Laying out spaces with virtual and augmented reality

Full immersion with the Oculus Rift 2

IRT Jules Verne
At the second National IRT Forum that took place on October 21, 2014 in Nantes, France, b<>com gave four demonstrations, illustrating its three field of activity: Networks & security, hypermedia, and e-health.

Our visit to the b<>com booth starts with Jérôme Royan, Immersive Interactions lab Manager, telling us about the use of mixed reality for fitting out rooms.

Virtual reality, mixed reality, and remote collaboration are all concepts you touch on in your presentation. What actual scenario did you demonstrate?

To illustrate our research into interacting with data in immersive mode, we have chosen to focus on room layouts. b<>com itself will soon be offering spaces to lease for events like meetings, seminars, presentations, and more. The idea for the demo is to show how a potential occupant can use an Oculus headset to explore the volume of the spaces, choose a configuration to fit his or her needs (cocktail party, conference, etc.), customize the placement of furniture with a 3D joystick, add or remove options, and see the results in real time with full immersion. What b<>com can provide on top of that is a remote assistant who can help using a "pseudo-holographic" Zspace tablet.

Cyndie Martin, b<>com engineer, details the options for laying out a b<>com Hypermeeting Space

IRT Jules Verne

How did visitors react?

Many of them enjoyed the feeling of immersion they got from the realistic images and virtual reality headset.

Why did you choose layouts of space for this demo?

We had the opportunity to make ourselves the use case because right now we're fitting out our own campus (to be completed by the end of the year). Real estate and urban planning are dynamic fields that are always looking for new technologies to better customize the solutions on offer, approve the plans, or help clients visualize the end result. However, we are also working with heavy industry, because we feel that remote collaboration has applications in the maintenance sector. The "factory of the future" is a frequent topic of discussion. Because these interactive solutions are fully adaptable, we believe there are applications in medicine, tourism, art, culture, and entertainment, to name just some.

The remote expert helps the client customize the space

IRT Jules Verne

What issues are being addressed by your laboratory?

First, we're working to facilitate interaction with large quantities of data in an immersive environment. Second, we're trying to erase the perceived distance in immersive collaboration. Finally, and this is critical to the success of these devices, we're trying to offer the user the best possible experience. To do so, we're working together with the Usage and Acceptability lab to look into what is needed to make these virtual and augmented reality systems psychologically and physiologically acceptable.

The lab is also heavily involved in the Augmented Reality Plan that is part of the government's New Industrial France initiative.