HP today revealed the Omnicept Solution, a modular enterprise platform that combines high-fidelity virtual reality (VR) with biometric measurements and artificial intelligence. Omnicept is HP's bold attempt to capture the enterprise VR market with something no other company is doing.
The VR industry is on the rise. While gamers are among those eyeing the best VR headsets, companies are also quickly figuring out that VR can help workers learn faster and retain a higher percentage of knowledge, translating to significant savings for large businesses. HP designed the Omnicept Solution to meet the needs of those businesses.
HP Omnicept comprises three parts that enable companies to create VR solutions for their business needs. It starts with the HP Reverb G2 Omnicept Edition headset, a built-for-business version of the upcoming HP Reverb G2 consumer Windows Mixed Reality (MR) headset.
Omnicept also includes a software development kit (SDK) for businesses to build software and an independent software vendor (ISV) network for companies that don't have the in-house talent.
HP Reverb G2 Omnicept Edition Headset
The Reverb G2 Omnicept Edition includes the same 2160 x 2160 resolution per eye RGB LCD panels and Valve industry-leading over-the-ear speakers as the standard Reverb G2. It also brings a few minor improvements, such as a wipeable PU-leather face cushion and a ratcheting head strap.
The significant difference between the two versions is that the Omnicept Edition includes a handful of biometric sensors to track more than just the users' movements and input.
The Reverb G2 Omnicept Edition includes eye-tracking cameras, which allow developers to create software that interacts with your gaze or creates heatmaps of a your gaze during a training or learning experience.
Additionally, the eye-tracking sensors allow developers to leverage the power of foveated rendering to increase image fidelity and graphics performance. HP confirmed that the Reverb G2 Omnicept is compatible with Nvidia's foveated rendering technology when you drive the headset with a GeForce RTX graphics card.
Eye tracking in a VR headset isn't a revolutionary new feature; the HTC Vive Pro Eye and Pico Neo 2 Eye are examples. But have you ever seen another headset with a face camera before? The Reverb G2 Omnicept Edition has a camera mounted to the bottom of its visor for capturing mouth movements in real-time. Developers can access capture data to enable real-time facial animation of virtual avatars.
The HP Reverb G2 Omnicept Edition also keeps track of your heart rate while you're wearing it. If an event triggers an increase in your heartbeat, the software can pick up on that change.
SDK Unlocks Omnicept's Potential
The second pillar of the Omnicept Solution is a robust SDK that gives developers the power to optimize the Reverb G2 Omnicept Edition headset's features. This SDK exposes the real-time biometric data to empower developers to build dynamic experiences that react to the wearer's physiology.
HP uses sensor fusion and artificial intelligence to leverage the potential of the Omnicept Solution's biometric data. By monitoring your heart rate in conjunction with your facial expressions and pupil activity, HP's system can extrapolate your cognitive load and alter a situation based on your ability.
For example, if you're excelling at a complex task, the software could dynamically ramp up the difficulty. Conversely, if a task causes excessive stress, the SDK could reduce the level of challenge to help you learn at your pace.
Developers get free access to the Omnicept Solution SDK, but there is a cost associated with deploying software. Enterprise customers who wish to deploy in-house solutions can purchase one-time licenses for their solutions. This option forbids license holders from reselling the product.
HP is also creating an ISV platform, enabling developers to create solutions and sell them to enterprise customers. The ISV program works on a revenue-share model, whereby HP takes a cut of the proceeds from any Omicept software solution.
The HP Reverb G2 Omnicept Edition headset won't be available for a while. The company said that it is targeting spring 2021 for the headset's release.
In the meantime, developers can get started creating software. The first release of the Omnicept SDK is available today. The face-tracking API is absent from the first release. HP said that will come in a future update.
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Kevin Carbotte is a contributing writer for Tom's Hardware who primarily covers VR and AR hardware. He has been writing for us for more than four years.