Adobe unveils new Microsoft HoloLens and Amazon Alexa integrations — from geekwire.com by Nat Levy

 

 

 

 

Introducing the AR Landscape — from medium.com by Super Ventures
Mapping out the augmented reality ecosystem

 

 

 

 

Alibaba leads $18M investment in car navigation augmented reality outfit WayRay — from siliconangle.com by Kyt Dotson

Excerpt:

WayRay boasts the 2015 launch of Navion, what it calls the “first ever holographic navigator” for cars that uses AR technology to project a Global Positioning System, or GPS, info overlay onto the car’s windshield.

Just like a video game, users of the GPS need only follow green arrows projected as if onto the road in front of the car providing visual directions. More importantly, because the system displays on the windscreen, it does not require a cumbersome headset or eyewear worn by the driver. It integrates directly into the dashboard of the car.

The system also recognizes simple voice and gesture commands from the driver — eschewing turning of knobs or pressing buttons. The objective of the system is to allow the driver to spend more time paying attention to the road, with hands on the wheel. Many modern-day onboard GPS systems also recognize voice commands but require the driver to glance over at a screen.

 

 

Viro Media Is A Tool For Creating Simple Mobile VR Apps For Businesses — from uploadvr.com by Charles Singletary

Excerpt:

Viro Media is supplying a platform of their own and their hope is to be the simplest experience where companies can code once and have their content available on multiple mobile platforms. We chatted with Viro Media CEO Danny Moon about the tool and what creators can expect to accomplish with it.

 

 

Listen to these podcasts to dive into virtual reality — from haptic.al by Deniz Ergürel
We curated some great episodes with our friends at RadioPublic

Excerpt:

Virtual reality can transport us to new places, where we can experience new worlds and people, like no other. It is a whole new medium poised to change the future of gaming, education, health care and enterprise. Today we are starting a new series to help you discover what this new technology promises. With the help of our friends at RadioPublic, we are curating a quick library of podcasts related to virtual reality technology.

 

Psychologists using virtual reality to help treat PTSD in veterans — from kxan.com by Amanda Brandeis

Excerpt:

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Virtual reality is no longer reserved for entertainment and gamers, its helping solve real-world problems. Some of the latest advancements are being demonstrated at South by Southwest.

Dr. Skip Rizzo directs the Medical Virtual Reality Lab at the University of Southern California’s Institute for Creative Technologies. He’s helping veterans who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). He’s up teamed with Dell to develop and spread the technology to more people.

 

 

 

NVIDIA Jetson Enables Artec 3D, Live Planet to Create VR Content in Real Time — from blogs.nvidia.com
While VR revolutionizes fields across everyday life — entertainment, medicine, architecture, education and product design — creating VR content remains among its biggest challenges.

Excerpt:

At NVIDIA Jetson TX2 launch [on March 7, 2017], in San Francisco, [NVIDIA] showed how the platform not only accelerates AI computing, graphics and computer vision, but also powers the workflows used to create VR content. Artec 3D debuted at the event the first handheld scanner offering real-time 3D capture, fusion, modeling and visualization on its own display or streamed to phones and tablets.

 

 

Project Empathy
A collection of virtual reality experiences that help us see the world through the eyes of another

Excerpt:

Benefit Studio’s virtual reality series, Project Empathy is a collection of thoughtful, evocative and surprising experiences by some of the finest creators in entertainment, technology and journalism.

Each film is designed to create empathy through a first-person experience–from being a child inside the U.S. prison system to being a widow cast away from society in India.  Individually, each of the films in this series presents its filmmaker’s unique vision, portraying an intimate experience through the eyes of someone whose story has been lost or overlooked and yet is integral to the larger story of our global society. Collectively, these creatively distinct films weave together a colorful tapestry of what it means to be human today.

 

 

 

 

Work in a high-risk industry? Virtual reality may soon become part of routine training — from ibtimes.cok.uk by Owen Hughes
Immersive training videos could be used to train workers in construction, mining and nuclear power.

 

 

 

At Syracuse University, more students are getting ahold of virtual reality — from dailyorange.com by Haley Kim

 

 

 

As Instructors Experiment With VR, a Shift From ‘Looking’ to ‘Interacting’ — from edsurge.com by Marguerite McNeal

Excerpt:

Most introductory geology professors teach students about earthquakes by assigning readings and showing diagrams of tectonic plates and fault lines to the class. But Paul Low is not most instructors.

“You guys can go wherever you like,” he tells a group of learners. “I’m going to go over to the epicenter and fly through and just kind of get a feel.”

Low is leading a virtual tour of the Earth’s bowels, directly beneath New Zealand’s south island, where a 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck last November. Outfitted with headsets and hand controllers, the students are “flying” around the seismic hotbed and navigating through layers of the Earth’s surface.

Low, who taught undergraduate geology and environmental sciences and is now a research associate at Washington and Lee University, is among a small group of profs-turned-technologists who are experimenting with virtual reality’s applications in higher education.

 

 

 

These University Courses Are Teaching Students the Skills to Work in VR — from uploadvr.com

Excerpt:

“As virtual reality moves more towards the mainstream through the development of new, more affordable consumer technologies, a way needs to be found for students to translate what they learn in academic situations into careers within the industry,” says Frankie Cavanagh, a lecturer at Northumbria University. He founded a company called Somniator last year with the aim not only of developing VR games, but to provide a bridge between higher education and the technology sector. Over 70 students from Newcastle University, Northumbria University and Gateshead College in the UK have been placed so far through the program, working on real games as part of their degrees and getting paid for additional work commissioned.

 

Working with VR already translates into an extraordinarily diverse range of possible career paths, and those options are only going to become even broader as the industry matures in the next few years.

 

 

Scope AR Brings Live, Interactive AR Video Support to Caterpillar Customers — from augmented.reality.news by Tommy Palladino

Excerpt:

Customer service just got a lot more interesting. Construction equipment manufacturer Caterpillar just announced official availability of what they’re calling the CAT LIVESHARE solution to customer support, which builds augmented reality capabilities into the platform. They’ve partnered with Scope AR, a company who develops technical support and training documentation tools using augmented reality. The CAT LIVESHARE support system uses Scope AR’s Remote AR software as the backbone.

 

 

 

New virtual reality tool helps architects create dementia-friendly environments — from dezzen.com by Jessica Mairs

 

Visual showing appearance of a room without and with the Virtual Reality Empathy Platform headset

 

 

 

 

 

 

Can Virtual Reality “teach” empathy? — from hechingerreport.org by Chris Berdik
Immersive VR in the classroom is spreading fast, as teachers take students into other worlds

Excerpt:

In November 2015, middle-school students from Westchester County, New York, found themselves on a windswept field in South Sudan mingling with a crowd of refugees fleeing civil war. Suddenly, they heard the deafening roar of low-flying military cargo planes overhead, followed by large bags of grain thudding to the ground all around them.

“The kids were jumping back from those bags dropping at their feet,” recalled Cayne Letizia, the teacher who used immersive virtual reality (VR) to transport his class into this emergency food drop featured in the New York Times 360-degree video series about refugees. Count Letizia among VR’s burgeoning fan base in education, where the spread of high-quality content and more-affordable hardware (especially Google’s $15 Cardboard Viewer) gives students myriad ways to briefly inhabit what they’re learning—from wandering the streets of ancient Rome to touring the International Space Station.

 

From DSC:
I read the other day where someone asserted that you can’t make someone be more empathetic. That may be so, but VR can sure put you in someone else’s shoes — big time!  And that seems like in many cases, that can be a good thing in terms of understanding what someone else might be going through.

 

 

 

 

 

 
 

 

A world without work — by Derek Thompson; The Atlantic — from July 2015

Excerpts:

Youngstown, U.S.A.
The end of work is still just a futuristic concept for most of the United States, but it is something like a moment in history for Youngstown, Ohio, one its residents can cite with precision: September 19, 1977.

For much of the 20th century, Youngstown’s steel mills delivered such great prosperity that the city was a model of the American dream, boasting a median income and a homeownership rate that were among the nation’s highest. But as manufacturing shifted abroad after World War  II, Youngstown steel suffered, and on that gray September afternoon in 1977, Youngstown Sheet and Tube announced the shuttering of its Campbell Works mill. Within five years, the city lost 50,000 jobs and $1.3 billion in manufacturing wages. The effect was so severe that a term was coined to describe the fallout: regional depression.

Youngstown was transformed not only by an economic disruption but also by a psychological and cultural breakdown. Depression, spousal abuse, and suicide all became much more prevalent; the caseload of the area’s mental-health center tripled within a decade. The city built four prisons in the mid-1990s—a rare growth industry. One of the few downtown construction projects of that period was a museum dedicated to the defunct steel industry.

“Youngstown’s story is America’s story, because it shows that when jobs go away, the cultural cohesion of a place is destroyed”…

“The cultural breakdown matters even more than the economic breakdown.”

But even leaving aside questions of how to distribute that wealth, the widespread disappearance of work would usher in a social transformation unlike any we’ve seen.

What may be looming is something different: an era of technological unemployment, in which computer scientists and software engineers essentially invent us out of work, and the total number of jobs declines steadily and permanently.

After 300 years of people crying wolf, there are now three broad reasons to take seriously the argument that the beast is at the door: the ongoing triumph of capital over labor, the quiet demise of the working man, and the impressive dexterity of information technology.

The paradox of work is that many people hate their jobs, but they are considerably more miserable doing nothing.

Most people want to work, and are miserable when they cannot. The ills of unemployment go well beyond the loss of income; people who lose their job are more likely to suffer from mental and physical ailments. “There is a loss of status, a general malaise and demoralization, which appears somatically or psychologically or both”…

Research has shown that it is harder to recover from a long bout of joblessness than from losing a loved one or suffering a life-altering injury.

Most people do need to achieve things through, yes, work to feel a lasting sense of purpose.

When an entire area, like Youngstown, suffers from high and prolonged unemployment, problems caused by unemployment move beyond the personal sphere; widespread joblessness shatters neighborhoods and leaches away their civic spirit.

What’s more, although a universal income might replace lost wages, it would do little to preserve the social benefits of work.

“I can’t stress this enough: this isn’t just about economics; it’s psychological”…

 

 

The paradox of work is that many people hate their jobs, but they are considerably more miserable doing nothing.

 

 

From DSC:
Though I’m not saying Thompson is necessarily asserting this in his article, I don’t see a world without work as a dream. In fact, as the quote immediately before this paragraph alludes to, I think that most people would not like a life that is devoid of all work. I think work is where we can serve others, find purpose and meaning for our lives, seek to be instruments of making the world a better place, and attempt to design/create something that’s excellent.  We may miss the mark often (I know I do), but we keep trying.

 

 

 

Artificial Intelligence Ethics, Jobs & Trust – UK Government Sets Out AI future — from cbronline.com by Ellie Burns

Excerpt:

UK government is driving the artificial intelligence agenda, pinpointing it as a future technology driving the fourth revolution and billing its importance on par with the steam engine.

The report on Artificial Intelligence by the Government Office for Science follows the recent House of Commons Committee report on Robotics and AI, setting out the opportunities and implications for the future of decision making. In a report which spans government deployment, ethics and the labour market, Digital Minister Matt Hancock provided a foreword which pushed AI as a technology which would benefit the economy and UK citizens.

 

 

 

 

MIT’s “Moral Machine” Lets You Decide Who Lives & Dies in Self-Driving Car Crashes — from futurism.com

In brief:

  • MIT’S 13-point exercise lets users weigh the life-and-death decisions that self-driving cars could face in the future.
  • Projects like the “Moral Machine” give engineers insight into how they should code complex decision-making capabilities into AI.

 

 

Wearable Tech Weaves Its Way Into Learning — from edsurge.com by Marguerite McNeal

Excerpt:

“Ethics often falls behind the technology,” says Voithofer of Ohio State. Personal data becomes more abstract when it’s combined with other datasets or reused for multiple purposes, he adds. Say a device collects and anonymizes data about a student’s emotional patterns. Later on that information might be combined with information about her test scores and could be reassociated with her. Some students might object to colleges making judgments about their academic performance from indirect measurements of their emotional states.

 

 

New era of ‘cut and paste’ humans close as man injected with genetically-edited blood – from telegraph.co.uk by Sarah Knapton

Excerpt:

A world where DNA can be rewritten to fix deadly diseases has moved a step closer after scientists announced they had genetically-edited the cells of a human for the first time using a groundbreaking technique.

A man in China was injected with modified immune cells which had been engineered to fight his lung cancer. Larger trials are scheduled to take place next year in the US and Beijing, which scientists say could open up a new era of genetic medicine.

The technique used is called Crispr, which works like tiny molecular scissors snipping away genetic code and replacing it with new instructions to build better cells.

 

 

 

Troubling Study Says Artificial Intelligence Can Predict Who Will Be Criminals Based on Facial Features — from theintercept.com by Sam Biddle

 

 

 

Artificial intelligence is quickly becoming as biased as we are — from thenextweb.com by Bryan Clark

 

 

 

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

Excerpt:

Can you be sexually assaulted in virtual reality? And can anything be done to prevent it? Those are a few of the most pressing ethical questions technologists, investors and we the public will face as VR grows.

 

 

 

Light Bulbs Flash “SOS” in Scary Internet of Things Attack — from fortune.com by Jeff John Roberts

 

 

 

How Big Data Transformed Applying to College — from slate.com by Cathy O’Neil
It’s made it tougher, crueler, and ever more expensive.

 

 

Not OK, Google — from techcrunch.com by Natasha Lomas

Excerpts (emphasis DSC):

The scope of Alphabet’s ambition for the Google brand is clear: It wants Google’s information organizing brain to be embedded right at the domestic center — i.e. where it’s all but impossible for consumers not to feed it with a steady stream of highly personal data. (Sure, there’s a mute button on the Google Home, but the fact you have to push a button to shut off the ear speaks volumes… )

In other words, your daily business is Google’s business.

“We’re moving from a mobile-first world to an AI-first world,” said CEO Sundar Pichai…

But what’s really not OK, Google is the seismic privacy trade-offs involved here. And the way in which Alphabet works to skate over the surface of these concerns.

 

What he does not say is far more interesting, i.e. that in order to offer its promise of “custom convenience” — with predictions about restaurants you might like to eat at, say, or suggestions for how bad the traffic might be on your commute to work — it is continuously harvesting and data-mining your personal information, preferences, predilections, peccadilloes, prejudices…  and so on and on and on. AI never stops needing data. Not where fickle humans are concerned. 

 

 

Welcome to a world without work — from by Automation and globalisation are combining to generate a world with a surfeit of labour and too little work

Excerpt:

A new age is dawning. Whether it is a wonderful one or a terrible one remains to be seen. Look around and the signs of dizzying technological progress are difficult to miss. Driverless cars and drones, not long ago the stuff of science fiction, are now oddities that can occasionally be spotted in the wild and which will soon be a commonplace in cities around the world.

 

From DSC:
I don’t see a world without work being good for us in the least. I think we humans need to feel that we are contributing to something. We need a purpose for living out our days here on Earth (even though they are but a vapor).  We need vision…goals to works towards as we seek to use the gifts, abilities, passions, and interests that the LORD gave to us.  The author of the above article would also add that work:

  • Is a source of personal identity
  • It helps give structure to our days and our lives
  • It offers the possibility of personal fulfillment that comes from being of use to others
  • Is a critical part of the glue that holds society together and smooths its operation

 

Over the last generation, work has become ever less effective at performing these roles. That, in turn, has placed pressure on government services and budgets, contributing to a more poisonous and less generous politics. Meanwhile, the march of technological progress continues, adding to the strain.

 

 

10 breakthrough technologies for 2016 — from technologyreview.com

Excerpts:

Immune Engineering
Genetically engineered immune cells are saving the lives of cancer patients. That may be just the start.

Precise Gene Editing in Plants
CRISPR offers an easy, exact way to alter genes to create traits such as disease resistance and drought tolerance.

Conversational Interfaces
Powerful speech technology from China’s leading Internet company makes it much easier to use a smartphone.

Reusable Rockets
Rockets typically are destroyed on their maiden voyage. But now they can make an upright landing and be refueled for another trip, setting the stage for a new era in spaceflight.

Robots That Teach Each Other
What if robots could figure out more things on their own and share that knowledge among themselves?

DNA App Store
An online store for information about your genes will make it cheap and easy to learn more about your health risks and predispositions.

SolarCity’s Gigafactory
A $750 million solar facility in Buffalo will produce a gigawatt of high-efficiency solar panels per year and make the technology far more attractive to homeowners.

Slack
A service built for the era of mobile phones and short text messages is changing the workplace.

Tesla Autopilot
The electric-vehicle maker sent its cars a software update that suddenly made autonomous driving a reality.

Power from the Air
Internet devices powered by Wi-Fi and other telecommunications signals will make small computers and sensors more pervasive

 

 

The 4 big ethical questions of the Fourth Industrial Revolution — from 3tags.org by the World Economic Forum

Excerpts:

We live in an age of transformative scientific powers, capable of changing the very nature of the human species and radically remaking the planet itself.

Advances in information technologies and artificial intelligence are combining with advances in the biological sciences; including genetics, reproductive technologies, neuroscience, synthetic biology; as well as advances in the physical sciences to create breathtaking synergies — now recognized as the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

Since these technologies will ultimately decide so much of our future, it is deeply irresponsible not to consider together whether and how to deploy them. Thankfully there is growing global recognition of the need for governance.

 

 

Scientists create live animals from artificial eggs in ‘remarkable’ breakthrough — from telegraph.co.uk by Sarah Knapton

 

 

 

Robot babies from Japan raise questions about how parents bond with AI — from singularityhub.com by Mark Robert Anderson

Excerpt:

This then leads to the ethical implications of using robots. Embracing a number of areas of research, robot ethics considers whether the use of a device within a particular field is acceptable and also whether the device itself is behaving ethically. When it comes to robot babies there are already a number of issues that are apparent. Should “parents” be allowed to choose the features of their robot, for example? How might parents be counseled when returning their robot baby? And will that baby be used again in the same form?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Amazon’s Vision of the Future Involves Cops Commanding Tiny Drone ‘Assistants’ — from gizmodo.com by Hudson Hongo

 

 

 

DARPA’s Autonomous Ship Is Patrolling the Seas with a Parasailing Radar — from technologyreview.com by Jamie Condliffe
Forget self-driving cars—this is the robotic technology that the military wants to use.

 

 

 

China’s policing robot: Cattle prod meets supercomputer — from computerworld.com by Patrick Thibodeau
China’s fastest supercomputers have some clear goals, namely development of its artificial intelligence, robotics industries and military capability, says the U.S.

 

 

Report examines China’s expansion into unmanned industrial, service, and military robotics systems

 

 

 

Augmented Reality Glasses Are Coming To The Battlefield — from popsci.com by Andrew Rosenblum
Marines will control a head-up display with a gun-mounted mouse

 

 

———-

Addendum on 12/2/16:

Regulation of the Internet of Things — from schneier.com by Bruce Schneier

Excerpt:

Late last month, popular websites like Twitter, Pinterest, Reddit and PayPal went down for most of a day. The distributed denial-of-service attack that caused the outages, and the vulnerabilities that made the attack possible, was as much a failure of market and policy as it was of technology. If we want to secure our increasingly computerized and connected world, we need more government involvement in the security of the “Internet of Things” and increased regulation of what are now critical and life-threatening technologies. It’s no longer a question of if, it’s a question of when.

An additional market failure illustrated by the Dyn attack is that neither the seller nor the buyer of those devices cares about fixing the vulnerability. The owners of those devices don’t care. They wanted a webcam —­ or thermostat, or refrigerator ­— with nice features at a good price. Even after they were recruited into this botnet, they still work fine ­— you can’t even tell they were used in the attack. The sellers of those devices don’t care: They’ve already moved on to selling newer and better models. There is no market solution because the insecurity primarily affects other people. It’s a form of invisible pollution.

 

 

 

calvincollege-janseries2017-2

 

The speakers — and the topics that they’ll be discussing — for the 2017 January Series have been announced.  As you can see, very knowledgeable, talented speakers are planning on covering a variety of meaningful topics such as:

  • 500 Years Later: Why the Reformation Still Matters
  • Poverty and Profit in the American City
  • Race, Trauma, and the Doctrine of Discovery
  • Closing the Gender Gap in Technology
  • Tinkering in Today’s Healthcare Factories: Pursuing the Renewal of Medicine
  • Until All Are Free: A Look at Slavery Today and the Church’s Invitation to End It
  • I’ll Push You: A Story of Radical Friendship, Overcoming Challenges and the Power of Community
  • The EU and Global Governance
  • The Very Good Gospel: How Everything Wrong Can Be Made Right
  • How Did We Get Here? A Historical Perspective on Our Wild 2016 Election
  • How to Find and Live Your Calling: Lessons from the Psychology of Vocation
  • The World is a Scary Place, Love Anyway
  • The Royal Revolution: Fresh Perspectives on the Cross
  • American Violinist in Concert
  • Overrated: Are We More in Love with the Idea of Changing the World than Actually Changing the World?

You don’t have to physically attend these presentations in order to benefit from them, as the majority of these presentations will be streamed live over the Internet (audio only).  So plan now to attend (physically or virtually) one or more of these excellent talks.

 

 

 

9 Best Augmented Reality Smart Glasses 2016 — from appcessories.co.uk

Excerpt:

2016 has been promoted as the year of virtual reality. In the space of a few months, we have seen brands like Facebook, Samsung and Sony have all come out with VR products of their own. But another closely related industry has been making a growing presence in the tech industry. Augmented reality, or simply AR, is gaining ground among tech companies and even consumers. Google was the first contender for coolest AR product with its Google Glass. Too bad that did not work out; it felt like a product too ahead of its time. Companies like Microsoft, Magic Leap and even Apple are hoping to pick up from where Google left off. They are creating their own smart glasses that will, hopefully, do better than Google Glass. In our article, we look at some of the coolest Augmented Reality smart glasses around.

Some of them are already out while others are in development.

 

 

The holy grail of Virtual Reality: A complete suspension of disbelief — from labster.com by Marian Reed

Excerpt:

It’s no secret that we here at Labster are pretty excited about VR.  However, if we are to successfully introduce VR into education and training we need to know how to create VR simulations that unlock these new great ways of learning.

 

 

 

 

Computer science researchers create augmented reality education tool — from ucalgary.ca by Erin Guiltenane

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

Christian Jacob and Markus Santoso are trying to re-create the experience of the aforementioned agents in Fantastic Voyage. Working with 3D modelling company Zygote, they and recent MSc graduate Douglas Yuen have created HoloCell, an educational software. Using Microsoft’s revolutionary HoloLens AR glasses, HoloCell provides a mixed reality experience allowing users to explore a 3D simulation of the inner workings, organelles, and molecules of a healthy human cell.

 

holocell-sept2016

 

 

 

Upload, Google, HTC and Udacity join forces for new VR education program — from  uploadvr.com

Excerpt:

Upload is teaming up with Udacity, Google and HTC to build an industry-recognized VR certification program.

According to Udacity representatives, the organization will now be adding a VR track to its “nanodegree”program. Udacity’s nanodegrees are certification routes that can be completed completely online at a student’s own pace. These courses typically take between 6-12 months and cost $199 per month. Students will also receive half of their tuition back if they complete a course within six months. The new VR course will follow this pattern as well.

The VR nanodegree program was curated by Udacity after the organization interviewed dozens of VR savvy companies about the type of skills they look for in a potential new hire. This information was then built into a curriculum through a joint effort between Google, HTC and Upload.

 

 

 

Virtual reality helps Germany catch last Nazi war criminals — from theguardian.com by Agence France-Presse
Lack of knowledge no longer an excuse as precise 3D model of Auschwitz, showing gas chambers and crematoria, helps address atrocities

Excerpt:

German prosecutors and police have developed 3D technology to help them catch the last living Nazi war criminals with a highly precise model of Auschwitz.

Also related to this:

Auschwitz war criminals targeted with help of virtual reality — from jpost.com by

Excerpt:

German prosecutors and police have begun using virtual reality headsets in their quest to bring the last remaining Auschwitz war criminals to justice, AFP reported Sunday.

Using the blueprints of the death camp in Nazi-occupied Poland, Bavarian state crime office digital imaging expert Ralf Breker has created a virtual reality model of Auschwitz which allows judges and prosecutors to mimic moving around the camp as it stood during the Holocaust.

 

 

 

How the UN thinks virtual reality could not only build empathy, but catalyze change, too — from yahoo.com by Lulu Chang

Excerpt:

Technology is hoping to turn empathy into action. Or at least, the United Nations is hoping to do so. The intergovernmental organization is more than seven decades old at this point, but it’s constantly finding new ways to better the world’s citizenry. And the latest tool in its arsenal? Virtual reality.

Last year, the UN debuted its United Nations Virtual Reality, which uses the technology to advocate for communities the world over. And more recently, the organization launched an app made specifically for virtual reality films.  First debuted at the Toronto International Film Festival, this app encourages folks to not only watch the UN’s VR films, but to then take action by way of donations or volunteer work.

 

 

 

Occipital Wants to Turn iPhones into Mixed Virtual Reality Headsets — from next.reality.news by Adam Dachis

Excerpt:

If you’re an Apple user and want an untethered virtual reality system, you’re currently stuck with Google Cardboard, which doesn’t hold a candle to the room scale VR provided by the HTC Vive (a headset not compatible with Macs, by the way). But spatial computing company Occipital just figured out how to use their Structure Core 3D Sensor to provide room scale VR to any smartphone headset—whether it’s for an iPhone or Android.

 

occipital-10-2-16

 

 

‘The Body VR’ Brings Educational Tour Of The Human Body To HTC Vive Today — from uploadvr.com by Jamie Feltham on October 3rd, 2016

 Excerpt:

The Body VR is a great example of how the Oculus Rift and Gear VR can be used to educate as well as entertain. Starting today, it’s also a great example of how the HTC Vive can do the same.

The developers previously released this VR biology lesson for free back at the launch of the Gear VR and, in turn, the Oculus Rift. Now an upgraded version is available on Valve and HTC’s Steam VR headset. You’ll still get the original experience in which you explore the human body, travelling through the bloodstream to learn about blood cells and looking at how organelles work. The piece is narrated as you go.

 

 

 

 

Virtual Reality Dazzles Harvard University — from universityherald.com

Excerpt:

For a moment, students were taken into another world without leaving the great halls of Harvard. Some students had a great time exploring the ocean floor and saw unique underwater animals, others tried their hand in hockey, while others screamed as they got into a racecar and sped on a virtual speedway. All of them, getting a taste of what virtual and augmented reality looks like.

All of these, of course, were not just about fun but on how especially augmented and virtual reality can transform every kind of industry. This will be discussed and demonstrated at the i-lab in the coming weeks with Rony Abovitz, CEO of Magic Leap Inc., as the keynote speaker.

Abovitz was responsible for developing the “Mixed Reality Lightfield,” a technology that combines augmented and virtual reality. According to Abovitz, it will help those who are struggling to “transfer two-dimensional information or text into “spatial learning.”

“I think it will make life easier for a lot of people and open doors for a lot of people because we are making technology fit how our brains evolved into the physics of the universe rather than forcing our brains to adapt to a more limited technology,” he added.

 

 


 

Addendum on 10/6/16:

 

 

 

If you doubt that we are on an exponential pace of change, you need to check these articles out! [Christian]

exponentialpaceofchange-danielchristiansep2016

 

From DSC:
The articles listed in
this PDF document demonstrate the exponential pace of technological change that many nations across the globe are currently experiencing and will likely be experiencing for the foreseeable future. As we are no longer on a linear trajectory, we need to consider what this new trajectory means for how we:

  • Educate and prepare our youth in K-12
  • Educate and prepare our young men and women studying within higher education
  • Restructure/re-envision our corporate training/L&D departments
  • Equip our freelancers and others to find work
  • Help people in the workforce remain relevant/marketable/properly skilled
  • Encourage and better enable lifelong learning
  • Attempt to keep up w/ this pace of change — legally, ethically, morally, and psychologically

 

PDF file here

 

One thought that comes to mind…when we’re moving this fast, we need to be looking upwards and outwards into the horizons — constantly pulse-checking the landscapes. We can’t be looking down or be so buried in our current positions/tasks that we aren’t noticing the changes that are happening around us.

 

 

 

Imagination in the Augmented-Reality Age — from theatlantic.com by Georgia Perry
Pokémon Go may have reached the zenith of its popularity, but the game has far-reaching implications for the future of play.

Excerpt:

For young people today, however, it’s a different story. “They hardly play. If they do play it’s some TV script. Very prescribed,” Levin said. “Even if they have friends over, it’s often playing video games.”

That was before Pokémon Go, though.

The augmented-reality (AR) game that—since its release on July 6, attracted 21 million users and became one of the most successful mobile apps ever—has been praised for promoting exercise, facilitating social interactions, sparking new interest in local landmarks, and more. Education writers and experts have weighed in on its implications for teaching kids everything from social skills to geography to the point that such coverage has become cliché. And while it seems clear at this point that the game is a fad that has peaked—it’s been losing active players for over a week—one of the game’s biggest triumphs has, arguably, been the hope it’s generated about the future of play. While electronic games have traditionally caused kids to retreat to couches, here is one that did precisely the opposite.

 

 

What Pokémon Go is, however, is one of the first iterations of what will undeniably be many more AR games. If done right, some say the technology Go introduced to the world could bring back the kind of outdoor, creative, and social forms of play that used to be the mainstay of childhood. Augmented reality, it stands to reason, could revitalize the role of imagination in kids’ learning and development.

 

 

 

Stanford’s virtual reality lab cultivates empathy for the homeless — from kqed.org by Rachael Myrow

 

Excerpt:

The burgeoning field of Virtual Reality — or VR as it is commonly known — is a vehicle for telling stories through 360-degree visuals and sound that put you right in the middle of the action, be it at a crowded Syrian refugee camp, or inside the body of an 85-year-old with a bad hip and cataracts.  Because of VR’s immersive properties, some people describe the medium as “the ultimate empathy machine.” But can it make people care about something as fraught and multi-faceted as homelessness?

A study in progress at Stanford’s Virtual Human Interaction Lab explores that question, and I strapped on an Oculus Rift headset (one of the most popular devices people currently use to experience VR) to look for an answer.

A new way of understanding homelessness
The study, called Empathy at Scale, puts participants in a variety of scenes designed to help them imagine the experience of being homeless themselves.

 
© 2016 Learning Ecosystems