philip lelyveld The world of entertainment technology


A new VR program called SurviVR aims to train employees how to deal with an active shooter situation in the workplace

The program works with HTC Vive,...

An active shooter situation is when an armed person or people actively shoot in a confined, populated area with the intent to kill. There were 20 such situations in the United States last year and 20 the year before, according to FBI statistics, resulting in a total of 231 deaths. This year saw the deadliest active shooter situation in U.S. history, with 49 people killed in a nightclub in Orlando.

SurviVR is the result of a collaboration between The Safety Group, which does workplace safety trainings, and Human Condition Safety, which specializes in technology for workplace safety. The companies consulted with members of the FBI and the NYPD, various intelligence analysts, Navy Seals and other security, terrorism and survival experts to create the program.

In the training scenario, users have four options. They can lock themselves in the office. They can hide, perhaps in the office closet. They can run for an exit. Or they can use something in the office—a computer or a cup or a pair of scissors—as a weapon to fight the shooter. This is an improvement on standard active shooter training, Gallo says, which typically teaches people to lock themselves in place and hide. This “lock down” method is often ineffective, he says, and has resulted in numerous deaths in recent years.
Similarly, SurviVR can help identify the “alpha males and alpha females” who would be especially helpful in an active shooter scenario, Gallo says.

See the full story here:


Innovations The airplane is preparing to land. Please remove your virtual reality headset.

imrs-phpTo Skylights, that’s the future of in-flight entertainment.

The French start-up company manufactures a headset with a built-in screen that claims to offer a “middle-row movie theater field of view” for watching high-resolution 2-D, 3-D and virtual-reality content. On Thursday, Skylights released the second iteration of the wearable device, called Bravo, which airlines can rent and loan to their passengers for a fee.

Skylights has trialed the headsets on a handful of European airlines over the last year, including Air France, KLM and low-cost carrier XL Airways. In July, the company established an office in Palo Alto, Calif., with hopes of expanding into the U.S. market, said Laurence Fornari, the head of sales.

Skylights already has agreements to show films from 20th Century Fox and DreamWorks, Fornari said, adding that the headsets currently offer about 60 movie options and can run for six hours on a single charge.

See the full story here:


Archaeologists use drones to trial VR technology

plane-of-jars-4-web_0 plane-of-jars-5-web_0Archaeologists at The Australian National University (ANU) and Monash University are conducting a trial of new technology to build a 3D virtual-reality map of one of Asia's most mysterious sites - the Plain of Jars in Laos.

"A drone captures a set of 3D images every 10 centimetres and this data is put into a digital mould.

"You put on a headset and the virtual model feels like you're standing and walking around the site. As you move around the image moves as if you are at the location."

Ground penetrating radar was also used to identify a burial which researchers then excavated. That data was also fed into CAVE2™ to create a 3D underground view.

"It allows you to revisit the site. Even right now I'm using it to look at the positioning of some of the materials I'm having radio-carbon dated," he said.

"In terms of heritage preservation it's a useful tool. If you want to monitor the change in heritage sites through time you have that data."

The Plain of Jars dig project in central Laos is the first major archaeological dig at the site since the 1930s. The landscape features ancient carved stone jars up to three metres tall, their purpose remains a mystery.

See the full story here:


VRARA opens a New Zealand chapter

1476911906016A group of 16 innovators from Wellington, Auckland and Christchurch have formed the New Zealand VR/AR Association.

The association, based in Wellington, secured the rights as New Zealand's chapter of the global association, which also has chapters in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom and Asia.

See the full post here:


Virtual Reality Vs Augmented Reality In Healthcare

2016-10-13-1476354064-5917690-touchsurgery-thumbWe at Touch Surgery have used VR in the setting of visualisation of anatomy and pathology but more and more so our focus has become augmented reality and computer vision. Augmented reality offers Touch Surgery an opportunity to provide support for surgeons in the operating room (OR) which we find an exciting challenge.

Augmented reality could also enhance the surgical workflow (the various steps involved in performing a surgery) in the OR. An example of this could be that a surgeon, if needed, can dial in an expert for support.

See the full story here:


20th Century Fox Just Poured Big Money Into Baobab Studios

baobab_press_06_lrBaobab Studios is an example of one VR startup that’s getting a lot of attention from virtual reality investors and film studios for its VR animated shorts. The startup said Tuesday that it had landed $25 million in a funding round led by Hong Kong-based Horizons Ventures along with 20th Century Fox, Evolution Media Partners, Shanghai Media Group, Youku Global Media Fund, and LDV Partners.

“We are on the cusp of a storytelling revolution with this medium, and VR gives filmmakers the opportunity to develop immersive experiences and take audiences into the story like never before,” Mike Dunn, president of 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment, said in a statement.

Baobab Studios co-founder and CEO Maureen Fan said that virtual reality remains the startup’s focus and that it is developing more VR flicks like its new short Asteroids!, which was presented during Facebook’s annual Oculus Rift developer conference.

Part of the appeal of Baobab Studios’s VR shorts is the family-friendly and adorable animation, partly in the style and quality of big-screen animations from film studio Pixar.

See the full story here:


Razer acquires audiovisual icon THX as it explores growth beyond the games industry

cinema2Razer’s CEO Min-Liang Tan said in an interview that the terms of the deal are not being disclosed. But as part of the purchase, 33-year-old THX will be “spun out” and operated as a “startup,” recapitalized by Razer; run independently of it under existing management, led by Ty Ahmad-Taylor out of San Francisco; and focusing on developing new things.

Currently, THX employs 50 people, including a number of top audio and graphics engineers and scientists; the plan will be to ramp up those numbers both at the HQ and in other offices in countries like China to tap into the growing market there for films, tech and any other content that could be improved with better audiovisual quality.

Fast-forward to today and the company still focuses on HD quality, but now it works in a range of other environments that span both audio and video. THX Live for performances, for example, is being used as part of Beyoncé’s Formationworld tour.

Razer sees a parallel between the kind of work that THX does and Razer’s own position that it holds as a high-end brand in the gaming world.

One area, for example, is in developing the acoustics that make virtual reality environments ever more realistic: noises that sound like they are coming from around the very room you might be sitting in. “We’re looking forward to the opportunity to work with their designers and engineers,” Min said.

See the full story here:


Explore B.C.’s notorious Highway of Tears in new virtual reality documentary

highway-of-tears-prince-george highway-of-tearsThe RCMP have acknowledged that 18 girls and women have gone missing or been murdered along the stretch of highway between Prince George and Prince Rupert and nearby routes since 1969. Indigenous leaders say that number is closer to 50.

CBC's first virtual reality documentary, Highway of Tears transports viewers to the Wilson home and then onto the notorious stretch of Highway 16, providing a visceral experience of the landscape and the personal tragedies that haunt that landscape and that have affected so many Indigenous people in Canada. The documentary was directed by Anishinaabe filmmaker Lisa Jackson.

More than 250 people attended, many of whom came with their own personal stories of loved ones gone missing or affected by violence.

"The exploitation and the abuse, the systemic racism … Every day, you're fighting, every day. You're not treated equal," Rena Zatorski, a Lheidli T'enneh band member, told host Anna Maria Tremonti.

VR doc to be shown across Canada

On Sept. 1 of this year, the federal government launched a national inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls. The inquiry came in the wake of emotional pleas from relatives and community members, news stories and police reports that underscored what is now recognized as the decades-long vulnerability and victimization of Indigenous women in Canada.

Their stories and the sheer number of women affected — estimated at anywhere from hundreds to thousands — have captured the attention and support of a wide spectrum of Canadians.

See the full story here:


JLR has its eyes on virtual reality Eberhardt: But ‘real dealer experience’ won’t vanish

ar-310179870paris -- jaguar land rover sees a major role for virtual reality as it redesigns its dealerships and sales process, its top north american executive said.

"we will have some virtual reality experiences in our dealerships," joe eberhardt, ceo of jaguar land rover north america, said at the auto show here. "i think that will be a big part of the showroom experience."

jaguar land rover is converting dealerships to its new arch store design that houses both of its brands, as well as developing a way to connect online and in-store shopping.

See the full story here:


Steven Spielberg and Alejandro G. Inarritu Are Betting That Virtual Reality Will Actually Make Money

suicide_squad_vr_-_h_-_2016If VR is to become a genuine reality, though, what's needed now is a steady stream of revenue-producing content, argues Jim Mainard, executive vp digital strategy and new business development at DreamWorks Animation. He plans to make that case at the Digital Hollywood conference, where he will be one of the studio executives speaking about the future of VR and augmented reality.

But he predicts that "2019 may be where we turn the corner for revenue." Gaming generally is viewed as the low-hanging fruit — for instance, titles such as EVE: Valkyrie and Batman: Arkham VR are available for PlayStation VR's Oct. 13 launch. And on the narrative side of the equation, soon to come is the first VR content from leading Hollywood directors such as Steven Spielberg and Alejandro G. Inarritu. The Mexican-born helmer is planning an experimental VR short film exploring the experience of immigrants and refugees crossing the border between Mexico and the U.S.

In addition to content, a critical mass of consumers with VR headsets also is needed. To that end, in October Google introduced its Daydream View VR headsets for Android devices, which will ship for $79 in November. Daydream joins other systems for viewing VR using a mobile device, such as Google's earlier Cardboard and Samsung's VR Gear.

"Hand control is a big topic," says Schilowitz. Although the first wave of VR devices didn't allow viewers to interact with the environment around them with their hands, that's about to change. And, says Schilowitz, "I think the best experience is full-body immersion, where you're using your hands."

See the full story here: