As COVID-19 wreaks havoc across the globe, businesses in all industries have to adapt to a new climate. From remote work to furloughs to supply chain delays, businesses worldwide are facing various challenges. Some of these difficulties include trade shows being canceled for the foreseeable future – events that many companies rely on as valuable resources for revenue and relationships.
As a result, Uproar PR developed its Virtual Insight Series, a creative way for our clients to interact with key media outlets – as they would at a trade show – but communicating safely over Zoom. Uproar’s first event focused on companies in the smart glasses space, inviting reporters from top technology publications, including VentureBeat, KnowTechie and FutureNet, as well as industry analysts from ABI Research, IDC and VDC Research to join in and ask questions.
These companies participated in the virtual event and shared how they are adapting their products and technology to meet the needs of a rapidly-evolving marketplace.
Shannon Craig, Senior Director of Marketing for eSight, kicked off the Virtual Insight Series with a presentation on the company’s background, an explanation of eSight 3 – their latest device – and the impact of COVID-19 on both their company and the visually impaired. eSight 3 is a 2019 Health Tech Digital Awards winner and is on Time magazine’s list of Best Inventions.
Shannon highlighted the unique challenges faced by the visually impaired as they navigate a world changed by COVID-19. She described how everyday activities like navigating the world without touch, remaining six feet apart from people, heavier use of public transportation, and the loss of support networks that would typically help people with low vision community has altered their everyday life.
To help address these issues, eSight created a community called #eSightTogether. This group was designed for people in the low-vision community, regardless of whether or not they use eSight. This community features accessible health information, member-led virtual chats, and connection to specialized doctors and influencers in the low-vision community. eSight also recently launched eSight Workplace, an all-in-one platform that enables low vision employees to be productive in and out of the office. The wearer can view their computer screen on their eSight device and zoom in and move the screen as needed, allowing them to get their work done while working remotely during this time.
Nick Cherukuri, Founder and CEO of ThirdEye, was Uproar’s second panelist of the day. ThirdEye offers mixed-reality smart glasses for the enterprise, named X2 MR Glasses, with its most recent focus being on the healthcare industry amid COVID-19. Nick walked through how the company is working with first responders and providing augmented reality telehealth solutions to help manage the COVID-19 crisis.
The X2 MR Glasses allow EMS responders to stream their field of view. This creates live, hands-free experiences with remote doctors who can then provide medical advice as patients are transported to the hospital, rather than waiting for them to arrive. First responders can also access a patient’s records through the glasses, as the X2 MR Glasses are one of the first augmented reality glasses to become HIPAA compliant. Overall, this enables first responders to stay safe and recognize COVID-19 symptoms faster. He also discussed the use of the ThirdEye X2 MR Glasses for thermal imaging. This allows first responders to read the patient’s temperature from a safe distance away.
Currently, ThirdEye is partnering with paramedics at two local fire departments and receiving interest from others around the country. They have found that their primary use has been remote assistance and image recognition. ThirdEye is also constantly adapting to create customized solutions as more first responders begin to implement the glasses. For example, they are now working to connect with EKG machines after receiving initial feedback. Lastly, ThirdEye has also partnered with Cleanbox to make sure the glasses can be easily disinfected.
Pico Interactive’s Vice President of Design, Ennin Huang, wrapped up the Virtual Insight Series by discussing the company’s two newest products. The Neo 2 Eye and the G2 4K Enterprise are being used during the pandemic to help with remote training.
Both models are made with a special material that allows for regular, easy cleaning. There is no fabric used on either unit, so these are good from a hygienic perspective. In addition, both headsets have the battery pack at the back of the head strap, allowing users to be comfortable if wearing the unit for long periods of time.
The controller for the Neo 2 Eye and eye-tracking capabilities make this headset unique as it delivers a deeper understanding of customer behavior, enhanced training efficiency, and improved productivity. The controller has a magnetic field, allowing the headset to track what the user is doing even when it is outside of the field of vision. This is particularly useful in the telehealth space. In fact, Pico is now partnering with XRHealth to deliver VR Telehealth Kits — a combination of Pico headsets with pre-installed virtual reality therapy so that XRHealth clinicians can treat and monitor patients remotely. The G24K Enterprise’s front camera allows for simple hand gestures and user input, which is extremely helpful with remote learning.
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Pico has become a significant partner in the telehealth, remote training, and remote recovery space. Pico works in tandem with its software partners, giving them what they need to achieve their goals. The world of virtual reality, mixed reality, and assistive technologies are always exciting and constantly changing, especially during this pandemic. As we wait to see what the “new normal” will look like, it’s helpful to see how companies such as Pico Interactive, eSight and ThirdEye are evolving and helping during this time.
Stay tuned for the announcement of our next Virtual Insight Series! To watch the full event, click here.