Sergey Bludov, SVP, Media and Entertainment at technology consultancy DataArt, discusses practical use cases for AR & VR in the music industry.

As musicians and the associated companies increasingly experiment with bringing Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) into their artistic visions and presentations, are we on the cusp of entering a radically new ‘reality’ in the music industry?

Here’s the thing: young people are not only accustomed to immersing themselves in the latest technologies but are also at the point of expecting artists and companies to offer them exciting opportunities instead of the same old thing. A study conducted by Harris Poll on behalf of Eventbrite illustrated this idea perfectly when it revealed that 78% of millennials prefer to spend their money on experiences and events over objects. These younger music fans are looking for real value in these experiences, bringing technologies like AR and VR to the forefront of the possibilities for significant changes in the music landscape.

Following the fans, a growing number of artists and industry professionals are diving deeply into new concepts to develop innovative ways to utilize AR and VR in the world of music, as the technology is finally coming of age.

Immersive Installations

Musicians and producers often want to push the boundaries of what’s possible artistically. Innovative musician Brian Eno collaborated with software designer and musician Peter Chilvers to create ‘Bloom: Open Space’ — an art and music installation that marks one of the first uses of the latest immersive technologies by a major artist such as Eno. Visitors to the facility wear 3D holographic visors as they approach a circle of six towering screens, with small colored bubbles floating around. By reaching out their arms and pinching the air in front of them, new bubbles appear, each of which emits a specific musical tone. The notes combine and then disappear, while a background of cricket sounds and white noise completes the sonic effect.
This innovative use of immersive technologies creates a charming atmosphere for fans, as they become part of the musical creation they hear and the visual display they see. Eno’s installation provides a glimpse into the future of AR and VR in the music industry, while other innovators also delve into the potential for these technologies to add tremendous value and artistic merit to their work.

Videos and Live Performances

Not surprisingly, a large number of VR and AR startups are attempting to gain traction in the live music industry. Although I can’t touch on all of them in a single article, here’s a selection of the companies jumping into the video and live performance spheres.

Within has entered into a deal with Universal Music Group to develop VR and AR experiences for some of the artists on its roster. The Chemical Brothers and St Vincent were the first from UMG to work with Within, developing a creative and interactive music experience called Under Neon Lights.

MelodyVR is a London-based company focused on its goal of offering live streaming of concerts in Virtual Reality. Although its full vision has yet to come to fruition, the company has worked with more than 650 international artists, including Post Malone, Blake Shelton, The Who, Kiss, and The Chainsmokers to develop innovative uses of VR in a live music setting, with the hope that VR technology will soon be widely adopted by consumers.

Facebook, in conjunction with Oculus Go and Gear VR, launched Oculus Venues live events last year with an initial Vance Joy concert. Oculus Go is a relatively affordable VR headset at $199 in the U.S. and offers the convenience of not being tethered to a computer. Although it’s early in the game, the potential for this offering to gain significant traction among concert-goers is an exciting move in the direction of the mass adoption of VR and AR in the world of music.

Music Education and Creation

Not everyone can afford to take traditional music lessons. Furthermore, some people live in remote places that lack a reasonable number of experienced teachers for their instrument of choice. Virtual Reality music education carries the potential to solve both of these issues while offering a high level of convenience for those who want to learn how to play an instrument but have little time to spare.

Do you want to learn how to DJ? If so, Tribe VR may be just right for you. Founded by veterans from firms such as Pixar and High Fidelity, the company’s DJ School allows anyone to learn to DJ and mix music by using a virtual deck that mimics the setup used in actual clubs throughout the world. By connecting with virtual mentors, the multi-sensory technology provides an immersive educational experience.

Have you always wanted to learn to play drums? Enter VR app Paradiddle, providing a high-quality virtual drumming experience. We all know that real drums are extremely loud, thereby restricting many people from having the opportunity to learn and play this instrument. Paradiddle has done a great job of utilizing VR to bring this experience to those without a real drumset, as can be seen in this video where all of the drum sounds are triggered from the app.

The music industry is changing rapidly, and that’s a good thing! Artists are driven to innovate, and the industry must encourage these endeavors while using AR, VR, and other immersive technologies to bring new experiences to music fans and to support a new generation of musicians. The time for AR and VR innovations is now!

What are your thoughts about AR & VR innovations in the music industry? Please share your opinions in the comments below.

By Sergey Bludov,
SVP, Media and Entertainment Practice at DataArt


Augmented & Virtual Reality Coming of Age in the Music Industry was originally published in Virtual Reality Pop on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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Sergey Bludov, SVP, Media and Entertainment at technology consultancy DataArt, discusses practical use cases for AR & VR in the music industry.

As musicians and the associated companies increasingly experiment with bringing Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) into their artistic visions and presentations, are we on the cusp of entering a radically new ‘reality’ in the music industry?

Here’s the thing: young people are not only accustomed to immersing themselves in the latest technologies but are also at the point of expecting artists and companies to offer them exciting opportunities instead of the same old thing. A study conducted by Harris Poll on behalf of Eventbrite illustrated this idea perfectly when it revealed that 78% of millennials prefer to spend their money on experiences and events over objects. These younger music fans are looking for real value in these experiences, bringing technologies like AR and VR to the forefront of the possibilities for significant changes in the music landscape.

Following the fans, a growing number of artists and industry professionals are diving deeply into new concepts to develop innovative ways to utilize AR and VR in the world of music, as the technology is finally coming of age.

Immersive Installations

Musicians and producers often want to push the boundaries of what’s possible artistically. Innovative musician Brian Eno collaborated with software designer and musician Peter Chilvers to create ‘Bloom: Open Space’ — an art and music installation that marks one of the first uses of the latest immersive technologies by a major artist such as Eno. Visitors to the facility wear 3D holographic visors as they approach a circle of six towering screens, with small colored bubbles floating around. By reaching out their arms and pinching the air in front of them, new bubbles appear, each of which emits a specific musical tone. The notes combine and then disappear, while a background of cricket sounds and white noise completes the sonic effect.
This innovative use of immersive technologies creates a charming atmosphere for fans, as they become part of the musical creation they hear and the visual display they see. Eno’s installation provides a glimpse into the future of AR and VR in the music industry, while other innovators also delve into the potential for these technologies to add tremendous value and artistic merit to their work.

Videos and Live Performances

Not surprisingly, a large number of VR and AR startups are attempting to gain traction in the live music industry. Although I can’t touch on all of them in a single article, here’s a selection of the companies jumping into the video and live performance spheres.

Within has entered into a deal with Universal Music Group to develop VR and AR experiences for some of the artists on its roster. The Chemical Brothers and St Vincent were the first from UMG to work with Within, developing a creative and interactive music experience called Under Neon Lights.

MelodyVR is a London-based company focused on its goal of offering live streaming of concerts in Virtual Reality. Although its full vision has yet to come to fruition, the company has worked with more than 650 international artists, including Post Malone, Blake Shelton, The Who, Kiss, and The Chainsmokers to develop innovative uses of VR in a live music setting, with the hope that VR technology will soon be widely adopted by consumers.

Facebook, in conjunction with Oculus Go and Gear VR, launched Oculus Venues live events last year with an initial Vance Joy concert. Oculus Go is a relatively affordable VR headset at $199 in the U.S. and offers the convenience of not being tethered to a computer. Although it’s early in the game, the potential for this offering to gain significant traction among concert-goers is an exciting move in the direction of the mass adoption of VR and AR in the world of music.

Music Education and Creation

Not everyone can afford to take traditional music lessons. Furthermore, some people live in remote places that lack a reasonable number of experienced teachers for their instrument of choice. Virtual Reality music education carries the potential to solve both of these issues while offering a high level of convenience for those who want to learn how to play an instrument but have little time to spare.

Do you want to learn how to DJ? If so, Tribe VR may be just right for you. Founded by veterans from firms such as Pixar and High Fidelity, the company’s DJ School allows anyone to learn to DJ and mix music by using a virtual deck that mimics the setup used in actual clubs throughout the world. By connecting with virtual mentors, the multi-sensory technology provides an immersive educational experience.

Have you always wanted to learn to play drums? Enter VR app Paradiddle, providing a high-quality virtual drumming experience. We all know that real drums are extremely loud, thereby restricting many people from having the opportunity to learn and play this instrument. Paradiddle has done a great job of utilizing VR to bring this experience to those without a real drumset, as can be seen in this video where all of the drum sounds are triggered from the app.

The music industry is changing rapidly, and that’s a good thing! Artists are driven to innovate, and the industry must encourage these endeavors while using AR, VR, and other immersive technologies to bring new experiences to music fans and to support a new generation of musicians. The time for AR and VR innovations is now!

What are your thoughts about AR & VR innovations in the music industry? Please share your opinions in the comments below.

By Sergey Bludov,
SVP, Media and Entertainment Practice at DataArt


Augmented & Virtual Reality Coming of Age in the Music Industry was originally published in Virtual Reality Pop on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

New Reality Co. Builds Award-Winning VR Experience “Tree” Using Perforce Software

Technical and Creative Team Leverage Perforce Version Control to Premiere Tree at Sundance in Just Two Months

Perforce Software, a global provider of enterprise-grade DevOps-focused software solutions and the leading provider of version control software for large scale entertainment and AAA game development, was selected by New Reality Co. as the solution to integrate and support their creative and technical work. Integrations with Unreal Engine (UE4) and a variety of design and rendering tools used by contributors on a global scale streamlined workflows, enhanced collaboration, and saved precious hours.

New Reality Co. assembled a team of more than 100 artists, designers, engineers, and technicians. Everyone connected, versioning and contributing all of their work, using Perforce Helix Core as the collaboration platform. And they built their award-winning cinematic virtual reality experience – Tree– for Sundance Film Festival in just two months. The artists and engineers worked together to weave a non-linear story for positive social and environmental change.

According to co-founder Winslow Porter, “Perforce’s strength is that it runs in the background and is reliable. It’s like a force. It seamlessly integrates so you don’t notice it, but it’s connecting everything.”

This seamless integration enabled the team to focus on storytelling. The result has been so successful that many people leaving the headsets are emotional, even to the point of tears. Participants can feel the impacts of climate change – the wind, the heat – and see the effects on animal migrations. Growing from a seedling to a towering presence in the Amazon Rainforest, the audience grows with the tree, bringing this social issue and story to life.

Helix Core enhanced collaboration and increased visibility for dispersed teams. Exclusive file locking capabilities allowed contributors to work on the same scene without overwriting files. And partners/producers Milica and Winslow were able to focus on making the project successful. SinceTree’s debut, New Reality has won eight awards, and it’s been shown at over 70 festivals and conferences, including Sundance, Tribeca, TED, and the World Economic Forum.

Gaming and AR/VR companies can learn more about Perforce version control at the Game Developer Conference (GDC) on March 18 – 22, 2018 in San Francisco, CA. Perforce is exhibiting and hosting a happy hour at their booth (S148) on Thursday, March 21, from 3 – 5 p.m.

About Perforce

Perforce is a leading provider of enterprise scale software solutions to technology developers and development operations (“DevOps”) teams requiring productivity, visibility and scale during all phases of the development lifecycle. Enterprises across the globe rely on its agile planning and ALM tools, automated test management, static code analysis, and version control solutions as the foundation for successful DevOps at scale. Perforce is trusted by the world’s most innovative brands, including NVIDIA, Pixar, Scania, Ubisoft, and VMware. For more information, please visitwww.perforce.com.

The post New Reality Co. Builds Award-Winning VR Experience With Perforce appeared first on Virtual Reality Reporter by VR Reporter

Film Director Brett Leonard Hosting VR Screening at SXSW 2019

Iconic filmmaker, Brett Leonard–who helped usher in the era of virtual reality with his hit film ‘Lawnmower Man’–will be treating VIP guests to the world’s first live-directed interactive group theatrical presentation as he debuts a sneak-peek of his latest groundbreaking project, ‘Hollywood Rooftop’ in a fully-immersive theater.

Coming off the highly successful 5th annual installment of VR Fest inLas Vegasduring CES this past January, 3opolis announces that VR Fest will now take the act on the road to the SXSW Film Festival, with its traveling version dubbed ‘VR Lounge.’

The unique activation will feature a host of dynamic and cutting-edge immersive content, including top-flight music experiences from Lady Gaga &Katy Perry(Ceek VR); eco-conscious immersive wildlife presentations (Planet Experts);America’s Got Talentstandouts, Light Balance, in VR (Virtuality); haptic-driven sound healing sessions (Quantum Harmonix); AR-activated artwork (Visual Reality); even holographic DJs (Holocryptics). Something for everyone, to be sure.

But what’s likely to draw the most attention will be the headlining act from iconic filmmaker and Studio Lightship co-founder,Brett Leonard(Lawnmower Man,Virtuosity), and the sneak preview of his latest pioneering VR project,Hollywood Rooftop.

While already having set a benchmark with its very creation (the project was shot simultaneously as both a VR series and 2D feature) Leonard will look, once again, to ride the bleeding edge of cinematic history by debuting one of the episodes—or ‘frags’ as the term has been coined—to a room full of people viewing at the same timewithouta VR headset; instead utilizing the world’s most advanced 360-degree video projector (from BroomX Technologies) to display the piece—the sum total of which will then constitute the first-ever live-directed interactive group theatrical presentation.

When asked about how this project can impact the VR industry:

Leonard states: “Our aim with Hollywood Rooftop is to inspire an ‘Immersive New Wave’ of storytelling in this emerging medium, combining classic cinematic technique with the intimacy afforded by Virtual Reality, allowing audiences to be more fully engaged with story, character, and emotion in an actual Immersive Movie experience.”

Rooftopproducer,Mark Rickardadds: “What Brett did with this is light years ahead of what’s already out there. Using multiple forms of media to maximize a 360 environment is provingthemost engaging way to tell a story—possibly in the history of filmed media. It truly must be seen to be believed.”

VR Lounge activates March 13 at the Capital Factory inside the downtown Omni hotel, with the VIP screening forHollywood Rooftopto occur that evening. The writer and starring cast member ofHollywood Rooftop,Mona Lisa Moru, will also be present at the screening to discuss the project.

https://vrloungesxsw.eventbrite.com

https://sxsw-brett-leonard-cinemavx-experience.eventbrite.com

3OPOLIS – Since 2006, 3opolis has led a global charge for interactive live events which utilize 3D, 4D, AR and VR technologies. The company is also credited with hosting the world’s first 3D, 4D and VR Film Festivals, and has executed more than 100 global tour stops through its traveling ‘3D Lounge’ and ‘VR Lounge’ showcases. Whether through feature films and documentaries, or immersive media, 3opolis continually endeavors to produce and create only the most groundbreaking and captivating content of the current era.

Studio Lightship – A new multi-disciplinary technology and content company, uniquely focused on Virtual Experience (VX)—collectively, Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality & Mixed Reality. Pioneering the Process-IPthat make possible its “VirtualStoryWorlds” (immersive cinematic narrative worldsthatusers can navigate, explore, socialize, game, shop in, andultimately, co-create), Lightship is helping to define the VirtualReality medium over the next decade and beyond. In addition to a slate of original VX-oriented content designed to set the bar for narrative VR, Lightship is developing StoryWorlds for various brands, clients and disciplines, including narrative IP creators, music festivals and artists, environmental movements, new transportation systems, and medical visualization/research initiatives.

The post Visionary Director Brett Leonard Hosting Immersive Screening at SXSW appeared first on Virtual Reality Reporter by VR Reporter

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Sergey Bludov, SVP, Media and Entertainment at technology consultancy DataArt, discusses practical use cases for AR & VR in the music industry.

As musicians and the associated companies increasingly experiment with bringing Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) into their artistic visions and presentations, are we on the cusp of entering a radically new ‘reality’ in the music industry?

Here’s the thing: young people are not only accustomed to immersing themselves in the latest technologies but are also at the point of expecting artists and companies to offer them exciting opportunities instead of the same old thing. A study conducted by Harris Poll on behalf of Eventbrite illustrated this idea perfectly when it revealed that 78% of millennials prefer to spend their money on experiences and events over objects. These younger music fans are looking for real value in these experiences, bringing technologies like AR and VR to the forefront of the possibilities for significant changes in the music landscape.

Following the fans, a growing number of artists and industry professionals are diving deeply into new concepts to develop innovative ways to utilize AR and VR in the world of music, as the technology is finally coming of age.

Immersive Installations

Musicians and producers often want to push the boundaries of what’s possible artistically. Innovative musician Brian Eno collaborated with software designer and musician Peter Chilvers to create ‘Bloom: Open Space’ — an art and music installation that marks one of the first uses of the latest immersive technologies by a major artist such as Eno. Visitors to the facility wear 3D holographic visors as they approach a circle of six towering screens, with small colored bubbles floating around. By reaching out their arms and pinching the air in front of them, new bubbles appear, each of which emits a specific musical tone. The notes combine and then disappear, while a background of cricket sounds and white noise completes the sonic effect.
This innovative use of immersive technologies creates a charming atmosphere for fans, as they become part of the musical creation they hear and the visual display they see. Eno’s installation provides a glimpse into the future of AR and VR in the music industry, while other innovators also delve into the potential for these technologies to add tremendous value and artistic merit to their work.

Videos and Live Performances

Not surprisingly, a large number of VR and AR startups are attempting to gain traction in the live music industry. Although I can’t touch on all of them in a single article, here’s a selection of the companies jumping into the video and live performance spheres.

Within has entered into a deal with Universal Music Group to develop VR and AR experiences for some of the artists on its roster. The Chemical Brothers and St Vincent were the first from UMG to work with Within, developing a creative and interactive music experience called Under Neon Lights.

MelodyVR is a London-based company focused on its goal of offering live streaming of concerts in Virtual Reality. Although its full vision has yet to come to fruition, the company has worked with more than 650 international artists, including Post Malone, Blake Shelton, The Who, Kiss, and The Chainsmokers to develop innovative uses of VR in a live music setting, with the hope that VR technology will soon be widely adopted by consumers.

Facebook, in conjunction with Oculus Go and Gear VR, launched Oculus Venues live events last year with an initial Vance Joy concert. Oculus Go is a relatively affordable VR headset at $199 in the U.S. and offers the convenience of not being tethered to a computer. Although it’s early in the game, the potential for this offering to gain significant traction among concert-goers is an exciting move in the direction of the mass adoption of VR and AR in the world of music.

Music Education and Creation

Not everyone can afford to take traditional music lessons. Furthermore, some people live in remote places that lack a reasonable number of experienced teachers for their instrument of choice. Virtual Reality music education carries the potential to solve both of these issues while offering a high level of convenience for those who want to learn how to play an instrument but have little time to spare.

Do you want to learn how to DJ? If so, Tribe VR may be just right for you. Founded by veterans from firms such as Pixar and High Fidelity, the company’s DJ School allows anyone to learn to DJ and mix music by using a virtual deck that mimics the setup used in actual clubs throughout the world. By connecting with virtual mentors, the multi-sensory technology provides an immersive educational experience.

Have you always wanted to learn to play drums? Enter VR app Paradiddle, providing a high-quality virtual drumming experience. We all know that real drums are extremely loud, thereby restricting many people from having the opportunity to learn and play this instrument. Paradiddle has done a great job of utilizing VR to bring this experience to those without a real drumset, as can be seen in this video where all of the drum sounds are triggered from the app.

The music industry is changing rapidly, and that’s a good thing! Artists are driven to innovate, and the industry must encourage these endeavors while using AR, VR, and other immersive technologies to bring new experiences to music fans and to support a new generation of musicians. The time for AR and VR innovations is now!

What are your thoughts about AR & VR innovations in the music industry? Please share your opinions in the comments below.

By Sergey Bludov,
SVP, Media and Entertainment Practice at DataArt


Augmented & Virtual Reality Coming of Age in the Music Industry was originally published in Virtual Reality Pop on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

The VR community appears to be holding its collective breath to find out what impact the Oculus Rift head mounted screen will have about the future of virtual reality gaming. Patiently people are awaiting the Kickstarter funding round to start and I’ve learned today it has been postponed two weeks. Don’t worry however; Palmer Luckery, […]

The rumor mills have been churning for the past five years about Apple’s plans to build its augmented reality glasses. For the past few years, those speculations have mainly been based on patent information and news reports that Apple was hiring top talent in the AR space.

These speculations are finally becoming a reality with news that Apple’s smart glasses are finally going into production later in the year. Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has stated that the company’s head-mounted displays could go into production as early as the end of this year and the product will likely be launched into the market by 2020. According to the analyst, the production of the AR smart glasses could also move into the second quarter of 2020 if it fails to take off in the second quarter of 2019.

Apple AR Glasses from a Patent Filing in 2008

For the past few years, Apple has had a strong AR-focus. The CEO Tim Cook has repeatedly reiterated that AR, which superimposes a computer generated environment onto the user’s real-world view, represents the future indicating a strong interest to pursue innovation in this space.

Kuo has stated that the first-generation of these smart glasses will be marketed as iPhone accessories and will be primarily used as displays when users are off-loading networking, computing as well as GPS locations to an iPhone.

It isn’t clear yet what users will be able to accomplish with the new AR headset. Details are still fuzzy but Kuo says they could work more like the Apple Watch. Users won’t be able to use the AR headsets in a standalone mode without their iPhones as it will be heavily reliant on the phones for functionality.

The smart glasses will function as deported displays to provide users with the computer-generated information in front of their eyes. Because of the heavy iPhone-dependency, the iPhones will do the heavy lifting as far as computational power, location services and connectivity are concerned.

The Kuo report doesn’t specify what is under the hood in the headset. There are all sorts of elements that Apple could embed onto the device such as displays and sensors that will make the AR headset “aware” of the surroundings where it will intelligently superimpose the digital images.

Apple has in the past done AR test runs on iOS with its ARKit framework. During these experiments, developers have been able to build apps capable of integrating digital elements onto the real world when viewed via users’ phone cameras.

There are also apps that are built with AR features but many of them have so far felt a little gimmicky without any real value for the user experience. So far, there aren’t enough AR-native apps that users can try out with an AR headset.

There are however lots of potential use-cases that can be leveraged for an AR-headset such as mapping. Google recently launched an augmented reality mode for the Google Maps that allows users to hold their phones in front of their faces to see location arrows pointing to where they are supposed to go.

Apple on the other hand has been using its own data sets to rebuild its Apple Maps. Not only is Apple providing its users with Map functionality, it is also leveraging on vast real world data using LiDAR sensors and a set of eight cameras that are installed on a car roof. The Apple Maps is likely to be critical for its upcoming AR headset.

Apple is rebuilding its Apple Maps

There are still doubts on how Apple’s AR technology will interface with the iPhone. Several options have been floated and each has its limitation. A Bluetooth connection for example will face the challenge of limited data throughput and will likely pose a serious issue when users are trying to show real-time videos. Earlier reports had suggested that Apple’s glasses might use “WiGig” standard which would enable faster data connections but this will in turn require that Apple work only with the next-generation versions of iPhones or come with an adapter that would allow an interfacing. A 5G phone has also been rumored to be in the offing and this, interfaced with 5G smart glasses, will make for a very powerful augmented reality setup that will assure users of quality experiences.

Kuo is a trusted source within the Apple community and has had a great track record when it comes to predictions of Apple’s upcoming developments so this news is in all probability credible and the prediction is likely to stand to scrutiny.

With the Apple sales declining, Apple AR glasses tied to its iPhones are likely to be a crucial differentiator from its fierce competitors.

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Walmart’s tech incubator Store N°8 today launched its next startup, a VR merchandising company called Spatial&. The company offers VR experiences that enable customers to connect with merchandise, and is kicking things off by collaborating with DreamWorks Animation VR tour. At select Walmart locations across the U.S., Spatial& will set up a VR experience in the parking lot, allowing customers to visit DreamWorks’ “How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World” through VR. Afterwards, customers are directed to a branded, physical gift shop where they can make purchases.

The experience is meant to help DreamWorks market their film ahead of its February 22 release, while Walmart gets to hawk film merchandise to its customers.

It’s not all that different from the “exit through the gift shop” concept found at theme parks.

Upon entering the experience, customers are greeted by the film’s characters Ruffnut and Tuffnut, and are then led into a “dragon’s cave” where they’ll put on VR headsets and get seated in Positron motion VR chairs powered by the HP VR backpack.

The VR story they engage with will take them on a five-minute journey into the movie’s world, where they interact with other characters, including  Astrid, Hiccup, Toothless, Hookfang and more. During this experience, participants will have a multi-sensory encounter, thanks to hand tracking and 6DOF (6 degrees of freedom) in the Voyager VR motion chair.

When the experience wraps, customers are guided into a themed gift shop where they can buy merchandise like plush toys, action figures, DVDs, video games, and more.

Some merchandise from this collection will also be sold across 2,000 Walmart stores – not only those with the VR experience.

On the technology side, Spatial& and DreamWorks leveraged servers and workstations with Intel Xeon Scalable processors to stitch together high-res images and 360-degree VR videos. For the experience itself, the startup uses HP Windows Mixed Reality headsets, Omen by HP Mindframe Headsets, and PCs with Intel Core processors. Outside, parents can follow along with what their children are viewing via Intel-powered Omen by HP Gaming Laptops.

“We have set an extremely high bar for quality and innovation for the How to Train Your Dragon franchise, and our partners at Spatial& exceeded our expectations with their incredible work on this project,” said Abhijay Prakash, chief operating officer of DreamWorks Feature Animation, in a statement about the launch.“This latest Dragon film displays DreamWorks’ best in class creative abilities combined with state of the art advances in animation technology, and we are thrilled that this experience created by Spatial& lives up to that reputation while allowing fans to journey straight to the center of this unique world we’ve created for the film. It’s a truly exhilarating experience,” Prakash added.

Walmart says the experience will go live at 16 stores in the U.S., starting this weekend and continuing through early April.

Those locations include the following:

  • Burbank, California (1301 N Victory Place) – February 15-16
  • Pico Rivera, California (8500 Washington Boulevard) – February 17-19
  • Anaheim, California (440 Euclid Street) – February 22-23
  • San Bernardino, California (4001 Hallmark Parkway) – February 24-26
  • Las Vegas, Nevada (5200 S Fort Apache Road) – March 1-2
  • North Las Vegas, Nevada (6464 N Decatur Boulevard) – March 3-5
  • Glendale, Arizona (5010 N 95th Avenue) – March 8-9
  • Gilbert, Arizona (2501 S Market Street) – March 10-12
  • San Antonio, Texas (8923 W Military Drive) – March 15-16
  • New Braunfels, Texas (1209 S Interstate 35) – March 17-19
  • Grand Prairie, Texas (2225 I-20) – March 22-23
  • Allen, Texas (730 W Exchange Parkway) – March 24-26
  • Sugar Land, Texas (345 Highway 6) – March 29-30
  • Katy, Texas (1313 N Fry Road) – March 31-April 2
  • Rogers, Arkansas (4208 S Pleasant Crossing Boulevard) – April 5-6
  • Bentonville, Arkansas (406 S Walton Boulevard) – April 7-9

Spatial& is one of several tech startups being incubated by Walmart’s Store No. 8, which launched in 2017 to focus on retail innovation. Other businesses being incubated there include conversational commerce startup Jetblack, from Rent the Runway co-founder Jenny Fleiss; stealth startup Franklin from Wim Yogurt founder Bart Stein; and AI lab Project Kepler.

Sergey Bludov, SVP, Media and Entertainment at technology consultancy DataArt, discusses practical use cases for AR & VR in the music industry.

As musicians and the associated companies increasingly experiment with bringing Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) into their artistic visions and presentations, are we on the cusp of entering a radically new ‘reality’ in the music industry?

Here’s the thing: young people are not only accustomed to immersing themselves in the latest technologies but are also at the point of expecting artists and companies to offer them exciting opportunities instead of the same old thing. A study conducted by Harris Poll on behalf of Eventbrite illustrated this idea perfectly when it revealed that 78% of millennials prefer to spend their money on experiences and events over objects. These younger music fans are looking for real value in these experiences, bringing technologies like AR and VR to the forefront of the possibilities for significant changes in the music landscape.

Following the fans, a growing number of artists and industry professionals are diving deeply into new concepts to develop innovative ways to utilize AR and VR in the world of music, as the technology is finally coming of age.

Immersive Installations

Musicians and producers often want to push the boundaries of what’s possible artistically. Innovative musician Brian Eno collaborated with software designer and musician Peter Chilvers to create ‘Bloom: Open Space’ — an art and music installation that marks one of the first uses of the latest immersive technologies by a major artist such as Eno. Visitors to the facility wear 3D holographic visors as they approach a circle of six towering screens, with small colored bubbles floating around. By reaching out their arms and pinching the air in front of them, new bubbles appear, each of which emits a specific musical tone. The notes combine and then disappear, while a background of cricket sounds and white noise completes the sonic effect.
This innovative use of immersive technologies creates a charming atmosphere for fans, as they become part of the musical creation they hear and the visual display they see. Eno’s installation provides a glimpse into the future of AR and VR in the music industry, while other innovators also delve into the potential for these technologies to add tremendous value and artistic merit to their work.

Videos and Live Performances

Not surprisingly, a large number of VR and AR startups are attempting to gain traction in the live music industry. Although I can’t touch on all of them in a single article, here’s a selection of the companies jumping into the video and live performance spheres.

Within has entered into a deal with Universal Music Group to develop VR and AR experiences for some of the artists on its roster. The Chemical Brothers and St Vincent were the first from UMG to work with Within, developing a creative and interactive music experience called Under Neon Lights.

MelodyVR is a London-based company focused on its goal of offering live streaming of concerts in Virtual Reality. Although its full vision has yet to come to fruition, the company has worked with more than 650 international artists, including Post Malone, Blake Shelton, The Who, Kiss, and The Chainsmokers to develop innovative uses of VR in a live music setting, with the hope that VR technology will soon be widely adopted by consumers.

Facebook, in conjunction with Oculus Go and Gear VR, launched Oculus Venues live events last year with an initial Vance Joy concert. Oculus Go is a relatively affordable VR headset at $199 in the U.S. and offers the convenience of not being tethered to a computer. Although it’s early in the game, the potential for this offering to gain significant traction among concert-goers is an exciting move in the direction of the mass adoption of VR and AR in the world of music.

Music Education and Creation

Not everyone can afford to take traditional music lessons. Furthermore, some people live in remote places that lack a reasonable number of experienced teachers for their instrument of choice. Virtual Reality music education carries the potential to solve both of these issues while offering a high level of convenience for those who want to learn how to play an instrument but have little time to spare.

Do you want to learn how to DJ? If so, Tribe VR may be just right for you. Founded by veterans from firms such as Pixar and High Fidelity, the company’s DJ School allows anyone to learn to DJ and mix music by using a virtual deck that mimics the setup used in actual clubs throughout the world. By connecting with virtual mentors, the multi-sensory technology provides an immersive educational experience.

Have you always wanted to learn to play drums? Enter VR app Paradiddle, providing a high-quality virtual drumming experience. We all know that real drums are extremely loud, thereby restricting many people from having the opportunity to learn and play this instrument. Paradiddle has done a great job of utilizing VR to bring this experience to those without a real drumset, as can be seen in this video where all of the drum sounds are triggered from the app.

The music industry is changing rapidly, and that’s a good thing! Artists are driven to innovate, and the industry must encourage these endeavors while using AR, VR, and other immersive technologies to bring new experiences to music fans and to support a new generation of musicians. The time for AR and VR innovations is now!

What are your thoughts about AR & VR innovations in the music industry? Please share your opinions in the comments below.

By Sergey Bludov,
SVP, Media and Entertainment Practice at DataArt


Augmented & Virtual Reality Coming of Age in the Music Industry was originally published in Virtual Reality Pop on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

On our first trip to Disneyland we were fortunate enough to watch Mickey's Mix Magic on Mainstreet as part of Mickey and Minnie's 90th birthday. (More)

Walmart’s tech incubator Store N°8 today launched its next startup, a VR merchandising company called Spatial&. The company offers VR experiences that enable customers to connect with merchandise, and is kicking things off by collaborating with DreamWorks Animation VR tour. At select Walmart locations across the U.S., Spatial& will set up a VR experience in the parking lot, allowing customers to visit DreamWorks’ “How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World” through VR. Afterwards, customers are directed to a branded, physical gift shop where they can make purchases.

The experience is meant to help DreamWorks market their film ahead of its February 22 release, while Walmart gets to hawk film merchandise to its customers.

It’s not all that different from the “exit through the gift shop” concept found at theme parks.

Upon entering the experience, customers are greeted by the film’s characters Ruffnut and Tuffnut, and are then led into a “dragon’s cave” where they’ll put on VR headsets and get seated in Positron motion VR chairs powered by the HP VR backpack.

The VR story they engage with will take them on a five-minute journey into the movie’s world, where they interact with other characters, including  Astrid, Hiccup, Toothless, Hookfang and more. During this experience, participants will have a multi-sensory encounter, thanks to hand tracking and 6DOF (6 degrees of freedom) in the Voyager VR motion chair.

When the experience wraps, customers are guided into a themed gift shop where they can buy merchandise like plush toys, action figures, DVDs, video games, and more.

Some merchandise from this collection will also be sold across 2,000 Walmart stores – not only those with the VR experience.

On the technology side, Spatial& and DreamWorks leveraged servers and workstations with Intel Xeon Scalable processors to stitch together high-res images and 360-degree VR videos. For the experience itself, the startup uses HP Windows Mixed Reality headsets, Omen by HP Mindframe Headsets, and PCs with Intel Core processors. Outside, parents can follow along with what their children are viewing via Intel-powered Omen by HP Gaming Laptops.

“We have set an extremely high bar for quality and innovation for the How to Train Your Dragon franchise, and our partners at Spatial& exceeded our expectations with their incredible work on this project,” said Abhijay Prakash, chief operating officer of DreamWorks Feature Animation, in a statement about the launch.“This latest Dragon film displays DreamWorks’ best in class creative abilities combined with state of the art advances in animation technology, and we are thrilled that this experience created by Spatial& lives up to that reputation while allowing fans to journey straight to the center of this unique world we’ve created for the film. It’s a truly exhilarating experience,” Prakash added.

Walmart says the experience will go live at 16 stores in the U.S., starting this weekend and continuing through early April.

Those locations include the following:

  • Burbank, California (1301 N Victory Place) – February 15-16
  • Pico Rivera, California (8500 Washington Boulevard) – February 17-19
  • Anaheim, California (440 Euclid Street) – February 22-23
  • San Bernardino, California (4001 Hallmark Parkway) – February 24-26
  • Las Vegas, Nevada (5200 S Fort Apache Road) – March 1-2
  • North Las Vegas, Nevada (6464 N Decatur Boulevard) – March 3-5
  • Glendale, Arizona (5010 N 95th Avenue) – March 8-9
  • Gilbert, Arizona (2501 S Market Street) – March 10-12
  • San Antonio, Texas (8923 W Military Drive) – March 15-16
  • New Braunfels, Texas (1209 S Interstate 35) – March 17-19
  • Grand Prairie, Texas (2225 I-20) – March 22-23
  • Allen, Texas (730 W Exchange Parkway) – March 24-26
  • Sugar Land, Texas (345 Highway 6) – March 29-30
  • Katy, Texas (1313 N Fry Road) – March 31-April 2
  • Rogers, Arkansas (4208 S Pleasant Crossing Boulevard) – April 5-6
  • Bentonville, Arkansas (406 S Walton Boulevard) – April 7-9

Spatial& is one of several tech startups being incubated by Walmart’s Store No. 8, which launched in 2017 to focus on retail innovation. Other businesses being incubated there include conversational commerce startup Jetblack, from Rent the Runway co-founder Jenny Fleiss; stealth startup Franklin from Wim Yogurt founder Bart Stein; and AI lab Project Kepler.

Walmart’s tech incubator Store N°8 today launched its next startup, a VR merchandising company called Spatial&. The company offers VR experiences that enable customers to connect with merchandise, and is kicking things off by collaborating with DreamWorks Animation VR tour. At select Walmart locations across the U.S., Spatial& will set up a VR experience in the parking lot, allowing customers to visit DreamWorks’ “How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World” through VR. Afterwards, customers are directed to a branded, physical gift shop where they can make purchases.

The experience is meant to help DreamWorks market their film ahead of its February 22 release, while Walmart gets to hawk film merchandise to its customers.

It’s not all that different from the “exit through the gift shop” concept found at theme parks.

Upon entering the experience, customers are greeted by the film’s characters Ruffnut and Tuffnut, and are then led into a “dragon’s cave” where they’ll put on VR headsets and get seated in Positron motion VR chairs powered by the HP VR backpack.

The VR story they engage with will take them on a five-minute journey into the movie’s world, where they interact with other characters, including  Astrid, Hiccup, Toothless, Hookfang and more. During this experience, participants will have a multi-sensory encounter, thanks to hand tracking and 6DOF (6 degrees of freedom) in the Voyager VR motion chair.

When the experience wraps, customers are guided into a themed gift shop where they can buy merchandise like plush toys, action figures, DVDs, video games, and more.

Some merchandise from this collection will also be sold across 2,000 Walmart stores – not only those with the VR experience.

On the technology side, Spatial& and DreamWorks leveraged servers and workstations with Intel Xeon Scalable processors to stitch together high-res images and 360-degree VR videos. For the experience itself, the startup uses HP Windows Mixed Reality headsets, Omen by HP Mindframe Headsets, and PCs with Intel Core processors. Outside, parents can follow along with what their children are viewing via Intel-powered Omen by HP Gaming Laptops.

“We have set an extremely high bar for quality and innovation for the How to Train Your Dragon franchise, and our partners at Spatial& exceeded our expectations with their incredible work on this project,” said Abhijay Prakash, chief operating officer of DreamWorks Feature Animation, in a statement about the launch.“This latest Dragon film displays DreamWorks’ best in class creative abilities combined with state of the art advances in animation technology, and we are thrilled that this experience created by Spatial& lives up to that reputation while allowing fans to journey straight to the center of this unique world we’ve created for the film. It’s a truly exhilarating experience,” Prakash added.

Walmart says the experience will go live at 16 stores in the U.S., starting this weekend and continuing through early April.

Those locations include the following:

  • Burbank, California (1301 N Victory Place) – February 15-16
  • Pico Rivera, California (8500 Washington Boulevard) – February 17-19
  • Anaheim, California (440 Euclid Street) – February 22-23
  • San Bernardino, California (4001 Hallmark Parkway) – February 24-26
  • Las Vegas, Nevada (5200 S Fort Apache Road) – March 1-2
  • North Las Vegas, Nevada (6464 N Decatur Boulevard) – March 3-5
  • Glendale, Arizona (5010 N 95th Avenue) – March 8-9
  • Gilbert, Arizona (2501 S Market Street) – March 10-12
  • San Antonio, Texas (8923 W Military Drive) – March 15-16
  • New Braunfels, Texas (1209 S Interstate 35) – March 17-19
  • Grand Prairie, Texas (2225 I-20) – March 22-23
  • Allen, Texas (730 W Exchange Parkway) – March 24-26
  • Sugar Land, Texas (345 Highway 6) – March 29-30
  • Katy, Texas (1313 N Fry Road) – March 31-April 2
  • Rogers, Arkansas (4208 S Pleasant Crossing Boulevard) – April 5-6
  • Bentonville, Arkansas (406 S Walton Boulevard) – April 7-9

Spatial& is one of several tech startups being incubated by Walmart’s Store No. 8, which launched in 2017 to focus on retail innovation. Other businesses being incubated there include conversational commerce startup Jetblack, from Rent the Runway co-founder Jenny Fleiss; stealth startup Franklin from Wim Yogurt founder Bart Stein; and AI lab Project Kepler.

GDC’s annual State of the Games Industry survey revealed HTC VIVE as the most popular platform among developers for the third year in a row. We’re proud of our standing in the developer community and strive to be the number one advocate for VR developers. To that end, we’ve got an exciting lineup of activities planned for developers attending GDC 2019:

Developer Day – March 18th @ Moscone West Hall, Room #2024

VIVE will be holding a developer day on Monday, March 18th. Filled with visionary and technical sessions directly from the VIVE team and partners, we’ll delve into the topics most meaningful to VR developers.

To start, we’ll walk developers through our platform roadmap for 2019 to share the new opportunities ahead and how they can take advantage of them. Next, our engineers will provide in-depth demonstrations on our SDKs to provide the tools and knowledge necessary to accelerate VR development.

Check out our full schedule below:

10:00AM – 11:00AM: Developer Day Keynote: Platform Strategy for 2019

11:20AM – 12:20PM: Developer Success in the Era of New Competing Digital Platforms

1:20PM – 2:20PM: Getting Started, Publishing and Beyond: Viveport SDKs + VIVE Input Utility

2:40PM – 3:40PM: Building for the Standalone Ecosystem: Wave Platform SDKs

4:00PM – 5:00PM: Creating More Immersive Experiences: 3DSP Audio SDK + Hand Tracking SDK

5:30PM – 6:30PM: The Future of XR Development: SRWorks SDK + SRANIPAL SDK

VR Play – March 20th-22nd @ Moscone Center Hall

This year, the VR Play area is sponsored by VIVEPORT. GDC attendees can see the new technologies from our technical talks in action on the latest VIVE hardware. VIVE will be showcasing innovative content that demonstrates the power of our developer tools such as eye and hand tracking, 6DoF input for the WAVE platform and more. Stop by the Moscone Center Hall from March 20th – 22nd try out some of our favorite VR experiences.

Viveport Developer Awards Mixer – March 18th

On March 18th, we’ll announce the winners of the 3rd annual Viveport Developer Awards at a private mixer for developers. The Viveport Developer Awards is an opportunity to celebrate and reward the exceptional studios and content that have contributed to Viveport Subscription’s success. This year’s batch will have one winner and one finalist from four PC-VR categories and one winner from three VIVE Wave categories. Winners in each category can walk away with up to $50,000 in cash and prizes to support their current and future development objectives.

We hope to see you at GDC and be sure to add our developer day sessions to your schedules!

The post HTC VIVE at GDC 2019 appeared first on VIVE Blog.

Wat is de beste laptop aanbieding? De beste laptop is de Dell XPS 13, maar er zijn 18 andere top laptops in onze gids over de beste notebook kopen (laptop kopen) in 2016, inclusief de beste Windows laptops en beste MacBooks. Beste laptop aanbiedingen.

De beste notebook is de Dell XPS 13, gevolgd door de Asus Zenbook UX303U en de Microsoft Surface Book, maar er zijn genoeg andere uitstekende opties in onze lijst hieronder.

Ondanks de opkomst van de tablets zijn er nog genoeg redenen om een laptop te kopen. Soms kan een tablet gewoon niet een groot scherm verslaan, naast een keyboard en Windows om dingen gedaan te krijgen.

“Wat is de beste laptop te koop?” is een makkelijke vraag om te stellen, maar het antwoord hangt grotendeels af van wat je er mee wilt doen. Als je de beste wilt hebben in alle opzichten dan ben je hier op de juiste plek. Dat is omdat we hier de beste notebooks en laptops hebben onderzocht, samengevat en op basis daarvan een review hebben gemaakt, relevant voor het heden (2016).

Zoals elk product waar we een review over doen, hangt de beste notebook af van vele factoren; performance, gebruikerskwaliteit, eigenschappen en prijs/kwaliteit verhouding – samen met een algemene score, en soms met een award.

Als je op zoek bent naar iets specifieks hebben we verschillende laptop samenvattingen, inclusief de beste goedkope laptop, beste chromebook en beste gaming laptop.

We doen zoveel mogelijk ons best om te zorgen dat deze laptops ook beschikbaar zijn in Nederland. Echter is dit niet iets wat we iedere dag kunnen checken dus er bestaat een kans dat het model waar je naar op zoek bent, niet beschikbaar is. Er zijn vaak ook verschillende versies/modellen van notebooks/laptops beschikbaar, dus de specificaties kunnen iets verschillen met het beoordeelde model.

De meeste laptops hebben van tevoren al Windows 10 geïnstalleerd. Natuurlijk bevat onze beste notebook groep ook de beste MacBooks, welke op OS X (nu macOS) runnen. MacBooks zijn vaak duurder dan Windows laptops, maar Apple laptops zijn tegenwoordig krachtiger en beter dan ooit tevoren. Wellicht voel je dat premium kwaliteit- en eigenschappen iets extra’s biedt, maar veel Windows laptop producenten hebben recentelijk ook aanzienlijk hun kwaliteit verbetert.

​Beste laptop aanbiedingen 2016: Hoe veel zal ik uitgeven aan een laptop?

Dit artikel kent geen grens hoeveel een apparaat kan kosten – soms komt de beste met een behoorlijke prijs. De grote vraag is of je echt het beste van het beste wilt hebben?

We vragen dit omdat je veel laptops of notebooks kunt krijgen, zelfs onder €300,- als je alleen makkelijke taken moet uitvoeren zoals web browsen, email checken en documenten creëren. Als dat het geval is zou ik een kijkje nemen naar het ‘goedkope laptop’ artikel.

Iets meer besteden aan een laptop, rond de €500,- en hoger en je zal waarschijnlijk een goede laptop kopen, maar dit heeft dan ook een ingangsniveau aan specificaties. Dan hebben we het over de meest basis processor beschikbaar, minder opslagruimte en een lage resolutie beeldschermen. Daarnaast is het ook niet de dunste en de lichtste.

Als je meer bereidt bent te betalen; laten we zeggen €800,- en hoger, kijk je naar het beste van het beste, dat wil zeggen: een super snelle processor, genoeg RAM, mega veel opslagruimte en een schitterende display. Daarnaast kun je een uitstekende kwaliteit verwachten met veel premium materialen en specificaties.

Beste laptop en notebook aanbieding 2016: Welke schermgrootte heb ik nodig?​

De grootte van je scherm is een belangrijke beslissing die je maakt bij het kopen van een laptop. De groottes variëren vaak van 11- tot 17 inch.

Bij een kleiner scherm is het misschien moeilijker om dingen te zien, maar deze laptop is veel mobieler en makkelijker om mee te nemen als je veel op reis bent. Weet wel dat een kleinere laptop vaak minder ruimte heeft met betrekking tot (usb) poorten.

Bij 17 inch koop je een computer vervanging, welke niet bepaald gemaakt is om veel mee te nemen op reis. Zeer waarschijnlijk krijg je een full-size toetsenbord, veel connectiviteit en soms zelfs een optische drive.

Over het algemeen is een 13-inch laptop de beste keuze (sweet spot). Zo heb je een perfecte combinatie zonder dat je mindert in eigenschappen. Zorg wel dat je eerst reviews en specificaties bekijkt van elk apparaat om zeker te weten dat het is wat je nodig hebt.

Veel laptops hebben een resolutie van 1366×768. Echter, als je de beste wilt, moet je kijken naar meer. Denk dan aan Full HD (1920×1080) en hoger, of zelfs 4K laptops.

Een paar andere dingen die je in overweging kunt nemen bij het kopen van een laptop, is of het touchscreen moet zijn of niet. Normaal gesproken wordt een laptop hier prijziger van, maar het is wellicht iets wat essentieel is of geldverspilling, afhankelijk van je gebruik en benodigdheden. Daarnaast komen veel laptops met een hard scherm, terwijl veel mensen liever een reflectief mat scherm hebben. Ook iets om naar te kijken.

Beste laptop aanbiedingen 2016: Hoeveel opslagruimte heb ik nodig?

Zoals gewoonlijk hangt de opslagruimte af, van waar je een laptop voor wilt gebruiken. Over het algemeen wil je zoveel mogelijk hebben zonder geld te verspillen aan een upgrade (producenten kunnen hiervoor extra rekenen).

Een SSD betekent dat je laptop sneller loopt, maar zorgt niet voor extra ruimte zoals een harddrive. Sommige laptops hebben een combinatie van deze twee, maar dit gaat vaak ten koste van opslagruimte. Dus nogmaals, het is belangrijk om de specificaties goed te bekijken voordat je een laptop koopt als je niet wilt eindigen met een externe harde schrijf die je continu moet meeslepen.

Veel mensen hebben baat bij een 500GB drive om dingen op te slaan zoals foto’s, video’s en muziek. Echter, als je op zoek bent naar een groot aantal opslagruimte (wellicht ben je een fotograaf die gebruik maakt van RAW, of je wilt gewoon het beste van het beste), kijk dan naar 1- of 2 TB opslagruimte.

Geheugen (RAM) is waar programma’s en onderdelen worden opgeslagen, alleen als je deze gebruikt. Des te meer, des te beter. Beschouw 4GB als een absoluut minimum. Met 8- 16GB heb je het ideale RAM ruimte als je er het geld voor over hebt. Je kunt niet te veel RAM geheugen hebben.

Beste Notebooks 2016: Welke laptop processor is de beste?

Tenzij je complexe of veel vragende software of games gaat gebruiken, heb je niet de nieuwste top-spec. processor nodig. Het kan natuurlijk geen kwaad, maar het is beter om een goede balans te vinden, omdat er niets erger is dat het wachten voordat een applicatie is geladen, etc.

Als geld geen probleem is, dan heb je het al gauw over de nieuwste generatie (6e) Intel Core i7 chip. Instapniveau specificatie modellen hebben waarschijnlijk een Core i3 or zelfs een Core M processor in de plaats van een i7. Een Core i5 zit er perfect tussenin, dus kijk hoeveel dit extra kost voordat je een beslissing maakt.

Als je niet zeker weet welke generatie de Intel processor is, kijk dan naar het model nummer (de eerste paar nummers). Als voorbeeld: een Core i5-6500 is een 6e generatie CPU.

Als je de laptop wil gebruiken om te gamen, ook al is het hoofdzakelijk een werk-apparaat, wil je niet volledig afhankelijk zijn van de ingebouwde graphics die bij de Intel chip komt. Om te gamen met degelijke resolutie en frame rates, wil je een goede grafische kaart hebben (tenminste een mobiele versie). Je wilt dan waarschijnlijk de bestegame laptop bekijken om iets te vinden. Meer interesse in andere technologie, zoals drones? Neem dan eens een kijkje op kamera drohne kaufen.

De beste Laptops van 2016: Garantie en andere overwegingen

We raden alle laptops, notebooks en MacBooks hieronder aan. Er zit geen enkele slechte keuze tussen. Echter raden we je wel aan om ze een paar keer goed door te lezen voordat je je hard verdiende geld gaat uitgeven. Geen enkele laptop is perfect en degene die bij uw benodigdheden past is wellicht niet degene die bovenaan staat.

Batterijduur en garantie zijn twee dingen die verschillen per laptop. Dit kan heel goed verschillen per winkel.

After-sales service is iets wat je in acht moet nemen voor niet alleen laptops, maar bijna alles wat je koopt. Check of het bedrijf een service lijn heeft. Daarnaast zijn forums perfecte plekken om een idee te krijgen of een bedrijf goed of slecht is met betrekking tot de garantie.

Wellicht heb je niet eens direct met de producent te maken als er iets is met je laptop binnen de eerste 6 maanden, omdat het dan zaak is van de retailer om met dit probleem om te gaan. Wanneer gekocht van Amazon heb je hier geen problemen mee en is een volledige teruggave van het bedrag, of vervanging van het product geen probleem.

1. Dell XPS 13 9350

dell-xps-13-9350

De Dell XPS 13 9343 staat schouders boven kop bovenaan in de Windows wereld van de laptops. Een compacte laptop welke de competitie verslaat in veel belangrijke factoren zoals: beeldkwaliteit en ‘near-borderless display’. Dit is een 13.3-inch laptop welke minder ruimte inneemt dan een 11.6-inch model. Matige thermische management moet wel verbetert worden, terwijl een niet-touchscreen versie makkelijk alle andere problemen kan oplossen.

2. Asus ZenBook UX303U

asus-zenbook-ux303u

Rond de €1000,- is de ZenBook UX303U een van de beste laptops op dit moment, maar doet zichzelf tekort aan batterijduur in vergelijking met de (net zo dure) MacBook Air. Ook al heeft deze een snellere processor performance een superieure HD mat display. De nieuwste ZenBook is een goed gebalanceerde, slimme en krachtige Notebook.

3. Microsoft Surface Book

microsoft-surface-book

Het is een dure laptop, maar de Surface Book is een prachtig stukje technologie gecombineerd met een uitstekend (uniek) design, top-notch kwaliteit en premium specificaties. Batterijduur is geweldig en er is veel dat je kunt doen met het Surface Book model. De vraag is of je hem kunt betalen?

4. HP Envy 13

hp-envy-13

De HP Envy 13 doet veel dingen goed. Het design, de mousepad, de performance en het scherm zijn allemaal erg goed. Het gebruiken van deze laptop is erg plezierig in de meeste opzichten. De fysieke draagbaarheid is fantastisch en is duidelijk gemaakt met een verstandig budget. Het is een goede aankoop, maar er zijn een paar problemen; tenzij het gebruik erg licht is, is de batterijduur teleurstellend en is de kwaliteit iets minder indrukwekkend dan het op eerste gezicht lijkt. Het is in de eerste instantie iets minder luxueus wanneer je naar de foto’s kijkt. Echter, met in acht nemen van de eigenschappen, performance en waarde, is het enige aspect waar je over na moet denken de batterijduur. De Asus UX305 duurt langer, ook al heeft deze laptop een iets minder goed keyboard en mist deze iets van HP’s pure kracht.

5. Retina MacBook Pro (15 inch, 2015)

retina-macbook-pro-2015

We moeten toegeven dat we het jammer vinden dat MacBook Pro van dit jaar geen quad-core Intel Broadwell processor heeft ingebouwd. Echter, deze verfrissing heeft hier 2 voordelen van: snellere graphics en een langere batterijduur. En dat terwijl deze MacBook Pro beschikt over de snelle Force Touch Trackpad interface. Ondertussen zal de upgrade in flash-drive opslagruimte er als nerdy eruitzien, maar het zal de gebruiker zeker belonen in een toename van dagelijkse productiviteit. De 15-inch behoudt zijn plaats als de “premium mobiele werkstation laptop”.

6. Dell Inspiron 7559

dell-inspiron-15-7559-review

Een beetje lomp maar door de duurzaamheid zal de Dell Inspiron 15 7559 Series geen desktop computer als vervanging nodig hebben. Krachtige discrete graphics zullen gamers en professionals zeer tevreden stellen, ook al reflecteert het scherm soms een beetje. Als je hier mee kunt leven is dit een goede waarde.

7. Lenovo Yoga 710 11"

De Lenovo Yoga 11 710 is een geweldig klein apparaat voor degene die veel reizen of geen grotere laptop nodig hebben. Dit is een van de beste alternatieven van de 12-inch MacBook. Een kleine machine die betere waarde biedt dan Apple, zelfs zonder het touchscreen en de ultra flexibiliteit benoemd te hebben. Het is niet erg krachtig, maar dat is niet het punt. Het toetsenbord, net zoals sommige andere Lenovo’s recente modellen, is ook niet perfect. Maar gezien de waarde dat deze laptop biedt is het zeker het overwegen waard.

8. Asus Zenbook UX305CA

asus-ux305ca-review

De Asus ZenBook UX305CA is een misschien wel voorspelbare upgrade van de UX305. Het heeft een nieuwere CPU en een veel hoger resolutie scherm. Ondanks dat blijft het een extreem draagbare (mobiele) laptop die er erg duur uitziet, ook al is het dat niet. Dat je deze notebook al voor €600 (op het moment van schrijven van dit artikel) kunt kopen, laat zien dat bedrijven zoals Asus nog steeds de ‘cutting edge’ zijn, ondanks dat de prijzen van Apple iets verbetert zijn. Een grote, scherpe, glanzende edge. Deze laptop zal nog steeds snel voelen voor dagelijkse activiteiten, ondanks de Core M CPU. Dit soort gebruik maakt het perfect voor mensen die dagelijks veel tussen cafés hoppen voor meetings. Als je naar iets op zoek bent voor met name thuis, is misschien iets meer kracht en een scherm met een iets hoger contrast beter voor je.

9. HP Spectre 13

hp-spectre-13-review

De HP Spectre 13 doet wanhopig zijn best om eruit te zien als een laptop van de toekomst, wat een aantal voor- en nadelen brengt. Zijn uitstekende draagbaarheid (mobiliteit) is behoorlijk interessant en ook al polariseert het design een beetje, het is zeker fancy en heeft een verrassend krachtige CPU voor een laptop zo dun. Daarnaast is het keyboard erg strak en fijn te gebruiken. De processor zorgt voor veel enthousiasme onder de mensen bij deze laptop, maar dat is ook exact de reden dat deze laptops tekort aan geheugenkaart- en USB poort ingangen heeft. Er is een publiek voor de Spectre 13, maar als je nog niet klaar bent voor een draadloze werkdag zou ik er nog een keer over nadenken.

10. Lenovo Yoga 900

lenovo-yoga-900-review

De Lenovo Yoga 900 is een laptop die je echt vraagt om te geloven in zijn design type. Het is tenslotte niet goedkoop en voor deze prijs kun je een laptop krijgen met veel meer kracht, als je niet op zoek bent naar iets ontzettend mobiels en dynamisch. Dat is waar deze laptop in uitblinkt. Naast het erg dun zijn, licht en allround erg goede kwaliteit biedt, het dunne design laat deze laptop daar komen waar andere niet kunnen komen. De batterij van deze laptop gaat minimaal een volledige werkdag mee. Het keyboard kan een beetje onwennig zijn, maar als je daar doorheen kunt kijken is deze laptop een van de top portable laptops die er is.

11. 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro (begin 2015)

13_inch_retina_macbook_pro_review

Ook al ziet het eruit als alle andere Retina-scherm 13-inch MacBooks, de vroege 2015 revisie loopt ver voor op de eerdere modellen. De opslagruimte-snelheid is het dubbele van de baanbrekende snelheid van het 2013 model. De nieuwe Force Trackpad heeft zeer goede voordelen met betrekking tot touch-control en een intelligente coprocessor die helpt bij het interpreteren van digitale bewegingen. De Broadwell processor is ongeveer een van de beste upgrades waar een laptopgebruiker om kan vragen; namelijk een gigantische batterijduur. Vooruitgang in grafische performance waren minder indrukwekkend, blijkt uit onze tests, maar dit is ten minste wel positief veranderd. ’s Werelds fijnste 13-inch notebook is nu onaantastbaar, helemaal gezien het feit de prijs onder de €1000 blijft zoals de voorgangers.

12. Microsoft Surface Pro 4

microsoft_surface_pro_4_review

Er is veel om van te houden als je het hebt over de Surface Pro 4. Het design is dunner en lichter om mee te beginnen. Het scherm is geweldig, er is genoeg power aanwezig, het nieuwe Surface Pen is beter en het toetsenbord is een gigantische vooruitgang. Echter, het design is soms erg onhandig, het is duurder dan veel andere laptops en de Type Cover die je sowieso nodig hebt zit niet bij de prijs inbegrepen, wat de waarde doet dalen.

13. Acer Aspire V3-574G

acer-aspire-v3-574g

Voor onder €600 is de Aspire V3-574G makkelijk aan te raden. Het heeft een goede balans aan positieve eigenschappen van het IPS scherm, tot het precieze toetsenbord en hoge kwaliteit CPU. Nvidia graphics zorgen voor erg fijne gameplay tot 720p. De 5-urige batterijduur (ook al is het de helft van de beste) kan misschien zelfs de halve dag doorkomen bij laag gebruik.

14. Microsoft Surface Pro 3

ms_surface_pro_3

Een erg degelijke laptop vervanging en een ok tablet maakt de Surface Pro 3 zonder twijfel aantrekkelijk en indrukwekkend. Als je 1 apparaat nodig hebt om alles te doen, kunnen wij geen ander apparaat bedenken dan deze. Helemaal als je naar de kosten kijkt van een discrete laptop, tablet en desktop PC, De vraag blijft of mensen graag 1 apparaat willen in plaats van meerdere gadgets die individueel beter zijn in bepaalde taken. Microsofts recentste resultaten geeft de indruk dat de Surface Pro 3 veel harten en zielen heeft gewonnen. Heef het de jouwe ook gewonnen?

15. MacBook Air (15-inch, begin 2015)

macbook_air_11_inch

Beschikbaar voor dezelfde prijs als vorig jaar, de nieuwe 11-inch MacBook Air heeft dezelfde supersnelle opslagruimte als voorheen en dat met 10% toename in processor performance. Gaming performance was altijd al borderline en nu is dat niet veel beter geworden; eerder langzamer. Over het algemeen is de batterijduur toegenomen met bijna een derde, wat een erg handige upgrade is op de al zeer degelijke 10+ uur batterijduur van de vorige generaties.

16. 13-inch MacBook Air (begin 2015)

macbook-air-review

Na extensief testen kwamen we tot de conclusie dat de MacBook Air (13-inch, begin 2015) iets anders is dan het 2014 model. De Thunderbolt 2 update is handig voor het verbinden met hoge resolutie UHD displays en een paar procent meer processor power is altijd welkom. Echter bleken grafische verbeteringen en batterijduur helaas niet aanwezig uit onze testen, ondanks een nieuwe Intel processor, waarvan wij dachten dat dit beter werd. Uitgebracht met dezelfde prijs als het model van het jaar ervoor verdient deze zeker de aandacht als een van de fijnste draagbare (mobiele), dynamische laptops beschikbaar – helemaal nu de flashdrive snelheid nog eens 100% erbij heeft gekregen – en het blijft de meer betaalbare lichtgewicht notebooks.

17. MSI GE62 2QD Apache Pro

msi-ge62-2qd-apache-pro

Erg krachtig voor geweldige games en comfortabel te gebruiken. De GE62 heeft alleen een teleurstellende batterijduur. Het heeft een geweldige display en een respectabel toetsenbord om te gamen en speelt daarnaast makkelijk games af met een hoog detail zonder enige problemen.

18. Asus Zenbook Pro UX501

asus-zenbook-pro-ux501

De Asus ZenBook Pro UX501 is een laptop dat er geweldig uitziet op papier, als je niet afschrikt van de prijs. Het heeft genoeg power, hoge kwaliteit en een ultra hoge resolutie scherm, inclusief touchscreen. Je kunt er zelfs games op spelen. Het is alles wat veel mensen willen zien in een laptop. Echter, door een paar kleine dingetjes kan het moeilijk op tegen een MacBook Pro 15 of Dell XPS 15 waar je misschien op hoopt. Ten eerste: de schermarchitectuur limiteert de impact van een hoge resolutie beeldscherm in de meeste omgevingen. Het is ongelooflijk reflecterend op 2 verschillende niveaus. Dat de CPU-koeler een beetje irritant geplaatst is en het keyboard behoorlijk luidruchtig klinkt zoals een drone: beste drone kopen, zijn kleine minpunten. Maar combineer dit met het schermprobleem, zorgt dat ervoor dat deze laptop niet echt mee concurreert met de allerbeste. Je kunt het je veroorloven om kieskeurig te zijn als je zoveel geld hebt om uit te geven.

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Walmart’s tech incubator Store N°8 today launched its next startup, a VR merchandising company called Spatial&. The company offers VR experiences that enable customers to connect with merchandise, and is kicking things off by collaborating with DreamWorks Animation VR tour. At select Walmart locations across the U.S., Spatial& will set up a VR experience in the parking lot, allowing customers to visit DreamWorks’ “How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World” through VR. Afterwards, customers are directed to a branded, physical gift shop where they can make purchases.

The experience is meant to help DreamWorks market their film ahead of its February 22 release, while Walmart gets to hawk film merchandise to its customers.

It’s not all that different from the “exit through the gift shop” concept found at theme parks.

Upon entering the experience, customers are greeted by the film’s characters Ruffnut and Tuffnut, and are then led into a “dragon’s cave” where they’ll put on VR headsets and get seated in Positron motion VR chairs powered by the HP VR backpack.

The VR story they engage with will take them on a five-minute journey into the movie’s world, where they interact with other characters, including  Astrid, Hiccup, Toothless, Hookfang and more. During this experience, participants will have a multi-sensory encounter, thanks to hand tracking and 6DOF (6 degrees of freedom) in the Voyager VR motion chair.

When the experience wraps, customers are guided into a themed gift shop where they can buy merchandise like plush toys, action figures, DVDs, video games, and more.

Some merchandise from this collection will also be sold across 2,000 Walmart stores – not only those with the VR experience.

On the technology side, Spatial& and DreamWorks leveraged servers and workstations with Intel Xeon Scalable processors to stitch together high-res images and 360-degree VR videos. For the experience itself, the startup uses HP Windows Mixed Reality headsets, Omen by HP Mindframe Headsets, and PCs with Intel Core processors. Outside, parents can follow along with what their children are viewing via Intel-powered Omen by HP Gaming Laptops.

“We have set an extremely high bar for quality and innovation for the How to Train Your Dragon franchise, and our partners at Spatial& exceeded our expectations with their incredible work on this project,” said Abhijay Prakash, chief operating officer of DreamWorks Feature Animation, in a statement about the launch.“This latest Dragon film displays DreamWorks’ best in class creative abilities combined with state of the art advances in animation technology, and we are thrilled that this experience created by Spatial& lives up to that reputation while allowing fans to journey straight to the center of this unique world we’ve created for the film. It’s a truly exhilarating experience,” Prakash added.

Walmart says the experience will go live at 16 stores in the U.S., starting this weekend and continuing through early April.

Those locations include the following:

  • Burbank, California (1301 N Victory Place) – February 15-16
  • Pico Rivera, California (8500 Washington Boulevard) – February 17-19
  • Anaheim, California (440 Euclid Street) – February 22-23
  • San Bernardino, California (4001 Hallmark Parkway) – February 24-26
  • Las Vegas, Nevada (5200 S Fort Apache Road) – March 1-2
  • North Las Vegas, Nevada (6464 N Decatur Boulevard) – March 3-5
  • Glendale, Arizona (5010 N 95th Avenue) – March 8-9
  • Gilbert, Arizona (2501 S Market Street) – March 10-12
  • San Antonio, Texas (8923 W Military Drive) – March 15-16
  • New Braunfels, Texas (1209 S Interstate 35) – March 17-19
  • Grand Prairie, Texas (2225 I-20) – March 22-23
  • Allen, Texas (730 W Exchange Parkway) – March 24-26
  • Sugar Land, Texas (345 Highway 6) – March 29-30
  • Katy, Texas (1313 N Fry Road) – March 31-April 2
  • Rogers, Arkansas (4208 S Pleasant Crossing Boulevard) – April 5-6
  • Bentonville, Arkansas (406 S Walton Boulevard) – April 7-9

Spatial& is one of several tech startups being incubated by Walmart’s Store No. 8, which launched in 2017 to focus on retail innovation. Other businesses being incubated there include conversational commerce startup Jetblack, from Rent the Runway co-founder Jenny Fleiss; stealth startup Franklin from Wim Yogurt founder Bart Stein; and AI lab Project Kepler.

Now that we’re in a calm moment for VR (especially after the 2016 wave), it’s probably a good time to review the different sets of VR-related usability heuristics out there. From a selfish perspective, I want a list of 5–20 defining heuristics that I can use to guide my design process, and also to provide usability feedback in a structured manner. If you’ve never used heuristics before, you’re missing out (read the first section here). They can become a taxonomy for everyone on the team to discuss usability issues, and they help your team stay objective. It’s time I found this for my VR work.

Here are the criteria that I’m using for this evaluation:

  1. Good coverage: Ideally, this is a one-stop-shop for reviewing the usability of a VR app. The heuristics cover both VR-specific, as well as non-VR-specific usability principles that still apply.
  2. Approachable: The heuristics can be quickly taught to a non-designer, so that we can use them in a conversation. They’re also brief enough for me to glance at while I’m designing.
  3. Hardware agnostic: Different headsets afford different interactions, and new headsets are coming every year. While not perfect, Nielsen’s heuristics managed to survive the internet’s multitude of design cycles, so let’s try to get some heuristics on the book that can work for at least 5 years.
  4. Validated: When Nielsen created his heuristics, he didn’t just create a list and throw them out into the wild — he actually presented details on how he built the list using actual research data.

The lists I’ll be reviewing:

YouTube UX Research team’s heuristics

Heuristic Evaluation for Virtual Reality Systems (page 2)
By Rabia Murtza, Stephen Monroe, and Robert J. Youmans

Good Coverage: 3/5
Approachable: 5/5
Hardware agnostic: 2/5
Validated: 2/5

The YouTube UX Research team developed this list of 9 heuristics based off of a survey of common VR usability issues — a majority being students at the Savannah College of Art and Design. The team acknowledges the flaws in this approach, but nevertheless, it does contain a solid foundation. Not to mention, the heuristics are pertinent to today’s common VR usability issues. I especially appreciate that heuristic #9 basically says “don’t just rely on this list” by referencing Nielsen’s heuristics (although I’d of course prefer that they looped in some of the most relevant of Nielsen’s heuristics into this list).

Unfortunately, the team’s goal here was to create a list that combines hardware and software, so it’s notable that there are only 4–5 heuristics here that a commonplace VR designer can take action on.

Sutcliffe & Gault’s heuristics

Heuristic evaluation of virtual reality applications (page 3)
By Alistair Sutcliffe and Brian Gault, 2004

Good Coverage: 3/5
Approachable: 5/5
Hardware agnostic: 5/5
Validated: 2/5

Sutcliffe & Gault’s list of heuristics is both concise and self-explanatory. Much of the list is relevant for a VR designer/developer today, and it has great coverage of common VR usability issues. Because this list is relatively concise, you’ll be able to post them up on the wall and glance at them as you see fit. It’s also short enough to teach to a developer, in order to make these heuristics a regular part of your vocabulary. It’s also great that this list contains a (just a few) heuristics that can be applied outside of VR, such as with “Support for learning”.

Unfortunately, the methodology for creating the list is a bit opaque — they describe some of the academic sources from which they received inspiration, but it appeared to be a subjective process.

Joseph Gabbard’s usability guidelines

A Taxonomy of Usability Characteristics in Virtual Environments (page 16–35)

Good Coverage: 5/5
Approachable: 1/5
Hardware agnostic: 3/5
Validated: 3/5

Holy academioly! This is humongous.

Joseph Gabbard’s thesis contains the most thorough list I’ve come across. It’s a collection of 195 guidelines broken down into 4 categories. He developed this list by surveying papers, conferences, online searches, and general discussions with academics in the field. Using his guidelines, you’ll be sure to catch usability issues that you may not have been looking out for. Gabbard’s guidelines also cover usability issues that are not specific to VR, which I believe is really important (see SysInfo1-SynSinfo9 on page 24).

The depth of this list is great for experienced VR designers, but problematic for newcomers (he never intended to make it short, anyways). Each guideline is also relatively brief, which means that some are a bit confusing. You may have to do some additional reading on each guideline if you’re not deep in the VR space. The guidelines also cover hardware considerations, and use-case specific considerations such as collaboration. My ideal list would nix these, but that’s a personal preference. Just be sure to cross out the guidelines that aren’t relevant to your app.

Olga Ivanova’s heuristics

VR Heuristic Evaluation Tool

Good Coverage: 3/5
Approachable: 3/5
Hardware agnostic: 4/5
Validated: 1/5

Note: I know Olga personally, although we’ve never discussed heuristic evaluations prior to publishing. I came across her work when doing my own online research.

Ivanova’s list of heuristics provides great coverage of VR-specific usability issues, although it’s quite long at 64 heuristics. The heuristics are practical (especially for modern VR apps), and are largely geared towards VR app designers. She’s also developed a tool that you can use to jot down notes under each heuristic, which makes it easier to get going with the list.

It’s important to note that she makes no claim as to the scientific validity of the list. She’s an independent VR designer, and it’s up to you to decide if it covers your bases. In addition, the heuristics are occasionally too prescriptive, or unclear. Additional explanation on her methodology for creating this list, as well as more details on each heuristic would be helpful.

Which list should I use?

To be honest, none of these lists quite fits the bill for what I’m looking for. I think it’s important to be able to hand VR designers/developers a single, comprehensive, but manageable list of heuristics that they can use without additional research. While all great in their own ways, none of them checks all of the boxes.

But, that’s just where I stand.

After all, this isn’t a science, it’s an art. Even if the methodologies for creating these lists appears to be rigorous and academic, those methodologies are still extremely subjective. So, thank you to all of the researchers and designers who are pushing the field. Be sure to browse through their work, and pick one list that you think you’ll be able to use repetitively and consistently. The most important thing is to use something to help guide your critical thinking and discussions.

Let me know how it goes! Follow me on Twitter @cgallello and shoot me a DM.

😎,
Chris


Which VR usability heuristics should I use? was originally published in Virtual Reality Pop on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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As a reader of this column, I suspect you know I am releasing a new AR-enabled book, Convergence, How The World Will Be Painted With Data, on March 12 at the South-by-Southwest (SXSW) Conference in Austin. For the next four weeks, I’ll be sharing excerpts from the book like this one, by Paramount Pictures’ resident futurist and serial entrepreneur Ted Schilowitz.

Ted Schilowitz, Paramount Pictures resident Futurist, was the first full time employee at Red Camera. Ted Schilowitz

We’ve been going to movies for a century now and still don’t call the experience virtual, even though a film can transport us to new worlds. Films offer a temporary escape from reality and are an enjoyable pastime. But, the average American adult attends only 5 movies a year. While we love losing ourselves to motion pictures, we aren’t spending every waking moment with a bucket of popcorn in the movie theater.

Extended reality and its flavors — augmented, mixed and virtual reality — are all exciting new mediums primed to change the world. VR, like its movie theater ancestors, offers us an escape from reality, while MR is poised to change our daily lives, and soon.

We enjoy the fantasy of movies in a movie theater some of the time, but we like watching TV pretty much all the time. It turns out humans like to multi-task significantly more than they like to single-task. They want to be grounded in reality while dabbling in storytelling magic. Whether it’s productivity, social connectivity, entertainment or the latest news, humans like MR storytelling whenever they can access it.

Nearly everyone carries a box connected to an endless stream of storytelling magic. This mini-TV, a smartphone, lets us do more of what we already enjoy: watching TV all the time. Whether on a 1-inch smartwatch, a 5.2-inch smartphone display, the newest 50-inch paper-thin TV, or a jumbotron at an arena, we watch as fantasies play out in front of our eyes and ears, only semi-grounded in the reality around us. It is somehow easy to become lost in a 5.2-inch display, though we could easily look up and away at any time.

Think about the things we used to do pre-smartphone era. We used to send mail that we wrote on paper and sent physically; now we do an on-screen-version called email. We used to look at physical paper maps; now we use the screen-version called Google Maps or Waze. We used to send small physical notes to each other; now we send the digital-version called texting or Snapchat or WhatsApp or WeChat. We used to shoot pictures and movies with chemical formulations and physical mediums, distribute them with paper prints and plastic film; now we simply do a screen-version with our small handheld digital cameras and screens.

https://medium.com/media/2f6ce57ff6f19359f19818c44939dd3f/href

The screen we use the most isn’t the biggest, it’s actually one of the smallest. It needs to fit into our pocket or purse. It’s portable. It travels with us — a portal into our MR universe. It’s a multi-tasking phenomenon.

Audio also lends well to our desire to multitask. Little white earbuds and big bold clamshells cover our ears, feeding us music and story, while we drive, walk and move through reality. The average North American adult consumes content for around 11 hours a day.

Our smartphones have become so powerful and useful that we use them for almost everything. The question is: what’s the next evolution of the magic box? Will it cover our eyes and pull us into an artificial world? Will it provide storytelling magic like our smartphones, just in a more evolved and useful form? At some point, will it make a bit more sense to “wear our screen” rather than “hold our screen?” Many of the world’s largest, most powerful technology companies are betting that the 5.2-inch handheld screen will not be the ultimate MR interface. Once they’re logical and fast enough, once they’re smarter than our smartphones, we will move to a new platform, tossing the smartphone into the same drawer as the flip phone of yesteryear.

The XR revolution must provide both MR and fully occluded VR experiences. When we want a full escape from reality, a flip of a switch is all we’ll need. But most of the time we’ll be in MR, where we can multitask with access to everything, in its real-world context.

While we can experience almost anything in VR, the future will be MR. No longer will our little TVs be limited to tiny rectangles we hold all day long. They will evolve and the physical size of the device will not be the limiting factor to the magic it provides.

Originally published at www.forbes.com on February 11, 2019.


Why MR Is The Main Attraction In An XR World was originally published in Virtual Reality Pop on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Less than a year after making a $3 billion investment into the future of virtual reality with the purchase of Oculus VR, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg was considering another multi-billion-dollar bet to ensure that his company dominated the VR platform — buying Unity, the popular game engine that’s used to build half of all gaming titles.

This claim is made in a new book coming out next week, “The History of the Future,” by Blake Harris, which digs deep into the founding story of Oculus and the drama surrounding the Facebook acquisition, subsequent lawsuits and personal politics of founder Palmer Luckey.

In the early days while he was writing the book, Harris worked closely with the Facebook PR team and was granted regular interviews with key execs before, as he puts it, his “access came to an end.” Harris claims that when researching the book, he gained access to more than 25,000 documents from sources, including a nearly 2,500-word email sent by Mark Zuckerberg to then-Oculus CEO Brendan Iribe, Sheryl Sandberg and a half-dozen other Facebook leaders detailing his interest in buying Unity. TechCrunch has not independently verified the contents of the email.

The email, dated June 22, 2015, lays out an argument for further prioritizing AR/VR and buying the game engine company. The proposed deal, codenamed “One” according to the book, would have brought one of the world’s most recognizable game developer tool startups into the fold of the internet giant bent on bringing consumers on-board its upcoming VR platform as it looked to ward off competition from other tech giants.

Unity CEO John Riccitiello

The potential deal obviously did not end up going through, and since 2015, Unity has raised nearly $600 million on a valuation north of $3 billion. A report from Cheddar earlier this week noted the company was setting its sights on a 2020 IPO.

Nevertheless, the email seems to offer rare perspectives into Zuckerberg’s thoughts on virtual reality and Facebook’s competitive footing. Though only parts are referenced in the book, Harris has sent TechCrunch the full email embedded below:

2015 06 22 MARK’S VISION by on Scribd

“We are vulnerable on mobile to Google and Apple because they make major mobile platforms,” the email reads. “From a timing perspective, we are better off the sooner the next platform becomes ubiquitous and the shorter the time we exist in a primarily mobile world dominated by Google and Apple. The shorter this time, the less our community is vulnerable to the actions of others. Therefore, our goal is not only to win in VR / AR, but also to accelerate its arrival. This is part of my rationale for acquiring companies and increasing investment in them sooner rather than waiting until later to derisk them further.”

Beyond staking a claim on the VR platform, Zuckerberg also frames an argument for owning Unity as a means of pushing competitors to support Facebook’s other platform services.

“If we own Unity, then Android, Windows and iOS will all need us to support them on [sic] larger portions of their ecosystems won’t work. While we wouldn’t reject them outright, we will have options for how deeply we support them,” Zuckerberg continues. “On the flip side, if someone else buys Unity or the leader in any core technology component of this new ecosystem, we risk being taken out of the market completely if that acquirer is hostile and decides not to support us.”

Though, again, a Unity deal never came to fruition, Zuckerberg seems to be strongly in favor of the deal going through — though he notes there are clear challenges that could leave their efforts bungled.

“Going back to the question of whether it is worth investing billions of dollars into Unity and other core technology over the next decade, the most difficult aspect to evaluate is that we cannot definitively say that if we do X, we will succeed. There are many major pieces of this ecosystem to assemble and many different ways we could be hobbled. All we know is that this improves our chances to build something great.

“Given the overall opportunity of strengthening our position in the next major wave of computing, I think it’s a clear call to do everything we can to increase our chances. A few billion dollars is expensive, but we can afford it.”

Facebook did not comment on the email to TechCrunch. A spokesperson, however, did send along a statement about the book: “The book doesn’t get everything right, but what we hope people remember is the future of VR will not be defined by one company, one team, or even one person. This industry was built by a community of pioneers who believed in VR against all odds and that’s the history we celebrate.”

PlayStation’s PSVR headset hasn’t exactly taken over the world, but the head of PlayStation says the company has big plans for its VR console.

Shawn Layden told Game Informerthat the next 10 years of the PSVR’s development will be dramatic, but he didn’t provide any specifics on what the growth will look like. Instead, Layden compared game development’s future to its past, acknowledging the dramatic growth in fields like virtual reality, augmented reality, e-sports, and even mobile gaming. That kind of dramatic growth will only continue, and that’s something Layden believes will affect PSVR.

He used the growth in smartphone development, like the numerous Android and Apple devices that have been released since the first iPhone 3G in 2008, as an example to examine what could happen to the PSVR as VR tech continues to evolve.

“By the same token, you look at PSVR right now, none of us are going to be able to imagine what it will look like 10 years from now, but the change will be that dramatic,” Layden said. “You can’t get to 5.0 until you do 1.0. It’s just the nature of the thing.”

Layden used old-school Nokia phones as a way to illustrate the issue he believes some people have with PSVR. Sony sold 1.3 million PSVR units in 2018 alone, which does outsell its Oculus Rift and HTC Vive competitors. But compared to Sony’s PS4 console, which has sold 91.6 million units to date since being released in 2013, the PSVR is selling much slower. Layden blames attention spans and expectations for what a device should be. He views the PSVR as part of 1.0 technology — something that is in its infancy, but customers want perfection right away.

Still, he has high hopes for PSVR — and gaming, in general — as the industry continues to grow. Gaming is no longer in its infancy; it’s one of the most dominant forms of mainstream entertainment, and Layden believes continued investment will only help speed along its development.

“We’ve gone from being the third cousin in entertainment to being one of the three bright stars,” Layden said. “Arguably, depending on how you do the math, the largest one from impact on a financial basis.”

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