A Closer Look at the HP Reverb G2
A Closer Look at the HP Reverb G2
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HP Reverb G2 Omnicept Headset Features Eye Tracking, Face Cam, And Heart Rate Sensor

HP takes aim at developers and enterprises with its Omnicept ecosystem.HP today announced the latest addition to its growing lineup of PC VR headsets, the HP Reverb G2 Omnicept Edition, an even more powerful rendition of the previously-announced HP Reverb G2 designed specifically for use by developer and enterprise clients. What makes the Omnicept Edition so unique compared to the consumer and business-focused Reverb G2, you ask?It all comes down to the new Omnicept Solution Ecosystem, which is composed of the HP Reverb G2 Omnicept Edition headset, the HP Omnicept SDK, and ISV XR Application Partners.

HP REVERB G2 OMNICEPT EDITION

According to HP, the Reverb G2 Omnicept Edition was designed around four specific use-cases: training, collaboration, creation, and well-being. In order to accomplish these diverse objectives, the enterprise-focused headset has been outfitted with a number of game-changing features. The first of which being built-in eye-tracking technology capable of monitoring the wearer’s eye movements while in-headset. From an enterprise and developer perspective, this technology could prove to be a well of information in regards to user behavior.

In addition to eye-tracking, the Omnicept Edition also features what HP claims to be the “first” built-in face camera on a VR headset. This additional tracker, which is located beneath the headset near the wearers’ mouth, is capable of tracking various lip movements and facial expressions, allowing for more natural face-to-face encounters in VR as opposed to the stoic encounters we’re used to.

Finally, there’s the heart rate tracker. Yes, the heart rate tracker. Located near the wearer’s forehead, a nifty little sensor can be used to capturer the wearers’ heart rate in real-time. HP hopes this could prove useful when it comes to well-being applications. During the virtual announcement, HP explained how the technology could be used in tandem with the headsets’ various other tracking capabilities to monitor a wearers’ stress throughout various experiences, offering developers better insight into what parts of their projects users find the most relaxing and or stressful.

The First Commercial VR Devices – The EyePhone Head-Mounted Displays. In the late 1960s, the virtual and augmented reality terms were coined, describing the field of technology we know today. This also encompassed the appearance of two of the very first commercial virtual reality devices in the 1980s in the face of the EyePhone 1 and the EyePhone HRX. Developed by VPL research, a company by Jaron Lanier, the devices were extremely expensive, costing as much as $9,400 for the 1 version and $49,000 for the HRX. Customers could also buy gloves that costed $9,000. While the devices didn’t really take off, which is understanding, having in mind their price, they were a major step forward in the development of virtual reality haptics and virtual reality goggles and head-mounted displays.

Other than these additional sensors, the Omnicept features the same core design and visual capabilities as the standard Reverb G2, the lone exception being the return of the classic ratcheting headband featured on OG Windows Mixed Reality headsets.

OMNICEPT SDK

In addition to hardware, HP also revealed their new Omnicept SDK, a powerful new solution that, when paired with the Reverb G2 Omnicept, can be used to understand a user’s behavior and provide detailed information based on their “in-game” performance. As previously mentioned, Omnicept technology could allow developers to track the stress level of a user as they interact with a particular experience in real-time.
One Omnicept partner, Ovation, uses VR technology to help clients develop their soft skills via public speaking simulations. The Omnicept platform can accurately track the user’s stress to determine which portions of the speech they are struggling with the most. It can detect not only where a user is focusing their attention, but how effectively their attention is being held.

Doing particular well in a certain training exercise? The platform could recognize your individual skill level and ramp up the difficulty to offer a more appropriate challenge.

It’s not all going to be plastic. Today, virtually everyone loves everything about VR, which accounts for the magnitude of its success. But the technology continues to evolve at a breakneck speed. One focus of technological advances related to VR is the engineering and design of the headset. Expectedly, there are ultra high-tech and complicatedly designed headsets out there. But some tech wizards have taken it one step further, thereby making it way more accessible to everyone. Now, there are tutorials about making VR headsets out of pieces of cardboard. Not only has this opened a plethora of possibilities for VR, it has gotten people to think in creative ways to upsize their experiences.

With full access to real-time biometric data, developers have a whole new level of insight into a user’s behavior and psychology. All this power will come at a price, however. While the SDK itself is free to all, those looking to launch an in-house solution will need to purchase a one-time license; official license holders are barred from reselling the product. There’s also the ISV Application Partnership, a program in which developers can sell their Omnicept software to enterprise customers with a certain percentage of their revenue going back to HP.

According to HP, all this extremely private biometric data is safely secured off the headset and protected by a legal framework.

APPLICATION PARTNERS

At the moment, HP is currently in talks with over 30 potential clients looking to integrate the Omnicept platform into their respective organizations. As previously mentioned, public speaking skills specialist Ovation has already begun using Omnicept’s biometric capabilities to enhance their existing VR public speaking platform. Workplace safety expert Pixo has also incorporated the technology into its training curriculum.The HP Reverb G2 Omnicept Edition is expected to launch Spring 2021, with certain features, such as facial tracking, arriving at a later date. Developers can begin working on software today using the official Omnicept SDK.

Image Credit: HP

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