Is it the time for an entirely augmented world?

How Augmented Reality Became Disruptive

In 2006 John Peddy Research pegged the value of augmented reality industry, a space generally reliant on webcams and desktops, to be in the ballpark of $150 million. This news was coupled with the disclaimer that the industry appeared to be growing rather quickly. By 2007 we understood that this disclaimer was more of a foreshadowing, as it marked the birth of the iPhone. This device set a precedent for smartphones which brought augmented reality apps into the hands of millions of people, sparking remarkable growth and sending the estimates soaring, with forecasts from Juniper Research expecting the industry to grow to 700 million by 2014. Fast forward to 2015, and you will find the valuations are getting out of control, with Digi-Capital projecting the augmented reality sphere to grow to $120 billion by 2020. This information necessarily precludes any debate over Augmented Reality’s membership into the “disruptive technology” club, and we are now left to determine its causes. ….[READ]


Shoe shopping in VR

Would You Shop For Shoes In Virtual Reality?

Does the future of retailing lie in a virtual shopping experience? That is what digital marketing agency SapientNitro and VR technology platform Sixense, are hoping may be the next wave of digital commerce. Sixense has shown off their technology before with their impressive STEM System advanced weapon mechanics and light saber battles in virtual reality. With less guns and robots, Sixense is also developing a virtual retailing solution it has been working on in parallel with these other experiences. This past week, Sixense announced a partnership with SapientNitro and the availability of a VR shopping platform called vRetail. Imagine your own private shopping experience where it is just you, a mannequin with your exact proportions, and shelves of shoes. ….[READ]


Experiencing sensory deprivation

Enter the labyrinth: getting lost in Door into the Dark

I started out in a box with white walls, a low chair, and a locked cabinet — the world’s most ominous waiting room. A map of some territory I don’t remember was fixed to one wall, and a ring of keys — old, rusty cartoon-jailer keys — hung from another. While I waited, I wondered if I was supposed to do something with them. I wondered if somebody was secretly watching me. I wondered what was behind the door with the bright yellow CAUTION sign tacked to it — the door into the dark. As I started to shoot pictures of the waiting room, the door cracked. I hastily packed away my camera, but it didn’t matter. The woman who walked in — the previous participant, I’d been told — had her face and eyes completely covered by some kind of white mask, attached to a hard hat and a pair of giant headphones. And behind her was my first glimpse of the void that I was about to enter. ….[READ]


The virtual workplace

The Machines Are Coming

The machine hums along, quietly scanning the slides, generating Pap smear diagnostics, just the way a college-educated, well-compensated lab technician might. A robot with emotion-detection software interviews visitors to the United States at the border. In field tests, this eerily named “embodied avatar kiosk” does much better than humans in catching those with invalid documentation. Emotional-processing software has gotten so good that ad companies are looking into “mood-targeted” advertising, and the government of Dubai wants to use it to scan all its closed-circuit TV feeds. Yes, the machines are getting smarter, and they’re coming for more and more jobs. Not just low-wage jobs, either. Today, machines can process regular spoken language and not only recognize human faces, but also read their expressions. ….[READ]


Are social interactions in VR different?

How virtual reality is going to fix society and humanize social media

We reported earlier that reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian made reference to a reddit VR platform on the GearVR. In that article, I tried to imagine what that app might look like, especially within the constraints of the device. That was all a vision of a translation of the site, a port if you will, for VR. But what if they did something even more crazy? What if they turned reddit VR into something much better suited for the social medium of VR, something closer to the social VR experiences of VRChat, AltspaceVR, and Convrge? Theorist Kenneth Burke was famous for a number of things, including founding the theory of Dramatism which looks at the ways in which people interact with one another. He viewed the world through the lens of the theater and viewed human drama as being motivated by five key elements – act, scene, agent, agency, and purpose. ….[READ]

Filming virtual lives


Unfriended is the first film to accurately capture our virtual lives

Of all the fantasies that Hollywood serves up for us every week, there is one myth that is the most consistently unrealistic across genres, budgets, and countries of origin: our supposedly casual relationships with computers. Most film and television, no matter the story being told, offers a vision of a world in which humans in developed societies are only at a computer two, three minutes a day. It’s a disbelief we suspend almost without thinking about it, for good reason: watching someone go about their daily business on a computer or smartphone is not very entertaining. But at the same time, art and life are beginning to diverge: there’s a fictional, cinematic world where the bulk of the developments in our daily lives happen in physical spaces, face to face with other people; and our real lives, where more and more of the defining moments in our lives happen on a screen. …[READ]

Virtual reality in fashion


What fashions’s California dreams feel like in virtual reality

It’s safe to say that at this point, tech has transformed the way we experience fashion. We follow the industry (and more importantly, their pets) on Instagram. We drop in on fashion week—shoeless, sometimes—by live streaming shows from our Macbook Airs. And e-commerce for all intents and purposes has rendered fitting rooms beyond passé. What’s next, teleportation? Well, almost. Last year, ELLE partnered with tech company Jaunt for the first-ever virtual reality fashion experience that let viewers feel what it’s like to be on set at a fashion shoot. Now, premium denim brand 7 For All Mankind is getting in on this cutting-edge technology to share a completely immersive narrative of their spring collection with consumers: a virtual reality film called “Visions of California.” ….[READ]