Creating virtual scenarios to train soft skills in XR with Cortney Harding from Friends With Holograms (2023)

Improving things like ground management or build time is easy in XR. But soft skills like understanding and empathy? Slightly more challenging, but important, not impossible. Cortney Harding talks to Alan about how new technologies like virtual reality and 360 video can help us be a little nicer to each other.

Alan:Hi everyone, this is Alan Smithson. Today we speak to Cortney Harding, Founder and CEO ofFriends with holograms, through its full-service VR and AR agency focused on training soft skills and best practices for creating powerful content that delivers results. All this and more in the XR for Business Podcast. Welcome to the show, Cortney.

Cortney:Oh thank you for having me

Alan:It's an absolute pleasure. I'm so excited to have you on the show. You have done amazing things and have been pioneers in this industry for quite some time. But I'll let you talk to everyone about how you got here and where you are now and where you're going.

Cortney:Yes cool. So I got into VR almost five years ago, which is crazy to think about. I have experience in the music business and in particular I was a journalist. I wrote for Billboard. I was an editor there for a long time. Then I entered the music tech world around the time Spotify launched in the US, a huge ecosystem of music and technology.

Alan:You and I have very similar backgrounds.


Alan:I was a DJ for 20 years and then I developed the emulator, the DJ touch screen.

Cortney:Ach fix.

Alan:Yes, and then I got into virtual reality. I thought, "What?" Go on. I didn't want to interrupt you. I thought, "Wow, that's great."

Cortney:No, it's great. Yeah, anyway, I've been doing music tech stuff for a few years. I was... I ran business development, strategy and partnerships for a few different startups. And then I saw this VR piece in an art museum about five years ago and it really opened up to me. And that fascinated me. So I went through about a year, still signed to a music technology company, and still writing at the time. So I wrote about VR, I got to know VR, I met a lot of people. And in 2016 I did a panel on music and virtual reality at South by Southwest. And one of my other speakers was this guy, Kevin Cornish, who starts a VR production company, he's a VR director. And he and I had a very good conversation, we got along well. And I joined his VR production company and led the business development strategy. I worked there for about a year and a half. I've learned an enormous amount. It was a very, very intense and very enriching experience. And then I broke up to do my thing. And so Friends With Holograms has been around for about two years, with or without its current incarnation. And in those two years we've done a lot of different projects that I'm very proud of.

Our most famous project is the Accenture Avenues Project. So we worked on that with Accenture. And the story behind it is quite fascinating. So Accenture came to us, I think, about two years ago, just as we were starting out, and said, 'We have this idea, we want to do this really amazing social service training project. And would you like to bid on it? And of course we agreed. We submitted an offer and were awarded the contract last spring. And then everything was quiet for a while. And we worked on some other projects. And in the back of my mind I was like, "Okay, it's canceled or changed or someone left." As annoying as it is, these things happen. And then, last June, I got a call from my Accenture contact who said, “Oh yeah, the project is back. I want... let's talk about it. Do you still want to do this? And I said yes. So I called her and she described the project to me which is very ambitious and really innovative with an incredible mission and payback of two and a half months. [Laughs] And I was like, "Okay, let's go."

Alan:Hurry up and wait.


Cortney:Yes, and I think that's the experience of working with any big company. I think at this point.


Cortney:But this was a really amazing project. So we jumped in. We produced a 20 minute speech-activated virtual reality training course for social workers. It's a general narrative, so for most of the play you'll be asking questions of various family members. The question you ask determines the answer you get. So there's all these different paths you can take and all these different levels of learning because not only are you learning how to conduct family interviews, you're also learning how to ask the right types of questions. And there are plenty of visual cues, too. It was an incredible opportunity. It took years of my life but it was worth it. And then this piece came out a little over a year ago. This piece won BestVR/AR at Mobile World Congress, beating China Mobile and Huawei, which is crazy. It was a finalist for the South by Southwest Innovation Award. We did a lot of demos in South by. The second chapter of this work appeared last month and is now being used by various welfare agencies across the United States. And yesterday I found out that it was shown in Germany.


Cortney:So it's an amazing project. We are incredibly proud of that. We are incredibly proud of the work we have done. So those were two of our biggest projects. Another great project we did was for a company called DDI which is a learning and training company. They came to us with an interesting problem that has a lot to do with inclusion and exclusion in the workplace and related training. And his challenge was that many senior business leaders didn't really feel left out in the workplace, so they had no incentive to get that kind of training, like it wasn't real to them. The sense of exclusion in the workplace was not real to her. So we made this piece called Can't Win and you're in a meeting and it's voice activated again. And that feeling is one of frustration. You're talked about, you're ignored, and you're demoted. However, it is very, very subtle. So at the end of the experiment we showed it to a lot of people and they got angry. But they understand. You have this feeling. So this piece was at the forefront of what HR executives called the HR product. It was very enriching and a lot of fun to work on. We work with great directors. Kevin Cornish led the middle pieces. GaboArora, who has shot material for the UN and the New York Times, directed the DDI work. So that's a big core part of what we do, high quality footage. In terms of consulting work, we consulted Verizon, we consulted Coca-Cola, mainly on the augmented reality side. We've worked with the Air Force on voice-activated pilot training. We just finished working with Unity and creating augmented reality projects. And we are in the process of signing an agreement with a major retailer. And I can't say which one yet, TBD. But it's something we're incredibly excited about. So things are pretty good.

Alan:This is fantastic.

Cortney:Yes, it's very funny.

Alan:So this is these 360 ​​branching narratives now, is that what it is? Or CGI or...?

Cortney:Not CGI. That actually ties right in with the second thing I wanted to talk about, which is best practices. So that's 360°. They are received in different ways. So in some cases the actors are shot in front of a green screen and composited in front of a 360 degree background. In some cases it's a full 360 degree shot with again built-in voice interactivity. Therefore, as a company, we have a number of basic principles, especially for our soft skills work.

Alan:All is well. Let's get into that.

Cortney:So the first is-

Alan:That's the good part here. Now we know what they do. But how did they do it now?

Cortney:Yes, we're fine, that's all you can see just by looking at our stuff. So I'm not giving too much away but the first thing is it has to be realistic and you have to use real people because CGI characters don't matter how good they are and I've seen some pretty good ones. Some - you still know they're not real. And there's something called the uncanny valley where knowing that a CGI character isn't a real person is a bit of a brain thing. So you lose a lot of intimacy and realism when you talk to a cartoon character.

Alan:Does that mean firing Barry won't be that real?

Cortney:no I mean it isn't. I think he's a high quality game engine character, but it's not like talking to a real person. So this is the first thing. And that is our basic principle as a company. And this is for soft skills. Obviously for hard skills and for fun and games and advertising that's a whole different story. But for soft skill training, it has to be very, very realistic. We mainly chose actors and actresses from the theater world because we believe their emotional level and performance is the best for VR. And they're also very good at not needing multiple takes, since capturing multiple takes in VR is very different than capturing multiple takes in 2D, just because of the way they're edited together. So this is the first thing. Second, the interactions should be as realistic as possible. So I have a lot of headphones. I'm just sitting in my office looking at you all. And I can't wait for the day when I can take all my drivers and run my car over them because...

Alan:[Laughs] We're going through that right now. How can we get manual tracking on Oculus Quest?

Cortney:Well, the hand tracking mission is going to be great. I'm very excited about this. But more specifically, when you're doing soft skill work, the controller is useless because, again, when I'm talking to you, I'm not pointing a controller at you and clicking. That is absurd. I'm talking about using my voice. And then everything we design is with voice prompts. So you have to use the controller to start the experience as this is an Oculus feature over which we have no control. But then you put the controller away. And what we've seen is that it opens up to a much wider audience, because there's no worse experience than feeling incompetent in VR. You're early. It's kinda weird. You're already feeling a little self-conscious about the type of technology strapped to your face. The worst thing you can do is scare and confuse someone even more. And a lot of people, myself included, don't play video games. You've never used these controllers before. So the worst experiences I've ever had with VR were the experiences where someone stood on me and yelled at me, "Click here, click here. You are now teleporting. Now click this, click that." And I just... I think no. And I'm just going to walk away. Because if you want your experience to have some sort of scope, wide acceptance, or ease of use, you can't sitting around waiting for someone to tell you to click a million times. That means your product can't be used because of it. So we use voice, we use sight, these are natural human interactions. And we also let people dive in as much as possible. Another very common trump card in VR training is these quizzes which are pretty bad. They remind me of a bad teen tv show from the 80's where the character froze who broke the fourth wall and did a little test on whether or not he should invite susan to prom. I mean it's a ridiculous design. It's not real. I'd like to have a break to make a T every time est to do when trying to make a decision in life. Guess what? I don't have that opportunity, cool as it is. Ideally, don't interrupt the immersion. You use voice, gaze, or other natural ways to drive the story, to drive the narrative, to drive the training so you're not constantly pushing people in and out of immersion.

Again, those are just our three design fundamentals. Of course, we create individual designs for each customer. As an agency, we don't have a finished product. We have vendors we like, vendors we enjoy working with. But none of these are exclusive partnerships or relationships. We have no financial interest in them. So we can go to our customers and say: "What is your problem and how can we solve it?" All solutions that have their place. They really have their place for specific companies in specific markets. But we can really bring back those fundamental design principles. But from there we are wide open. So if someone says our problem is XYZ, let's start with that problem. We don't try to fit our solution into it. We start with the holistic view of the problem and then how can we use this technology to better solve it?

Alan:I love that. And it's an interesting approach because everyone says, 'Hey, we built this product and we're going to sell it. But even if it doesn't exactly match your needs or the problem you're trying to solve, we still sell it.

Cortney:Well they aren't, that's the thing. Because if it doesn't meet their needs, the company probably won't buy it. [laughs]

Alan:Well, I mean, they either buy it, and then it doesn't suit their needs, and then they say, "Well, VR sucks." And that's the end of it.

Cortney:Yes, I mean that was the biggest obstacle for us. Bad virtual reality, right?

Alan:[Laughs] Yeah, and we're not talking about Suzanne Borders' company.

Cortney:no [Laughs] No, we're not. We're talking about... I think a lot of companies underestimate what it takes to do VR, both financially and technically and creatively. And they try internally and they fail or they don't know what they're doing. And one value we really offer is that we know what we're doing. We are specialists in virtual reality. We are not experts on which company X, Y or Z works for. So we work very closely with our customers on their problems, but we know how to build VR and we know what works and what doesn't in VR. And I think a lot of companies tried to do VR, maybe alone or collaborated with people who weren't experts in the field, and got burned. And I think that was a big challenge for us to overcome. When you talk to people and they're like, "Oh, I did VR once and it made me sick." and they're told something like, "Well, that's not virtual reality. This is virtual reality not done right. We tell them, “Look, this doesn't cost you what it costs to make a training video.” It's a whole other level of production, interactivity, and design. The other side of the coin is that there are so many stats, and I don't know if we have time to go through them all, but VR *works*, way better than any other type of training. And we've seen it again and again. It scales better than any other form of training out there.

I've been talking about this a lot lately because I gave a talk about it at the Northwest Arkansas Tech Summit. Virtual reality is the best thing that has ever happened to workers because now they can use virtual reality to train themselves to do their jobs better. And it empowers workers to do their jobs better. It's great for bosses because bosses have better educated employees. And when you look at what VR costs, which is fine, people have to think about their bottom line. But what does a poorly trained worker cost? At best, a poorly trained worker, you just screw things up and there are productivity issues and maybe they aren't happy and they leave and then you have to hire someone else. And these are all costs associated with not adequately training your employees. Then you go to soft skills training, and we deal a lot with sexual harassment. And that's a black eye for the company. First, because they will sue you. Second, I wouldn't work for a company that treats women badly, and I think a lot of women feel that way. So you're missing out on a lot of talent. And then you get into situations where workers can be maimed or killed. And that is of course extremely negative. So when you're weighing the costs against the benefits, it's really important to look at the numbers on how well VR training actually works and ask yourself, "Well, what's the real cost of not training people well?" "

Alan:Well, let's talk about actual costs and then we'll work backwards. How much does something like that cost?

Cortney:This is a question that is basically impossible to answer without any kind of determination.

Alan:How long is a piece of string?

Cortney:Yes, exactly. It's - how much is a movie, right? I mean I can make a movie on my iPhone for free. The cost of an iPhone. You can make a Marvel movie that costs millions and millions of dollars.

Alan:All is well. So let me say that When you meet a client and they want to do some soft skills training, which area do you direct them to? Because at the end of the day someone has to decide how much it costs.

Cortney:This depends on several factors. And I'm not trying to be arrogant here.

Alan:Well, no, what are some of the factors that people can -?

Cortney:What is creative? So is it some kind of linear narrative? Is it a branching narrative? What is that-

Alan:It makes a big difference I would say.

Cortney:Huge, huge difference. How high is the interactivity? Are there different voice commands? is it a conversation Is there a gaze activation? There is something tactile. What is the interaction? How many actors do we need? How many locations do we need? where do we film Who are we filming with? How long does the work take? Because it affects the production time. How many video files are associated with the production? Because these are the production costs. How long is the script and how intense is the script? Because we hire writers and work on many scripts ourselves. It costs money and scripts have to be designed for interaction and virtual reality. So the different language platforms we work with need different things to work. Therefore it must be written differently. If we use another language platform to make the language platform work. Obviously you can't get people to read incredibly long questions as it's a readability issue. Etc. So it's really that kind of holistic package that people should consider beforehand...

Alan:So how does that go down with the customer? Are you sitting there wondering what the problem is? How does it look like?

Cortney:So we actually have a separate product that takes care of that. Our flow works by being introduced to someone. We do a feature call (features mean a demo session, that's just our business development) and once there's a pretty strong interest we have what we call a VR/AR push. And that's a week-long program, it's five days. We integrate – ideally we integrate it into the customer's office. If that's not feasible we've done a few over skype or video chat. In general, we like to be with the customer. With jumpstart VR/AR it's a fixed price for a week and it's two people and we come to you. The first day is...

Alan:How much does something like that cost?

Cortney:So the VR/AR starting jump is $20,000.

Alan:Yes thats OK. So $20,000 will help you get started.

Cortney:Yes, so the $20,000 is basically - that's what you get - on day one, what problem are you trying to solve? Because many people still don't have a clear idea of ​​what VR is for. So they're going to say, "Oh, we want to do this because someone else did it in VR," or "We want to solve this very broad problem." And this is how we define the problem. We ask ourselves, what exactly do you want to make of it? What are your KPIs? What are your actions? what is your budget Everything, so that defines everything. On the second day we worked on the creativity and the script. How is this concept? How many people are involved? Where are the interaction points? And then we started writing not the final script, but a rough script. On the third day, we brought a group of people from his office who had been acting in high school into a room with a 360-degree camera and shot a simple prototype. It's a way to address blocking, scripting, and interactions. And of course we're not building something fully interactive in a couple of days, but at least it gives us a chance to see our own work. On the fourth day we go out and do a little side office and put the footage together automatically. Obviously we can't build something fully interactive, we simulate every interaction there is to make it feel natural. And then, on day five, we use our test. So the customer brings four or five different people who are users, a representative of the users. And they test and test and give us feedback. What's left for the client at the end of the week is an MVP that's not quite ready for prime time, but it's something to show your boss and say, here's the user feedback. Here is the first draft of it. And that is the end of that initial commitment. And then the second part of the engagement, once it's fully funded, is that we do everything important. So we went through the script, we got to the final points. We hire the director, we hire the cast, we do the footage, we do all the production, we do all the postage, we do all the design for each existing interaction, and then we deliver a complete finished product to the client .



Alan:What a great process. That saves a lot of time. We've gone this route several times and this seems like a great way to save a client a lot of time. and give them something to use and get approval from supervisors.

Cortney:However, because for most people VR is still very theoretical at this point and they haven't seen many good examples. And maybe they just saw VR video games being fun, but I'm a CFO or CIO or something in a company, I'm not going to immediately associate my son's zombie shooter with what we can do in education. . So a lot of what we're doing to date is just a demo for people. We spend a lot of time putting headphones on people and that's great. I think that will change as headsets become more widespread. I also think it's a big barrier for us. So we got off the phone with a major telecom company, I won't say which one, and they brought us in to speak to them. This large group called because they really wanted to do virtual reality. They heard their competitors were doing it. They said, "Oh my god, we have to do virtual reality now."

Alan:We very much understand. "We went to my CEO and CES and he needs VR, ASAP!" [laughs]

Cortney:oh god i know Anyway, we spoke to them on the phone, and before we even called them, I told them, “I'm delighted to share a job with you. We can share our work with your Oculus Go headsets if you give me the address. I'm happy to share and send you some examples." And the person I spoke to said, "Oh, we don't have OculusGo." And I was like, "I'm a little tempted to drop this call." because an Oculus Go costs $200. You can get it at Amazon, you can get it at Best Buy. You can find it in many places. If you're seriously considering investing in VR as a company and you're spending a decent amount of money, you should spend at least $200 to buy a headset. And that to me is kind of a sign that people are taking these things seriously, instead of just saying, 'Oh yeah, someone decided that. Wouldn't that be nice? who I will take meetings with seriously if you are not prepared for them.

Alan:What a great way! What a great barrier. Buy a VR headset here. We'll send you some content to view. Then we will meet.

Cortney:Yes, you really should have a referral agreement with Oculus. [Laughs] I'm not asking people to buy a Vive and a gaming PC and this and that. I totally understand that people don't have that. They are very expensive. They're great, but they're expensive. And they're... But that's what separates for me who's serious and who's not. And it's certainly not a hard and fast rule. For me I have other factors to consider, are you serious or not? But it takes a little longer to constantly remind myself that many of us are way ahead of most companies. And what interests me is that a lot of companies just let it slide when their competitors are really good at it. Walmart is a good example. Walmart invested heavily in VR training and had tremendous success, and Target, Costco...

Alan:But here's the thing: With every new disruptive technology, I mean, how many companies haven't had a website for years and years and years?

Cortney:Ach Sim!

Alan:And suddenly, if you didn't have a website, you wouldn't be on the map. And I think the same thing will happen with VR and AR training because there is a big difference between regular training, whether paper, manual or e-learning, whatever the actual learning is. If you put that in spatial computing, if you put that in a headset and hijack all of their senses, it's exponentially better.

Cortney:ach Sim

Alan:And then companies like Walmart get it, because they're way ahead. And I think there will come a point in the next three years where all companies will be left behind if they don't do that.

Cortney:Yes, I mean your example is correct. And it's fun. I remember when we started I had a meeting with a big agency that we would probably work with. And my contact person there accompanied me to the elevator after our appointment. And he said, "Look, I worked at for years in the '90s asking companies to build websites." And everyone was like, "Oh, the internet is a fad!" or "Oh, we're in the yellow pages. Why do we need a website? And like all excuses, he spent a few years pitching, pitching, pitching. And then he basically said you came into the office one day and he had 20 voicemails and everyone was like, "We need a website tomorrow!" And I'm like... I mean, listen, I can't count how many people haven't answered my calls in months and suddenly they're calling me in a frenzy. Like I got some people-

Alan:That weird turning point where your exit suddenly becomes your entrance.

Cortney:Yeah, I mean, some people have said, 'Oh, we're never going to do that. It will never happen. And then, a year later, they came back to me and asked us to do this. So-

Alan:They think, "Well, the price is now 50% more expensive."

Cortney:I mean, some... yeah, look, I... sometimes... well, I don't really do that. I appreciate very honestly. But it's more like I'm going to fully explain myself. I was a magazine editor in 2008, 2009, when Twitter was just starting to take off. And I remember looking at Twitter and I was like, 'What is this? That's stupid.” And I said, “Let's get the interns to do it.” And now it's a much bigger deal. People learn, people change, and people care about those things. And I definitely think it's moving forward. I think people just need to be very clear again, define the problem, do a good creative job, because that's it. So much: I've been watching the training videos, and they're so bad and useless.

Alan:They're so bad, the bar is so low. [laughs]

Cortney:Yes I know! And I wrote this recently, and I know we like to joke about it, and I certainly do, but if you look at the sexual harassment training, I teach at New York University, and I had to take the sexual harassment training in New York graduating from York University recently. And it's ridiculously bad. It was made for $20 and it's nice to laugh about, but it's also not because it's a big deal. And basically you are...

Alan:Why bother?

Cortney:Yes, no, I know why you do it. Because in New York you have to do it legally. But your lawyers can check a box and say, "Okay, we did it." It's not about how, oh-

Alan:But it doesn't actually move the needle. It doesn't really have an impact.

Cortney:And the thing is how to minimize the woman's pain. This way, the pain and trauma a woman feels when dealing with it is minimized. Because training in it is a joke, right? Diversity and inclusion training, people still joke. And it's like she's downplaying the feelings, the true feelings and true trauma of women, people of color, people with disabilities and LGBTQ people. And it's a big problem that goes beyond just, "Oh, let's do this stupid exercise for an hour that no one is paying attention to." So I think that's the real key to VR, again, it brings you back to the point where it's good for the workers.

Alan:Cortney, let me ask you a question.

Cortney:"Are you or have you ever been a communist?" [laughs]

Alan:[Laughs] Is that you? No, my question was, given what you know and all the projects you've done, could you build a generic system that could be sold to multiple companies? So a company doesn't have to go through all the habits, instead it would just be a "Here's an inclusive scenario." It's very well produced and touches everything, but it's not specific to any company, for example.

Cortney:To the right. And that's what we, I mean our Accenture, Accenture was a client in our welfare project and it's currently being used by various welfare agencies in the United States. So you don't have to build anything custom for California, Georgia, Illinois or New York. It might just be social worker training. We can also white label specific products for different states or different regulations and have talked about it, some states have big problems like opiate addiction. And then it is time. So yeah, I mean a lot of our partners do things where they basically sell to a bunch of different consumers. It depends, you can definitely do something generic and out of the box for specific businesses or for specific scenarios. And then in other scenarios you need something more specific. So if it's really specific regulations, that's one thing. If you are dealing with something like 'You are doing this in a situation where you are dealing with some form of discrimination' this could be broader. So yeah, when I talk about our work, nothing we do is incredibly specific, it can only be used by a small business.

Alan:What I thought when you mentioned your Can't Win platform or the project you worked on should be mandatory for top managers in all companies.

Cortney:Ach total.

Alan:Put yourself in the eyes of a black woman at your company at a management meeting and see how it works for you.

Cortney:we will go-

Alan:I mean, it's really hard to understand what it feels like when you... I rule it out... if you're a white executive, you can't imagine what it's like to be ignored and not included in the conversation.

Cortney:Here's the thing. I don't think virtual reality can help you understand another person's perspective. I've had a lot of your experiences where it's been like, “Now you're like this. Now you're like this.” And it's not me, it's me. Putting on a VR headset doesn't take me almost 40 years to be myself. So what VR is really good at isn't, “Oh, now you're a young black man looking at this weird, melted down, cartoon version of you.” And that has to have empathy. no As soon as I take off my headphones, I forget them. This can put me in a scenario where I have the same feelings. So it's not like, "Oh, now you're this completely different person." It's about, "Now you have this new feeling." But then again, the more we ask people to expose a lot of disbelief in VR, the harder it gets. I actually saw this while running some tests on the Can't Win experience. The first draft of the Can't Win experiment was created by someone else, not us, and that's why we were hired. So let's say you're a woman and you're in a meeting and the men are sitting here talking. about basketball and ignore you. They put it on the men and the boys said, "Yeah, so? I go to a sports bar with my friends. You follow a team that I don't follow. I don't care.” So you can't just say, “Now you're a lady. Now you are a colored person. Now you are an old man. Now you are an old man. It doesn't work. what works is-

Alan:This is puzzling.

Cortney:– It is you, but you are in a new situation. That's another core belief of ours because the social worker training we developed has been seen by so many people, which is incredible. But it's for social workers. Let's say that when we create training for the police, we have a police officer's perspective. I have experienced police training courses where there was a constant change of perspective. And I don't like that. I don't think that works. I think it's very confusing. For example, there was a Verizon article that we obviously didn't work on, then there's a recent Verizon article that was published all over the place. It's public, it's like a change of perspective. So the first perspective is that you're an employee at a Verizon store and a guy walks in and he's pissed that his phone isn't working. And then you see it and it says, "Oh, my daughter is trying to call me on her birthday and I can't get it to work." And I mean of course. But then there's the learning. The takeaway to this piece should have read, "Okay, this guy comes in, he's clearly upset. How to ask the right question to explain to you why your phone is not working? This is what you really need to do. It's not like, "Oh, you know, people are upset or everyone has a story." We already know that people shouldn't have to be taught that. That's a bit obvious. So the truth is, yes, changing perspective doesn't work. You're too clumsy, you're too fragmented, you're frantic. And that is our basic design principle: meet people where they are. Don't ask them to suppress their disbelief as soon as they put on their headphones.

Alan:Stunning. I have one last question for you, Cortney.

Cortney:I totally.

Alan:All is well. What problem on earth would you like to see solved with XR technologies?

Cortney:Oh God. So the biggest, I mean, there's a lot, obviously the biggest for us, is sexual harassment. And that's what we're working on right now. And I think one important thing you can do in VR that you can't do in any other medium is really notice the nuances of a person's body language. In the VR article we're about to write about sexual harassment, I'm afraid I can't say who the customer is, but time will tell. The idea is that people can say the same words to you, but their tone and expression, facial expressions and body language convey very different things. So the idea is basically that you are talking to someone. You say something that's a little bit on the edge and they'll lean over, they'll laugh, they'll actually say, "Oh my god, that's so funny hahaha." Or you say something and they look down, and they look away, and they wince, and they're like, "Hehehe, that's so funny." They say the same words, but all the other signs say different things. On the other hand, is it really about how you interpret body language and how you deal with it in social situations? And then it gives you the opportunity to correct course if necessary because it's non-punitive. Everyone said something that falls to the ground. So is it really about how you read space? How do you read people's facial expressions and how do you read their body language? And I think it would be great for sexual harassment, it might be great for consent to extend that to college campuses where there are a lot of issues like positive consent. These things are very, very important. And that, to me, is something I'd like to dig even deeper than we already are.

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