Sigma Software’s Trip to VR Sci Fest

Natalya Zheltukhina

A group of VR activists from Sigma Software has visited a major virtual reality event for science, VR Sci Fest, which took place on May 13-14 in Stockholm, at Royal Institute of Technology. Natalya Zheltukhina, Partner Network Manager, shares her impressions of the event.

It all started when we decided that we were going to VR Sci Fest, but what were we going to show? We did not have any significant projects in this area at that moment (yet, right before the festival, we had started our first commercial project in VR and the second one was launched two months later, in July). At first, there were a lot of doubts whether it was worth going at all. But a meeting with Vlad Beck, Sigma Software co-founder and VR evangelist in the company, dispelled all our doubts – not only were we going, but also presenting Sigma in an entirely new paradigm – AR/VR – a new interface to existing systems, a new way to connect with the world, an opportunity for businesses to implement new bold ideas. I highly recommend reading an interview with Vlad here, where he gives a very weighed and thorough analysis of AR/VR application without unnecessary hype, which often accompanies this area.

We took Sony and Epson glasses to the festival (by the way, Epson glasses were in great demand with visitors), as well as our favorite HoloLens, which, unfortunately has crashed after the first day of intensive work and which we were unable to restore. We also showed a couple of awesome AR applications developed specifically for the festival, which were accepted with lots of enthusiasm.

VR Sci Fest is quite unique because it is the first event, which combines VR and science. The main message was to abandon the stereotypical vision of VR as a technology for gaming industry only and to popularize the idea that VR has a vast area of application in medicine, architecture, construction and others. We have seen ready-to-use solutions for visualization of scientific experiments, human magnetic field, OS with Office applications, e-sporting events, and VR movies.

As I wrote above, the event took place in the library of Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm. It is one of the most acknowledged and strongest technical schools in Sweden. It is the place where the talents are discovered and nurtured that make Sweden one the world’s leaders in technology.

VR Sci Fest Venue

Library hall. I envy those students who have a chance to study here.

I got a unique chance to communicate with some event speakers personally (this is usually very difficult at large events due to a huge number of visitors). And this is where you understand how amazing these people are, starting from the moment when you read about their activities in LinkedIn profiles. For example, Maaroof Fakhri – Science Communicator, the head of the project, which aim is to develop applications for university VR laboratories to help students across the globe understand science and learn the skills they need to solve the world's challenges. It was quite exciting to find out while talking to him, that the majority of university professors are quite active in welcoming the implementation of VR laboratories (here we speak mostly about US universities). At the same time, universities as institutions are still quite inert and need to be gradually pushed forward. Another speaker – Sergei Gepshtein, Scientist at The Salk Institute for Biological Studies, Director of Collaboratory for Adaptive Sensory Technologies. We were quite honored when Sergei visited our station in the Expo hall. During the conversation I found out that he was born in Ukraine and, guess where? In Kharkiv! It was an amazing coincidence and I was thrilled to invite him to be our guest back home.

As for technological aspects, the main engines that AR/VR heavily utilizes are Unity and Unreal. Requirements to 3D visualizations are high, as the picture graphics must correspond to VR headsets criteria and be comfortable to look at via HMD. Apps for HoloLens were showcased by Sigma Software and another company. Most stations had Oculus Rift.

I have very positive expectations from this exhibition. We got a chance to communicate and promote our services in an academic environment which, in my opinion, is not so saturated with software engineering companies yet as compared with other industries.

VR Sci Fest Report

I believe, everyone is happy. What else can you add?? :)

One of the main conclusions I have made is that we have great talents who can deal with any challenge and any new technology. The main thing is to be on the cutting edge. At the exhibition, we were one of the pioneers.

The event had a very exciting end. Talking to me, Viktor Peterson, the CEO of CLVR Works company, asked:

VP: So, what do you think about the event?

NZ: I believe that what we are doing right now may be called “Global brainstorming.” It’s all about knowledge accumulation, talents nurturing, and coming up with bright ideas.

And he totally agreed with that

Looking into the future, this is how Mixar devices of the future should look - light, comfortable, and trendy

VR Sci Fest Report

Space recognition, 3D visualization of Stockholm surroundings.:)

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