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Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. (QTI) held its second XR Ecosystem Conference on September 5th, 2020 in Nanchang, China to discuss industry development trends, the integration of mobile technologies such as XR and 5G, and to promote communication, cooperation, and future opportunities for the XR industry. Among the attendees were equipment manufacturers, operators, platform suppliers, content providers, local governments, and other key partners from the XR industry.
The conference hosted an awards ceremony to announce the winners of our 2020 XR Innovation Challenge. The challenge required developers to create exciting XR applications in one of six categories: VR Game, VR Application, VR Education, VR Industry, AR Industry, and Esurfing 5G XR. The challenge was jointly supported by QTI and China Telecom, co-organized by three AR/VR leading technology companies: Pico, Shadow Creator, and iQiyi, and supported by 3D content creation engine Unity.
The top award winners of the non- gaming categories were as follows:
- Esurfing 5G XR Category: Tong Fang of Chongqing Shangcheng Technology Co., Ltd., who developed ID Home MR, a home décor visualization application.
- VR Education Category: Haopeng Yang of Beijing Yinxudengxian Technology Co., Ltd., who developed Mage VR, a language learning application.
- AR Industry Category: YiYang Zhao of MedInsight, who developed Persp 3D, an application for XR-based neurosurgery medical imaging.
In this blog we will learn more about these applications, and in a future blog we will visit with winners in the gaming category.
Making Home Furnishing a Reality, Anywhere
Traditionally you probably furnished your home by visiting a store to view products in pre-designed settings, and then brought those products home hoping that they would match the rest of your décor. Now, that process can be accomplished without leaving your home and with much less uncertainty about a product’s suitability for your personal surroundings.
Chongqing Shangcheng Technology Co., Ltd. submitted their ID Home MR New Retail System that allows users to choose, place, and visualize home furnishings in a virtual environment. This application removes the need for an in-store display and lets customers directly experience different product solutions from their homes. Customers can quickly verify aspects like layout and color matching according to their own preferences, and place orders for the selected products to help shorten the purchase time and improve the shopping experience.
Tong says the idea came about from his previous roles in real estate and decoration, where he thought it would be more effective if customers could visualize things in an immersive virtual environment. In a virtual home layout space, Tong says the user is surrounded with 3D effects, which conforms to real-world spatial logic. Then through sounds, flashing arrow prompts, etc., the user's visual focus is transferred to the target model. By displaying things in one direction, it helps reduce the dizziness caused by head shaking, and hopefully reduce the Cybersickness that often occurs with traditional VR headsets.
Going forward, Tong sees XR being driven by the convergence of cloud computing, big data, and 5G networks. With platforms like the Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ XR2 5G Platform, he sees XR technology becoming increasingly integrated into consumers’ daily lives as more XR-specific devices become available that offer even more immersive experiences than that of existing mobile phone screens. Moreover, the use of XR is likely to grow in many other industries to offer benefits like reducing labor costs and training time, performing simulations, and creating new interdisciplinary fields.
A new Reality for Learning a Language
One hundred years ago, people in the East travelled across the oceans to learn English from the West. Thirty years ago, the solution was to open up to the world and bring in teachers. Just ten years ago, the solution was to use online learning, voice and, video. In providing this short history lesson, Haopeng Yang from Beijing Yinxudengxian Technology Co., Ltd proudly states they are now providing the solution for the next 10 years: VR virtual language learning, through their Mage VR application.
MageVR is an application for teaching English with more than 95% real-time voice recognition and immersive human-computer interaction learning as the core. The goal was to build a virtual world so that learning a new language no longer depends on traditional learning, but rather to learn more knowledge and skills through experiences, social interactions, and tasks. At the same time they integrate gamification so users actively and continuously participate in the virtual world. Virtual teachers can adjust the difficulty of dialog or give users different levels of prompts and help. Through this system, users feel like they are completing tasks in a more natural medium and benefit from a powerful adaptive learning concept.
Haopeng says that virtual reality, artificial intelligence, and 5G will make learning more immersive, interactive, and intelligent. As of June 2020, more than 200 million elementary and middle school students in China have completed online learning, nearly six times than recorded at the end of 2019. However, traditional teaching (whether online or offline) is challenged by shortages of resources, high costs, and difficulties in tracking the learning progress of each student. Additionally, the current use of AI in teaching is often incapable of grasping the attention span of kids and persisting the learning process accordingly.
The solution, Haopeng says, is to use VR and machine learning technology to create a virtual world that understands children, provides strong interactions, and remains interesting so that learning is no longer just related to books and computers. With XR, children can interact through the world that surrounds them, or even travel through time and space. Through these experiences, students can gradually acquire the necessary skills and language knowledge.
Seeing Inside the Mind
The brain is undoubtedly the most complex organ, but what if medical practitioners could look inside of it using XR? This is what YiYang of MedInsight sought to answer with their entry, the Persp 3D image viewer for neurosurgery.
Persp 3D is a 3D medical imaging application, and its main function is to provide the interactive features of the 3D image model after reconstruction of computed tomography (CT)/magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) image data. The goal is to provide neurosurgeons with a more intuitive understanding of the patient's lesion information for accurate treatment.
YiYang says that compared to traditional 2D and 3D images, the use of XR can improve precision, practicality, and convenience. Through XR mobile devices, neurosurgeons are not limited by space and dimension, and now have the ability to collaborate remotely.
The idea came about when YiYang was introduced to a neurosurgeon who explained why XR technology is so important to the field of neurosurgery. Thinking from a patient’s perspective, YiYang wanted a technology advanced enough to help heal cerebral diseases. Given YiYang’s background in working with XR, he understood how this technology could improve and make an impact on the development neurosurgery. However, YiYang also believes technology itself is not enough. To provide great solutions also requires a sufficient understanding of users' pain points and application scenarios. And to make truly great applications, the cost and time spent polishing the products are also essential.
The 2020 XR Innovation Challenge, now in its 2nd year, saw many amazing XR applications competing across a range of categories and showcasing how XR can solve many different problems.
These entries materialized through the hard work of each participant, in conjunction with XR devices powered by Qualcomm Technologies. In addition, many of the entries including the three listed above make use of and speak very highly of Unity to author their XR experiences.
With all of the advances taking place in the XR space, and the introduction of new XR platforms like the Snapdragon XR2 platform, we can’t wait to see what future innovation challenges will bring.
Stay tuned in the coming weeks for our next blog that will highlight the winners in the gaming category. And for additional information about XR, be sure to check out the following resources:
Qualcomm Tools and Resources:
- XR Home Page
- Snapdragon XR2 5G Platform Product Page
- XR Development Kits
- Qualcomm 3D Audio Plugin for Unity
- Building and Porting Mobile Games with Unity
- Optimized XR Tools and Hardware Highlighted at Facebook Connect
- eBook on Cybersickness
- Qualcomm Snapdragon is a product of Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. and/or its subsidiaries.