Super Reality

Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) Industry News and Technology Updates

Vision Summit 2016 for Augmented and Virtual Reality Hit a Home Run!

The 2016 Vision Summit conference took place on February 10 and 11, 2016 in Los Angeles. It was hosted by the wildly popular middle-ware engine, Unity 3D. Above, John Riccitiello, Unity’s CEO, welcomes the elated standing room only crowd of global attendees to VS16. This special two-day VIP developer focused event may have ushered in the official sea change for 3D development moving towards 4D and beyond. This conference gathered together 1,400+ hardcore Unity 3D, digital, and interactive content and business developers focused on the business of AR and VR. The energy was unfiltered AR/VR passion for 48 hours straight. The keynote presentation consolidated impressive influencers in the contemporary AR and VR landscapes. Executives from Google, Sony, Oculus, Valve/Steam, NASA, Hollywood, as well as Unity’s CTO and VR Skunkworks team showed off their current AR and VR efforts. Attendees learned curious and interesting facts in the keynote from people like Alex McDowell explaining how the Minority Report movie storyline and world came from AR technology visionaries rather than traditional script writers. Director Jeff Norris, who leads much of NASA’s virtual outreach program from JPL in Pasadena, took the Vision Summit keynote crowd to a virtual Mars, where we viewed a glimpse of our real world with ever changing virtual content. Jeff’s team and all of NASAs virtual content developers are actively using VR and AR tools for almost every part of their outreach these days. And, of course Unity 3D is there in the hands of these developers, allowing for rapid designs and output of 3D interactive VR and AR content to take us all into space. More excellent keynote content was provided by Unity’s CTO, Joachim, and other lead engineers who demoed the new Unity 3D v5.4 capabilities that optimize and streamline rendering as well as enable in-engine VR editing, such as below. Additional keynote highlights came separately from Gabe Newell (Valve), followed by Palmer Lucky (Oculus), each with their own gifts for the crowd. Gabe had his self-anointed “Oprah” moment where he gifted every attendee a gratis commercial HTC Vive unit. Oculus followed at the end with a generous gift of months of free subscriptions for Unity Pro tools for all attendees. Needless to say, the Vive chatter never stopped until a few days ago when we all got our shipment notifications. The keynote set a high benchmark for the entire two days full of panels, presentations, networking, and parties. It was unarguably the epicenter for AR and VR development and education for those awesome days. The hosts and planning team ensured there were thoughtful and well planned tracks focusing on specific AR/VR production tools and work flow, business and investment advice from related domain experts, and most importantly was the ability to share with each other in a very well-orchestrated professional social environment. The Expo hall and demo showcase halls deserve special attention too. These areas included many of the major players, like Google with Tango, Epson with their AR glasses, to indies showing off beautiful VR worlds rendered directly from Houdini and other high-end art and audio tools. Also included were independent developers who came from Denmark, Israel, and further out to impress us with their content and technology demos. Below are some examples from the expo and demo areas. VR Unicorns have built a really fun and compelling immersive tennis experience for the HTC Vive system. Shape Space VR had a mesmerizing visual mobile VR experience. Altspace VR is now providing multiplayer social media VR experiences. Vizuality Studios combines physical peripherals with immersive VR experiences that feel “real”. The entire Unity team, the VS advisory board, all participating companies and all of the developers who attended should be commended for the incredible energy that flowed for two days non-stop. The location was convenient, there were tons of drink stations, great food, and a really respectful atmosphere to interact in. Can’t wait until next year! -Mark T. Morrison