philip lelyveld The world of entertainment technology


With ‘Henry,’ a cinematic leap into world of virtual reality

la-et-mn-oculus-vr-henry-20150728-001On a recent afternoon in sparsely chic offices here, the people making the virtual-reality animated short "Henry" convened to watch footage of their cutting-edge film.

The group of about a dozen — mostly young and many of them with Pixar backgrounds — gathered in a semicircle as the director, a gregarious filmmaker named Ramiro Lopez Dau, engaged in what appeared to be a tribal ritual. He dropped to the floor, strapped on a headset and began crawling around an area rug, extending his head this way and that in the manner of a disoriented cat.

LA Times story here:

short video here:


Virtual Reality Primer – with an emphasis on camera-captured VR

150718 ETC VR Primer


Kaplan Early Learning Company Introduces New Augmented Reality Learning Tool for PreK and Elementary Classrooms

gI_89741_44c2c39c85e632652c27c99e0e606f38Letters alive®, Storybooks alive® and Math alive® are full-year, supplemental solutions that support reading and math development through augmented reality lessons and activities. Each task utilizes kinesthetic, visual and auditory modalities, which apply to a broad range of learning styles and abilities. From letter naming to sentence building, each program is aligned to Common Core State Standards and serves as a supplemental solution to existing curricula.

Dr. Tamara Ogletree, Associate Professor of Reading at the University of West Georgia, recently conducted an independent study on improved student outcomes as a result of using the Letters alive® program. According to the study, “[…] Students in the full implementation of Letters alive® experienced greater gains in emergent literacy skill development than the students in the classroom using no parts of the Letters alive® curriculum,” states Ogletree.

See the full press release here:


GoPro Announces New Premium Video Content Licensing Portal

GoPro_Licensing_PortalGoPro unveiled its new premium content portal that allows content creators to license videos to brands and media companies for a profit, similar to services available through photo communities such as Flickr and 500px. The new platform, designed with the professional in mind, requires that both the seller and buyer apply for content access. Once accepted, users can download files, preview videos, and search for specific content through the portal. Videos start at $1,000 each, and the terms of the license last six months.

The GoPro site describes key features of the licensing in three categories: Discovery, Download and License.

See the full story here:


A Light Bulb Goes On, Over the Mall

20SubjpLights-articleLargeUsing a combination of LEDs and big data technology, public lighting is the potential backbone of a system that could use billions of fixtures to collect data about traffic congestion at an intersection or a consumer walking down the cereal aisle, to name just a couple of applications.

Sensity Systems, a small start-up that builds and manages smart-lighting networks, is announcing on Monday that it has attracted money and partnerships from a group of major businesses, including Simon Property Group, the leading mall developer; General ElectricCisco; and Acuity Brands, a leading maker of LED lighting.

Simon has begun adding cameras to read and analyze traffic and pedestrian patterns in its parking lots and plans to design and test a parking spot locator, said Tim Earnest, executive vice president for mall operations.

Simon recently ran a test with Swirl and its own beacon network, Mobiquity, that showed that a relatively high proportion of customers would move from the common areas of the mall to Lord & Taylor if they received an offer for a deal there. For executives at Simon, the addition of Sensity’s network will allow them to have contact with customers as they come into the properties until they leave.

Executives say they are excited by the prospect of broader adoption of these tracking abilities, but privacy advocates have raised concerns about the technology racing ahead of considerations about how to use it responsibly. Mr. Reece acknowledged that concern, saying that most retailers were designing their programs so that shoppers would opt in.

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49ers will use virtual reality for extra QB reps

Joining the Cowboys (who adopted the technology last month) and the Buccaneers (who announced plans to use it earlier today), the 49ers have decided to use the system developed and marketed by the company the Cowboys selected.

“We are pleased to announce our partnership with STRIVR Labs, which we believe will provide another tool to augment our players’ preparation,” 49ers G.M. Trent Baalke said.

See the full story here:


Step Into THE VOID: The World’s First Virtual Reality Theme Park

VR-Scout-803x644Virtual Entertainment Centres (VECs) merge haptic feedback with the ambient visuals to bring you a new mode of entertainment

By combining haptic feedback and body tracking wearable tech with custom-sculpted, interactive environments, the team behind the Virtual Entertainment Centres (VECs) brings you THE VOID. As the first virtual reality theme park, THE VOID will soon be in the business of transporting minds and bodies to alternate (and admittedly more electrifying) universes.

The primary culprit behind the fruition of this trans-environmentalist state is the Rapture HMD (Head Mounted Display) equipped with the following specs:

· Dual High-Density Curved OLED Displays (1080p per-eye, initially)

· Quantum Dots (nearly doubling perceived resolution color range)

· Custom Optics (proprietary lens-in-lens design)

· High-Quality THX Headphones (featuring in-game binaural sound design)

· Super-Gain Inline Microphones (for in-game communications)

· Proprietary Global Head Tracking Sensors (running at 120Hz)

Supplementary to the headset is the Rapture Vest (as VRScout‘s Eric Chevalier models next to below), which enables players to experience the sensation of being touched by objects or creatures in the virtual world.

Rigged with tactile reflex proponents, the vest casts your body to the same dimension as your mind, substantiating the adventure a hundredfold.

To complete the outfit, VECs decided to integrate Rapture Gloves into the equation, effectively tracking your hands in 3D space and enabling participants to go beyond perception with actualized interaction of surroundings: touching buttons and picking up objects only seen in respective virtual realities.

With these three components operating simultaneously, virtual realities become just that: reality.

With plausibility being the name of the game, The VOID’s out-of-home underpinning offers many implications as to the future of virtual reality, chiefly the concept of employing corporeal structures against computerized stimulation to ensure authenticity. The introduction of motion simulators, couch like models that move relative to commands executed in virtual space, offer further excitement and diversity of experience in THE VOID. Those who aren’t particularly nimble or simply can’t walk can still enjoy the virtual experience of piloting a spaceship or steering a tank.

Aspiring to echo the likes of IMAX theaters, a recent VOID blog entry released an announcement targeting fans concerned with waiting in lines, stating that the arena is subject to reservations: you must buy a ticket to experience the magic.

Fans eager to immerse themselves in THE VOID will have to wait until summer of 2016, when the space will open in Pleasant Grove, Utah.

See the full story here:



The theme park is trialling a system where visitors put on a HMD then jump on one of the rollercoaster’s. They then see a whole new fantasy world to experience whilst enjoying the ride. Four volunteers put on Gear VR HMD’s and on the ‘Alpine Express’ ride fly through caverns with cartoon characters before finding themselves riding a dragon for the final part of the experience. Another being developed has visitors being pulled by a flying horse through a castle and up into the sky.

 The team behind the new experience have been using Oculus Rift’s to develop the software to ensure that every twist and turn of the rollercoaster is accurately mimicked by the software to produce an immersive and entertaining ride.

Why virtual reality’s killer app will be social


sbowlshot01.pngImagine donning a VR headset and getting transported to a giant mansion, where you and 60 other people — friends, family and acquaintances — watch the Super Bowl together on a giant virtual TV that's streaming the game in real-time.


Imagine visiting a virtual playground with giant versions of board games for you and your friends to play — or, to just stand around and chat with each other — even if those friends are across the country, or on a different continent.

These aren't just ideas; these are actual virtual reality experiences you can try right now, thanks to two-year-old AltSpaceVR, which has raised $5.2 million in one funding round to create social applications within virtual spaces.

Last week, I tried HTC's premium virtual reality headset, called the Vive. I'm convinced it's the best virtual reality experience out there right now. But even with all the incredible imagery in front of my eyes, I kept thinking back to my demo with AltSpaceVR. It would be nearly impossible for someone to truly believe what I had just seen in the HTC Vive. Painting 3D objects in mid-air, visiting an underwater shipwreck and cooking in a virtual kitchen is extremely fun, but it's nothing if you can't share in these experiences with others. Once that happens, virtual reality might finally be better than the real thing.


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The HoloLens’ limited field of view doesn’t matter, and here’s why

Microsoft-HoloLens-RGB-640x360[Philip Lelyveld comment: article summary.  Microsoft is overhyping Hololens.  Don't.  And market it to a target market that isn't greatly impacted by the limitations (ex. Field of View) of the device.]

For example, one of the situations that Microsoft has demonstrated is the use of HoloLens in a partially finished building, enabling builders, architects, and clients to discuss changes while literally standing in the partially finished building. Even with field-of-view limitations, this application isn't something that can be readily performed any other way; 3D renders lack the immediacy that a site visit provides, and physical models lack the easy malleability that virtual worlds offer. HoloLens doesn't have to be the perfect AR implementation to offer practical value over these alternatives. No, it's not going to offer a perfectly immersive 3D world. But it is going to offer substantially richer interaction than a mere computer screen could ever hope to.

See the full story here;