philip lelyveld The world of entertainment technology


This virtual reality dining experience is trippy — and might be the future of restaurants

YY34AERAYQ7O7GHW4XMH37DEDYThe exhibit, by Italian artist Mattia Casalegno in partnership with restaurateur Roni Mazumdar and chef Chintan Pandya of New York restaurants Rahi and Adda, raises questions that linger long after you experience it: Was that a meal or performance art? Is this the future of dining out? And an even more fundamental one: What is eating all about, anyway?

Your hands appear as strange, robotic appendages that wiggle unfamiliarly as you move them. Look down, and your legs have disappeared.

The food that arrives on floating platters resembles nothing you’ve ever ingested — that is, unless you treat science fairs as buffets. Tiny orbs circulate some bites, others look like spiky sea urchins — but such forms defy what lands on the tongue.

Casalegno, a native of Italy, was inspired by the “Futurist Cookbook,” a 1932 manifesto in which the Italian avant-garde reimagined cuisine and its sensory components. Whereas the Futurists incorporated perfume into meals and favored food in sculptural form, Casalegno turned to the medium of virtual reality to upend the experience of eating — divorcing the sense of taste from that of sight.

Davis hopes the exhibit — and VR dining generally — offers more than just a novel outing for bored eaters looking for the latest gimmick. “I don’t want people to be so tired with the restaurant experience that it’s like we have to poke them,” he says. “Like, ‘Oh, we’ve done that, let’s eat in a balloon’ or something. I really want people to look at food differently.”

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China’s driverless, trackless train that runs on virtual rails launches first commercial line

yibin-artChina’s ART has succeeded where its “Straddling Bus” could not, launching for commercial use for the first time in the Sichuan city of Yibin.

Dubbed the “Autonomous Rail Rapid Transit,” the ART is essentially a driverless tram that runs on “virtual rails” mapped out by cameras and censors — so, it’s kinda like a bus too.

The Yibin ART T1 line extends for 17.7 kilometers. It’s expected to serve more than 10,000 passengers daily, a number that will go up to 25,000 once the line is extended to a high-speed railway station.

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TikTok Intros Top 100 Video List, Pushes ‘Hotbed of Talent’

TikTok North America and Australia general manager Vanessa Pappas, praising the “diversity and amazing content” of the app, noted that, “TikTok has become a hotbed of talent, and there’s so much discoverability on the platform that it can be used as this mechanism to discover new voices.”

Teens now seek to be “TikTok famous,” which simply requires that they “tap into the right trend or do the right dance at the right time.” “There’s something really attainable about TikTok fame,” explained Pappas. “Anyone can post a video and it can be seen by hundreds or millions of people.” One example is Noen Eubanks, who made his first video a year ago and now has seven million followers.

Pappas reported that the company is now thinking about how to help creators make money. “Monetization is something we hear often,” she said. “We’re at the beginning stages of exploring different models and ways we can connect creators with brands and opportunities.” One move is a marketplace that “connects creators to brands.”

Pappas also pointed out that this new generation of creators is “being born in ways we haven’t seen previously.” “TikTok is about being yourself, warts and all, and this new generation of creators is really embracing that,” she said.

With regard to the criticism that, because TikTok is owned by Chinese company ByteDance that its employees are pressured to censor politically sensitive content, Pappas stressed that, “everything from the U.S. market is driven from the U.S. team,” which doesn’t do any censorship.

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PhD candidate has patients barking up the wrong tree with virtual reality

d880x320He sent 20 patients into the woods for this – a virtual wood that is. He used virtual reality to create a wood populated with gazelles, camels and giraffes with a trail for the patients to follow. Whereas they were really walking on a treadmill, the VR headset had them venturing into the wild.

Sneaky stretch

The patients were told to walk as far as they could until the pain in their legs became too intense. The research showed that virtual woods didn’t magically have them walking further than they did on a plain treadmill. What did help, however, was to give the virtual woods a sneaky stretch. Then the patients suddenly walked further.

‘After the first walk in the woods, we placed a flag to mark the spot where the previous session had ended,’ says Cuperus. ‘In the meantime, I gave the woods a bit of a stretch, which meant that, without noticing it, you had to walk further to reach the same flag. None of the 20 test subjects noticed this manipulation, and they walked significantly further than in the first walk.’ Cuperus is thus playing with the placebo effect, which is also one of the research fields of his supervisor Andrea Evers, who was awarded the famous Stevin Prize this year for her research into this effect.

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Market Research White Paper: How Augmented Reality Drives Real-World Gains in Services, Training, Sales and Marketing, and Manufacturing

IDC recently completed a custom project for PTC in the United States where we surveyed a mix of IT decision makers, enterprise executives, and line-of-business managers and found that 77% of companies were already experimenting with AR. While most companies were still in the early stages of testing, a surprisingly large number of them were already moving from proof of concept into pilots, from pilots into the early stage of deployment, or from early stage deployments into late-stage deployments.

Of course, strongly positive results are great, but are these new service-based AR experiences driving measurable return on investment (ROI)? An impressive 62% of respondents say it is. What are the primary ways it's doing so? About 65% said it's through better knowledge transfer among employees, about 60% said it's because employees are more efficient once onsite, 50% said it is due to improved first-time fix rates, and 24% pointed to fewer total truck rolls.

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CES: Expectations for the Immersive Experience Landscape

Oculus_The_Under_PresentsWhen CES 2020 opens on January 7th in Las Vegas, I expect experiences — of which ‘entertainment’ is one option — will be center stage. We will be watching for repositioning of products and services as experiences, as well as for new ideas for experiences themselves. To state the obvious, for mixed reality and immersive experiences to work well, the user experience (UX) should be intuitive and match user expectations. Companies are working to achieve this by dealing in their own individual ways with the convergence of multisensory, multiplatform, immersive media technology and language (VR, AR, MR, XR); AI; 5G; IoT; robotics and autonomous things; and blockchain. Gartner describes this as a shift from technology-literate people to people-literate technology.

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Google shows off stunning new AR features coming to web and mobile apps soon

Part of a ARCore’s new Depth API in the works

E601_GIF_120319_Robochef_01.2019_12_08_21_23_58Google has been quietly working to improve its augmented reality platform, ARCore, since its official launch early last year. Now, the company says it’s ready to unveil some of the next-generation upgrades to depth detection and physics it’s achieved, which promise to make AR experiences seem much more realistic in the future.

The upgrades, part of ARCore’s all-new Depth API, will soon allow developers to perform what’s known as occlusion, which is when an artificial object can be blocked from view by other real-world objects in a scene.

Google says it’s able to do this through optimizing existing software, so you won’t need a phone with a specific sensor or type of processor. It’s also all happening on the device itself, and not relying on any help from the cloud. So long as you have a phone that supports ARCore, which is pretty much every new Android phone released in the last few years, you’ll be able to access these new features.

E601_GIF_120319_Collide_01.2019_12_08_21_13_23These go beyond occlusion and into more realistic physics and 3D mapping. Google has developed a way for AR objects to interact with the real world more realistically, move through an environment the way a real-world 3D object would, and interact with surfaces like you might expect physical matter would. For instance, in the demo I got to experience, I was able to create colorful shaped blocks out of thin air that could bounce off virtually any surface, even the handlebars of an exercise bike.

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Immersive Virtual Reality at UC San Diego Takes Researchers to Far Away Worlds

The SunCAVE, which stands for Cave Automated Virtual Environment, is made up of 70 4K, 3D screens connected to 35 computer nodes.

“The computers get used for image segmentation, that’s how we do the organ detection. They get used for looking at NASA weather data so we can try to come up with predictive models. Also, a lot of these computers are getting used for the WiFIRE project, where they’re actually doing simulations of wildfires when they happen,” Polizzi said.

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Report: Magic Leap One Sales Are Horrible, New Version ‘Years Away’

606030-magic-leap-one-19Six months after its release, Magic Leap has reportedly sold only 6,000 augmented reality headsets. Now, the well-funded startup could be "years away" from releasing an upgraded model.

The Magic Leap One made its global debut in August 2018. It's available for $2,295, which appears to be a price that most consumers aren't comfortable with due to augmented reality's limited history. Now, with consumers hesitant to invest in Magic Leap's ecosystem, the well-funded startup doesn't have a clear path forward.

Magic Leap has begun development on an upgraded model. Called the 'Magic Leap Two' behind closed doors, it features a simplified design along with a wider field of view and 5G connectivity. The report claims Magic Leap is running into "fundamental technology constraints," though.

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Sony Surrenders Handheld Video Game Market to Nintendo

Sony (NYSE:SNE) was once a major player in handheld gaming consoles. Its first handheld, the PSP (PlayStation Portable), sold 81 million units between 2004 and 2014. But its successor, the PS Vita, only sold 16 million units between its launch in late 2011 and its discontinuation earlier this year.

The PS Vita failed due to a lack of compelling titles, weak marketing efforts, its use of pricey proprietary memory cards, and tough competition from Nintendo's (OTC:NTDOY) 3DS, which used weaker hardware but dazzled gamers with its dual screens and stereoscopic 3D effects.

Why Sony isn't interested in challenging Nintendo

For now, Sony seems more interested in next-gen gaming platforms, like cloud gaming and virtual reality, than handheld gaming consoles.

That isn't surprising, for three reasons: Smartphones disrupted the handheld console market, its main rival Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) isn't interested in handheld games, and Nintendo consistently dominated that niche since it launched the original Game Boy 30 years ago.

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