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Monthly Archives: December 2015

  • Predictions for VR in 2016

    Virtual reality made a big splash in 2015. Google unveiled the awesome Cardboard V2 kit, an update to its much-appreciated first viewer. The year’s three biggest movie franchises (Star Wars, Jurassic World, and the Avengers) all released VR experiences on various platforms. But one of the biggest surprises was the good old New York Times releasing VR content. The New York Times showed how old media could work alongside new technology.

    But that’s for 2015. Taking stock of all the stuff that happened, you could probably guess what’s going to happen in 2016. Here are our own predictions:

    Greater competition will increase VR user base

    You could consider the Oculus Rift one of the gadgets responsible for the modern VR resurgence. Google answered in 2014 with Google Cardboard, which was more accessible and DIY. In late 2015, Microsoft unveiled the HoloLens, a “mixed reality” headset. There are some pretty big players in the scene, each shaping its own vision of virtual reality.

    This is a good thing, because it makes VR less fringe. More importantly, the presence of large companies could encourage developers and publishers to create more VR content. (Admittedly, VR content is still pretty slim pickings) And better, more compelling content is necessary to growing a user base. We see more hardware, more content, and ultimately, more people jumping on the VR train.

    Better integration with existing media

    Virtual reality isn’t an old-media killer, it’s an old-media enabler. It’s pretty unique because it doesn’t really replace anything that came before it (not even video). This gives VR a relevance across different media. New media such as gaming and online video are already using VR. But we predict VR will integrate further with traditional media such as print and TV, breathing new life to the old media guard.

    The artistic potential of VR will be realized

    Alongside its commercial uses, technology also has artistic applications. Virtual reality presents new possibilities for artists - especially video artists - to explore. We predict major exhibiting artists will present VR-based works during some of 2016’s biggest art fairs and exhibitions.

    Nothing we predicted will come true

    Right, how’s that for a disclaimer? Tech Nostradamuses we ain’t. Regardless of what we think is coming, VR will do what it does. It could build on the past, or it could makes a totally radical shift that no one saw coming. Either way, that’s the cool thing about technology. With that said, here’s the only 100% reliable prediction anyone can make: 2016 will surprise us all.

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    Photo Credit: Christian Schnettelker CC by 2.0

  • How VR Can Enhance Old Media

    Out with the old tech and in with the new. Like clockwork, a newer piece of tech always comes along that conveniently makes the last one obsolete. While overhyped tech critics may predict a war to emerge between the burgeoning VR movement and old incumbent companies, VR can easily integrate with existing media.

    Being the virtual dreamers that we are, we’re going to ask why not get the best of both worlds instead.

    Old Meets New

    It’s certainly hard to be cynical of VR’s grandiose future once you experience it for yourself. But does that spell certain doom for older media? It doesn’t and it shouldn’t. Remember that even the vintage such as vinyl records and old gaming consoles are still finding new life—even without any new tech infusion—these days.

    But in addition to the nostalgia of collecting outdated tech, there’s a certain X-factor when you bring in something old school and add a little twist to it. Just the experience of something new yet very familiar makes change a much less scary prospect and the resistance to it significantly lessened. Hence, our belief in the marriage of VR and old media.

    Take for instance what The New York Times did when they released a story about children displaced by war (scroll to previous blog post for reference). The mixture of traditional media forms and “cutting-edge technology” can make for a great dynamic which can both inform and entertain at the same time when used properly. Soon, we may have virtual magazines with the same availability of the ones we now have at the news stand. So we say, at the risk of sounding like tech hoarders, keep the old and enhance it with the new tech.

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    Virtual reality is taking us to places we’ve never been before. It isn’t a stretch to ask that we take the more traditional forms of media along for the virtual ride as well. After all, embracing emerging technology shouldn’t always equate to jilting the old aside.

    Photo Credit: Jon S. CC by 2.0

  • The Big Four: Film Franchises Riding the VR Wave

    In a recent blog entry, we promised a deeper look at famous entertainment franchises that have released noteworthy VR apps. These movies are some of the more memorable ones that have ridden the virtual wave and tickled our fancy in the process.

    Star Wars

    The Force Awakens immersive
    December is seeing a massive awakening in The Force. With a steady flow of releases over the next couple of years, one can hope that there will also be a steady wave of virtual releases too. And we’ll be the first to admit that app makers won’t need to resort to Jedi mind tricks for us to tell them to shut up, take our republic credits, and whisk us off in full immersive fashion to a galaxy far, far away.

    Paranormal Activity

    paranormal+activity+vr

    People love a good scare and there’s no more realistic a way than the virtual way. This was evident in popular VR apps such as Sisters. With Paranormal Activity being one of the most notable franchises to give you the shivers, its marriage with VR is definitely one for the books.

    The Hunger Games

    The Virtual take on the massively popular franchise that is Hunger Games gives users a stunningly dream-like experience. The six-minute journey through its post-apocalyptic setting is as intense as it gets and is sure to leave fans of the franchise wanting more.

    Jurassic World

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    Being one of the popular franchises of the 90s, Jurassic Park recently found new life and expanded into a (Jurassic) world of its own. And with the timely infusion of the 3D experience, you can be sure of more realistic giant reptiles come back from extinction to come your way. It’s definitely a step up from all the other dinosaur-themed apps that have proliferated in the market, that’s for sure.

    These well-loved franchises have done well to get a virtual infusion. And we are happy to have had our virtual fix.

  • How Virtual Reality is Assisting Real Life

    A few blog posts ago, we mentioned how the Virtual Reality Medical Center is using VR as a treatment for PTSD. It showed the real-world applications of a technology commonly used to escape it. This time around, we’ll expand on that theme and take a look at other practical, real-world uses for VR.

    Where to go to college

    Picking which college to attend is one of the biggest decisions of our lives. Google makes this task a lot less tedious as you won’t even need to go to every campus on your short list. With Google Street View, you can take virtual tours of the campuses on your radar and weed out the ones that don’t live up to your lofty standards.

    http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2462182,00.asp

    Traffic Safety

    On-road accidents have been a constant threat to our safety and well-being since we started getting behind the wheel. Through the use of virtual reality technology, student drivers can be subjected to simulated distractions similar to train them to concentrate better. Through this learners can focus on driving alone.

    Phantom Treatment

    Just as the field of medicine uses VR to cure PTSD, so to can it be used for the treatment of phantom pains for amputees. According to an experimental study, virtual reality applications can significantly reduce phantom pains even in severe cases.

    http://www.livescience.com/43665-virtual-reality-treatment-for-phantom-limb-pain.html

    Dissipating Dangers

    One of the constants in the practical uses of VR is that it can dissipate the dangers of certain situations done in real life through simulations. From medical treatments to the simple task of driving and even military training, VR affords users ample time to practice, in as close to real-life scenarios as possible, without any threat to physical well-being.

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    For as long as virtual reality has been around, we have been looking beyond mere entertainment applications. These are but a few ways and we are still finding new ways that it can affect us on a real level.

    As we are only just beginning to scratch the surface of what virtual reality can truly do for us, something tells us that the VR platform still has plenty more surprises waiting for us in the near future. And surprises will surely make a difference in how we live.

    Photo Credit

    Thomas Rousing CC by 2.0

  • VR Geekery: A Virtual Reality for Fandoms

    The term “geek” has undergone a 180-degree turn over the years. No longer conjuring images of someone you pick on at school and work for later on in life, geek is now chic—a badge of pride.

    In no other form is geekery more evident than when it comes to fandoms. Whether it is video games, movies, music, or comic books, you’re sure to find forums filled to the brim with devoted geeks ready and willing to fight to the death–pretty much—for their fandom.
    In this installment, we take a quick peek at how fandoms, as a whole, are accepting accessible VR.

    Hand and Glove
    The ultimate allure of virtual reality has always been that it is one step ahead of all forms of entertainment when it comes to vicarious experience. You strap on your virtual head set and you get escapism at its finest. Whether you’re thinking music (see our previous blog posts about Jaunt, Inc.), movies, TV series (Game of Thrones), or even sports, there has been widespread proliferation and acceptance from app developers & fans alike.

    It comes as no surprise. With the enhanced experience being the calling card of today’s accessible VR gear, it’s a perfect fit for the perfect fandoms.

    Virtuality and Beyond
    You won’t find anyone as guarded as a geek is when it comes to his or her fandom. Yet with VR finally living up to its promise after being merely an awkward reality, you can see why so many franchises are taking advantage of the medium and giving fans healthy servings to satiate their appetite a lot further than anything in 2D ever could.

    It doesn’t matter if you’re a four-eyed thirty-something who’s still living in your mom’s basement or if you’re an uber postmodern geek, once you don those VR goggles—you can be virtually anyone and go virtually anywhere as virtually real as it can possibly get.

    In our next installment, we’ll take a deeper look at the franchises who have recently released some notable VR apps.

  • Looking back at 2015

    With the new year three weeks away, now's a good time to look at all the cool stuff that happened in 2015. In twelve months, I AM Cardboard released two awesome, new headsets and embarked on wildly successful Kickstarter campaigns to support those products. We also upgraded some of our existing products and attended several tech conventions, including TechCrunch's Disrupt SF 2015.

    Below are some highlights of this awesome year:

    1. PCVR Kickstarter exceeds funding goals

    kickstarter-badge-funded

    On February 28, 1,229 backers helped us exceed our original funding goal by over four times. The headsets in the series - the XGVR and XGPC were an evolution in accessible VR.

    2. I AM Cardboard gets Google certification

    Works With Google Cardboard badge Works With Google Cardboard badge

    On April 22, Google validated our products by giving us the Works With Google Cardboard (WWGC) certification. A WWGC-certified product is guaranteed to work with all Google Cardboard apps. A WWGC badge also means a product adheres to Google's stringent standards.

    3. The V2 Cardboard kit is released

    FB kraft

    During the 2015 I/O conference, Google unveiled the new version of their cardboard kit. As good as the first version was, the V2 kit makes some pretty awesome improvements over the former, including wider phone compatibility and the option to use iPhones. On June 3, I AM Cardboard became one of the first cardboard producers to offer V2 cardboard kits. Our EVA kits were also upgraded with the same features.

    4. Introducing the dscvr headset

    sproing

    On early September, I AM Cardboard revealed an innovative new viewer - the dscvr headset. The viewer features a unique, spring-loaded chassis that makes it ergonomic and super-portable.

    5. Kickstarter campaign for the dscvr headset is launched 

    kickstarter-badge-funded

    To support the dscvr headset, we launched a Kickstarter on September 22. Much like the XGPC campaign earlier in the year, the dscvr campaign garnered a lot of attention and support from fans. 2,225 people supported the Kickstarter, helping us raise over three times the original funding goal.

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