philip lelyveld The world of entertainment technology


(whitepaper – AR in museums) Huge Potential But Practical Challenges For Inflight Virtual Reality

Picture1From lazing on a tropical beach to exploring a city destination, shopping for duty-free goods to meditating, the immersive experiences virtual reality (VR) can offer could transform the onboard experience for airline passengers. The technology is there already, but are airlines, passengers and inflight entertainment (IFE) providers ready to make the leap?

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“The Last Moments” Lets Viewers Experience Assisted Suicide In VR

This entire movie is filmed with the use of virtual reality technology to create a more realistic experience. It all goes down in the Dignitas clinic, a Swiss facility specialized in assisted suicide. It is also quite an interactive experience, as the player’s “partner” will ask if the player has any last words.

The Last Moments is also designed to provide players with an ethical question. During this movie experience, the player sees the text “Death, is it your right to choose?” flash on the screen. Viewers will undoubtedly make a decision to see how the rest of this scenario plays out.  This is by far one of the most impressive VR experiences the world has seen so far, and rest assured it will bring some people to tears as they go through the motions.

The Swiss Dignitas clinic was not too amused by this VR concept at first, although they are pleased with the end result. The Last Moments is a very gripping VR experience, even if the characterization leaves a lot to be desired.

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Wellington Chocolate Factory virtual reality takes you to PNG

BottomImageLines of people crowded the Hannah’s parking lot on Saturday for a virtual reality chocolate experience through cartoon Papua New Guinea.

Tony St George, owner of Polytronik VR, and Gabe Davidson, co-owner of Wellington Chocolate Factory, debuted their VR “showcoaster” after two years of development.

After putting on an Oculus headset, users are taken on a guided tour through a cartoon Papua New Guinea chocolate farm run by little birds called the OooEee.

And they were handed a real chocolate at the end.

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Why Social VR Probably Won’t Work the Way Social VR Developers Think

mark-socialAccording to SuperData, sales of high-end VR devices were slow in 2016, with Oculus and Vive selling less than 700,000 total. Oculus recently stopped doing demos in many department stores for lack of interest. And while the mid-range Samsung Gear VR leads the pack with nearly 5 million units, that’s still a fraction of the 100 million or so Samsung smartphones the headset was designed to work with. All this strongly suggests a lack of viral growth or a killer app to drive it.

In the short to medium term, at least, we’re more likely to see social VR embraced by a small contingent of core users, leaving the rest of us behind.

This takes me to a related and even more difficult problem for social VR:

Social VR arrives in the market at a time when broadband and mobile devices have totally remade our model of media consumption. Where it was once appointment-based, in which families and friends would regularly meet in person whenever their favorite TV show was on, we largely use DVRs and streaming services to time shift.

I believe the way forward is thinking about social VR embedded in a larger social experience that transcends VR. Or to put it another way: Once one of your friends puts on a VR headset, what do the rest of you do?

To have any chance at succeeding in a similar fashion, virtual reality developers must devote themselves not just to creating powerful 3D experiences, but also powerful bridges to decades of 2D content, the devices they were built for — and just as key, the people still connected to them.

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Virtual Reality becomes art at Art Basel in Hong Kong

Robin Rhode's `Gusheshe', loosely translated as acceleration, invites viewers to burrow their heads into a drawing of a BMW E30 and step through the fiery trail the car leaves behind.

Rhode's work was one of five virtual reality (VR) pieces on display at Art Basel in Hong Kong this week.

The VR works were the outcome of a collaboration with Google Arts & Culture, whch invited artists selected by Art Basel, to residencies in Beijing and Paris.

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A VR Game That Laughs In The Face Of VR

q0pazapunhloffolg0csIn Virtual-Virtual Reality, a satirical Google Daydream VR game released today, a melting slab of butter orders you to smear toast on his unctuous body. When he demands more toast, 32 toasters appear. Toast is burning, popping out onto the floor. The butter is unhappy; he yells at you to “cover his butter body,” but it’s impossible to rub all of the toast on him in time.

“This was only a modicum of indulgence,” butter later writes in his three-star review of your services. “The attendant clearly displayed human deficiency in coordination competence.”

It’s a game with a lot of layers. The deeper in you go, the more impossible tasks you’re given; and the more “immersed” you get in V-VR ’s virtual service tasks, the more your ratings drop. You feel alienated by the gap between what services you can provide and what’s being asked of you, and, consequently, from the VR technology. That’s when you’re contacted by a human labor union—fitting for when you miss human reality most.

V-VR nails its mockery of corporate VR and the “immersion” buzzword so well that the only medium capable of conveying its many themes is VR itself.

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Local laws threaten the global future of augmented reality

In response to littering and damage at Chicago's Loyola Dunes Restoration Site, an Illinois state representative introduced “Pidgey’s Law"—named for a Pokemon character—which would fine app developers if they do not remove checkpoints within two days of receiving a complaint. The short turnaround time and the cost of the fines ($100 per-day per-infraction) means developers would have to expend resources to vet every one of their checkpoints; in the case of Pokemon Go, that's more than 4 million worldwide.

The Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors last month approved an ordinance requiring companies to obtain the equivalent of an event permit before introducing location-based augmented-reality features that would draw users to local parks. Fees range from $100 to $1,000 and would require developers to estimate how many people are expected to be using the app in the park each day.

In New York State, Assemblyman Felix Ortiz, D-Brooklyn, threatened to introduce even tougher legislation that would hold companies like Niantic liable for user safety, citing accounts of distracted Pokemon Go players using the app while driving or while walking in the middles of the street.

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Upload VR – Virtual Reality Technology Could Find an Ideal Home in L.A.

upload-vr-shared-space-los-angeles-silicon-beacc"Entertainment and technology have gone together for a long time," says Andrea Belz, the vice dean for technology innovation and entrepreneurship at the USC Viterbi School of Engineering. "L.A. is a great place to do that. There's a lot of talent here to support it."

"Investors from other parts of the country go to Silicon Valley because they can access a much deeper talent pool," USC's Belz says. "That same pool exists here in L.A. Talent here tends to give investors a lot of options."

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Cyber-Archaeology Virtual Reality Hackathon

Organized by the student-run Virtual Reality Club at UC San Diego with support from the Qualcomm Institute-based Center for Cyber-Archaeology and Sustainability (CCAS), the Cyber-Archaeology VR hackathon invites participation by graduate and undergraduate students from CSE and other departments on campus.

The VR Hackathon is set to take place April 7-9, 2017 from 5pm on Friday to noon on Sunday.

Participants will have 36 hours to create a Virtual Reality experience with applications for at-risk archaeological sites from the eastern Mediterranean region. CCAS will provide all attendees with a wealth of archaeological data, including point-cloud LIDAR scans, photos, and 3D models of cultural heritage sites and artifacts, as well as VR equipment for their hacks.

The team with the best overall project will receive a cash prize of $1,000.

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Virtual Reality You Can Touch: Nomadic Wants to Bring VR Experiences to Malls, Movie Theaters

warehouseDuring a recent demonstration at the company's office-slash-warehouse space in San Rafael, California, Nomadic's staff handed me an Oculus Rift VR headset connected to a portable backpack that housed the computer capable of rendering the company's VR experience without the need for any additional wires. Also essential to explore the demo: A real-life, bulky flashlight with a real button, which in turn triggered the same flashlight in the virtual world.

That flashlight wasn't the only physical object incorporated into the VR experience, which one could explore by walking around just like in the real world. A set of leaky pipes let off some real hot air, a file cabinet actually had to be opened to retrieve a real-feeling gun replica, a virtual reality door could only be operated with an actual doorknob. All the while, all of these objects were rendered perfectly in the virtual world, where shooting drones were flying above and city lights were shining in the background.

Instead of building and operating its own VR locations, Nomadic wants to partner with bigger players that already have a lot of real estate at their disposal and are now looking for the next big thing to retain and monetize audiences. Think mall operators, theater chains and the likes.

To make operating VR experiences easier for these companies, Nomadic is looking to build completely modular sets that can be reconfigured within a few hours based on simple instructions. The idea is that a theater or mall space runs an experience for two to three months, and then simply downloads the next one to its computers, completely with an instruction set on where to place doors, furniture, levers, heaters, fans and other physical cues.

However, Nomadic doesn't want to build all of these experiences itself. Instead, it wants to cooperate with both VR studios and traditional content creators to adapt their stories for this new world, in which VR headsets play as much a role as flashlights and wooden planks.

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