philip lelyveld The world of entertainment technology


Virtual reality experience forces people to lose their jobs and homes, boosts empathy

183217_webA new study by Stanford scientists focused on using VR to boost empathy by putting people in the shoes of someone who they might otherwise only read or hear about. Specifically, the used virtual reality to give everyday people a crash course in losing absolutely everything.

The team used a VR experience that they call Becoming Homeless to show people what it’s like to find your life in ruins. In the virtual world, the “player” experiences a range of hardships including losing their job and ultimately giving up their homes.

What they discovered is that people who can experience something first-hand, even in virtual reality, tend to have a lot more empathy for individuals who are actually experiencing those hardships here in the real world.

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The Digital Transformation To Keep IKEA Relevant: Virtual Reality, Apps And Self-Driving Cars

Space10 Innovation Lab

Space10 is IKEA’s research hub and exhibition space launched in 2015 that brings together designers, artists, and technologists to innovate tomorrow’s new products and solutions. From developing autonomous urban farming to upcycling products and materials into other uses, and autonomous vehicle design to 3D printed meatballs and more, Space10 is churning and testing out ideas that might make it to an IKEA catalog in the not-too-distant future. The goal of Space10 and its partners is to create better and more sustainable ways of living.

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The Face Of Entertainment Is Changing Because Of Augmented Reality

Reading-Magazine-or-NewspaperRevitalising Print Publications?

There are already examples of publishers relying on AR to create a more innovative, fully immersive experience.

The Future of Film and TV

Have you ever watched The Ring? Now imagine the most memorable scene in which the girl crawls out of the well. How about crawling out of the TV and into your reality? This is precisely what could be accomplished through the use of AR technology.

Music, Audio Files and Augmented

While AR may seem like a highly visual technology, there have already been attempts to change the way in which people listen to music or access audio information. AR earbuds are already a thing. Doppler Labs is the company making such equipment and marketing its earbuds as “the first earbuds with Real-World Sound Control.” Now, what exactly does this mean?

Certain real-world sounds (like background traffic noise) could be filtered out while other sounds will come through.

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How OTT video streaming service Popcornflix engagement skyrocketed with Unreel: case study

popcornflix-1200x720Popcornflix is an over-the-top (OTT) advertising-supported video on demand (AVOD) streaming service. With more than 25 million lifetime downloads and hundreds of thousands of active monthly users, Popcornflix is a well-established and successful business. As the consumer-facing arm of Screen Media Ventures, Popcornflix has the rights to more than 3,000 films, and more than 60 complete TV series. Screen Media Ventures is one of the world’s largest privately held premium video collections in the world.

The Problem

Popcornflix’s rapid proliferation onto OTT platforms brought about several issues that needed to be addressed:

1) Inconsistent user interface (UI) and user experience (UX): The UI and UX in the apps on which Popcornflix content ran were severely uneven.

2) A Fragmented User Base: Popcornflix was not yet a true cross-platform streaming service, as it lacked the ability to track a user’s actions across multiple properties. This prevented Popcornflix from capturing data that could have been used to keep its users more engaged and to inform content strategy.

3) Too Expensive to Update: A wide number of platforms, each with its own design, made it complicated and prohibitively expensive to update each platform’s app regularly to keep up with new features and trends.

The Solution

Enter video streaming service provider Unreel, which provided an answer for each of Popcornflix’s woes. This partnership enabled Popcornflix to focus on its core competency: acquiring and curating great video content.

Instant Growth

The first step of the Unreel and Popcornflix partnership was to launch a new mobile and desktop streaming site to see how it would perform. Replacing the old Popcornflix site with the new Unreel-powered version produced significant improvements.

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(phone-based) Startup Ludenso takes on Magic Leap and HoloLens in augmented reality

magimaskNorwegian technology start-up Ludenso (formerly MovieMask) has started a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign for its augmented reality glasses for mobile devices, dubbed MagiMask.

MagiMask and its tracking system has been quietly in development for two years, and it is now available to preorder, priced at $99 and shipping in the first quarter of 2019. The company hopes the low price will be competitive against the $2,295 Magic Leap One Creator Edition and the $3,000 Microsoft HoloLens.

Ludenso wants to change the way people engage and interact with the world through MagiMask. The AR head-mounted display (HMD) supports AR-capable smartphones as large as Samsung Galaxy S9+ and Apple’s iPhone XS Max.

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Macy’s Rolls Out Virtual Reality Design Program

MacysVR-702x336Macy’s and Marxent have partnered on what the two companies said is the largest virtual reality rollout in retail history, with approximately 70 Macy’s VR installations in stores nationwide.

“Through the Macy’s VR furniture experience, we are giving our customers a new way to visualize a large selection of furniture products,” said Hal Lawton, president of Macy’s. “Customers design their living space and, using a VR headset, immerse themselves in the virtual rooms they create.”

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Do your surroundings affect your taste? Virtual reality answers

What we taste is intertwined not just with what we smell, but also with other sensory inputs. What we can see, in particular, may alter how we perceive the flavor of food — at least this is what a range of experiments using virtual reality settings have shown.

According to a new study conducted by researchers from Cornell University in Ithaca, NY, what we taste when we eat is significantly influenced by where we are when we have our meals.

The team's findings have recently appeared in the Journal of Food Science.

Through virtual reality headsets, each participant experienced, by turns, three different environments: a sensory booth, a park bench, and a cow barn.


One important application, for instance, is to improve the experience of eating for older people. As some people age, they may lose part of their sense of taste and thus find food less appealing, which may lead them to eat less, or less healthfully.

"Visually, virtual reality imparts qualities of the environment itself to the food being consumed — making this kind of testing cost-efficient," he adds.

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Project Aero – How Adobe Is Trying to Bring Augmented Reality Experiences Mainstream

adobemax-content-2018At its annual MAX event this week in Los Angeles, the company previewed a new tool that it hopes will help democratize the creation of AR across devices, enabling artists and designers to create their own experiences. The tool, called Project Aero, was initially revealed as a part of Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in June.

However, with Project Aero, Adobe is trying to take its success with more familiar design tools such as Photoshop and Illustrator and use similar concepts to deliver AR at scale. Sensei, the company’s AI platform, is also integrated for identifying and creating lighting, emotion and spatial awareness.

“That’s kind of the flow for democratization,” Corazza said. “Someone breaks the ice, and then the goodness spreads to everybody. So we would like to get the goodness spreading as fast as we can.”

There are also tools such as proximity triggers that let objects become animated when a user gets close enough.

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Future of sports viewing? Steve Ballmer and L.A. Clippers debut new augmented reality NBA experience

courtvision-1260x709The new experience, Clippers CourtVision, uses computer vision, artificial intelligence and augmented reality to analyze the action on the court and translate it into on-screen annotations and animations, displayed on screen as the game unfolds. Viewers can see the probability that a player will make a shot, for example, or watch as the play is diagrammed in real time on the basketball court.

Ballmer and the company that developed the technology, Second Spectrum, believe it could be the first step toward a radically different viewing experience for professional sports in the future. Ballmer is an investor in Second Spectrum, and has championed the technology among his fellow NBA owners.

The technology was developed by Second Spectrum, a 5-year-old startup led by artificial intelligence experts that became the “official optical tracking provider” of the NBA in 2016. The company’s software allows computers to watch live sports and track player/ball movement at a granular level. It then applies machine learning and AI to overlay a live NBA stream with data and graphics.

In “Coach Mode,” fans can watch plays drawn out on the screen as they develop. In “Player Mode,” they can see real-time advanced statistics, such as the probability of player making a given shot. In “Mascot Mode,” the system generates fun animations when a big dunk or 3-pointer happens.

The new viewing experience is available starting today to FOX Sports Prime Ticket subscribers in the Los Angeles area via the FOX Sports app.

The Clippers are also beta testing a separate CourtVision app that lets fans switch between seven camera angles throughout the arena and pick different audio feeds, such as the broadcast commentary or in-arena sound. In addition, the new platform provides a way to watch condensed game recaps and highlights, and view computer-generated video stories.

Clippers CourtVision is part of a new trend to enhance the live sports viewing experience. This is not a totally new idea — an age-old example is the virtual yellow line indicating the first-down during a football broadcast.

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Creative Designers Speed Up the Design Cycle Through New Immersive Collaboration Experiences

bluescape-1Bluescape, a leading collaboration workspace solution, announced the availability of Bluescape Plugins for the Adobe Creative Cloud. Design teams can now collaborate in real time and streamline the review process for faster results. Creative professionals can seamlessly export their work, download images and collect real-time feedback in Bluescape workspaces directly from Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator CC and Adobe XD CC, all part of Adobe Creative Cloud.

UX|UI Designers can work, meet and connect using the Bluescape plugin for Adobe XD to drive the UX|UI design cycle faster, taking a project from concept, through design to final product, with real-time sharing of content and project updates.

For UX|UI designers, Bluescape offers real-time digital collaboration capabilities for Adobe XD.

  • In a Bluescape hosted meeting, designers can make real-time and streamlined changes in Adobe XD, open the plugin to easily and seamlessly export content into a Bluescape digital workspace for immediate sharing and review.
  • Within the Bluescape workspace, teams can instantly see the work being done in Adobe XD (a shared desktop window) while also viewing content, notes and drawings in a Bluescape workspace.
  • Designers can add real-time comments in Adobe XD and it instantly posts the comments in Bluescape for shared notifications and tracking.
  • Images and content located in a Bluescape workspace can be easily exported back into Adobe XD for additional design work.

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