Tag Archives: Virtual Reality

Virtual Reality via Real Estate Industry

Normally, the real estate industry changes with time and is quick to embrace technology to enhance its services. However, when it comes to Virtual Reality technology it seems to exhibit skepticism. Those that hesitate to adopt it could be making a grave mistake while those that do could be doing themselves a great favor. 

The two most common problems faced by real estate agents are:

•    Having to manage time visiting one house after another, with obstacles like traffic making it even harder.

•    Having to hear buyers say, “it doesn’t look like the pictures” all the time. 

Virtual reality is the ultimate answer to these two issues. It makes it possible to virtually show many houses in a short time. This improves sales efficiency, allows an agent to attend to more buyers and show more houses.

Take a look at the various ways you can use VR to improve your sales and make real estate a delight.

1.    Guided Virtual Visits

This is a lot more like a promotional video but it is shot and produced in 360 degrees. It is an amazing method for existing properties. Real estate agents will also be able to show properties still under construction. It is possible to produce a virtual visit of an incomplete building by mixing several types of mediums in the virtual experience. By producing a high-quality 3D version of, say the bedroom, a buyer can have a clearer idea of how their future bedroom will look like when it is completed. 

2.    Interactive Virtual Visits

In the spirit of improving virtual visits, this experience can be even more interactive when movement is determined by the user. It is a mind-blowing experience for potential buyers. With almost everyone having heard of VR but yet to try it, this will be life-changing. This experience will have to be accommodated in a mobile app.

This experience is by hotspots that will appear in your field of vision whenever you shift your attention from one side to another. If you keep your sight on the hotspot, you will be transported to the hotspot’s location enabling you to virtually walk through the property at your own speed.

3.    Virtual commerce

Virtual commerce combines the interactive visit explained above and the ability to make custom adjustments to the home. It works just like e-commerce. This is totally amazing since you get to play with designs. 

To use VR you do not need complicated computers and materials like motion sensors. VR technology has made giant steps in the past year and its future is expected to be mobile, through apps.  If your real estate agency has a mobile app then integrating VR is super easy. 

VR technology is a great opportunity for people in real estate. It does not cost an arm and a leg; it is easily incorporated in existing platforms. It is a perfect way to improve your sales efficiency with no need for additional staff.

Virtual Reality Business Opportunities

Did you always wish to be your own boss? Does new technology excite you? If the answer to both questions is yes, then you definitely know about VR and at one point or another, you have considered starting a VR business. Well, you can make money selling VR experiences. 

Virtual reality is an artificial environment and it does not restrict your imagination. You also don’t need heavy-duty computers or other complex machines; a phone/computer and VR headset are enough. Virtual reality technology lets you experience a new reality and here is why you should create a VR business.

To begin with, VR is every marketer’s dream. What could be better than letting people have a taste of your product or experience?

Secondly, VR is advancing rapidly and it does not require a genius to create a business from it. 360-degree cameras are available at an affordable price and you can create amazing experiences using Viar360. 

Finally, giant companies already tested VR and the outcomes are encouraging. 

If you have saved a little money and you are wondering what to do, why don’t you open a VR café or pub? Fill it with VR glasses and tips about VR apps. Purchase branded Google cardboard glasses which are compatible with mobile phones to allow everyone to enjoy the apps. You may later upgrade to offering glasses like HTC Vive or Oculus.

You can serve coffee and other beverages during the day and offer advice on the best VR apps. At night, you can make your café a concert venue where your customers can enjoy a 360-degree view.

There are like a gazillion marketing agencies already and you may be thinking, “Another one?” But this is different. Create one that is wholly based on VR. Virtual reality presents a whole new way of introducing products. Clients will be able to experience services and products first hand from real estate to e-commerce to travel agencies.

Most companies have no idea how a perfect VR campaign is created. Learn all you can about it and do it for them. You can check out some of the inspiring examples featured in Forbes. 

Taking 360-degree photos has been simplified and the cameras are also much cheaper now. Simple tools to help you process the perfect 360-degree photos and videos are being created every day. For instance, the Viar360 is readily available.

Dating agencies can enable users to upload 360view photos of their best views or video stories. You can also offer them complimentary Google cardboard glasses to perfect their experience. 

VR really simplifies the real estate industry. With the ability to show a house from your home or office, you get to show more homes in a shorter time and attend to more potential buyers. Buyers are also able to virtually walk through properties and compare several houses without having to leave their home.

The VR world is full of opportunities. Opening a VR business is not rocket science anymore. You just need a little money to start you off. Choose the one that works for you and enjoy the experience.  

Virtual Reality technology is a gold mine. Giant corporations like Apple and Google are committing a lot of resources to it. Facebook bought Oculus Rift, a Virtual Reality star and even built a research lab named Area 404 to partially work on Virtual Reality.

Steve Cuffari, a top CouponBox.com content marketing manager, said that investing into VR is a wise decision. He added that VR is no longer for gamers alone. It is now possible to virtually house shop, go on vacations or attend concerts and classes.

How can you take advantage of this amazing technology and use it to earn money? 

1.    Create Your Own Virtual Reality Game

The mere thought of creating a video game for VR using your own code may sound overwhelming. However, some corporations such as Steam are making it simple. Stephen R. Foster, a game creator and Multi-Dimensional Games CEO, said that Steam allows you to build your own VR game and earn from it. He added that their secret is allowing developers to utilize HTML, JavaScript, and CSS (the Big Three front-end technologies). Their aim is making the creation of VR content almost as easy as creating a website.

2.    Start a Blog on VR

Who said that you have to be a tech expert to earn revenue off VR? All you need to do is read a lot of content about VR and start blogging. Talk about various VR experiences, platforms and apps. As your blog grows, you can earn from sponsorships and Google ad revenue.

3.    Sell VR Tickets to Your Concerts

If you have a band that is ‘not there’ yet consider VR, it might help. VR technology is able to create virtual front-row concert seats from anywhere. Kore Asian Media, a Los Angeles based company, is banking on this. They are aiming at a world in which sold-out concerts will have unlimited –front-row seat tickets. 

4.    Build VR Real Estate

For graphic designers, it is possible to get hired by a boutique VR corporation to build real estate in their games. A Talented VR designer can come up with a unique architecture style, virtually build it and maybe sell the templates to VR content creators. 

5.    Use VR to Sell ‘Real’ Real Estate 

Real estate agents now have the luxury of showing houses without physical showings. Buyers are able to see as many houses as they want while saving time. A company like WalkThrough creates VR tours for agents to show listed properties to potential buyers. 

This technology also makes it possible to virtually test drive a boat or a car.

6.    Become a VR Professor

Imagine teaching a university or college in another country from the comfort of your home. With VR an independent teacher or tutor can create an informative course and teach it anywhere. Design, engineering, and other technical courses can now be taught digitally. 

VR is one of the best things that ever happened to the world. And being able to earn from it is even better. Almost all these methods do not even require you to leave your home. Pick the one that suits you and start earning.

Normally, the real estate industry changes with time and is quick to embrace technology to enhance its services. However, when it comes to Virtual Reality technology it seems to exhibit skepticism. Those that hesitate to adopt it could be making a grave mistake while those that do could be doing themselves a great favor. 

The two most common problems faced by real estate agents are:

•    Having to manage time visiting one house after another, with obstacles like traffic making it even harder.

•    Having to hear buyers say, “it doesn’t look like the pictures” all the time. 

Virtual reality is the ultimate answer to these two issues. It makes it possible to virtually show many houses in a short time. This improves sales efficiency, allows an agent to attend to more buyers and show more houses.

Take a look at the various ways you can use VR to improve your sales and make real estate a delight.

1.    Guided Virtual Visits

This is a lot more like a promotional video but it is shot and produced in 360 degrees. It is an amazing method for existing properties. Real estate agents will also be able to show properties still under construction. It is possible to produce a virtual visit of an incomplete building by mixing several types of mediums in the virtual experience. By producing a high-quality 3D version of, say the bedroom, a buyer can have a clearer idea of how their future bedroom will look like when it is completed. 

2.    Interactive Virtual Visits

In the spirit of improving virtual visits, this experience can be even more interactive when movement is determined by the user. It is a mind-blowing experience for potential buyers. With almost everyone having heard of VR but yet to try it, this will be life-changing. This experience will have to be accommodated in a mobile app.

This experience is by hotspots that will appear in your field of vision whenever you shift your attention from one side to another. If you keep your sight on the hotspot, you will be transported to the hotspot’s location enabling you to virtually walk through the property at your own speed.

3.    Virtual commerce

Virtual commerce combines the interactive visit explained above and the ability to make custom adjustments to the home. It works just like e-commerce. This is totally amazing since you get to play with designs. 

To use VR you do not need complicated computers and materials like motion sensors. VR technology has made giant steps in the past year and its future is expected to be mobile, through apps.  If your real estate agency has a mobile app then integrating VR is super easy. 

VR technology is a great opportunity for people in real estate. It does not cost an arm and a leg; it is easily incorporated in existing platforms. It is a perfect way to improve your sales efficiency with no need for additional staff.

These are just a few ways but they are great places to start. If you are a VR technology junkie, consider monetizing your passion. This is the time to start thinking about how you will create the next virtual game or how to advise a certain company, be a VR researcher and immerse yourself in something that you really love. Having your passion earn you money is a dream come true.

Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire

Having gone through a prototype version of the experience in that Glendale warehouse, it’s clear that this experience does more than just deliver on those lofty expectations. For mainstream audiences, Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire may be the first time virtual reality actually delivers on the Holodeck-esque potential it’s been promising all along.

Photo: The Void / ILMxLAB

Secrets of the Empire starts with a briefing. Groups of up to four guests are shown a video from Rogue One’s Cassian Andor (Diego Luna). There’s a piece of Imperial cargo that’s been brought to the planet Mustafar, he says, and while he was originally going to retrieve it, he’s now under attack. It’s up to the group of guests to go undercover as stormtroopers and get the job done. From there, audience members suit up with a custom head-mounted display, lightweight backpack computer, and a haptic vest, and step into an adjoining room. Pull down the headset, and the real world melts away: where other participants were a moment ago, stormtroopers now stand.

The storyline is exactly what any Star Warsfan would hope for: the group of participants infiltrate the base, get into some skirmishes, and after a couple of lucky escapes (and a big surprise), make their way out having more or less accomplished the mission. But what The Void does well is create the illusion of truly being in a virtual world by pairing physical sets, props, and sensations with the VR visuals. Secrets of the Empire uses that combination to ground the experience right from the beginning. As I stepped into a transport, K-2S0 (Alan Tudyk, also reprising his role) suggested I sit down on the ship’s bench — and sure enough, there was a physical bench waiting for me when I did. When I waved my hands in front of my face, there they were, clad in the white-and-black gloves of a stormtrooper. Moments later, when I stood on a skiff approaching the Imperial facility, I felt the heat from the lava below, while the smoky smell of Mustafar’s atmosphere filled my nostrils. Later, when engaged in a firefight with stormtroopers, I felt a sharp haptic buzz whenever I caught a stray blaster bolt — not painful, but not exactly pleasant, either.

There’s a tremendous amount of fun just in the pure discovery of the experience: the realization that I could chatter along with the people I was playing with (“I have a bad feeling about this”), or that there was a Han Solo-esque workaround to a puzzle that I couldn’t crack. But breaking it down into those kind of singular moments seems reductive, because more than anything else, Secrets of the Empire legitimately feels like starring in a Star Wars movie or TV show of your very own. Part of that is the length. From the briefing to the moment you remove the gear at the end, the experience runs roughly 30 minutes, so there’s some heft to it. Another component is the tactile reality that The Void creates, paired with the sense of independence that comes from being able to walk around a virtual location without any perceived restrictions or limitations. The Void uses design sleight of hand and misdirection to guide guests through relatively small physical spaces that feel massive and epic in the virtual world. It’s an illusion, but an incredibly effective one that creates a compelling sense of autonomy and agency.



The availability of VR is changing the kinds of sexual and pornographic experiences people are looking for, say creators

People could soon be watching more and more “intimate” pornography through virtual reality headsets, according to experts.

New VR technology could allow for personal experiences of a kind even more real and perfect than the real world, and the consequences are expected to change every form of experience we have with technology today. Inevitably, those advances are also being used in the pornographic industry, to create new kinds of virtual reality videos.

One of the early adopters of virtual reality for pornography claims that the new technology is leading to new trends in the kind of pornography that people are searching for and watching, she told a meeting at Web Summit, according to news.com.au.

““People are asking for more romance, closeness, more talking. This is something you’ll find in a real relationship but not everyone in the world will have access to that kind of relationship,” said Dinorah Hernandez, who runs a studio devoted to such videos. “To be able to have an experience with another woman could give them something that maybe the real world can’t.”

But that kind of perfection, above and beyond the real world, might bring with it problems, according to researchers.

“As a society we are always looking for new and novel experiences but the porn industry brings with it an added risk because of its sexist stance and exploitation of women,” said Dr Madeline Balaam, a Newcastle University researcher who has 

“We are already obsessed with body image and the digital industry is no different, creating the perfect virtual woman from Lara Croft to sex-robots. VR porn has the potential to escalate this.

“Our research highlighted not only a drive for perfection, but also a crossover between reality and fantasy. Some of our findings highlighted the potential for creating 3D models of real life people, raising questions over what consent means in VR experiences. If a user created a VR version of their real life girlfriend, for example, would they do things to her that they knew she would refuse in the real world?”

Research has suggested that VR porn could bring with it a whole host of ethical questions and challenges to relationships. The extra “reality” added by the technology could mean that people believe watching such content to be cheating on their partners, for instance, or it might allow people to act out fantasies that are considered violent or extreme.

“Pornography has played a key role in the development of new and emerging technologies – from the stereoscope in the 1800s through home video and now virtual reality,” said Matthew Wood, who was also involved in the Newcastle research. “But what VR offers for the first time is the opportunity to move from being simply an observer to being a participant and this changes the experience massively.

“One of our findings suggested VR pornography could be something more like cheating on a partner because of the increasing ‘reality’ of the VR experience.

“We found that for most people the potential of a VR porn experience opened the doors to an apparently ‘perfect’ sexual experience – a scenario which in the real world no-one could live up to. For others it meant pushing the boundaries, often with highly explicit and violent imagery, and we know from current research into pornography that exposure to this content has the potential to become addictive and more extreme over time.”



Mastering Virtual Reality: A Beginner’s Guide To Start Making Money With Virtual Reality AudioBook


Oculus “Dash” replaces your computer monitor with VR

Dash is reminiscent of a Minority Report-style interface, where windows dangle in the air and can be moved around with the wave of a hand. Dash will let you code inside VR, but also bring along your favorite desktop experiences like Facebook and Messenger, YouTube, and Spotify.

Developers will especially enjoy the ability to debug VR apps while actually running them via Visual Studio, Unity, and Unreal. Screens appear in full-fidelity inside Dash, and you can access the rest of your PC beyond the core apps.

Customizable Home

The revamped Oculus Home lets you make your startup screen for Rift into your fantasy geek palace. You can pick all sorts of sensible or sci-fi furnishings, like art, seating, and toys. You can show off trophies of your in-game achievements, and even play retro video games. Oculus is planning to let you hang out with friends inside Home in the future.


Oculus “Dash” replaces your computer monitor with VR

Virtual Reality Helps Distract Kids from Painful Medical Procedures

Tell a child they need to undergo another painful medical procedure, and you’ll probably have a kid who’s racked with fear and anxiety. Tell that same child they’ll have a chance to zap flying cheeseburgers in outer space while their doctor works on them, and they might feel a little different.

That night-and-day difference in how kids respond to the pricks and prodding of their doctors is the reason for Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford’s groundbreaking use of virtual reality technology. As one of the first hospitals in the country to implement distraction-based VR therapy in every patient unit, Packard Children’s lets kids participate in fun and relaxing immersive experiences that can significantly reduce their anxiety — and even their pain.

Experts have already found virtual reality has a major impact on kids’ stress levels. “VR is often so unfamiliar that it is instantly engaging and incredibly distracting,” Veronica Tuss, a child life specialist with the hospital’s Child Life and Creative Arts Department, told Stanford Medicine News Center. “If I’m preparing a child for their very first IV, and they share with me that they don’t want to see what’s happening procedurally, I know I need a distraction that is visually engaging. With VR, an often-intimidating setting suddenly becomes this really cool thing or place that they get to explore. It can minimize the experience of getting the IV to the point that we may actually turn a negative experience into a positive one.”

Image result for Virtual Reality Helps Distract Kids from Painful Medical Procedures

This isn’t the first time Packard Children’s has introduced innovative methods to ease patients’ worries. In 2015, Sam Rodriguez, M.D., and Thomas Caruso, M.D., the co-founders of Packard Children’s Childhood Anxiety Reduction through Innovation and Technology (CHARIOT) program, which is leading the VR rollout, introduced the Bedside Entertainment and Relaxation Theater (BERT). The system projects videos on a large screen attached to patients’ gurneys so they can watch movies and music videos all the way to the operating room. Pretty cool stuff.

And in early 2017, CHARIOT launched an interactive video game called Sevo the Dragon, which projects on the BERT screen and gamifies the administration of anesthesia, so the tiniest patients have something fun to do while breathing medicine through a mask.

Caruso and Rodriguez are currently collaborating with Silicon Valley-based software engineers to create original VR content that’s specifically tailored to pediatric patients. Spaceburgers, the duo’s first game, was developed in collaboration with Juno VR, and it allows the kids to listen to relaxing music as they fly through outer space and zap objects.

Researchers are now investigating how much of an impact VR actually has on pain and anxiety levels during certain procedures, and so far, the results are promising. Kids who are engaged with VR tend to be more cooperative, less fearful and experience less pain during procedures like blood draws.



Nokia pulls out of OZO VR hardware, lays off 310, steps up in health and patents

Nokia, the once-mighty phone maker that eventually retreated to a business based around networking equipment and targeted verticals like health and imaging, is rethinking its business strategy once again. Today, the company announced that it would cease building its pricey OZO virtual reality cameras after finding that the VR market was developing “slower than expected”. It will instead shift its focus more to health products and patent licensing. Nokia Technologies is laying off up to 310 people as part of the move. Nokia Networks is unaffected.

The reductions will happen mainly in the U.S., U.K. and Finland, the company said, and account for about 35 percent of the 1,090 employees in Nokia Technologies, as the unit overseeing VR efforts (along with Health and licensing of patents) is called.

Nokia Technologies is at a point where, with the right focus and investments, we can meaningfully grow our footprint in the digital health market, and we must seize that opportunity,” said Gregory Lee, president of Nokia Technologies in a statement. “While necessary, the changes will also affect our employees, and as a responsible company we are committed to providing the needed support to those affected.”

Nokia’s OZO VR cameras made their debut around 2015 at a time when Nokia looked like it had all but given up on hardware, after seeing its mobile phone business — once the biggest in the world — get decimated by the rise of Android and the iPhone and eventually sold off to Microsoft (which continued to wind it down after also failing to resuscitate it).

The company said that it will continue to support those who have already purchased devices.

Tapping into the growing interest in VR, the company doubled down on its imaging prowess — it was known to have some of the best camera technology in its smartphones, with the patents to underpin it — and went hell for leather into VR cameras.


Partly because of the tech involved, and partly because of the relative immaturity of the market, these cost a fortune, upwards of $60,000 when they finally started to ship, meaning that there was never going to be a mass market for the products, unless VR really took off.

In the end, it hasn’t — or at least not like Nokia thought that it would. With competitors making lower-priced equipment, one interesting turn has been how VR tech has made its way into more ordinary products, rather than developing on a specialist-equipment trajectory. (In the VR headset space, for example, that has meant headsets that let you use your own smartphone as the display screen.)


Nokia pulls out of OZO VR hardware, lays off 310, steps up in health and patents

Intel makes the case for wireless PC-based high-end virtual reality

Intel recently hosted a 100-year-old man at its virtual reality lab in Hillsboro, Oregon. Lyle Becker was a big fan of the VR flight simulator, which reminded him of the planes that he flew in World War II. That kind of first-time experience evokes a sense of wonder at the immersiveness of VR, and that’s why Kim Pallister, director of VR excellence at Intel, believes so much that VR will be a transformative medium.

While VR is off to a slow start, Pallister believes that it will catch on in the long run. Intel recently pivoted away from a tech demo that it called Project Alloy, a stand-alone VR headset, to something entirely different. The first generation of VR headsets, such as the Oculus Rift and the HTC Vive, are connected to powerful personal computers via wires. Everybody wants those wires to go away, but how you tackle the issue matters.

Pallister said Intel tried at first to put the processing power in the headset itself so that you don’t have to connect a wire to a PC. But the company also worked on connecting the headset display to a PC via a wireless technology. Pallister thinks that will deliver a much better experience.

The WiGig wireless networking technology, which uses a short-range 60-gigahertz radio, can transfer data at fast enough rates to feed VR imagery from a PC to the display in a VR headset. With the WiGig connection, VR headset makers will be able to exploit the extra processing power available in a full desktop computer, rather than a more limited processor that has to run on battery power in a compact headset.

I recently joined a small group of journalists who jointly interviewed Pallister. We talked about Becker, the immersive nature of VR, Project Alloy, WiGig, and Intel’s partnership with Blueprint Reality on a VR presentation technology. Here’s an edited transcript of our interview.



Daydream View users can now browse the web in VR with Chrome

Google is looking to make VR more mainstream. To that end, Chrome’s “happiness evangelist” François Beaufort, recently announced on Google+ that VR web browsing capabilities are coming to Chrome in the near future.

Actually, basic support is already available in the newest Chrome 61 stable build. What does this mean exactly? Well that Google Chrome users with a Google Daydream View headset will be able to view and interact with (most) websites in VR mode, as well as follow links between pages, and move between 2D and immersive viewing for sites that support WebVR.

Google added support for WebVR tech in Chrome back in February, but now you’ll be able to experiment surfing any site on the web in VR, regardless of whether it has specific VR extras added or not.

The list of Daydream-ready smartphones has been growing steadily in recent months and currently contains high-end models that have received a lot of attention from the Android community including the new Samsung Galaxy Note 8 and LG V30, but also the older ZTE Axon 7and Huawei Mate 9 Pro.

Since some basics capabilities are already available in the latest stable Google Chrome 61 release, those who have a Daydream View headset and compatible phone at their disposal can go ahead and start browsing the web in VR.



Adidas Wilson – Author and Motivator

Mastering Virtual Reality: A Beginner’s Guide To Start Making Money With Virtual Reality

People have been waiting for VR to take off for years and they have been met with disappointment—until recently. A lot of evidence is now promising a bright future for VR but investors should be knowledgeable about several things before diving in; like what the risks are, how big the market is going to be, why this strategy should be played out in the long term and who the key players are.
Book Includes:
1.Virtual Reality Rises 
2.Virtual Reality via Real Estate
3.VR Goldmine 
4.Virtual Reality Apps
5.VR Business Opportunities
6.AR and VR in Education
7.VR Now
8.Diving Into VR
9.Medical VR Is Changing Healthcare
10. VR Golden Era
11. AR marketing Ideas
12. Making Money in Augmented Reality
13. Virtual Reality and Therapists
14. Diving Into VR
15. Before Investing In Virtual Reality
16. VR with Blockchain

Moving Beyond E-books… and Into the Virtual

Over the years, multiple different versions of geocaching developed, which evolved as technology grew more sophisticated. Laws were established governing where geocaching could occur, historical sites and cemeteries being commonly off-limits. There have been rescues of searchers who have gone into dangerous areas, and, tragically, there have been deaths as well.

Humans love a mystery story, and we also love new technology. The combination of the two is irresistible to many. One evolving technology brings both together: augmented reality.

When we think of augmented reality, we think (mostly) of Pokémon Go. That is the latest and most successful commercial application of AR we’ve seen so far. Released last summer, Pokémon Go has had millions of people out on the streets, in parks, at beaches—even at the White House—searching for and “capturing” virtual critters. The phone-based app displayed a map (created with GPS technology) of where the user was standing or walking, and imposed Pokémon creatures available for capture. The point of any Pokémon game is collection—the more creatures you have, the better you are doing. Suddenly people found themselves exercising and exploring in ways they hadn’t before. This is, ultimately, virtual geocaching.

Any hunt is a story—which was the point of Masquerade. The quest for the Holy Grail—which has inspired poetry, opera, Indiana Jones movies, and Monty Python—is a story. A mystery is a hunt for clues that will lead to a solution. Where there is seeking, be it one individual’s search for answers about his life or a community’s hunt for a perpetrator, there is the possibility for an AR application to bring it to life.

In other words, publishers have the opportunity to look at stories in different ways. Publishers can develop apps for readers, who could point them at books in a manner similar to Pokémon Go and retrieve additional information about the story, or trivia, or details about the likely size of Jo March’s house. AR provides the “enhancements” that we were looking for with e-books—that other dimension that a straightforward narrative can’t offer without footnotes.

Even more enticingly, publishers have the opportunity to create games from their stories. Imagine a Harry Potter AR game: your house is your dormitory, your school is the Hogwarts classrooms, your homework is framed as “spell practice.” AR allows readers to bridge the gap between the narrative and their own lives.

Laura Dawson, CEO of Numerical Gurus, is a book supply chain consultant. She also facilitates Metadata Boot Camp, a webinar series tackling metadata issues in publishing.



Oculus Rift with Oculus Touch review: Fantastic controllers for VR

Augmented Reality Vs. Virtual Reality

To experience AUGMENTED REALITY, you look through a device screen or put on a headset and a virtual image is laid over the room you’re in. You can see what’s around you, but part of it is blocked out by whatever video projection is playing on your headset.

The Basic Setup

▶ A camera and screen equipped with computer vision, a technology that identifies objects and surfaces. Adding depth and motion sensors lets a device map the room around you and track your motion through it. Your app can then overlay anything from a first-person-shooter zombie attack to the steps to replace a fan belt.

Primary Uses

▶ For now it’s pretty simple: catching Pokémon (Pokémon GO), mapping constellations (Sky Map), inking a tattoo (InkHunter), turning you into a half-dog (Snapchat).

AR can’t scan a room and identify every object. But you can teach its computer vision to identify individual objects, like a motorcycle, when prompted, says Mike Campbell, executive vice president of the ThingWorx AR platform. “There’s not enough computing power to analyze everything it sees.”

Emerging Uses

▶ Hands-on skill training, interior design, wearable computing.

AR can lead a factory worker on a tutorial, but right now the technology won’t change your life unless you own a factory, says Amber Case, a fellow at Harvard’s Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society. A Microsoft HoloLens can overlay hidden parts such as a tucked-away air filter and demonstrate its removal. Similar programs are in development for phones and tablets and could soon offer life-changing relief for tasks like Ikea furniture assembly.

Motion Sickness

▶ Motion sickness sets in when your perceived motion—what you see—doesn’t match what your inner ear feels. That’s not the case with augmented reality, says Robert Scoble, coauthor of The Fourth Transformation: How Augmented Reality & Artificial Intelligence Will Change Everything. You’re still looking out on the real world and the same horizon.


▶ AR on mobile devices really is mobile. Unlike high-end VR, which can’t leave a room, AR can enhance a city tour or museum. Last winter, the Detroit Institute of Arts lent visitors Android phones to view the skeleton inside a 2,000-year-old sarcophagus and to see the original colors on a now-biege Assyrian sculpture.


However, AR is difficult to wear on your face. Everybody thinks we’ll be walking around with the next Google Glass but social constraints prevent that, says Case, adding, “Sunshine makes headset AR difficult to see, voice and hand controls are still unreliable.”

How Apple Will Own It

▶ AR will explode in the next year. Today, relatively few devices offer a rich AR experience, leading to a lack of demand for new AR apps—phones with Google’s Tango AR number less than a million. Expect that to change after Apple’s June release of iOS 11 ARKit for developers, says Scoble. ARKit is a bundled suite of AR tools that can reach a quarter billion Apple devices. Additionally, this fall’s new iPhone adds 3D sensors and room mapping that can play hologram-like counter-op games or virtually measure and then furnish a room without draining battery.



UPS is developing virtual reality tech to train its drivers

UPS drivers preparing to get behind the wheel will soon be using virtual reality to do so.

The company’s new VR training program will be rolling out next month at nine of the company’s training facilities, simulating some of the uncertainties and challenges of delivering packages on city streets. Trainees will interact with the content using voice commands to identify obstacles while wearing headsets.

“Virtual Reality offers a big technological leap in the realm of driver safety training,” said UPS exec Juan Perez in a statement. “VR creates a hyper-realistic streetscape that will dazzle even the youngest of our drivers whose previous exposure to the technology was through video games.”

While companies like Walmart have signed onto programs with enterprise-focused startups like Strivr Labs, UPS will be building its training materials in-house.


Virtual reality may be a more immersive technology but, when done poorly, training videos can be just as unbearable as more traditional instructional materials. The big issue right now is that making custom, realistic VR content able to take advantage of everything the medium has to offer really isn’t worth the effort.

Enterprise software companies could build (and some have) game engine-rendered content that allows you to move around and interact with the environment, but they often end up with dumpy PlayStation 1 graphics that wander too far from the real-world. Largely for this reason, most companies are opting for more realistic — but less interactive — 360 video.

While VR may not be as revolutionary as, say, drones to a company that ships packages across the globe, it can still be an effective tool for getting prospective employees ready before they get out on the job. It’s also important because UPS drivers are a clear candidate for utilizing AR headsets in the future to more easily keep track of shipments hands-free while preparing for drop-offs and pick-ups.


UPS is developing virtual reality tech to train its drivers

How AI, AR, and VR are making travel more convenient

From 50 ways to leave your lover, as the song goes, to 750 types of shampoos, we live in an endless sea of choices. And although I haven’t been in the market for hair products in a while, I understand the appeal of picking a product that’s just right for you, even if the decision-making is often agonizing. This quandary (the “Goldilocks Syndrome”, of finding the option that is “just right”) has now made its way to the travel industry, as the race is on to deliver highly personalized and contextual offers for your next flight, hotel room or car rental.

Technology, of course, is both a key driver and enabler of this brave new world of merchandising in the travel business. But this is not your garden variety relational-databases-and-object-oriented-systems tech. What is allowing airlines, hotels and other travel companies to behave more like modern-day retailers is the clever use of self-learning systems, heuristics trained by massive data sets and haptic-enabled video hardware. Machine learning (ML), artificial intelligence (AI), augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) are starting to dramatically shape the way we will seek and select our travel experiences.

Let every recommendation be right

AI is already starting to change how we search for and book travel. Recent innovation and investment has poured into front-end technologies that leverage machine learning to fine tune search results based on your explicit and implicit preferences. These range from algorithms that are constantly refining how options are ranked on your favorite travel website, to apps on your mobile phone that consider past trips, expressed sentiment (think thumbs up, likes/dislikes, reviews) and volunteered information like frequent traveler numbers.

Business travel, as well, is positioned for the application of AI techniques, even if not all advances are visible to the naked eye. You can take photos of a stack of receipts on your smartphone; optical character recognition software codifies expense amounts and currencies, while machine learning algorithms pick out nuances like categories and spending patterns.

AI is also improving efficiencies in many operational systems that form the backbone of travel. Machine learning is already starting to replace a lot of rule-based probabilistic models in airport systems to optimize flight landing paths to meet noise abatement guidelines, or change gate/ramp sequencing patterns to maximize fuel efficiency.

Making decisions based on reality

VR and AR are still changing and evolving rapidly, with many consumer technology giants publicly announcing products this year we can expect to see rapid early adoption and mainstreaming of these technologies. Just as music, photos, videos and messaging became ubiquitous thanks to embedded capabilities in our phones, future AR and VR applications are likely to become commonplace.

VR offers a rich, immersive experience for travel inspiration, and it is easy to imagine destination content being developed for a VR environment. But VR can also be applied to travel search and shopping. My company, Amadeus, recently demonstrated a seamless flight booking experience that includes seat selection and payment. Virtually “walking” onto an airplane and looking a specific seat you are about to purchase makes it easier for consumers to make informed decisions, while allowing airlines to clearly differentiate their premium offerings.

TechCrunch Disrupt SF 2015 - Day 1

AR will probably have a more immediate impact than VR, however, in part due to the presence of advanced camera, location and sensor technology already available today on higher-end smartphones. Airports are experimenting with beacon technology where an AR overlay would be able to easily and quickly guide you to your tight connection for an onward flight, or a tailored shopping or dining experience if you have a longer layover.

“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic,” goes Arthur C. Clarke’s famously quoted third law. But as we expect more authentic experiences: precise search results, an informed booking or an immersive travel adventure, we can count on increasingly magical technology from systems that learn to deliver us our “perfect bowl of porridge.”



Disney will show the sights, sounds and smells of ‘Star Wars’ in VR

Disney is teaming up with virtual reality gaming centre The Void to launch an immersive Star Wars experience at two of its sites. Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire lets you step inside the intergalactic world of the hit films through a VR headset. You’ll also be able to touch, feel, and even smell your surroundings (which may not bode well if you end up chilling with Yoda on Dagobah). Built in collaboration with Lucasfilm, the new experience hits Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World Resort this holiday season.


For those not familiar with The Void, its gaming centres offer “hyper-reality” attractions. Essentially, you enter real rooms in groups, wearing the company’s headsets and haptic feedback vests that allow you to interact with the VR environments. Some of these are based on movies, like its Ghostbusters: Dimensions experience that lets you use virtual plasma packs to zap green ghouls.


Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire is The Void’s first partnership with the House of Mouse, since it joined its accelerator program in July. It will see the company open its gaming centres on the Disney sites — through which guests will jump into the virtual adventure.


The social VR experience could be the first of many immersive Star Wars-themed attractions at the parks, courtesy of the folks at Lucasfilm’s ILMxLab division. Just last month Disney revealed ambitious plans of building an entire hotel based on the franchise. And then there’s its upcoming Star Wars theme park, due to open in 2019 at both Disneyland in California and Disney World in Florida.





Google promises 11 Daydream VR phones by the end of the year

Google CEO and freshly appointed Alphabet board member Sundar Pichai was typically guarded during yesterday’s Alphabet earnings call, but he did disclose a nice number for us to look forward to. By the end of 2017, said Pichai, there will be 11 Android smartphones on the market that support Google’s Daydream virtual reality platform.

Daydream turns compatible smartphones into standalone VR systems: you just need one of Google’s Daydream View headsets to hold the device, together with the accompanying touch controller, and you’re away. I’ve used Daydream with a Google Pixel, and its big distinction from the larger PC-tethered alternatives like the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift is in just how light and comfortable it is. Obviously, a Daydream phone is also much more portable and versatile too, but for me the standout feature is that I can wear that headset without it feeling heavy and tiring after only a few minutes.

As things stand today, there are only four Daydream-compatible models to choose from: Google’s own Pixel handsets, Motorola’s Moto Z, Huawei’s Mate 9 Pro and Porsche Design Mate 9, and ZTE’s Axon 7. Samsung famously announced Daydream support will be coming to its flagship Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus, and that’s just started rolling out as a software update. With Pichai’s disclosure this week, we can expect at least a couple of as-yet-unannounced Daydream devices beyond the predictable refresh of the Pixel lineup in the fall.



Disney Is Using VR To Help Film The Lion King Remake

The live-action remake of the Lion King isn’t expected to hit theaters until 2019, but Disney got the anticipation started early with a preview of what fans can expect from the Jon Favreau-directed project. A peek of the film’s “Circle of Life” opening sequence debuted to a room of thousands during the D23 Expo in Anaheim, California on Saturday (July 15).

Though Disney also screened previews of upcoming releases like The Nutcracker and the Four Realms and the live-action adaptation of Dumbo, it’s obvious that the Lion Kingstole the show.

According to the Hollywood Reporter:

Exclusively screened for attendees and not simultaneously released online, the footage featured jaw-dropping photoreal shots of African landscapes, many types of animals (including elephants and, of course, lions), and ended with the iconic moment in which Rafiki introduces an adorable young Simba on Pride Rock, as Circle of Life played.

“We love this movie and we are working hard,” said director Jon Favreau, fresh off directing The Jungle Book. He’s making Lion King (scheduled for a July 19, 2019 release) in Los Angeles, again using virtual production techniques by reteaming with Jungle Book’s Oscar winning VFX supervisor Rob Legato and lead VFX house MPC.

This time, however, they are incorporating virtual reality tools and techniques. “We are going to use a lot of virtual reality tools so it feels akin to what you are looking at [if you were on a real set],” explained Legato during a keynote that he gave at NAB in April. “You can walk around the set like a cameraman. You can make a ton of mistakes and no one has to see them. [Wearing VR headsets] the actors can now walk into a scene and see the other actors and trees … and because you are in 3D, you get a realistic sense [of the environment].”

It’s unclear when Disney plans to release a trailer to the ‘net, but the teaser got overwhelmingly positive reviews on Twitter.


The upcoming Lion King reboot stars Donald Glover as Simba, with Hugh Jackman will voice Scar, and James Earl Jones returns to the franchise as Mufasa.

Check below for more reactions to the teaser.



Marvel is bringing its superheroes to VR with a new Oculus-exclusive game

The Incredible Hulk and some of his other box office money-grabbing super pals will be coming to the world of virtual reality.

Marvel Powers United VR, announced at Disney’s D23 event on Saturday, will allow players a chance to step into the shoes of some familiar heroes as they destroy lots of stuff in VR.

Powers United VR, an Oculus-exclusive, looks pretty similar to existing VR wave shooters like Robo Recall, though its multiplayer could spice things up a bit. The main highlight will obviously be having IP from Marvel; players will be able to choose from 12 different Marvel characters as they exact righteous mayhem.

The title is being developed by Sanzaru Games, which has already done a couple VR titles for the Rift, including VR Sports Challenge and Ripcoil.

Facebook and Oculus have devoted $500 million to funding made-for-VR content. Oculus has been doing so largely with the hopes of attracting exclusives and interest from top AAA game publishers who have been reticent to invest significant cash into a space with so few users relative to console and PC audiences.


With Marvel, Oculus has found a partnership that allows it another big name exclusive to show off its highest-end Rift and Touch controller hardware, which it has heavily discounted in recent months as Facebook looks to sell units and keep up with competition in the niche VR space.

Building a hefty library of exclusives is even more important to the company following E3, where Oculus was largely overlooked as the highly influential ZeniMax-owned Bethesda announced a number of titles from blockbuster series, including DOOM, Fallout and The Elder Scrolls, that it will be porting to competing virtual reality systems like HTC’s Vive and Sony’s Playstation VR. This comes as Facebook fights an injunction from the Oculus/ZeniMax lawsuit, for which it has already been ordered to pay up a half-billion dollars.

Marvel Powers United VR is bring slated for a 2018 release.


Marvel is bringing its superheroes to VR with a new Oculus-exclusive game

Facebook brings Live broadcasting to its Spaces virtual reality app

In an effort to seemingly combine a couple of the top tech trends of the year, Facebook will soon be allowing users of its Oculus Rift virtual reality system to live stream themselves inside VR to their Facebook friends and followers as avatars.

The Facebook Live functionality will be arriving on the Spaces app, which is still in beta. Users will be able to go live to all their friends and can position a virtual camera to capture their experience. A lot of things will look familiar to a traditional Live broadcast for the streamer, but things like physically reaching out and grabbing a comment to show those watching are things only possible in VR.

Facebook Spaces may be just a preview of CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s 10-year vision for virtual reality at the company, but with Messenger video calls and Facebook Live broadcasts already coming to the app, it’s clear that the company isn’t shying away from building a bridge between its loftier VR bets and its central 2D service, which now boasts 2 billion users.


It may be a while before every feature sees a VR counterpart though.


“There are things that aren’t going to map one-to-one, but I think in a lot of ways Facebook is sort of the 2D metaverse,” Facebook VR guru Mike Booth told TechCrunch. “It’s a huge network of people, places and things, so it’s a question of how we present those things in VR and how we let people access them and interact with them, but it’s also huge so there’re a lot of things to figure out and explore.”

To Booth, bringing Facebook Live to Spaces is just as much about “evangelism” as anything else, allowing larger groups of friends to get exposed to the app and virtual reality in general.

Whether users see the need to return to a feature like this is the real question; VR systems have some pretty obtrusive setups and don’t lend themselves to the ease of use that going Live on mobile boasts. Whether seeing avatars is fun and quirky or just gimmicky seems to be something that might be up for debate after only a couple minutes of live streaming, but for Facebook, much of their VR strategy involves a lot of trial and a lot of potential for error.


Facebook brings Live broadcasting to its Spaces virtual reality app


There’s a new player on the virtual reality (VR) scene. Acute Art is marketed directly to artists and will be available in the fall. To preview the platform, the studio invited artists Marina Abramović, Olafur Eliasson, and Jeff Koons to try out some new material. The making-of video discusses the potential of a viable commercial VR.

Over the decades, VR has moved from the edges to the mainstream, always greeted with skepticism and fears that it’s just another passing fad. But we now have consumer-grade specs like the Oculus Rift and controllers like the Touch for games. Virtual reality in art has always been less sleek, more DIY, and with lots of stops and starts.

As Raymond Gozzi Jr. wrote about virtual reality’s promise and threat back in 1995, it “has caught people’s imaginations and inspired fantasies far out of proportion to what the technology can actually deliver, now or in the foreseeable future.”

To the outside observer, there is only the strange spectacle of a person wearing a bulky helmet waving a gloved hand around and moving in weird, unpredictable ways…. I am told that the graphics are rudimentary and the illusion is partial. There is a slight delay between your movement and the corresponding movement of the environment. The head-mounted display is bulky and heavy. And after a while, some users start to feel queasy and ill.

Gozzi feels the main potential of virtual reality is as a “miniaturizing metaphor,” a way to make a large and complex problem simple and digestible—though there’s a risk that making something too digestible can diminish its power and meaning. A great example is Abramović’s interactive work for Acute Art, which focuses on the theme of climate change. If you choose environmentalism, Marina lives; if you choose consumption, she drowns from rising sea levels.

There’s an obvious irony here; the virtual environment becomes an idealized stand-in for an imperfect (in this case, rapidly declining) reality. Any recreation of a natural landscape can be a distraction from, or a reminder of, its loss. This is encapsulated beautifully in the New Palmyra 3D scanning and printing project, where Syrian activist Bassel Khartabil created 3D models of heritage architecture under threat of destruction during war. (For his efforts, he was detained by the Syrian military in 2012 and has been missing since 2015.) 


The more seamless a new VR platform—the farther away from bulky, heavy, and queasy—the more it risks devaluing its source material. Why travel to visit an iceberg and see its crumbling firsthand when you can virtually interact with an immaterial glacier that will never melt?

While VR was certainly more challenging to use in the 1960-2000s, its very imperfect nature—the ad-hoc assemblages of various technologies—was often what made those projects special. In 1994, Dan O’Sullivan wrote in “Choosing Tools for Virtual Environments,” about work that was “disjointed” and “full of seams,” concluding that VR environments shouldn’t strive to be perfect. A little bit of abstraction goes a long way. It commits the participants to use their own imaginations, involves them more fully in the process, and brings some of our IRL experiences into the virtual space:

Beyond producing perceptual illusions, interactive media can tap the imagination by making a partner of it. If the audience has an investment in the creation of an imaginary world, less technology is required to maintain the illusion. Less work maintaining the illusion means a greater ease of creativity. Creative work feeds back again to better capture the imagination.



Virtual Reality Is the Future of Shopping

Online shopping is on the rise—it’s fast and ships directly to your doorstep, sometimes overnight. But with online shopping, you miss the experience of going into a store and picking up items. Enter virtual reality shopping, which tries to give you the convenience of online shopping and the experience of being in a store.

People are already shopping through virtual reality, but it’s still in its beginning stages. In late 2016, China’s Alibaba launched Buy+, a virtual reality experience that could be accessed with a virtual reality headset. With Buy+, people could wander around a store, look through items, and add things to a cart by staring at a product for long enough. According to Vice, 30,000 people had already tried Buy+ an hour after its launch.


To use virtual reality shopping, you’ll need a virtual reality headset, which could range from a $10 Google Cardboard to hundreds of dollars for an Oculus Rift. Like online shopping, there’s usually a virtual shopping cart and you can buy things by giving your credit card information upon checkout.

Big companies like Amazon are also working on adding virtual reality shopping in an attempt to increase sales. In May 2016, Ikea let users design their own kitchens with a HTC Vive. Audi also used the HTC Vive to present cars in showrooms. Later in 2016, eBay Australia teamed up with Myer to create the “first virtual reality department store,” but it simulated a web of floating objects rather than a physical store.


Earlier this month, Ikea started using virtual reality in Australia. You can see the experience for yourself on Android, iOS, and desktop (though the desktop version doesn’t have virtual reality).

The Ikea version of virtual reality shopping feels like a more immersive version of Google Street View. You can wander around the store and in between furniture. You can select objects marked with floating blue dots, revealing the item’s description and price. Most of the furniture isn’t marked, though, so you’ll have to zoom in on the tags and remind yourself to search for it later.

Smaller companies like Gatsby, a startup that creates virtual reality stores, are also looking to create virtual reality shopping experiences.

“We’re really trying to get close to what it’s like being there, and we want it to be very intimate,” said Anastasia Cifuentes, co-founder of Gatsby. “All the little details on how you move, we’re really focusing on how to have that just right.” Gatsby has been experimenting with virtual reality for less than 6 months but hopes to launch an app in the fall.

Using Gatsby’s shopping app to buy furniture feels like playing a game. You can look around a room from a fixed point (you can’t move around the space yet). There’s a button that let you click on objects and rotate them. Once you select an object, details about the object’s length, width, height, and price appear. If you want an item, you can add it to your cart.



5 Startup Ideas For Jumping Into Virtual Reality

While companies like Magic Leap and Oculus Rift are spending millions of dollars to develop their new Virtual Reality products and VR startups are raising enormous amounts of money from venture capitalists and angel investors, many people may wonder, “How can I get in the game? Are there any small-business VR ideas with no or very little startup cost?”

Yes, there are a few ways you can start a new business in virtual reality with very little investment. Here are a few ideas for starting a virtual reality business now.


1. Rent out virtual reality headsets.

Virtual reality headsets are pretty pricey right now. Oculus Rift units cost $600, and the HTC Vive goes as high as $800, plus the powerful computer you’ll need to use either one. That means that virtual reality headsets are more of a luxury item than an everyday device.

2. Create theater or arcade experiences.

Virtual reality theaters and pop-ups are opening worldwide right now, attracting both attention and customers. This option will require a bit more of investment — you will need to find a venue as well as buy equipment. But once you find a space, you can create a pop-up movie theater where people sit with VR headsets and enjoy 360 degree videos, virtual reality photo galleries with 360 degree pictures from great photographers, or try-out studios where they can come to experience Oculus Rift or HTC vive. With new VR products coming online all the time, charging for them as entertainment can be profitable.


3. Sell cardboard-like VR headsets.

Google cardboard is one of the most popular VR viewers because it’s very cheap compared to other, more advanced headsets. It has a lot of liabilities, however. It’s not very convenient to wear, requires an additional strap and if you use it often enough, at some point you will need to buy a new one. After all, it’s cardboard. A lot of companies, especially in China started producing their own version of popular viewers. With a little startup capital, you can buy those headsets wholesale and sell them retail via Amazon or at a retail location.

4. Build a VR community.

Create and host local meet-up events, conferences, lectures, fairs and other social events related to VR. Once you have a brand and a decent audience, you can sell access to advertisers and companies who make VR products — there are already a ton of them, and there will be more.

5. Create VR related content.

In VR, people are craving interesting content. As a startup, you can create a professional YouTube channel or blog reviewing the latest available technology, observing conferences, exhibitions, games and movies. Winning a sizeable audience can allow you to monetize it — and your influence — later.



YouTube’s New L.A. Studio Will Help Creators Crank Out VR Videos

CANNES, France—YouTube wants to help creators make more VR video, so it’s announcing a new program today at Cannes to arm folks with the equipment and expertise that they need to do so.

The VR Creator Lab will be housed within YouTube Spaces Los Angeles, where top creators and brands learn the platform’s best practices and make videos. The three-day program will offer creators cameras and equipment, tools for stitching clips together and resources including training sessions and talks from Google that will all center around making VR videos.

To participate in the program, creators need to have already made two 360-degree videos, have at least 10,000 subscribers, go through an orientation and be at least 18 years old.

Adweek sat down with Google’s VR business boss Amit Singh to talk about the new studio and how brands are using virtual and augmented reality.

“We teach you how to do it, we handhold you, we help you with creative so that you can experiment,” said Amit Singh, Google’s vp of business for augmented reality and virtual reality. “Whether it’s original content or an ad that you’re building for a brand, this technology should start to become mainstream.”

After the program ends, creators are tasked with producing at least four VR videos and one behind-the-scenes clip. Participants will also meet at the L.A. YouTube Spaces every two weeks from Aug. 28 to Nov. 6 to talk about their VR projects and meet with mentors.

Google has also greenlighted VR series with Major League Baseball, Vogue magazine and Discovery Travel. The studio will work with creators and brands to develop different types of content specific to VR.


For example, the NFL worked with Google late last year to make a VR series. One of the biggest learnings about the series is that people don’t want to watch games using a headset. “The energy and 12 hours before the game [and] the search query interest in the game and all the activation before the game is bigger than the game,” Singh said.

Based on those learnings, MLB’s series will focus on content around the games and players.

The league will, “do a bunch of behind-the-scenes dugout, player interviews and stuff that you haven’t seen before,” Singh said. “Whether you do it in a big headset or a Cardboard or the Major League Baseball app, you can see the pitch in three dimensions.”

The education part is particularly important in getting brands up to speed on the shift from mobile to virtual reality.

“People are looking for that next deeper immersion,” Singh said. “It’s moving from a gimmick or marketing activation to where there’s storytelling about the brand tied into the series—that’s where we’re trying to go next.”



‘Mario Kart’ is coming to virtual reality

One of Nintendo’s most popular properties is speeding towards a full-fledged virtual reality experience. 

Bandai Namco has announced that their flagship virtual reality arcade, VR Zone Shinjuki, will open next month. The arcade will be nearly 40,000 square feet, according to a report in The Japan Times, and will feature over 15 virtual reality games. 

But the highlight of the announcement was the reveal of an official “Mario Kart” game designed entirely for virtual reality.

screen shot 2017-06-13 at 110234 am

Players sit in a metal rig designed to look like a go-kart, wearing an HTC Vive headset as well as sensors on both of their hands. The race is seen in the first person, and famous “Mario Kart” items such as the red and blue shells are tossed at opponents by gesturing with your hands. 

For now, you’ll have to book a flight to Tokyo if you want to play “Mario Kart” in virtual reality. However, an executive at Bandai Namco told The Japan Times that the goal is “to spread VR Zone facilities around the world.”



Sony PlayStation VR sales reaches 1 million milestone

#playstation vr was launched back in October 2016 and since then #Sony has sold quite well in the market, competing against the Oculus Rift, Samsung Gear VR, and HTC Vive. In February, a report surfaced that Sony managed to sell 915,000 PS VR devices and was quickly stepping toward the million mark.


Now, after almost four months since that report, Sony has finally confirmed that the sales of its PlayStation VR have crossed the 1 million mark. This puts Sony ahead of HTC’s Vive and Oculus Rift. According to an analysis by SuperData, Vive VR sold 420,000 units by the end of 2016, while the Oculus Rift sold only around 243,000 units.


However, Sony was unable to cross the milestone set by South Korean company Samsung, whose Gear #Vr Headset has shipped to over 5 million people worldwide.

What Sony CEO had to say

Shawn Layden, president and CEO of Sony, has said that although the million units sales may sound like a great achievement, but it really was no big deal. He explained that nearly 60 million people own the PlayStation 4 console, and just one million of them have decided to get the VR headset from the company. This is why Layden thinks there is still a lot of work left to be done.

The Sony CEO also pointed out that sale of the VR headset had suffered due to the shortage of supply to stores during December, when people had to search a lot to get their hands on one unit. To ensure that such things do not take place in the future, Layden says that he will make an effort so that the company is well prepared for the demand.


Sales were also relatively slower because of the fact that there were not many interesting VR titles on the PS4 platform. Although, “Rez Infinite,” “Thumper,” and “Resident Evil 7” were good games and much appreciated, the VR side of the console has been greatly ignored by game developers.

Whats next for PS VR

Layden said that the recently released sci-fi shooter “Farpoint” and an Aim Controller peripheral will usher in the new age for the PlayStation VR platform. The president of Sony also promised fans that a lot of new VR related programs would be announced at the upcoming E3 2017 event. So, it seems the company is really trying to push the VR medium.

However, VR experience is not restricted to games only, Layden revealed plans of working together with Vince Gilligan and Sony Pictures to bring the ‘Breaking Bad’ experience to the PlayStation VR. What this experience may be like is anybody’s guess for now. More of this may be revealed at the E3 event.



Google just acquired one of the most successful VR game studios

Google announced today that it’s acquiring Owlchemy Labs, the VR-focused studio that created Job Simulator and Rick and Morty: Virtual Rick-ality. Owlchemy will keep releasing VR games for multiple platforms, but with backing from Google — similar to Tilt Brush studio Skillman & Hackett, which Google acquired in 2015. “We have a slate of original games that we have in [the] production and prototyping phase, and we’re going to continue to do that,” says Owlchemy co-founder Alex Schwartz. “We’re very excited to continue to do that with the support of Google behind us.”


Owlchemy is known for developing games that closely mimic using real hands, and a blog post assures readers that it’s “continuing to focus on hand interactions and high quality user experiences, like with Job Simulator.” Schwartz says that full-motion hand tracking is “kind of our key factor.” That stands in contrast to Google’s current VR platform, Daydream — which uses a remote with limited motion controls. “We have a pretty big vision” for virtual and augmented reality, says Google VR and AR engineering director Relja Markovic. “Daydream’s a great product — I love my Daydream. But there will be many, many things that come after that.”

It’s difficult to read too much into what this means, and Markovic points out that Google has released products purely for non-Google headsets, like Tilt Brush and Google Earth. But the acquisition does feel like it’s pointing toward something beyond the current version of Daydream. “If you think about where VR and AR are going, especially AR and Tango, and other ways of interacting with your environments, I don’t think we’re done exploring how you interact with controls in your hand. That’s not saying ‘Oh, and therefore we’re going to bring Job Sim to Daydream,’” he says. “But there’s a lot of learning to still be done in that space as well.”

Schwartz and Markovic say Owlchemy will keep engaging with the larger VR development community, sharing knowledge and best practices — as well as potentially contributing to Google’s experimental Daydream Labs program.


Owlchemy didn’t start as a VR studio — in 2011, it released the controversial satirical gameSmuggle Truck, followed by the fluffy-animal-themed update Snuggle Truck. But it was one of the first studios to work with the initial Oculus Rift development kit in 2013, and Job Simulator was a launch title for the PlayStation VR, HTC Vive, and Oculus Touch motion controllers. In the fairly small and new world of VR gaming, it’s one of the industry’s major success stories; Job Simulator passed $3 million in sales at the start of 2017.

Google will probably say more about virtual reality at its I/O developer conference next week, although there have been few rumors about what we might see, and Schwartz says Owlchemy isn’t imminently announcing any new projects. But the acquisition suggests that at the very least, Google is still working on its push to develop more VR content, and that in contrast to Facebook-owned company Oculus — which recently closed its VR film studio in order to fund external projects — it’s comfortable keeping talent in-house.



This is what happens when VR glasses try way too hard

Wondering what all those people with VR glasses really see? Now you can find out for a crazy reasonable price when you hook your phone up to these Pasonomi VR Glasses, currently only $30 on Amazon. These glasses have T-shaped straps to adjust to any head size and work with all smartphones that have screens between 4.7 and 6 inches.

The Pasonomi VR Glasses allow you to turn the screen of your smart phone into an elegant and customized cinema. The glasses are uniquely designed to keep you from feeling dizzy or tired, even after using them for long periods of time. They feature high-quality ABS and 42mm diameter spherical resin lens material, lowering the distortion to the minimum when magnifying the images and providing a wider viewing angle. They’re also crafted to help decrease the pressure on and around your eyes for maximum comfort.

These VR glasses provide a fully immersive 360-degree screen to help you sink into games, movies, and more. Special focus adjustment lets you perfect the clarity by adjusting the roller, which can be operated without removing the glasses. Additionally, you can adjust the roller right and left separately and easily.

This model is made with special technology to grind, core, and test the glass thoroughly for a brighter lens with less deformity. The glasses have a removable front cover you can use as a “peek” feature to enhance the effect of your virtual reality experience. The adjustable headband is made of flexible rubber, sticky paste, and high-grade leather so you can always make it the perfect size for your head.

These Pasonomi VR Glasses normally retail for $36 but are currently discounted to $30 on Amazon, saving you 17 percent or $6.

Read more: http://www.digitaltrends.com/dtdeals/pasonomi-vr-glasses-deal/#ixzz4fMxPGs49
Follow us: @digitaltrends on Twitter | DigitalTrends on Facebook

Lucasfilm to Bring ‘Star Wars’ Virtual Reality Headsets to Hospitals for Kids

Young Star Wars fans in need of an adventure are going to get it with help from a new program from a galaxy far, far away.

Starlight Virtual Reality, a new VR initiative launching later this year, will put 270 VR headsets into hospitals across the country, and will feature content from the Star Wars universe, as well as from Google Expeditions, Daydream, Google Earth VR and Tilt Brush.

Star Wars: Force for Change is the founding sponsor of the program, which is receiving additional funding from Niagara Cares and VR technology powered by Google.

“We’re excited to announce the launch of Starlight VR, which we believe will be a game changer in the pediatric health care space,” said Chris Helfrich, CEO of Starlight Children’s Foundation. “We’re excited to have Lucasfilm and Disney, Google and Niagara Cares alongside us as we harness the power of virtual reality to bring more smiles to hospitalized kids when and where they need it most.”

The program will also provide Starlight Brave Gowns (see below), high-quality (and certainly more fun) garments for the children to wear — and it will facilitate visits from celebrities. 


“At Lucasfilm and ILMxLAB, we strive to make the impossible, possible and to deliver stories that inspire and entertain,” said Vicki Dobbs Beck, Executive in charge, ILMxLab. “We are honored to use our immersive storytelling to spark children’s imaginations during the hospital stay.”

The Meet BB-8 experience (image preview below) will be available at Star Wars Celebration in Orlando, Fla., this week and is one example of the program that will roll out.

“We’re thrilled to support this Starlight program and use our virtual reality technology for good in hospitals around the United States,” said Amit Singh, vp Virtual Reality at Google.

The new initiative comes as Star Wars stars Mark Hamill and Daisy Ridley announced a new Force for Change fundraising campaign Tuesday that will see winners get a trip to the Star Wars: The Last Jedi premiere, an overnight visit to Skywalker Ranch, as well as a possible walk-on role in the young Han Solo movie.

The Starlight Virtual Reality collaboration launches Wednesday at Florida Hospital for Children in Orlando, ahead of Star Wars Celebration beginning Thursday in the city. Hamill was onhand to visit some of the children, and shared photos afterwards as well as a touching Facebook post about one child he met, Jay Ryan Jr..

“So this just happened,Jay got to meet an absolute amazing man in a private meeting, Mark Hamill, Jay loves Star Wars and Luke Skywalker,” read a post on a Facebook page dedicated to the young man. “After Jay lost his arm he said it was ok because Luke only has one arm. He shared that story with Mr Hamill. He told Jay he was the real hero and I (Mark) am just a made up hero.”


The smartphone is eventually going to die — this is Mark Zuckerberg’s crazy vision for what comes next

At this week’s Facebook F8 conference in San Jose, Mark Zuckerberg doubled down on his crazy ambitious 10-year plan for the company, first revealed in April 2016.

Basically, Zuckerberg’s uses this roadmap to demonstrate Facebook’s three-stage game plan in action: First, you take the time to develop a neat cutting-edge technology. Then you build a product based on it. Then you turn it into an ecosystem where developers and outside companies can use that technology to build their own businesses.

When Zuckerberg first announced this plan last year, it was big on vision, but short on specifics.

On Facebook’s planet of 2026, the entire world has internet access — with many people likely getting it through Internet.org, Facebook’s connectivity arm. Zuckerberg reiterated this week that the company is working on smart glasses that look like your normal everyday Warby Parkers. And underpinning all of this, Facebook is promising artificial intelligence good enough that we can talk to computers as easily as chatting with humans.


A world without screens

For science-fiction lovers, the world Facebook is starting to build is very cool and insanely ambitious. Instead of smartphones, tablets, TVs, or anything else with a screen, all our computing is projected straight into our eyes as we type with our brains.

A mixed-reality world is exciting for society and for Facebook shareholders. But it also opens the door to some crazy future scenarios, where Facebook, or some other tech company, intermediates everything you see, hear, and, maybe even, think. And as we ponder the implications of that kind of future, consider how fast we’ve already progressed on Zuckerberg’s timeline.

We’re now one year closer to Facebook’s vision for 2026. And things are slowly, but surely, starting to come together, as the social network’s plans for virtual and augmented reality, universal internet connectivity, and artificial intelligence start to slowly move from fantasy into reality.

In fact, Michael Abrash, the chief scientist of Facebook-owned Oculus Research, said this week that we could be just 5 years away from a point where augmented reality glasses become good enough to go mainstream. And Facebook is now developing technology that lets you “type” with your brain, meaning you’d type, point, and click by literally thinking at your smart glasses. Facebook is giving us a glimpse of this with the Camera Effects platform, making your phone into an AR device.

Fries with that?

The potential here is tremendous. Remember that Facebook’s mission is all about sharing, and this kind of virtual, ubiquitous ” teleportation ” and interaction is an immensely powerful means to that end.

This week, Oculus unveiled “Facebook Spaces,” a “social VR” app that lets denizens of virtual reality hang out with each other, even if some people are in the real world and some people have a headset strapped on. It’s slightly creepy, but it’s a sign of the way that Facebook sees you and your friends spending time together in the future. 

And if you’re wearing those glasses, there’s no guarantee that the person who’s taking your McDonald’s order is a human, after all. Imagine a virtual avatar sitting at the cash register, projected straight into your eyeballs, and taking your order. With Facebook announcing its plans to revamp its Messenger platform with AI features that also make it more business-friendly, the virtual fast-food cashier is not such a far-fetched scenario.

Sure, Facebook Messenger chatbots have struggled to gain widespread acceptance since they were introduced a year ago. But as demonstrated with Microsoft’s Xiaoice and even the Tay disaster, we’re inching towards more human-like systems that you can just talk to. And if Facebook’s crazy plan to let you “hear” with your skin plays out, they can talk to you while you’re wearing those glasses. And again, you’ll be able to reply with just a thought.

screenshot 2017-04-20 172747



Facebook’s bold and bizarre VR hangout app is now available for the Oculus Rift

Facebook’s most fascinating virtual reality experiment, a VR hangout session where you can interact with friends as if you were sitting next to one another, is now ready for the public. The company is calling the product Facebook Spaces, and it’s being released today in beta form for the Oculus Rift. The news, announced this morning at Facebook’s F8 developer conference in San Jose, means anyone with a Rift and Touch controllers can join up to three other people in a virtual playground. There you can watch videos, take photos, and engage in a number of different VR activities together.

Spaces was first shown off at the Oculus Connect conference in October, when Mark Zuckerberg donned a Rift onstage and joined other Facebook employees in an early version of the product. We saw the Facebook exec play a game of chess, teleport to different locations, and even take a mixed-reality selfie with his wife Priscilla Chan, who dialed into the VR room using Facebook Messenger. While it built off similar experiences, like the existing Oculus Rooms feature for Gear VR and Oculus’ Toybox demo from two years ago, Spaces was bizarre and powerful enough to get everybody talking about what the future of VR technology could enable.

“We wanted the idea out there,” says Mike Booth, a product manager on Facebook’s social VR team, on why the company showed off Spaces so early. “Last year at F8, people didn’t know what Facebook was doing buying Oculus.” But by the time Oculus Connect rolled around that fall, it was clear Facebook was pursuing VR as a “people-centric computing platform,” Booth says. Having Zuckerberg demonstrate it was a way to communicate that to the world. The strategy worked — the demo became the most talked-about part of the conference because it illustrated exactly how Facebook imagined VR as a social instrument and not just a way to play immersive games.

Spaces as it exists today is not so different from the demo Zuckerberg showed off. You have a floating torso for an avatar complete with clothing and a custom animated face you get to design yourself. That avatar is then dropped into a roundtable environment with a number of different tools at your disposal, accessible from a panel under your wrist and from a console in front of you on the table. The entire idea of Spaces is to treat the platform as a place where you both create and pull in outside content to interact with, be it doodles you make yourself or games you play right there in VR, to photos and videos from across the internet.

For instance, you can toggle through the console to the art tab to produce a virtual pencil and start doodling in midair. Anything you draw is transformed into an interactive object, so you can illustrate a hat you can then wear on your head or a sword you can pick up and swing. There’s also a selfie stick that lets you snap portraits of yourself and your friends inside the VR environment.


Sitting in the center of the room is a sphere of sorts that can change the background around you. It will accept any number of pre-rendered options, like an underwater environment or one that sends you to space. But you can also scroll through your Facebook account, find a 360-degree photosphere made from a smartphone panorama, and turn that into the environment. Booth says this is a way to relive memories with others. “It’s not like a chatroom. It’s not like, ‘Okay, we’re here. Talk amongst yourselves,’” he says. “You have your Facebook content. I’ve got mine.”



Imagining the Retail Store of the Future

LONDON — What will the store of the future look like? Will we be served by fleets of gleaming robots, using built-in facial recognition technology to adjust each sales pitch to a person’s current mood or past spending preferences? Will there be voice-activated personal assistants, downloading the availability, color and fit of any and every garment to your smartphone? Three-D printing stations? No checkout counters when you leave? Could there even be floating, holographic product displays on the shop floor that change when a customer walks by?

Perhaps shoppers will make all their purchases from their own home, using virtual fitting rooms via virtual reality headsets. Drones will then drop deliveries in the backyard or on the front steps.

As fanciful as these innovations may sound, none are hypothetical. All exist, are being tested and could be rolled out in as little as a decade. But is this the sort of shopping experience that customers really want?

Scores of leading retailers and fashion brands increasingly say no. And in an ever-more-volatile and unpredictable shopping environment, where long-term survival is dictated by anticipating and catering to consumers’ desires (often before they themselves even know what they want), the race to find out how and where people will do their spending has started to heat up.


On Wednesday, for example, Farfetch — the global online marketplace for independent luxury boutiques — held a daylong event at the Design Museum in London. There, in front of 200 fashion industry insiders and partners, José Neves, the founder of Farfetch, unveiled “The Store of the Future,” a suite of new technologies developed by his company to help brands and boutiques bridge the worlds of online and offline.

Nevertheless, in a telephone call last week, Mr. Neves said: “I am a huge believer in physical stores. They are not going to vanish and will stay at the center of the seismic retail revolution that is only just getting started.”

A corresponding report released by Bain & Company this week suggests that he might be right; although 70 percent of high-end purchases are influenced by online interactions, the consultancy maintains that stores will continue to play a critical role, with 75 percent of sales still occurring in a physical location by 2025.

What may change, however, is a store’s primary purpose. Forget e-commerce, or bricks and mortar, or even omnichannel sales; according to Mr. Neves, the new retail era is one anchored in “augmented retail,” a blend of the digital and physical allowing a shopper to shift seamlessly between the two realms.

“Customers don’t wake up and think, I will be online this morning or offline later; we are rarely purely one or the other anymore and tend to jump constantly between two worlds without noticing,” Mr. Neves said. “Harnessing this behavior is a major challenge for retailers and brands and why we are doing this event. It is in our interests to give our partners firsthand access to information about changing behaviors and new technology, so everyone is ‘future-proofed’ as to what might come next.”

Holition is an augmented-reality consultancy and software provider based in London that has worked with some well-known retail brands. Last fall it worked with the British cosmetics company Charlotte Tilbury on a “magic mirror” concept, a virtual makeup selling tool that allows users to try on different looks that are digitally superimposed onto their faces in 40 seconds. They can then send the selection of photos to their email address, ready to be referred to later or shared socially. And they then can buy products, available from glamorous makeup artists milling around nearby.

“Technology is still often a barrier in the retail place, with smartphones, iPads and screens getting in the way of what the consumer wants to see, touch and feel 80 percent of the time,” said Jonathan Chippindale, Holition’s chief executive.

“The holy grail now for retailers is creating digital empathy. No one can really guess what the future will look like. But those who are using technology and data to create bespoke shopping experiences that recognize every person is different, and with different needs, are more likely to come out on top.”

Tom Chapman, a founder of MatchesFashion.com, agreed. It was originally a bricks and mortar boutique; now 95 percent of the British fashion retailer’s sales — which hit 204 million pounds (about $253 million) in 2016 — are online. But Mr. Chapman said boutiques and physical events remained vital “marketing opportunities,” with a more specialized inventory selection and the opportunity for customers to do more than buy merchandise; for example, the MatchesFashion.com “In Residence” series offers talks, film screenings and designer meet-and-greets, along with social media lessons, exercise classes and floristry sessions.

“You need to be accessible to your customer wherever she wants to find you,” Mr. Chapman said, “and we have seen that a sizable proportion want human interaction and access that goes far beyond a credit card transaction.”



Virtual Reality: Growth Engine for Fashion?

LONDON, United Kingdom — When Apple’s iPhone first appeared nearly 10 years ago, few could fathom the extent to which it would transform our daily lives. Today, much like mobile before it, a rising technology platform has the potential to create what Canadian media theorist Marshall McLuhan called “new patterns of human association,” unleashing a tsunami of innovation.

For years, Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) — a view of the real world that has been “augmented” by layers of computer-generated content — have been the stuff of science fiction. Both still have their fair share of sceptics. Yet, driven by Moore’s Law and the rapid advancement of processors, screens and other commodity components coming out of the smartphone supply chain, VR and AR are finally poised for mainstream adoption with some calling them nothing less than a “new medium of human experience.”

Back in 2014, early VR pioneer Chris Milk explained the profound power of VR: “You read a book; your brain reads letters printed in ink on paper and transforms that into a world. You watch a movie; you’re seeing imagery inside of a rectangle while you’re sitting inside a room, and your brain translates that into a world. And you connect to this even though you know it’s not real, but because you’re in the habit of suspending disbelief. With virtual reality, you’re essentially hacking the visual-audio system of your brain and feeding it a set of stimuli that’s close enough to the stimuli it expects that it sees it as truth. Instead of suspending your disbelief, you actually have to remind yourself not to believe.”

So what does this mean for fashion?

In the past decade, the fashion industry has driven growth largely by tapping emerging markets, opening hundreds of new stores, particularly in China. But as Chinese demand has cooled, many have sought new growth online, which Luca Solca, head of luxury goods at BNP Exane Paribas, has called “the new China.”

“A number of things have changed in the luxury industry. As you know, the luxury industry was growing 8 percent before — now it is growing 2 to 4 or 5 percent in the next year and it’s going to stay there,” said Olivier Abtan, a partner at the Boston Consulting Group. “Now, in this slow growing market [brands are] considering digital very seriously,” he added.


For some, virtual and augmented reality technologies offer a powerful new digital growth channel. “When one thinks how engaging VR could be, I imagine that this will indeed be even more important than mobile in the grand scheme of things,” said Solca. “However, it took 20 years for e-commerce to reach an inflection point,” he cautioned. “I’d imagine VR would need a similar amount of time to really shape our everyday experience in the same way as our mobile phones.”

But momentum in the VR/AR space is building quickly. Late last year, HTC Vive announced a venture capital alliance for virtual reality technologies; comprising 27 firms, the initiative has amassed $10 billion dollars of deployable capital. Last October, digital distribution platform Steam reported adding 1,000 new VR users daily, with over 600 VR apps already on the platform. And technology heavyweights are doubling down in virtual and augmented reality. See Facebook’s Oculus Rift to Snapchat’s Spectacles.

In this early stage of development, accurate projections of future market size are difficult. But according to Goldman Sachs, revenue from VR- and AR-related hardware and software is expected to reach from $80 billion to $182 billion by 2025.

Virtual reality and augmented reality could certainly become a powerful channel for brand-consumer interactions, much like mobile and social are today. But current pricing ($600 for an Oculus Rift headset, $800 for an HTC Vive) will slow mainstream consumer adoption for the moment, according to Goldman Sachs.

In the meantime, there are plenty of enterprise opportunities for fashion companies. “The obvious first step in the apparel industry is designing and development tools, and we are working with a lot of brands and a lot of supply chain companies behind the scene on this,” said Ari Bloom, CEO of Avametric, a San Francisco-based startup working in VR/AR. “You think about the ability to have a more digital experiences: the amount of time and money you can save not having to sample thousands of garments to get to three or four hundred!”

Virtual simulations of store environments could also be useful to retailers. “In VR, specifically, you can [test] two different environments — and that is really powerful,” explained Bloom. ShopperMX, a virtual reality platform developed by Chicago-based firm InContext Solutions, allows retailers to experiment with signage, product display and layout without the time and resource commitment required to build and test these elements in the physical world.



Virtual Reality Is Revolutionizing Health Care

It has already changed. Moreover, healthcare is one of the “hottest” industries, where virtual reality is rapidly hitting its stride.


Let’s see a few examples:


Relief of the sensation of pain


Here, our “doctor” prescribes picking up the app, where you can hide in the huts made of snow or other materials. The environment places the patients in a condition where one simply gets pleasure from sightseeing. This method effectively helps to calm down and distract the patients from quite unpleasant burning sensations throughout the body. Currently, specialized healthcare applications are in development and widely used to distract from painful procedures effectively, owing to which it is possible to do them without anesthesia.


One such healthcare application is a video game, SnowWorld, from the University of Washington. Despite the fact that all this is still in the process of development, the many clinical trials have shown very encouraging results.


Virtual reality and exposure therapy


Professor Albert Rizzo, who is the director of VR in the medical field and who works at the Institute for Creative Technologies, uses virtual reality exposure therapy, particularly with soldiers who are experiencing post-traumatic stress syndrome. The essence of the therapy lies in patient’s immersion in simulation, where he controls a hammer, and suddenly a homemade device explodes in a particular place.


The method is an exceptional opportunity for the soldiers, especially those who survived war, to talk about it. This therapy is a peculiar stimulation of the imagination, where the patient is trying to work on the trauma or any other problems by a particular provocative method.


Virtual reality as a tool to conquer phobias


The above-mentioned exposure therapy is very useful for the standard treatment for phobias. The patient, under the supervision of a psychologist, meets something that causes fear. For example, a man has a fear of public speaking. Virtual reality technologies help cope with them by “acting” in the front of a virtual audience.


Frequently observed spider phobia is also worth paying attention to. One of the first prominent healthcare applications to treat spider phobia is Spider World.


Virtual robotic surgery


Robotic surgery has become a popular virtual technology. The semantics of the term seems to be a bit intricate, yet the process of fulfilling the operation is the following: A robotic device performs the operation but is controlled by a human surgeon. It is a simple, sublime interaction, which decreases time, and reduces the risk of complications.


Virtual reality has also found its application in educational purposes and in the area of Remote Telesurgery, where the operation is carried out in a separate place for the patient. The main idea of this particular system becomes revealed in a force feedback, where a surgeon can evaluate the amount of pressure to use when performing delicate action procedures.



Virtual reality aids medical trauma training

Dr. Arishi Abdulaziz put on a headset, moved his hands slightly and immersed himself into a virtual world.


But this was no video game. Abdulaziz was “standing” in a trauma bay at OhioHealth Grant Medical Center, amid a medical team treating a car crash victim.

He watched the team cut off the patient’s black T-shirt and shorts. He heard a doctor ask the patient questions. Meanwhile, a medical technician scanned the man’s abdomen and chest with an ultrasound probe.

Abdulaziz turned to the right and left to assess staff members and watch monitors. He turned around to review an ultrasound screen.

Eventually, he removed the gear and got his bearings. He was back in a small office at Grant.

“It’s a great experience,” Abdulaziz said. “It is as if you are in trauma, really. Like 100 percent, you are in trauma.”

The virtual-reality experience is new for residents training in trauma care at the Downtown hospital. On Monday, Abdulaziz, a resident from the University of Toledo Medical Center, joined Dr. Jesse Nichols, a resident from the Adena Regional Medical Center in Chillicothe, in testing out the experience.

Nichols donned headgear and suddenly was among members of a trauma team helping out a woman injured in a fall.

“I felt like I needed to reach out and help the patient,” he said, upon removing the headgear. “You’re right there.”

The virtual-reality scenarios — there are three — were filmed in July by a team from Ohio University that hung or mounted three softball-size camera and microphone units in the emergency department to capture 360-degree experiences, said Eric Williams, co-creator of the new Immersive Media Initiative at the Athens school. Patients consented to be in the videos.

After filming, the OU team pieced together video, then added a sphere of sound before adapting it all to work with HTC virtual-reality headgear and software.

The footage will be used to help residents on their first day of trauma-surgery and critical-care training at Grant, said Dr. Thanh Nguyen, a trauma-services physician.

The goal is to familiarize residents with the sights and sounds of trauma bays and the different roles played by doctors, medics, nurses and technicians who attend to patients.

Nguyen foresees a vast library of scenarios.

“The goal eventually is to have hundreds of patients to teach different scenarios, like, ‘This is what a gunshot victim looks like.’ ‘This is what a stabbing looks like.’ ‘This is what a car accident looks like,'” Nguyen said.

Nguyen said he also hopes that future scenarios include patients who move from trauma bay to operating room to the intensive-care unit. Other goals include creating a smartphone app and to expand training programs to cater to nurses and more experienced doctors.

Williams said that the project is part of Ohio University’s Immersive Media Initiative, which started last year with a $1 million university innovation challenge grant. The school wants to expand virtual and augmented reality across various university disciplines and in the community.

“The main thrust of the Immersive Media Initiative is to use virtual reality as an educational platform for graduate and undergraduate students,” said Williams, also an associate professor in the School of Media Arts & Studies. “Students not only learn technology in the classroom, but they’re able to then go out and work on real-world projects.”


As Nichols and Abdulaziz experienced the virtual trauma bay, they saw things from the view of the physician doing an assessment at the patient’s bedside. The program’s software also allows for views from the foot of the gurney and from the side of the room.

“This is really the first step,” Williams said. “This technology is so new that the next steps are only limited by our imagination.”



Windows 10 Redstone 2 update will now support 360 videos and virtual reality

Windows 10 Redstone 2, also known as the Creators Update, is said to arrive sometime in spring 2017, which is soon. According to reports, there are a few more weeks of waiting for Windows 10 users before the release of the Creators Update. Apparently, there are so many changes, including security and new native supports, that it has taken a while to fix the bugs. Furthermore, there will be a few more tweaks that need ironing out before release.

In the latest preview of the build, with build number 15046, the main feature was the 360-degree videos that can be accessed through the Films and TV app. Furthermore, a new security setting has also been added that can prevent a user from installing Windows apps that aren’t from the Windows Store. This feature is similar to the Mac OS’s GateKeeper feature. It helps to prevent malicious apps and programs from being downloaded and installed. However, this feature can also be disabled. 

New features with the update

There are multiple things that were featured in the update. According to PC Advisor, Microsoft Edge, 3D content, holographic interface, blue light reduction, built-in broadcasting, ebooks, app throttling etc. will be included with the update. The Microsoft Edge will be a new and improved browser for Windows 10 users. It will be able to view mixed reality videos as well as WebVR. On top of this, 3D content can be created through Paint and can be printed straight to a 3D printer.

With the holographic interface, Windows is adding a Windows Holographic interface to support VR games or experience. Microsoft said that Windows partners such as Dell, Lenovo, HP, Asus and Acer will be making VR headsets that support Windows 10 in the near future. Furthermore, these VR headsets will be made affordable. Microsoft is also said to add a blue light reduction feature that reduces the amount if a blue light in the screen at night. This feature has been making its rounds in other operating systems like Android, iOS and Amazon.

How to download the upcoming update

Personal computers (PCs) that already running Windows 10 will receive the Creators Update automatically. The can be checked manually by going to Start > Settings > Update and Security > Check for Updates. It is unknown whether the new update will be similar to the previous updates. However, users should be able to download and install it manually through this process.



Virtual reality ‘to replace high street shopping by 2050’

High street retailers could be a thing of the past by 2050 as virtual reality takes over the way we shop, experts predict.

The only time we can expect to be asked “Are you being served?” is when interacting with an artificially intelligent app.

The kind of department store epitomized by Grace Brothers in the 1970s sitcom of that name is likely to be consigned to history by the middle of the century.

Instead people will make all their purchases from home, trying on clothes in virtual reality changing rooms and getting advice from AI (artificial intelligence) shop assistants that know exactly how to cater for their tastes.

Online deliveries dropped into the back garden by flying robot drones will become a part of every day life.

Experts writing in The Future Of Shopping report talk about the impact the “fourth industrial revolution” – a merging of physical, digital and biological technologies – on shopping.

They forecast:

:: Virtual reality (VR) headsets that gauge your mood in the lighting and atmosphere of a simulated store.

:: Immersive virtual experiences involving products, such as visiting a cocoa farm to watch beans being picked and processed to make chocolate.

:: AI assistants that know your interests and tastes better than you do and can pre-empt purchases. For instance, shortly before a seaside holiday they might show you a range of swimwear.

:: Holographic fashion shows held in unusual locations.

Co-author Russell Freeman, chief technology officer at digital marketing agency Holition, said: “It’s ironic that the fashion industry is renowned for its innovation, yet the way we shop is so old fashioned. From having to use a changing room, to being offered limited space in a shop, the whole experience is generic.

“The future of shopping offers personalised experiences for people, dependent on their taste and mood and at Holition we see it as the humanising of technology.

“Augmented reality, virtual reality, drone delivery and artificial intelligence will completely change the way we shop. It’s an exciting time – on the cusp of a revolution.”

Virtual reality shopping will be featured at The Big Bang UK Young Scientists And Engineers Fair taking place at the National Exhibition Centre, Birmingham, in March next year.

Paul Jackson, chief executive of EngineeringUK, organisers of the Big Bang fair, said: “It is the young people studying maths and science today who will drive this ‘revolution’ in the future.




Virtual Reality and the Future of Book Publishing

The Next Big Tech Thing is virtual reality (VR) along with its technical sibling, augmented reality (AR). The New York Times, Google, Apple, Facebook and others are plunging in big time. Over $1 billion was invested in 2015 alone to gain a foothold in what is projected to be a $5 billion market.

But what does this mean for book publishers, who have seen Next Big Things–CDs, enhanced eBooks, subscription startups, self-publishing–come and go, or come and plateau? Indeed, what on earth could VR or AR have to do with books, especially printed books? Well, some brave publishers, big and small, are doing some interesting experiments. But before I talk about those, I’ll briefly discuss what VR and AR actually are.

Virtual Reality

The ne plus ultra of VR is a sensory environment indistinguishable from what we perceive as “reality” (which, of course, isn’t reality either, but that’s a color of a different color). The visual field will be in full color and 3D, and in a resolution indistinguishable from what you see in front of you right now. Sound will surround, and possess all the subtle spatial cues of “real” reality. That approaching dragon with the singed snout–and nauseating breath–will be way beyond anything Steven Spielberg has contrived so far. In some experiments you feel the blows of the dragon’s spiked tail on your armor. You, the protagonist, move through an utterly compelling visual and aural field.

You can see the storytelling potential for VR, at least for those with Hollywood budgets. Even if all of the properties above (3D visuals and sound, haptic feedback, smell-o-vision) are partial or imperfect, the faculty of suspension of disbelief–which has no problem with 2D movies, or for that matter, words on a page–will have some meaty material to process. The hard problem of VR is “agency”: giving protagonist-you volition in the virtual world, a problem which sounds to me like it lives at an interesting intersection of programming, philosophy, and, perhaps, AI.

Currently, VR requires wearing awkward headgear, which supplies the 3D visuals and audio and has hardware and software to sense position so that when you turn your head, the scene shifts as if you were turning to look in that direction. High-end VR headgear costs $600 and up, but clever headsets from Samsung, Sony and others harness the screen and computing power of your smartphone to supply the hard bits. These headsets are built to a standard form factor developed by Google called Cardboard. It’s called Cardboard because you can make a viewer from a cardboard kit: last November the New York Times distributed 1.2 million of these viewers to support its expanding line of VR reportage pieces. The smartphone fits into the goggles; magnifying lenses allow each eye to focus separately on the dual images required for 3D perception. If this reminds you of an old-fashioned stereoscope, or a View-Master with its cunning disk of tiny transparent pictures of 101 Dalmations, it should: this method of providing 3D goes back almost 180 years. View-Master now sells its own VR viewer built to the Google Cardboard standard. The content for VR viewers is developed with special cameras that record a 360-degree visual field. Most of the content I’ve seen for Google Cardboard is relatively low-res and crude: high-end VR requires not only high-end professional camera rigs, but computing power beyond that of current smartphones. High-end VR capabilities and prices will certainly come down over the next couple of years: the technology is still in its early development phases.

Augmented Reality

Augmented reality is synthetic reality superimposed on “real” reality: look down 9th Avenue and see 3-1/2 stars hovering over that Argentine restaurant, and 4 over the Italian one. Or in a real battlefield see the guy behind that stone wall waiting for you with his AK-47, imagery courtesy the silent drone overhead, downloaded to your VR headgear and re-rendered for proper perspective. The AR “look” has begun to infiltrate media: in the Sherlock series with Benedict Cumberbatch, text messages between characters are superimposed over a street scene.

Virtual Reality and Books

While VR proponents are using many of the same bogus–and scientifically unsubstantiated–arguments that eBook proponents use to argue that eBooks should replace printed textbooks, it seems like there are obviously beneficial use cases for VR in training and education. Bosch, a major auto parts manufacturer, has used VR to train service techs to install and service its products: for complex physical objects, VR provides learning perspectives unavailable in 2D media.

Many of us, of course, are less interested in required reading and more interested in publishing and reading books as entertainment or aesthetic experience. Here the prospects for VR or AR are, I would say, questionable. Previous attempts to attach other media with books have suffered from bicycles-for-fish syndrome. The ancillary media is either just that, or the sum of alternative media and text somehow wind up being less than the parts. So-called “enhanced” eBooks are the perfect example. If an author does their job with the text, adding more stuff in doesn’t really add anything significant to the experience for the reader. For a publisher, it’s just more sunk costs to a project that has only a 20% chance of earning out to begin with, and for which readers are unlikely to pay any premium.

Such combinatory experiments are not new, and are not limited to books. As an undergraduate, I worked on a grand project involving music, film and slides–the term of the day was “multimedia”–which was totally engrossing to produce, and a dog’s breakfast to consume. Only in museums do these experiments seem to thrive, where curators and art mavens appear to be satisfied with ideas rather than experiences (or perhaps haven’t put on the goggles which show that, in fact, the emperor has no clothes).

Perhaps these composite forms just haven’t found their promethean creative figure, or killer app. Could be. And VR will likely be its own standalone medium, with a syntax unlike its progenitors in film and video games.

Enough kvetching. Back to books. Here are three examples of books using AR.

Disney Coloring Book

Disney engineers have produced a coloring book/AR app combo. The kid colors in the elephant, points the iPad camera at the page, and the app creates a dancing elephant colored the same as the colors the kid crayoned in. The app doesn’t care if the page isn’t flat or a little wrinkled, it still comes up with an amazing dancing elephant in the right colors. This is a tour de force of graphic programming. It’s awkward though. The hand-eye act of coloring is a particular experience–as millions of adults have discovered. Picking up an iPad to watch software do some wizardry is a different experience. Yet another bicycle for fish.

Guinness Book of World Records

Compare yourself to the tallest man ever! That’s the promise of the 2015 Guinness Book of World Records. How? Download the free app and scan the page with the Augmented Reality Alert Icon! Puts you in the picture with the tall guy, apparently. Given the essence of the Guinness Book appeal, this might be fun.

Between Page and Screen

This one’s cool: show the book to the application, and words dance off the page in shape poems and typographic animations. The pages have only inscrutable glyphs, which trigger the application (which runs on a computer) to generate the words. Unlike the examples above, which add media to the book, Between Page and Screen makes the book a secret code which unlocks media living on the computing device.

In all three cases, the book is printed with “marks” that act as cues to the visual processing software to do something. These marks can be QR codes, but more sophisticated software uses the image of the actual page itself to cue the software process, or so-called invisible barcodes.

The Book Plus AR Experience

In each of the AR cases above, the software application and computer are interposed between the eye and the book, as it were. The experience is awkwardly triangular: eye + book + device. Note that were they to utilize VR as well as AR, incorporating the physical book within the VR field produced by an VR headset, much of this awkwardness disappears. Which leaves only the awkwardness of the VR headset itself.

VR: The Form Factor Race

Right now VR and AR gear is ridiculous. Just putting it on my head reminds me of some of my ninth-grade daughter’s science projects. There is even social stigma: while Google Glass wearers at Book Expo attracted many a curious glance, the term Google Glassholes acquired rapid currency. Like looking at a View-master disk or a stereoscope card, using VR headgear has a big initial wow factor. You say, “That’s really cool!” and then put it back in the box and put it under the bed with other boxes of unused gadgets. That’s what I did anyway.

But imagine a world where the gear is actually wearable. That’s where the famous optical manufacturer Zeiss is going. Zeiss has produced prototypes that look just like well-designed eyeglasses. A company called Innovega is working on contact lenses that provide AR capabilities. And Apple, who certainly knows how to ace new form factors, is clearly working on VR.

The way to think about VR and AR is not to think about dorky three-pound headsets, but to think about VR and AR being more accessible than that smartphone your head is bent over right now, because it is part of eyeglasses or contacts you wear all the time. (Sixty percent of the people in the developed world already wear eyeglasses or contacts.) Part of the “augmentation” the glasses could provide could be much more practical than entertainment: vision correction that automatically adapts to changes in your eyes, instead of requiring new lens prescriptions; night vision. Wearable devices—perhaps smart watch and smart glasses talking to each other and sharing computer power and sensors—will replace the smartphone.



Virtual Reality Smell Porn: Get A Big Whiff Of The Future

Think porn already stinks? It’s just got a lot bit smellier thanks to the miracle of virtual reality.


Adult entertainment company CamSoda is introducing a gas mask designed to enhance its online sex shows by allowing users to smell scents chosen by the performers.


People who purchase its “OhRoma” technology will get the mask as well two canisters that fit into it. With the help of an app, the mask pairs with Bluetooth on a user’s smartphone.


Users can then watch a cam performer in virtual reality and experience the odors they’ve chosen from their own personal “scent profile.”

That can include everything from perfume odors to ocean smells to body odor and even the scent of sex organs.


CamSoda president Daron Lundeen believes odor-oriented porn is the next step to making virtual reality more real than ever.


“We’re trying to touch on every possible way to make VR more than just visual,” Lundeen told HuffPost.


Currently, a successful cam model can make between $75 to $100 for a 30-minute show, according to the company. Lundeen predicts using the “OhRoma” technology could add an additional 25 percent to those earnings.


Florida-based cam performer Victoria Ryan thinks “nose porn” is an idea whose time has come.


“There are a lot of guys who watch my shows who tell me, ‘God, I wish I could smell you,’” she told HuffPost. “And some will drop $50 just to buy my panties.”  


Ryan, 22, took great time and care preparing her smell profile based on a wide array of scent options.


“I wanted to incorporate something that smelled as close to me as possible,” she said. “I do a lot of beach and pool shows so I wanted to have the smell of salt water, sunscreen, maybe a chlorine smell or coconut tanning oil.”


She also looked for smells that matched her own body odor.


“I sort of wanted a fruity musky scent that would blend with a flowery perfume,” she said. “I imagine I will want to change that smell when I hit MILF status.”


Lundeen says different performers will use different scents for different shows. For instance, a woman dressing up like a horny housewife might want to incorporate the smell of baking bread into a show.


“The models will figure out what works and what doesn’t,” he said, quickly emphasizing that odors of urine and feces won’t be available.


Chicago-based smell researcher Dr. Alan Hirsch hasn’t examined the mask or the smells, but recommends performers familiarize themselves with odors known to increase sexual arousal before they create their smell profile.


“A lavender/pumpkin scent is the one that gets men most aroused, followed by a combination of donuts and black licorice,” Hirsch told HuffPost. “Some odors enhance empathy such as eucalyptus, menthol or camphor. A performer might want to use these to arouse sympathy.” 


Lundeen started taking pre-orders for the OhRoma mask on Wednesday at the Adult Entertainment Expo, a four-day porn convention held annually in Las Vegas.


He expects the sensory masks will be available in three months at an estimated price of $59.99. The smell canisters are designed to last between three to six months. Replacement canisters should sell for around $29.99.



%d bloggers like this: