My Experience Working Out At-Home During the Global COVID-19 Outbreak

At first glance, this post might sound pedantic, for comprehensive info on the Corona Virus visit the WHO Q&As or CDC. This post is in regard to immunological fitness and how the virus is spread and my personal method of using virtual reality as an additional form of exercise:

The disease can spread from person to person through small droplets from
 the nose or mouth which are spread when a person with COVID-19 coughs or 
exhales. These droplets land on objects and surfaces around the person. 
Other people then catch COVID-19 by touching these objects or surfaces, 
then touching their eyes, nose or mouth


For the above reason, gyms and other typically crowded workout facilities are out. However, exercise is still a key part of staying healthy, more on this further down. I’ve been using an at-home workout strategy using virtual reality for over two weeks and I’d like to share why this is working for me.


If you own a VR headset; some titles that could be used for cardio are:

- Beat Saber
- Box VR
- OhShape
- Thrill of the Fight
- Synth Riders
- Creed: Rise to Glory
- Until You Fall

Active titles that can be modified to be more of a workout:

- Rec Room
- RacketNX
- Pistol Whip
- Lone Echo
- Superhot VR

For general standing activity to afford you some low intensity movement:

- Racket Fury
- Sports Scramble
- VRChat

Virtual reality is a little known option for folks as it relates to fitness, but now we know at my company YUR that thousands of people use VR games daily to workout in a fun and efficient way. The big difference is that while wearing a VR headset you are completely immersed in playing the role of a player in a game. It’s important to note that this trend towards immersive fitness is visible with Peloton, Les Mills, and other fitness names.

YUR monthly view

My month so far has been characterized by workouts between 250 kcals and 750 kcals as you can see, every day (except for March 4th). I’ll tend to use games such as Box VR or Beat Saber, and with YUR the cool part about this is any game can be played and tracked which allows for constant novelty the moment you feel bored of your current exercise regime. This doubles as a benefit if you are feeling cooped up at home.

… with YUR any game can be played and tracked which allows for constant novelty the moment you feel bored of your current exercise regime

I would characterize the kind of workouts I do in VR as plyometric, and explosive in nature similar to a HIIT workout. However, this is up to your personal preference.

As a perennial gym-goer, I have to point out here what VR workouts are not providing me and others. Hypertrophic or strength benefits from lifting weights, cycling, rowing, calisthenics, and running are all different from VR workouts.

So how does staying immunologically fit factor into this as well as COVID-19? I’m not posing a risk to others (as long as I am the only one using my VR headset). By doing this I’m participating in a community.

To be immunologically fit, you need to be physically fit. “White blood 
cells can be quite sedentary,” says Akbar. “Exercise mobilises them by increasing your blood flow, so they can do their surveillance jobs and seek
 and destroy in other parts of the body.” The NHS says adults should be 
physically active in some way every day, and do at least 150 minutes a week 
of moderate aerobic activity (hiking, gardening, cycling) or 75 minutes of 
vigorous activity (running, swimming fast, an aerobics class).


So basically, in the middle of my day between 1 pm or 6 pm, I throw my Oculus Quest on and workout for maybe half an hour or so. I hope that this has been insightful to you and if you have a VR headset perhaps this can factor into your virus response.

This post initially appeared on my Linkedin.

Oculus Connect 6 Takeaways

Ahead of Oculus Connect 6 (OC6), I attended the Oculus Launchpad and Start dinner tonight. I saw a ton of vibrant communication and hopes for the next few days. In no small order, developers were internationally based, from places such as Canada and New Zealand. I noticed a pattern of developers who seem to be holding full-time jobs all the while in pursuit of publishing an app to the Oculus Store.

RealityKit Motion Capture and Apple’s future iPhone including a time-of-flight camera

Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo claiming in his latest report that two of the 2020 iPhones will feature a rear time-of-flight (ToF) 3D depth sensor for better augmented reality features and portrait shots, via MacRumors.

“It’s not the first we’ve heard of Apple considering a ToF camera for its 2020 phones, either. Bloomberg reported a similar rumor back in January, and reports of a 3D camera system for the iPhone have existed since 2017. Other companies have beaten Apple to the punch here, with several phones on the market already featuring ToF cameras. But given the prevalence of Apple’s hardware and the impact it tends to have on the industry, it’s worth taking a look at what this camera technology is and how it works.

What is a ToF sensor, and how does it work?

Time-of-flight is a catch-all term for a type of technology that measures the time it takes for something (be it a laser, light, liquid, or gas particle) to travel a certain distance.

In the case of camera sensors, specifically, an infrared laser array is used to send out a laser pulse, which bounces off the objects in front of it and reflects back to the sensor. By calculating how long it takes that laser to travel to the object and back, you can calculate how far it is from the sensor (since the speed of light in a given medium is a constant). And by knowing how far all of the different objects in a room are, you can calculate a detailed 3D map of the room and all of the objects in it.

The technology is typically used in cameras for things like drones and self-driving cars (to prevent them from crashing into stuff), but recently, we’ve started seeing it pop up in phones as well.”

The current state of ARKit 3 and an observation

Screen Shot 2019-07-29 at 12.07.16 PM.png

ARKit 3 has an ever-increasing scope, and of particular interest to me are those AR features which under the hood rely upon machine learning, namely Motion Capture.

Today, ARKit 3 uses raycasting as well as ML Based Plane Detection on awake or when the app using ARKit 3 is initially opened in order to place the floor, for example.

Check the video below. In it, I’m standing in front of my phone which is propped up on a table.

In this video, I’m using motion capture via an iPhone XR. My phone is sitting on a surface (namely the table) that it has determined is the floor plane, and as a result, you’ll notice that our avatar, once populated into the scene, has an incorrect notion of where the ground is.

Screen Shot 2019-07-30 at 1.27.20 PM

It’s the hope that new ToF sensor technology will allow for a robust and complete understanding of the layout of objects in the room and the floor. Such that, for the same context, the device is able to tell that it is sitting on a table yet, the floor is not that plane but the one further away in the real world scene before it.


The Verge, “Apple’s future iPhone might add a time-of-flight camera — here’s what it could do”

AR Industrial Applications: Defense Engineering

What is this? I chatted with Evan, Operations Modeling and Simulation Engineer at Northrop Grumman about engineering use cases for the Hololens. 

His opening remarks: It’s often a struggle integrating new technology into large-scale manufacturers due to adherence to strict methods and processes. Finding/molding problems into good use cases for a given new technology can be challenging. It’s much easier to start with the problem and find/mold a good solution than the other way around. The challenge is helping engineers and operations leadership understand what modern solutions exist.



Evan’s Take: In the context of engineering, to show the Hololen’s capabilities in relation to the (DOD acquisition lifecycle) lifecycle stages of a product might be a high value strategy.

Image result for dod engineering systemTemporary Minimum Risk Route (TMRR): How do we design a product that fulfills mission requirements? This can take the form of:

  • visualizing the designs, making sure they’re feasible (i.e. are wires getting pinched?). Uncovering design flaws you’ll discover later in the form of defects during manufacturing. Making sure the design is producible (DFM – Design for Manufacturability).
  • communicating to the customer: In that stage of the lifecycle it’s important to be able to communicate your designs to the customer to demonstrate technical maturity.
    • inspect the product: this part of the product is called “XYZ” can then be exploded.


Engineering and Manufacturing Development (EMD): At this stage the customer (NG) cares about “how are we going to build it”

  • tooling design: visualizing the product sitting in the tools or workstands that will be used in production
  • visualizing the ergonomics people are going to have to deal with for example are the clearances sufficient to *screw in the screw, so ergonomics*
  • visualizing the factory flow, the customer (NG’s customer) would also be interested in seeing the proposed factory flow to build confidence. It’s becoming more common to see this as a line item in contracts (Contract Data Requirements List or CDRL)

Subsequent steps in Production & Deployment are:

  • Low rate initial production (LRIP)
  • Full rate production (FRP)


Who the customer is: Mechanics on the factory floor using hololens for work instructions, saw a lot of interest at Raytheon and NG to use Virtual Work instructions overlayed onto the hardware (Google Glass, Light Guide Systems, etc). In a more mature program that’s in production, the mechanic, or the electrician on the factory floor would be the end user. Today, they look away from the product where work instructions are pulled up on the computer. Their instructions might be several feet away from the work, hopefully they’ve interpreted the instructions well so they don’t cause a defect. Operators work from memory or don’t follow work instructions if it’s too cumbersome to do so. DCMA (Customer’s oversight) issues corrective action requests (CAR’s) to the contractor when operators don’t appear to be following work instructions (i.e. the page they’re on doesn’t match the step in the process they’re currently working on, or worse, they don’t have the instructions pulled up). Getting too many of these is really bad. So where AR is really useful, is when AR is overlaying instructions on the product as it’s built. Care should be given to the Manufacturing Engineer’s workflow for creating and approving work instructions, work instruction revisions, etc. Long-term, consideration probably needs to be given to integration with the Manufacturing execution system (MES) and possibly many other systems (ERP, PLM, etc.).

The Hololens tech is seemingly a ways away from that––seamlessly identifying the hardware regardless of physical position/orientation as well as making it easy for manufacturing engineers to author compliant work instructions

Another consideration, for any of the above use cases in the defense industry, is wireless. Most facilities will not accommodate devices that transmit or receive signals over any form of wireless. For the last use case, tethering a mechanic to a wired AR device is inhibiting.


Games as Medicine | FDA Clearance Methods


Games as Medicine | FDA Clearance Methods

Noah Falstein, @nfalstein
President, The Inspiracy
Neurogaming Consultant

Technically software and games are cleared and not approved by the FDA.

By background, Noah:

  • Has attended 31 GDCs
  • Been working in games since 1980 (started in entertainment and arcade games with Lucas Entertainment)
  • Gradually shifted over and consulted for 17 years on a wide variety of games
  • Started getting interested in medical games in 1991 (i.e. East3)
  • Went to Google and left due to platform perspective one had to have at Google
  • Game designer not a doctor, but voraciously learns about science and medical topics

Table of Content:

  • Context of games for health
  • New factor of FDA clearance
  • Deeper dive
  • Adv. and Disadvan. to clearance

Why are games and health an interesting thing?

Three reasons why games for health are growing quickly and are poised to be a very important thing

  • It’s about helping people (i.e. Dr. Sam Rodriguez’s work Google “Rodriguez pain VR”)
  • It’s challenging, exciting, and more diverse than standard games (i.e. games need to be fun, but if they’re not having the desired effect, for example restoring motion after a stroke, then you encounter an interesting challenge). The people in the medical field tend to be more diverse than those in the gaming space.
  • It’s a huge market* FDA clearance = big market

So what’s the catch?

Mis-steps along the way

  • Brain Training (i.e. Nintendo Gameboy had popular Japanese games claiming brain training)
  • Wii Fit (+U) (i.e. the balance board)
  • Lumosity fine (i.e. claims made that were unsubstantiated by research)

upshot: lack of research and good studies underpinning claims

Some bright spots

  • Remission from Hopelab (i.e. they targeted adherence: using the consequences of not having enough chemotherapy in their body)

FDA clearance is a gold standard

  • Because it provides a stamp of good, trustable, etc.
  • The burden is on the people who make products to go through a regimen of tests that are science-driven
  • Noah strongly recommends Game Devs to link up with a university
  • Working on SaMD – Software as a Med Device
  • Biggest single world market drives others
  • Necessary for a prescription and helps with insurance reimbursement
  • but it’s very expensive and time-consuming


FDA definition of a serious disease

MindMaze Pro

  • FDA clearance May 2017
  • Stroke Rehabilitation
  • Early in-hospital acute care while plasticity high

Pear Therapeutic

  • Positions its product as a “prescription digital therapeutic”


Akili Interactive Labs

  • Treats pediatric ADHD
  • Late-stage trial results (Dec. 2017) were very positive with side effects of a headache and frustration, which is much better than alternatives like Ritalin
  • Seeking De Novo clearance
  • Adam Gazzaley – began as aging adult research with Neuroracer, a multi-year study published in Nature

The Future – Good, Bad, Ugly, Sublime

  • Each successful FDA clearance helps
  • But they still will require big $, years to dev
  • you have to create a company, rigorously study it, stall production because changing your game
    would make results invalid from studies, then you need to release it
  • Pharma is a powerful but daunting partner


  • Can FDA certification for games then reveal that some games are essentially street drugs?


Snap Lens Studio

Hello World Building Augmented Reality for Snapchat

Fun fact – 30000+ lenses created by Snapchatters, leading to over a billion views of lense content
Table of Contents
Lens Studio
Hello World! Lens Studio Live Demo
High-Quality Rendering with Allegorithmic
Chester Fetch with Klei Entertainment
Cuphead and Mugman with Studio MDHR

Travis Chen

  • Worked at Bad Robot, Neversoft, and Blizzard

Lens Studio

  • Snapchat has always opened up to the camera, which has positively affected their engagement
  • Pair your phone with Lens Studio
  • A community forum on the site exists where devs q & a
  • Has been out for less than 4 months today, and the lenses have resulted in over a billion experiences
  • The tool has been used for a variety of things hamburger photogrammetry, full-screen 2d experiences,
  • Distributing your lenses is really easy

  • Within, snap you can discover a lense where you can see more lenses by the same creators or you
    can pull up on the base of a story to figure out what lense was used.

Lense Boost – All users see the Snapchat carousel, a Lens Boost to get your lense into this carousel

Find which template best fits your creative intent


  • Static object
  • Animated object
  • Interactive templates (tap, approach, look at)
  • Immersive (look around, window)
  • For 2D creators (cutout, picture frame, fullscreen, soundboard)
  • Interactive path (idle, walk, and arrival states necessary) coming soon


  • Brian Garcia, Neon Book
  • Pinot, 2D textures, cutout template, then character animator to animate
  • DFace, DDog, imported into lenstudio (from camera reflections feature)
  • Jordan & Snapchat, ‘88 static Jordan 3D model
  • Netflix & Snapchat, Stranger Things – turning on the TV, or spelling your name out,
    awakiening the demi gorgon

Hello World

Lens Studio is made up of panels:

  • Live Preview, to see what it will be like, it includes tracked content and interaction support
  • Objects panel, like the Unity scene view, it shows you what is in the preview
  • Resources panel, all your resources and where you’d import stuff


Start with the animated object template
Select an object in the resources panel and move it to the objects panel
Google blocks + mixamo + export free animations from Adobe and import your character animated from
File import monitor and astronaut
Child the imported 3D model to the fox as a child and delete the fox
Add a shadow

High-Quality Rendering

Substance Painter is an app to apply materials or paint textures for 2D or 3D.
Any material you bring in you can apply to an object, they apply uniformly, but there’s
also, smart materials which applies intelligently to geometry (rust example).

The layers tab is like the scene view the place to drag and drop

Alphas provides a cutout, you can apply materials to the cutout

Upon clicking export

Challenge: Rubber Ducky

Chester Fetch with Klei Entertainment

Games studio since 2005

Why is AR interesting for Klei?

  • AR is about bringing the virtual world out to the player.
  • Shareable
  • Limited bandwidth
  • Seems hard
  • Would require too much time from others at the Studio

Cuphead and Mugman with Studio MDHR

  • Cuphead and Mugman wanted to build and snap a boss battle
  • All of the lenses used in cuphead were from assets created directly from the game
  • Chains together 5 2D animations



  • Within the Snap app, I noticed you can rent/create a lense “as a service” how does this pertain to lens studio?
  • A question I had was, looking forward to a day when you can use targets like people for further interactable and shareable content like the examples shown in Mugman, when will person/object recognition be available to developers and users of Snap?   
  • What is the github account for Snap?

SVVR #49 Summary Notes

SVVR Meetup #49

SVVR Passport – A membership program

This is SVVR’s new shared co-working space for demonstration

  • 24 hour access
  • Demo equipment and library
  • Digital benefits

SVVR VR Mixer 2018

  • March 21st, 2018

Lumus Optics

  • Israeli company doing reflective wave-guide optics whose mission is to be your
    leader in AR displays––more than 60 patents
  • Highest performance for smallest form factor
  • What is wave guide tech?

This boasts

  • Wide FOV (40˚ – 55˚)
  • Compact 1.7mm Form Factor
  • Life-like Image
  • True See-Through
  • Daylight Readable

Founded in 2000
Partnered with Quanta Computer (going to produce the optics engine),
Flex (OEM using Lumus reference), and Deepoptics (vergence accommodation)

They have debuted their new prototype at CES––looks like Dragon Ball equipment.


Will be able to deploy Vuforia applications or demos using other AR libraries via this.

High Fidelity – Philip Rosedale

  • Probably gonna need
    • Identity
    • IP rights
    • Proof-of-purchase
    • Payment system

Full Decentralization?

Transaction expenses are high (syncing, VR transactions need to happen quickly,
must pay gas)
Federated Consensus – near-zero transaction fees, etc.

Bad Monetary Policy

  • Bitcoin for being usable as a currency isn’t viable. Because Bitcoin is going up in
    price so much and it’s fixed in circulation.
  • Increase circulation as people join
  • Second Life – made more money at roughly the same rate that people come online
    • Use a smart contract to create an exchange rate scaling

High Fidelity Coin (HFC)

  • Stable
  • Blockchain cryptocurrency
  • Easy to use, initial grants for proof-of-identity, and multiple currency exchange

Philip waxing about tech, says something to the effect of “with any big shift in technology
what often comes as compelling is things that are currently done in the world i.e. payment”

Philip also mentioned via s-contracts allowing duels to occur for identity


Currently at 6D.AI

Came back from Japan
Saw so many vr experiences, met a ton of the community, discovered VTubing which
can also be found through IMVU, etc.

Learned a lot and PC VR isn’t a thing with Japan due to space and culture

PSVR location based VR situation

VR Zone Shinjuku-–world class location based experience. Tickets range from $10-15 per experience.
They take first-timers very seriously and interestingly take matters of safety really seriously.
Bruce really admired the standard of using motion platforms for everything, tie everything into an
IP, and did a great job of executing. Looks like he did a DBZ experience, and learned how to shoot a
Kamehamehameha. Mario Kart––on a motion platform, etc.

How long is the experience?
How much of what you saw in Japan will likely have an audience in EN?
How is FOVE doing?
VR experiences dealing with food?

view raw


hosted with ❤ by GitHub

Developer Blog Post: ARKit #1

When developing AR applications for Apple phones there are two cameras that we speak about. One is the physical camera on the back of the phone. The other is the virtual camera that you will have in your Unity scene to in turn, match the position and orientation of the real world camera.

A camera in Unity (virtual) has a component called Clear Flags which determines which parts of the screen will be cleared. On your main virtual camera setting this to “Depth Only” will instruct the renderer to clear the layer of the virtual background environment. Allowing for the seamless overlay of virtual objects on the (physical) camera feed as a backdrop for your virtual objects.

More to come on differences between hit testing and ray casting in the context of ARKit and a broader look at intersection testing approaches in the next post.

Reblog: The Light Field Stereoscope | SIGGRAPH 2015

Inspired by Wheatstone’s original stereoscope and augmenting it with modern factored light field synthesis, [Fu-Chung Huang, Kevin Chen, Gordon Wetzstein] present a new near-eye display technology that supports focus cues. These cues are critical for mitigating visual discomfort experienced in the commercially-available head mounted displays and providing comfortable, long-term immersive experiences.



Over the last few years, virtual reality has re-emerged as a technology that is now feasible at low cost via inexpensive cellphone components. In particular, advances of high-resolution micro displays, low-latency orientation trackers, and modern GPUs facilitate extremely immersive experiences. To facilitate comfortable long-term experiences and wide-spread user acceptance, however, the vergence-accommodation conflict inherent to all stereoscopic displays will have to be solved. [Fu-Chung Huang, Kevin Chen, Gordon Wetzstein] present the first factored near-eye display technology supporting high image resolution as well as focus cues: accommodation and retinal blur. To this end, [Fu-Chung Huang, Kevin Chen, Gordon Wetzstein] build on Wheatstone’s original stereoscope but augment it with modern factored light field synthesis via stacked liquid crystal panels. The proposed light field stereoscope is conceptually closely related to emerging factored light field displays, but it has very unique characteristics compared to the television-type displays explored thus far. Foremost, the required field of view is extremely small – just the size of the pupil – which allows for rank-1 factorizations to produce correct or nearly-correct focus cues. [Fu-Chung Huang, Kevin Chen, Gordon Wetzstein] analyze distortions of the lenses in the near-eye 4D light fields and correct them using the high-dimensional image formation afforded by our display. [Fu-Chung Huang, Kevin Chen, Gordon Wetzstein] demonstrate significant improvements in resolution and retinal blur quality over previously-proposed near-eye displays. Finally, [Fu-Chung Huang, Kevin Chen, Gordon Wetzstein] analyze diffraction limits of these types of displays along with fundamental resolution limits.


  • technical paper (pdf)
  • technical paper supplement (zip)
  • presentation slides (slideshare)