Holovis Shows VR Training Systems at ISE

Holovis MSB resizeMeko’s Matt Brennesholtz tries the Holovis unteathered 6DoF training system, including the backpack host computer. (Credit: M. Brennesholtz)

Holovis is a hardware agnostic company with a focus on professional training. Recently, there interests have expanded from conventional dome and projection-based training into HMD-based VR. They say “We are a turnkey service provider of multisensory training and simulation platforms.”

They were showing two systems in the small AR/VR area at ISE. The first was a 6DoF system based on a HMD, two hand controllers and a backpack computer. They had a fairly large open area (around 5M x 7M by my estimation) where the person wearing the system could wander around the virtual world, unimpeded. The virtual world was not a first-person shooter game but an office of desks, conference tables and coffeepots.

The fact that no one was trying to shoot me, gave me a good chance to experience an untethered 6DoF VR system. It was interesting and not nearly as disorienting as I expected. A Holovis rep had to direct me away from the fences around the open area a couple of times but otherwise there was no problem. This system had been built to allow architects to experience the layout of office spaces without the need to build them.

Don’t Fall Asleep at the Wheel

The second system was a simulator designed to teach the dangers of falling asleep at the wheel, which the Holovis rep told me causes more fatalities than texting while driving. The system was a tradesman’s panel truck with the engine removed and the steering wheel, gas and brake systems connected as inputs to the image generator. After getting in the driver’s seat, donning the HMD and earphones, the 3DOF video was started. It was fairly realistic, with the virtual instrument panel, the steering wheel and your hands on the wheel all visible. You drove for a while down an English road (driving on the left) until Holovis took charge and dimmed out the images to simulate falling asleep.

Holovis woke you up just in time for you to see your truck crashing into the back of a much larger truck. That’s the end, for you and the simulation. I found this actually more disorienting than the 6DOF system. Holovis takes this system around to companies that employ a large number of people who drive company trucks to work sites, to warn the employees about the dangers of driving back home after a long and tiring day on the job. –M. Brennesholtz