The Most Innovative Companies of 2017 — from fastcompany.com

Excerpt:

This year marks the 10th edition of the Fast Company World’s Most Innovative Companies ranking. Our reporting team sifts through thousands of enterprises each year, searching for those that tap both heartstrings and purse strings and use the engine of commerce to make a difference in the world. Impact is among our key criteria.

 

 

 

Speaking of innovation, this article is about innovation within the world of  higher education:

Crafting an Innovation Landscape — from er.educause.edu by Shirley Dugdale and Brian Strawn

Key Takeaways

  • As efforts to stimulate innovation spring up across campuses, institutions need a comprehensive planning framework for integrated planning of initiatives to support innovation.
  • Viewing the campus as an Innovation Landscape, settings for collaborative creative activity — both physical and virtual — infuse the campus fabric and become part of the daily experience of their users.
  • The Innovation Landscape Framework proposed here serves as a tool that can help coordinate physical planning with organizational initiatives, engage a wide range of stakeholders, and enable a culture of innovation across campus.

 

 

 

Apple Releases Education Bundle With Video, Audio Editing Tools — from campustechnology.com

Excerpt:

Apple Friday introduced its Pro Apps Bundle for Education, available for K–12 schools and higher ed institutions.

The bundle is a collection of five apps from Apple that deliver industry-level tools for video editors and musicians:

 

Also see:

 

 

 

 

A massive AI partnership is tapping civil rights and economic experts to keep AI safe — from qz.com by Dave Gershgorn

Excerpt:

When the Partnership on Artificial Intelligence to Benefit People and Society was announced in September, it was with the stated goal of educating the public on artificial intelligence, studying AI’s potential impact on the world, and establishing industry best practices. Now, how those goals will actually be achieved is becoming clearer.

This week, the Partnership brought on new members that include representatives from the American Civil Liberties Union, the MacArthur Foundation, OpenAI, the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence, Arizona State University, and the University of California, Berkeley.

The organizations themselves are not officially affiliated yet—that process is still underway—but the Partnership’s board selected these candidates based on their expertise in civil rights, economics, and open research, according to interim co-chair Eric Horvitz, who is also director of Microsoft Research. The Partnership also added Apple as a “founding member,” putting the tech giant in good company: Amazon, Microsoft, IBM, Google, and Facebook are already on board.

 

 


Also relevant/see:

Building Public Policy To Address Artificial Intelligence’s Impact — from blogs.wsj.com by Irving Wladawsky-Berger

Excerpt:

Artificial intelligence may be at a tipping point, but it’s not immune to backlash from users in the event of system mistakes or a failure to meet heightened expectations. As AI becomes increasingly used for more critical tasks, care needs to be taken by proponents to avoid unfulfilled promises as well as efforts that appear to discriminate against certain segments of society.

Two years ago, Stanford University launched the One Hundred Year Study of AI to address “how the effects of artificial intelligence will ripple through every aspect of how people work, live and play.” One of its key missions is to convene a Study Panel of experts every five years to assess the then current state of the field, as well as to explore both the technical advances and societal challenges over the next 10 to 15 years.

The first such Study Panel recently published Artificial Intelligence and Life in 2030, a report that examined the likely impact of AI on a typical North American city by the year 2030.

 

 

Apple iPhone 8 To Get 3D-Sensing Tech For Augmented-Reality Apps — from investors.com by Patrick Seitz

Excerpt:

Apple’s (AAPL) upcoming iPhone 8 smartphone will include a 3D-sensing module to enable augmented-reality applications, Rosenblatt Securities analyst Jun Zhang said Wednesday. Apple has included the 3D-sensing module in all three current prototypes of the iPhone 8, which have screen sizes of 4.7, 5.1 and 5.5 inches, he said. “We believe Apple’s 3D sensing might provide a better user experience with more applications,” Zhang said in a research report. “So far, we think 3D sensing aims to provide an improved smartphone experience with a VR/AR environment.”

Apple's iPhone 8 is expected to have 3D-sensing tech like Lenovo’s Phab 2 Pro smartphone. (Lenovo)Apple’s iPhone 8 is expected to have 3D-sensing tech like Lenovo’s Phab 2 Pro smartphone. (Lenovo)

 

 

AltspaceVR Education Overview

 

 

 

 

10 Prominent Developers Detail Their 2017 Predictions for The VR/AR Industry — from uploadvr.com by David Jagneaux

Excerpt:

As we look forward to 2017 then, we’ve reached out to a bunch of industry experts and insiders to get their views on where we’re headed over the next 12 months.

2016 provided hints of where Facebook, HTC, Sony, Google, and more will take their headsets in the near future, but where does the industry’s best and brightest think we’ll end up this time next year? With CES, the year’s first major event, now in the books, let’s hear from some those that work with VR itself about what happens next.

We asked all of these developers the same four questions:

1) What do you think will happen to the VR/AR market in 2017?
2) What NEEDS to happen to the VR AR market in 2017?
3) What will be the big breakthroughs and innovations of 2017?
4) Will 2017 finally be the “year of VR?”

 

 

MEL Lab’s Virtual Reality Chemistry Class — from thereisonlyr.com by Grant Greene
An immersive learning startup brings novel experiences to science education.

 

 

The MEL app turned my iPhone 6 into a virtual microscope, letting me walk through 360 degree, 3-D representations of the molecules featured in the experiment kits.

 

 

 

 

Labster releases ‘World of Science’ Simulation on Google Daydream — from labster.com by Marian Reed

Excerpt:

Labster is exploring new platforms by which students can access its laboratory simulations and is pleased to announce the release of its first Google Daydream-compatible virtual reality (VR) simulation, ‘Labster: World of Science’. This new simulation, modeled on Labster’s original ‘Lab Safety’ virtual lab, continues to incorporate scientific learning alongside of a specific context, enriched by story-telling elements. The use of the Google VR platform has enabled Labster to fully immerse the student, or science enthusiast, in a wet lab that can easily be navigated with intuitive usage of Daydream’s handheld controller.

 

 

The Inside Story of Google’s Daydream, Where VR Feels Like Home — from wired.com by David Pierce

Excerpt:

Jessica Brillhart, Google’s principle VR filmmaker, has taken to calling people “visitors” rather than “viewers,” as a way of reminding herself that in VR, people aren’t watching what you’ve created. They’re living it. Which changes things.

 

 

Welcoming more devices to the Daydream-ready family — from blog.google.com by Amit Singh

Excerpt:

In November, we launched Daydream with the goal of bringing high quality, mobile VR to everyone. With the Daydream View headset and controller, and a Daydream-ready phone like the Pixel or Moto Z, you can explore new worlds, kick back in your personal VR cinema and play games that put you in the center of the action.

Daydream-ready phones are built for VR with high-resolution displays, ultra smooth graphics, and high-fidelity sensors for precise head tracking. To give you even more choices to enjoy Daydream, today we’re welcoming new devices that will soon join the Daydream-ready family.

 

 

Kessler Foundation awards virtual reality job interview program — from haptic.al by Deniz Ergürel

Excerpt:

Kessler Foundation, one of the largest public charities in the United States, is awarding a virtual reality training project to support high school students with disabilities. The foundation is providing a two-year, $485,000 Signature Employment Grant to the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, to launch the Virtual Reality Job Interview Training program. Kessler Foundation says, the VR program will allow for highly personalized role-play, with precise feedback and coaching that may be repeated as often as desired without fear or embarrassment.

 

 

Deep-water safety training goes virtual — from shell.com by Soh Chin Ong
How a visit to a shopping centre led to the use of virtual reality safety training for a new oil production project, Malikai, in the deep waters off Sabah in Malaysia.

 

 

 

CES 2017: Key trends — from jwtintelligence.com by Sheperd Laughlin

 

Excerpt:

Fifty years since the inception of CES, “consumer electronics” doesn’t begin to describe the full scope of the event.

“It’s no longer a technology show; it’s a connected life show and an advertising and media show,” said Shawn DuBravac of CTA, the trade organization that organizes CES. And it changes quickly: three years ago, he said, 20% of this year’s exhibitors didn’t exist.

This year, among big tech companies Amazon was the clear winner—though Amazon itself kept a low profile, letting others announce a multitude of new uses for Alexa, its virtual assistant.

Electric and self-driving cars were everywhere. Taking a page from Apple and Microsoft, which pulled out of CES years ago, Tesla sat out the conference as rival auto makers tried to mount convincing challenges to its dominance of the electric car market.

What about exciting new “gadgets”? Farhad Manjoo of the New York Times declared them “gone” in December, killed by the iPhone and cheap knockoffs. Category-changing devices were in short supply at the show, and Alexa, this year’s most talked-about product, was actually an invisible service.

But there were signs that Internet of Things products that had once been isolated were talking to each other in interesting new ways. And devices aimed at specific needs and populations—from new mothers to vacationers to the disabled—showed that gadgets might not be done for just yet.

 

 


Addendum:

  • Tech Stock Roundup: AR/VR and Self Driving Cars Dominate CES — from zacks.com by Sejuti Banerjea
    Excerpt:
    As most of us were expecting, the show was dominated by virtual/augmented reality (VR/AR) and self driving cars, two areas where new technology was showcased and important collaborations announced. Some other developments involved Amazon’s Alexa, 5G technology from Intel and Qualcomm and robots from Panasonic and Honda.

 

 

 

Don’t discount the game-changing power of the morphing “TV” when coupled with AI, NLP, and blockchain-based technologies! [Christian]

From DSC:

Don’t discount the game-changing power of the morphing “TV” when coupled with artificial intelligence (AI), natural language processing (NLP), and blockchain-based technologies!

When I saw the article below, I couldn’t help but wonder what (we currently know of as) “TVs” will morph into and what functionalities they will be able to provide to us in the not-too-distant future…?

For example, the article mentions that Seiki, Westinghouse, and Element will be offering TVs that can not only access Alexa — a personal assistant from Amazon which uses artificial intelligence — but will also be able to provide access to over 7,000 apps and games via the Amazon Fire TV Store.

Some of the questions that come to my mind:

  • Why can’t there be more educationally-related games and apps available on this type of platform?
  • Why can’t the results of the assessments taken on these apps get fed into cloud-based learner profiles that capture one’s lifelong learning? (#blockchain)
  • When will potential employers start asking for access to such web-based learner profiles?
  • Will tvOS and similar operating systems expand to provide blockchain-based technologies as well as the types of functionality we get from our current set of CMSs/LMSs?
  • Will this type of setup become a major outlet for competency-based education as well as for corporate training-related programs?
  • Will augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), and mixed reality (MR) capabilities come with our near future “TVs”?
  • Will virtual tutoring be one of the available apps/channels?
  • Will the microphone and the wide angle, HD camera on the “TV” be able to be disconnected from the Internet for security reasons? (i.e., to be sure no hacker is eavesdropping in on their private lives)

 

Forget a streaming stick: These 4K TVs come with Amazon Fire TV inside — from techradar.com by Nick Pino

Excerpt:

The TVs will not only have access to Alexa via a microphone-equipped remote but, more importantly, will have access to the over 7,000 apps and games available on the Amazon Fire TV Store – a huge boon considering that most of these Smart TVs usually include, at max, a few dozen apps.

 

 

 

 

 

The Living [Class] Room -- by Daniel Christian -- July 2012 -- a second device used in conjunction with a Smart/Connected TV

 


Addendums


 

“I’ve been predicting that by 2030 the largest company on the internet is going to be an education-based company that we haven’t heard of yet,” Frey, the senior futurist at the DaVinci Institute think tank, tells Business Insider.

.

  • Once thought to be a fad, MOOCs showed staying power in 2016 — from educationdive.com
    Dive Brief:

    • EdSurge profiles the growth of massive online open courses in 2016, which attracted more than 58 million students in over 700 colleges and universities last year.
    • The top three MOOC providers — Coursera, Udacity and EdX — collectively grossed more than $100 million last year, as much of the content provided on these platforms shifted from free to paywall guarded materials.
    • Many MOOCs have moved to offering credentialing programs or nanodegree offerings to increase their value in industrial marketplaces.
 

 

 

Today, we’re at the Windows Hardware Engineering Community event (WinHEC) in Shenzhen, China –where our OEM partners have created more than 300 Windows devices shipping in 75 countries generating more than 8 billion RMB in revenue for Shenzhen partners. We continue this journey with Intel, Qualcomm and hardware engineering creators from around the world. Together, we will build the next generation of modern PCs supporting mixed reality, gaming, advanced security, and artificial intelligence; make mixed reality mainstream; and introduce always-connected, more power efficient cellular PCs running Windows 10.

 

 

Also see:

The Race For AI: Google, Twitter, Intel, Apple In A Rush To Grab Artificial Intelligence Startups

Excerpt:

Nearly 140 private companies working to advance artificial intelligence technologies have been acquired since 2011, with over 40 acquisitions taking place in 2016 alone. Corporate giants like Google, IBM, Yahoo, Intel, Apple and Salesforce, are competing in the race to acquire private AI companies, with Samsung emerging as a new entrant in October with its acquisition of startup Viv Labs, which is developing a Siri-like AI assistant, and GE making 2 AI acquisitions in November.

 

 

 

Amazon Opening Store That Will Eliminate Checkout — and Lines — from bloomberg.com by Jing Cao
At Amazon Seattle location items get charged to Prime account | New technology combines artificial intelligence and sensors

Excerpt:

Amazon.com Inc. unveiled technology that will let shoppers grab groceries without having to scan and pay for them — in one stroke eliminating the checkout line.

The company is testing the new system at what it’s calling an Amazon Go store in Seattle, which will open to the public early next year. Customers will be able to scan their phones at the entrance using a new Amazon Go mobile app. Then the technology will track what items they pick up or even return to the shelves and add them to a virtual shopping cart in real time, according a video Amazon posted on YouTube. Once the customers exit the store, they’ll be charged on their Amazon account automatically.

 

 

 

Amazon Introduces ‘Amazon Go’ Retail Stores, No Checkout, No Lines — from investors.com

Excerpt:

Online retail king Amazon.com (AMZN) is taking dead aim at the physical-store world Monday, introducing Amazon Go, a retail convenience store format it is developing that will use computer vision and deep-learning algorithms to let shoppers just pick up what they want and exit the store without any checkout procedure.

Shoppers will merely need to tap the Amazon Go app on their smartphones, and their virtual shopping carts will automatically tabulate what they owe, and deduct that amount from their Amazon accounts, sending you a receipt. It’s what the company has deemed “just walk out technology,” which it said is based on the same technology used in self-driving cars. It’s certain to up the ante in the company’s competition with Wal-Mart (WMT), Target (TGT) and the other retail leaders.

 

 

Google DeepMind Makes AI Training Platform Publicly Available — from bloomberg.com by Jeremy Kahn
Company is increasingly embracing open-source initiatives | Move comes after rival Musk’s OpenAI made its robot gym public

Excerpt:

Alphabet Inc.’s artificial intelligence division Google DeepMind is making the maze-like game platform it uses for many of its experiments available to other researchers and the general public.

DeepMind is putting the entire source code for its training environment — which it previously called Labyrinth and has now renamed as DeepMind Lab — on the open-source depository GitHub, the company said Monday. Anyone will be able to download the code and customize it to help train their own artificial intelligence systems. They will also be able to create new game levels for DeepMind Lab and upload these to GitHub.

 

Related:
Alphabet DeepMind is inviting developers into the digital world where its AI learns to explore — from qz.com by Dave Gershgorn

 

 

 

After Retail Stumble, Beacons Shine From Banks to Sports Arenas — from bloomberg.com by Olga Kharif
Shipments of the devices expected to grow to 500 million

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

Beacon technology, which was practically left for dead after failing to deliver on its promise to revolutionize the retail industry, is making a comeback.

Beacons are puck-size gadgets that can send helpful tips, coupons and other information to people’s smartphones through Bluetooth. They’re now being used in everything from bank branches and sports arenas to resorts, airports and fast-food restaurants. In the latest sign of the resurgence, Mobile Majority, an advertising startup, said on Monday that it was buying Gimbal Inc., a beacon maker it bills as the largest independent source of location data other than Google and Apple Inc.

Several recent developments have sparked the latest boom. Companies like Google parent Alphabet Inc. are making it possible for people to use the feature without downloading any apps, which had been a major barrier to adoption, said Patrick Connolly, an analyst at ABI. Introduced this year, Google Nearby Notifications lets developers tie an app or a website to a beacon to send messages to consumers even when they have no app installed.

But in June, Cupertino, California-based Mist Systems began shipping a software-based product that simplified the process. Instead of placing 10 beacons on walls and ceilings, for example, management using Mist can install one device every 2,000 feet (610 meters), then designate various points on a digital floor plan as virtual beacons, which can be moved with a click of a mouse.

 

 

Google’s Hand-Fed AI Now Gives Answers, Not Just Search Results — from wired.com by Cade Metz

Excerpt:

Ask the Google search app “What is the fastest bird on Earth?,” and it will tell you.

“Peregrine falcon,” the phone says. “According to YouTube, the peregrine falcon has a maximum recorded airspeed of 389 kilometers per hour.”

That’s the right answer, but it doesn’t come from some master database inside Google. When you ask the question, Google’s search engine pinpoints a YouTube video describing the five fastest birds on the planet and then extracts just the information you’re looking for. It doesn’t mention those other four birds. And it responds in similar fashion if you ask, say, “How many days are there in Hanukkah?” or “How long is Totem?” The search engine knows that Totem is a Cirque de Soleil show, and that it lasts two-and-a-half hours, including a thirty-minute intermission.

Google answers these questions with the help from deep neural networks, a form of artificial intelligence rapidly remaking not just Google’s search engine but the entire company and, well, the other giants of the internet, from Facebook to Microsoft. Deep neutral nets are pattern recognition systems that can learn to perform specific tasks by analyzing vast amounts of data. In this case, they’ve learned to take a long sentence or paragraph from a relevant page on the web and extract the upshot—the information you’re looking for.

 

 

Deep Learning in Production at Facebook — from re-work.co by Katie Pollitt

Excerpt:

Facebook is powered by machine learning and AI. From advertising relevance, news feed and search ranking to computer vision, face recognition, and speech recognition, they run ML models at massive scale, computing trillions of predictions every day.

At the 2016 Deep Learning Summit in Boston, Andrew Tulloch, Research Engineer at Facebook, talked about some of the tools and tricks Facebook use for scaling both the training and deployment of some of their deep learning models at Facebook. He also covered some useful libraries that they’d open-sourced for production-oriented deep learning applications. Tulloch’s session can be watched in full below.

 

 

The Artificial Intelligence Gold Rush — from foresightr.com by Mark Vickers
Big companies, venture capital firms and governments are all banking on AI

Excerpt:

Let’s start with some of the brand-name organizations laying down big bucks on artificial intelligence.

  • Amazon: Sells the successful Echo home speaker, which comes with the personal assistant Alexa.
  • Alphabet (Google): Uses deep learning technology to power Internet searches and developed AlphaGo, an AI that beat the world champion in the game of Go.
  • Apple: Developed the popular virtual assistant Siri and is working on other phone-related AI applications, such as facial recognition.
  • Baidu: Wants to use AI to improve search, recognize images of objects and respond to natural language queries.
  • Boeing: Works with Carnegie Mellon University to develop machine learning capable of helping it design and build planes more efficiently.
  • Facebook: Wants to create the “best AI lab in the world.” Has its personal assistant, M, and focuses heavily on facial recognition.
    IBM: Created the Jeopardy-winning Watson AI and is leveraging its data analysis and natural language capabilities in the healthcare industry.
  • Intel: Has made acquisitions to help it build specialized chips and software to handle deep learning.
  • Microsoft: Works on chatbot technology and acquired SwiftKey, which predicts what users will type next.
  • Nokia: Has introduced various machine learning capabilities to its portfolio of customer-experience software.
    Nvidia: Builds computer chips customized for deep learning.
  • Salesforce: Took first place at the Stanford Question Answering Dataset, a test of machine learning and comprehension, and has developed the Einstein model that learns from data.
  • Shell: Launched a virtual assistant to answer customer questions.
  • Tesla Motors: Continues to work on self-driving automobile technologies.
  • Twitter: Created an AI-development team called Cortex and acquired several AI startups.

 

 

 

IBM Watson and Education in the Cognitive Era — from i-programmer.info by Nikos Vaggalis

Excerpt:

IBM’s seemingly ubiquitous Watson is now infiltrating education, through AI powered software that ‘reads’ the needs of individual  students in order to engage them through tailored learning approaches.

This is not to be taken lightly, as it opens the door to a new breed of technologies that will spearhead the education or re-education of the workforce of the future.

As outlined in the 2030 report, despite robots or AI displacing a big chunk of the workforce, they will also play a major role in creating job opportunities as never before.In such a competitive landscape, workers of all kinds, white or blue collar to begin with, should come readied with new, versatile and contemporary skills.

The point is, the very AI that will leave someone jobless, will also help him to re-adapt into a new job’s requirements.It will also prepare the new generations through the use of such optimal methodologies that will once more give meaning to the aging  and counter-productive schooling system which has the  students’ skills disengaged from the needs of the industry and which still segregates students into ‘good’ and ‘bad’. Might it be that ‘bad’ students become just like that due to the system’s inability to stimulate their interest?

 

 

 

 

A school bus, virtual reality, & an out-of-this-world journey — from goodmenproject.com
“Field Trip To Mars” is the barrier-shattering outcome of an ambitious mission to give a busload of people the same, Virtual Reality experience – going to Mars.

Excerpt:

Inspiration was Lockheed‘s goal when it asked its creative resources, led by McCann, to create the world’s first mobile group Virtual Reality experience. As one creator notes, VR now is essentially a private, isolating experience. But wouldn’t it be cool to give a busload of people the same, simultaneous VR experience? And then – just to make it really challenging – put the whole thing on wheels?

“Field Trip To Mars” is the barrier-shattering outcome of this ambitious mission.

 

From DSC:
This is incredible! Very well done. The visual experience tracks the corresponding speeds of the bus and even turns of the bus.

 

 

 

lockheed-fieldtriptomarsfall2016

 

 

Ed Dept. Launches $680,000 Augmented and Virtual Reality Challenge — from thejournal.com by David Nagel

Excerpt:

The United States Department of Education (ED) has formally kicked off a new competition designed to encourage the development of virtual and augmented reality concepts for education.

Dubbed the EdSim Challenge, the competition is aimed squarely at developing students’ career and technical skills — it’s funded through the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006 — and calls on developers and ed tech organizations to develop concepts for “computer-generated virtual and augmented reality educational experiences that combine existing and future technologies with skill-building content and assessment. Collaboration is encouraged among the developer community to make aspects of simulations available through open source licenses and low-cost shareable components. ED is most interested in simulations that pair the engagement of commercial games with educational content that transfers academic, technical, and employability skills.”

 

 

 

Virtual reality boosts students’ results — from raconteur.net b
Virtual and augmented reality can enable teaching and training in situations which would otherwise be too hazardous, costly or even impossible in the real world

Excerpt:

More recently, though, the concept described in Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics has been bolstered by further scientific evidence. Last year, a University of Chicago study found that students who physically experience scientific concepts, such as the angular momentum acting on a bicycle wheel spinning on an axel that they’re holding, understand them more deeply and also achieve significantly improved scores in tests.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Virtual and augmented reality are shaking up sectors — from raconteur.net by Sophie Charara
Both virtual and augmented reality have huge potential to leap from visual entertainment to transform the industrial and service sectors

 

 

 

 

Microsoft’s HoloLens could power tanks on a battlefield — from theverge.com by Tom Warren

Excerpt:

Microsoft might not have envisioned its HoloLens headset as a war helmet, but that’s not stopping Ukrainian company LimpidArmor from experimenting. Defence Blog reports that LimpidArmor has started testing military equipment that includes a helmet with Microsoft’s HoloLens headset integrated into it.

The helmet is designed for tank commanders to use alongside a Circular Review System (CRS) of cameras located on the sides of armored vehicles. Microsoft’s HoloLens gathers feeds from the cameras outside to display them in the headset as a full 360-degree view. The system even includes automatic target tracking, and the ability to highlight enemy and allied soldiers and positions.

 

 

 

Bring your VR to work — from itproportal.com by Timo Elliott, Josh Waddell 4 hours ago
With all the hype, there’s surprisingly little discussion of the latent business value which VR and AR offer.

Excerpt:

With all the hype, there’s surprisingly little discussion of the latent business value which VR and AR offer — and that’s a blind spot that companies and CIOs can’t afford to have. It hasn’t been that long since consumer demand for the iPhone and iPad forced companies, grumbling all the way, into finding business cases for them. Gartner has said that the next five to ten years will bring “transparently immersive experiences” to the workplace. They believe this will introduce “more transparency between people, businesses, and things” and help make technology “more adaptive, contextual, and fluid.”

If digitally enhanced reality generates even half as much consumer enthusiasm as smartphones and tablets, you can expect to see a new wave of consumerisation of IT as employees who have embraced VR and AR at home insist on bringing it to the workplace. This wave of consumerisation could have an even greater impact than the last one. Rather than risk being blindsided for a second time, organisations would be well advised to take a proactive approach and be ready with potential business uses for VR and AR technologies by the time they invade the enterprise.

 

In Gartner’s latest emerging technologies hype cycle, Virtual Reality is already on the Slope of Enlightenment, with Augmented Reality following closely.

 

 

 

VR’s higher-ed adoption starts with student creation — from edsurge.com by George Lorenzo

Excerpt:

One place where students are literally immersed in VR is at Carnegie Mellon University’s Entertainment Technology Center (ETC). ETC offers a two-year Master of Entertainment Technology program (MET) launched in 1998 and cofounded by the late Randy Pausch, author of “The Last Lecture.”

MET starts with an intense boot camp called the “immersion semester” in which students take a Building Virtual Worlds (BVW) course, a leadership course, along with courses in improvisational acting, and visual storytelling. Pioneered by Pausch, BVW challenges students in small teams to create virtual reality worlds quickly over a period of two weeks, culminating in a presentation festival every December.

 

 

Apple patents augmented reality mapping system for iPhone — from appleinsider.com by Mikey Campbell
Apple on Tuesday was granted a patent detailing an augmented reality mapping system that harnesses iPhone hardware to overlay visual enhancements onto live video, lending credence to recent rumors suggesting the company plans to implement an iOS-based AR strategy in the near future.

 

 

A bug in the matrix: virtual reality will change our lives. But will it also harm us? — from theguardian.stfi.re
Prejudice, harassment and hate speech have crept from the real world into the digital realm. For virtual reality to succeed, it will have to tackle this from the start

 

 

 

The latest Disney Research innovation lets you feel the rain in virtual reality — from haptic.al by Deniz Ergurel

Excerpt:

Virtual reality is a combination of life-like images, effects and sounds that creates an imaginary world in front of our eyes.

But what if we could also imitate more complex sensations like the feeling of falling rain, a beating heart or a cat walking? What if we could distinguish, between a light sprinkle and a heavy downpour in a virtual experience?

Disney Research?—?a network of research laboratories supporting The Walt Disney Company, has announced the development of a 360-degree virtual reality application offering a library of feel effects and full body sensations.

 

 

Relive unforgettable moments in history through Timelooper APP. | Virtual reality on your smartphone.

 

timelooper-nov2016

 

 

Literature class meets virtual reality — from blog.cospaces.io by Susanne Krause
Not every student finds it easy to let a novel come to life in their imagination. Could virtual reality help? Tiffany Capers gave it a try: She let her 7th graders build settings from Lois Lowry’s “The Giver” with CoSpaces and explore them in virtual reality. And: they loved it.

 

 

 

 

learningvocabinvr-nov2016

 

 

 

James Bay students learn Cree syllabics in virtual reality — from cbc.ca by Celina Wapachee and Jaime Little
New program teaches syllabics inside immersive world, with friendly dogs and archery

 

 

 

VRMark will tell you if your PC is ready for Virtual Reality — from engadget.com by Sean Buckley
Benchmark before you buy.

 

 

Forbidden City Brings Archaeology to Life With Virtual Reality — from wsj.com

 

 

holo.study

hololensdemos-nov2016

 

 

Will virtual reality change the way I see history? — from bbc.co.uk

 

 

 

Scientists can now explore cells in virtual reality — from mashable.com by Ariel Bogle

Excerpt:

After generations of peering into a microscope to examine cells, scientists could simply stroll straight through one.

Calling his project the “stuff of science fiction,” director of the 3D Visualisation Aesthetics Lab at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) John McGhee is letting people come face-to-face with a breast cancer cell.

 

 

 

 

Can Virtual Reality Make Us Care More? — from huffingtonpost.co.uk by Alex Handy

Excerpt:

In contrast, VR has been described as the “ultimate empathy machine.” It gives us a way to virtually put us in someone else’s shoes and experience the world the way they do.

 

 

 

Stanford researchers release virtual reality simulation that transports users to ocean of the future — from news.stanford.edu by Rob Jordan
Free science education software, available to anyone with virtual reality gear, holds promise for spreading awareness and inspiring action on the pressing issue of ocean acidification.

 

 

 

 

The High-end VR Room of the Future Looks Like This — from uploadvr.com by Sarah Downey

Excerpt:

This isn’t meant to be an exhaustive list, but if I missed something major, please tell me and I’ll add it. Also, please reach out if you’re working on anything cool in this space à sarah(at)accomplice(dot)co.

Hand and finger tracking, gesture interfaces, and grip simulation:

AR and VR viewers:

Omnidirectional treadmills:

Haptic feedback bodysuits:

Brain-computer interfaces:

Neural plugins:

  • The Matrix (film)
  • Sword Art Online (TV show)
  • Neuromancer (novel)
  • Total Recall (film)
  • Avatar (film)

3D tracking, capture, and/or rendering:

Eye tracking:

 VR audio:

Scent creation:

 

 

 

How chatbots will change the face of campus technology — from by Jami Morshed

Excerpt:

In the first few months of the new semester hubbub, what if there was an assistant at the beck and call of students to help them navigate the college process? While the campus faculty and staff are likely too busy during those first few days to answer all the questions on students and parent’s minds, chatbots – akin to Siri, Cortana, and Alexa – could provide the ideal digital assistant to make not only these first few days run smoothly, but also the student’s entire time on campus.

From applying to college, to arriving on campus, declaring a major, signing up courses and eventually graduation, there are a multitude of ways bots can help to streamline the process, maybe as soon as next semester.

For example, during the application process, a bot could send push notifications to students to remind them about upcoming deadlines, missing documents, or improperly submitted data, and would be available 24/7 to answer student’s questions such as “Am I missing any documents for my application?” or “What’s the deadline for submitting the application fee?”.

 

 

The Ultimate Guide to Chatbots: Why they’re disrupting UX and best practices for building — from medium.muz by Joe Toscano

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

The incredible potential of chatbots lies in the ability to individually and contextually communicate one-to-many.

Right now contextually communicating with bots isn’t something that’s reasonable to ask across the board but there are a few that are doing it well, and I believe this type of interaction will be the standard in the future.

While chatbots are still in their infancy in terms of creative potential, it’s still a very exciting time for creatives trying to understand the best way to use this new technology and how to build the best bot possible.

Stop wasting money trying to pull people into your ecosystem. Push your content where your users are already active.

 

 

Google Assistant bot ecosystem will open to all developers by end of 2016 — from venturebeat.com by Khari Johnson

Excerpt:

Developers and the rest of the world will soon be able to make bots that interact with Google Assistant and new Google devices made public, the company said today in a special presentation in San Francisco.

“The Google Assistant will be our next thriving open ecosystem,” said Scott Huffman, lead engineer of Google Assistant.

The creation of bots for Google Assistant will be possible through Actions on Google, which is due out by early December. A software development kit (SDK) that brings Google Assistant into a range of device not made by Google is due out next year.

 

 

First Computer to Match Humans in Conversational Speech Recognition — from technologyreview.com
Human-level speech recognition has been a long time coming.

 

 

Chat bots: How talking to your apps became the next big thing — from zdnet.com by Steve Ranger
Apps that can mimic human conversations are one of the hottest technologies around right now. Here’s why.

Excerpt:

Bots are applications that are designed to respond to conversational language. The aim is to create services — whether that’s the ability to order a pizza or to enter a meeting in a calendar — where the dialogue with the app is as natural and apparently unscripted as an interaction you might have with a human.

Chat bots are like narrow versions of digital assistants like Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa or Google Assistant, designed to perform specific tasks. Interest in bots has rocketed recently and developers are racing to incorporate them into services built on popular messaging apps and websites to create a form of virtual customer services.

 

 

 
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