA astronaut Andrew Morgan and ESA (European Space Agency) Commander Luca Parmitano work inside the Quest airlock to prepare for their space walk to upgrade the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer’s (AMS) thermal control system.

Two astronauts switched their spacesuits to battery power this morning at 6:39 a.m. EST aboard the International Space Station to begin a spacewalk planned to last about six-and-a-half hours. Expedition 61 Commander Luca Parmitano of ESA (European Space Agency) and NASA Flight Engineer Andrew Morgan will venture outside the International Space Station for the first in a series of complex spacewalks to replace a cooling system on the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS), a cosmic ray detector.

Parmitano is designated extravehicular crewmember 1 (EV 1), wearing the suit with red stripes, and with the helmet camera labeled #11. Morgan is designated extravehicular crew member 2 (EV 2), wearing the suit with no stripes, and with helmet camera #18.

During the first spacewalk in the series to repair the AMS, the astronauts will position materials, remove a debris cover on the AMS, and install handrails in preparation for the subsequent spacewalks.

AMS is a joint effort between NASA and the Department of Energy’s Office of Science and is led by Principal Investigator Samuel Ting, a Nobel laureate from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The AMS team includes some 600 physicists from 56 institutions in 16 countries from Europe, North America and Asia. AMS has been capturing high-energy cosmic rays to help researchers answer fundamental questions about the nature of antimatter, the unseen “dark matter” that makes up most of the mass in the universe, and the even-more-mysterious dark energy that is speeding up the expansion of the cosmos.

Watch the spacewalk on NASA TV and on the agency’s website.

Follow @space_station on Twitter for updates online. Learn more about the International Space Station online, including additional information about the current crew members.

Spacewalkers Complete First Excursion to Repair Cosmic Particle Detector

Luca Parmitano of ESA attached to the Canadarm
Luca Parmitano of ESA (European Space Agency) attached to the Canadarm during the first Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer repair spacewalk on Nov. 15, 2019

Expedition 61 Commander Luca Parmitano of ESA (European Space Agency) and NASA Flight Engineer Andrew Morgan concluded their spacewalk at 1:18 p.m. EST. During the six hour and 39 minute spacewalk, the two astronauts successfully positioned materials, removed a debris cover on the AMS, and installed handrails in preparation for the subsequent spacewalks.

The duo also completed a number of get-ahead tasks originally planned for the second spacewalk, including the removal of the vertical support beam cover for the area that houses the eight stainless steel tubes that will be cut and spliced together on the upcoming spacewalks.

Today’s work clears the way for Parmitano and Morgan’s next spacewalk in the repair series Friday Nov. 22. The main focus of the second spacewalk will be the access, cut, and label the stainless steel tubes that attach the current cooling system to the AMS. The plan is to bypass the old thermal control system, attach a new one off the side of AMS during the third spacewalk, and then conduct leak checks.

In addition to the overall complexity of the instrument, astronauts have never before cut and reconnected fluid lines, like those that are part of the AMS thermal control system, during a spacewalk. To cut the cooling lines and complete other tasks in this series of spacewalks, scientists, engineers and astronauts on Earth have gone through several iterations of designing, prototyping, experimenting and validating many specialized tools in preparation for the complex work in space.

Space station crew members have conducted 222 spacewalks in support of assembly and maintenance of the orbiting laboratory. Spacewalkers have now spent a total of 58 days 3 hours and 8 minutes working outside the station. Parmitano has now conducted three spacewalks in his career and Morgan has now logged four spacewalks since his arrival on the station in July.

Keep up with the crew aboard the International Space Station on the agency’s blog, follow @ISS on Instagram, and @space_station on Twitter.

How XR Is Used In Airborne Special Missions

Mandy Langfield spoke to experts who offered their insights into the latest applications of VR and AR technology in aviation, including those for pilots, medical staff and maintenance crews.



Virtual reality (VR) is used by pilots to hone their skills, with current technology most commonly integrating VR headsets or multi-projected environments – sometimes in combination with physical environments or props – to generate realistic images, sounds and other sensations that simulate a user’s physical presence in a virtual or imaginary environment. VR systems that include transmission of vibrations and other sensations to the user through a game controller or other devices are known as haptic systems. This tactile information is generally known as force feedback video gaming and training applications.

Augmented reality (AR) systems are also sometimes considered to be a form of VR – one that layers virtual information over a live camera feed into a headset or through a smartphone or tablet device, giving the user the ability to view three-dimensional images. AR – which is related to two largely synonymous terms, mixed reality and computer-mediated reality – is an interactive experience of a real-world environment, where the objects that reside in the real world are ‘augmented’ by computer-generated perceptual information, sometimes across multiple sensory modalities, including visual, auditory, haptic, somatosensory, and olfactory. The overlaid sensory information can be constructive (i.e. additive to the natural environment) or destructive (i.e. masking of the natural environment) and is seamlessly interwoven with the physical world to such a degree that it is perceived as an immersive aspect of the real environment.

In this way, AR alters one’s ongoing perception of a real-world environment, whereas VR completely replaces the user’s real-world environment with a simulated one. The application of VR and AR to the air medical world comes in very useful for pilots, medics and mechanics.

Aviation application

When it comes to the cost of training for pilots, headsets that make use of VR are but a few thousand dollars and are thus infinitely more accessible to organisations with limited training budgets than FFS are. They also offer the possibility of training in remote locations – something that is of particular use to the military.

FFS have made use of VR for some time, but new uses of the technology are bringing more possibilities to the foreground. Toll Helicopters in Australia, for instance, has joined forces with Seeing Machines to launch an eye-tracking technology trial as part of Toll’s AW139 FFS at the ACE Training Centre. The trial is based on Seeing Machines’ Crew Training System prototype, which incorporates modern eye-tracking technology. The system supports aviation training instructors, pilots and crewmen with evidence-based data to provide detailed insights into pilot scanning techniques and situational awareness.

“The unique technology provides instructors [with] an objective assessment of what their trainees are looking at (such as speed tape, height, glide slope, heading, flight mode annunciator) at any given point in time during a flying sequence. The information can be used to quickly identify scan breakdowns, missed information, crew resource management (CRM) attention distribution, and standard operating procedure / Flight Crew Operating Manual (FCOM) adherence or deviation,” said Toll Group spokesperson Diane Tremain.

Darryl Humphreys, AW139 Standards Manager and Flight Examiner, described the tool as a ‘valuable asset’ for instructors and pilots. “For instructors, the ability to see in real time where a student’s eyes are tracking is remarkable,” he said. “You can observe, analyse and interpret the pilot’s situational awareness. In addition, having the eye tracking auto-recorded for replay during training debriefs offers pilots a comprehensive review tool and the ability to self-remediate areas for improvement.”

Japan Airlines (JAL) is one of several that is making use of enhanced technology to train flight crew. According to a Microsoft spokesperson, JAL is using the Microsoft HoloLens to train both pilots and mechanics. For the pilots, who had until recently been using videos and printouts of cockpit panel instruments and switches, the HoloLens means that trainees can convert ‘intellectual memory into muscle memory’, according to Koji Hayamizu, Senior Director of Planning for JAL’s Products & Service Administration Department.


Aircrew application

While pilots have been using simulators for years, and maintenance crew are starting to make inroads into its application, elsewhere in the air rescue sector, hoist crew are seeing more products come online that are being developed to aid in their skills development.

Off Planet Simulation is an offshoot of the Becker Group in Australia, which provides military flight training. In 2018, Off Planet Simulation was established with the task of developing training devices to meet specific needs, one of which was air crew training. Designed to meet the requirements of military and civilian SAR / EMS operators, the VR simulation device provides the ability to integrate rear crew procedural training and operational rehearsal in a virtual environment within a traditional static trainer.

Priority1 Air Rescue has two SAR Tactical Training Academies in the US and France. The company states: “Increasingly, effective mission training is not only accomplished by focusing solely on live flight training, it is now significantly enhanced by employing blended programs utilising synthetic aircrew training and use of virtual simulation.” It offers several courses, one of which is a virtual helicopter hoist SAR course using synthetic training devices.

The ACE Training Centre, run by Toll in Australia, offers training to operational and clinical crews from across the country, as well as internationally. The system was originally designed for military use, and Toll has taken the base line operating system and made it bespoke for their EMS requirements.

Colin Gunn told AirMed&Rescue more about how VR is used in the Centre: “The VR component of our training programmes utilises the Complete Aircrew Training System (CATS), which provides a high-fidelity and immersive VR-based training environment for aircrew and air medical crew. Traditionally, operators and trainers are reliant on utilising a live aircraft for training to maintain currencies and proficiencies. Through VR simulation, ACE is achieving a majority of these currencies and proficiencies, with a level of reliability and realism that cannot be achieved safely using a live aircraft. For example, the aircrew can practise winching a simulated intubated patient in significantly degraded environmental conditions that cannot be achieved or simulated in the live aircraft.”

This May, Canada’s Bluedrop Training & Simulation Inc. secured an investment from Boeing to develop a next-generation Special Mission Aviator Ramp Trainer (SMART) for the V-22 Osprey. The program was funded under the Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED), Investment Framework Transaction program by Boeing. The development phase is expected to take between 12 and 18 months to build a full-sized VR ramp trainer with a high-fidelity immersive environment, and enhanced specific mission capabilities including ramp operation, hoisting systems, and various mission critical procedural training capabilities.

Bluedrop has also been tasked with developing hoist mission training systems (HMTS) to the Royal Canadian Air Force 19 Wing Comox for the CH-149 Cormorant. The VR simulator provides high-fidelity cable behaviour that responds to flight dynamics and operator inputs with accurate turbulent flow zone rendering and complex rescue co-ordination scenarios. “Our HMTS is proving to be the standard for rear-crew training. We are so happy to be contributing to SAR operations training in Canada. Canadian SAR capabilities are a national asset and priority. Bluedrop values being able to improve operational readiness and mission effectiveness through improved training of these skilled operators in some of the harshest rescue environments,” said Jean-Claude Siew, Vice-President of Technology & Simulation.

Medical application

In the US, the Tele-Critical Care Unit at Naval Medical Center San Diego is going one step further and using AR-capable helmets for their field medics. Personnel in San Diego can provide real-time guidance to providers in the field using this technology.

AirMed&Rescue spoke to Captain Konrad Davis, Director, Navy Tele-Critical Care and Acting Director of the Virtual Medical Center in San Diego, which is going to start a trial by the end of this year in which the use of AR by field medics will be examined.

Applications for the US Navy could be far-reaching, particularly onboard ships where there are no doctors or nurses onboard, but those who have medical training could be talked through complex procedures by a trauma surgeon on land, for example. “The tools, technology and processes to extend specialist expertise into the operational environment is what’s being trialled,” explained Captain Davis. “The Army and Air Force have been granted funding to explore the impact of AR as part of critical decision-making processes.”

A trial using a reperfuse cadaver model will hopefully be completed by the end of 2020, the results of which will establish the future direction of the technology in the military. In addition, the US Army has a contract with Microsoft to develop a field-ready version of the firm’s HoloLens technology.

The funding of such trials is key, and probably why the military is going to be applying this technology before the civilian HEMS/rescue sector, although there is no doubt it will be of use to both. “The military personnel are in an isolated environment, and so need the additional assistance from specialists,” said Captain Davis. “They may not have the tools or skills necessary to respond and AR can make a real difference to the medical resources available.” The same could apply to HEMS operators that carry paramedics instead of doctors.

A challenge that must be overcome if the technology is to be successfully applied, though, is bandwidth, said Davis.

Maintenance application

For the JAL mechanics, meanwhile, Hayamizu pointed out that VR means they can ‘study and be trained just as if they were working on the actual engine’. No more waiting for an appointment or available aircraft. A spokesperson for Microsoft told AirMed&Rescue: “With HoloLens, customers can flexibly train employees at a lower cost and with high-quality results. Employees can learn by doing, with hands-on and interactive instructions, allowing them to learn new skills faster and with fewer errors.”

Helicopter manufacturer Leonardo, meanwhile, has developed its HeliLink digital product support engineering assistant, which provides a remote video-call support for maintenance technicians with AR. The company said that this ‘results in quick assistance for trouble shooting, improving helicopter fleet reliability and management’.

United Technologies Research Centre is working with Pratt & Whitney’s customer training division to invest in VR engine maintenance training for mechanics, with testing underway that allows personnel to go ‘inside’ a Geared turbofan (GTF) engine to examine certain parts and view a running engine in motion.

Current developments

NLR, based in the Netherlands, is working in its X-lab (‘X’ standing for eXperimentation and X-reality, which refers to a wide range of simulation technology) to create a mixed-reality training platform using VR and AR. The company points out that AR / VR technology allows for more flexible training than traditional Full Flight Simulators (FFS) do.


“The trend I observe is that training and simulations are becoming increasingly cheaper, more flexible and simpler to use,” noted Roy Arents, one of the creative minds behind X-Lab. Harrie Bohnen, Manager of NLR’s Training, Simulation and Operator Performance department, explained that the company does not actually produce the training course that aviators or maintenance personnel would use, but instead ‘brings together applied research, unique knowledge and expertise of aviation and new virtual technologies so as to develop new, innovative training concepts and simulations together with the user’. NLR is working with the Royal Netherlands Air Force, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, the European Aviation Safety Agency and the US Federal Aviation Administration, which it says helps to promote the exchange of ideas between civilian and military operations.

Anneke Nabben, one of the training specialists from NLR, teamed up with KLM on a project involving maintenance personnel using Microsoft’s HoloLens. She explained: “We wanted to devise something that would give students a greater insight into how one of the aircraft systems works. To do this, we focused the training more on cultivating understanding than on knowledge of facts. We came up with tasks that encouraged students to work with each other. We also got the instructor to impart the subject matter interactively to make it easier for the students to absorb. Technically, we supported this collaboration by interconnecting multiple HoloLens goggles to allow everybody to see the aircraft from his or her own perspective.”


Reaching new heights

The pace at which AR technology is developing suggests that it won’t be too long before there is an application for all staff members involved in SAR and airborne special missions. With many budgets becoming increasingly tight for operators, the ability to choose a more cost-efficient way of training all staff on one device, which can run multiple programs, is doubtless an attractive option.



Use of Immersive Technology in Healthcare

While some of the hospitals are not even equipped to handle these technological advances, many of them are choosing to invest in the same.


Yes, it’s true! By 2025, the world is going to see a dramatic change in the workplace and workforce. Immersive Technology is set to play a marquee role here. It’s going to change the way people train, learn and work. This innovative technology provides solutions in the form of Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR), and Mixed Reality (MR). All of which are designed to mimic reality with varied functional capabilities; Augmented Reality depicts virtual objects by keeping the users in physical realms, Virtual Reality immerses them into an artificially created realistic interactive environment, and Mixed Reality combines both of these to provide state-of-the-art experiences. Now, let’s dive in and understand how this technology could contribute to the healthcare sector.

Where Challenge Lies

Here’s a brief on the current challenges faced by the Health sector:

· Prevention isn’t Just Better, it’s Crucial

Statistics suggest that the Medical Industry accounts for at least 14 adverse events for every 100 hospitalizations. These errors may occur in surgical procedures, diagnosis, prescription of treatments/medicines, etc. To err is human but losing lives due to avoidable errors is a dent to the life-saving medical industry.

· Medical Information Explosion

The healthcare literature is ever-expanding, which prompts for continuous (and rigorous) education. Experts say that a General Practitioner must devote 21 hours a day to keep up with the latest trends. Achieving this in the current healthcare climate, which poses enormous demands, is downright impossible (nor can traditional training make up for this). This leads to a scenario where we have doctors who may be efficient but not educated enough to create success stories.

· Access to Technology

Access to technology is a prerequisite for all things concerning development. Referring to statistics, 23% of healthcare professionals complain that they have insufficient access to technology, and a few more feel they have no access to essential technical training. This hinders the performance of efficient operations.

· Training Methodology

The medical industry isn’t devoid of efficient and determined personnel. It is essential that these valued resources are provided with sound training to meet the demands of the sector. To achieve this, the medical training of today needs to be renewed in accordance with the modern-day advancements and standards.

· Availability of Personnel

Hospitals are finding it increasingly difficult to manage the intense workflow, which includes emergencies. The lack of available personnel for medical scenarios is among the most critical issues that need solving.

How AR VR is going to help?

1. Augmented Surgery

Technically speaking, AR as a surgical tool does what it is designed to do – it superimposes a computer-generated image on a surgeon’s view of the operative field, which provides the surgeon with a composite view of the patient, enhancing the operative experience.

That’s just a highlighted benefit, let’s understand what else it could bring to the surgical sphere:

· To start with, it can be used for surgical training, surgical preparation, and the very surgical process.

· AR is capacitated to provide imaging data and other patient information that could save lives and decrease medical errors.

· AR images can better portray major vessels, nerves, etc; onto a patient during the surgical process. This increases the safety of the operation and reduces the processing time.

· Multiple CT images and data displays do not depict vital cues concerning the status of the patient. A single AR visual display integrates all images and patient data, allowing doctors to monitor the condition of the patients better.

· The effectiveness of this technology is so convincing and proven, that the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) recently approved the OpenSight Augmented Reality System. The medical solution, embedded with a teaching version, is the first to be officially released for pre-operative surgical planning.

· Equipment forms the basis of any surgical process, the likes of which includes OT (Operation Theatre) screens. AR could replace and help cut down such medical equipment, thereby leading to cost-savings.

2. VR for Healthcare Training

Sound healthcare practices and behaviour stem from effective training methods. The impact of general training and awareness campaigns could wear off in due course of time. VR training, in contrast, has a lasting impact on people’s behaviour and retention; in fact, statistics portray that VR training has resulted in 80% of retention after a year of training, while traditional training showed a rate of 20% after a week of training.

Virtual Mistakes

The training method allows prospective experts to make mistakes virtually so that they could understand the consequences of the wrong methodology or incorrect behaviour before facing a critical patient. It is cost-efficient, as it can reduce the cost of healthcare training, which may otherwise be incurred through travel costs, operational costs of physical training facilities, and the usage of equipment. Moreover, it allows the repeated training of personnel with/without incurring marginal extra costs.

Virtual Reality comes with the added provision of recording and using actions for reviewing, debriefing, and reporting, thereby providing new opportunities for healthcare training data analytics and insights.


Like in almost all sectors, the medical sector demands coordination with other team members, in terms of medical emergency responses, the conduct of surgery with a team, etc. Such coordination is pivotal to patient diagnosis, intervention, and recovery. VR training allows medical professionals to train together and practice shared decision-making.

Artificial, yet Realistic

Virtual Reality is an epitome of all things realistic, through a depiction that is entirely artificial. To state it precisely, it can transport the users to the human body and portray how a patient would typically react to scenarios. VR rather showcases minute details of the body parts and replicates common surgical procedures with accuracy (note that word). Haptics, which is very much a part of Virtual Reality, even goes to the extent of providing these users with a sense of touch, while operating definitely artificial machines. And while cadavers and plastic dummies were previously used for simulations, it begs the question as to how effective it has been.

3. Rehabilitation

VR-based rehabilitation is designed with the capability of improving motor skills and effecting muscle recovery in a safe and efficient manner. Studies provide that stroke patients who were administered VR-based rehab training made a marked improvement in arm and hand movement after just four weeks of therapy. Patients suffering from cerebral palsy also responded in a similar way.

It is said that for every two seconds, someone suffers a stroke, most of whom need long-term rehabilitation. Current methods of rehabilitation are either way too expensive or do not cater to full-fledged healing. On the other hand, the new wave of rehabilitation (VR Mode), as experts say, is found to be highly impactful for stroke patients, given that it enables them to practice essential routine activities, create new brain connections, and bolster their confidence.

Future Trends and Challenges

Given the mammoth potential it has in making a difference to the world of healthcare, the future of Immersive Technologies looks promising. This is the first-of-a-kind technology that could manipulate and grab the viewer’s attention with a touch of realism, especially in an era where short attention and retention spans rule the roost. With benefits come challenges though, which primarily is to leverage the technology’s potential and make contents that are compelling. Notwithstanding that, It is safe to assume that the adoption of the technology is not only a step in the right direction but a necessity.

Healthcare facilities from across the globe are now utilizing immersive applications such as vein visualization, surgical visualization, etc. Development-driven healthcare professionals are researching areas that could potentially benefit both customers and businesses. While some of the hospitals are not even equipped to handle these technological advances, many of them (including third party companies) are choosing to invest in the same. A widespread growth is being projected as the technology is cost-efficient than ever before.



VR Is Finding A Home In Physical Therapy

Virtual reality has plenty of applications for fitness — you’re here, so you already know that. However, it is increasingly becoming a tool for rehabilitation, as well. Neuro Rehab VR aims to make physical therapy more enjoyable, and it promises to help patients more than traditional physical therapy.

Making physical therapy fun

With only about one-third of patients fully adhering to their rehabilitation plans, Neuro Rehab VR’s goal was to create a platform that was more engaging without making things more cumbersome. During the early days of the Oculus Rift, with its many sensors, that was not possible.

This was made possible with the Oculus Quest, which eliminated the need for extra equipment or wires. Neuro Rehab VR provides several different exercise applications that run patients through less-abstract goals, such as going grocery shopping. The applications are available for the entire body, and also include sports and combat.

In addition to being more interesting, VR physical therapy can have more effective results. Because of  the brain’s neuroplasticity, Neuro Rehab VR says playing games can establish better connections in the brain as you work toward concrete goals. This can, in turn, lead to more complete recovery. Neuro Rehab VR is partnered with Fort Worth’s Neurological Recovery Center. It has dealt with patients of spinal injuries, brain injuries, strokes, and multiple sclerosis. The team decided to expand and make its systems available elsewhere after seeing its success.

Neuro Rehab VR believes its systems can work not only in hospitals, but also for in-home recovery. The low cost of the Quest itself makes it affordable for rental or purchase by the patient. Therapists can see every movement patients make to determine if they are doing exercises correctly. Once the patient is feeling better, they’ll still have a device capable of helping them stay fit from within their home.



Image Credit to: Neuro Rehab VR

The Climb Comes To Oculus Quest December 3, Trailer Shows Graphics

The Climb is officially launching on Oculus Quest on December 3, according to a Facebook spokesperson.

This VR climbing game was developed by Crytek back in 2016 for the original PC-based Oculus Rift. It was originally developed for the Xbox controller, the Rift’s input before Touch controllers were released. However of course upon the release of Touch the game received a day one patch with full support.

climb vr
The Climb on Oculus Rift. NOTE that graphics will not look like this on Quest!

We gave The Climb 8/10 in our review, calling it “a world in which the mechanics are so satisfying, the visuals are so beautiful, and the sense of accomplishment is so real that you just want to continue doing what the game enables you to do so perfectly: keep climbing.

The game was one of the first announced for the Oculus Quest standalone headset, by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg himself all the way back at Oculus Connect 5 in October 2018. Radio silence followed this announcement however, even though back in June Crytek told us they’d give release date info “soon”.

The Climb was praised for its graphics when it released on Rift, and it still holds up today on Rift S. We’ve been extremely curious how well the visuals would look on the Quest port. Luckily, earlier today we got the first glimpse of this in the “coming soon” trailer:

It’s hard to tell from a low bitrate trailer, but the graphics look to hold up fairly well, considering the Quest’s GPU is around 10 times slower than the Rift minimum spec. The textures are obviously much lower detail, but the environment still looks stunning from a distance.

Like with past active games that have come to Quest, the wireless nature of the headset will likely for many make it a preferable overall to playing on Rift, even with the less detailed environment. We’ll make sure to give you our full impressions as soon as the game releases.

There’s no word yet on whether The Climb will support cross-buy with Rift, but we’ll let you know as soon as that information is available.

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Best Black Friday 2019 VR Sales And Deals

We’ve rounded up all of the best Black Friday 2019 sales and deals for VR. This list will be continuously updated throughout the month of November and has all deals for all headset platforms, accessories, and hardware.

This year Thanksgiving falls on Thursday, November 28th, which makes Black Friday November 29th. However, ‘Black Friday’ is just a marketing term nowadays and doesn’t actually mean the sales start on that Friday.

In many cases in the weeks leading up to the date you’ll find lots of deals already available and even that week many retailers will launch sales on the 28th itself or even earlier on the 27th and they’ll carry through until the end of the month. For example, Gamestop is opening its doors this year as early as 3PM on Thanksgiving Day.

Best Black Friday VR Headset Deals

Oculus Rift S w/ 2 Touch Controllers for $350 from Lenovo (usually $399)
PlayStation VR Bundle with 5 Games for $199 from Target (usually $299+)

  • PSVR Headset
  • PS4 Camera
  • Resident Evil VII
  • Astro Bot
  • Everybody’s Golf VR
  • The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim VR
  • PlayStation VR Worlds

Samsung Odyssey+ HMD w/ 2 Controllers for $275 from Amazon (usually $299+)
Pimax 5K XR OLED Headset Only for $999 from Amazon (usually $1,189+)
Smasung Gear VR (2017 ver.) w/ Controller for $98 from Amazon (usually $129)


Best Black Friday VR Accessory Deals

Xbox One Wireless Controller for $39 from Amazon (usually $59)
Logitech G903 Wireless Mouse for $79 from Best Buy (usually $149)


Best Black Friday VR System And Hardware Deals

Lenovo Legion Y545 with RTS 2060 for $1,099 from Walmart (usually $1,599)
PlayStation 4 Slim Bundle w/ 3 Non-VR Games for $199 from Target and Walmart (usually $299)


Best Black Friday VR Game Deals

Viveport Infinity 1-Year Subscription for $60 from HTC (usually ~$100+)

Not seeing something you want on this list? We’ll be updating this over the entire month of November and will probably miss a lot of deals. Stuff like SSDs, RAM, GPUs, and various pieces of PC gaming gear always go on sale so keep an eye out if you’re due for an upgrade.

Check out our article here on how to see if your PC is VR ready.

This article was published for the first time on November 15th, 2019.

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Carmack Focusing On AI, Apple AR/VR Glasses, And Win Curious Tale | VRecap

Another week of news and new releases means another Friday of our weekly news recap show VRecap. Buckle up — there are some big headlines this week you might have missed!

First up is the big news from Camp Carmack that he is reigning in the amount of time he spends working on VR at Oculus. For now on he is simply consulting with the company and is no longer the CTO. That doesn’t mean he is giving up on VR, but he wants to spend more time working on AGI (Artificial General Intelligence) instead right now — which could have amazing cross-over benefits for VR anyway.

Other than that on VRecap, Oculus is finally letting people customize and update their Oculus Quest home environment a bit, which is nice if you’re getting tired of that old loft apartment window. Apparently Apple is also working on a pair of AR glasses, which we’ve been hearing rumors about for years. Plus you can read our reviews for new releases like Stormland, Dr. Who: The Edge of Time, The Curious Tale of the Stolen Pets, and see why we don’t have a review for Golem just yet.

That’s a lot of big new releases this week for VRecap. Which is your favorite that you’ve played? And if you missed this week’s episode of The VR Download, we interviewed one of the developers at  Fast Travel Games about their latest release, The Curious Tale of the Stolen Pets.

Speaking of…that’s our giveaway for this week as well! Enter in the form down below for a chance to win!

GIVEAWAY: Win A Free Copy Of The Curious Tale of the Forgotten Pets On Oculus Quest!

Thanks for tuning into VRecap and good luck!

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