omplete QPORIT: September 2015

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

 

FLAGSHIP NYC MICROSOFT STORE OPENS 10/26


Microsoft has been "experimenting" with retail stores in a number of locations.  On Oct 26 they are officially opening a (5 story, 22K sq ft) flagship store in NYC. It's on 5th and 53rd (just blocks from the Apple Store).

I've been to the MS store in Paramus at the Garden State Plaza.  It's roomy, comfortable, and knowledgeably staffed.  It's lightly stocked (ie:  no "super gaming" towers; no books and manuals... ) with computers, gear, software, and xbox stuff.  They also have classes and other events. I've gotten excellent service and help; bought some computers there; had Windows 10 installed (free and easy) there; and they managed to recover data from an old (teenage:  XP!) PC that suddenly stopped booting just before I did my next backup and moved the data to a new Windows 10 machine. (Teenage jealousy temper tantrum?)

The large store in NYC has room to be a hub of education, training and special events. The new outreach of Windows 10 to multiple hardware and software platforms has the potential to simplify (but also the possibility to complicate) development across a wide new range of appplications. 

I wish MS well in the new store.  I hope they stock it well and announce and release some new and exciting projects at launch!

Best of all: wouldn't it be terrific to introduce the new store with live demos of the Hololens!

Here's the story from MS

https://blogs.microsoft.com/blog/2015/09/30/grand-opening-dates-set-for-microsoft-flagship-stores-in-new-york-city-and-sydney/


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Saturday, September 26, 2015

 

OCULUS CONNECT-2 KEYNOTES & STREAMING VR


OCULUS RIFT just held their 2nd annual developer conference, Connect 2.  It was held on the West Coast. Only the Keynotes, not other sessions, were streamed.  Oddly, a view of the audience seemed to show several sections of the Keynote auditorium that were completely empty, even though they posted a "FULL" notice for the conference on the site. (One sour note was that the opening day of the conference was on Yom Kippur.  Surely Facebook, even if not Oculus, should have been sensitive to this.)  

As a New Yorker, I feel that New York is not getting its share of opportunities to test out VR hardware and software locally.  Major developer conferences, as well as E3, CES, GDC, SIGGRAPH and other important events with demonstrations and prototypes, are all very far away.

There were no very significant announcements at Connect 2, but it is clear that Oculus is very serious about quality, and they are making a major investment in developing a platform for the best possible VR hardware and software.


SOME ANNOUNCEMENTS

The next GEAR VR will sell for $99, lighter and more comfortable than the current version and will accomodate all four top Samsung Smartphones.

The consumer RIFT will be more comfortable than the DK2, allow for eyeglass wearers, and include earphones.

OCULUS TOUCH will include powerful position sensing.

There will be a certification for RIFT READY computers.

Content available at launch of the RIFT (some sooner on the Gear VR) will include film & video streaming from NETFLIX and other partners, and will include MINECRAFT and a 3D art creation program for TOUCH.

Not announced: My access to information on OCULUS was limited by the fact that they made only the Keynotes available and not the sessions.  However, I believe that, as of now:




THE STREAMING VR PRESENTATION

Here are some comments on what worked, what did not work, and we can learn about live streaming of VR.

When it worked, the presentation of the Keynotes by NextVR, streamed live to the Gear VR was AWESOME!

NextVR streamed 3D, front-facing, hemispherical video live (with a few seconds delay). They had two camera setups: one at the side of the stage, one at the front. It was very comfortable switching from time to time between the two views. The sound was fine.

The limitations of the live streaming were that it crashed about 4 times an hour, and only sometimes re-started by itself; and the Gear VR Smartphone overheated about twice an hour, and had to be turned off for at least five minutes to cool. (You can miss a lot in 5 minutes. -- fortunately, I had a second, regular stream running on my desktop.) The camera lost about 30% of its battery in an hour. Since regular vision is blocked while using the headset, until voice note-taking and commands are implemented, it is hard to take notes, or participate in side-chats, while watching the VR stream.

Notes: 



Overall, especially for short events , VR Live Streaming works well and is very exciting.



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Wednesday, September 16, 2015

 

XR - EXTENDED REALITY (XR = VR + AR + MR + ...) SOME VARIATIONS ON REALITY ...


Reality has many flavors: Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, Mixed Reality, even actual, real reality. There are many variations, depending on the project, and on what sensors you are using for input (for example, keyboard, tapping a mouse button or mouse pad, gaze, game controller, camera, microphone, distance sensor, etc) and for output (imaging system, audio system, physical/haptic feedback, and so on).

It seems to me that it is not productive anymore to try to confine or define most projects as just belonging to AR or VR (or MR or ….)

I propose the term XR (eXtended Reality) to be a broad term that includes any variant of the way or ways we are perceiving reality.

(Fancy digression: It is worth noting that even the ordinary reality we perceive every day is markedly different from the actual “reality” that goes on under the surface. For example, we may see a lamp on a table top, but actually we are just sensing photons bouncing off - or being radiated by - something which is a quantum probability cloud of “tiny” atoms and electrons. The world is not even “really” 3 dimensional. Aside from the fourth dimension of time, and the possibility of hidden dimensions suggested by (untested, but promising) theories, the basic constituents of atoms - electrons, protons, and neutrons - have spin ½; but we only see photons, which have spin one. Integer spin is necessary for living in a 3 dimensional rotational world. Half integer spin lives in a space which is not ordinary Euclidean 3 dimensions. If we could “see” electrons and their spin state, we would live in a reality quite different from our rotational 3 dimensions.)

(Another digression: animals with poor eyesight and extra sensitive smell probably live in a world whose “reality“is also quite different from ours.)

Here’s a list of some flavors of reality, followed by a discussion of what they (might?) mean.

XR – Extended Reality

VR – Virtual Reality
AR – Augmented Reality
MR – Mixed Reality
SR – Simulated Reality
GR – Guided Reality

FR – Fake Reality
IR – Imaginary Reality

RR – Real Reality
OR – Ordinary Reality
BR – Bad Reality

TR – TeleReality
CR – Chat Reality
PR – Physical Reality

HR – Haptic Reality
5R – 5 senses Reality
WR - Wearenhanced Reality
NR - Neuro Reality
PR – Portable Reality

$R - Expensive Reality
ΩR – Complete Reality



XR – eXtended Reality
• My general term for all variants of “reality”.


VR – Virtual Reality
• When the experience is not real, but is created to seem “real” through sensory perceptions created by the system. (eg Oculus Rift with no camera on it)

AR – Augmented Reality
• When the primary experience is the real world, but additional information is added to augment the real world experience.

MR – Mixed Reality
• When the experience is a mixture of the real world and additional sensations. (eg Hololens)

SR – Simulated Reality
• When a whole world is created to seem as if it is the real world. (eg THE MATRIX)

GR – Guided Reality
• When the experience is created to move the user in a particular way. (eg INCEPTION)


FR – Fake Reality
• An experience which is quite different from what it seems to be. (eg THE SIXTH SENSE)

IR – Imaginary Reality
• An experience which is immersive, but fanciful and not at all “real”. (eg A VR cartoon)


RR – Real Reality
• The underlying actual real reality. (Nobody knows.)

OR – Ordinary Reality
• The way everything seems. (Everybody knows. Duh.)

BR – Bad Reality
• A project which is internally inconsistent and seems “false”. (eg A bad movie adapted badly for VR)


TR – TeleReality
• When the sensory inputs come from a distant location. (eg Teleconferencing with VR)

CR – Chat Reality
• When the experience is social, but with possibly artificial personas. (eg CAPRICA; also ALTVR)

PR – Physical Reality
• A physical instantiated avatar (or robot) sends back the experience. (eg AVATAR; also drones with first person viewing)


HR – Haptic Reality
• When the experience comes from the sense of touch. (eg Haptic gloves)

5R – 5 senses Reality
• An experience that uses the five major senses – sight, sound, taste, touch, smell (eg Ordinary reality)

WR - Wearenhanced Reality
• Add wearable sensors that monitor, for example, bodily position and internal health parameters in constructing the experience. (eg PrioVR)


NR – Neuro Reality
• Add (non-invasive) neurosensing and transmitting to the other senses. (eg. Animals or people controlling a remote robot with a neurosensing cap; also Emperor Ming and Flash Gordon)

PR – Portable Reality PR – Portable Reality
• An experience in which the user is free to move. (eg Project Tango)


$R - Expensive Reality
• An experience created with unlimited resources. (NASA rehearsals for space trips and space walks)

ΩR – Complete Reality
• Everything. (???)



For other uses of “XR”, please see:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/XR



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