Adobe’s VR Sound Design Project – #SonicScape

One of Adobe’s newest project involves giving users a 360 interface to edit 3D sounds. Instead of needing to figure out the exact panning, echoing, delays, etc to fake a 3D sounds, this project lets sound designers see and move their audio files in 3D space. This is pretty similar to what I’m used to doing already in 3D games with Unity, but it’s great to see it available for 360 sound design in general.

Why it’s Hot:

  • Innovative way to deal with an interface issue
  • Allows sound designers an easy way to create 360 sounds

It’s just a prototype for now, but may be making into into an Adobe product in the future.

VR Replacement for your PC and 3D Facebook Posts

Oculus’ Connect 4 VR conference held place recently and Facebook announced some awesome stuff. I’ll be focusing on the two that stood out for me, but you can see some others on this article.

First one that caught my attention was the Oculus Dash, Facebook’s new user interface that let’s users customize their VR Home space with the goal of replacing traditional computer monitors in a very Minority Report-style way.

Users can easily open apps and move windows in the 3D space around them. Dash will let users open desktop apps like Facebook, Messenger, YouTube, Spotify, and Chrome.

 

The next that that caught my attention was Facebook’s new 3D posts in the newsfeed. It will allow users and brands to post interactive 3D models right in their newsfeed. These can be simple 3D objects that users can rotate around and zoom in on, or more interactive. For example, the demo below shows how users can open a 3D car door.

 

Why it’s hot:

  • Oculus Dash is helping VR become a replacement for PCs, with it’s dropped price point and new features we may see more users picking one up
  • Brands can now make interactive 3D posts on Facebook

More info:

Checking Out With VR

MasterCard and Swarovski claim they are the first to make virtual commerce a reality.

Retailers like Lowes and Ikea have created virtual showrooms where consumers can browse goods while wearing VR headsets, but shoppers can’t buy products while in the VR experience. Instead, items are added to a shopping cart to be purchased later on a different device.

Swarovski borrows much from Lowes and Ikea, as its VR shoppers walk around a high-end home and interact with various crystals from the retailer’s Atelier collection (see video below). Engaging with a product also provides details about it, such as price and the option to check out right then and there with Mastercard’s MasterPass.

“The average time users spend on visits is nine minutes,” said Abi Mandelbaum, CEO and co-founder of YouVisit, which powered the option to check out in VR for Mastercard. “If you can get someone to engage with you for nine minutes, why do you want them to go somewhere else to complete the purchase?”

Source

Why It’s (Maybe) Hot

Marketers are still trying to find applications for VR so purchasing within an app is an interesting idea. But would this work for products outside of the luxury vertical? And will it actually drive sales?

Job recruiting with VR: an ethical question

We have on our hands a moral dilemma. Companies are increasingly using VR to train employees (see: KFC, Walmart, US Navy) – and now companies are beginning to explore VR as a recruitment tactic.

But what if the VR experience outshines the reality of the real job? Wired writes:

“To be sure, all recruiting and training materials, including traditional video, tend to accentuate the positive. But the immersive nature of VR means that it can make a stronger, more lasting impression on recruits and employees. “The idea is immersing your future employee in the job,” says Tuong H. Nguyen, a principal research analyst at IT advisory firm Gartner. VR “provides a more dynamic view of what the job is like.” He compares the experience to the difference between reading about or seeing a film of a sunset and seeing a sunset first-hand.”

Why it’s hot:

VR is obviously one of many shiny objects recruiters can use to attract and engage prospective and current employees. Plus, national or global firms who recruit talent from far and wide can use VR experiences to give potential employees a better sense of environments and situations they may experience on the ground, building confidence and interest. But what duties to recruiters have to show the reality, however virtual it may be, without misleading candidates?

Virtual Reality Dating Show

Move aside reality shows, its time for Virtual Reality shows. A new show on Facebook’s new updated video platform came out that puts two strangers together on a virtual date. The people are first 3D scanned and then are placed in a room together wearing a motion capture suit and Vive. They see the other person’s avatar in the virtual world around them. The scans aren’t always the best and the motion capture is hilariously bad, but it kind of adds to the whole thing and allows the soon-to-be couples to easily make jokes about what’s going on around them. The then go on different virtual dates; painting a 3D dream house together, going to space and changing into aliens, or surviving a zombie attack for examples. Afterwards the participants are interviewed and all of them have said the VR aspects of the date helped take a lot of the tension off and allowed them to easily connect without even being able to fully see each other yet and they’ve all chosen to go on a second date so far!

First episode:

VR Blind Date in Outer Space

John and Shelby are set up on a blind date that takes place in a virtual reality world set in outer space.

Posted by Virtually Dating on Tuesday, August 29, 2017

 

Why it’s hot:

  • Example of the new weekly shows on Facebook’s video platform
  • Great use of VR technology
  • Shows how people feel more comfortable in a virtual world when interacting with someone new

This inspired me to take my girlfriend on a VR date for our anniversary last weekend to Jump Into the Light. It’s a VR arcade in LES that has a ton of great games set up (no multiplayer ones sadly). But we did enjoy giving each other hints when trying to escape Rick’s garage as a Morty clone and help each other fight robots in Space Pirate Training. I definitely recommend going and checking it out!

Bonus:

Immersive Branding

Google is redefining how we perceive the multiple “realities” we have been wrangling to understand to begin with by introducing Immersive Computing.

On one end of the human experience, you have reality. Living, breathing, non-digital reality. It’s great. Usually. In the middle, as technology becomes more “immersive,” you have augmented reality. Basically, graphics start to float in front of your eyes on top of the real world–like a monster in Pokémon Go. Then, eventually, as more and more of these graphics are layered over your perception, you naturally segue into virtual reality. At the right end of the spectrum, all reality has been replaced with pixels.

Basically, this is saying that the existing range of really distinct experiences or technological paradigms, aren’t different, but are all a gradient. And as technology advances and devices merge, immersive computing will allow us to pick and choose how much reality get (or don’t get). It’s the ability to dive as deeply (or shallowly) into the digital world as we’d like, at any time we’d would like, through glasses, or goggles, or a screen, or contact lenses…but preferably a Google device (Wink! Wink!)

And it’s also a way for Google (and brands) to eventually be able to hack our perception at a moment’s notice…In gradients of course.

Why It’s Hot:

New interesting way to frame immersive technologies- one that is more palatable to general audiences

  • By consolidating all their “reality related” interface experiments under one tech genre, Google is positioning themselves as the leaders in the category
  • It’s also an indicator of where they are going to be taking headsets/glasses, and possibly Samsung’s contacts.

Source:

The Void is Making a Location-Based Star Wars VR Experience at Disney

The Void is known for making “Hyper-Reality” experiences, much more involved than your standard VR experience. The Ghostbusters experience they have in NYC (Which i still haven’t gone to but totes want to if anyone wants to make the field trip) involves users actually physically walking around a plywood maze while wearing HTC Vives, haptic feedback vests, and unique controllers to fully immerse users in the experience. They also have environmental effects like changes in temperature, fans to simulate windy areas, furniture and other props for users to touch and feel like what they see in VR is really there in front of them.

Ghostbusters VR Experience for Reference:

Why It’s Hot:

  • The Void was a startup not that long ago with big dreams that seemed impossible, now they have 4 successful location-based VR experiences in 4 major cities and opening a new one at the holy grail of experiences, Disney.
  • They seem to be the leaders now in this Location-Based VR experiences.
  • Great reference when create completely immersive VR experiences for users.

More Info Here.

 

 

Create A Custom Sweater – No Perspiration Required

Adidas has taken the bespoke clothing trend a bit farther with a new machine that allows customers to design, virtually try on and then produce their own custom sweater. Using new body scan technology, the in store device exactly measures the customer and then allows them to design their own pattern from 100’s of colors. The machine then knits right in store and you get a custom designed sweater.

Why Its Hot

Creating immersive  VR/AR experiences that are truly relatable and useful is a challenge for any innovator. Finding ways to make something standard like shopping for clothes and integrated it with the latest technology is a great way to engage consumers that might not have had exposure to this technology. As we work to create the best experiences possible its not always the most flashy execution that makes the experience worthwhile.

Billboards, meet VR…you’re new Daddy

A Peruvian highway is prime ad space during the summer months, which forces advertisers to battle it out in efforts to capture the attention of thousands of beachgoers.

But Sodimac, a home improvement brand, set out to capture their imaginations instead by skipping the billboard approach altogether. They did so by creating a 360-degree virtual reality experience along the highway where brand representatives gave out 40,000 Google Cardboard headsets to car passengers. With their VR headsets on, passengers experienced giant-sized virtual Sodimac summer products along the road, making their road trip seem more like a Disneyland Ride, than a car drive. More importantly, they completely ignored all other billboards.

  • We don’t hear a lot about Billboard clutter and we hardly see smart digital ideas that solve for that, which this beautifully does
  • Brought VR to life in a very unexpected space and on a massive scale
  • Tech approach delivered on their brand proposition: They are experts in transforming spaces
  • VR experience was innovative, but also added value to consumers by making their drive more exciting

Hulu Lets You Watch Shows In A Virtual Living Room With Friends

Hulu recently announced an update to its mobile VR app for the Gear VR and its desktop app for the Oculus Rift, both of which will enhance the experience of viewing Hulu-branded content in VR through layered social dimensions.

Slip on a headset and join your friends as avatars composed solely of a floating head and hands, where you can share an Oculus Room and watch movies together. You’ll further be able to play with objects like a TV remote around the virtual space thanks to the inclusion of the Oculus Touch, though lack of avatar customization and the limited use cases for hands help center the attention around Hulu’s media.

Though social in VR is a hot topic, establishing a sense of community within an experience is difficult for a number of reasons – for one thing, most Hulu viewers don’t own a headset. Among those that do, not all of them actually use the platform on their Gear VR or Oculus. Moreover, the physical act of donning a headset is quite isolating; Hulu will have to mold the experience around tech-savvy friend circles who are comfortable sharing experiences digitally despite being distant in the material world.

View here

Source: PSFK.

 

Why It’s Hot:

Social VR is a category to keep an eye on. Brands are trying to take the “coldness” and “oneness” out of VR and recreate experiences of time with friends and family.

 

Puppies + VR = happiness

The first-ever Puppy Bowl Virtual Reality brings viewers nose-to-nose with the gridiron canines through the Discovery VR iOS and Android apps, Samsung Milk VR and on Animal Planet’s YouTube page. Using virtual-reality goggles such as Google Cardboard, fans can step inside Geico Stadium for a 360° experience as puppies scrimmage, scamper and sniff out field goals.

For this year’s Puppy Bowl XII, Animal Planet worked with 44 different animal shelters and rescue organizations in 25 states across the USA to fill the rosters of #TeamRuff and #TeamFluff with adoptable players.

Source: USA Today

Why it’s hot:

Immersive video is being used by brands — and now VR is almost mainstream. Puppy Bowl is high visibility and if all goes smoothly it could open the door for more immersive experiences in everyday viewing.

VR to manage pain

With the overreliance on opioids to manage pain in the news today, one solution may be just a joystick away. Research has shown that psychology plays a critical role in how we experience both acute and chronic pain. The research also shows that pain sensations can be altered by what we think and feel.

Virtual reality games and rapid advances in technology have shown promise in tackling pain presumably by helping the person focus on other things. For example, virtual reality systems are starting to be used during painful procedures, such as dental procedures or changing burns dressings.
A new study published in the Royal Society Open Science let a group of healthy volunteers immerse their hands in cold water to the point where they could no longer tolerate it, while simultaneously playing a VR game. The study found that the highest pain tolerance levels occurred when both visual and sound sensory inputs were combined versus alone.

Why It’s Hot
With addition to prescription pain killers deemed an epidemic in the United States, alternative ways to manage acute and chronic pain are a necessity. Technology, specifically the use of virtual reality immerse technologies, may help provide one way to manage pain.

Coke Repurposes their Boxes as VR Headsets

Ahead of last week’s Mobile World Congress, Coca Cola released this video on YouTube which shows users how to repurpose specially designed cardboard Coke boxes as VR headsets. The video allows Coke to tap into the hype around VR in a way that is both fun and thought provoking. Though Google Cardboard has existed for a few years, this type of packaging engages casual users who might not be aware that such a thing even exists.

The video brings up questions about what the average user will be willing to spend on technology that is not a ‘must have’. If VR can be experienced using a smartphone, some free apps and a free viewer, then why pay a lot of money for a bulky headset that will undoubtedly be outdated in a few months?

Story on BGR

Why It’s Hot

Part gimmick, part Coke marketing effort, this idea forces the VR headset market to think about the implications of the pricing of VR hardware. HTC announced their Vive headset recently at a $799 price point. Enthusiasts and early adopters will fork over a lot of money for the superior tech experience, but what about the average Joe? “Free” seems like a better price point for non-gamers and the casual user who is reluctant to buy more hardware.

First Oculus Rift Surgery

Surgeons in France used special 3D stereoscopic cameras to film a hip replacement operation that was then turned into a VR video experience for use with the Oculus Rift.

The intent is to use the virtual reality experience as a teaching tool. Positional tracking for virtual reality headsets does apparently work for the video, meaning leaning your head forward puts you closer to the action.

“When you are a surgeon in training, you watch a lot of procedure, but you are very rarely in place of the primary surgeon. This project uses virtual reality to improve surgical training by putting the trainee in the shoes of the surgeon,” said orthopedic surgeon Dr. Thomas Gregory, who performed the hip replacement at European Georges Pompidou Hospital in Paris.

Why It’s Hot

Facebook acquired Oculus Rift for $2 billion earlier this year. The headset displays a fully immersive 3D experience that makes you feel like you are actually in the experience. But others are unsure of the purpose of Oculus and why there’s so much fuss surrounding it. Oculus Rift, which is not yet on the market, has been discussed most significantly within gaming circles. This shows how VR can be used in other immersive application such as teaching.