Google tests confirm VR-based employee training trumps video guides

google vr training video vive daydreamtesting02
Google’s DayDream team has been experimenting with virtual reality as a training medium, as well as one designed with entertainment in mind. In an experiment that walked people through the functions of a virtual coffee machine, it found that the VR trainees learned far quicker and more effectively than those trained using videos alone.

Although since the release of consumer-grade headsets like the HTC Vive and the Oculus Rift, the majority of software released for them could be categorized as games and visual experiences, VR can also be leveraged effectively as an educational tool. Some really early releases hinted at the medium’s potential in that arena and now Google is looking to draw up some hard data on just how effective it can be.

In this test it pitted two groups against one another, charging each with the operation of an espresso machine that none had come across before. The first group was only allowed to watch YouTube videos showing its operation, while the latter was given a virtual copy to play with in HTC Vive-powered virtual reality. As RoadToVR explains, each team was given as much time with their respective training tools as they wanted.

In terms of the speed of learning, video viewers typically watched three run-throughs of the machine’s use before being able to make an espresso that was considered passable. In comparison, the VR testers were able to perform the same task after just two run-throughs of the simulation.

Better yet, the DayDream team found those trained in VR made significantly fewer mistakes during operation than the video trainees.

One of the moderators of the study, Google software engineer Ian MacGillivray, praised both groups but ultimately said that those trained in VR were far more efficient — even if he didn’t much rate the coffee either group produced in their first attempt at being baristas.

While it seems like the virtual familiarity gained through training gave the VR practitioners a leg up in the real world, it should be noted that that familiarity with an unreal espresso machine did present some problems. Despite visual and auditory warnings that some parts of the machine would be exceedingly hot, testers tended to ignore that aspect in VR, and were then in far more danger of burning themselves in the real world.

The tactile feedback of the controller was also not ideal, offering only minor vibrations. In that respect and several others, Google believes much work still needs to be done, but that VR training certainly could act as a very effective tool in the future.

Emerging Tech

Here’s how Facebook taught its Portal A.I. to think like a Hollywood filmmaker

When Facebook introduced its Portal screen-enhanced smart speakers, it wanted to find a way to make video chat as intimate as sitting down for a conversation with a friend. Here's how it did it.

Here's our take on the best game-streaming services currently out there

You can still get your physical video game discs or cartridges at your local store or download games digitally, but another option is even more convenient: Game streaming. Here are the best game streaming services.
Movies & TV

The best movies on Amazon Prime right now (February 2019)

Prime Video provides subscribers with access to a host of fantastic films, but sorting through the catalog can be an undertaking. Luckily, we've done the work for you. Here are the best movies on Amazon Prime Video right now.
Product Review

Packed with features, the Ring Spotlight Cam Wired makes home security a breeze

With an integrated spotlight, crystal-clear video, and color night vision, this device makes home security a cinch. Here's why we like the Ring Spotlight Cam Wired as a great choice for outdoor home security.

The best VR headsets at CES 2019 could bring the technology to the mainstream

While there weren't a ton of new VR headset on display at CES 2019, the ones we saw led us to believe that VR could have a real moment soon, both from a gaming and business standpoint.

These are the coolest virtual and augmented reality gadgets from CES 2019

CES 2019 had plenty of VR and AR gadgets on display, including headsets that completely change how you experience virtual reality, and some that don't even require a PC or a phone to run.

These shoes let me stroll through ‘Skyrim,’ and I desperately want to go back

After being funded in just two hours on Kickstarter back in October 2018, Cybershoes has earned itself a place among the coolest VR walking and running tech. At CES 2019, we got to try them out and they live up to the hype.

The Teslasuit could turn Black Mirror’s terrifying ‘Playtest’ into a reality

We spoke with Teslasuit co-founder Dimitri Mikhalchuk about VR gaming at CES 2019. With all its features, the future of the Teslasuit and virtual reality look bright. And it also sounds a bit like a Black Mirror episode.

Could the next Microsoft HoloLens be announced at MWC 2019?

After not having a presence at Mobile World Congress for three years, Microsoft is now sending out media invites for a press conference on February 24 during the annual event in Barcelona. Could a next-generation HoloLens be on the way?

Immerse yourself in a new universe with these incredible PSVR games

The PSVR has surpassed expectations and along with it comes an incredible catalog of games. There's plenty of amazing experiences to be had so we've put together a list of the best PSVR games available today.

Take a trip to a new virtual world with one of these awesome HTC Vive games

So you’re considering an HTC Vive, but don't know which games to get? Our list of 25 of the best HTC Vive games will help you out, whether you're into rhythm-based gaming, interstellar dogfights, or something else entirely.
Virtual Reality

Is the Vive Pro better than the original Vive? Our answer might surprise you

HTC Vive vs. Vive Pro, which comes out on top? That's the subject of our latest comparison, which looks at everything from tracking solutions, to controllers, and the brand new headset that could set a new standard for VR.

Samsung files a VR patent featuring a curved OLED display

Doubling down on its emphasis on curved displays, Samsung recently filed a design patent for a new virtual reality headset that could feature a curved OLED display, which would be an interesting development in VR.