Can XR be Headset-Free?

Over the last few months, we worked on some intriguing research with our brilliant AI/ML intern, Zain Raza, who just completed his undergraduate degree at the MakeSchool. The objective of the research project was to investigate the performance and reliability of hand and face tracking using a webcam for industrial collaboration and training applications. We aptly named the project “Headsets: Goodbye!” envisioning a future where devices to consume and interact with immersive 3D content will become ubiquitous and no longer exclusively in the domain of headsets.

Why did we embark on the “Headsets: Goodbye!” Project? Well, remote, real-time collaboration is arguably the most environmentally-friendly way to conduct business with globally distributed teams, suppliers, and customers. Even with employees moving back to offices and factories, remote collaboration can undoubtedly minimize latency, cost, and carbon footprint due to the reduction in travel of personnel and equipment. However, we have increasingly seen the negative effects of video-conferencing fatigue, lack of social interactions, and other challenges of working from home.

Virtual reality and augmented reality are already changing the way we work remotely. Hand tracking is already gaining traction with mixed reality headsets such as the Microsoft HoloLens and Oculus Quest, and there are several R&D efforts to incorporate face tracking (such as expression or eye movement) into such technology. However, VR/AR headsets are not available to everyone. The advantage of using a webcam is that no additional trackers or complex equipment are required to enhance the human-virtual interface. This significantly reduces the barrier to entry for XR applications for collaboration and training whether in business or education.

To learn more about Zain’s work on Roberto The Empathetic Robot and our project, check out the article linked to below: Https://Blog.Devgenius.Io/Digital-Avatars-The-Next-Leap-In-Remote-Work-C72c0cd369a7