philip lelyveld The world of entertainment technology


Using Virtual Reality Could Make You A Better Person In Real Life


People respond differently to virtual avatars depending on who they are and the characteristics of the avatar. For example, a recent study found that women dislike their virtual avatar having male hands, whereas men are more likely to accept avatar hands of any gender.

Another study found that racial bias decreases when Caucasians are represented by avatars that have darker compared with lighter skin.

The body shape of the avatar also affects behaviour. Researchers found that game players showed increased physical activity in the real world if they regularly played games with thin avatars as opposed to obese ones.

This suggests that the identities of virtual avatars can take precedence over our usual identities.

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ev-1UaFFmWvo1c-unsplash-1200x640Virtual reality is also providing new opportunities in police training. In the Shotpros project, psychology-based training scenarios are being developed in order to improve decision-making and action-taking behaviours while under stress. The aim is to avoid violence and collateral damage in high-risk situations.


Traditional training focuses on aspects such as being able to run fast and to use weapons skillfully. However, stress management and strategy are called for first and foremost in high-risk situations. Stress limits perception and thus the ability to make the right decisions and act accordingly.


Among the research partners, is also the team from the  Center for Technology Experience at the Austrian Institute for Technology (AIT). Its task is to examine the triggers, management and regulation of stress and emotions within virtual realities – and how they are measured. AIT project team member Sebastian Egger-Lampl  explains that the training principles are based on psychological research dealing with decision-making and its underlying influences. Project partners involved in this part are the experts led by Raôul Oudejans, associate professor at the Department of Human Movement Sciences, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, and at the Faculty of Sports and Nutrition, Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences. They also provide expertise in the training to help improve decision-making under stress.


The training material is then created based on these findings. These consist of:

  • software with training scenarios in virtual reality;
  • a training plan that combines real training with virtual reality training;
  • project outcomes, which will be circulated as best practice in a Europe-wide virtual reality training network.

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0fbe389083ad900a397a355048fb002dAI integrates with AR and VR

Teaching and Training Influenced by VR and AR
The New VR Entertainment
AR Technology Expands to Vehicles
Collaboration and Remote Assistance via Shared Augmented Reality

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‘Eight’ Is a Breakthrough for Virtual Reality in Classical Music

merlin_157101780_0aae556c-1978-42c9-887b-5e77d49f3847-superJumbo merlin_157101807_58a15973-7f7e-4bec-831f-3efa09fdf091-superJumbo“Eight” is an opera taken in through a virtual-reality headset. In about 15 minutes, with a genre-bending score that verges on pop (the singer-songwriter Kate Miller-Heidke is featured), it tells a poetic story of an old woman looking back on her life.

She beckons you to follow her down a corridor with white walls; once you start walking, you almost never stop, even as the hallway seems to open up into a mountainside and the full cosmos. (In reality, this all takes place in a space no larger than a bedroom.) As viewer, you are very much part of the piece, your hands visible as they reach for a railing and, at one point, lift a red tablecloth to crawl underneath.

There’s nothing gimmicky about “Eight,” in part because the medium is fully integrated with the concept of the piece — a rarity in classical music, where VR is often applied to existing repertoire, modern technology superimposed on Mahler. (“Eight” was built from the ground up in collaboration with the firm The Virtual Dutch Men.)

How do you feel about the way technology ages in relation to your art?

The way we’re doing this, the software is completely hardware-independent. So we have a more fluid system. It will look better; we’ll do more upgrades. But we stop at some point. In 2030, everybody will be laughing about this. Then again, for me it’s not about technology. It’s about the story that people experience. If you look at old video artworks, on VHS, they still move me intensely. It’s not about the vehicle, but about the content.

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Incredible new iOS 13 FaceTime feature fixes your eye contact with augmented reality

D-fuij1XUAEzlPbThe new feature is called “FaceTime Attention Correction,” and it promises to bring a new level of intimacy (digitally altered though it may be) to your FaceTime sessions. Basically, your eyeballs are going to be automatically corrected, such that it looks like you’re staring straight ahead — you know, actually at the person — instead of looking down.

Based on some early reaction to the new feature, many users appear to be taken aback and thoroughly impressed at how good a job the attention-correction does:

Regardless, it’s a safe bet this will be a well-received feature by the average FaceTime user out there.

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Virtual field trips bring students face-to-face with Earth’s most fragile ecosystems

Megan-Conn-ISTEphoto2-e1562177449491-2000x0-c-defaultEven kindergarten students get a taste – during a “Sustainable Solutions” unit, they assume the perspective of a sea creature and use CoSpaces Edu software to animate both a healthy ocean ecosystem and one cluttered by human garbage.

“Being able to see it can hit home a little bit easier for them, and they can really have a deep understanding of ‘Wow, I’m only one person, but by putting my rubbish in the recycling bin, I can actually make a change,’” said Eloise Feltham, a Knox teacher.

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Apple Won 46 Patents Today covering Future Smart Apparel, Augmented Reality and more

6a0120a5580826970c0240a4ba1893200b-800wiThe first covers fabric sensing devices in the form of apparel while the second patent covers ARKit and system-wide behavior of 3D AR models. We wrap up this week's granted patent report with our traditional listing of the remaining granted patents that were issued to Apple today.

Apple's 3D fabric extends smart fabrics to office furniture, sofas through to car seats, head mounted glasses and event TVs. Our cover graphic is from this patent.

At Apple's WWDC 2017, Craig Federighi, SVP of Software, introduced Augmented Reality for the iPhone using its TrueDepth camera as noted in the photo collage below.

It was a buzz to see Federighi move items like a "virtual lamp" on an on-stage table and see him move it around on his iPhone with the shadows of the lamp moving in sync.

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Apple awarded series of new patents related to smart fabrics and AR

The patent itself is related to a textile-based touch surface — so don’t expect to see a high-tech Apple jacket any time soon. In the patent, Apple describes multiple sets of conductive threads, which are woven together in different directions. The patent also says the device could then be incorporated into clothing like a jacket or shirt, and used in conjunction with other electronic devices like an Apple Watch or an iPhone. The fabric could even be used in furniture or car seat, as well as with Apple TV and CarPlay.


Monstercat, Sansar Partner For Virtual Reality Concerts In Second Life

6a00d83451b36c69e20240a46c77d6200c-200wiSocial virtual reality company Sansar and EDM label Monstercat have partnered to launch Monstercat: Call of the Wild, a collaboration that is expected to create VR concerts, meet-and-greets and giveaways.

The experience officially launches July 12 with an “epic virtual bash” to celebrate Monstercat’s eight-year anniversary. Free and premium tickets are already on sale that the show is expected to feature a dozen Monstercat artists. That will be followed with regular shows every week every Wednesday at 1 PM PT.

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Independent dance label Monstercat has been one of the more forward-thinking when it comes to gaming: witness its partnership with Psyonix, the developer of popular cars-play-football game Rocket League. Now Monstercat is trying a new partnership involving virtual reality, working with Linden Lab – the company that Music Ally readers of a certain age may remember as the firm behind virtual world Second Life. However, this deal focuses on one of its newer properties, a social-VR platform called Sansar, which has been in public beta since 2017.

Monstercat will be holding weekly events within Sansar under the banner of ‘Monstercat: Call of the Wild Experience’. The companies are promising a range of virtual events “from concerts to meet-and-greets to exclusive fan quests and giveaways”, starting with a party to celebrate Monstercat’s eighth birthday on 12 July, at which more than a dozen artists will perform.

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Chinese border guards are putting a surveillance app on tourists’ phones

ap18324440494003_0The spyware: Anyone crossing the land border from central Asia into Xinjiang is being asked to hand over their phones. Border guards then load an app known as Fengcai onto them. This sucks up calendar entries, text messages, phone contacts, other apps on the device, and call logs, all of which are then sent to a remote server. The phone’s content is then checked against a register of over 73,000 items, including terrorist materials, Arabic language books, recordings of the Quran, and even a song by a Japanese band called Unholy Grace.

Big Chinese Brother: This isn’t the first time that China has force-fed apps to people. But it shows the extent to which the country is willing to go to create a massive surveillance state.

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