Tag: VR technology

Virtual reality kits from Google headed to more city schools

The VR tech for students will be expanding by 15 additional cities through the Expeditions Pioneer Program.

Google has recently announced that it will be broadening the reach of its Expeditions Pioneer program, which means that it will be sending its virtual reality kits to schools in a larger number of cities around the world.

The idea is to provide students with a new and fascinating VR based learning experience in the classroom.

Google explained that the program is meant specifically for providing virtual reality within the class environment. In order to create its over 100 different VR journeys, the company’s developers worked alongside teachers and other content partners from across the globe, “making it easy to immerse students in entirely new experiences.” Alongside this announcement, Google has also stated that it will be providing the technology to 15 new cities, some of which are in international marketplaces.

That said, Google did not immediately identify exactly how many schools would be receiving the virtual reality kits.

Virtual Reality - Image of ClassroomAcross the United States, the cities that are expected to receive the VR technology kits include New Orleans, Las Vegas, Detroit, Baltimore, Orlando, Cincinnati, Alexandria, Phoenix, Indianapolis, Washington D.C., Salt Lake City and Portland. The countries into which this technology news will be taking steps includes Canada (Toronto), Singapore and Denmark. An unknown number of schools within those cities will be receiving the technology kits through the program.

The Google Expedition kit will be expanding through a partnership with Subaru and will include a tablet for the teachers of participating classes, ASUS smartphones as well as a router and the viewers that will convert the phones into VR devices similar to Google Cardboard.

The Expeditions program has not actually been around for very long since its initial launch, so it is quite interesting and potentially promising to see the speed at which Google has been broadening its reach. Many are interpreting the decision to add 15 new cities to the virtual reality program as an indicator that things have been going well in the cities that were involved in the first waves following the initial launch.

Google makes huge investment in augmented reality startup

The search giant sees a big future in Magic Leap.

Google and other firms, such as KKR, Andreessen Horowitz and Legendary Entertainment, have invested in the augmented reality (AR) company Magic Leap, and the $542 million the startup recently raised in a funding round led by Google, indicates that among some of the biggest tech companies, there is a large and growing interest in firms that provide 3D wearable tech.

Magic Leap hopes to one day replace smartphone and computer screens with VR interfaces.

The Florida-based startup was established in 2011 and is developing technology that functions like virtual reality (VR) glasses. When the technology is activated, computer generated images are displayed over what the wearer would typically see.

The company’s primary aim is to develop augmented reality technology in a way that will blend real-world images with three dimensional images, instead of submersing the wearer of a VR headset in an alternate reality. The company has created digital lightfield technology, which it claims mirrors biological processes, assisting the brain in making sense of the images it sees. According to an article in the New York Times, the company’s tech projects 3D images (“light sculptures”) onto the retina of the viewer.

Augmented Reality - Big investmentIn addition, patent filings have revealed that part of Magic Leap’s technology could involve the use of cameras, ultrasonic sensors and infrared sensors, which could help the technology sense the environment around the user and recognize gestures.

That said, beyond what has been gleaned from patent filings, what the company has indicated in the blog on its official site, and speculations from experts, it is not publicly known exactly what products Magic Leap is working on or what the company has up its sleeve.

Google isn’t the only big name investing in augmented reality devices.

Back in July, Facebook, the largest social network in the world, closed a $2 billion deal for Oculus VR, a company that creates head-mounted AR goggles. Likewise, Samsung is in the process of developing its own AR device, as is Sony.

As for Google, Magic Leap is only one of the company’s investments in augmented reality technology. Google launched a do-it-yourself cardboard kits for creating VR goggles out of smartphones in June and has also demonstrated Tango, an initiative that attempts to provide mobile devices with 3D sensing and mapping capabilities. Some speculate that while Magic Leap’s technology will come to market as a wearable that the tech could also be integrated with Google Glass.