Super Reality

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

UC San Diego Hosts a Distinctly Unconventional Event to Ignite a Future of Innovation

This is a guest blog post contributed by Rezin8 of San Diego, California. University donors, philanthropic leaders, and esteemed pillars of the UC San Diego community gathered to kick off the public phase of an ambitious $2 billion comprehensive fundraising campaign. This project will drive innovation that advances society, propels economic growth, and makes the world a better place. The public research university collaborated with Rezin8, a paradigm-shifting creative lab, to present attendees with a unique guided tour and presentation that will serve as a portal to the interactive reality. Driven by boundless curiosity and a foundational mandate to challenge traditional thinking, UCSD is pioneering breakthroughs in nanotechnology, climate science, machine learning, emerging arts, and much more. Champions of the university think it’s just the beginning. UCSD spent the evening taking a look back at the achievements their alumni were able to make in technology and medicine. More importantly, they took the time to ignite a future of innovation and advancement they want to bring into fruition. To bring UCSD’s enthusiastic vision to the reality, Rezin8 designed and developed a unique experience by leveraging interactive content coupled with augmented reality, virtual reality, futuristic presentations, performances, smart bracelets, and robotics — these were just a few of the innovative technologies deployed as part of what was a captivating and inspirational evening for all. The event transitioned from a tunnel to a cocktail area in the gymnasium. From the entrance of the tunnel, attendees had their own unique reality experience. Different settings will cater the visual displays to a more custom setting — attendees were welcomed with their names digitally displayed. To augment reality, tablets were distributed to each attendee in the cocktail area. This tablet provided a variety of special effects throughout the event. Human interactions were minimized for this special event. A robot, programmed and coded by Rezin8, traversed from guest to guest to take photos. As seen through the tablet, the augmented reality and digital content progressed with attendees as they moved through the tunnel. Special effects like rain and clouds were a part of the experience and changed depending on the attendee’s time and location within the experience. The event also included a futuristic live performance to the presentation. Nathan East, considered one of the most recorded bass players in music history, performs as a digital projection. Rezin8, UC San Diego’s creative partner for the event, is no stranger to high-tech digital performances. In 2012, the creative lab worked with Digital Domain to deliver one of the most legendary music performances in history – the Tupac hologram for Coachella. The event celebrates a halfway point to their fundraising goal, and serves as a critical moment to support the completion of their $2 billion fundraising campaign. The evening was a fully automated, tech-fueled experience, manifested in the living spirit of innovation – the very heart of UCSD. Saturday’s event inspires action from the ever-expanding community of innovators at UC San Diego and beyond — students, alumni, faculty, and philanthropists. Established in 1960, UC San Diego has become one of the world’s 15 largest research universities.

The Future of Driverless Car and Augmented Reality

The first fleet of self-driving cars may be ready by 2020. Google has said that its car should be ready by 2020 and Tesla CEO, Elon Musk, says their Tesla’s will be fully autonomous by 2018. It appears that these driverless cars are still in the data gathering stage. Since increased safety is one of the top goals for these future cars, it is important for them to harvest great amounts of data in order for them to respond in the moment and react to potentially dangerous situations. One of the biggest worries of driverless car technology is that they may not be safe enough to utilize so a lot more data still needs to be gathered to help relieve this concern. Tesla’s Model S already features some self-driving capabilities known as “Autopilot” and it uses data and driving habits from many Tesla drivers in order to keep improving. Google’s self-driving cars have been driving around and collecting data since 2009 so its software already knows how to react to various real-life scenarios. As driverless cars are still gathering data, we may need another type of car technology to breakthrough before we go fully autonomous. In a sense, GPS technology could also be looked at as a tool that has been priming consumers for driverless cars for a long time. Cars that feature augmented reality may be able to further prime consumers into buying driverless cars. PSA Peugeot Citroen, a French multinational manufacture of automobiles, is working on one of the first cars that will finally implement built-in augmented reality in the cockpit. This technology aims to increase driver safety for a more convenient driving experience. If augmented reality cars become more popular, they have great potential to make the transition to driverless cars smoother. PSA Peugeot Citroen’s work-in-progress automobile features a built-in transparent display, projected onto the windscreen that allows the driver to view data and information without looking away from the road. The HUD is also able to adapt in real-time to objects on the road.   The display will feature the usual driving information such as current speed, speed limits (implied from road signs) but it could also introduce new functions. Since the HUD is capable of covering the entire width of the windshield, it could, for instance, clearly give the driver directions or show dangers with a prominent graphic warning. The most important benefit for augmented reality driving is to increase safety. Since the useful driving information could be seen extremely quickly, drivers are sure to have a better awareness of the road and they are more likely to not be taken by surprise. Moreover, their response times may be much faster since they will be keeping their eyes on the road. For instance, they will be able to look up directions while focusing their eyes on the road instead of looking down at their phones or GPS. Since we may have to wait up to 5-10 years before we see autonomous care take over the roads, the process of driving automation will have to be gradual. PSA Peugeot Citroen will be an integral member of the car industry to make sure that the jump will not be so sudden since it will be retaining manual/human functionality. The driving information that will be displayed on the windscreen may help educate the consumer and give them a better understanding of how driving aids and autonomous cars will work. There is not any word yet on the release date of PSA Peugeot Citroen’s augmented reality vehicle but it is likely to release before 2020.  

uSens Inc. Featured in USA Today

uSens Inc. was featured in USA Today on Wednesday, after a successful showing at CES Unveiled in Las Vegas. In “CES 2017: The coolest tech you have to see”, USA Today wrote that: An attendee demonstrated Fingo, a device added to virtual reality goggles to incorporate hand gestures.  Check out the article and visit uSens Inc. at CES 2017 this week!

Facebook F8 / Facebook’s Fate

Facebook F8 is an annual conference keynote that took place on April 12 and 13 at Fort Mason in San Francisco, CA. The event was directed at developers and entrepreneurs who build products and services for the social network. During the conference, Zuckerberg mentioned that virtual reality could be the best form of social networking because of its strong communal immersion. He illustrated this idea by showing off the Toybox Demo for Oculus Touch. Facebook also presented an open source camera rig that they are calling the “Surround 360 Camera”. The camera, made with 17 combined cameras, will be able to shoot 3D-360 8K video at a smooth 60 frames per second. According to Chris Cox, Facebook’s vice president of product, the company plans to share the hardware design and stitching algorithm on Github this summer. The Oculus team also demoed their VR selfie stick that aims to make VR social. With the virtual stick, users will be able to take photos of their avatars in front of famous landmarks. Once the photo is taken, the user can share it with their Facebook friends’ virtual mailbox so they could post it on the site. After talking about VR, Zuckerberg, shifted the topic to augmented reality. Surprisingly, it was the first time that Zuckerberg revealed Facebook’s interest in AR. The Facebook CEO said that we could use AR apps to replace physical objects such as an AR TV set. Facebook also showed that they wanted to combine both AR and VR into their devices, which is also what we are working on here at uSens Inc. Near the end of the conference, Zuckerberg presented a photo of a pair of black glasses. These glasses were only a glimpse into the future of Facebook tech with Zuckerberg saying that VR/AR headsets will look like a regular pair of eyeglasses in 10 years. VR and AR were also featured at the end of Facebook’s 10-year road map, along with artificial intelligence and connectivity. Now that Facebook is officially on the AR train with Google and Microsoft, it should be interesting to see how this competition will help bring AR to new heights. -Amanze Ugoh        

Was 2015 the summer of VR love?

2015 is a memorable year for Virtual Reality (VR). It’s the year we may look back and remember the beginning of a new technology renaissance. The first PCs and smart phones each provided evolved human computing interaction. This new VR movement feels more collaborative within its competitive landscape. It also feels like this VR movement is going to be the best storytelling media individual consumers have had yet. Game consoles were a lot of fun for kids and playful adults who wanted to be interactively entertained, but VR represents a more natural experience for almost every use case and human being. ‘Immersive’ really is a good description for VR nowadays. The interactive development landscape has changed drastically towards more ubiquity and compatibility. From 2010-2013, middle-ware and content creators both helped to reinvent the app and game space. Developers are at the forefront of the VR movement now, creating different content flavors from immersive 2.5D games to emotionally engaging cinematic stories. Commercial VR wasn’t possible 20 or even 5 years ago, mainly because computing and graphics had not yet evolved enough in consumer’s hands. Software and hardware makers were competing with each other, rather than working together to realize self-sustaining content platforms that could benefit consumers, which equals bigger business. We’ve come a long way since mobile carriers and console manufacturers dictated our daily dose of interactive content. Now, those choices are more in the hands of consumers and the developers especially. Consumer tastes, development tools, and technology innovations have all played active roles in growing a world ready for mass market VR. One thing that appears to be set now is the race to the top of the VR ecosystem. Three big players are ready for 2016 releases and offer different value propositions to consumers in a higher priced setting. AT THE TOP PSVR (aka Morpheus): PSVR has a great launch advantage. It’s plug and play into an existing PS4 system that its users already own or might purchase for their VR experiences. Sony has really improved its 3rd party developer network over the last few years. Sony has also positioned the opportunity for its large install base of indie Unity and Unreal developers to design and publish their games directly to PSVR. The PlayStation Network (PSN) makes it easier for developers to reach consumers with their content, receiving professional support and PR from a global software and hardware manufacturer. Oculus: Oculus is synonymous with VR. It was the first (modern) VR product most of us read about in the news a few years ago. It was also invented out of a humble R&D educational setting with a broad input from many inventors, students, and researchers. While some of the original participants may not have all ended up as Oculus employees, many have continued to innovate and invent in the same VR space. Having a parent company in Facebook won’t hurt the Oculus movement as they can reach a wide target of end users, many of whom will still need to prepare their experience with expensive equipment they might not own for current Candy Crush game play. Vive: Vive is a compelling entry at the top. Many professional VR tastemakers have expressed that the Vive is the best VR experience they’ve had. This product comes from one of the top game developers in the world plus a reputable hardware partner. It’s going to be fueled by the successful Steam store, although there currently are far less Vive compatible games than those offered on Steam. In The Middle GearVR: There’s also a middle spectrum of the VR medium being created and supported by the Samsung GearVR Head Mounted Display (HMD). It’s safe to assume that other competitors will help grow out this mid-spectrum layer supporting higher-end mobile devices and experiences. StarVR: It may be premature to place StarVR into this category until they expose their tech more. It would be great to have another serious player in this middle playing field.  ??? It would be very smart for Amazon to leverage a Kindle compatible HMD in this middle VR niche. Amazon has a lot of related computer vision and AI experience as well as 126 reasons to extend the VR medium to their Kindle and App store customers. AT THE SURFACE While the mid-tier experiences might not be as high resolution as the top-tier systems, being able to experience VR on the go could ignite a lot of initial excitement and loyalty to a global smart phone install base that is quickly reaching 2B users. Google and The New York times will release 1M free ‘Cardboard’ HMDs in this Sunday’s NYT edition, all of which can be used with the new NYT VR mobile app. If this is a successful campaign, we might start to see large brands and entertainment firms using mobile VR for marketing and promotions similarly to billboards and TV commercials. There are so many perspectives and angles to look at in the future of VR business, but perhaps the easiest and potentially most lucrative near term VR opportunities are already in our pocket? Most people don’t yet realize they can experience a ton of VR content from their smart phone today, both on Android and iOS platforms. – Mark T. Morrison For more about uSens, Inc. and Impression Pi, check out our other social media sites: Twitter: @usensinc Facebook: uSens, Inc. – Impression Pi Google+: uSens, Inc. – Impression Pi LinkedIn: uSens, Inc. Company Profile

The Impression Pi AR+VR headset may change the way we interact in our daily routines

The next generation of technology is upon us, and uSens, Inc is leading the advance with it’s Virtual Reality/Augmented Reality Impression Pi headset.  uSens, Inc is a small Silicon Valley startup, but the company is taking the virtual and augmented reality industry to the next level. To give a brief background; virtual reality (VR) is a term for a “computer-generated simulation of a three-dimensional image or environment that can be interacted with in a seemingly real or physical way by a person using special electronic equipment, such as a helmet with a screen inside or gloves fitted with sensors.” Augmented reality (AR) is a term used for “a technology that superimposes a computer-generated image on a user’s view of the real world, thus providing a composite view.” The terms have evolved throughout the years as the technology has advanced. So why would anyone want Impression Pi?  The answer is complex for the developers, but very simple for us.  Impression Pi is not only able to display a virtual reality world, but also an augmented reality world.  The device also allows the user to physically interact with the displayed world, with 3D hand-gesture control and position tracking. It is the first device able to do this, out of a myriad of others. This effectively opens up a technological universe for any company or organization.  Companies that develop social media, video games, and video streaming technologies can release entertainment applications for Impression Pi.  Applications can also be made for healthcare, education, and business training.  As mentioned earlier, the opportunities are endless. Impression Pi is compatible with most newly released smartphones, which serve as the main screen for the device.  The device opens up and allows you to insert the phone into the opening.  After connecting your smartphone to the USB/Lightning port, you can select the specific application you want Impression Pi to interact with.  It is brilliantly simple, and incredibly user-friendly. Impression Pi achieves the VR/AR affect by mounting two cameras at the front of the device and inserting an array of infrared sensors around the headset.  The cameras are able to allow you to see what is happening in front of you.  The infrared sensors around the device track the physical movement of the headset and your hand movements.  You can interact with the virtual universe displayed in a 3-Dimensional format with your hands and body movement.  It is also wireless – you can move anywhere without being restricted. To this date, Impression Pi has gathered over $300,000 in pledges from its Kickstarter campaign.  The company’s initial goal was to raise $75,000. The outstanding reality is that uSens, Inc started creating motion capture technology in 2013.  They started developing the VR/AR Impression Pi near the end of 2014 and have already managed to create an innovative product in less than a year. So what companies are actually interested in developing applications for it?  Well, everyone; but they need to discover it.  Let’s think about the video game industry.  Video game companies are looking for a big break in the visual technology realm.  Graphic engines are already photo-realistic, but we are still limited to staring at a computer or phone screen in order to view them.  Imagine integrating those incredible graphics into a 3-Dimensional world and the real world. Impression Pi is almost here, and its technological advancements are going to revolutionize the VR/AR industry.  Lucky for all of us, this is just the beginning. “Virtual Reality” Def.1. OxfordDictionaries.com. Oxford Dictionaries, n.d. 1 Oct 2015 “Augmented Reality” Def. 2. OxfordDictionaries.com. Oxford Dictionaries, n.d. 1 Oct 2015 For more about uSens, Inc. and Impression Pi, please visit our other web sites: Twitter: @usensinc Facebook: uSens, Inc. – Impression Pi Google+: uSens, Inc. – Impression Pi LinkedIn: uSens, Inc. Company Profile

uSens’ Impression Pi Generates Huge Buzz and Interest at SIGGRAPH

Last week, we brought our Impression Pi prototype, complete with our latest advances in augmented reality overlay, seamless transitions between augmented and virtual reality, and 3D “free hand” gesture recognition and tracking, to SIGGRAPH. SIGGRAPH is an annual conference on computer graphics convened by the ACM SIGGRAPH organization. This year, the conference was held at the Los Angeles Convention Center from August 9-13. This year at SIGGRAPH, we offered attendees the chance to experience two different demos. The first, was a demonstration of Impression Pi’s hand tracking / gesture recognition technology. This demo invited attendees to poke at balloons in space using their fingers. The cameras on the Impression Pi Core track the user’s hand movement and depth and translate that into virtual reality, so you can see yourself interacting with the balloons. The second demo stole the show. In this one, which we have dubbed, “The Terracotta Warrior Experience,” attendees had a chance to interact with a model Terracotta Warrior. Our Impression Pi first impressed users with an AR overlay, etching its original colors back onto the Terracotta Warrior. Then, users were amazed as the augmented reality scene shifted right before their eyes to virtual reality. In VR, users were able to interact with the scene, accessorizing the Terracotta Warrior, before the scene shifted back to AR. Our team not only had a booth space on the exhibition floor at SIGGRAPH, we were also invited to present at VR Village. At VR Village, we presented for two days. On the second day, due to the huge volume of attendees interested in Impression Pi and the long lines that had formed on the first day, the organizers placed us in one of the largest demo spaces at VR Village. On the exhibition floor, the level of buzz that Impression Pi generated was significant as well. Often, there were 10-15 people at any given time, waiting to try out Impression Pi. Over the course of the three days that we were at SIGGRAPH, over 1,000 people either visited us at our booth or came by our table / demo space at VR Village. Attendees who stopped by to try out Impression Pi represented a diverse group of people, from university researchers to graphics designers to content developers. We were especially thrilled to see several of our Kickstarter backers who came by our booth to try out our latest technological progress with Impression Pi. Impression Pi will be tabling at TechCrunch’s Disrupt SF, from September 21 – 23. Farther out, we will have a booth at CES 2016 in Las Vegas from January 6 – 9, next year. For more about uSens, Inc. and Impression Pi, check out our social media sites: On the Twitter: @usensinc On the Facebook: uSens, Inc. – Impression Pi On the Google+: uSens, Inc. – Impression Pi And their company page on LinkedIn: uSens, Inc. Company Profile