An Artificial Intelligence Developed Its Own Non-Human Language — from theatlantic.com by Adrienne LaFrance
When Facebook designed chatbots to negotiate with one another, the bots made up their own way of communicating.

Excerpt:

In the report, researchers at the Facebook Artificial Intelligence Research lab describe using machine learning to train their “dialog agents” to negotiate. (And it turns out bots are actually quite good at dealmaking.) At one point, the researchers write, they had to tweak one of their models because otherwise the bot-to-bot conversation “led to divergence from human language as the agents developed their own language for negotiating.” They had to use what’s called a fixed supervised model instead.

In other words, the model that allowed two bots to have a conversation—and use machine learning to constantly iterate strategies for that conversation along the way—led to those bots communicating in their own non-human language. If this doesn’t fill you with a sense of wonder and awe about the future of machines and humanity then, I don’t know, go watch Blade Runner or something.

 

 

 

Oculus Education Pilot Kicks Off in 90 California Libraries — from oculus.com

Excerpt:

Books, like VR, open the door to new possibilities and let us experience worlds that would otherwise be beyond reach. Today, we’re excited to bring the two together through a new partnership with the California State Library. This pilot program will place 100 Rifts and Oculus Ready PCs in 90 libraries throughout the state, letting even more people step inside VR and see themselves as part of the revolution.

“It’s pretty cool to imagine how many people will try VR for the very first time—and have that ‘wow’ moment—in their local libraries,” says Oculus Education Program Manager Cindy Ball. “We hope early access will cause many people to feel excited and empowered to move beyond just experiencing VR and open their minds to the possibility of one day joining the industry.”

 

 

Also see:

Oculus Brings Rift to 90 Libraries in California for Public Access VR — from roadtovr.com by Dominic Brennan

Excerpt:

Oculus has announced a pilot program to place 100 Rifts and Oculus Ready PCs in 90 libraries throughout the state of California, from the Oregon border down to Mexico. Detailed on the Oculus Blog, the new partnership with the California State Library hopes to highlight the educational potential of VR, as well as provide easy access to VR hardware within the heart of local communities.

“Public libraries provide safe, supportive environments that are available and welcoming to everyone,” says Oculus Education Program Manager Cindy Ball. “They help level the playing field by providing educational opportunities and access to technology that may not be readily available in the community households. Libraries share the love—at scale.”

 

 

 

2017 Internet Trends Report — from kpcb.com by Mary Meeker

 

 

Mary Meeker’s 2017 internet trends report: All the slides, plus analysis — from recode.net by Rani Molla
The most anticipated slide deck of the year is here.

Excerpt:

Here are some of our takeaways:

  • Global smartphone growth is slowing: Smartphone shipments grew 3 percent year over year last year, versus 10 percent the year before. This is in addition to continued slowing internet growth, which Meeker discussed last year.
  • Voice is beginning to replace typing in online queries. Twenty percent of mobile queries were made via voice in 2016, while accuracy is now about 95 percent.
  • In 10 years, Netflix went from 0 to more than 30 percent of home entertainment revenue in the U.S. This is happening while TV viewership continues to decline.
  • China remains a fascinating market, with huge growth in mobile services and payments and services like on-demand bike sharing. (More here: The highlights of Meeker’s China slides.)

 

 

Read Mary Meeker’s essential 2017 Internet Trends report — from techcrunch.com by Josh Constine

Excerpt:

This is the best way to get up to speed on everything going on in tech. Kleiner Perkins venture partner Mary Meeker’s annual Internet Trends report is essentially the state of the union for the technology industry. The widely anticipated slide deck compiles the most informative research on what’s getting funded, how Internet adoption is progressing, which interfaces are resonating, and what will be big next.

You can check out the 2017 report embedded below, and here’s last year’s report for reference.

 

 

Complete Guide to Virtual Reality Careers — from vudream.com by Mark Metry

Excerpt:

So you want to jump in the illustrious intricate pool of Virtual Reality?

Come on in my friend. The water is warm with confusion and camaraderie. To be honest, few people have any idea what’s going on in the industry.

VR is a brand new industry, hardly anyone has experience.

That’s a good thing for you.

Marxent Labs reports that there are 5 virtual reality jobs.
UX/UI Designers:
UX/UI Designers create roadmaps demonstrating how the app should flow and design the look and feel of the app, in order to ensure user-friendly experiences.
Unity Developers:
Specializing in Unity 3D software, Unity Developers create the foundation of the experience.
3D Modelers:
3D artists render lifelike digital imagery.
Animators:
Animators bring the 3D models to life. Many 3D modelers are cross-trained in animation, which is a highly recommended combination a 3D candidate to possess.
Project Manager:
The Project Manager is responsible for communicating deadlines, budgets, requirements, roadblocks, and more between the client and the internal team.
Videographer:
Each project is captured and edited into clips to make showcase videos for marketing and entertainment.

 

 

Virtual Reality (VR) jobs jump in the job market — from forbes.com by Karsten Strauss

Excerpt:

One of the more vibrant, up-and-coming sectors of the tech industry these days is virtual reality. From the added dimension it brings to gaming and media consumption to the level of immersion the technology can bring to marketing, VR is expected to see a bump in the near future.

And major players have not been blind to that potential. Most famously, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg laid down a $2 billion bet on the technology in the spring of 2014 when his company acquired virtual reality firm, Oculus Rift. That investment put a stamp of confidence on the space and it’s grown ever since.

So it makes sense, then, that tech-facing companies are scanning for developers and coders who can help them build out their VR capabilities. Though still early, some in the job-search industry are noticing a trend in the hiring market.

 

 

 

 

 

Five things to know about Facebook’s huge augmented reality fantasy — from gizmodo.com by Michael Nunez

Excerpt:

One example of how this might work is at a restaurant. Your friend will be able to leave an augmented reality sticky note on the menu, letting you know which menu item is the best or which one’s the worst when you hold your camera up to it.

Another example is if you’re at a celebration, like New Year’s Eve or a birthday party. Facebook could use an augmented reality filter to fill the scene with confetti or morph the bar into an aquarium or any other setting corresponding with the team’s mascot. The basic examples are similar to Snapchat’s geo-filters—but the more sophisticated uses because it will actually let you leave digital objects behind for your friends to discover. Very cool!

 

“We’re going to make the camera the first mainstream AR platform,” said Zuckerberg.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s Everything Facebook Announced at F8, From VR to Bots — from wired.com

Excerpt:

On Tuesday, Facebook kicked off its annual F8 developer conference with a keynote address. CEO Mark Zuckerberg and others on his executive team made a bunch of announcements aimed at developers, but the implications for Facebook’s users was pretty clear. The apps that billions of us use daily—Facebook, Messenger, WhatsApp, Instagram—are going to be getting new camera tricks, new augmented reality capabilities, and more bots. So many bots!

 

Facebook’s bold and bizarre VR hangout app is now available for the Oculus Rift — from theverge.com by Nick Statt

Excerpt:

Facebook’s most fascinating virtual reality experiment, a VR hangout session where you can interact with friends as if you were sitting next to one another, is now ready for the public. The company is calling the product Facebook Spaces, and it’s being released today in beta form for the Oculus Rift.

 

 

 

From DSC:

Is this a piece of the future of distance education / online learning-based classrooms?

 

 

 

Facebook Launches Local ‘Developer Circles’ To Help Entrepreneurs Collaborate, Build Skills — from forbes.com by Kathleen  Chaykowski

Excerpt:

In 2014, Facebook launched its FbStart program, which has helped several thousand early stage apps build and grow their apps through a set of free tools and mentorship meetings. On Tuesday, Facebook unveiled a new program to reach a broader range of developers, as well as students interested in technology.

The program, called “Developer Circles,” is intended to bring developers in local communities together offline as well as online in Facebook groups to encourage the sharing of technical know-how, discuss ideas and build new projects. The program is also designed to serve students who may not yet be working on an app, but who are interested in building skills to work in computer science.

 

 

Facebook launches augmented reality Camera Effects developer platform — from techcrunch.com by Josh Constine

Excerpt:

Facebook will rely on an army of outside developers to contribute augmented reality image filters and interactive experiences to its new Camera Effects platform. After today’s Facebook F8 conference, the first effects will become available inside Facebook’s Camera feature on smartphones, but the Camera Effects platform is designed to eventually be compatible with future augmented reality hardware, such as eyeglasses.

While critics thought Facebook was just mindlessly copying Snapchat with its recent Stories and Camera features in Facebook, Messenger, Instagram and WhatsApp, Mark Zuckerberg tells TechCrunch his company was just laying the groundwork for today’s Camera Effects platform launch.

 

 

Mark Zuckerberg Sees Augmented Reality Ecosystem in Facebook — from nytimes.com by Mike Isaac

Excerpt:

On Tuesday, Mr. Zuckerberg introduced what he positioned as the first mainstream augmented reality platform, a way for people to view and digitally manipulate the physical world around them through the lens of their smartphone cameras.

 

 

Facebook Launches Social VR App ‘Facebook Spaces’ in Beta for Rift — from virtualrealitypulse.com by Ben Lang

 

 

 


Addendums on 4/20/17:


 

 

 

 

21 bot experts make their predictions for 2017 — from venturebeat.com by Adelyn Zhou

Excerpt:

2016 was a huge year for bots, with major platforms like Facebook launching bots for Messenger, and Amazon and Google heavily pushing their digital assistants. Looking forward to 2017, we asked 21 bot experts, entrepreneurs, and executives to share their predictions for how bots will continue to evolve in the coming year.

From Jordi Torras, founder and CEO, Inbenta:
“Chatbots will get increasingly smarter, thanks to the adoption of sophisticated AI algorithms and machine learning. But also they will specialize more in specific tasks, like online purchases, customer support, or online advice. First attempts of chatbot interoperability will start to appear, with generalist chatbots, like Siri or Alexa, connecting to specialized enterprise chatbots to accomplish specific tasks. Functions traditionally performed by search engines will be increasingly performed by chatbots.”

 

 

 

 

 


From DSC:
For those of us working within higher education, chatbots need to be on our radars. Here are 2 slides from my NGLS 2017 presentation.

 

 

 

 

The Enterprise Gets Smart
Companies are starting to leverage artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies to bolster customer experience, improve security and optimize operations.

Excerpt:

Assembling the right talent is another critical component of an AI initiative. While existing enterprise software platforms that add AI capabilities will make the technology accessible to mainstream business users, there will be a need to ramp up expertise in areas like data science, analytics and even nontraditional IT competencies, says Guarini.

“As we start to see the land grab for talent, there are some real gaps in emerging roles, and those that haven’t been as critical in the past,” Guarini  says, citing the need for people with expertise in disciplines like philosophy and linguistics, for example. “CIOs need to get in front of what they need in terms of capabilities and, in some cases, identify potential partners.”

 

 

 

Asilomar AI Principles

These principles were developed in conjunction with the 2017 Asilomar conference (videos here), through the process described here.

 

Artificial intelligence has already provided beneficial tools that are used every day by people around the world. Its continued development, guided by the following principles, will offer amazing opportunities to help and empower people in the decades and centuries ahead.

Research Issues

 

1) Research Goal: The goal of AI research should be to create not undirected intelligence, but beneficial intelligence.

2) Research Funding: Investments in AI should be accompanied by funding for research on ensuring its beneficial use, including thorny questions in computer science, economics, law, ethics, and social studies, such as:

  • How can we make future AI systems highly robust, so that they do what we want without malfunctioning or getting hacked?
  • How can we grow our prosperity through automation while maintaining people’s resources and purpose?
  • How can we update our legal systems to be more fair and efficient, to keep pace with AI, and to manage the risks associated with AI?
  • What set of values should AI be aligned with, and what legal and ethical status should it have?

3) Science-Policy Link: There should be constructive and healthy exchange between AI researchers and policy-makers.

4) Research Culture: A culture of cooperation, trust, and transparency should be fostered among researchers and developers of AI.

5) Race Avoidance: Teams developing AI systems should actively cooperate to avoid corner-cutting on safety standards.

Ethics and Values

 

6) Safety: AI systems should be safe and secure throughout their operational lifetime, and verifiably so where applicable and feasible.

7) Failure Transparency: If an AI system causes harm, it should be possible to ascertain why.

8) Judicial Transparency: Any involvement by an autonomous system in judicial decision-making should provide a satisfactory explanation auditable by a competent human authority.

9) Responsibility: Designers and builders of advanced AI systems are stakeholders in the moral implications of their use, misuse, and actions, with a responsibility and opportunity to shape those implications.

10) Value Alignment: Highly autonomous AI systems should be designed so that their goals and behaviors can be assured to align with human values throughout their operation.

11) Human Values: AI systems should be designed and operated so as to be compatible with ideals of human dignity, rights, freedoms, and cultural diversity.

12) Personal Privacy: People should have the right to access, manage and control the data they generate, given AI systems’ power to analyze and utilize that data.

13) Liberty and Privacy: The application of AI to personal data must not unreasonably curtail people’s real or perceived liberty.

14) Shared Benefit: AI technologies should benefit and empower as many people as possible.

15) Shared Prosperity: The economic prosperity created by AI should be shared broadly, to benefit all of humanity.

16) Human Control: Humans should choose how and whether to delegate decisions to AI systems, to accomplish human-chosen objectives.

17) Non-subversion: The power conferred by control of highly advanced AI systems should respect and improve, rather than subvert, the social and civic processes on which the health of society depends.

18) AI Arms Race: An arms race in lethal autonomous weapons should be avoided.

Longer-term Issues

 

19) Capability Caution: There being no consensus, we should avoid strong assumptions regarding upper limits on future AI capabilities.

20) Importance: Advanced AI could represent a profound change in the history of life on Earth, and should be planned for and managed with commensurate care and resources.

21) Risks: Risks posed by AI systems, especially catastrophic or existential risks, must be subject to planning and mitigation efforts commensurate with their expected impact.

22) Recursive Self-Improvement: AI systems designed to recursively self-improve or self-replicate in a manner that could lead to rapidly increasing quality or quantity must be subject to strict safety and control measures.

23) Common Good: Superintelligence should only be developed in the service of widely shared ethical ideals, and for the benefit of all humanity rather than one state or organization.

 

 

 

Excerpts:
Creating human-level AI: Will it happen, and if so, when and how? What key remaining obstacles can be identified? How can we make future AI systems more robust than today’s, so that they do what we want without crashing, malfunctioning or getting hacked?

  • Talks:
    • Demis Hassabis (DeepMind)
    • Ray Kurzweil (Google) (video)
    • Yann LeCun (Facebook/NYU) (pdf) (video)
  • Panel with Anca Dragan (Berkeley), Demis Hassabis (DeepMind), Guru Banavar (IBM), Oren Etzioni (Allen Institute), Tom Gruber (Apple), Jürgen Schmidhuber (Swiss AI Lab), Yann LeCun (Facebook/NYU), Yoshua Bengio (Montreal) (video)
  • Superintelligence: Science or fiction? If human level general AI is developed, then what are likely outcomes? What can we do now to maximize the probability of a positive outcome? (video)
    • Talks:
      • Shane Legg (DeepMind)
      • Nick Bostrom (Oxford) (pdf) (video)
      • Jaan Tallinn (CSER/FLI) (pdf) (video)
    • Panel with Bart Selman (Cornell), David Chalmers (NYU), Elon Musk (Tesla, SpaceX), Jaan Tallinn (CSER/FLI), Nick Bostrom (FHI), Ray Kurzweil (Google), Stuart Russell (Berkeley), Sam Harris, Demis Hassabis (DeepMind): If we succeed in building human-level AGI, then what are likely outcomes? What would we like to happen?
    • Panel with Dario Amodei (OpenAI), Nate Soares (MIRI), Shane Legg (DeepMind), Richard Mallah (FLI), Stefano Ermon (Stanford), Viktoriya Krakovna (DeepMind/FLI): Technical research agenda: What can we do now to maximize the chances of a good outcome? (video)
  • Law, policy & ethics: How can we update legal systems, international treaties and algorithms to be more fair, ethical and efficient and to keep pace with AI?
    • Talks:
      • Matt Scherer (pdf) (video)
      • Heather Roff-Perkins (Oxford)
    • Panel with Martin Rees (CSER/Cambridge), Heather Roff-Perkins, Jason Matheny (IARPA), Steve Goose (HRW), Irakli Beridze (UNICRI), Rao Kambhampati (AAAI, ASU), Anthony Romero (ACLU): Policy & Governance (video)
    • Panel with Kate Crawford (Microsoft/MIT), Matt Scherer, Ryan Calo (U. Washington), Kent Walker (Google), Sam Altman (OpenAI): AI & Law (video)
    • Panel with Kay Firth-Butterfield (IEEE, Austin-AI), Wendell Wallach (Yale), Francesca Rossi (IBM/Padova), Huw Price (Cambridge, CFI), Margaret Boden (Sussex): AI & Ethics (video)

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

Research study suggests VR can have a huge impact in the classroom — from uploadvr.com by Joe Durbin

Excerpt:

“Every child is a genius in his or her own way. VR can be the key to awakening the genius inside.”

This is the closing line of a new research study currently making its way out of China. Conducted by Beijing Bluefocus E-Commerce Co., Ltd and Beijing iBokan Wisdom Mobile Internet Technology Training Institution, the study takes a detailed look at the different ways virtual reality can make public education more effective.

 

“Compared with traditional education, VR-based education is of obvious advantage in theoretical knowledge teaching as well as practical skills training. In theoretical knowledge teaching, it boasts the ability to make abstract problems concrete, and theoretical thinking well-supported. In practical skills training, it helps sharpen students’ operational skills, provides an immersive learning experience, and enhances students’ sense of involvement in class, making learning more fun, more secure, and more active,” the study states.

 

 

VR for Education – what was and what is — from researchvr.podigee.io

Topics discussed:

  • VR for education: one time use vs everyday use
  • Ecological Validity of VR Research
  • AR definition & history
  • Tethered vs untethered
  • Intelligent Ontology-driven Games for Teaching Human Anatomy
  • Envelop VR
  • VR for Education
  • Gartner curve – then and now

 

 

 

Virtual reality industry leaders come together to create new association — from gvra.com

Excerpt:

CALIFORNIA — Acer Starbreeze, Google, HTC VIVE, Facebook’s Oculus, Samsung, and Sony Interactive Entertainment [on 12/7/16] announced the creation of a non-profit organization of international headset manufacturers to promote the growth of the global virtual reality (VR) industry. The Global Virtual Reality Association (GVRA) will develop and share best practices for industry and foster dialogue between public and private stakeholders around the world.

The goal of the Global Virtual Reality Association is to promote responsible development and adoption of VR globally. The association’s members will develop and share best practices, conduct research, and bring the international VR community together as the technology progresses. The group will also serve as a resource for consumers, policymakers, and industry interested in VR.

VR has the potential to be the next great computing platform, improving sectors ranging from education to healthcare, and contribute significantly to the global economy. Through research, international engagement, and the development of best practices, the founding companies of the Global Virtual Reality Association will work to unlock and maximize VR’s potential and ensure those gains are shared as broadly around the world as possible.

For more information, visit www.GVRA.com.

 

 

 

Occipital shows off a $399 mixed reality headset for iPhone — from techcrunch.com by Lucas Matney

Excerpt:

Occipital announced today that it is launching a mixed reality platform built upon its depth-sensing technologies called Bridge. The headset is available for $399 and starts shipping in March; eager developers can get their hands on an Explorer Edition for $499, which starts shipping next week.

 

 

From DSC:
While I hope that early innovators in the AR/VR/MR space thrive, I do wonder what will happen if and when Apple puts out their rendition/version of a new form of Human Computer Interaction (or forms) — such as integrating AR-capabilities directly into their next iPhone.

 

 

Enterprise augmented reality applications ready for prime time — from internetofthingsagenda.techtarget.com by Beth Stackpole
Pokémon Go may have put AR on the map, but the technology is now being leveraged for enterprise applications in areas like marketing, maintenance and field service.

Excerpt:

Unlike virtual reality, which creates an immersive, computer-generated environment, the less familiar augmented reality, or AR, technology superimposes computer-generated images and overlays information on a user’s real-world view. This computer-generated sensory data — which could include elements such as sound, graphics, GPS data, video or 3D models — bridges the digital and physical worlds. For an enterprise, the applications are boundless, arming workers walking the warehouse or selling on the shop floor, for example, with essential information that can improve productivity, streamline customer interactions and deliver optimized maintenance in the field.

 

 

15 virtual reality trends we’re predicting for 2017 — from appreal-vr.com by Yariv Levski

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

2016 is fast drawing to a close. And while many will be glad to see the back of it, for those of us who work and play with Virtual Reality, it has been a most exciting year.

By the time the bells ring out signalling the start of a new year, the total number of VR users will exceed 43 million. This is a market on the move, projected to be worth $30bn by 2020. If it’s to meet that valuation, then we believe 2017 will be an incredibly important year in the lifecycle of VR hardware and software development.

VR will be enjoyed by an increasingly mainstream audience very soon, and here we take a quick look at some of the trends we expect to develop over the next 12 months for that to happen.

 

 

Murdoch University hosts trial of virtual reality classroom TeachLivE — from communitynews.com.au by Josh Zimmerman

Excerpt:

IN an Australian first, education students will be able hone their skills without stepping foot in a classroom. Murdoch University has hosted a pilot trial of TeachLivE, a virtual reality environment for teachers in training.

 

The student avatars are able to disrupt the class in a range of ways that teachers may encounter such as pulling out mobile phones or losing their pen during class.

 

murdoch-university-teachlive-dec017

 

 

8 Cutting Edge Virtual Reality Job Opportunities — from appreal-vr.com by Yariv Levski
Today we’re highlighting the top 8 job opportunities in VR to give you a current scope of the Virtual Reality job market.

 

 

 

Epson’s Augmented Reality Glasses Are a Revolution in Drone Tech — from dronelife.com by Miriam McNabb

Excerpt:

The Epson Moverio BT-300, to give the smart glasses their full name, are wearable technology – lightweight, comfortable see-through glasses – that allow you to see digital data, and have a first person view (FPV) experience: all while seeing the real world at the same time. The applications are almost endless.

 

 

 

Volkswagen Electric Car To Feature Augmented Reality Navigation System — from gas2.org by Steve Hanley

Excerpt:

Volkswagen’s pivot away from diesel cars to electric vehicles is still a work in progress, but some details about its coming I.D. electric car — unveiled in Paris earlier this year — are starting to come to light. Much of the news is about an innovative augmented reality heads-up display Volkswagen plans to offer in its electric vehicles. Klaus Bischoff, head of the VW brand, says the I.D. electric car will completely reinvent vehicle instrumentation systems when it is launched at the end of the decade.

 

 

These global research centers are a proof that virtual reality is more than gaming — from haptic.al by Deniz Ergürel

Excerpt:

For decades, numerous research centers and academics around the world have been working the potential of virtual reality technology. Countless research projects undertaken in these centers are an important indicator that everything from health care to real estate can experience disruption in a few years.

  • Virtual Human Interaction Lab — Stanford University
  • Virtual Reality Applications Center — Iowa State University
  • Institute for Creative Technologies—USC
  • Medical Virtual Reality — USC
  • The Imaging Media Research Center — Korea Institute of Science and Technology
  • Virtual Reality & Immersive Visualization Group — RWTH Aachen University
  • Center For Simulations & Virtual Environments Research — UCIT
  • Duke immersive Virtual Environment —Duke University
  • Experimental Virtual Environments (EVENT) Lab for Neuroscience and Technology — Barcelona University
  • Immersive Media Technology Experiences (IMTE) — Norwegian University of Technology
  • Human Interface Technology Laboratory — University of Washington

 

 

Where Virtual and Physical Worlds Converge — from disruptionhub.com

Excerpt:

Augmented Reality (AR) dwelled quietly in the shadow of VR until earlier this year, when a certain app propelled it into the mainstream. Now, AR is a household term and can hold its own with advanced virtual technologies. The AR industry is predicted to hit global revenues of $90 billion by 2020, not just matching VR but overtaking it by a large margin. Of course, a lot of this turnover will be generated by applications in the entertainment industry. VR was primarily created by gamers for gamers, but AR began as a visionary idea that would change the way that humanity interacted with the world around them. The first applications of augmented reality were actually geared towards improving human performance in the workplace… But there’s far, far more to be explored.

 

 

VR’s killer app has arrived, and it’s Google Earth — from arstechnica.com by Sam Machkovech
Squishy geometry aside, you won’t find a cooler free VR app on any device.

Excerpt:

I stood at the peak of Mount Rainier, the tallest mountain in Washington state. The sounds of wind whipped past my ears, and mountains and valleys filled a seemingly endless horizon in every direction. I’d never seen anything like it—until I grabbed the sun.

Using my HTC Vive virtual reality wand, I reached into the heavens in order to spin the Earth along its normal rotational axis, until I set the horizon on fire with a sunset. I breathed deeply at the sight, then spun our planet just a little more, until I filled the sky with a heaping helping of the Milky Way Galaxy.

Virtual reality has exposed me to some pretty incredible experiences, but I’ve grown ever so jaded in the past few years of testing consumer-grade headsets. Google Earth VR, however, has dropped my jaw anew. This, more than any other game or app for SteamVR’s “room scale” system, makes me want to call every friend and loved one I know and tell them to come over, put on a headset, and warp anywhere on Earth that they please.

 

 

VR is totally changing how architects dream up buildings — from wired.com by Sam Lubell

Excerpt:

In VR architecture, the difference between real and unreal is fluid and, to a large extent, unimportant. What is important, and potentially revolutionary, is VR’s ability to draw designers and their clients into a visceral world of dimension, scale, and feeling, removing the unfortunate schism between a built environment that exists in three dimensions and a visualization of it that has until now existed in two.

 

 

How VR can democratize Architecture — from researchvr.podigee.io

Excerpt:

Many of the VR projects in Architecture are focused on the final stages of design process, basically for selling a house to a client. Thomas sees the real potential in the early stages: when the main decisions need to be made. VR is so good for this, as it helps for non professionals to understand and grasp the concepts of architecture very intuitively. And this is what we talked mostly about.

 

 

 

How virtual reality could revolutionize the real estate industry — from uploadvr.com by Benjamin Maltbie

 

 

 

Will VR disrupt the airline industry? Sci-Fi show meets press virtually instead of flying — from singularityhub.com by Aaron Frank

Excerpt:

A proposed benefit of virtual reality is that it could one day eliminate the need to move our fleshy bodies around the world for business meetings and work engagements. Instead, we’ll be meeting up with colleagues and associates in virtual spaces. While this would be great news for the environment and business people sick of airports, it would be troubling news for airlines.

 

 

How theaters are evolving to include VR experiences — from uploadvr.com by Michael Mascioni

 

 

 

#AI, #VR, and #IoT Are Coming to a Courthouse Near You! — from americanbar.org by Judge Herbert B. Dixon Jr.

Excerpt:

Imagine during one of your future trials that jurors in your courtroom are provided with virtual reality headsets, which allow them to view the accident site or crime scene digitally and walk around or be guided through a 3D world to examine vital details of the scene.

How can such an evidentiary presentation be accomplished? A system is being developed whereby investigators use a robot system inspired by NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover using 3D imaging and panoramic videography equipment to record virtual reality video of the scene.6 The captured 360° immersive video and photographs of the scene would allow recreation of a VR experience with video and pictures of the original scene from every angle. Admissibility of this evidence would require a showing that the VR simulation fairly and accurately depicts what it represents. If a judge permits presentation of the evidence after its accuracy is established, jurors receiving the evidence could turn their heads and view various aspects of the scene by looking up, down, and around, and zooming in and out.

Unlike an animation or edited video initially created to demonstrate one party’s point of view, the purpose of this type of evidence would be to gather data and objectively preserve the scene without staging or tampering. Even further, this approach would allow investigators to revisit scenes as they existed during the initial forensic examination and give jurors a vivid rendition of the site as it existed when the events occurred.

 

 

Microsoft goes long for mixed reality — from next.reality.news

Excerpt:

The theme running throughout most of this year’s WinHEC keynote in Shenzhen, China was mixed reality. Microsoft’s Alex Kipman continues to be a great spokesperson and evangelist for the new medium, and it is apparent that Microsoft is going in deep, if not all in, on this version of the future. I, for one, as a mixed reality or bust developer, am very glad to see it.

As part of the presentation, Microsoft presented a video (see below) that shows the various forms of mixed reality. The video starts with a few virtual objects in the room with a person, transitions into the same room with a virtual person, then becomes a full virtual reality experience with Windows Holographic.

 

 

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