Be a Skater, or Ballet Dancer, without Commitment, Investment, or Being in Shape
I danced ballet when I was young. I've been wanting to get back into it as adult but the inevitable post college weight gain happened, and when I put pointe shoes on, I felt like every single bone in my foot broke simultaneously. I felt like a t-rex hippo trying to dance.
So when I watched this video, of people skateboarding in VR with a "skateboard" the natural application I thought of this was for dancing.
D-Box, a company that makes motion systems for entertainment and industrial use, has made this "skateboard" that has mechanics under it that are similar to hydraulics on a car that move it up and down. They sync the movement of the skateboard so it reacts to how you're skating. While not perfect, reports read do feel as though you're skating.
In it's current form, the cost is prohibitive from the average person owning one, so you'll have to continue to do this the real way, or sans the mechanical skateboard and use Oculus with games like Tony Hawk's Pro Skater.
Upon more search of VR with ballet specifically, I uncovered the video above, of La Peri, where you can actually play the role of someone on stage. Be warned, that it involves significant equipment and space as of now, and not something in your living room anytime soon, nevertheless very cool. Equally moving is the first comment under the video, of a viewer that lives in a rural area and has always wanted to watch a ballet live. Accessibility is wonderful and VR makes this possible.
When/if this technology is refined, imagine "picking up a skill" sans:
-Investment in equipment for different activities
-Having to worry that you have the correct body type
-Having to find a facility/area where you can do the activity (what if you don't live within proximity to any place where you can? e.g. no dance studios near me, no soccer field, etc.)
-Having to incur time and financial cost to go to this area
-General sacrifice that comes with being good at anything
Remodeling and construction are in most people's lives at some point. Whether you want to update your kitchen, need new fixtures for your bathroom, are moving into a new office space, or are opening the restaurant or retail store of your dreams. The list goes on, and all of these involve lots of time and money spent on design and construction.
If you've ever embarked on anything construction related you know it's usually more money, time, and headaches than you budget for. I know from experience with a small commercial building I did with my dad, to my brother's self contracted warehouse space, to a simple deck in our Bellevue, WA backyard my dad built.
Enter mixed reality (MR), and many design and construction issues are resolved! Synonymous with augmented realty- mixed realty is when the environment is the actual one you're in, and your viewer overlays fabricated images and objects. DIRRT, a publicly traded Canadian manufacturer of sustainable customized interiors, debuted their MR design technology, ICEreality, this past week, at the annual construction
show, NeoCon. Here are a few problems their technology solves:
Working with the designer is time consuming and we have to go back and forth several times before we agree on all aspects. Even then, I'm heavily reliant on the designer's suggestions and usually the reputable designers are very, very pricey.
MR Solution: You can see actual objects inserted into the actual space you are constructing in/on, in real time You can change a drywall to a glass wall and see what it looks like instantly. You can play on your own, or have a designer do it for you, or both.(PLEASE watch video above starting at 01:19 to view the glory of this description).
Construction Management Problems
When doing DIY construction, many times too many or too little materials are purchased, resulting in waste or an additional trip (i.e. cost) to the store. If you hired a contractor, sometimes, there is an issue of trust with the contractor in materials procurement- i.e. do you really need a truckload of cement? (another bonus- you can make that small design change, see what it looks like in a matter of seconds, and it might save you thousands of dollars!)
MR Solution: Exact measurements with materials to match in place before anything is built. A transparent itemized list of things can be made, so you can see where every piece goes, down to where the tiles and nails are (ok, I made this second sentence up, it's just a guess at something I think will be easily possible with this technology). Please watch at 06:40 of the video to see what I'm referencing.
Real Estate Sales Problems
It's so competitive. Everywhere you look there are cranes in cities all over the world, many of these constructing residential, commercial, and office buildings that need to be leased or sold, locally and internationally.
MR Solution: For all three types of real estate, MR lets them fill and design the space before (or after) it's built. Staging companies- those that fully furnish homes for the purpose of selling are popular in the US, and now this can be done via MR without the need for heavy lifting!
With MR you can now more easily design, plan, build, furnish, and sell whatever real estate project you're working on. No need for anyone to worry about losing jobs, I doubt this will replace any human, but if you want to be ahead of the curve, best in class, or gain more international clientele, it would be a wise choice to get on this technology as early as you can.
What is a VR Backpack?
Alienware, for those of us not into extreme gaming, is a company that makes very expensive hardware for people very into gaming, and now they are venturing into the VR Backpack space, or exploring it at least.
A bit stunned at WTF could this be, I had to further investigate what a VR backpack was and here it is: wearing a computer on your back, so you don't have to trip over cables and be limited to the proximity of the PC, when you use a PC based VR headset (as you currently need to with all the major robust headsets).
Personally not a gamer so please read on about the other notables that are already in the game: HP and Zotec. Even more reading here.
TiltBrush by Google allows you to paint in 3D using VR. Watch the video to see all it's glory.
I'm a little bit speechless by the cool level of this gadget. Though I'm sure adults will love it, I think this is great for kids for many reasons but the main thing is it will encourage them to MAKE things. We don't have enough people making things anymore.
Whether it be making buildings, or this lovely volcano in the video, it will get kids more excited about careers in architecture, infrastructure, science, and other spaces that are traditionally perceived as not that exciting or have no creative components to them. This is a great creative outlet for anyone, and will incite much needed curiosity that leads to people investing time in something and then (gasp) becoming good/great at it and then (gasp) they've found their passion.
I guess in the future we will all have empty rooms in our homes. Living room, kitchen, garage, bathroom, bedroom, VR room. It will be a luxury like a home theater, and if you don't have one, you'll have to go to the mall equivalent.
Read More Here
Wanna feel conflicted? Watch this video.
Samsung Bedtime VR Stories are stories parent and child can read and experience together with the use of their VR headset. Yes, that simple. Going away on business trips now seems a little less taxing on the family unit.
Samsung has done something really cool- attempted to solve an actual problem using technology. I use the word attempted because I don't think it's a perfect solution yet but it's a big step in the right direction. I was conflicted watching the video because when it comes to parenting I'm still a bit of a traditionalist and hope that I will be able to do these things in person. I think that's the way it should be, but between this and the Hololens use case, we can fulfill our alpha female/male ambitions and never have to choose! Or so we think. Anyway, by the time I have a child you'll probably be able to tickle people in VR.
Though this video illustrates the use case for upper middle class families, I can also see this being a great solution for low to middle income families.
Parents work abroad and send money home to children. These parents often have very long periods of time without going home (read: years and years). They can now experience at least part of their child's childhood.
Military/People in the service
Parents living abroad while serving their country can still have experiences with their kids.
Low Income Families
Parents who work multiple jobs, rarely home. Maybe you can read to your child for 10 minutes during a break. Maybe this is creepy, but what if there were a repository of parent read recordings a latchkey child could access?
More information on Samsung Bedtime VR Stories
Solitary confinement and blindness are obviously terrible things but then why was my gut reaction, "wow, I'd like to know what that's like?" when presented the option? Same can be said of horror movies, war video games, or other stressful situations we put ourselves through. Why do we bother?
Entirely different discussion, but the point is, now we can experience these situations in a more realistic way than ever. People will pay for that. People paid to watch Scream 1, 2 AND 3 to feel aggravated and stressed for a few hours.
Some very cool examples of this media that doesn't exist for pure entertainment purpose are:
1. 6x9 An Immersive Experience in Solitary Confinement as shown at the Tribeca Film Festival. You can experience what nearly 80,000 incarcerated people in the United States experience- a completely controlled environment with no human contact and no light of day.
2. In Notes on Blindness, you can follow writer and academic John Hull's journey into blindness. The work is based on years of his auto cassette recordings of the deterioration of his mind into darkness.
Even though this is on the darker side, immersive reality also has it's place in more lighthearted experiences for people, like second life-- the Kardashians should be on this if they aren't already!
What are your thoughts? Who do you want to be for a few minutes? Or hours, or days? Or just get straight to the point, who's life do you want?
360 Video: Game of Thrones
Imagine if your favorite shows were all a 360 degree experience. You'll have to wonder a little longer, but here's a cool taste of it- the opening intro of Game of Thones has been nicely done into a 360 video.
Best viewed on your phone, but still works on desktop. Use your mouse to drag away and see different angles.
Check it out on their Facebook page.
Focus: Microsoft Hololens (AR)
I recently watched a demo showcasing Microsoft Hololens where a father is able to play with his daughter remotely- it looks like she's there and they are interacting in real time. It has been the most practical and impressive use of AR technology I've seen. It was straight out of Star Wars but even cooler.
In an increasingly global landscape where people are more transient than ever, it's people and specific human connection that we yearn for.
People all over the world and across various socio-economic statuses all have long distance relationships of the family, friends, work, or romantic sort. That makes nearly the entire world the possible user. Everyone wants something that is not within physical proximity, whether it be a person, place, or thing, and that is the power of this technology.
The headset, which debuted just a few weeks ago, is pricer than the Oculus Rift; it costs 3,000 USD for the developer kit. More information on the buzz about it happened at Build 2016.
Notes on F8 and VR
F8, facebook's developer conference, happened this past week with lots for the AR community to be excited about. To give you an idea how high AR | VR was on the agenda- those lucky enough to attend got a free Samsung Gear VR and Galaxy S6 which, signals "you better get on this."
Launch: HTC Vibe
The VR headset from HTC was released yesterday, at a 799 USD, not too far from it's competitor, Oculus Rift, and really seems to give the Rift some heat.
It has two very important elements lacking from other headsets: 1) Room sensors that track your movement around the room and 2) Hand controllers so you can interact and really move in the environment you're "in"
Between these two, you get "room scale VR" meaning, in case your mind was still functional and not blown to pieces after looking around a new world, you can actually move around (note: you need lots of space) this new world and interact with objects and things without pressing a pesky button to represent your hands and feet like on the cheap sets (all I can access or afford right now, no shame).
Here's a concrete example, or at least as concrete as it gets in VR. You're in a world, and there's a cute dog. You want to play with it, so you can grab a ball or stick and throw it. The dog goes after it. Happiness ensues. (View Valve video below)
All of this craziness doesn't come easily. Just like the Rift, you'll need to drop some serious cash, both for hardware and for space in your home. Recommended: PC w/ Intel Core i545-90 or AMD FX 8350 and Nvidia GeForce GTX 970 or AMD Radeon R9 290 to get the 90 second refresh rate just like the rift. Others I've seen listed are Alienware X51 gaming PC with an Nvidia GTX 970 graphics card (1200 USD worth of plastic and semiconductors and metals)
Honestly, I'm a regular person and at the time of this writing, I have little idea what I typed in terms of computing requirements, but those things sound expensive enough for me to not buy.
According to an ign review, you'll also need a 6x12 feet space, so anyone that lives in a studio or one bedroom in Asia can just... make friends with someone that has a house. Not to worry, you can still play some games with more fulfillment than the Rift, as long as you can move your arms around comfortably.
Assuming you have all this down, you'll need to mount the senors on the wall (permanent) or keep them on stands. These are to track your head and hands. They're only 3 inch cubes so not so much of a hassle. Once you've found them a home on opposite corners of your space, you need to plug them in. Then you need to connect the two with the cable provided. To make a long story short, there's a total of five cables, three of which need to be plugged into the wall at all times. Rift has none.
-Hand controllers that actually feel like your hands in your virtual world
-Pass thru camera lets you get a glimpse into the real world when needed
-Chaperone system to alert you if you're going to collide with anything in real life
-Very high quality viewing and interactive experience
-Can do lots other sets can't
-1.2 pounds, kind of front heavy
-Frequent adjustment off the headset because it fits weird
-Lacks built in headphones (unlike Rift)
-Crazy amount of cables and power requirements and setup. A three cable bundle to your PC is a constant obstacle in your adventures
Valve's Review (hard to watch without getting jealous)
HTC Vibe Site
VR & AR are for everyone.