philip lelyveld The world of entertainment technology


Stinger Rpt – AR, MR, and Gamification at Asian Amusement & Attractions (AAA) Expo (email)

Augmented Reality (AR), Mixed Reality (MR) & Gamification
Beyond Virtual Reality, the opportunity of augmented (or Mixed Reality (MR)) was promoted on the Chinese show floor. MR has been promoted as mainly working on head-mounted platforms, but AAA'18 showed the full gambit and promoted the assurgency of Projection Mapping.
There was a vast amount of motion-tracked projection displays, building on the interest in this technology as used with sandpits, and as wall and floor entertainment systems, for the younger player. MGames / MCube Interactive showed interactive toys that responded to touch, represented on giant screens (such as a giant teddy bear or a pedal device), along with the more traditional wall and floor projections.
A crowded Chinese exhibition floor was made even more crowded with Projection Mapping. Toyouband showed their interactive projection mapped environments for younger visitors. While Kidsdora presented their unique projection mapped environments with digital displays. Sindrax presented a platform for children in a play area with themed, projection mapped walls and floor. And another exhibitor, Zhou FuXiang Intelligent Technology, showed a children's interactive projected sandpit, as well as floor and wall systems. While Exciras Culture Technology presented a unique Projection Mapping system that interacted with physical wall fixtures and shelves, with the game superimposed on top - young players were able to throw balls at the digital characters, with their hits recorded.

Samsung Fund to Boost Startups with New Approaches to AI

Samsung_LogoOne of Q Fund’s first investments is Vicarious, a startup that wants to give machines “imagination” and is inspired by biology to make machines learn more quickly.

Quartz reports that Samsung Next director Ajay Singh noted that, “deep learning has its own baggage,” including “its propensity for bias and the amount of data needed.” Last July, Q Fund “participated in a funding round of Vicarious led by Khosla Ventures,” and “also invested in automation-robotics startup, previously called Embodied Intelligence,” which was founded by noted AI researcher Pieter Abbeel.

The latter startup aims to use virtual reality and simulations “to reduce the amount of time robots need adjusting to their jobs in the real world.” To vet future investments, Q Fund relies on “a deep stable of industry and academic experts from MIT, Carnegie Mellon, Princeton, and Toronto’s Vector Institute.”

“We’re okay if it’s unproven,” said Samsung Next’s principal Vin Tang. “As long as the upside is big enough.”

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Amazon’s Clever Machines Are Moving From the Warehouse to Headquarters

1000x-1The people who command six-figure salaries to negotiate multimillion-dollar deals with major brands are being replaced by software that predicts what shoppers want and how much to charge for it.

Machines are beating people at the critical inventory decisions that separate the winners and losers in retail. For the staffers deciding how many books, games or plastic pool toys to peddle, the tradeoff can be stark: Order too little and you miss out. Order too much and you’re forced into costly clearance sales. Amazon’s algorithms, refined through years of monitoring customer behavior, are getting the Seattle-based company out of the guessing game.

...Former and current employees say the retail group that used industry connections to lure brands to Amazon and helped create an e-commerce colossus is now being merged with the team that runs the marketplace, an automated platform that lets anyone with an internet connection price, market and sell their wares on Amazon without interacting with a single person. In recent months, several high-ranking executives have left for other jobs or been reassigned, but few express much surprise that a company with a cloud services division and prowess in artificial intelligence would put machines to work wherever it makes sense.

“We’ve been working for some time on standardizing the products, tools and services we offer to the brands and resellers that sell on Amazon, and have made some organizational changes as a result,” the web retailer said in a statement, adding that it has more than 16,000 corporate jobs open worldwide and created 130,000 jobs last year.

“We’ve been working for some time on standardizing the products, tools and services we offer to the brands and resellers that sell on Amazon, and have made some organizational changes as a result,” the web retailer said in a statement, adding that it has more than 16,000 corporate jobs open worldwide and created 130,000 jobs last year.

A key turning point came in 2015 when the value of goods sold through the marketplace exceeded those sold by the retail team, the people say.

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The Current Reality of Augmented Reality

amazon-ar-view-compPhilNote: Shelly Palmer has compiled a really good survey of the current state of many AR products and commented on how they fit into the ecosystem.

Augmented reality (AR) is on the cusp of being one of the technological advances that are all but guaranteed to change our day-to-day behavior. Imagine living in a world filled with “movie magic.” A world so packed with computer-generated images, it’s hard to tell fantasy from reality. That’s the dream, but where are we now, and who is going to get us there first? Here’s a quick overview of the state of AR.

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Within Debuts WebVR-Enabled Site for Broad VR Distribution

Within_Homepage_WebVRWithin, a Los Angeles-based cinematic virtual reality startup, just unveiled a website that allows users to have a VR experience on any device, from a desktop PC or mobile phone to a dedicated VR headset. The company relies on WebVR technology that avoids the need to download additional software to be able to play VR experiences in supported browsers. Users without a VR headset can navigate the content via the web browser, and those with VR headsets use hand controllers and tracking tools.

The premise behind WebVR and the VR Within website is to feed VR headsets the audiovisual content and movement/positional data they need to display VR content accurately.

Because WebVR is still an early technology, most VR producers build experiences for specific VR headsets. Early adopters of WebVR include porn studios, “whose subscription services have been barred from distributing content via the app stores of the major headset makers.” But WebVR is likely to be appealing to many mainstream publishers since it offers “the promise of reaching the widest audience possible.”

Mozilla’s mixed reality director Lars Bergstrom said the company is excited about “such big platforms making a bet on WebVR.”

“As new devices reach more people, we expect the WebVR specification will continue to grow and evolve,” he said.

VentureBeat reports that, through Within’s WebVR site, “viewers without VR headsets can watch videos in a 2D form at up to 4K resolution, using a computer’s trackpad or mouse to navigate through 360-degree visuals.” WebVR also automatically detects connected VR headsets, enabling them “to display the VR videos as originally intended.”

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and here:


Hyped augmented reality startup Blippar lost £34 million and warned it needs more money to stay afloat

  • 5b2376981ae66247008b51db-960-720British augmented reality startup Blippar has warned that it needs more cash to stay afloat.
  • The company posted a loss of more than £34 million ($45 million) for the year to 31 March 2017.
  • Blippar blamed its losses on its technology investments — but has since shuttered its Silicon Valley office in an apparent bid to cut costs.
  • The filings show that an exec from one of Blippar's biggest investors, Malaysia's sovereign wealth fund, has quit the board.
  • See the full story here;

CEEK VR and Iconic Director Brett Leonard Announce Development of Scripted Virtual Reality Series and Movie “HOLLYWOOD ROOFTOP”

Hollywood Rooftop Virtual Reality VX360 Scripted Series by CEEK VR (PRNewsfoto/CEEK VR)

Hollywood Rooftop Virtual Reality VX360 Scripted Series by CEEK VR (PRNewsfoto/CEEK VR)

Taking the helm at revolutionizing and changing the face of storytelling through Virtual Reality, CEEK VR is in development with HOLLYWOOD ROOFTOP,  a multi-conceptual film including a 10 episode VR FragFilm and a 2D feature film.  The VR FragFilm (episodic content) will be filmed in Immersive Cinema VX/360, split into 10 fragments (Frags) while the 2D feature will be filmed simultaneously and serve as its companion, designed to stimulate the discussion of VR spatial storytelling and its connection with the language of cinema. As one of the original thought leaders in this discussion of VR content, producer/director Brett Leonard speaks all over the world on the subject.

Chronicling a group of young talented up-and-coming actors, and set entirely on a rooftop in Hollywood, each character is intertwined as they share their challenges, loves, failures, and successes as they all try to "make it" in Hollywood.  This will be one of the first truly dialogue-driven feature VR projects.

About CEEK, VR:

CEEK VR is an award-winning developer of premium virtual and augmented reality experiences. CEEK VR pioneered the notion of virtual reality concerts.   CEEK VR's mission is to make virtual reality experiences universally accessible and enjoyable.  CEEK VR offers the first blockchain enabled social experience and marketplace for cryptographically authenticated content, celebrity merchandize and voting.

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How Facebook’s new 3D photos work

3dphotos-640In case you missed the teaser, 3D photos will live in your news feed just like any other photos, except when you scroll by them, touch or click them, or tilt your phone, they respond as if the photo is actually a window into a tiny diorama, with corresponding changes in perspective. It will work for both ordinary pictures of people and dogs, but also landscapes and panoramas.

It sounds a little hokey, and I’m about as skeptical as they come, but the effect won me over quite quickly. The illusion of depth is very convincing, and it does feel like a little magic window looking into a time and place rather than some 3D model — which, of course, it is.

In their system, the user takes multiple images of their surroundings by moving their phone around; it captures an image (technically two images and a resulting depth map) every second and starts adding it to its collection.

In the background, an algorithm looks at both the depth maps and the tiny movements of the camera captured by the phone’s motion detection systems. Then the depth maps are essentially massaged into the correct shape to line up with their neighbors. This part is impossible for me to explain because it’s the secret mathematical sauce that the researchers cooked up.

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Is augmented reality the future of travel? Air New Zealand partners with Magic Leap

B6L246GAOFAHVNWJZ7VRZ2HVYAAir New Zealand is partnering with Magic Leap, a technology powerhouse pioneering augmented reality entertainment.

The airline says it is developing exciting new experiences with the United States company that will initially highlight the dramatic, diverse landscapes and activities that make the country a unique tourism destination.

Shareholders include Google and Alibaba, and Weta's Richard Taylor is on the company's board.

Magic Leap's lenses superimpose 3D objects on top of real world objects. The collaboration with Air New Zealand is a first for the Florida company.

The technology will debut this year and is part of a longer-term programme aimed at "redefining travel experiences.''

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VRstudios raises more cash to expand location-based virtual reality technology across the world

Dave-Busters-VR-Simulator1The Seattle-area startup reeled in another $2.2 million from investors. The company confirmed the new funding but declined to provide information about investors.

Founded in 2014, VRstudios is gaining traction with nascent VR technology by providing access to room-scale multiplayer VR experiences outside of the home. The location-based entertainment company has deployed 64 systems across 14 countries. Its latest installation happened this week at 112 Dave and Buster’s locations, where customers can play the new Jurassic World VR Expedition game.

VRStudios is one of many new up-and-coming virtual reality startups in the Seattle area. Others include PixvanaHaptXPlutoVREAL, Against GravityEndeavor OneNullspace VR, and many more. That’s in addition to larger companies like Microsoft, Valve, HTC, and Oculus that are developing virtual and augmented reality technologies in the region.

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