surgeons barely have enough time
outside of the hospital as it is.”
With a system like Osso VR, hospi-
tals and healthcare systems can ensure
these professionals are completely
prepared and confident before they
perform life-and-death procedures, re-
ducing the likelihood of mistakes and
improving outcomes—all with a frac-
tion of the time and hassle required by
Yet AR and VR in the workplace do
not need to save lives to improve them.
Atheer creates AR/VR hardware and
software solutions for deskless employees. The company’s AiR Suite provides
visual and non-interruptive collaboration, communication, and workflow
management on commercially available smartglasses. The result? Workers can collaborate with headquarters
without taking their hands, or eyes, off
the job in front of them.
The company also manufactures its
own smartglasses that are compatible
with the system, the AiR Glasses. Powered by the Android operating system,
the glasses connect to Wi-Fi, Bluetooth,
and 4G LTE for maximum access to
digital information in the field. Workers control applications displayed on
the glasses using hand gestures, head
movements, and voice commands.
The company cites applications
in logistics/warehousing, construction, and industrial sectors as target
sectors for the technology. These industries share commonalities: field
workers who need to learn and communicate, but who may not have the
ability to use a mobile device or on-site machine to do so.
Then, of course, there are the companies who want to be the new Slack
(that is, a popular collaboration solution), but for VR.
Software from AltspaceVR gives
companies and individuals the ability to connect with others in a shared
digital environment. Using a VR headset like the Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, or
Samsung Gear VR, users can visually
brainstorm like they are in the same
room, or conduct more natural meetings than otherwise possible through
video or voice conferencing.
VR company High Fidelity also has
a platform-first approach. The compa-
ny provides users with an open-source
system that works with major com-
mercial VR headsets, which allows
them to create highly scalable virtual
environments using common tools.
These virtual environments offer
real benefits to companies—especial-
ly as many firms implement remote
“A good portion of our team is re-
mote and we’re already seeing VR be-
come useful as a productivity tool,”
says Barad at Osso VR. “We often have
our daily meetings in VR. This allows
us to function like we’re all in the same
“I can see this supplanting videoconferencing in the near future.”
Going to Work in VR Will Actually Be Pretty
Great—We Swear, WIRED, May 7, 2016,
Augmented And Virtual Reality Fuel The
Future Workplace, Forbes, December
11, 2016, http://www.forbes.com/sites/
How VR Will Change the Workplace,
AndroidPit, February 9, 2017, https://www.
Logan Kugler is a freelance technology writer based in
Tampa, FL. He has written for over 60 major publications.
© 2017 ACM 0001-0782/17/08 $15.00
A ship captain could
view a 3D model
of his vessel with
From there, problems
could be diagnosed
of miles away.
“I am excited
accessible,” says Luca Benini,
professor of Digital Circuits and
Systems in the Department of
Information Technology and
Electrical Engineering at E TH
Zurich. “This is what my
research has focused on my
entire career: having energy
efficient computing at your
fingertips whenever you need
it—at a minimal cost and with
Benini earned his
undergraduate degree in
electrical engineering from
the Università di Bologna, and
received both his master’s and
Ph. D. degrees in that discipline
from Stanford University.
Watching people at Stanford
learn about things and then
bring them into being struck a
chord with Benini. “Science is
not only learning, but making
things practical and changing
peoples’ lives,” he explains.
“This was an attribute I first saw
at Stanford and it changed my
approach to problems and made
me excited by what I was doing.”
After graduating from
Stanford, Benini started
working at Hewlett Packard.
Within a year, he had received
an offer from his alma mater to
become a professor of electrical
engineering, which he accepted.
While there, he also served
as a visiting professor, first at
Stanford and then at EFPL in
Benini has also worked as a
consultant for industry.
He joined ETH Zurich in 2012.
“I wanted to move from abstract
research into making chips,
which what I have been doing the
past four years,” he says.
Benini’s focus remains
on making computation
increasingly energy efficient.