As five days in sunny San Francisco came to a close, it was clear that virtual reality was all the buzz throughout the duration of Game Developers Conference, especially with the first two days of the conference being completely dedicated to VR. VRDC brought VR tutorials, VR boot camps and industry relevant speakers into an immersive AR/VR experience at the Moscone Center. This was VRDC’s second year and featured two different tracks for attendees to participate in: VR and AR for game development and VR and AR for other forms of entertainment–from CG movies to filmed experiences and beyond. It’s clear that VRDC’s presence for the second year at arguably the largest gaming conference in the world, means that virtual, augmented and mixed reality is the future and the most important steps in developing games for users and progressing the industry forward. The following three days opened the exhibition floor to companies and organizations to display their relevance to the gaming industry and how their technologies and products can progress technological advances to the next level. Oculus brought a full array of systems and demos to GDC sending an army of employees donning distinctive indigo shirts to recruit attendees to use their system with Oculus Touch controllers. PlayStation and its deep lineup of games allowed GDC-goers to sample everything from Grand Turismo Sport in a sit-in pod with a PS4 Pro to bringing back the infamous Crash Bandicoot of the early PlayStation days, and showcasing its wide variety of PSVR games as well. However, while controllers in VR and gaming in general still play a prevalent part in those fields, hand tracking sparked the interest of industry professionals and the thousands at GDC. USENS INC was a trending topic of conversation over the three days on the exhibition floor of the South Hall at the Moscone Center. We demonstrated our hand tracking capabilities with demos to show to the attendees of GDC. With several FINGO demos set-up, thousands of people in attendance flocked to the uSens booth (which happened to be close to the primary restrooms of the hall for maximum foot traffic – very strategic 😉). Throughout GDC, USENS interacted in-person and over all social media channels with tech, AR/VR and gaming influencers, journalists and industry professionals — all raving about USENS and FINGO. Here are just a couple examples: @DennisScimeca: Seriously: If you’ve never tried hand tracking in VR and have time, stop by the @usensinc booth. Tech works exactly as advertised. #gdc17. @Alexis_Macklin: Enjoyed testing out @usensinc at #gdc17. From verified Twitter users who promoted uSens to their thousands of followers to the individuals on social media who post with just a passion about their interests, USENS and our FINGO were trending topics coming out of GDC. USENS INC was featured in an article by Gao Yun of CGTN featuring FINGO and our tracking capabilities: San Jose, California-based uSens – founded by two Chinese developers – created a technology that utilizes a camera to recognize all the individual bones inside the hand, and then relays that information to the application. “Right now, people cannot interact directly in VR, but holding a controller is unnatural,” said Fei Yue, co-founder and CTO of uSens, adding that they are now letting people do whatever they want to do in real world. As VR moves further into mainstream society, technologists agree that the experience needs to become more natural, and ironically, more like everything in the real world.
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
The most important form of visual art is eyeing it’s next major technological advancement. This advancement is incorporating Virtual Reality into major motion pictures. Disney recently invested $65 million into Jaunt, which is developing a cinematic VR headset for movies. While this company is not connected to us, we applaud them for looking into the next step of entertainment. Before we delve into virtual reality movies, we need to first acknowledge 3D movie formats. It is a bit easier to bash 3D I admit, but we cannot progress without mentioning the failed attempt of ‘enhancing’ the motion picture experience. We have all been to 3D movies. However, in a recent article from the New York Post, the author tells us why the 3D fad is dying. Most of us are not surprised that 3D films are dissipating again, because 3D formatting has had 3 major revivals (1950s, 1980s, & 2000s). It is approaching its 3rd major decline, and probably will not ever rebound again. Most major film critics despise the idea of 3D incorporated into movies. The movie industry is not just going to get an upgrade, but is going to face a cinematic revolution with VR. There have been smaller cinematic developments throughout the time movies have been around, but the technology releases steadily as it is made. Most of the cinematic developments that the consumer sees are to improve image, sound, and CGI quality. There are currently no major motion pictures that break the barriers of a static viewing screen. Cinematic VR will allow the movie viewing experience to be unique every time. Even viewing the same movie in a virtual space will render an infinite amount of new experiences for the viewer. Moviemakers can also incorporate ‘easter eggs’ or additional clues into the story that you can find yourself by swiveling your head. There are already videos on YouTube that you can watch that have VR capabilities. You can view these videos by utilizing your smart phone’s gyroscope to shift around your POV. You can also drag the specific video feed around with a mouse, if viewing on a computer. These VR videos usually come under the category of “360-degree videos.” They are pretty awesome, but they generally do not include narrative film. Most of the 360-degree videos come in a documentary format. The few 360-degree videos that actually have a narrative are very limited and not high quality. Once major motion pictures perfect VR/360-degree viewing capabilities, the experience will be absolutely stunning. Popularity with CGI Animations and motion capture films will skyrocket even further. Most popular animations are now created with CGI. With every new CGI animation, comes a 3-Dimensional world that is created. The artists behind these worlds will enjoy bringing their creations to you to view from every angle. VR in live-actions films will be harder to generate. Production companies would have to find out a way to edit out the production crew, lights, props, & everything else that goes on within inches of the camera’s specific FOV. However, Hollywood is no stranger to incredible cinematic innovations, and will figure it out as our capabilities expand. Movie VR technology is still being developed, but its capabilities are already being shown with documentary filmmaking and brief narratives. It has gained a secure footing and it will only be a matter of time before we see it evolve. For more about uSens, Inc. and Impression Pi, please visit our other social media sites: Twitter: @usensinc Facebook: uSens, Inc. – Impression Pi Google+: uSens, Inc. – Impression Pi LinkedIn: uSens, Inc. Company Profile
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
We just beefed up our Business and Marketing talent with the addition of Mark Tascher Morrison. Mark has over 27 years of experience in the media, entertainment & technology industries. Mark was born in the Northwest and grew up in Salt Lake City and Seattle. As a baby, Mark lived in Hong Kong and Taiwan, much to the excitement of our team. In 1989, Mark graduated from Pitzer College in Claremont California with a degree in Fine Arts. While at Pitzer, Mark’s creative growth in college inspired him to go into the music business in Los Angeles and Jamaica. From the music industry, he transferred his skills to TV, film, and video games. Mark’s background includes production, marketing, and business development, which run alongside his massive interest as a digital pop culture consumer. Mark’s most recent business accomplishments have been with Unity Technologies and Daqri. While at Unity, Mark was the Director of Business Development and Sales for 3 years; managing all of the enterprise level platform customers, publishers, and game developers. He was a key player in building and growing what is now one of the biggest game engine businesses in the world. Mark has spent the last two years focusing on Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) technology with Daqri, starting in 2014. His mission was growing their AR enterprise business products and services. “AR&VR mediums will drive our daily activities in the future,” Mark states simply. He adds, “The opportunities are wide open for developers and consumers to transform their physical environments into more meaningful experiences. Once AR&VR technology reaches critical mass, we’ll be able to interact with content that we’ve only been able to imagine in the past. This imagination will soon become transformed into physical and emotional experiences in our digital world.” Mark’s professional passion shifted when the technology industry moved from the static limitations of computers to the contemporary mobile platforms we now operate in. Mark elaborates, “We went from a linear media industry to something dynamic and interactive with the introduction of incredible mobile technology.” He stays ahead of consumer trends by focusing on his personal technology use with influences from his family. This has helped grow his current zeal for AR&VR. The world is Mark’s oyster, and now he is applying his advanced understanding of business development, sales, and marketing to our company. Mark’s long-term goal is to support our team’s vision to expand our road map into successful productization. He is excited about working with the rock star minds that will bring our innovative technologies to the market. Mark is going to evolve with our talents into something huge. Thanks Mark, we are as psyched as you. For more about uSens, Inc. and Impression Pi, check out our social media sites: On Twitter: @usensinc On Facebook: uSens, Inc. – Impression Pi On Google+: uSens, Inc. – Impression Pi On LinkedIn: uSens, Inc. Company Profile