Speakers explain how technology is used in nursing, construction and law enforcement
Pictures of Ralph Freso
Morpheus in “Matrix” offered a choice of realities: the red pill or the blue one? But today’s realities extend beyond red or blue; there is also this stealthy green.
A trio of panelists shared their augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) work with Grand Canyon University tech students Thursday at the Cyber Center of Excellence. This was the first series of Deans of Technology speakers of the semester, and the first of the series that the department streamed and recorded live so that online students could attend virtually.
The conference, organized with the help of GCU’s Strategic Employer Initiatives and Internships, complemented what the technology department is doing itself in this area. Including Dr. Isaac Artzi‘s Human-Computer Interaction and Communication class, where students use mixed reality headsets such as Microsoft HoloLens and Oculus 2 VR glasses to bring their projects to life. A team from the research and design program also tackled projects such as creating an immersive crime scene simulation and human trafficking training for frontline healthcare workers. Then there’s the recently opened Virtual Reality Lab, which the department hopes will appeal to an interdisciplinary student body.
Speakers at Thursday’s conference distinguished between AR and VR: VR, they said, totally replaces a real environment with a simulated one, while AR simply enhances the real world with simulated elements ( think Pokémon GO, which places virtual creatures in the real world).
Next, they shared how they use these technologies to advance the various fields they have worked in, from construction to law enforcement training to medical training, showing how these technologies permeate all industries.
Joe Samynbefore becoming a principal engineer for connected vehicle optimization based in Phoenix, worked for a Michigan startup that focused on converting university medical school labs into VR and AR simulations for mobile devices and the reality headset virtual Oculus Quest.
His company would enter a nursing curriculum lab, much like GCU’s own nursing simulation labs, and observe students as they work with nursing mannequins or with actors who portray patients. They also recreated how nursing students interacted with objects in a hospital room.
“We just kept iterating and iterating and iterating until we finally got to a point where nursing students were like, ‘Oh yeah, that’s EXACTLY what I’m experiencing in my labs,'” said Samyn.
He shared with students some of the challenges he’s encountered, including working with Oculus Quest controllers that are supposed to simulate hands.
“But you can’t really grasp anything, you can’t really use your fingers necessarily properly, so we had to… figure out how to translate that into possible interactions based on what we had access to.”
“I don’t have the luxury in my space of being able to use controllers,” the panelist said. Lon Bartel, director of training and programs for VirTra, which creates high-end simulators to train military and law enforcement personnel. “…When I’m dealing with a soldier in a combat space, he’s going to have an individual physical reality with his weapons platform. I can’t have a controller that mimics where the magazine release is. … It has to be 100%. Otherwise, I create a training artifact that would really cost him or someone else’s life.
The simulators are mixed martial arts type octagons with five screens set up all around a trainee. Digital images are projected onto these screens, perhaps a victim of domestic violence on one screen, then an abuser on another screen. The trainees carry a simulated weapon and react to these images.
“It’s a virtual environment. It’s not necessarily virtual reality like you think it is in a headset,” Bartel said, adding that his company’s CEO turned to digital simulation after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks because he wanted improve training for law enforcement.
Bartel also talked about some of the problems created by virtual realities, beyond controllers that can’t simulate a weapon.
It’s the ‘strange valley’ issue – the idea that humans develop an aversion to computer-generated images. He compared it to the scary factor of the characters in the movie “The Polar Express.” His business relies instead on capturing human interaction with high-definition cameras rather than virtual reality.
“I know that this underlying psychological current is happening. … How do I understand that a soldier’s decision-making was based solely on behavioral cues or the odd valley – and that’s a problem. … I don’t have the luxury of allowing some weird valley effect to somehow come in.”
Another problem in the world of virtual reality: the motion sickness that virtual reality users can experience because the speed at which a user’s head and eyes travel through space is faster than what they see in screen refresh rates. Also, if the sound is turned off and doesn’t quite match the visuals, Samyn said, it can cause nausea.
Rosendin Director of Business Analysis dr. Jad Chalhoubwho also oversees innovative technology, said Rosendin uses both augmented reality and virtual reality.
In construction, everything is designed in 3D, but plans in the field have historically been presented in 2D. Her company started using AR once it became more mature to present these building designs to teams in the field: “They can see it at scale; they can see exactly what we want.
His company has its own app that takes 3D designs, compresses them, and places them on an iPad or Microsoft HoloLens.
Head of Technology Programs Rob Loywho moderated the conference, said he had heard that some VR technologies had advanced so far that you could see tears streaming down people’s faces and asked the speakers what the future of AR/VR looked like.
Bartel had the opportunity to test a Teslasuit, an integral suit that uses electrical stimulation to create sensations of cold or heat.
Samyn said he expects to see a lot of cool stuff in the infographic and more progress in AR headsets, which are shrinking in size.
But “we have a long way to go,” added Samyn.
He said his team should use tricks from video games to render the highest quality simulations.
“But even then, we were still getting, ‘Oh, that’s good enough to get the point across, but that’s not reality. That’s not realistic. I mean we’re there, but we’re not we are not.
Speakers also discussed their journey into the VR/AR world.
Samyn’s first degree is in audio engineering. He was a “studio rat,” he said, but what first got him interested in computing was that the studios he worked at were always down, so he started to go into electrical engineering and do the repairs himself. A professor noticed his technological prowess and suggested he talk to a professor who works in AR/VR.
This professor hired him at his start-up. Samyn started to dabble in C-sharp programming in Unity.
“That’s when I started realizing that I loved IT,” he said. He moved to Phoenix – his sister teaches at GCU – to get his computer science degree.
Chalhoub was a civil engineer before realizing it wasn’t for him. He was working on a master’s degree when he met a professor who was also exploring augmented reality and virtual reality.
“I didn’t know exactly about augmented reality and virtual reality, but I started working on it. I really liked it,” Chalhoub said.
And Bartel doesn’t work directly in technology, he said, but his career has taken him there.
Bartel’s advice to students: Be a team player.
He said his test for a candidate is that he gives that candidate a project. Testing isn’t how that person did on the project, it’s how they handle feedback.
“I need someone to look at other perspectives and interact with team members who may have a different perspective,” Bartel said.
Samyn, who has hired many GCU students, said if students focus on one thing, make it problem solving: “Problem solving in college is, can you Google the right thing? Problem solving when you’re innovating uses your brain and everything you’ve learned to try to come up with a solution and come up with something new.”
He said students won’t find tech jobs that don’t pay them well. Instead, he said, “Find interesting work and learn. It will matter more than anything it will come down the road, and I promise you the money will come.
Chalhoub, who added that identifying problems is also important, told the students that technology is changing so rapidly that much of what students will learn at GCU will be obsolete in 18 to 24 months.
But, he said, “The value proposition you will bring to any given company you work for is not what you know. … The value proposition you bring is how fast you can keep learning,” red pill, blue pill or whatever.
GCU Senior Editor Lana Sweeten-Shults can be reached at [email protected] or at 602-639-7901.
GCU News: High-tech student projects impress industry
GCU News: Present orbits around virtual reality projects
GCU News: Virtual reality project bytes in the Bible
#GCU #panelists #changing #reality #GCU #News