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.

USENS and #GDC17

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 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.  

Dr. Eunseok Park Joins uSens as General Manager of Augmented and Virtual Reality Tracking Company

uSens, Inc., a pioneer in hand-and-head tracking technologies for Augmented and Virtual Reality, has appointed Dr. Eunseok Park to the new position of U.S. general manager. A collaborator on nearly 200 world patents, Dr. Park was most recently the U.S. regional director for Samsung Advanced Institute of Technology (SAIT), where he managed research and development in emerging technologies across all four U.S. sites. In his new role with uSens, Dr. Park will tap into the deep business relationships he has established with the world’s leading academic and corporate research entities. “We are so proud to have a leader with the pedigree of Eunseok Park join the uSens team,” said Anli He, CEO and co-founder of uSens. “He brings incomparable expertise in administration and management of engineering projects and in nurturing teams. uSens will benefit from his broad connections to attract the highest caliber of research and engineering talent and to build industry partnerships that will grow uSens’ footprint in the ARVR industry.” “I couldn’t be more excited at the opportunity to join uSens at this stage of the company’s growth. I look forward to experiencing the startup world from the inside and to apply my management and operational skills to take uSens to the next level of maturity,” said Dr. Park. “During my tenure with SAIT, I established deep relationships with the top research sites across the U.S. and Europe. I’m excited to mine those connections to bring more world-class research talent into uSens, and to help uSens in the commercialization of its AR and VR tracking solutions.” A Visionary Leader Dr. Eunseok Park has spent the last 11 years with the Samsung Advanced Institute of Technology (SAIT), the main research and development center for Samsung Electronics and other businesses within the Samsung Group. Beginning his career at SAIT as a senior researcher, Dr. Park eventually became regional director for Europe, where he identified and developed new areas of research in emerging technologies including mobile health. He also oversaw strategic IP for licensing or purchasing, and supported collaborations with leading European research institutes and business partners. As regional director for the U.S., Dr. Park managed R&D and operations across four sites and more than 100 employees, coordinated joint research projects with leading U.S. academic entities, and identified startups for angel and early-round investments. Dr. Park received his MS degree and PhD in electrical engineering from Syracuse University in New York, and an MBA from Sogang University in Seoul, South Korea. In addition to his extensive patent portfolio, Dr. Park is the author of many articles published for IEEE symposiums.

Snap Inc. Spectacles: A Spectacle to be Worn

Over the last several weeks, Snap Inc. jumped head first into the fashion industry when they introduced the first pair of sunglasses to the public. Coming out of a vending machine near the Snap Inc. HQ in Venice Beach, CA, Spectacles drew customers from Southern California and beyond wanting to get fresh, new, smart pair of eyewear from the social media giant. After the initial release of the glasses in Venice Beach, a Spectacle pop-up vending machine appeared up the coast of California, in Loma Point, CA (near Big Sur), allowing interested Northern California customers to hop on the Spectacle-train. The “Snapbots” have now been showing up throughout the U.S. (including Tallahassee (FL), Catoosa (OK), Catalina Island (CA), Honolulu (HI), and several other cities as well). Snap Inc. are selling the sunglasses for $129.99 at resale but according to TechCrunch, “Snapchat staff on location are apparently telling people in line the vending machine in Big Sur won’t be restocked once it sells out. The long lines from Friday, along with high selling prices on eBay that are hitting 20x the original Spectacles selling price.” Twenty times the original selling price…the question is: are the new Snapchat sunglasses even worth the initial price as a high-end, fashionable eyewear accessory, are they just a toy or are they the future of augmented reality? As far as high-tech glasses go, immediate thoughts go to the Google Glass. While starting at a mere $1,500 for the public, Google Glass prided itself on being virtually a hands-free smartphone. Many critics dubbed Google’s foray into wearable tech a flop. The massive price-tag, the marketing strategies setting an unrealistic expectation, amongst other variables deemed the Google Glass not worth the time or the money to the public. Google Glass prided itself on features and the potential of endless possibilities and that ultimately proved to be a massive letdown. Snap Inc.’s Spectacles seems to pride itself on only have three primary uses: record 10-second videos, protection from the sun and fun. While it’s 2016 debut is made for entertainment, this could be Snap Inc.’s first step into the AR and VR realm. Snapchat recently purchased Israeli augmented reality startup Cimagine for an estimated $30 – 40 million. Cimagine has developed augmented reality technology that allows its users to seen on the screen of their mobile devices how appliances and furniture look in their respective homes. In an article spotlighting Snapchat and Spectacles, Anita Balakrishnan of CNBC wrote: Already ‘the social media platform of our time,’ Snapchat could now own the means of both producing and distributing its content, said Julia Sourikoff, who heads VR and 360 for Tool of North America, an award winning commercial production company that has a rapidly growing virtual reality division. For brands, that could mean a not-too-distant future where consumers could head out to stores to meet holograms of the trendy influencers who are already avid Snapchat users. Spectacles aren’t trying to completely revolutionize the high-tech, smart technology game right away. They are simply establishing that they are becoming a player in the wearable tech and the AR/VR space. Snapchat is clearly going to be the premise for which all of Snap Inc.’s future products will be built on.

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!

uSens Inc. Featured in Variety

After CES Unveiled in Las Vegas on Tuesday night Janko Roettgers, senior Silicon Valley correspondent for Variety, featured uSens Inc. Roettgers tweeted out that: The Fingo VR hand tracking module is one of the cooler things I got to see at CES Unveiled. Check out the article and visit uSens Inc. at CES 2017 this week!

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 next motion picture revolution is at our doorstep

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 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