Poornima Vijayashanker

Applications and Resources to Help You Get Started with Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality


In the last episode of Build, we exposed a number of myths about current augmented reality and virtual reality trends, and how new products are evolving by learning from predecessors like Google Glass.

If the episode piqued your curiosity and left you wondering how you can get started or where you can find more resources, today’s episode is for you!

Rose Haft, the CEO and Founder of Lumenora, is back, and together we’re going to share some applications of augmented reality and virtual reality that are here to stay, and how you can get started tinkering with the technology.

Here’s what you’ll learn as you watch this episode:

  • How 200+ companies are using augmented reality and virtual reality
  • Why augmented reality and virtual reality aren’t just limited to industries like gaming, but how others like healthcare are adopting it
  • The software tools and resources that are available today that make it easier for early adopters like you to start tinkering and developing applications

Listen to the episode on iTunes!

Applications and Resources to Help You Get Started with Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality Transcript (Raw)

Poornima Vijayashanker: In the previous episode of Build, we shared some of the most common myths and misconceptions related to augmented and virtual reality. If you missed the episode, I’ve included a link to it below. In today’s episode, we’re going to do a deeper dive into some of the applications of augmented and virtual reality, and talk about how you can get involved and your hands dirty using the technology. So, stay tuned.

Welcome to Build, brought to you by Pivotal Tracker. I’m your host, Poornima Vijayashanker, the founder of Femgineer, In each episode, innovators and I debunk a number of myths and misconceptions related to building products, companies, and your career in tech. In today’s episode, we’re back with Rose Halt, who is the CEO and founder of Lumenora, and we’re gonna be doing a deeper dive into augmented and virtual reality, talking about some of the applications, as well as how you can get started using the technology. Thanks again for joining us Rose.

Rose Haft: Yeah, thanks for having me.

How 200+ companies are using augmented reality and virtual reality

Poornima Vijayashanker: Yeah, so, let’s go ahead and dive in. Last time, we talked about some of the myths. This time, I want to talk about some of the applications, so maybe you can walk us through what you’re seeing in terms of use cases for AR and VR.

Rose Haft: Yeah, so even though people think that AR and VR is done. We talk about on the last episode, there are over 200 companies who are using it today.

Poornima Vijayashanker: Wow.

Rose Haft: Which is pretty significant. They’re using it to help reduce errors in production lines, helping to provide instructions where people might not have a lot of experience in a job, and helping to make sure that everyone is doing what they’re supposed to do when they’re supposed to. So, a lot of optimization.

How augmented reality and virtual reality is helping the healthcare industry

There are companies starting to work on Healthcare, trying to help to improve the patient-doctor experience, and that’s another prominent one that’s starting to take off. And then also in gaming. I’m sure you guys have all seen a lot of gaming videos of your friends on the internet, and so that’s another one that people really like, and enjoy.

Poornima Vijayashanker: Yeah, I think the gaming one has been going on since the 90’s, right? So, that’s definitely one that’s sort of here to stay. So, are there any other applications? I know I’ve seen some stuff around simulating things like surgeries, anything else that comes to mind?

Rose Haft: Yeah, absolutely. So, on that surgery front, being able to train people and have the opportunity to practice something, before doing it in real life has been known to increase the likelihood of success. And so, people who are going into surgery it’s really helpful to know the doctor has practiced a couple more times on a specific patient with similar body types, and expectations, and unique scenarios before they go in for a dangerous surgery. So we’re really starting to see them being used to help humans make fewer errors in general, which is really interesting. As we’re increasing the robotic technology to create machines, that can do things perfectly, we’re also helping humans to do things perfectly.

Additional applications and use cases for augmented reality and virtual reality

Poornima Vijayashanker: Well, I don’t know if perfection is necessarily the goal, but that’s good to hear that that’s what they’re aiming for. So, are these just trends, or are there more applications that you see coming down the pipeline?

Rose Haft: Yeah, these definitely aren’t trends. There are people who are starting to get to know and understand, and the right tools are being built now, from software and the hardware perspective, that will allow people to start adopting them. Today, I just had an interview with somebody who has tried using it in a business setting, and there’s still some issues that they’re running into even with billions of dollars being put into developing headsets. And so, as an engineer, I’m trying to…they say laziness is one of the virtues of being an engineer, and trying to do things right the first time, so as a startup, after people have put a lot of money in, we’re able to take a hard look at some of the reasons why people aren’t able to use them, and be able to put them design to prevent those flaws, and make them more adoptable.

Poornima Vijayashanker: Yeah, so it’s gotta be a really high cost of production right? And for people in the audience who want to play with the technology, it costs like several thousands of dollars just to get a headset, and then of course there’s a software being developed, so how are you seeing the cost come down, or how companies trying to bring down those production costs?

Rose Haft: Yeah. So, companies like mine know the importance of these technologies. I’ve spent time in India and Peru, and I’ve seen how much a lack of similar tools has really made an impact on the world. And so, we’re designing specifically to have a headset that can be used as functional, works great, and has a price point we can’t fully disclose that yet, but ours won’t take thousands of dollars to actually use and integrate with. We don’t need to buy an expensive laptop in order to work with it. Our will be able to work out of the box, for about the cost of a cell phone, what you’d find now.

Software languages and platforms compatible with augmented reality and virtual reality

Poornima Vijayashanker: And what about the software that goes in it? Since, nothing yet is standardized, are company’s thinking about this? How can our audience develop applications?

Rose Haft: Yeah. So, Android is probably one of the easiest ways to get started. Android, if you know how to build apps, and there are a lot of tutorials, you can start to integrate with some of the same systems that will work on a phone, as well as a headset like ours. Most headset companies do integrate in that ecosystem. So, that really helps. Otherwise if you’re more familiar with HTML or CSS, you can go to aframe.io, and there’s also a Slack channel where you can get help learning how to use HTML and CSS to build applications using just regular web browser technology. It’s a little more technical than that, but it’s a good place to get started. And then, also Unity is another big skill that people can…another software platform that people can use in order to get started.

Poornima Vijayashanker: Oh, great. So, it’s good to see that this same software platform is being leveraged, and it’s not new languages or new frameworks that people have to adopt, except for maybe a couple things, like you mentioned, Unity.

Rose Haft: Yup. So, I know there’s a lot of different software languages to learn, and that can be very overwhelming. For the most part, all of them will talk to each other in some sort of way. And so, if you are wanting a specific language to write in, usually C or C++ is pretty universal, it’ll allow allow you to plug in with one platform or another. Java, as well.

How to deploy software application on augmented reality and virtual reality headsets

Poornima Vijayashanker: Yeah, and what about the actual way to sort of put the application into these headsets, is there…is it all internet enabled? How does that work?

Rose Haft: Yeah. So, every headset will have its own SDK that you can access and download, typically through the internet, and something you have to work directly with the company, and so it really depends on what you want to use. Android tends the easiest, because you can buy phones for less than $100, and you can start building and testing with that. And a lot of them are really functional and capable.

Poornima Vijayashanker: Yeah. Maybe you can help us break down what SDK is.

Rose Haft: Oh yeah. So, SDK is our software development kits, and so it’ll have standardized code that will help you to talk to the hardware, or talk to other pieces of software, to make sure everything is compatible. For instance, with the different display systems, there are specific ways in which the display will be changed, so it has a coherent image, and that will be part of an SDK.

There’s a market need for more software infrastructure to support augmented reality and virtual reality products

Poornima Vijayashanker: So, to draw an analogy to when mobile devices were first coming out. A lot of these platforms had emulators that you could put on your computer so that you didn’t have to have every single device. You didn’t have to have an Android phone, and a iPhone. Are there similar emulators being developed?

Rose Haft: There should be. I haven’t developed specifically for other headset companies. I’m trying to keep the IP stuff differently, but Android does a really good job with emulators, and it should work standardly, and each headset company will have an easy way to integrate, make it look the same on their headset, as well.

Poornima Vijayashanker: OK, so maybe a market opportunity for some enterprising audience member out there.

Rose Haft: Yeah, absolutely.

Poornima Vijayashanker: But certainly, that opens the door for testing. I’m sure there’s a lot of testing frameworks out there as well.

Rose Haft: Yup.

Resources to help early adopters like you get started tinkering and building augmented reality and virtual reality applications

Poornima Vijayashanker: Wonderful. So, for those that want to get started, you already mentioned a few resources. Do you have any other resources out there that you can share with our audience?

Rose Haft: Yeah I think if you’re wanting to get started, it is really great to you find a mentor, or somebody else in the space who has worked, joined Slack channels and communities, and also talked to people who have been in the industry for a while, and find out what’s worked, and what hasn’t worked, what they need help with, and a lot of people are very willing to take the time to share knowledge, and information to help you move forward and get started. So, never feel ashamed to clarify, to ask for help, and to make sure that you’re getting started and doing things in the best way.

Poornima Vijayashanker: Yeah, wonderful. And we’ll be sure to share those links with our audience out there. Thank you so much, Rose, for coming on the show today.

Rose Haft: Yeah, thank you for having me.

Poornima Vijayashanker: That’s it for today’s episode of Build. Be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel to receive our next episode, and share this episode with your friends, your teammates, and your boss. And a special thanks to our sponsor, Pivotal Tracker for their help in producing this episode. Ciao for now. This episode of Build is brought to you by our sponsor Pivotal Tracker.

Build is produced as a partnership between Femgineer and Pivotal Tracker. San Francisco video production by StartMotionMEDIA.