VR Headset Hygiene and Safety Workshop

Educators in VR VR Safety and Hygiene Workshop.

Evelien Ydo, Team Leader of the Educators in VR’s VR Research Team, and author of “VR Hygiene and Safety: Everything You Need to Know,” which we shared with you recently, has agreed to do a special event on the subject of VR headset hygiene and safety in AltspaceVR Thursday, September 24, 2020.

This free workshop will teach you about the basics of VR hygiene and safety during the COVID-19 pandemic and upcoming flu season. She will discuss detergents, hand sanitizers, face pads, UVC-light, nanotechnology, protocols, and the importance of educating your staff, clients, and/or students.

Hygiene and safety are always important to consider when using VR-headsets and controllers with multiple people. Areas that pose a high safety risk include the VR location-based entertainment industry, showcasing events, VR labs, education that uses VR, larger gatherings in general where headsets are swapped between people, and headsets that are used on a daily basis by multiple people (e.g. when training with headsets). During the COVID-19 pandemic, it became clear that current procedures would not be sufficient anymore. Therefore, updated information about best practices on how to safely use VR-headsets is provided during this workshop.

All are welcome to attend as this event is free and open-to-the-public. If you are currently registered with AltspaceVR, you may go to the event page for the VR Hygiene and Safety Workshop and RSVP. AltspaceVR will send you a reminder an hour prior to the event. You will find the event in-world under Events > My Events. For more details and information, please see our guide on attending Educators in VR events.

BR Hygiene and Safety: Everything You Need to Know” should be required reading for all educators, trainers, and businesses working with multiple headsets and users.

This workshop dives deeper into cleaning methods and methodology. VR headsets and controllers are made of strong but delicate materials. Harsh chemicals may damage the equipment. Cleaning them isn’t hard. It is just a matter of knowing what to use, when to use it, and how to use the various cleaning products and methods.

Evelien will cover:

  • Cleaning products for VR headsets and controllers.
  • Cleaning and sterilization methods and tools.
  • Safety and hygiene protocols and guides for staff and users.
  • Answer your questions and concerns on VR cleaning.

We expect this event to fill fast. Help us spread the word by sharing this with other educators, schools, and businesses. Please RSVP to ensure you receive a reminder by email prior to the event’s start.

Evelien Ydo is a Psychologist and Educational Expert at Serious VR, Coordinator of Learning & Development at Pre-U, Master student at EST, and leader of the Educators in VR VR Research team project. The VR Research Team meets in AltspaceVR bi-weekly with special guest speakers, workshops, and open discussions. She is also co-creator of the VR Rsearch Help Wanted Campaign that continues to spread the word for researchers in immersive technologies to find interview subjects and subjects to complete surveys to assist with their research, often helping them continue with their degree programs that came to a halt this spring with self-isolation and COVID-19. To join the discussions with VR researchers, join the Educators in VR Discord and check out the VR Research discussion channel. If you are a VR/AR/XR researcher and need help promoting your research to encourage participation and data collection, post it in our Research Help Wanted channel.

How to Clean Your VR Headset

Cleaning VR Headset with soap and water - copyright Lorelle VanFossen Educators in VR 2020 sm.

Over the past few months, our Educators in VR Discord and Twitter, and Facebook members have discussed and debated how to protect ourselves, fellow teachers, and students from potential contagion with VR headsets.

We’ve debated about cleaning products and the risk of damage on the plastic as well as the lenses, and guessed at what may or may not work. Some teachers haul headsets home and wash them by hand, stripping off the face pads, and even throwing them in the wash machine.

Evelien Ydo has the better solutions.

In her research paper with Serious VR on VR Hygiene and Safety: Everything You Need to Know, she’s broken down the well-researched facts based on expert interviews and scientific data on how to clean VR headsets (HMDs) with detergents and hand sanitizers and using cleanable and disposable face pads, UV light treatments, and nanotechnology.

Hygiene and safety are always important to consider when using VR-headsets and controllers on multiple people. Areas that pose a high safety risk include the VR location-based entertainment industry, showcasing events, VR labs, education that uses VR, larger gatherings in general where headsets are swapped between people, and headsets that are used on a daily basis by multiple people (e.g. when training with headsets). During the COVID-19 pandemic, it became clear that current procedures would not be sufficient anymore. Therefore, updated information about best practices on how to safely use VR-headsets is needed. SeriousVR finds it important to share our knowledge, combined with expertise provided by the VR/AR/XR community, so that we can collectively tackle this problem. This document aims to summarize the most up-to-date knowledge on how to use headsets safely and how to combine this knowledge into tangible procedures…

The SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) virus is able to survive up to 72 hours on plastic (Suman et al., 2020). You could quarantine your headsets and controllers for that amount of time or use detergents to decontaminate. Different detergents have different effects on the survival of COVID-19 (e.g. Kampf, Todt, Pfaender & Steinmann, 2020). Keep in mind that certain detergents will probably leave some residue on the face, for example, detergents based upon chloride, which can irritate the skin or the eyes. Next to that, always follow the instructions of the specific detergent.

Her findings were surprising. One might think that a higher concentration of alcohol in ethanol-based detergents and cleaners would be more effective than less, but results indicate it becomes less potent and may actually do more harm than good on the virtual reality devices.

Don’t forget about cleaning hand controllers as well. Like keyboards and mice, these are prime areas for risk of contagion. Hand controllers need to be cleaned with the same solutions as used for cleaning the plastic on the headsets.

Evelien adds excellent information with protocols on how to educate staff, clients, and students about proper hygiene methods, diving up the protocol instructions for users and staff. Quality graphic versions of the protocols are available through Evelien as described in the article.

Evelien Ydo - Cleaning Headset instructions for users.

Evelien will be presenting a workshop on this subject for Educators in VR in AltspaceVR soon. Watch here, on Discord, and our social media for an announcement.

BR Hygiene and Safety: Everything You Need to Know” is a must-read and share article for your school, class, and businesses to ensure you are taking the right steps to protect and reassure everyone.

Evelien Ydo.Evelien Ydo is a Psychologist and Educational Expert at Serious VR, Coordinator of Learning & Development at Pre-U in the Netherlands, Master student at EST, and leader of the Educators in VR VR Research team project. The VR Research Team meets in AltspaceVR bi-weekly with special guest speakers, workshops, and open discussions. She is also co-creator of the VR Research Help Wanted Campaign that continues to spread the word for researchers in immersive technologies to find interview subjects and subjects to complete surveys to assist with their research, often helping them continue with their degree programs that came to a halt this spring with self-isolation and COVID-19. To join the discussions with VR researchers, join the Educators in VR Discord and check out the VR Research discussion channel. If you are a VR/AR/XR researcher and need help promoting your research to encourage participation and data collection, post it in our Research Help Wanted channel.

Coronavirus Fundraiser: 24 Hour VR English Lesson

GoFundMe Campaign for the Educators in VR International SummitEducators in VR is proud to sponsor the first ever 24 Hour English Lesson in VR. Beginning Friday 27th March at 10 AM Rome (Italy) time / 2 AM PST / 6 PM Tokyo, Michael McDonald of Gold Lotus will run a 24 hour virtual reality English lesson to raise funds and awareness for the work of the Italian Red Cross of Lecce, southern Italy.

Volunteers from the Italian Red Cross of Lecce preparing to collect a Coronavirus patient

Italian Red Cross of Lecce Volunteers collect a Coronavirus patient.

The Coronavirus or COVID-19 is a growing concern and it is imperative that doctors, nurses, healthcare workers and volunteers are supported so they can do their jobs effectively and safely, to ensure that we can minimise the spread. Italy is one of the countries hit hardest by the virus and the death toll keeps rising daily. The south of Italy is drastically under prepared for the growing number of cases being seen, as confirmed by Professor Caruso, President of the Italian Society of Virology.

Delivery of medical supplies to a vulnerable member of the community unable to leave home

Delivery of medical supplies to a vulnerable housebound member of the community.

As a long time language instructor living in Lecce, Michael McDonald feels a sense of responsibility to contribute to the needs of the community in this difficult moment. Many funds already exist to support the global and national fight against Coronavirus, however this sponsored VR event has two specific rationale: to provide a fast and direct relief to the already stretched emergency services of a small region which normally finds it difficult to attract the funding compared to larger cities or regions, and the belief that if everyone contributed to the fight in their own community with energy then the knock-on effect across the nation and world will be enough momentum to propel us to safety.

 

In the past few hours, CNN reports that the Italian Civil Protection Agency says the number of coronavirus cases in Italy has reached 47,021, with 627 coronavirus-related deaths in 24 hours, bringing the death toll to 4,032 people in Italy. Resources, already stretched due to economic conditions, are nearing the breaking point. Funds raised before and during this first-ever 24-hr English Lesson event will help so many with so little.

Using his skills and talents as an instructor equally at home in the real world as well as virtual reality, McDonald will run a 24 hour English lesson completely in virtual reality where people can join and learn this language in exciting and engaging ways. To help him, the Educators in VR community and public are asked to support this cause by attending and participating in the events as well as donating to the GoFundMe campaign to help this community. Please consider donating even just a small amount to ensure that the entirely self-funded Red Cross of Lecce can cover costs of gas for ambulances, protective equipment for healthcare workers and patients.

Michael McDonald teaches language classes in AltspaceVR.

After a combined 20 years of studying and teaching foreign languages, Michael McDonald set up the Gold Lotus consultancy in Lecce, Italy, to support students accelerate their language-learning potential and cultural awareness by using virtual reality. Michael is working on a number of projects relating to English-language learning in VR, and collaborates with universities across Europe to research how immersive tasks can support the language learner or teacher. Spring 2020 also sees the start of two publicly-funded projects in Italian schools offering a program to students and teachers to build their English skills in VR and connect them, in real-time collaborative environments, to other schools globally in a virtual cultural exchange program. You may follow his progress on Twitter at @GoldLotusCo.

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Lessons Learned from Hosting a VR Conference

Behind the Scenes - 2020 Educators in VR International Conference virtual conference - collage

We are still gathering feedback and data about our incredibly successful 2020 Educators in VR International Summit, February 17-22, 2020. We just held a Behind the Scenes of the International Summit workshop in AltspaceVR, and wanted to present some of our information and lessons learned.

A Little History

Educators in VR begin in November 2018 with the idea of bringing together educators and learners from within the VR community to share and discuss integrating VR into education. What was expected to be a meetup of 20-30 people became a 180 participants event. We began with monthly meetups, but the demand and interest was stunning, so we upped it to once a week workshops that continue to fill over a year later.

The topics and guest speakers have been incredible, covering a wide variety of industries and specialties from language learning to integrating AR into book publishing.

Behind the Scenes - History of Educators in VR virtual events

Within a short time, passionate educators, learners, and researchers asked it they could start their own groups under the Educators in VR umbrella, focusing on their specialty. Currently, we have eight such team projects, with more on the way. These team projects host events with speakers and topics, and are building communities in and of themselves, connecting like minds across borders. Most of the action happens on our Educators in VR Discord group, though some are also connecting on our Facebook group. You may check out the events in AltspaceVR on our Educators in VR AltspaceVR channel and subscribe to be notified of upcoming events.

At the beginning of 2019, co-founders Daniel Dyboski-Bryant, and myself, Lorelle VanFossen, discussed ideas for where we wanted to go in the future, and top of the list was a virtual conference. I wanted a 3-4 days conference, and Daniel laughed and said, “Why don’t we make it a week-long conference?” We compromised on 6 days, and the idea was born for the Educators in VR International Summit.

The idea of the International Summit was to be a proof-of-concept. Could we do it? Could we really create an all virtual, 24-hour, 6 day global conference and:

  • Would speakers want to present about VR in VR?
  • Who would show up for a conference in VR about VR?

Both solid questions, and of course, we quickly expanded VR to all the XR technologies. The excitement and interest of AWE 2019 was our first inclination that this was not just possible but feasible as we presented virtual workshops to people around the world from “within” the AWE side conferences. We kept experimenting at other conferences, adding a virtual component to in-person conferences, and eventually decided that February 2020 would be the date for taking the concept out of the idea box and proving we could actually do this. Continue reading