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VR and AR Look to Up their Game with Real World Business Applications

While Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality games were widely on show at the recent VR & AR Fair and Investment Summit, exhibitors were keen to highlight how the technologies are now transforming engineering and education.

Photo: Virtual reality: Your chance to try and out-Hulk the Hulk with impunity.
Virtual reality: Your chance to try and out-Hulk the Hulk with impunity.
Photo: Virtual reality: Your chance to try and out-Hulk the Hulk with impunity.
Virtual reality: Your chance to try and out-Hulk the Hulk with impunity.

"User experience" was the term most frequently bandied around at the recent VR & AR Fair and Investment Summit. During the course of the three-day Guangzhou-hosted event, much thought was given as to how said user experience could be optimised, via the mediums of virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR), in the worlds of car-manufacturing, education, real estate and, of course, entertainment.

Multi-Sensory Experience

Inevitably, gaming dominated the event, with VR the latest frontier that enthusiasts were only too keen to experience for themselves. Thankfully, a wide selection of the latest one-person shooters, arcade-style games and immersive worlds were all on offer, with attendees welcome to explore whichever took their fancy.

A popular choice with many was the VR Super Racing game, one of Guangzhou Movie Power Technology's more recent launches. Introducing this new high-speed driving simulator, Sales Manager Kang Yang said: "Authenticity is all important for a VR game and it's the reason why Super Racing has sold so well. In order to play, you have to don the VR headset and sit on the interactive chair, which rises, falls and rocks from side-to-side in line with the game action. There is even a built-in wind machine that helps simulate the feel of driving at high speeds.

"Should your car collide with another, the equipment will simulate the effect of the crash and you will actually be able to feel the impact. This kind of sensory experience is a vital part of VR gaming and key to success in this market".

At present, up to 32 online players can take part in each race, allowing participation in tournaments and online leagues. Further upgrades and additional content are set to be introduced at regular intervals in order to retain the game's user base.

Another popular offering from the company was VR Battle Knight, a horse-riding simulator that comes complete with an interactive saddle, said to authentically recreate the experience of being mounted on a mighty steed. So realistic is the experience that, according to Kang, players end up sweating and saddle-sore after a few sessions.

Photo: Skateboarding VR-style.
Skateboarding VR-style.
Photo: Skateboarding VR-style.
Skateboarding VR-style.
Photo: LightMagic’s 3D scanning system.
LightMagic's 3D scanning system.
Photo: LightMagic’s 3D scanning system.
LightMagic's 3D scanning system.
Photo: VR: Immersive and experiential.
VR: Immersive and experiential.
Photo: VR: Immersive and experiential.
VR: Immersive and experiential.

A wide range of VR games was also on offer from Guangzhou Quanyinghui Technology, with its portfolio now including VR Warships, VR Spaceships, VR Double Egg Chairs and VR Warriors. Said to be truly immersive, the company claims that players feel they have been genuinely transported into whichever of the many scenarios on offer they have opted for.

During the course of the show, the team on the Quanyinghui stand was particularly keen to introduce visitors to the company's range of multi-dimensional cinema products – projection screens, snow machines, special wind machines, smoke machines, water sprinklers, 3D glasses, 4D special-effect chairs, projectors, flash lamps and control-room equipment. Used in combination, these accessories are said to allow players to experience a wide range of authentic sensations, including rocking, falling, wind and rain.

According to Kang, Movie Power has also branched out and now produces a wide range of its own interactive cinema products. One of the most popular allows moviegoers to bring virtual ammunition into the cinema, giving them the chance to ally themselves with the film's hero and help shoot down the evil demon he is stalking.

Intelligent Technologies

The show's more serious side focused on demonstrating the more practical applications of VR and AR. This saw a number of exhibitors showcasing AR / VR systems designed to enhance operations in the automotive, educational, real-estate and precision-engineering sectors.

With clear applications in the latter, Suzhou-based LightMagic had on offer a range of 3D scanning devices. Using a watch to demonstrate the capabilities of these scanners, Sales Representative Long Jianghong took visitors on a trip that explored the inner workings of the timepiece, with each component clearly rendered via a combination of AR and VR technology.

Expanding upon the benefits of the company's scanners, Long said: "Our 3D scanning system is both smart and fast. A small object, like a watch, can be wholly scanned within 10 minutes, while a site of up to 10,000 sq m can be scanned in an hour.

"Using existing technology, it can take car manufacturers several months to scan and build a prototype. By comparison, we could complete the process in a tenth of the time."

Long was also keen to emphasise the role that 3D scanning and modelling could play in many other sectors, saying: "In the clothing industry, for instance, 3D scanning and modelling allows customers to virtually "try on" a range of different outfits in front of a AR fitting mirror.

"In terms of the education sector, while it is both time-consuming and costly for car-repair students to disassemble a real car, a combination of 3D scanning and VR / AR technologies allows them to easily dismantle a virtual car, while familiarising themselves with all of its component parts."

Photo: Watch and learn: 3D scanning in action.
Watch and learn: 3D scanning in action.
Photo: Watch and learn: 3D scanning in action.
Watch and learn: 3D scanning in action.
Photo: Simply Peerless: AR racing gets on track.
Simply Peerless: AR racing gets on track.
Photo: Simply Peerless: AR racing gets on track.
Simply Peerless: AR racing gets on track.

Enhanced Product Lines

With the AR / VR sector becoming ever more competitive, many exhibitors were at pains to demonstrate the enhanced features and upgraded capabilities of their systems and products. Foremost among these was Beijing Phantom VR Technology.

Keen to highlight the latest edition of its Peerless AR Racing Game, the company's stand gave visitors the chance to compete with one another in a virtual car race. The company's use of AR gave participants a view of a race course stretching out before them, delivering a truly immersive experience.

For Beijing Legend of Warrior Network Technology Joint Stock, its mission was to combine video-game excitement with an aerobic exercise regime. This saw it enlist VR technology to create a virtual trench-warfare environment, where players were obliged to complete certain exercise movements in order to progress.

In the case of Movie Power, it was intent on demonstrating the superiority of its new range of VR headsets. While users had frequently complained that earlier models had made them dizzy, Kang was confident that few would experience the same problem with the 2018 version.

With regards to other companies that made something of an impression at the event, Guangzhou Sile Animation Technology's range of race car, robot, tank and go-cart VR games impressed many, as did Jamma Amusement Technology's VR motorcycle. In the latter case, according to the Hong Kong-based company, players can experience all the bumps and thrills of a real race course as they compete against each other.

Finally, for time-pressed cyclists looking to get fit and go sightseeing without ever leaving home. Fuhua Intelligent Technology Guangzhou had on offer a VR workout bike. Coming complete with a high-definition immersive display and a servo, the system takes up very little space and is said to be easy to master.

Photo: Hitting the VR highway: High-speed racing simulators continue to drive sales.
Hitting the VR highway: High-speed racing simulators continue to drive sales.
Photo: Hitting the VR highway: High-speed racing simulators continue to drive sales.
Hitting the VR highway: High-speed racing simulators continue to drive sales.

The 2018 VR & AR Fair took place from 3-5 April at Guangzhou's China Import and Export Fair Complex.

Xing Bin, Special Correspondent, Guangzhou

Content provided by Picture: HKTDC Research
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