SparkTalks with Soumya Ranjan

Does anyone wonder or think of living in a world where you make a phone call and you get to see the person you are talking to at the same time? That would be so cool and futuristic. We welcomed Mr Soumya Ranjan, who introduced us to Virtual and Augmented Reality. Ever since childhood, we were very much interested in playing video games and waited till the next console came out. This time we had the opportunity to think about designing one with the benefit of artificial intelligence guided by engineers and designers. He presented a brief history just on understanding virtual and augmented reality. His company is also engaged and working on how to make a users time worth a while using their products.

At CUSMAT, they attempt to combine user behavioural research with technology to create new products. The technologies used by them are Virtual Reality, Artificial Intelligence, Leap Motion and Cognitive Science. He described them as digital simulation and improved presentation of Virtual Reality. From holding a Nintendo console to getting facial recognising software allows you to become a part of the game, VR allows your senses to engage themselves in a way where you can see, touch and hear them, without them being for real or tangible since everything is digitally observed. Virtual and Augmented Reality can also work to solve real-world problems.

The application of virtual reality is now implementing in many applications more than watching movies and playing games. The most helpful we have seen the use of this technology is preventing accidents and disruptions. Thanks to Elon Musk and his company. At this day and age, VR is being used for surgical precision for doctors to use it in a precise manner during operations.

A simulation for the individuals who have a mental condition can also be helped. It empathises with the user and makes their experience very satisfactory. Challenges faced by this industry are portability, processing power and cost of devices. There has been a staggering increase in demand for AR and VR technology which has led to the launch of many devices. VR and AR are being used in automotive, cybersecurity, defence, education, healthcare, manufacturing, oil and gas, power and utilities, soft skills and tourism. Imagine using a virtual car engine, cyber hub, 3D learning environments, making doctors life easy, oil drilling mechanism, experiencing a simulated environment before starting with the actual job, entering a grocery shop virtually and picking out items with real-life situations happening around you and getting the items delivered too! Hoping something like that happens. The possibilities are endless that can give the user a good experience.

Before 2003, there were not many who were aware of smartphones. But today we are already thinking of replacing our smartphones with something better and efficient technology even if selected as an option on a smartphone is a doorstep away. Later, he spoke about animation and the collaboration of engineers with designers and the helping hand of artificial intelligence. They would be working on physics-based simulation and realistic texturing. The product will eventually lead to user interaction. Creation of content which involves data researching to find out problems, conducting a series of observation to form a statistical-based analysis, training to find out small problems and giving a thumbs up to the runtime.

He spoke about the criteria for an engineer and a designer to work together on this technology to make a product compatible for the users. The designers role is to design the simulation and the colour which will fit the users eyes and the engineer's responsibility is to figure out how the software interacts with the hardware as the current problems faced is due to the materials used. The session ended with a lot of research that needs to be conducted to understand this technology. It was really fun having Soumya Ranjan explain his role to us. We hope to contribute to VR and AR in future and make it better for the users.

Written by
Nikharika Gupta