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Showing posts from 2015

An A-Frame for WebVR

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The FireFox folks on the MozVR team released this month the first version of A-Frame: an open source framework for creating WebVR experiences with very simple markup. For those that are unfamiliar with WebVR, it is the term used to describe virtual reality experiences that are accessible via a Web browser (opposed to VR experiences that are downloaded executables).


Currently WebVR only works in the developer builds of Google's Chromium browser and Mozilla's FireFox Nightly build. There are a few options for WebVR including X3DOM, the standards based framework I use for my WebVR scenes. A-Frame is simply another Javascript framework for WebVR and since it leverages WebGL, the demos and scenes are viewable in any updated browser.


  "A-Frame makes it easy for web developers to create virtual reality experiences that work across desktop, iPhone (Android support coming soon), and the Oculus Rift. We created A-Frame to make it easier to create VR web experiences. WebVR has …

Virtual Reality is getting Religion

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It has finally happened, virtual reality is getting religion! It started yesterday when I read a post on UploadVR (a great resource for VR and related news) about a Bible app for Google Cardboard called Bible VRX. Bible VRX, developed by Derek Ham, puts users in different scenes from the Bible with, "a mission to use advanced technology to communicate the stories of the Bible, stories of faith, hope, and love”.

One can see in the video below some of the scenes it is possible to visit. According to the article this app is just a prototype that Derek hopes to build out with other scenes that have music, narration, and animated effects.  



So this got me thinking. Religion is such a integral part of humanity and this is probably the first virtual reality application I have heard of anyone doing. There were plenty of digital religious experiences back in the heyday of virtual worlds so surely this cannot be the case I thought. To Google I went to find other religious VR experiences …

My interview with Voices of VR

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So I was at the SEAVR 2015 event where I bumped into Kent Bye, the producer of the Voices of VR Podcast. I gave this quick interview on Using Open Standards to Deliver VR Over the Web and thank Ken for the honor of being on his show.


Based out of Portand Oregon, Kent travels to various conferences to find the most compelling VR experiences, developers, and academics to feature on the podcast. Make sure to check out his site and follow him on Twitter @kentbye. Keep up the great work Kent!




Bullet Train, Epic’s Unreal Shooter that takes VR into the fast lane

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Epic Games, the company behind the Unreal game engine, recently showed off a new tech demo at Oculus Connect that uses the Oculus Touch dual-handed motion controllers.


Named Bullet Train, the mini-game is an awesome virtual reality first person shooter. Like with the Sixense Stem hand controllers, the Oculus Touch takes the VR experience to a whole new level. Beyond using the controllers to grab, aim, and shoot weapons, players can teleport around the game level and use a slow motion feature to dodge or even grab bullets (that can be thrown back at enemies).



I love the folks over at Epic and I got the chance to have my own personal demo of Bullet Train when I visited their Seattle office earlier this week. Here is my colleague Greg Howes that went before me giving Bullet Train his all.

Linden Lab Aims to Build the WordPress of Virtual Reality

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Second Life creator Linden Lab has announced that it has begun inviting creative people to test its new virtual reality world, code-named Project Sansar. Project Sansar is scheduled to open to the public in 2016, and its aim is to democratize virtual reality. Much like Second Life, the platform aims to empower people to easily create, share, and monetize their own multi-user, interactive virtual experiences, without requiring engineering resources. Linden Lab said the platform will enable professional-level quality and performance with “exceptional visual fidelity, 3D audio, and physics simulation.”

Project Sansar will be optimized for VR headsets, but also accessible via PCs and mobile devices. “We want to lower the barrier of entry for VR experience creation,” said Linden Lab CEO Ebbe Altberg in a statement. “Project Sansar will do for virtual experiences what WordPress has done for the web: empower a broad range of people to create with professional quality and reach global audi…

TIME to make Virtual Reality look stupid

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TIME magazine just released its latest cover featuring Palmer Lucky, the creator of the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset, in probably one of the dumbest poses imaginable. Sure those in a headset can feel like a rock star, but they look like a dork in the process and this cover definitely doesn't help this image.


Of course it did not take long for the Internet to respond accordingly.












Thanks TIME! *sigh #facepalmer

Autodesk's Stingray gets into the Game

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With their initial announcement of stepping into the game development arena made back in March, Autodesk finally launched their Stingray game engine this past week. Autodesk is going after small to mid-sized studios that don't have large programming teams so ease of use and simplicity to create content is a must if Stingray wants to compete against game engines like Unreal 4 and Unity 5. Built around the Bitsquid engine it bought last year, it has equipped the engine with node-based scripting tools to make coding a drag-and-drop affair.


One advantage to Stingray is that Autodesk product users (Maya, 3DS Max, MayaT) will benefit from extra integration over these other engines. Autodesk will also be offering Stingray's C++ source code (for a fee) to companies that want deeper customization. "Live Link" is a Stingray feature for multi-platform testing. With Live Link, you can tweak a model inside Maya LT and see the changes in Stingray on a given platform in real time…

Uniting Kingdoms - AEC Hackathon goes to London

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The AEC Hackathon 2.4 was this past weekend in London. Held at Future Cities Catapult's Urban Innovation Centre, the weekend long event brought together technology developers with professionals from the built environment to create technology solutions to industry problems. While I was unable to physically attend due to my work schedule, I was still able to remote MC on the big screen and keep things going thanks to great Internet connection.


 The really exciting things about this AEC Hackathon for me are it was the first one outside of the United States and the first one supported and locally organized by a government entity. The local lead organizer was Simon Hart from Innovate UK. Innovate UK is the UK's innovation agency that works with people, companies and partner organizations to find and drive the science and technology innovations that will grow the UK economy.


Simon and team did an amazing job with the help of AEC Hackathon board member Paul Doherty that was onsite i…

AEC Hackathon 2.3 Southern California

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The AEC Hackathon 2.3 in Southern California was this past weekend in Los Angeles. Held at UCLA's Department of Architecture and Urban Design, the weekend long event brought together technology developers with professionals from the built environment to create technology solutions to industry problems.

This AEC Hackathon set new records. While we always have folks at the events from all around the country and in some cases the world, 70% of the people in attendance were not from the SoCal area. A decent amount of us came down from the SF/Bay area and some from as far as the East Coast. We also had the highest ratio of tech engineer to industry personal with over 75% of the folks there having a technical background. 

To be expected, the teams developed some pretty amazing hacks. Watch the team presentations in the video below.



Winners
Best Overall Project: Team Rhumbix
Best Open Source: Team Holy Donut
Best Use of Experimental Tech: Team Cloud Tango & Team VRML (Virtual Review…

An Epic day of Unity with the Seattle VR scene

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I just had an unforgettable day of VR here in the Seattle area. It started off at Envelop VR's office to discuss an upcoming VR event they organize called SEA VR and then my buddy Greg and I got to visit both Unity and Epic's local offices. I can't thank Nick and Pete enough for letting us see their VR rigs and try out their VR demos.



I had a great chat with Pete at Unity's office where I got a chance to see their setup and try out the HTC Vive unit. So far, this headset is by far my favorite HMD.



Next up was a visit to Epic Games' office just a few blocks away. While I am not a game developer, I am a big Epic fan. Epic's Unreal Engine is responsible for a variety of games I have loved playing over the years so this was a fan boy dream come true.


I also got a chance to see the Oculus Rift Crescent Bay demos that I never stand in line at conferences to see. First up was the super cool demo 'Showdown' that takes the user on slow motion trip through a str…

Hacking Virtual Reality in Seattle

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I just left Seattle where I attended the first hackathon for virtual reality in that region. Hosted at the University of Washington's Center for Education and Research in Construction (CERC), the Seattle VR Hackathon brought together virtual reality developers and enthusiasts for a weekend of hacking and a whole lot of fun.


There was a nice turnout of folks from the local VR community present including people from Samsung, the Microsoft HoloLens team, Unity3D, and Epic to name a few. Here is a nice writeup by one of the VR hacker teams that came from building firm Mortenson Construction (an AEC Hackathon alumni also).



 In addition to a weekend of building cool VR demos, there were informative VR related presentations from Unity3D's Pete Moss, Epic's Nick Whiting, and Matt McIlwain from Madrona Venture Group.


  A big thanks to Greg Howes, Trond Nilsen, Michael Lenzi, and Lucky Agung Pratama from Seattle's VR community for putting on this great event! A huge thanks to …

Augmented World Event - Superpowers to the People

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This past week was the Augmented World Event. Themed 'Superpowers to the People', this year's event showcased the hardware and software augmenting our lives. The event featured over 200 companies leading the charge in augmented and virtual reality, wearable tech and the Internet of Things. Over 3,000 tech professionals engaged in over 20+ workshops, 200+ interactive demos, a VR experience powered by UploadVR and 100+ AWE-inspiring talks from industry leaders and pioneers. AWE is focused on turning ordinary experiences into the extraordinary and empowering people to be better at anything they do in work and life.



Hands down this is still the best event for the commercial side of immersive technologies that brings together industry leaders from all over the world. There were plenty of folks from Europe, Israel, Asia, and all over the U.S.A. Monday was a day full of workshops with Tuesday and Wednesday being the speaker sessions and expo days for the event.

As usual I was mo…

Augmented Reality Pioneer Metaio gets acquired by Apple

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So Apple has bought the German augmented reality company Metaio. I learned of the announcement via Tweetdeck and Magdalena Rogl's Twitter account where she posted a picture of this document.



I send a huge congrats to Metaio's founders Thomas and Peter. Metaio has been around longer than a decade and continued to push the limits of the AR envelope with their computer vision and tracking technologies. I have been a fan of Metaio's technology for some time now as seen in the videos below.





It definitely doesn't come as a shock that this company got acquired as they have great augmented reality tech and some good AR patents, but I am shocked it was by Apple and I am curious to see what they do with this technology now. With such big players like Apple, Facebook, Google, and others coming into the AR & VR space, our lives are about to get a lot more mixed with the digital world. Strap in and hold on!

*scan this image with the Junaio mobile app