philip lelyveld The world of entertainment technology


Voices of VR: For Google, the Future of VR Is on the Open Web with WebVR & WebAR

brandon-jones-2017-150x150I had a chance to catch up with primary WebVR spec author, Brandon Jones, at Google I/O to talk about why they’re holding off on shipping WebVR 1.1 and waiting until the latest WebVR “2.0” version is ready. It’ll ship as WebVR 1.0, but there has been such major refactoring to account for augmented reality that internally it’s referred to as the 2.0 spec. Mozilla will be shipping the 1.1 WebVR spec in their browser in August, but Jones says that the Chrome team doesn’t want to have to maintain and support the 1.1 version, which is sure to quickly be deprecated.

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Sony’s Richard Marks: Voice commands are key for transforming VR into the Holodeck

richard-marks-2Marks talked about what he thinks will be the next big step for PSVR. Surprisingly, it’s not new tracking systems or peripherals, but what we do with our voices and how virtual worlds react to them.

“There’s no limit to the things that we can do with software, right? So my whole world can just be remanufactured by the system at will, by a simple voice command, like, “Let’s go to a castle.” Boom! I can be in a castle. And I can be like, “Oh, no, a castle that has a drawbridge,” and it’ll just happen.

Back at GDC in March Sony showcased its work creating more believable characters in VR, presenting AI that had an understanding of the environments they were in and could react to them. That tech combined with voice control could create some incredibly powerful VR experiences going forward.

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‘Pirates 5’ to Be First Hollywood Feature to Play New Panoramic Cinema Format in U.S.

deadmentellnotales5897d43e7dc5b_-_h_2017Recently launched ScreenX is a multi-projector, 270-degree cinema system from Seoul-headquartered CJ 4DPlex (the company behind the 4DX 4D cinema system). According to CJ, the new installment of Pirates is scheduled to play at 83 ScreenX locations around the world, including two in the U.S., CGV Buena Park and CGV Cinemas LA, both in California.

To create the 270-degree versions of ScreenX releases, a ScreenX creative team uses CGI and footage provided by the studio. In the case of Pirates 5, select sequences of the film were converted to the widescreen format (not the entire film).

Pirates 5 will also play in 4D on 373 4DX screens worldwide, CJ reported.

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Entrepreneurship in China

ChristineThe BFA case illustrates the Chinese method, in which the central government creates an industrial policy, then provides funding, infrastructure, R&D, private sector incentives, capital and educational resources to intensify the chances of success. Startups get a leg up in a favored sector, which means that entrepreneurs may start companies that stay alive, even if they are not long-term winners in the race to find customers and profits.

But once a company gains traction, they have access to a home market unlike any in the world.

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Building The VR Experiences And Worlds of the Future

kim-pallister-and-austin-grossman-3Pallister added, “It feels like the current set of hardware has tipped us over a point where people can feel a magical experience but it is really only just the beginning of the types of experiences depicted in those fictional works.”

Pallister leads Intel’s virtual reality (VR) project lab in Hillsboro, Oregon. His team is working to improve the state of VR technology and to bring VR to mainstream audiences. In his current role, Pallister forecasts the progress of VR and the ingredient technologies responsible for driving VR experiences.

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Elon Musk’s OpenAI Is Training Robots In VR

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Check out the video above to see it in action. The robot is able to replicate a range of actions with the human acting them out first, much in the same way a parent might teach their child how to do something. That’s a little scary, when you think about it.

It’s not hard to think of simple tasks these robots could carry out even with this basic implementation, but the question is what types of more complex actions will OpenAI be able to unlock in the future with the help of VR? Block stacking is just the start.

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MS Holographic projection AR glasses explained (video)

The glasses have an 80-degree field of view and the ability to correct for a person's astigmatism, allowing virtual objects to be viewed through the AR glasses without additional corrective lenses.

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The ambitions of VR and AR developers don’t match their financing needs

vr_headset-shutterstock_427716028According to the 34-page survey, 50 percent of VR and AR developers indicated that they will require more financing in the future, stating they will need additional rounds of more than $1 million. In order to raise this level of investment, companies typically need to have the ambition to achieve at least $10 million in revenue within five years. However, the average developer in the survey expects their firm to generate “only” $1.3 million.

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A VR Developer Created an Expansive Virtual World for Chickens

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  • Second Livestock is a unique application of virtual reality (VR) that could change animal husbandry and livestock farming.
  • Developed by design professor Austin Stewart, this VR free-range farm world is a safe haven for chickens.

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How Alejandro G. Iñárritu Used Virtual Reality to Tackle Illegal Immigration

agi-carne-y-arena-photo-2-copy-write-emmanuel-lubezkiThe sand is coarse under foot and the moonlight barely illuminates the way through the rocky desert terrain as you edge along the Mexican and American border. Suddenly there’s shouting. Vans hurtle forward in the distance, helicopters whirl overhead, as border guards leap out of the shadows, rifles at the ready, ordering you and your fellow immigrants to your knees.

No, this is not a ripped-from-the-headlines version of a chose your own adventure game. It’s a shattering new virtual reality experience from Alejandro G. Iñárritu and Emmanuel Lubezki called “Carne y Arena (Virtually Present, Physically Invisible),” that is being unveiled at this year’s Cannes Film Festival. Filmmakers have been toying with virtual reality for years, but there’s never been an installation of quite this size and scope. Usually, Iñárritu told Variety, the technology has been used to hawk Hollywood blockbusters, not to tackle hot button issues.

“The big mistake of VR is that it has been considered an extension of cinema,” said Iñárritu. “It has been considered a promotional tool. It has been devalued. This is an art in itself.”

The roughly six-minute experience is being backed by Legendary Entertainment and Fondazione Prada, neither of whom plan to make a penny on the installation. It will be exhibited at Fondazione Prada in Milan before coming to the Los Angeles County Art Museum.

Both men are careful to note that “Carne y Arena” is not cinema, with a director dictating where a viewer’s eye is meant to land. It’s a 360 degree experience that is its own beast. But Lubezki believes virtual reality is a natural extension of recent works such as “The Revenant” and “Birdman” that used long takes to create a feeling of verisimilitude and plunge people into a frontier landscape or backstage on Broadway.

“If the studios don’t get into it, they will be irrelevant soon,” he said. “Filmmakers will be very attracted to this.”

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