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Planning play area in school


proMixed
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Which headsets are you using, VivePro or HTC Vive? If you plan on using the original Vive HTC, then you'll have to very carefully locate the lighthouses so that one play area does NOT interfere with the other. One way I've done that in a setting where we had multiple setups was to put the lighthouses BETWEEN the two areas pointing towards their respective areas only. It's not ideal, and better if they are diagonally opposite each other, but it worked. (DOH! You stated the "pro", I missed it as it wasn't Capitolized!)

If you're using the Vive Pro with basestation 2.0s, then you could load the ceiling up with as many as 16 basestations, and each headset will find a maximum of four two work with. Each can be assigned a different channel number through the linkbox bluetooth software that you'll need to install as part of the setup process. Properly placed, though, you only need two basestations 2.0 fore each square area, but the point is that the other basestations, if seen by the sensors on either headset, won't interfere with the tracking on each other.

 

I'm envious of your generous space allocation for this! I'm an instructor at a school and I'd love to have this much space to allow for room-scale use in a classroom like you have shown.

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You might want to consider getting the WiGig adapter for your classroom use. The tethered cable, while it has no latency or video compression applied, can really be a nuisance for students. They'll get tangled in it, step on it, pull on it, and it ruins the effect of immersion. (Doh! You're going with the backpack modality...sounds like a problem waiting to happen in a school environment, students drop things, break things, etc. and recharging and weight becomes an issue. I'd consider going with a fixed, higher performing desktop with the WiGig. Though, honestly, I've not tested two WiGigs in the same room, so my comments may be pointless!)

 

I'm an instructor rolling VR out in several venues on our campus...with plans in place for a 25 station VR classroom once our new building is constructed this next year. I've given it a lot of thought and I'll share some other recommendations:

  1. Get some wall-mounted remote controlled fans to aim into the center of each space, even if you have adequate air conditioning in the room. These headsets generate heat and make for a lot of sweat, especially if your students are going to be playing active games like Beat Saber. I've found that the air fan is also a nice way of providing some orientation to the real world space while in VR.
  2. Get some "VR Covers" and replace all the foam face gaskets with leatherette ones that allow for wiping with non-alcohol wipes between use. Students sweat, wear makeup, wear skin ointments/treatments, etc. So making it the repsonsiblity of each student to clean the gasket after each use, or before, will preserve the unit and keep kids from spreading stuff around. There are also disposable paper masks that can be used as well.
  3. Keep those wipes readily available for student use, not locked away in a cabinet or room.
  4. Post signage up reminding students about safety issues, cleaning, charging and hygiene. Singage indicating the functions of the Vive headset adjustment controls is useful, as are the controller typical function buttons/pads.
  5. Have charging stations easily accessed for the wands and the batteries if you go with the Wigig- and many replacement batteries for the Wigig cycling through charges.
  6. Make certain you have window coverings on the exterior windows that will NOT allow direct sunlight into the space. A headset display can be ruined by sunlight magnafied through the fresnel lense on the HMD.
  7. Reflective surfaces are the enemy of tracking. Eliminate all shiny surfaces in the room as much as possible. Reflected IR laser beams will lead to very poor tracking for the HMD and the controllers. Another good reason to cover the windows!
  8.  Have lockers or safe places for students to place items. If they're inside VR, they can't keep an eye on their personal belongings.
  9.  For security, consider camera monitors. Due to the possibility of unwanted touching when someone is blindfolded by VR, it may be prudent (based on the age of your students) to let students know that they are being recorded for their own safety.

I'd like to hear more about what your students will be doing in the classroom. Is it purely a VR experience room, or are there computers and other activities the space will be used for? What is the age range for your students?

 

How are you approaching what VR apps to load onto the machines? Are you using SteamVR and Viveport? Will each machine have duplicate titles, or are you offering different VR apps on them (to maximize software experience opportunity and dollars).

 

Our planned 25 station lab will have an assortment of software titles for VR use and creation of VR content: Revit, Enscape3D, Lumion, 3DSMax, Unity, Unreal Engine, SketchUp, Rhino3D, Inventor as well as the usual graphics and office suite products. So, our students will use VR not just as an experience in and of itself, but as a secondary way of accessing their data they create. I see a day coming when it won't be unusual to have a VR headset at many workstations, similar to having two monitors at a desk now.

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