How to make your Virtual Reality Training Event Safe and Successful.
For the past 12 months the pandemic and resulting lockdown has driven the vast majority of our clients to deliver their VR surgical demonstrations on standalone headsets they mail directly to their surgeons. While this method quickly and efficiently allows for sales reps to meet with customers using virtual telepresence, the world is starting to open back up, and that means we can start holding events with actual humans interacting with each other in the same physical space. Hosting a VR demonstration or training feature at your next event is a great way to excite and entice and make for a memorable experience. If you want to deliver a smooth VR exhibit, then read on.
Table of contents
1. Appoint Dedicated Chaperones
Until Apple releases a VR/AR/XR device that makes digitally simulated realities as common as a smart phone, it is good to remember that VR is still pretty new. A lot of your event visitors may have never experienced a fully immersive VR simulation like the ones we make here at Ghost Productions. Assigning a chaperone to your VR demo will maximize engagement and avert disaster. Not only do your chaperones ensure that your visitors don’t walk into walls but they also ensure proper fit, instruction, and facilitate headset sanitization between users.
Before your visitors even put on a headset have a chaperone be responsible for gathering some basic information from your visitors. Info like, name, contact info, whether or not they have previous experience with VR, and their IPD measurements.
Your chaperone helps your visitors get properly fitted with the VR gear and helps walk them through the experience. By watching each visitor’s experience streaming to a tablet or display, the VR chaperone can help the visitor should they get stuck in cyberspace
Another critical responsibility a VR chaperone is to make sure that each headset is reset, charged, and sanitized between users.
2. Keeping it Clean
To ensure that your visitors get the sharpest visual experience, be sure to clean both lenses with a microfiber lens cloth between users. This will eliminate moisture, makeup, and forehead grease that will blur and dull the image. Even before Covid-19 came on the scene, headsets needed proper sanitization between users. Here are your options: Disposable Barriers or Electronic Sterilization
Though it is hardly earth-friendly, providing optional protective gear to your visitors is easy, especially because in the medical industry, everyone already has familiarity with most of this stuff.
Surgical caps protect your visitors from giving lice and critters to each other. Even though you are more likely to transmit conjunctivitis by touching the controllers and then rubbing your eye with your hand than you are from a VR headset, you can also offer disposable eye masks to your visitors. Finally, provide self-serve hand sanitizer to your visitors before and after they handle the VR controllers.
Kill 99.9% of all the germs on your VR equipment by simply pressing a button. UV-C sanitizers like this starting at $150 are large enough to sterilize 2 VR headsets every 11 minutes. I’ve found that visitors like seeing a fresh headset come out of the sterilizer and you can place a USB power bank in there as well to charge them while being sterilized.
3. Stream each Headset to a Display
It is very helpful for your chaperones to see what your visitors see in the headset and you can accomplish this by wirelessly streaming each headset to an iPad, iPhone, or Android device. You can also choose to stream the video to a display at your event that allows your chaperones and all your other visitors to see what is happening inside the headset to help drive excitement to try the experience.
To make sure all video this streaming is as smooth as possible, we suggest setting up a dedicated WiFi router capable of WiFi 6 with a 5GHz channel. This will provide a robust stream with low latency and high resolution for as many as 6 visitors at a time.
This will provide enough bandwidth to broadcast as many as 6 streaming headsets to televisions or mobile devices. Be sure to properly configure it for streaming and make sure to choose the 5GHz signal because it make video signals rock.
This will allow you to view everything your visitors see in their headsets as well as set up streaming pipelines from the headsets to televisions and other displays. Can be iOS or Android, phone or tablet.
Plug this directly into the HDMI port of any TV and it can display the video signal from a headset for all to see in glorious 4K. In our tests, the ChromeCast Ultra provided the smoothest and sharpest images.
4. Recommended Headset Accessory Upgrades
Head-strap – HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
Chances are, if you are reading this article, the headset you will be using is the Oculus Quest 2 and if that is the case, you have (currently) the best standalone headset paired with the worst headstrap available at the time of this writing. It is uncomfortable, doesn’t stay put, and is hard to adjust. We highly suggest you replace it with something much better and without risking exaggeration, anything you replace it with is likely better than the factory strap. These head straps below offer features like adjustment knobs that make it fast and easy to find the perfect fit for all of your visitors.
Quest 2 Elite Strap with Battery
More comfort and power!
Not only is this strap significantly more comfortable, it also provides a much longer runtime between charges, about 2.75 hours in our tests. Fitting this head strap to your visitors is also a breeze due to the hand crank that tightens and loosens as needed to fit a wide variety of skull sizes.
Quest 2 Elite Strap
Cost effective upgrade
I really only put this option in because sometimes it can be hard to find the Elite Strap with Battery in stock. While it is more comfortable than the stock strap, it doesn’t benefit from the counterweight of the battery in the back helping balance the headset on the wearer so it’s only a marginal upgrade but better than nothing.
Color-Coded Silicon Face Pads
The Oculus Quest’s stock face pad is comfortable and fits me perfectly but when I need to put a headset on lots of different people, I prefer to swap it out for something that is easier to clean than the porous foam that ships with the unit. A silicon face pad that is removable and easy to clean with isopropyl alcohol, helps keep everything and everyone nice and tidy. I also suggest buying a few in different colors so you can keep track of various headsets making it easy to identify units set to various IPD settings or units that are setup for people wearing glasses.
Color code your headsets making it easy to find the unit best suited for each visitor.
5. A Dedicated VR Space
Pick the space where your visitors will be experiencing the VR demo and set up the Quest to function safely within the space. This means establishing the floor height and guardian. Test your setup with the same lighting you intend to use at the event to avoid tracking issues. Check your access to your WiFi if streaming and make sure you have a strong signal and your video looks clean on your displays.
It is good to create a physical boundary around both the chaperone and the visitor who will be using VR. This keeps people from getting whacked in the face and ruining immersion. Automatic retracting stations are fantastic for making a space quickly and easily. You can also use them to help other visitors queue up for their turn if you create an entry point to the VR Space.
6. Create well rehearsed process for smoothly initiating each VR experience
Make sure your headsets are fully charged and the controllers have fresh batteries. Launch the VR experience on each headset and ensure that it is streaming to the correct device(s). Have your developer design your app to always reset to the launch screen when it times out. This will make your headset relatively self running without having to look inside to make sure its ready for a new visitor. Anyone responsible for being the VR chaperone should follow a procedure and practice it until it becomes second nature. The procedure we use for VR events that’s worked well for us goes as follows.
- Ready the Visitor and Headset for VR:
1. If the visitor is wearing glasses use a headset with the corrective lenses face pad installed.
2. Measure the visitor’s IPD
3. Remove headset and controllers from sanitization device
4. Set the headset IPD to match visitor
5. While cleaning the lenses with the microfiber cloth ask the visitor about their experience with VR to determine how much help they may need.
6. Show the visitor the headset adjustments so that they can tighten the headset to fit their head
7. Ensure the unit has power by blocking the light detector with your finger (located between the two lenses inside the headset)
8. Crank the headsets adjustments to their largest settings and pass it to the Visitor.
- Launching the VR Program:
1. Once on their head make sure they see the launch screen and guide them through making small adjustments with the head strap until they tell you it feels good and that the image is clear.
2. If they require you to tighten the headset, ask permission first and then describe what you are going to do. Example: “It looks like the top strap needs to be tightened a bit. Would you like me to tighten it for you?”
3. Explain that you are going to give them their controllers and ask them to extend both of their hands
4. Slip the wrist strap around their hand and place the handles in their palms and ask them to grip the controller. Make sure all of their fingers are properly positioned on the trigger, grip, and that their thumb can reach all necessary buttons used in your VR experience.
5. Ask them to use their hands to launch the VR experience.
Stand at their side and be ready to stabilize them should they show signs of imbalance.
6. Watch their view on the streaming display and offer help as needed.
- Ending the Experience
1. When their experience ends, tell them you’ll take their controllers. Grab the ring and ask them to open their hand, carefully remove the wrist straps and transfer it to your wrist. This will keep your hands free so that you can repeat the process with the second controller.
2. Ask them to remove the headset by first loosening the rear crank.
3. Place the headset into the sterilizer and attach the charging cable.
4. Take a fresh VR headset out of the sterilizer and repeat the entire process for the next visitor.
I hope advice this helps your VR event rock!
If you want help preparing for, facilitating, or training your staff to effectively administer virtual realty demonstrations at your organization or at an upcoming event, feel free and contact us at Ghost Productions. We’d be happy to help.
Stephan Kuslich is the founder of Ghost Productions and Director of the Wraith-VR Department