philip lelyveld The world of entertainment technology


One Year Later, Oculus and Valve Still Mum on Timeline to Open Tracking to Third-parties

lighthouse-sandal-tape1-667x500[Philip Lelyveld comment: open and interoperable standards are the key to building a market for the higher value VR experiences. Google is setting the baseline by launching and ecosystem to support nearly device- and OS-agnostic live 360 VR streaming capture and playback, including free training at their facilities.  Oculus and Valve remaining closed on the higher-level functionality will slow market growth as consumers wonder wither either will be able to maintain an adequate experience-stream to justify buying, and regularly upgrading, the hardware.]

Both Oculus and Valve have gone on the record to say that they’d be opening up their respective tracking systems for third-parties to make use of, but after a year, neither company is ready to talk specifics.

So called ‘6DOF’ (degrees of freedom) tracking is critical to virtual reality. VR systems need to know where your head is and precisely how it’s moving through space in order to render a virtual world which moves around you as you would expect to see in real life. 6DOF tracking is also important for adding motion input to allow users to effortlessly interact with the virtual world.

But extending those tracking systems beyond the head and hands has a wide range of uses; tracked third-party peripherals could open up a world of new opportunities for VR interactivity. One major use-case is simply mirroring the virtual item—be it a bat, golf club, sword, etc.—to the real object that the player is holding. This enhances immersion because not only is the object shaped and held just as it would be in real life, but the user benefits from all the expected forces like weight, leverage, and momentum from the object’s mass.

Third-party controllers with features that go beyond the first-party offering would also be viable with access to an established tracking system. Tactical Haptics, for instance, is creating a VR controller with ‘Reactive Grip’, a unique haptic solution which can create feedback not possible with rumble alone.

Both companies have gone on record to say that they plan to open up their tracking systems, but have been extremely tight-lipped about timelines or specifics.

Given that it could mean increased developer interest, I’m quite surprised neither company has been vying to be first and best when it comes to opening up their tracking systems to third-parties. Surely both Oculus and Valve/HTC have been busy dealing with some not-so-smooth initial launches, but it’s clear that there’s demand from developers and companies to track more than just head and heads in VR.

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How Augmented Reality Will Impact Labs

Apprentice Field Suite, a company based in Jersey City, N.J., was displaying a series of smart glasses geared towards manufacturing professionals. The company works with a variety of partners like Microsoft, Epson Moverio, and Vuzix to infuse augmented reality software into these gadgets.

Three apps serve as the operating core of these devices:

  • Tandem: users of the glasses activate this program to essentially perform troubleshooting initiatives from remote locations. Real time information appears within your field of vision so you can quickly conduct inspections or train employees and cut down on travel costs or miscommunication.
  • Manuals: Hand gestures and voice commands will help you pull up a number of important documents stored in one location. The core of this app is to prevent expensive errors from occurring as a result of out-of date paperwork or careless attention to documentation.
  • Gauge: Turn this app on to track any potential safety issues. People wearing the glasses can take pictures or capture video of malfunctioning equipment/dangerous conditions. The goal is to fix costly errors before they happen.

R&D Magazine tested these glasses out at the show. The devices are not a distraction. They sit comfortably when you put them on. There’s no delay when you give the programs the different voice commands and hand gestures.  Graphics like warning notifications and lab schematics appeared on screen in perfect detail without becoming distracting.

There are a slew of inherent risks that can arise in laboratory settings, but Apprentice Field Suite Co-Founder Angelo Stracquiano explained to R&D Magazine the crux of these glasses:

“By far, the practical benefit is to do things with more accuracy. Being able to have this information and make informed decision hands-free will help achieve that goal.”


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New Virtual Reality Cannabis App Dōs is Breathtaking

rsz-virtual-reality-cannabis-app-dos-640x401The Dōs VR app is a cannabis app meant to virtually take you on a journey reflective of any given strain of cannabis.

Users can see a Santa Monica sunset or the flirty fountains in front of the Bellagio in Vegas. Unlike YouTube videos and pictures, the app uses 360-degree filing techniques so the user can move the phone up, down and all around to see everything normally out of range on a small screen.

You don’t see this app, you experience it.

Gerome described it simply as a platform where companies (for a sponsorship fee) can curate a video library of virtual experiences to evoke the emotions that they want to associate with their particular strain of cannabis.

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Want to try the Oculus virtual reality goggles? Head to Best Buy

Oculus ... is working with Best Buy to offer demonstrations to customers at its stores starting May 7. The company said it will offer a variety of demos at the stores, including the rock-climbing game The Climb.

The program will launch in 48 Best Buy stores, with more planned for later this summer. Oculus also said it won't have many demo units on hand at first because it's still getting devices delivered to customers who preordered them.

Customers can sign up for the demos at (5 locations in LA region)

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3dp_spaceVR_overview1_orbit-e1461964133193The company has just announced that they have raised a respectable amount of seed financing led by a $1 million investment from Shanda Group as well as another $250,000 from Skywood Capital. The investments will be used to accelerate the continued development and launch of SpaceVR’s Overview 1, what they are saying will be the world’s very first virtual reality camera satellite.

The tiny Overview 1 virtual reality satellite is equipped with two 4K sensors that have been paired with a 2D 360° camera and several wide field of view lenses that will capture an immersive sphere of video

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NextVR Partners With Golden Boy Promotions To Bring Virtual Reality To Boxing Fans

NextVR_Boxing_FoxPBC_20160123_GarciaGuerrero_F001_R002_0123FFNextVR has partnered with Golden Boy Promotions to give fans an exclusive virtual reality experience of WBC, Ring Magazine, and Lineal Middleweight World Champion Canelo Álvarez training for his fight May 7 against two-time world champion Amir “King” Khan.

For fans that want to be fully immersed they will need the Gear VR for mobile. The alternative option is to view the content on YouTube or Facebook 360, where they are able to click and move around as they wish.

This is only the beginning for the NextVR and Golden Boy Promotions as they plan to continue working together to give boxing fans a virtual experience.

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Mapping the Israeli virtual reality and augmented reality startup landscape


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How Games Are Changing the Museum Experience

1461933121810933“We got a group of students together and spent a couple of months teaching them about the science of what would be in the exhibit, teaching them the basics of game design, and then working with them to create this prototype for what would eventually become MicroRangers,” Joseph said.

The result demonstrates how AMNH, along with many other museums, are integrating both analog and digital gameplay into the visitor experience as a way to connect with exhibitions on new levels. The idea is not to edge out the more traditional ways of exploring collections, like aimlessly wandering through halls or reading about the backstory of specific displays, but rather to complement them with new avenues of engagement.

...over a decade later, the idea that games to augment and enhance educational experiences is becoming more mainstream, and museums are more eager than ever to adopt these interactive elements into their exhibits.

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Google Patents Computer That You Inject Into Your Eyeball

30-013032-google_patents_computer_that_you_inject_into_your_eyeballGoogle has filed a patent application for a device that's injected directly into your eyeball. The tiny computer would be used to improve your vision, but who is to say it won't one day be capable of augmented reality?

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The role of virtual reality and technology in the future of museums

museum21nw1Museums are usually considered purveyors of the past, but in Alex Benay’s eyes, they might be better off as tech pioneers.

“I’m not a traditionalist,” said Benay, president and CEO of the Canada Science and Technology Museums Corporation. “The concept here is using things like virtual reality, open data, anything that gets the story out … whether it’s raw or filtered, [it] means engagement.”

The first test of Benay’s approach is a virtual-reality (VR) simulation of the 1936 CN 6400 steam locomotive. Acquired by the Canada Science and Technology Museum in 1967, the train is a popular attraction at the museum.

Visitors to the museum, currently closed for renovations, will step into a six-foot-long by six-foot-high box, throw on an Oculus Rift headset and begin “operating” the train in 4-D, complete with surround sound, air cannons shooting steam into their face while the floor quakes beneath their feet.

“You can go and look at the train, but if you get to live the experience … that’s a better emotional home run for a visitor,” Benay said, adding that anyone with their own VR headset can drive the train from home, too. “[The] visitor can be anywhere in the country, or the world,” he said.

“Maybe we need to stop looking at exhibitions as the only way for a museum to engage,” he said. “Maybe we should stop talking about attendance to these exhibitions as the measure for success.”

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