And Facebook Rules the (VR & AR) World

Facebook just made a few huge announcements at F8.

Deep Neural Networks, AR and Facebook Surround 360 will change how people live their lives. Hear me out, with the ability to model complex non-linear relationships; Deep Neural Networks (i..e, "brain click") will power everyday tasks with an AR interaction. In other words, if you want to leave a message on the fridge for your roommate, the device will record the location with GPS and the geometry of that environment in order for your roommate with their device to read it.

Likewise, your phone’s camera is becoming the tool for ubiquitous AR. Facebook opened its AR platform to developers to build on top of the ‘basic effects’ already available to users. As a result, people will expect  to see more fun effects but also practical applications digitally layered on your morning commute to the office. Think PokemonGo but for real life.

And finally, let’s not forget about VR/360. Facebook unveiled a preview at F82017. The new Facebook Surround 360 will offer  6 camera and 24 camera designs with ‘depth-estimation algorithms.’ This essentially enables users to film and render content that is more life-like and immersive. For example, the ability to walk in a 360 space in real time, seeing the space change as you move throughout. Think the holodeck from Star Trek! Okay maybe I’m just as excited as Mark but you get my point.

So as I said earlier, Facebook will change how people live their lives and I can’t wait.

Take our VRARA Survey: Challenges for Healthcare related VR AR Companies

Are you a VR/AR healthcare product/service provider? The VRARA Digital Health Committee would like to ask you a few questions about the current challenges that you face bringing your product to the healthcare market. The results will be anonymous and published to help the VR AR community and the healthcare industry. If you have a spare minute or two to answer these few questions below, we would greatly appreciate it. Access survey here

VR/AR Association Fintech Industry Committee

VR/AR ASSOCIATION WELCOMES DEVEXPERTS TO INDUSTRY COMMITTEE

Another move toward infusing finances and growth to the mixed realities industries was marked last week with the appointment of Devexperts, developers of financial markets and providers of cloud-based financial data infrastructures. In conjunction with this new alignment of forces, Devexperts has also set in motion an initiative to found the VRARA FinTech Committee. This may result in a significant growth boom in the industry, which is certainly their hope. Kris Kolo, Global Executive Director of the VR/AR Association, explains, “Devexperts has been an established leader in FinTech solutions and services for the Capital Markets industry, and once again challenging the market with this new technology for Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality financial analytical applications. We are excited Devexperts have joined the VR/AR Association and are Co-Chairing our FinTech Industry Committee.”

Devexperts Becomes a Co-Chairing Member of the Global VR/AR Association Fintech Industry Committee

DEVEXPERTS, developers of the financial markets' most successful professional retail and institutional trading platforms and providers of one of the largest cloud-based financial data infrastructures, is pleased to announce that they have become the newest member of the VR/AR Association, the global industry association for Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, and Mixed Reality, connecting leading solution providers with brands and customers.

Both the VR/AR Association and Devexperts are dedicated to fostering growth in the virtual reality and augmented reality industries. As a member, Devexperts will participate in the association's initiatives to facilitate VR/AR market growth in a joint effort with other solution providers.  In addition, Devexperts has put forward an initiative to found The VRARA FinTech Committee.

FINTECH COMMITTEE MISSION:

To accelerate widespread adoption of VR/AR technology by traditional financial companies (banks, brokers, exchanges), technological FinTech firms and startups around the world in order to improve the customer experience, deliver analytical power, innovative visualizations, gamification and new dimensions of interactivity to user interfaces, and introduce innovative ideas of Mixed Reality collaboration.

One of the main goals of The VRARA FinTech Committee is to analyze the current challenges of industry players and propose innovative and relevant solutions that will help boost the value of VR/AR in the FinTech vertical. The committee will also conduct research with end users for a better understanding of how visualization of large amount of information and the immersion in it influences the quality of financial and analytical decision-making.

"Devexperts has been an established leader in FinTech solutions and services for the Capital Markets industry, and once again challenging the market with this new technology for Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality financial analytical applications. We are excited Devexperts have joined the VR/AR Association and are Co-Chairing our FinTech Industry Committee," says Kris Kolo, Global Executive Director of the VR/AR Association.

"We are excited to become a Co-Chairing FinTech committee member in the VR/AR Association and help to make financial data analytics and market data visualization intuitive and reliable in the Virtual and Augmented Reality space," says Dmitry Parilov, Managing Director, dxFeed Data Solutions and Products, Devexperts. "We believe that VR is going to break into our daily life soon and together with The VRARA we see our main role in promoting and supporting the philosophy, the members and developers to make it available to everybody."

About Devexperts:

www.devexperts.com  
Headquartered in Munich, Germany, Devexperts, was founded in 2002 and specializes in the development of highly complex software solutions and services for the global Capital Markets industry. Our clients are retail and institutional brokerage houses, exchanges and buy-side firms. The high performance, scalability and integration capabilities of our products and services, along with 24x7x365 monitoring and support, result in some of the global financial industry's most recognized and reliable technology applications. Millions of people trade daily using Devexperts technology.

Media Contact:  

Kris Kolo
VR/AR Association
650-690-5361
info@thevrara.com

Dmitry Parilov
Managing Director, dxFeed Solutions and Products, Devexperts
USA: +1-201-3714130
Germany: +49-89-99952024
dparilov@devexperts.com

Related Links

Devexperts website

VRARA Training Program - Learn or Teach VR AR

In response to requests from members and the industry at large, VRARA is building a Training ecosystem and we want to partner with leaders and experts in the industry to offer VR and AR training courses and workshops around the world. 

As VR AR move more towards the mainstream through the development of new, more affordable consumer technologies and in the enterprise, the industry needs to teach professionals to be equipped with the right skills for the careers within the industry. This includes programmers, UX designers, as well as executives in marketing and product management roles. 

Call for Educators 

If you're interested in being part of this program let us know what you would like to teach and in which city, and your credentials.

CONTACT US

 

Interested in Taking the Training Sessions?  

Let us know what training needs you may have and what classes you would like to take and in which city.

EMAIL US

 

 

Any questions, email us at info@thevrara.com 

VRARA Members: Let's Meet at VRLA

As noted, VRARA and VRARA SF are media partners at VRLA, happening this week at the LA Convention Center. And of course, there's our much-anticipated afterparty.

In addition to opportunities to engage at the afterparty and in serendipitous moments at the show, the SF Chapter presidents want to meet you and have a chance to interact. 

Whether you are a member of the SF chapter or another chapter, we'll be holding lunch get-togethers on Friday and Saturday at the convention center. Contact us for deets. 

SF Chapter Event, May 3: UX in VR with Oculus and Unity

Register here. Members contact us for comp.

The next VRARA SF Chapter event is set, and it's coming up fast (May 3). For this event, we'll zero in on the increasingly important area of UX and design in VR. 

To do that, we've called upon some heavy hitters. We have the industry's leading headset provider and game engine. That's right, it's a one-two punch of Oculus and Unity. 

We're also proud to say that we're partnering with the good folks at ARVR Munch'nLearn to produce the event. And our friends at San Francisco State University will host us. 

The event description is below and you can register here. VRARA members can contact us for a comp code, and we're available for any other questions, such as sponsorship. 

We hope to see you there.


EVENT DESCRIPTION

We will hear from a panel of legendary speakers representing perspectives across the whole VR ecosystem.

  • Brian Sharp manager of the Oculus Medium team at Oculus
  • Dylan Urquidi UX engineer on the Editor VR project at Unity Labs (which allows you to use the Unity engine in VR)
  • Rafael Brown - prolific game designer and founder/creative direcator at Digital Myths Studio

Brian Sharp: Product & Engineering Manager at Oculus

Brian formed and presently runs the team that built Oculus Medium, a sculpting application for virtual reality for the Oculus Rift headset and Touch controllers. As Product Manager he owns and guides the vision for the project, as Engineering Manager he directs the project's technical execution, and as an engineer he personally implemented substantial portions of the product.

Dylan Urquidi: Senior UX Engineer at Unity

Dylan is senior Engineer @ Unity Labs, developing Unity3D's EditorVR. In this role, Dylan works across art/tech-art/UI/UX/animation. Dylan has many years of experience developing 3D applications including: 

  • “Dream” – Oculus VR Store
  • Unannounced Vive/Oculus VR titles / experiences / art installations
  • http://madewith.unity.com/profiles/du3d
  • www.du3d.org
  • Dream (VR) - Oculus Gear VR Store - Engineering, Tech-Art, 2D/3D Art
  • 8-Bit Armies - Tech-Art
  • Zombie Chopper - Lead engineer & Tech-Artist (mobile port) - iOS / Android
  • Super ICEE Maker 3D - Lead Engineer - iOS
  • Circus Food Maker - Lead Engineer - iOS

Rafael Brown: Cofounder & Creative Director at Digital Myths Studio

Rafael has 20 years in the videogame industry across 30+ projects. He is studio head/co-founder in immersive entertainment XR (VR, AR, MR & FP). He has worked as a game designer, producer, project lead & creative director. Rafael is a common speaker at many top industry events. He has worked on many titles in the past under John Carmack at Id Software and other companies including 

  • Mafia 3 [PS4/XB1/PC]
  • Trailer Pop [iOS/Android]
  • Rage [360/PS3/PC/Steam]
  • Quake 4 [PC/Steam]
  • Doom 3 BFG Ed [PC/360/PS3]
  • Doom Classic [iOS]
  • Wolfenstein 3D Classic [iOS]
  • Rage: Mobile HD/SD [iOS]
  • Quake Live [PC]
  • Need for Speed: Undercover [360/PS3/PC/PS2/Wii]
  • Mass Effect 1 [360]
  • Tony Hawk's Project 8 [360/PS2/GCN/XBX/PC]
  • True Crime: New York City [PS2/GCN/XBX/PC]
  • The Hobbit [PS2/GCN/XBX/PC]
  • Thief 2 [PC]
  • Thief Gold [PC]
  • Dark Vengeance [PC/Mac]

He has done creative direction, game design and project leadership for a range of studios with development experience in VR, 1st, 3rd, vehicles across action, combat, adventure, stealth, platforming, RPG, racing, combat, open world, and multiplayer gameplay types in studios large and small.

Südwestdeutsche Medienholding Executive Meeting Sonthofen - Germany

By Michael Rava, VRARA Swiss Chapter President

At the 2017 executive meeting in Sonthofen, Michael Rava of VRARA Swiss Chapter had the opportunity to present. Michael is also the CMO of WION, which is part of the Swiss Professional Media (Basel, Switzerland) and of the Südwestdeutsche Medienholding (SWMH - Munich, Germany). The holding unites several dozens companies in the field of publishing, radio stations, marketing companies and tech enterprises.

Michael had the opportunity to speak in two break out sessions about VR/AR/MR to a broad audience. Everyone was invited to go for a test drive with the HTC Vive and the HoloLens.

Besides the keynote and demoing there was time for socializing and connecting with other decision makers in the holding. The upcoming weeks and months several follow-up meetings will take place.

WION as a market dominator and Michael as a key-influencer will push VR/AR technology forward in Switzerland and Germany.

Whether you are a fresh new start-up, established small business or a large corporation, we would be happy to get in touch and see what we can achieve together! We all look forward to celebrate joint successes with you! Email Michael Rava at mr@thevrara.com 

Everything VR & AR Podcast: Retinad VR

In the virtual and augmented world, content is king. We expect to be wowed by a variety of experiences that engage multiple senses one by one or at the same time.

Alexander Haque of Retinad VR talks about how his company can help make sure your VR & AR creations give users that "WOW!" moment by analyzing how users experience your content. Do they focus on what you want them to based on visual and audio cues or are they distracted by something else that has caught their eyes?

We discuss how Retinad VR can help with this and much more.

Listen here 

LAUNCH Legends: Journey to the Past To Inspire Future Healthy Food Choices

The subject(s) of this coverage are paid sponsors or members of VRARA. For more about sponsorship and membership, contact us

by Davar Ardalan

Every sense is awakened as you travel through Timor-Leste: vast farmlands, deep turquoise waters, and steep rugged peaks that bear the clutch of history in this young Southeast Asian nation. Timor-Leste became a sovereign state just fourteen years ago but it’s striking natural beauty contrasts sharply against its staggering rates of poverty and acute malnutrition as indicated by high prevalence of childhood stunting and wasting. 

In his recent book, The Seventh Sense, author Joshua Cooper Ramos notes that ancient roots offer the energies we need to understand modernity in this era of connected crisis. What a gift to a storyteller embarking on a journey to the future of food, to begin with learnings and inspirations from history. Paying respect to traditional way of eating and the power within the land in Timor-Leste where so much nature is still untamed helps me understand why the world craves to be healthier and more productive. 

My nature, our nature — by design works as a system. When you tear the system apart and stop nourishing it you upset its equilibrium. So in our era of "connected crisis,” as Ramos says, what are some of the unexpected innovations we can create to construct narratives that are inclusive and impactful? 

We at SecondMuse through our global innovation platform LAUNCH, are embarking on an exciting journey together with the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s innovationXchange and communication technologist Ben Kreimer. Our goal is to team up with Pacific nations, Papua New Guinea and Timor-Leste to support the exploration of new ways to inspire pride in traditional local ingredients and thereby support positive impact in nutrition. 

All around the world, agencies for sustainable development are becoming attuned to the value of immersive storytelling technologies - like 360° video, virtual reality, augmented reality and gamification - to both galvanize a bigger, stronger network of change makers and derive greater impact from their partners social impact campaigns. But we understand that even if we apply VR/AR tools to healthy eating social engagement campaigns -- we need to tap into the past in order to make an impact in the future.

As storytellers, digital technologists and development agencies we are asking this question: Can we use emerging communication tools in this disruptive age directed by ancient wisdom to inspire positive change in the lives of many around the world who are in the process of being connected for the first time ever?

Virtual reality and game projects, for example, could help inspire a “day-in-the-life” journey focused on the key health and food challenges facing the community. An augmented reality-enhanced card game with local legends as the protagonists might help promote an image of good nutrition from traditional foods and thereby reduce the consumption of nutritious poor imported food with high sugar, fat or salt.

In October 2016, together with the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s innovationXchange (DFAT iXc) Ben Kreimer and I traveled to Timor-Leste as part of a LAUNCH innovation capacity building project for food innovators based in the Pacific region. We documented the work of food innovators in the cities of Dili and Baucau using new 360° video/virtual reality (VR) storytelling. We also trained local Timorese on how to use these new immersive storytelling tools, and loaned them a couple of our toolkits. 

With the immersive toolkit we left with them, Catalpa International has been documenting the Hamutuk project, (an initiative aiming to reduce stunted growth in Timorese children under age two and supported by DFAT iXc and others). In our soon to be released, Eating with the Seasons 360°/VR video, we included a scene captured by Catalpa during one of their nutrition training workshops. In addition to contributing content, Catalpa's Gabriela Leite-Soares did the narration for our 360°/VR video. DFAT iXc and Catalpa have also been actively producing their own content, with viewers including Prime Minister Rui Maria de Araújo of Timor-Leste. 

Furthermore, our first team of LAUNCH producers, including Tash Tan of Australia’s S1T2, are beginning ground-level ethnographic research, content development, and technology access iteration to help grow a local movement around healthy eating in the Pacific rim where malnutrition is at crisis levels. 

At a recent LAUNCH Legends roundtable in the Bay Area, Tan recounted his investigative journey to Fiji, where he learned about the history and culture behind Fijian storytelling traditions. Tash shared his experiences with leading experts in immersive storytelling and food and nutrition, from sharing legends and folklore around the kava bowl to reading the pages of treasured books.

“Just as stories are shared through time,” Tan says, “the traditional recipes and culture of healthy and organic eating are passed down through each generation in the most magical of ways. My fear is that this culture is now under threat because the traditions of the people are being replaced with new-found values in foods that are highly-processed and rich in salt or sugar.”

The focus of the roundtable was to engage guests’ collective insights and knowledge, get feedback, and explore opportunities for collaborative partnerships that could benefit the goal at hand— to make an impact on nutritional outcomes within targeted sites in the Pacific using immersive storytelling and emerging technologies. 

“The roundtable participants came from a diverse range of backgrounds, from nutrition to virtual reality and journalism, which created a fertile environment for creative problem solving around the nutrition challenges we’re looking to tackle with our toolkit of emerging technologies,” said Ben Kreimer, technical advisor for LAUNCH Legends.

The aim of our prototypes: to impact health and nutrition outcomes within targeted sites in the Pacific through experiments using new storytelling tools and to grow understanding of malnutrition more broadly as a development problem, particularly acute in the Indo-Pacific.

We will be working on delivery systems that will make such content accessible to people who don’t have high speed internet access, or own the necessary mobile device or computer. By fostering content creation and the development of delivery platforms that cater to non-western audiences, we hope to help democratize access to 360°/VR/AR technologies while helping create crowdsourced movements in the service of development and social good.

We have eight prototype proposals from VR/AR Producers on ways to bring immersive storytelling technologies to the Indo-Pacific. Let us know if you’d like to partner on this learning journey with us. 

 

Davar Ardalan is Director of Storytelling & Engagement at SecondMuse where she leads storytelling around sustainability and social impact issues, citizen science, health and nutrition, ocean conservation, and materials innovation. Ardalan directs the LAUNCH Legends VR/AR project and sits on the Advisory Board of the VR/AR Association of Sydney, Australia. As a veteran journalist and former social media strategist at NPR News, Ardalan’s real-time campaigns garnered millions of impressions on Twitter and Facebook. She has been recognized with a Gracie Award from the American Women in Radio and Television, two NABJ Awards, and a shout-out in the popular comic strip Zippy.

About LAUNCH:

Established in 2009, LAUNCH is an innovation-centered platform founded on the belief that today’s problems are too big to be solved by any one organization working alone. To date, LAUNCH has accelerated 100 innovations disrupting pathways for sustainable change. LAUNCH Legends is a program supported by the Australian Aid program’s innovationXchange.

Can Virtual Reality Play a Role in the Area of Criminal Justice?

By Rory Wells

The arrival of new technology will always also bring new opportunities for nefarious behavior.   I am certain it was not long after the invention of the mass produced automobile, where we had our first vehicular homicide.  Similarly at some point after the invention of the telephone we were introduced to phone scams.  This behavior continues to persist because there are always people who succumb to these cons.  Some of us may have received a call (or even an email) from a far away “lawyer” or “banker” requesting a small fee or perhaps your social security number and a great inheritance will be sent your way.  Some of these crimes seem obvious now in hindsight; however the problem with new technology is that it is “new”.  We can’t always predict how some may use it to harm, steal or even kill another human being.

Like many of you reading this blog post I am very excited about the development of virtual reality/augmented reality and the incredible promise it holds.  Whether it be, gaming, shopping, recreation, education or communication, it is exciting to have a front row seat and watch this technology develop.  

Although courts have a resistance to new technology, or anything new for that matter, there are clearly opportunities for VR/AR to impact the criminal justice system.  We now have 360 degree video which could easily put a jury into the crime scene in a much more interactive way than merely looking at photos or regular video.  But I wonder what if we had a virtual experience supported by the latest brain research could assist a violent criminal break old habits and patterns by developing new neural connections.  This experience might help a violent offender change or control their behavior thereby assisting in rehabilitation and overall safety of others.  

Or perhaps a virtual reality program where one who is up for parole, voluntarily submits to a series of scenarios enabling us to see his or her choices played out.  Let’s say the individual is at his first job after release and we have a scenario where his new boss yells at him for breaking a dish, or he is walking down the street and various crimes of opportunity are presented in subtle ways.  These developments may lead us to a more definitive conclusion on whether to release an inmate on parole.    

Of course the technology can be used for the training of police officers as well.  This would include everything from community policing scenarios to hostage negotiations.  

With the development of new technologies there are always ethical questions that should be asked.  What are we doing, why are we doing it and should we be doing it at all?  Regarding these developing technologies and their applications to human behavior we should not ask; what is available and how can this help us?  We should ask what do we need and how can we create it?  

Rory Wells is a member of VRARA NYC Chapter and Co-Chair of the newly formed Criminal Justice Committee.  He is an Assistant Prosecutor with the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office in Ocean County New Jersey.

Recap of VRARA Houston Chapter Event

By Jon Banks, President of the Houston Chapter of VRARA.

Houston, we have lift off in the VR/AR/MR industry! Say what? Virtual reality, augmented reality, and mixed reality are a thing of the future and in Houston we are ready to make the future our reality today. The Houston chapter of VRAR Association held their first meeting in March 2017.

We had about 50 people in attendance. Everyone had the opportunity to partake in a few VR/AR/MR realities, from walking the plank to traveling on Mars and other experiences, we started the evening off with mingling and fun hands-on exposure.  

Our meeting included a panel discussion with 5 professionals in various industries that can see how VR would be beneficial to their business, from medical, educational, and social impacts, we got to discuss important pros and cons, ethical concerns, and more with the experts in their fields.

Houston chapter will hold quartely meetings for members and public alike.  Learn about virtual reality, experience virtual reality, let VR be a part of you and come join us!

If you want to stay updated on industry trends, major news and gadgets alike, join our newsletter today.

To contact the Jon Banks, President of the Houston Chapter of VRARA, click here 

VR AR Association and Insta360 throw Tech Party of the Year

Upload’s New LA Coworking and Community Space to Host

 

RSVP here

Los Angeles, Calif., March 30, 2017 - The Los Angeles VR/AR scene is just beginning to make a name for itself, and the VR/AR Association (VRARA), in partnership with leading 360-degree camera maker Insta360, is planning a party that will help put it on the map. To follow up one of the biggest tech events in Los Angeles, VRLA Expo, the VR/AR Association Los Angeles chapter led by Josephine Munis and the Atlanta chapter led by The Virtual Reality Girl, Laura Hall, are throwing an afterparty fit for the occasion, on Friday, April 14th, at Upload LA in Marina Del Rey.

With the venue graciously provided by Upload at their new LA location in Marina Del Rey, this party will bring together the leading voices in VR/AR and the tech industry while offering a fun and exciting environment for attendees to let loose and enjoy.

So far included in the guest list are representatives from CBS Digital, Live Nation, Microsoft's VR team, Sony Pictures VR, Google VR, CAA, Ultrahaptics, California Science Center, Cognitive VR, The Third Floor Inc., The Rogue Initiative, Within, Wevr, USC, Blind Squirrel Games, Jaunt VR and more. Guests will have the chance to demo awesome experiences, check out Insta360’s brand-new professional 360 camera, enjoy incredible food and beverages on VRARA and have a lot of fun! The VR/ARA has lined up a VR DJ to set the mood and will be handing out Swag Bags that will not disappoint.

The event is co-hosted by Insta360, the maker of the world’s most versatile 360-degree cameras, with a goal to empower creators to start capturing virtual reality content and sharing it with the world. Insta360 will demo its plug-and-play 360 cameras for iPhone and Android, as well as the brand-new Insta360 Pro, an 8K camera for pro filmmakers. President of the VRARA Los Angeles chapter, Josephine Munis, explains, “with the help of our co-host, Insta360, VRARA Los Angeles chapter is fulling embracing the nature of VR and AR technologies by making this as immersive as an event as possible.” ADVR, who specializes in immersive virtual reality marketing and advertising, is sponsoring the event. Demos include experiences and games from Insta360, Studio Disrupt, Candy Lab, and others.

Again, the event will take place on April 14th, at Upload LA in Marina Del Rey, and will be hosted from 7pm-10p. Tickets can be purchased on Eventbrite and VRARA members attend free.

Press and Media members are invited to attend with the only stipulation being that they be willing to jump on the VR/AR bandwagon and celebrate this monumental event taking place in the Los Angeles tech industry.

The VRARA is a global organization, with over 35 chapters, whose mission is to accelerate the smart growth of the VR/AR industry on a global scale. The Los Angeles chapter has the specific goal of merging the unique creative and cultural landscape of Los Angeles with the exciting opportunities and development of immersive VR/AR experiences and technologies.

Please contact Amanda Dearman (PR & Communications Director, VRARA LA) at amanda@thevrara.com  with any questions and for information about press passes and additional ticket discounts.

Thank you to our Sponsors!

 
ADVR_Logo_RGB_Large.png

The New Samsung Galaxy AR VR SmartPhone with Bixby Vision

This week Samsung unveiled two new products that will further real word applications and use of both VR and AR. First, the much discussed Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus; will enable Bixby Vision. Although Samsung has decided to keep the explanation super simple and just says, the user can point to an object and scan. What is behind the scenes of this tech achievement is what people should be talking about. So far, the functionality of Bixby Vision is limited to product search, location id, translating text, object recognition, and QR codes. However, in the near future, we should expect a fully integrated AR type product to render over the real world objects it identifies.

With Bixby Vision, you can focus on an object through your viewfinder and tap the Vision icon to identify landmarks or translate foreign languages. Bixby lives inside your Camera, Gallery and Internet to give you a deeper understanding of what you’re looking at. Just tap the Vision icon in your viewfinder and Bixby will serve up contextual icons: translation, QR code detection, landmark recognition and shopping. Translate foreign languages just by pointing your camera at text. Bixby vision on the Samsung Galaxy S8 Shopping Take a picture of an item to find out where to buy it.
— Samsung

The second product Samsung announced is Samsung Gear 360 4k! Now, this is big because the content makers and the ecosystem have been waiting for an affordable, easy to use, fully integrated 4k 360 camera for all the fun possibilities it will allow. Users will now be able to shoot in 4k, do live streaming to Facebook and YouTube in 2k and hold the camera in their hand with the newly formed handle. The cost is what sells it, most likely starting in the upper $300 range along with the Gear 360 product line. I am optimistic Samsung appears to be moving opportunities forward in the brave new world of AR/VR.

A whole new VR experience with completely intuitive responses on the in-hand controller, and a Gear 360 that shoots in 4k and fits in your pocket.
— Samsung

VRARA Europe Welcomes Mickael Dailly as Memberships & Events Director

Mickael is a former IT Manager; worked 6 years as IT manager for Neopost and is in love with VR since his first Oculus DK1 5 years ago and since then decided to help the community, starting with VRperception.com to help developers and small companies to show their work.  He is also a domainer for the VR Industry and helps companies get the right domain name for their business.  He's a 360 producer/filmmaker, also managing the post production. All those experiences give him an impressive network within the industry. Mickael will help onboard companies in Europe to get involved in VRARA's events, programs, and initiatives. Email him at md@thevrara.com

Engaging VR/AR Pioneers on the Future of Food

VRARA SF participated in the LAUNCH Food forum in Marin Ca this week, organized by VRARA Sydney member Davar Ardalan. It focused on the role of immersive storytelling to achieve the organization's goals. The following piece was written by Ardalan, originally appearing in Huffington Post.

Update 4/05: Commentary has been added from VRARA SF Chapter Co-President Emily Olman.

Engaging VR/AR Pioneers on the Future of Food

by Davar Ardalan

We’re reporting this week from the LAUNCH Food Forum in San Francisco. We’re here meeting our food innovators from around the world who are committed to helping create a healthier world through innovation. From Fiji to San Francisco, innovator Tash Tan of S1T2 has travelled around the world to do on the ground research for the LAUNCH Legends project on the possibilities of using immersive storytelling technologies with the goal of restoring pride in traditional eating in the Pacific. This has included an explorative trip that saw Tash travel with LAUNCH innovator Chef Robert Oliver and Legends Project Manager Allan Soutaris, across the north coast of the island of Viti Levu to areas most afflicted by a devastating cyclone, then down to the capital Suva before visiting a surrounding island, Beqa.

“Just as stories are shared through time,” Tash says, “the traditional recipes and culture of healthy and organic eating are passed down through each generation in the most magical of ways. My fear is that this culture is now under threat because the traditions of the people are being replaced with new-found values in foods that are highly-processed and rich in salt or sugar.”

At a LAUNCH Legends roundtable this week in the Bay Area, Tash recounted his investigative journey to Fiji, where he learned about the history and culture behind Fijian storytelling traditions. Tash shared his experiences with leading experts in immersive storytelling and food and nutrition, from sharing legends and folklore around the kava bowl to reading the pages of treasured books.

The focus of the roundtable was to engage guests’ collective insights and knowledge, get feedback, and explore opportunities for collaborative partnerships that could benefit the goal at hand— to make an impact on nutritional outcomes within targeted sites in the Pacific using immersive storytelling and emerging technologies. 

“The roundtable participants came from a diverse range of backgrounds, from nutrition to virtual reality and journalism, which created a fertile environment for creative problem solving around the nutrition challenges we’re looking to tackle with our toolkit of emerging technologies,” said Ben Kreimer, technical advisor for LAUNCH Legends.

LAUNCH Legends roundtable included VR pioneers in the Bay Area, DFAT’s innovationXchange, co-President of the VR/AR Association in San Francisco, and experts in food systems and movement building as well as LAUNCH and SecondMuse team members. 

“What surprised me was to learn that the challenges in the food system are similar to the challenges within the storytelling space,” says Stuart Gill, partner at SecondMuse and LAUNCH. “One of the VR producers today reminded us that the food business and emerging technologies are primarily focused on entertainment as opposed to meeting our basic human needs, like eating and telling compelling human stories,” Gill added.

Through a curated presentation and discussion format, we posed questions about the creative challenge ahead to effectively source learnings from the participants as they apply to this challenge. 

“We learned something powerful today from our engagement with Tash Tan, and that is that the story always comes first and the technology second,” says Jeff Hamaoui, Executive Director of LAUNCH.


Additional Commentary by VRARA SF Chapter Co-president Emily Olman:

The LAUNCH Legends Roundtable in Sausalito brought together leading VR pioneers including Barry Pousman and Daniel Burwen of JauntVR. Participants were informed of progress on the project from one of the LAUNCH Legends Finalist Tash Tan, and further explored how VR/AR can be implemented for the most lasting, behavior-changing impact within the target population. 

The global strength of the VR/AR Association was evident, as Davar Ardalan (D.C. Chapter Member and Sydney Chapter Advisory Board Member), Emily Olman (SF Chapter Co-President), and Tash Tan (Sydney Chapter Member) were all in attendance. The VRARA SF Chapter hopes to collaborate with Ardalan and Tan later this year for a follow-up event.


Learn more about the VR/AR Association, San Francisco Chapter here


Vancouver's Chapter of the VR/AR Association Makes VR/AR/MR accessible

Article originally posted by The Georgia Straight, can be found here and written by Kate Wilson, March 9th, 2017. 

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Imagine a world where you can hold up a cellphone in front of a restaurant, and instantly see Yelp reviews, flip through a digital menu, and have the option to book a table. Then consider driving a car with a smart windshield, which displays digital graphics on top of the driver’s real-life view. And then try to wrap your mind around a world where screens have become completely obsolete—because individuals can conjure computer displays through contact lenses or glasses.

According to Dan Burgar, president of the Vancouver chapter of the VR/AR Association, that day is almost upon us. Working to develop awareness of virtual reality (VR)—the technology where users wear an immersive headset to experience three-dimensional environments—and augmented reality (AR)—the practice of superimposing computer-generated images onto a user’s view of the real world—Burgar finds it difficult to think of an industry where the hardware would not generate a huge leap forward.

“I think the thing that will blow people’s minds the most is the practical applications,” he tells the Straight, reached by phone at the Mobile World Conference in Barcelona. “The gaming stuff is really fun, and the entertainment side is really interesting, but what I get most excited about is how widespread it’s going to become in everyday life, whether it’s in professions like healthcare, where people can operate without having a human body in front of them, or just walking around on the street.

“It’s already beginning to be used in areas like building development, where it gives architects the tools to manipulate their creations in three-dimensions,” he continues. “Real estate is using it to allow customers to visualize unbuilt spaces, and to view properties without actually having to visit them. And it’s becoming important in education, where it’s possible to train individuals in areas like oil and gas extraction by just putting on the headset. That allows you to get as close as possible to a real-life experience before entering a dangerous situation.”

Vancouver is fast becoming a hub for VR and AR—a fact that hasn’t gone unnoticed by the B.C. government. Not only has the province invested $100 million in venture capital for British Columbian tech companies, it’s recently started offering a tax credit specifically for virtual and augmented reality. It’s that forward-thinking approach, Burgar says, that inspired him to create a VR/AR Association chapter in the city.

“If I had to sum it up, I’d say that the VR/AR Association is a community of the best minds making use of virtual reality and augmented reality,” he comments. “So far there are 28 branches, including places as far-flung as New Zealand, Russia, and the UAE. The goal is to connect businesses and organizations with the developers and service providers working with the technology. We want to band together with companies to figure out what the best practices are, and how we can connect together to move the industry along.

“Our Vancouver chapter has about 30 members,” he continues, “but there are more than 50 companies here that are dabbling in virtual reality or working on augmented reality development, and that number increases every day. We are continually connecting local businesses with Vancouver developers, and figuring out how to use this technology creatively.”

As well as pointing out its versatility in a business to business setting, Burgar is keen to bring VR and AR to the local public. Recently organizing an event at Canuck Place—a hospice that offers palliative care services for sick children in B.C.—the VR/AR Association staff spent a day introducing the kids to the headsets.

“Community engagement is really important to our organization,” Burgar says. “We live in such a great city, and any way that we can give back is big for us. It feels great to be able put a smile on the kids’ faces by putting them in VR goggles and getting them out of the hospital with games, or transporting them to different virtual locations, and letting them immerse themselves in fantastic worlds. We want to continue cultivating and helping out Vancouverites in any way possible, and we have some initiatives we’re working on that will bring this technology to the community.

“Our next big VR and AR event is called CVR,” he continues, “which is the Pacific Northwest’s leading virtual, augmented, and mixed reality expo. We’re expecting between 8000 and 10,000 people. The Friday will be an industry day, and people like NASA, CNN, and the government of Canada will be there to discuss where VR and AR fit in their industry. Then we open it up to the public for the weekend, where anyone can come and try it out. We think it’s important that this technology is accessible to everyone—because this is the future.”

CVR is at the Vancouver Convention Centre from May 5 to May 7. More information about the VR/AR Association can be found here, and the official page for the Vancouver chapter can be located here.

SF: Come Experience the Intersection of VR and Art

For discounted passes, contact us

What does the intersection of VR and art look like? Come find out at Upload's Art + VR event this Friday night. VRARA SF has partnered for discounted attendance for members.

Art & VR brings the bay area tech and art communities together at Upload SF. Designers, artists and techies converge to explore this new medium to the creative industries.

There will be original artwork for sale alongside live VR demos, not to mention that this is the first black tie event in the event's series.  Find out more and register here