philip lelyveld The world of entertainment technology


YouTube takes aim at Twitch with 60FPS live streaming

We reported in March that YouTube was preparing to take on Twitch by relaunching YouTube Live in a manner better suited to streaming games. That time has arrived, as YouTube now supports live-streaming at 60 frames per second.

The new feature is now available as an “early preview” on HTML5-compatible browsers, YouTube announced in a blog post today. Streaming at 60FPS is available in both 720p and 1080p resolution, which now puts YouTube’s streaming capabilities on a par with Twitch’s.

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Google Quietly Moves Its Head Of Search Design To Virtual Reality

3046369-inline-i-1-google-quietly-moves-their-lead-designer-of-search-to-virtual-realityWhat's clear is that Google has invested a major design talent in VR. As head of Search, Wiley refined the mobile experience, while turning long lists of links simple cards of information.

[Google Cardboard] is the most democratic virtual reality headset we’ve seen yet. Over half a million units have shipped, likely because it's a mere 2% to 3% of the price of its closest competitor, the Samsung Gear VR (also a headset adapter that slots in a smartphone), which runs $250.

Google is very well known for its strong computer science, algorithms, and all the things we do in terms of solving really big hard-to-scale problems. [But] I don’t think quite as much attention has been paid to the other side of Google. We’re really focused on making simple and useful experiences—but also beautiful experiences."

"People are trying to invent the display part, and they’re not yet worrying properly about the UI," John Underkoffler, creator of the famous Minority Report interface, explained in a recent interview, citing a general lack of urgency across the industry. "No one has a UI for it. So that puts VR pretty much in the position of being a playback mechanism."

Users need a whole new language to really interact with it.

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Elevators and Extra-dimensional Space: Exploring Ways to Transcend Physical Boundaries of Room-scale VR

What if we could place a mirror on the wall in VR, and then when you walk up to the mirror, you see yourself reflected, but in another world? And then, by some gesture like reaching out and touching your mirrored hand, the worlds change places. You now see yourself reflected in the place you just came from, and then when you turn around, you are in the new world that was formerly in the reflection.

I began brainstorming other situations where it is natural to want to turn around. And there it was—the elevator. Of course! We are all used to walking into a small enclosure, turning around, and then walking out into a new place moments later.

So here was the idea for my next contribution. Let’s install elevators in the Holodeck! Let’s alternate their location from level to level, encouraging the player to walk across the room, get into and elevator, and then emerge from the elevator at a new level. Then let’s repeat this several times, taking the player higher and higher from the ground floor, all the way up the roof and the wide open sky.

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Sony Reveals New North West Studio, Focused on Project Morpheus Games

As the name implies, the new company is based in the north west of England, and Sony claims that it wants to create a small but very experienced team.

At the moment, the Project Morpheus device does not have an official launch window, although Sony will probably try to introduce it in early 2016.

It will be compatible with the PlayStation 4 home console, and the company has not yet said which video games will support it when it is finally introduced.

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Sunny Queen launches egg-citing augmented reality collectible cards

dreamstime_13494795Egg farm company Sunny Queen has launched Australia’s first augmented reality collectible cards for families

The collection features a range of child-friendly egg characters in limited edition egg boxes, with each card having the capability to come to life on a customer’s smartphone.

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VirZOOM: Cambridge Virtual Reality Startup Wants to Make Exercise Addictive

IMG_1429[Philip Lelyveld comment: people sweat profusely if they are serious about exercising.  I don't know if wearing an HMD, where you can't wipe your eyes, will work in this implementation.]

A series of sensors attach to various parts of the machine: One on the back wheel measures your speed, while another on the front wheel responds to your direction.

Right now, the seven-person team (mostly engineers) is focused on introducing more gamified elements—the kinds of features that will inspire users to cycle faster in order to earn points and ascend to new levels. The idea is to make the VR experience different every time you strap on the headset. That way, you’re far more likely to get back on the bike, making physical activity a subconscious habit.

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MS Irides predictive VR tech in action

Philip Lelyveld note: at the linked video, Microsoft demonstrates how they use predictive algorithms to move VR video processing to the cloud and create a light weight (i.e. untethered) local HMD experience with minimal latency.  The potential problem, as I see it, is they quickly generate an interpolated image if their prediction is wrong.  That means that, potentially, if you move your head fast, the image will snap from unfocused to focused each time the prediction is wrong.

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DAQRI Acquires AR Pioneer ARToolworks

nakaohomeThe augmented reality startup DAQRI, which is working on a HoloLens-style AR helmetand already offers a number of AR software tools, today announced that it has acquired ARToolworks, the company behind the popular open-source ARToolKit libraries. As part of this acquisition, DAQRI will now make ARToolKit’s commercial Pro tools available for free under an open source license. The company says it will continue to invest in ARToolKit, too.

ARToolworks was one of the first augmented reality companies on the market. It was founded in 2001 to offer commercial service for ARToolKit. It now owns a number of AR patents and is widely used by AR developers all over the world.

DAQRI’s focus is mostly on industrial uses of AR, so it makes sense of the company to mostly end ARToolworks’ licensing business in order to focus on its core business.

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and the press release here:


Rovio Demos Virtual Reality Version Of Angry Birds

angry-birds-vr-640x360Now if you remember the Angry Birds title from your mobile devices, it seems that its developer Rovio showed off a virtual reality demo of the game at the Rock in Rio festival over the weekend. Basically instead of flinging birds at pigs in structures from a side view, the virtual reality version will see you follow the bird as it reaches its target, which we reckon might be a bit unnerving.

The demo was shown off using the Samsung Gear VR headset and is basically a fresh and unique perspective on the game.

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Longtime Hollywood Exec Peter Guber Says He’s Betting ‘Millions’ on Virtual Reality

Mandalay Entertainment CEO Peter Guber thinks virtual reality is “the secret sauce for live entertainment” — and to put his money where his mouth is, he’s investing in NextVR, one of the companies figuring out the ingredients of that sauce.

“The social element is critical, live in the arena,” he said of attending a live sports game. “But you can only fill 18,000 seats, and there are seven billion people in the world.”

NextVR films and broadcasts live events that, when viewed in VR, allow the user to look in any direction they like while also having a closer vantage point on the action than they might get on TV. As the company’s executive chairman Brad Allen described it at a sports VR event last week, “you actually feel like you’re there.”

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