Austin Unity Group Meetup, October 2017: Unity* Engine and VR

With the Unite 2017 conference being held in Austin, Texas this year it only made sense for the Austin Unity Meetup Group to do a mixer the night before. The mixer was hosted at Capital Factory and hosted a large group of developers from international locales. Artists, developers, educators, filmmakers, researchers, storytellers – anyone and everyone interested in creating with Unity was able to gain valuable insight and inspiration at this event. It also created some connections and excitement for the actual conference that took place at the Austin Convention Center located in downtown over the next couple of days.

Tim Porter and I, Alex Porter, of Underminer Studios are both Intel® Software Innovators and we were one of the featured VR demos at the event showcasing our newest iteration of IDEGO: Virtual Engagements, Confronting Fear of Heights. IDEGO was envisioned to create a treatment option for those looking for alternatives to traditional therapy and medication for mental health. Virtual Engagements are a self-led process that use the fundamental building blocks from cognitive therapies that have been super powered by combining them with tech, gamification, and unprecedented accessibility. The process itself is a gradual progression through four levels and challenges that progress to be more realistic each stage with a safeguard to escape to a calm world allowing for engagement at the user’s pace.

The commercial availability and low cost of tech equipment now allows for access worldwide in the consumer market, so by targeting any device on all major platforms we can allow people to access treatment in private for free. Our content addresses issues such as fear and phobias to begin, pushing toward more comprehensive options including PTSD, Autism, Depression, Anxiety, and aging diseases and others geared more toward overall wellness.

The demo shown was “Confronting Fear of Heights” which sends users through 4 level progressions. We used the MSI* VR One backpack and talked about the collaboration with Intel to create the backpack PC that stops everyone in their tracks. With the backpack the user is essentially “wire free” and only tethered to themselves so they can walk more freely to explore the environment which enhances the impact on the vestibular system.

Level 1 is very cartoonish and the task is to look around, Level 2 is illustrative and the user is asked to look over the edge of the building, Level 3 is stylized and the user is on a plank between two buildings and asked to look over the edge, and lastly Level 4 in which the user is on the roof of a very realistic high rise and ultimately asked to step off of the building. The goal is to allow the user to create coping mechanisms and overcome their fears with a discernible moment that allows them to separate a real world and a virtual world and have self-awareness of their own abilities

We spoke directly to the developer attendees about Intel and Unity interfacing and pushing both gaming and non-gaming uses further. Unity and Intel are a strong collaborative force for developers. They want to promote and encourage use of the tools and the tech that they bring to the table. Unity has engaged Intel especially to push VR development and create a vibrant developer community.

Everyone that attended had a great time getting to know more about the Austin developer scene. There was a great reception to a non-gaming use for VR using Unity. The crowd was really excited to get to attend the conference in the following days and learn more about the latest updates and upcoming features from Unity.

Learn more about the Austin Unity Group:

Visit the meetup site for info on the next Austin Unity Group event.

Learn More About Underminer Studios: 

Based in Austin, Texas, Underminer Studios has been in the emerging technology space for 2 years. Our passionate and skilled team is focused on changing the perspective of how technology can solve real problems. Our clients seek leading edge tech solutions with content creation, consulting, and ideation for entertainment, medical, enterprise, education, training, and other burgeoning fields. We are building the paradigms that are creating the future. 

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