philip lelyveld The world of entertainment technology


Terracotta Warriors and Augmented Reality

The Franklin Institute [Philadelphia] will enhance the visitor experience of its upcoming exhibition, Terracotta Warriors of the First Emperor, with augmented reality (AR) technology that will bring to life 2,200-year-old artifacts from the burial site of China’s first emperor.

...through an app on their mobile devices. Terracotta Warriors includes 10 full-size ancient statues and nearly 150 artifacts, including Pre-Imperial Qin objects, Han pottery figurines, palace models, and painted warrior replicas. Dynamic computer-generated imagery will depict what the statues may have looked like when they were first built, and will help visitors more fully understand the science of how time and chemical processes affect artifacts. The exhibition, produced in partnership with the Pacific Science Center in Seattle, will open in the fall of 2017.

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Comcast is Developing a Blockchain Video Advertising Platform

[Philip Lelyveld comment: This could be huge. If Comcast can do this for advertising and consumer-data databases, then it can also secure streaming video and localize the damage from data breaches.]

Using the platform, programmers and advertisers will be able to use consumer data to create and execute precise, targeted advertising campaigns to streaming customers. ... the inherent security of blockchain technology allows participants to “ask questions of” one another’s marketing data without being able to access it. Consequently, blockchain participants retain sole control of consumer data and privacy settings on their own systems.

Comcast plans to leverage its existing advertising relationships with Disney, NBCUniversal, Channel 4 (UK), Cox Communications, and others to develop and implement this technology. These partnerships, along with Comcast’s tremendous market share, could lead to blockchain-based advertising becoming standard practice in the video streaming industry.

Other Corporate Blockchain Investments

Despite Morgan Stanley’s recent claim that blockchain technology remains in a “proof of concept” stage, corporations are increasingly turning to blockchain technology to increase efficiency and security. Telecommunications behemoth AT&T recently acquireda patent to build a Bitcoin-powered “decentralized and distributed home subscriber server” device. Walmart submitted a patent application for a blockchain-based system that would track delivery drone shipments, as well as a blockchain-based platform trial designed to manage food safety.

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Google launches its AI-powered jobs search engine

jobs3_finalGoogle today launched a new jobs search feature right on its search result pages that lets you search for jobs across virtually all of the major online job boards like LinkedIn, Monster, WayUp, DirectEmployers, CareerBuilder and Facebook and others. Google will also include job listings its finds on a company’s homepage.

The idea here is to give job seekers an easy way to see which jobs are available without having to go to multiple sites only to find duplicate postings and lots of irrelevant jobs.

It’s worth noting that Google doesn’t try to filter jobs based on what it already knows.

Google is very clear about the fact that it doesn’t want to directly compete with Monster, CareerBuilder and similar sites. It currently has no plans to let employers posts jobs directly to its jobs search engine for example (though that would surely be lucrative).

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Sony Expands Scope of VR Innovation Program This Summer

June 20, 2017

VR_Headset_CloudsThe ETC@USC helped Sony Pictures Entertainment and Sony Music Entertainment establish their summer 2016 VR Innovation Program. Over the course of 10 weeks, 14 USC student associates pitched, rapid-prototyped, and delivered seven proof-of-concept projects of interest to Sony executives. The students worked under the supervision of Sony execs and two advisors from the USC faculty. Sony generously supplied a presentation deck describing the program’s goals and process for distribution by the ETC. Building on their positive experience, Sony is currently running a 2017 summer program with the scope expanded to include AR and live action narrative VR.

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‘Moss’ uses virtual reality to bring a mouse to life on PS4

e317_moss_gdp_screenshot_02Players take control of Quill, a female mouse, who is looking for a family member. They can move her around with the DualShock 4’s analog stick. They use the X button to jump and square to slash with her sword.

But “Moss” gets interesting when players realize they also control a second character — The Reader. When they look down at themselves in a pond, players see that they’re spirit of some sort that only Quill can see. Staring down at their in-game reflection, The Reader look like No-Face from “Spirited Away.” Because the world is built to the scale of Quill, players is the size of a giant and they can interact with the environment.

A core element to that is the puzzle solving. As Quill and The Reader explore the world through static set-piece scenes, they come across obstacles that both have to figure out. It starts off with a simple problem. Quill falls into a pit with crablike enemies attacking her. After beating them, players have to figure out how to get the mouse out. By touching the environment, they discover they can lift out a spiral staircase and players can move Quill around it and jump across.

If players are lost and can’t figure out the puzzle, Quill acts as a hint system gesturing to different areas of the puzzle to help players along.

“Moss” has a charm that few VR games have. Players can expect to play it on PlayStation VR this holiday season.

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15 Virtual Reality Startups in Healthcare

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FlirtAR: The World’s First Augmented Reality Dating Application

92500afdd3114a16c052718ffcfc99a9According to FlirtAR visionary, Renan Godinho, "FlirtAR will use facial recognition, geolocation, and augmented reality to show user dating profiles and begin conversations with potential dates in the real world and in real time." In other words, the FlirtAR app offers the algorithmic possibility to discover love at first sight!

How? By algorithmically combining face recognition technology with geolocation information to not only allow registered users to access the dating profiles of other registered users* when they see that special someone, in the real world, but also to begin a conversation with him or her immediately.

Of course, privacy is very important to us at FlirtAR.* We will never show your profile to any unregistered user

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Worldwide Shipments of Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality Headsets Expected to Grow at 58% CAGR with Low-Cost Smartphone VR Devices being Short-Term Catalyst, According to IDC

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Varjo, the World’s First Human-Eye Resolution Headset

CADmodel[Philip Lelyveld comment: It sounds like they are doing foviated rendering, so their full-screen resolution claims are suspect.  But it still looks very promising.]

Varjo’s Human-Eye Resolution technology made me realize something I’d only known in a general sense prior: current visual fidelity in VR/AR has a long way to go. Varjo’s soon-to-launch headset catapults us a decade into the future in terms of what we’re actually able to see in immersive reality.

So what is Varjo? It’s a Helsinki-based company (“varjo” is “shadow” in Finnish) that’s been in stealth until now, working to develop a 70 megapixel solution for XR (by comparison, Oculus Rift and HTC Vive run about 1.2 MP). 

The company’s virtual-reality prototype, which it let me try out last week during a company visit to San Francisco, builds on an Oculus Rift with a high-resolution micro OLED display and an angled glass plate in front of the headset’s regular display. The plate—an optical combiner—lets Varjo merge the two different displays into one image that you see when you put on the headset.

You can read writing from across the room.

Inspired by the saccade model of the eye during their research, the team at Varjo realized that the human-eye actually doesn’t see the world in “human-eye resolution” across the entire field of view. Instead, it only sees accurately at 2° in the center field of vision (at around 100 px/°).

In the periphery, the eye actually only takes in about (1 px/°). So, the Varjo display was built as a gaze-based, foveated-rendering system—in other words, what you’re looking at is in crystal clarity, while the surrounding area remains at “normal” VR resolution.

The first headset has not been designed with the kind of compromises that come with creating a consumer headset. Instead, Varjo first intends to partner with select independent software vendors (ISVs) and companies whose need for visual fidelity is most pressing—whether that might exist in architecture, design, simulations/training, or otherwise.

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Could Wellington have the world’s first augmented reality island?

vrIt’s kind of fitting that when we showed up to see Wellington’s newest cutting-edge virtual and augmented reality hub, it pretty much had nothing inside it. Wow. I knew the technology was good, but I didn’t know it was that good. To be fair, ProjectR has only just moved in, and there is already a stylish SMEG fridge, a cluster of computers adorned with Pop Vinyl figures, and a ‘girl boss’ mug that fittingly belongs to centre executive Jessica Manins.

Jessica is currently in charge of fitting out the enormous, sunny space on Taranaki Street to connect over 24 different VR, AR and MR Wellington businesses into one disruptive digital rat king to rule them all.

Wellington is a city that forces you to be creative, I think. And resilient as well, we’ve got the earthquakes and we’ve got the crazy wind. There are lots of easy things about living in the city because it’s so compact – but that also tests you. Being on the other side of the world, far from where the largest business hubs are, means you have to work a little bit harder. You have to think hard from day one and you have to be that little bit more creative.

Another job you have – for now – is organising Leading Ladies, why was there a need to carve out that kind of support space for Wellington women?

The first woman I messaged was Toni Moyse [CEO at 8i]. We got together, formed a bit of a plan, and from there co-created Leading Ladies. ... We meet monthly, and we’ve been going strong for 18 months or so now.

You’ve worked in LA, London, Edinburgh – all these giant cities in the world – so what makes you want to stay here?

I’m still trying to work out how to try and encourage talent to stay here and to work with the New Zealand companies that are trying to build themselves up – it all adds to the value and what we’re trying to create in New Zealand. Wellington is probably one of the most creative places, it’s fun, has great coffee, has good food. It’s a no brainer in terms of the city to live in.

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