VRee developed a SDK to create virtual reality applications more easily.
Crédits photos : VRee
VRee, an XR company from the Netherlands, has conceived an off-the-shelf SDK solution. The software development kit, which started as a school project years ago, is used for training simulations and entertainment experiences. VRee will be present at VRDays 2021 to present its product. This is how VRee built its solution, a story told by Menno Bischops, CTO and Co-founder.
From a school project to founding a company
The journey began many years ago, when Menno Bischops was not yet CTO and Co-founder of VRee. Back then, he was far from the XR industry and was pursuing a career as a salesman. After 6 years, Menno Bischops decided to go back to school and become a Software Engineer. At the same time he was making that decision, the first Oculus VR headset came out.
During his new studies, Menno made a prototype of a virtual arrow solution on TV. Later on, Game Design Students and Virtual Reality Students from Fontys Hogescholen Eindhoven built an advanced Virtual Archey project, receiving several prizes. This earlier VR journey pushed Menno to work for international VR companies. But his eagerness for entrepreneurship was strong. Then in 2016 he secured seed investment from Lumo Labs and the BOM (Brabantse Ontwikkelings Maatschappij) and co-founded VRee together with Roy Noten, the lead developer from VR Archery project.
“Everyone wants to get to the Moon”
On one hand, virtual reality has conquered many business fields. On the other hand, developing immersive solutions from scratch requires expertise and time. “VRee’s software development kit is built as a ‘LEGO’ toolbox to create XR applications. That way, it’s less expensive and faster for companies to deploy”, Menno Bischops explains. “Everyone wants to get to the Moon, but nobody wants to build the rocket.”
VRee provides an easy-to-use development kit to create immersive applications. The SDK is a software platform to build interactive full-body multiplayer VR applications. Conceived as an off-the-shelf product, VRee’s software solution is compatible with VR gloves, haptics devices, backpack computers and the main headsets of the market. It’s used for virtual training, serious gaming, digital prototyping and location-based entertainment.
“I do and I understand”: VR for training
During our interview, Menno quoted the ancient Chinese philosopher Confucius: “I hear and I forget, I see and I remember, I do and I understand.” There is no better way to describe the benefits of virtual reality. By doing something in VR, you understand it better than when you are following a lesson or reading a book. Menno Bischops deeply believes that in VR people need to “experience like they would experience in real life”. VRee has collaborated for several training projects for armed forces, firefighters and policemen. VR has proved its value for training, with a 80% retention rate — four times higher than with a non-immersive training.
The vision is to make XR applications possible for everyone! The underlying idea is to build applications with ultimate freedom when experiencing VR together. “We also want to offer the possibility to use any headset on the market today and tomorrow, and to add any hardware to make the experience complete. All this in the end to make every XR project affordable and future-proof.“
VRee’s software solution was employed for several immersive training experiences. Apollo Journey created a training for the Dutch fire department using VRee’s solution. It simulates in VR an intervention for a domestic fire. VRee also collaborated with the Dutch Army to conceive a VR multi-user training. It allows up to 16 simultaneous users at the same time.
During VRDays 2021, Ewout van Dort and Rob Harrewijn from the Ministry of Defense of the Netherlands will be present in the Laval Virtual World to present the Army project. The demo will be playable in one of the Virtual Breakout Floor. You can join them online at Immersive Tech Week.