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Do You Have the Right Computer/Phone/Headset to Develop for AR and VR on Oculus, Android, or iOS? One Chart and Seven User-Stories that will make it all Clear…

Read Time // April 18, 2021

So, you want to Develop an Application for VR or AR with Unity…

We guess that you might have a few questions:

  • What about my computer? Is it powerful enough?
  • What about my VR Headset? (Will it work with the computer I have? Does it need a special cord?)
  • What about my Phone? (Does it support Augmented Reality? What if I have an iPhone?, etc.)

Here is a chart to help you navigate, followed by a few user-stories that will help you understand if you do (or don’t) have the necessary Hardware to create XR Software.

VR

AR

Carol (Mac > Quest) 🟡

Carol wants to develop an app for the Oculus Quest (She wants to build a virtual “Field of Bunnies” experience for her aunt who loves bunnies.), and her computer is a Macbook Pro (laptop).

What she has seen from videos of people developing XR apps is the ability to make a change in the Unity editor, hit save, throw her VR headset on, and be able immediately view the changes from within VR.

Unfortunately, as she quickly learns, the ability to do live editing like this requires more than just plugging a cord into her computer:

  1. It requires the Oculus Link Software along with her USB cord.
  2. The Oculus Link Software will not run on a Mac.

That means Carol’s only real option, other than buying a high-spec Windows 10 PC, is to develop her game on the MacBook… Then, she will need to ‘Build and Run the project each time she wants to see what her changes in Unity have done to the VR game. Alas, the “field of Bunnies” will take a little longer to properly test before she shows the experience to her aunt.

Arnie (Mac > Oculus Rift) 🔴

Arnie is researching VR headsets, and decides they like the Oculus Rift S headset best. Their next step is to look into what kind of computer they’ll need to run it. 

To their dismay, Arnie’s only computer is a Mac desktop, which will not run Oculus Rift software. They then must debate the merits of buying a Windows machine to run VR or settling for a wireless headset like the Oculus Quest, which has a more limited selection of games to play.

  • After hitting this roadblock, Arnie decides they will invest in a high-spec, ‘VR-Ready’ Windows 10 laptop. They find that not only can they use the Oculus Rift, but they can use pretty much any VR headset they want. 
  • Also, if they decided to use the Oculus Link cable with the Quest 1 they could run any VR experience they could on a Rift. In fact, if they use the Quest 2 with Oculus Link, they could run VR experiences that are even more demanding.

Joshua (Windows Computer > Oculus Go) 🟢

Joshua got an Oculus Go a year ago and has been using it to watch 360 videos on YouTube. Having been inspired by the cool art, he decides to make his own 360 content using Unity on his Macbook. He follows the instructions found on Oculus’s own Developer Blog to set up his Unity project. He uses the same cable he uses to charge the Go to plug it into his laptop and sideloads a quick 5 second test build from Unity. 

Are You interested in learning more about XR development? We are currently accepting applications

Cameron (Windows or Mac > Google Cardboard) 🟢

Cameron is trying to make VR content on a low budget, so they get a Google Cardboard for their phone. After turning on developer mode on their android phone they are able to connect to their computer and sideload a build from Unity with the Carboard package installed in order to test it.

Cameron (Mac or Windows > AR on ARCore-Compatible-Android Phone) 🟢

After being a little disappointed with the limitations of developing a Google Cardboard experience, Cameron decides to transition to Augmented Reality development.

After checking if their phone is compatible with ARCore and keeping developer mode on their android phone, they create a Unity project with the XR Interaction Toolkit and enable ARCore in their build. They’re now ready to develop AR on their android phone from any type of computer, either Windows or Mac.

Cameron (Windows> AR on iPhone) 🔴

Cameron has achieved some success developing AR for their Android phone, and so decides to expand their most recent app onto iOS devices. Unfortunately, their laptop won’t cut it. They can’t use their Windows machine for iOS development. 

Cameron (Mac > AR on iOS) 🟡

So, Cameron invests in a Macbook laptop, and borrows their friend’s iPad after finding it on the list of ARCore compatible phones. They pay $99 for the Apple developer account and download XCode to be able to load their app onto the iPad. They import the ARKit package from Unity’s Package Manager, and now they can successfully port their app to iOS.

Closing:

Hope these stories have helped your XR dev journey’s beginning a little clearer. Are You interested in learning more about XR development? We are currently accepting applications…

Also, if you have questions about this article, please send them our way.

XR Terra Team

Business Series – Webinar Highlights – Jeremy Dalton and Elena Chopyak

Read Time // April 14, 2021

On April 8th, 2021, we were joined by Jeremy Dalton, Head of XR at PwC UK and author of “RealityCheckXR”, and Elena Chopyak, International Rescue Committee to explore the XR landscape.

Jeremy shared with both our CEO/Co-Founder Hakan Satiroglu and Instructor Patrick Dunfey all the history of XR and explained why this is the right time to develop strategies for utilizing XR in your business plans.  Elena then walked us through all the challenges related to getting an XR project off the ground along while pointing out the rewards for being part of the early adopters to this technology.

“No matter what business you are part of [or] whatever industry you are in, XR has benefits that it can create inside the business world.” – Jeremy Dalton, Head of XR for PwC UK and Author of “RealityCheckXR”

We have prepared the highlights from the session here for your convenience.

To watch the full webinar, click this link – Full Webinar Video – 04-08-2021.

Don’t forget to join us for our next event on April 22nd at 7:00pm ET when Thomas Lewis from Microsoft will join us to discuss Microsoft Mesh.  For details on how to sign up, visit us at www.xrterra.com/events/

About XR Terra

Founded in 2019, XR Terra empowers the next generation of XR talent through industry-driven education and training programs. XR Terra’s team of passionate entrepreneurs, XR experts, and tech leaders help aspiring XR professionals reshape their reality. To that end, XR Terra proudly offers scholarships committed to gender diversity and minority inclusion in tech. XR Terra is a Unity Authorized Training and Certification Partner.

XR Terra Offers New Program to Help Industry Leaders Adopt AR and VR Solutions

Read Time // March 26, 2021

Projected to contribute $1.5 trillion to global GDP in the next decade, XR (extended reality, an umbrella term for augmented reality and virtual reality), has stretched far beyond gaming. Today, XR is transforming how industries like healthcare, manufacturing, construction, and biotech train employees and attract new consumers.

To help business leaders introduce XR to their companies, XR Terra has launched a part-time online course called AR x VR Business Strategies. Over the course of six weeks, students will gain fluency in XR hardware and software, experience hands-on demonstrations of AR and VR solutions, and build winning XR strategies.

“We developed this course to help business leaders seize the enormous potential of AR and VR,” said Hakan Satiroglu, co-founder and CEO of XR Terra. “Companies may be left behind if they don’t understand how AR and VR can completely change their business model. This course puts them squarely in that conversation so that they can generate ROI.”

Under the guidance of instructor Patrick Dunfey, students will learn XR fundamentals and see how various industries take advantage of emerging technology. As they progress in the course, students will examine the benefits and limitations of XR hardware and software. They’ll even compare various cost models and pitch ideas using VR or AR.

 “I’ve always been interested in taking a technological vision and making it real for an organization,” said Dunfey, who has discussed digital transformation strategies with dozens of Fortune 500 companies. “I want to help students identify where XR is ready to deliver real business value.” 

About XR Terra

Founded in 2019, XR Terra empowers the next generation of XR talent through industry-driven education and training programs. XR Terra’s team of passionate entrepreneurs, XR experts, and tech leaders help aspiring XR professionals reshape their reality. To that end, XR Terra proudly offers scholarships committed to gender diversity and minority inclusion in tech. XR Terra is a Unity Authorized Training and Certification Partner.

PRESS RELEASE: XR Terra Partners with Climb to Offer Flexible Lending Options to Aspiring XR Professionals

Read Time // March 26, 2021

Virtual reality and augmented reality technology, under the umbrella term XR or extended reality, is expected to contribute over $1.5 trillion to global GDP in the next decade. With such in-demand skills, XR engineers often earn 30-50% more than traditional software engineers. But like many emerging fields, economically underserved communities may be largely left out of the gains.

XR Terra, a leader in XR education programs, has partnered with student lender Climb to narrow that gap. XR Terra offers intensive training courses for engineers and designers to upskill in XR and advance professionally. Climb is a student payment platform that only works with educational programs that have demonstrated the ability to deliver proven career results to students. By creating a measurement to gauge how much students can expect to earn from their educational investment, Climb can hold schools accountable for the education they’re selling, as well as offer loan products to students with a poor or sparse credit history.

“Financing shouldn’t be a barrier to learning XR,” said XR Terra co-founder and president Hakan Satiroglu. “If you have the talent, then we want to teach you. By partnering with Climb, we make our programs accessible to more students, and those students increase their earning potential. It’s a win-win for everybody.”

XR Terra’s partnership with Climb adds to its ongoing effort to lower the barriers to learning XR. For example, XR Terra offers a Black Creators scholarship as well as XR for Her, a tuition discount for women in tech. Interested applicants can visit xrterra.com for enrollment and financing information.

“We’re thrilled to be opening pathways for people to learn a relatively new technology,” said Climb CEO Angela Ceresnie. “Our ultimate goal is to help more people access education that will lead to career results, and after reviewing XR Terra’s programs, we’re confident in calling them a partner.”

 

For more information, contact Dan Holestine.

About XR Terra

Founded in 2019, XR Terra empowers the next generation of XR talent through industry-driven education and training programs. XR Terra’s team of passionate entrepreneurs, XR experts, and tech leaders help aspiring XR professionals reshape their reality.

About Climb

Climb (NMLS# 1240013) is an innovative student payment platform. Driven by a mission to empower individuals to unlock their career potential – no matter what their credit profile – Climb identifies programs and schools with a demonstrated ability to improve the earnings of their graduates.

PRESS RELEASE: XR Terra receives Generation Success Challenge Grant from Boston Opportunity Agenda

Read Time // February 15, 2021

A Generation Success Challenge Grant awarded through the Boston Opportunity Agenda will allow XR Terra to extend the reach of its virtual reality (VR) program for high school students.

Although the coronavirus pandemic has brought XR — the blanket term for VR as well as augmented reality (AR) and mixed reality (MR) — into the spotlight, applications for the medium have already experienced immense growth in industries like health care, retail, and manufacturing, according to Hakan Satiroglu, co-founder and chief executive officer of XR Terra.

“XR will soon be a part of everyday life, making learning and mastering VR- and AR-related skills crucial,” Satiroglu said. “I thank Boston Opportunity Agenda for recognizing our efforts to bring XR into the world of K-12 education.”

The Generation Success Challenge Grant will expand access to the High School Introductory VR Developer Program, which XR Terra piloted last summer. The six-week program prepares students to understand the elements of immersive experience design while learning to use Unity, an industry-standard software tool for XR development. This foundation can be used for advanced study of experience design, gameplay interaction, and eventual certification as a Unity Certified Associate.

Although XR is seen as especially beneficial for young people considering careers in computer science, engineering, interactive media, fine arts, architecture, and design, learning XR tools and technologies will help all students with problem-solving and increase employability opportunities in the long term.

XR Terra is one of three recipients of the 2021 Generation Success Challenge Grant from the Boston Opportunity Agenda, a public/ private partnership working to dramatically increase the pace and scale of change in education for all Boston children, with a focus on students who experience the least access to successful pathways.

For more information, contact Dan Holestine.

About XR Terra

Founded in 2019, XR Terra empowers the next generation of XR talent through industry-driven education and training programs. XR Terra’s team of passionate entrepreneurs, XR experts, and tech leaders help aspiring XR professionals reshape their reality. To that end, XR Terra proudly offers scholarships committed to gender diversity and minority inclusion in tech. XR Terra is a Unity Authorized Training and Certification Partner.

PRESS RELEASE: Eastern Bank Foundation Grant and Calculus Project partnership

Read Time // October 16, 2020

XR Terra today announced receipt of a grant from the Eastern Bank Charitable to support the implementation of a summer pilot program to introduce high school students to the technology behind virtual reality experiences. This grant supported the tuition for four students from The Calculus Project to attend the course at no cost.

The Calculus Project (TCP) is a grassroots-style initiative to dramatically increase the number of students of color and low-income students who complete AP Calculus in high school. This gives students the content knowledge, the skills, and more confidence to succeed in high-level math classes.

“Structural barriers in education based on racial, gender, and other differences keep us apart and perpetuate income and wealth gaps, and we are committed to supporting efforts that give everyone an opportunity to prosper throughout life,” said Turahn Dorsey, Foundation Fellow, Eastern Bank Charitable Foundation. “XR Terra and The Calculus Project help students build the technical and life skills that will serve them well academically and professionally, and we are proud to support their efforts.

“Spatial computing is at the leading edge of digital transformation efforts and will afford young people a whole new set of tools to solve problems and connect with others. We are delighted to be able to provide an opportunity for students to learn the techniques and practices to create in VR,” –  Janet Kang, CEO of XR Terra.

The grant supported the launch of the summer pilot of a special course designed for newcomers or beginners in coding.

 

About XR Terra

Founded in 2019, XR Terra empowers the next generation of XR talent through industry-driven education and training programs. XR Terra’s team of passionate entrepreneurs, XR experts, and tech leaders help aspiring XR professionals reshape their reality. To that end, XR Terra proudly offers scholarships committed to gender diversity and minority inclusion in tech. XR Terra is a Unity Authorized Training and Certification Partner.

Intro to VR Student Spotlight: Samira Lopez

Read Time // October 6, 2020
This July XR Terra launched a pilot program “Intro to Virtual Reality” for high school students. The program was created with financial support from the Eastern Bank Charitable Foundation and an outreach partnership with The Calculus Project. Twelve students enrolled in the 6-week live, online course that focused on building Virtual Reality (VR) applications from scratch using industry-standard tools such as Unity 3D.

“I had been taking Zoom classes since March and while it went well enough, I asked myself, do I really want to take another Zoom class in the summer?”   – Samira Lopez, Westwood High School, Class of 2021

While she had some experience with augmented reality (AR), (Pokemon Go was a lot of fun!) and her dad surprised her with the purchase of the Samsung Gear from Oculus to use with her phone, which broadened her access to VR. Samira says that she had never considered being able to create in VR. Until now, she had really only been a consumer of some cool VR or AR  experiences.

However, after a 6-week intensive course, Samira proudly shipped a complete file to family and friends with a message, “Check out my game!”

High School students can build in Unity?

Samira had just started taking a computer science course this spring when COVID interrupted her learning Python; but, it was not a barrier to getting started with Unity, one of the two major platforms upon which augmented and virtual reality experiences are built. For the purposes of the course, students learned some basic coding and also learned to create their own 3D models – to be able to build a complete interactive 3D experience.

Beyond building interactive experiences, students learned and practiced patience, perseverance, and troubleshooting – all skills that will serve them well in their academic and professional lives. Developing in a 3D platform requires a level of attention to detail that is unlike anything many teens have encountered before. For the virtual experience to work, it is contingent upon executing on a number of tasks in the code and assembly of the visual assets. There is no gray area – it either works or it doesn’t. Colton Smith, a classmate of Samira’s, described his learning.

“It was a new experience for me to be deliberate with planning and outlining my ideas with story boarding, sketching, and more so that they were easier for me to follow and make a reality. …I learned to start simple and get the fundamental parts of the game put into place first, then add to it.”

Clinton Smith

Virtual Reality Skills and Projects

Samira proudly declares her skills significantly improved over the summer. She learned how to use Unity and shares, “Many people can’t say that.” She recalled having downloaded programs like Blender before and not knowing where to start. Through this class, she not only has a handle on the Unity interface but was also able to add two projects to her growing portfolio of successful projects. Using 360 video, she developed a virtual reality experience that is meant to be emotionally disorienting for the viewer, going from a fiery car accident scene to a serene lakeside complete with chipmunks and crickets.

The second product is the game referenced above, a satirical quiz game with a disgruntled robot who urges the participant to move quickly along. It presents the participant with questions and penalizes him or her for wrong answers by dropping them through multiple stories of a building. Even when the questions are answered correctly, the robot can still be dissatisfied and wishes for peace and quiet. Samira derived satisfaction being able to tell a story, use humor and get the mesh rendering to work correctly.

Instructor Support

Samira greatly appreciated the off hours tech support from her instructor Greg, though she worries that she might have “broken him” with her last request. It was on a late night before her final assignment was due and the recording feature in Unity wasn’t working for her. She tried everything and just needed to get this project over the finish line. Desperate for a solution, she messaged him over Slack to see if he was available. Getting a second set of eyes on her screen, Greg made a slight adjustment with a tab and miraculously resolved the recording issue.  These kinds of unexplainable glitches are common in development and Samira learned to take it all in stride, with humor and patience. She frequently stayed after class to troubleshoot with her instructors.

Career Aspirations?

Samira has her sights set on a career in tech and is planning to enroll in an engineering program after high school. She loves robots and dreams of building prosthetics or medical devices that can be implanted and address disease. Given how many use cases there are in healthcare for AR and VR, she’s glad to add this skill to her set of experiences. Even if Samira decides on another career path, she now has the foundation to pursue this as a hobby – as a creator and not just a consumer. Samira enjoys magic and fantasy and for her, technology is the second-best thing where she is able to make the impossible, possible.

About XR Terra

Founded in 2019, XR Terra empowers the next generation of XR talent through industry-driven education and training programs. XR Terra’s team of passionate entrepreneurs, XR experts, and tech leaders help aspiring XR professionals reshape their reality. To that end, XR Terra proudly offers scholarships committed to gender diversity and minority inclusion in tech. XR Terra is a Unity Authorized Training and Certification Partner.

Biggest announcements from Facebook Connect 2020

Read Time // September 21, 2020

Here at XR Terra, we were really looking forward to the Facebook Connect 2020, and we were not disappointed! Facebook announced a number of products and initiatives that are going to shake up the VR consumer market. These give our AR VR developer and AR VR visual design students bigger and better options for creating XR applications for enterprise and the masses.

To be fair, we probably missed a few cool things during the live session, but here is what really stood out to us:

1. Facebook is jumping into the AR Glasses Game with Project ARIA

  • Prototypes will be experimented with by Facebook’s research team right away to explore ethical and technical questions around AR Glasses
  • May be available to the public as soon as next year
  • Are designed to help you focus on sound, (i.e., having a conversation with someone in a loud room)
  • You can read more in depth about these here at Engadget

2. It is Clear that Facebook sees the Quest as a Big Deal (Zuckerberg referred to it as “The Quest Platform”)

All the previously leaked specs were confirmed at the Facebook Connect event:

  • 6 GB Ram
  • XR2 Chip Set (Leapfrogging the Quest Gen 1 Snapdragon 835)
  • 50% better screen resolution (with LCD Panel)
  • Smaller, lighter, more comfortable Headset and controllers
  • Smarter and Stronger Haptic feedback from controllers
  • More comfortable head-straps as well as the option to buy an “elite” comfort strap, even one that holds an extra battery pack.

Other Details:

  • The shipping date of October 13th
  • The confirmed price point of $299
  • Pre-orders are open as of September 16th
  • This Fall, Oculus Link is coming out of Beta, and, in the future, with the Quest 2, will support up to 90hz refresh rates.
  • For a more in-depth look, check out this article by The Verge.

3. As part of a number of improvements to Facebook’s Future of Work/ Facebook Business Initiatives, there will be a new keyboard from Logitech that will enable you to type in VR while being able to see the keys in VR perfectly

4. An ‘EMG bracelet’ for finger tracking and ‘Beamforming’ for sound focus are two other projects from Facebook Reality Labs research that Look Promising

  • The EMG Bracelet accurately maps the movement of your hands and uses them to move your fingers in VR.
  • Beamforming is a technology that helps users focus-in-on the sound they want to hear (this is through their speakers in the AR glasses, Project ARIA, mentioned earlier.)

5. New Avatars are coming to the Oculus Platform

While not the most exciting, we have seen that better avatars do help users feel a better sense of presence in social VR experiences.

6. New Tools for Developers including a new Developer Hub (Coming Soon), Hand Tracking and Body Tracking API, Performance Tools, Vulcan Support, and More

7. The Quest 2 plus Oculus Link will be even more capable than Rift

  • In fact, Rift S will stop selling next year.
  • The Quest 2 will be the focus for Facebook’s take on PC VR

That’s all for now! We are still absorbing all this information. Sad you missed the event? Want more details? Check out Facebook Connect 2020 In 10 Minutes

Want to watch the whole thing? Facebook Reality Labs will have the videos available on their Facebook Reality Labs page after the event is over.

We can’t wait to learn more about all these new resources for our students and to start digging in making games with the Quest 2. We will write about it more here soon. But, In the meantime, stay tuned to the XR Terra blog for our next article coming up on setting up for development on the Quest and the Quest 2.

The world beyond Zoom – How VR can enhance learning in this new normal

Read Time // March 26, 2020

As campuses are shutting down across the country and classes are moving entirely online, universities’ course offerings are becoming more and more indistinguishable. In this time of uncertainty, many students are questioning the cost of their education, and parents, whose 401K’s are decimated, are rethinking why their kids should be returning to campus in the Fall when hopefully the world opens up again.

While there isn’t an obvious answer to colleges being able to justify their cost in this new normal, one possible response is the next disruptive education technology – virtual reality.

Virtual reality was first introduced as a medium for education more than 20 years ago, but it’s only in recent years with the prevalence of affordable hardware and supporting infrastructure that VR has become an effective and scalable option. Additionally, we are seeing more and more studies that show how VR improves student engagement as well as learning outcomes.

Universities across the country are embracing VR in different ways – for example, University of Michigan is going all-in and implementing XR (extended reality – umbrella term for virtual, mixed and augmented reality) university-wide, while Emerson College has invested in a VR lab for a significant stake in the XR landscape.

The truth is that while VR is an exciting technology, implementing it effectively at scale takes significant budget and resources and a clear strategy behind it, which I’ll cover more in-depth in a later post.

But what can colleges and faculty members do NOW?

Here are three almost-immediately implementable steps, even during social distancing, you can take to start using VR with your learners.

[Please note that data privacy and security is the responsibility of the user and while these options can be used to supplement learning, longer term solutions would require a detailed evaluation of software.]

1. In-VR classes

Time to implement: half a day of quick onboarding for first-time users

If you and many of your students have access to VR headsets (e.g. Oculus Quest), you can easily replace or at least supplement regular 2D video conference meetings with in-VR meeting spaces such as Altspace VR, Engage and VR Chat.

Some of these platforms also have a desktop 2D version (e.g. AltspaceVR) so this is a pretty inclusive offering for everyone. You can use much of the same basic functionalities as you would in a video conferencing service like Zoom (e.g. whiteboard annotating, screenshare, mute functions) in addition to more interactive functionalities.

Check out this video of an instructor teaching Computer Science using AltspaceVR for inspiration.

2. 360-degree video (live!) classes  

Time to implement: half a day for set up and rehearsal

If you own or can purchase a 360 camera like the insta360 one-X, you can instantly live-stream via Youtube a 360 degree video of yourself lecturing from your home office or share a pre-recorded 360 video. Students can view this on their desktop in 2D but those with a VR headset can also watch this in VR.

Whether it’s in 2D or in a VR headset, using 360 degree videos breaks away from the monotony of video conference apps and could add further engagement and ‘spice’ to traditional online courses.

3. VR and AR course assignments

Time to implement: just the time required to research appropriate content

The XR world still struggles with the issue of lack of content but there’s still a lot of educational titles you can browse through. Check out some of these lists as a start:

Notable Mention:

SPACES is a software that bridges the gap between VR and traditional video conferencing software like Zoom, Google Hangouts and Skype. This was specifically built in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. I personally have yet to try this out but you should! Download their beta version here.

One last thing to note is that virtual reality still has a long way to go in tackling accessibility. So while these options are not appropriate for all audiences, I hope it’ll spark some inspiration for additional engagement for your “Zoomers” (quite literally!).

There are of course more strategic, scalable and longer-term solutions that, if executed well, can transform the way we deliver content. Stay tuned for more on this… and until then, I hope you all stay safe.

About XR Terra

Founded in 2019, XR Terra empowers the next generation of XR talent through industry-driven education and training programs. XR Terra’s team of passionate entrepreneurs, XR experts, and tech leaders help aspiring XR professionals reshape their reality. To that end, XR Terra proudly offers scholarships committed to gender diversity and minority inclusion in tech. XR Terra is a Unity Authorized Training and Certification Partner.