How to increase environmental awareness

What if virtual reality is our best chance to save the planet? This weekend, I found myself deeply depressed after attending the Sundance premiere of Racing Extinction, Louis Psihoyos’ newest documentary about the human-made mass extinction that is currently threatening the planet — but not for the obvious reasons. A lot of the material is not news for the average follower of environmental affairs: An unprecedented spike in carbon dioxide, an acidifying ocean that’s slowly ending aquatic life as we know it, and rapidly disappearing species all over the globe. Sad, but pretty much par for the course. What really … Continue reading How to increase environmental awareness

Simulating food

Forget Virtual Reality. Are You Ready for Virtual Sushi? Magic Leap, Microsoft’s HoloLens, and Oculus VR hope to fool our eyes. A small team of designers, engineers, and chefs have cooked up a “gastronomical virtual reality experience” that uses head-mounted displays, 3-D printers, and food science to trick our taste buds. Project Nourished combines brightly colored experimental cuisine, crafted from agar and pectin, with VR simulations intended to make those meager morsels seem tastier than they really are. If creator Jinsoo An succeeds, diners will don a virtual reality headset and be transported to a place where the Jello-like wedge placed … Continue reading Simulating food

Is VR for the age of the Consumer?

How to use virtual reality to augment customer experience Now that Microsoft has unveiled the brand new Windows 10, there’s a huge buzz surrounding the operating system and, above all, its futuristic feature called Holographic. Of all the announcements Microsoft made during the event, in fact, the company’s new virtual reality headset called HoloLens immediately dominated the news. Redmond’s giant has officially entered the VR arena, and wants to redefine how companies augment customer experience. Sci-fi dreamers and futuristic designers have always craved the ability to enter a new reality using technological appendices. These devices, acting as an extension and … Continue reading Is VR for the age of the Consumer?

Seeing your body in virtual reality

Virtual Reality Is 1,000X Better When You Can See Your Own Hands The biggest companies in the world are pouring millions of dollars into virtual reality. And watching this video, you can start to see why there’s such enormous potential. This video comes from PewDiePie, who has become one of the most prolific and popular (and profitable) YouTubers on the planet by streaming video games. This video shows the first time he paired an Oculus Rift virtual reality headset with the Leap Motion Controller, which can sense your hands and gestures in 3D. The result: As you move he moves … Continue reading Seeing your body in virtual reality

How immersive journalism can increase engagement

Virtual reality breathes life into immersive storytelling The craft of storytelling is experiencing a sea-change in its development. Putting a viewer in the event directly with the help of virtual reality technology is what journalists are likely to be doing in the next decade. Nonny de la Peña, CEO of Emblematic Group, is considered a pioneer of immersive journalism. An award-winning documentary filmmaker with twenty years of journalism experience, she has found a new way to cover events exactly as they happened and make the viewer part of them.“This is a very evocative manner in which the stories can be … Continue reading How immersive journalism can increase engagement

Browsing the web with Oculus Rift

Mozilla Wants To Bring Virtual Reality To The Browser Last summer, Mozilla launched a very experimental version of Firefox with support for web-based virtual reality apps that could be experienced through the Oculus Rift. Earlier this week, support for WebVR also landed in Firefox’s Nightly and Developer Edition release channels. So why is Mozilla working on virtual reality when its mission is to “promote openness, innovation and opportunity on the Web?” At a talk last summer, Mozilla’s Josh Carpenter argued that the organization knows VR will be a “really big deal” and because “it presents a really great challenge — … Continue reading Browsing the web with Oculus Rift

How Artificial Intelligence worked out its virtual environment

pwned by a self-learning AI Backchannel has a fascinating profile of DeepMind founder Demis Hassabis which although an interesting read in itself, has a link to a brief, barely mentioned study which may herald a quiet revolution in artificial intelligence. The paper (available online as a pdf) is entitled “Playing Atari with Deep Reinforcement Learning” and describes an AI system which, without any prior training, learned to play a series of Atari 2600 games to the point of out-performing humans. The key here is ‘without any prior training’ as the system was not ‘told’ anything about the games. It worked … Continue reading How Artificial Intelligence worked out its virtual environment