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Tag Archives: VR

  • Lonely or Bored on V-Day? VR Can Help!

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    Virtual (and immersive) reality has already helped the dating and sex lives of so many people to become so much more interesting, that Valentine's Day applications seem par for the course. If you don't have a date, are in a long-distance relationship, or simply want to try something new this approaching day of hearts, here are a few virtual practices we think you'd like to give a go (and maybe make a tradition of).

    Cyborg Dating

    Photo via Augmented Reality Trends Photo via Augmented Reality Trends

    What you'll need:  a partner, a Google Cardboard headset, a smartphone, the Cyborg Dating app, and a healthy dose of fun and trust

    Contrary to its name, no, you won't be dating a cyborg but a real person, like a special friend or someone you're willing to go traipsing around town with. This augmented reality experience is designed to have couples bond while on a date in the real world - except one of them is experiencing it virtually (in a forest) while the other "guides" both of them in public spaces. It's a thrilling trust activity that requires hand-holding and close contact to avoid real-life obstacles like crowds, traffic, etc.  The couple can gauge how their date is going via their smartphone, and can also switch to night-mode if they want a more romantic ambience.

    Coffee x Augmented Reality

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    What you'll need: a smartphone, the Starbucks Cup Magic app, a special Starbucks season cup, and coffee (partner optional)

    Don't discard that heart-adorned Starbucks cup that comes with your mocha frap! It serves an entertaining purpose: line the heart up with your phone's field of vision, and you will see hearts and petals flying out of it. You can also send a video of this hearty phenomenon as an e-card through email or social media sites.

    V-Day VR Card From a Secret Admirer

    Image courtesy of VRGifts Image courtesy of VRGifts

    What you'll need: a Google Cardboard headset, the VRGifts Valentine Card app, someone you admire to send the card to

    Greeting cards are here to stay no matter what form they come in. Valentine VRGifts wants you to act on your secret admirer fantasies by sending that special someone a virtual reality greeting card - but with a twist. You and the person receiving it have to play a couple of mini-games using the smartphone and Cardboard viewer so that they can find out who is sending them a Valentine (and has a secret crush on them all this time!). Romantic? Yes. Creepy? Maybe. Fun? Oh, heck yeah.

  • 360 Photography: No Turning Back

    Photography has come a long way. Only a century ago, Daguerre, through copper sheets and iodine vapors, introduced the method that would eventually give birth to modern photography. Fast forward to 2016 and capturing images is no longer limited to royalty and the aristocracy - or for taking images of dead relatives. Perhaps, much to the chagrin of professional photographers, anyone with a mobile phone or a digital camera can point, shoot, post on social media, and go on with their routine.

    Now, here comes another innovation. Facebook recently launched a new way of presenting images. Through its 360 photo app, users can now post photos and let other users explore the images in full 360 degrees.

    Like almost anything on social media, the concept may appear to be temporary and with no real benefit, except maybe for boasting about that vacation in Tibet. However, panoramic photography is not a modern day concept. The moment Daguerre came up with his clever method, scientists and inventors have been thinking of ways to produce panoramic images. Simply because words and drawings have limitations, those folks quickly realized that the accuracy offered by panoramic photography greatly benefits science and the arts.

    Where perspective is important, panoramic photography plays a vital role. Both architecture and engineering students and professionals, for example, can take a panoramic shot of a site (or structure) and evaluate details or how the said structure relates to its surrounding areas. In archaeology, capturing an archaeological site in 360°, offers a precise recording of where artefacts were found and places it in a larger context. Then there’s forensic science – a panoramic overview of a crime scene creates a 3D environment and can corroborate clues. Businesses can also use 360° photos as a marketing tool and offer a virtual tour of their shops.

    So is 360° photography a fad? Sure, it can be used to raise one’s social media status but given its benefits to different fields – there’s no turning back now.

  • Architecture Meets VR

    Image courtesy of Buzzle.com Image courtesy of Buzzle.com

     

    Virtual reality is fast proving itself to be a versatile tool for many industries. Tech-savvy firms, from advertising to media outlets, are aligning themselves with all the potential that VR can unleash in their respective fields. If there is any industry that can fully benefit from all that virtual reality has to offer, it would have to be architecture. Here are several good reasons why.

    Simulations can simplify

    Architectural renderings and blueprints can not explain themselves, especially to everyday folks. With VR, simulations can easily solve that. You won't have to provide a lengthy explanation of where certain structural details go, because the client can simply "walk around" the space and see for themselves which goes where.

    Exciting new innovation can give your branding a boost

    VR is already being used by many firms, but architecture still has to fully dive into the experience. It's safe to say that it's an exciting new innovation given all its potential for mapping out real-time spaces. Early adopters of this technology can have bragging rights about being at the forefront of a cutting-edge trend, while reaping the benefits of a brand that wisely knows which innovations to invest in.

    A visceral experience to offer clients

    The days of blueprints and rendered images to convince a client of how architecturally sound a structure is will soon be over. 3D renderings have worked fine for decades, but VR has the capacity to allow clients to really drink in the details of a room, home, building, or outdoor space. Virtual reality can offer a virtual walk-through. When a design appeals to a person's emotions, it is more likely to be chosen over a rendering that merely shows a lay-out.

     

  • Star Wars' VR Experience as a Storytelling Medium

    Last December, Star Wars Episode VII was released, and movie fans everywhere took a trip back to that galaxy far far away. The story of a young scavenger girl, a conflicted soldier, and a rebellion - sorry, we meant resistance -  was shown on thousands of screens around the world. That story played out primarily as a cinematic experience, but sometimes you need supplemental media to feel just how deep and vast that world is.

    star-wars-force-awakens-1500x1000

    Star Wars has always embraced multimedia when telling stories (Gen Xers will remember Shadows of the Empire, a story set between Episodes V and VI, and told through a myriad of books, comics, and video games), and this openness to new technology was apparent in the 360 virtual reality experience for The Force Awakens.

    In the interactive video, you blast through the barren wastes of Jakku while riding Rey's customized speeder. You can pan the camera (your POV) in any direction. Remnants of Star Destroyers loom. Stuff blows up around you.  It's an in media res story that requires you to fill in a lot of gaps. In theory, the experience sounds simple enough. It's an interactive video that's still somewhat passive.

    Screen Shot 2016-03-14 at 5.38.02 PM

    But in practice, it actually adds to our overall experience of the movie. It, simply put, tells a story. It's not a deep story, but it gives the senses a lot to chew on- from the terrain littered with the remnants of the Battle of Jakku to marauding scavengers and pirates. It presents these fossilized bits of history from a more visceral perspective (you can almost feel the groan of those repulsors!), giving us an even deeper appreciation for the film.

    Screen Shot 2016-03-14 at 5.38.13 PM

    Supplemental content such as this will become an even bigger part of the promotional push for big genre movies. The fact that it's a promotional tool doesn't take away from its storytelling possibilities. Star Wars The Force Awakens Immersive 360 Experience shows the potential for virtual reality as a story telling medium. We can't wait to see what comes next!

  • Virtual Reality Can Put Better Context to Museum Displays

    Art aficionados began to see the exciting possibilities of virtual reality when Disney announced that Salvador Dali's 1935 painting Archeological Reminiscence of Millet's "Angelus" will be brought to life using virtual reality. This hardly comes as a surprise since, as we wrote in a previous article, surrealism and VR blend seamlessly in countless ways.

    But what about the other, non-surreal contexts of museum and gallery displays? For instance, how does one contextualize an ordinary day in the Bronze Age, where no towering, skeletal figures against a backdrop of birdsong, crescent moon, and gloomy skies exist to fire up the imagination? What if museum goers need a real, immersive (and largely unexciting) experience to understand how our ancestors lived, survived, and carved history for themselves and for the rest of civilization?

    Enter the British Museum's 4000-year old roundhouse virtual reality project, which invites visitors to engage in the past in a more intimate way than merely ogling dusty artifacts under glass. The project was launched in the last quarter of 2015, with thousands of young visitors having taken part in the experiment in its first weekend alone. Located at the basement of the museum's Great Court, this first foray into virtual reality and digital interpretation of historical artifacts features three Bronze Age objects that were recently discovered. They are placed within their original context, and augmented with a series of gallery talks to further contextualize their possible purpose and function.

    “The technology is particularly useful for the bronze age, a difficult period for visitors to engage with and imagine museum objects in their original context,” the gallery curator Neil Wilkin said. And while the museum's senior staff admitted that the technology involved (a VR headset and a tablet) took some getting used to, younger staff and students embraced the experience more willingly and with more excitement.

    In the consequent immersions and talks that followed, some very interesting views and theories cropped up: that objects previously judged to be merely ornamental may have more practical functions, and that people did not necessarily "live in filth" 4000 years ago. Given a less "boring" way to look at these artifacts, museum-goers began thinking more critically and looking beyond first impressions, and crafting a more intimate experience of the past in different contexts.

    What was originally seen as something to exclusively augment the gaming technology now has a place in heritage use, thanks to the democratizing effect of Cardboard headsets and its various inceptions. As Salvador Dali once said: "Surrealism is destructive, but it destroys only what it considers to be shackles limiting our vision." Virtual reality is finally unshackling the limits of seeing and imagining, and the future is so bright, you gotta wear ---- VR headsets.

  • FAQ: Six dscvr questions answered!

    1. "I want this! Wait. What is this thing again?"

    Easy, buddy. We're here to help you out. The dscvr headset is a virtual reality headset for smartphones. You run VR apps on your smartphone and use the dscvr headset to view them. The gyro of your smartphone tracks your head's movement, giving you a fully-immersive experience.

    The headset was inspired by the Cardboard V2 viewer, but with upgraded materials and features.

    dscvr headset multi

    2. "You mentioned phone. How will my phone stay in place? And will (insert phone model) work with it?"

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    Your phone will be secured by a silicone flap. Silicone naturally repels dirt and has a strong, grippy surface. You're phone ain't going nowhere when it's strapped in.

    The dscvr headset will also work with lots of different iOS and Android phones; it works best with phones with four- to six-inch displays.

    3. "Interesting. Can I use these with glasses?"

    It depends on the size of your glasses. Larger frames may not fit inside the viewer, but smaller wire frames should fit. To give you an idea, here's the inner width of the viewer:

    dscvr headset measurement

    4. "What makes this unique from other VR headsets?"

    By far the coolest feature of the dscvr headset is the spring-loaded chassis. When not in use, the rear half of the body slips over the front, reducing the headset's thickness by almost half. When you're ready to use it, press both buttons to extend the chassis.

    dscvr a super portable VR kit

    5. "I saw your Kickstarter campaign. What makes the headset 'roadworthy'?"

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    Most cardboard headsets don't really travel very well; you can't just toss them into your bag before hitting the road. The dscvr headset addresses that. It's totally sturdy and ergonomic- and it even has a hard carrying case. This is the viewer for having VR adventures while you're out having real ones.  So, yeah. It's roadworthy!

    6. "Can I have a dscvr headset with (insert custom design and/or picture of pet) printed on it?" 

    If you want a custom VR headset, getting a custom V2 kit would be the easiest, most cost-effective option. Learn more by emailing cs@imcardboard.com.

  • Why Surrealism and Virtual Reality Go Hand in Hand

    When the Dali Museum in St Petersburg Florida put up the "Disney and Dali: Architects of the Imagination" exhibit this month, visitors experienced how seamless surrealism and VR melded together. But this dreamy, virtual reality immersion amid bird cries, melting telephones, a bare landscape, and other trippy forms under a moody sky could just be the tip of the iceberg for the vast landscape possibilities of surrealism and VR. Here are a few reasons why they're a perfect match.

    Surrealism encourages the use of all the senses

    There is something about surrealist art that takes it off the walls, and right into the realm of the imagination where great art should be in the first place. It invites viewers to engage the senses apart from the visual, and actually hear, smell, and touch images and scenes laid out in front of you.

    Virtual reality does the same, and then some. With apps that encourage participation beyond the usual two-dimensional practices, you can fight your way out of tight spots, immerse yourself in the music of the maestros, and travel to places you could only dream of or imagine.

    Surrealism questions the nature of reality

    In the introduction written by Mark Burstein for the Dali-illustrated edition of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, he described surrealists as deliberately seeking "outrage and provocation in their art and lives and questioned the nature of reality." It's not far-fetched to use the same argument with the pioneers of virtual reality, who sought to go beyond what conventional photography and video offer, and added layers of "reality" to create something more tangible and magical.

    Surrealism provides accessibility into the unconscious and imaginary

    To bridge the imagination with art, surrealists had to tap into the unconscious and use their skills to translate what they see or hear or feel. This is true for surrealist visual art, literature, film, philosophy, music, and popular culture - and now, the same can be said for applications of virtual reality. The irrational, the imaginary, and fantasies that used to be the stuff of dreams that dissolve in the morning light, can now be accessed with a few clicks and tilts of the head.

  • 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.

  • Five Pioneering Industries For Virtual Reality

    Image courtesy of the British Museum

    History has known many great pioneers. The same rings true for virtual reality. It is a medium that’s transforming the world as we know it—from entertainment to communication to  virtually anything in-between. Not surprisingly, there are industries that blazed a trail and laid a solid foundation for it. Here are five (plus one!) noteworthy industries that did exactly that.

    Music
    Paul McCartney. Jack White. These are but two artists whose live performances have been captured and thus immortalized through VR—courtesy of Jaunt Inc. While some may still argue that video was responsible for killing radio stars of days gone by, we argue that it won’t be the same case for VR because it has the potential to bring any artist—past, present, or future—right to the forefront in full immersive fashion.

    The Arts
    Through various collections of artifacts, museums give visitors a chance to go on an immersive walk through history. So it makes sense for that world to collide with VR. One of the finest moments of virtual reality meets art  was when the British Museum used VR to give visitors a feel for what life was like during the Bronze Age.

    Medicine (Education)
    It is a looming reality in the medical world that there are procedures that doctors rarely perform but must be done with speed and pinpoint accuracy when needed. As such, medicine has seen an increase in the use of medical simulations to prepare medical practitioners. This includes delicate procedures (such as cricothyrectomy) to more common ones (such as CPR). VR allows doctors to practice procedures without the possible consequences.

    Gaming
    There’s just no denying that the gaming industry was and is the most fertile ground upon which VR applications grow, continue to grow, and thrive on. Though the VR console from Sega never came to fruition all those years ago, the seed that was planted definitely took root and sprung like hope eternal as seen in the abundance of gaming apps available today.

    The Adult Industry
    Whenever a new piece of technology comes along, you can be sure that adult entertainment will be right in front of the cue. It is, after all, a multi-million dollar industry that caters to one of humanity’s most primal instincts.

    And as an interesting plus one...

    Politics
    Politics could be a dirtier world than the previous industry. Regardless, President Obama’s virtual appearance  makes it clear that politics and VR can mesh. It might not be far-fetched to think that the 2016 elections can be influenced by it. Just as MTV was utilized for Bill Clinton’s presidential bid back in the nineties as a way to reach the youth, so too can VR play a pivotal role in the 2016 presidential race.

    Virtual reality has always been touted as a "tomorrow" technology; one we could only dream of. With these pioneering industries cashing in on that promise, you can bet your bottom dollar that the dream is now a reality we can enjoy.

  • Google Cardboard x Adult Entertainment

    Google Cardboard and adult entertainment

    When Google Cardboard was launched, the first to get excited over its possibilities were gamers and little else. Some enterprising companies catering to a more risque industry, however, also saw lots of potential in the humble-looking cardboard kids.

    BaDoink is one of the few pioneering adult entertainment companies who ventured into virtual reality for their products. They are also giving away free Google Cardboard headsets. Within 24 hours of this announcement, BaDoink ran out of their first stock 10,000 headsets, and have put in an order immediately after for double that amount to meet customer demands.

     

    When asked why they were doing this, BaDoink's reply was in keeping with the spirit and vision of Google Cardboard:

    Virtual Reality is the future. When Google released Google Cardboard we thought it was a great way to make VR available to everyone! We should all be able to experience the future whenever and however we want to. That is why we are giving away our VR Goggles for free.

    In an interview with tech website recode.net, BaDoink's CEO Todd Glider described adult content as "the straw that stirs technology’s drink in terms of consumer uptake." With an online demographic as big as adult content appreciators and consumers, it's not surprising that Google Cardboard was introduced to many netizens in this manner.

    This unusual yet not-unexpected development is a good indication of how leveling the playing field contributes to awareness on immersive innovation. If explored more thoroughly and creatively, art galleries, natural science museums, architectural and engineering ventures, interactive music programs, and even bigger, better projects can be had as easily as...a porn fix.

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