ASI Solutions, HP bring virtual reality to Australian schools

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ASI Solutions, HP bring virtual reality to Australian schools

Microsoft may have the tech world's attention with its latest demonstration of Hololens this week, but ASI Solutions and HP have already brought virtual reality to the Australian market.

Sydney-based ASI Solutions is now offering the Zspace “immersive virtual reality” computer for Australian schools to order, and potentially to channel partners. Meanwhile, HP is expected to start selling the HP Zvr Virtual Reality Display, which also uses Zspace technology.

Unlike HoloLens and several other virtual reality systems that require users to wear large goggles, the Zspace headwear is less cumbersome and looks more like regular glasses. The system allows users to see images “lifted” away from the monitor.

Demonstrations show users holding a stylus to turn images of mechanical parts in mid-air or see beneath the earth’s crust.

ASI Solutions director Justin Lowe said the company had spent two weeks visiting schools before taking on the product.

"The feedback has been sensational. We’ve got the most influential schools ready to order the product," he told CRN. "There are also a handful of universities we're talking to and we've got interest from hospitals and medical schools as well."

HP had previously announced its 23.6-inch display would be available in Australia in June, but CRN could not find it listed on the HP Australia web site as of 16 July. HP has been contacted to confirm pricing and availability.

The latest version of Zspace recently announced in the USA comprises an all-in-one PC built by Foxconn, rather than a separate monitor and PC. The system uses AMD Firepro graphics and there are applications for exploring physics, problem solving, exploring anatomy and comparing 3D models.

Zspace products are used in 90 school districts in the USA and the company was named a Gartner "Cool Vendor". The company’s head of hardware and manufacturing operations previously held positions with IBM and Cisco, while its head of sales was once a key figure in Dell and HP’s education businesses.

Microsoft, Samsung and Oculus are among others bringing virtual reality devices to market. Microsoft has not announced an on-sale date for Hololens yet, while Samsung is already offering its Gear VR (which uses a Galaxy phone and licenses technology from Oculus). Oculus has announced it will sell its consumer Rift device in early 2016.

Samsung has also identified the education sector as one potential market for its product.

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