Making the Unknown Known & the Past Present via High-Tech Image Capture & VR

Making it possible for people to walk through history and see significant places and objects layered with stories of the past is one way VR and AR can capture the world and open it up for discovery and exploration.

While a picture is worth a thousand words, an immersive VR experience is worth a million.

I have been testing VR/360° content for the last couple of months and have really enjoyed visiting places I could or would never go and learning about topics I might have ignored otherwise - all in a much more immersive and compelling way than viewing pictures, video or text. I recently visited the White House and sort of hung out with the Obamas thanks to the virtual tour they gave me, providing a lot of information about the historic objects they pointed out along the way. It truly felt like a privilege  - Barack, Michelle and I strutting through all these important rooms in this iconic building. I felt present and the experience remains memorable.

The same goes for the immersive tour of one of the previous space shuttles via the VR experience via Light Fields I took part in a couple of weeks ago. It's not really interactive or anything super dynamic, but I got into it quickly and felt like I was as close to being there and seeing things right before my eyes as I ever could be. I knew more about space discovery after the virtual tour than before and I felt like sharing all the details with family and friends, just like I do when at a museum or on an informative tour. The only bad part - which truly felt odd and a little annoying even - was that I couldn't take pictures. It's weird - but when you start feeling immersed, that urge to capture what you're seeing to share with others is strong for those of us addicted to taking photos with our phones. You see such urges and addictions are already being "solved" in experiences like Facebook Spaces, where you can use a virtual selfie stick to take a virtual selfie. Adding that kind of ability to a 360° experience wouldn't be possible - but hopefully it will in VR content as it improves. At least in this day and age, such extras would add to the experience and create sharing and social possibilities, which might increase the interest and use of VR and AR heritage and history apps. Lets' face it, for a lot of people, if there's no picture to post of cool stuff you've seen, it didn't happen! ;-)

If you have a decent headset and are interested in US history, try out the White House experience I mentioned above yourself below or via the Oculus shop (for free). Again, it's not very interactive but it does manage to let you to feel like you are sort of there and see things in a less-distant way, while hearing the stories behind them by the former president and first lady themselves.

In the below video, you can also get an idea of the Light Fields experience (I mentioned above regarding the space shuttle tour), which could become a powerful way to explore heritage sites. The image quality gets better and better due to high-tech cameras (GoPro Odyssey Jump with 16 rotating cameras) that capture light in an extraordinary way. You can see an example of the cameras at work in the video and get a taste of several visually and historically significant locations.

The big news on VR in heritage this week came from none other than the mighty Google thanks to its new Open Heritage Project.

Working with the non-profit company CyArk, Google hopes to preserve important places that might not be around forever and make them accessible to the you's and the me's of the world from our living rooms, work desks and classrooms, rather than just at museums. This isn't a particularly new idea, though it is a noble one of course. Google probably has more money and power to hopefully make the project into something valuable, powerful and significant. You can see a lot of professional, semi-pro and starter 3D -VR heritage work via sites like Sketchfab, which is worth a look. Google and CyArk will bring such  photos and renders to life thanks to laser scanning, photogrammetry and LiDAR technology that CyArk is using.

Watch this video to see how "we are losing the story of where we came from" thanks to "natural disasters and human conflict" and how Google, CyArk and so many other 3D and VR content producers are trying to help us hold on to what is or will be lost by capturing it and sharing it with us in an immersive and memorable way. Right now, there are 27 heritage sites you can explore via the Open Heritage project, with more surely on their way.

Photogrammetry is essential to capturing high quality images, which are vital to creating immersive and rich heritage, history and travel experiences in VR. Such experiences can be extremely useful for education - and to achieve a deep view and the feeling of being present. It's easy to imagine the limitless possibilities as the image capturing and rendering, as well as headsets, content, computing power and memory, continue to develop and improve. If you want to know more about what CyArk is doing and about the power of photogrammetry, here's a just under 30 minute inteview with CyArk from February 2018. You can also see more of their heritage creations here. Just to be clear, LiDAR image capturing technology is far more accurate, especially for heritage projects, but it's too expensive technology for most projects. In the video, the guys from CyArk explain the LiDAR definitely serves their heritage projects better (so luckily they have now teamed up with Google who can afford it ;-)) - but that photogrammetry is good enough for general VR usage. Have a look at this article to get some info on the difference.

Going back to outer space, below you can see some takeaways from a January 2018 presentation by Charles White, a JPL’s Knowledge Management Specialist for the Office of the Chief Engineer. White talks about "Virtual Heritage: Knowledge Management in VR" during the "Virtual and Augmented Reality for Space Science and Exploration" symposium at the Keck Institute for Space Studies. Even though it's mostly about VR uses for space simulation, discovery and practice, White draws our attention away from "project management" and turns to "knowledge management." He looks at VR storytelling as the modern-day campfire, with people sharing stories, knowledge and experience.

Scroll down for the full presentation via video and have a quick view at some of the slides below. There's a lot of food for thought about how VR can preserve, create, stimulate, make it easy to collaborate - and how "experience" is the key to knowledge and learning. VR can help us experience places and stories that are out of our reach, such as outer space, underwater worlds, war-torn monuments, far-off lands and buried treasures, just to name a few.

 

Storytelling was the first way to be "immersed" in a virtual environment.

Stories transfer knowledge to others in order to survive.

 

Can you see what I see? We are telling stories...

We are getting more value - We are saving money!

Learning is experience. Everything else is just information. ― Albert Einstein

There's a lot more to be said about using VR for heritage - and using AR, which down the line will probably be much more important and interactive. Keep your eyes open for evolutions in not only VR but also AR and heritage.

by Sarah Markewich – SIVAR project intern spring 2018


To See or Not to See? It's Time to Focus on AR Glasses

Augmented Reality (AR) pioneer and Intel Corporation Research Manager Ronald Azuma has said that the current most important challenge of the field is to develop useful and meaningful consumer-ready AR that goes beyond the gimmick. At the recent Electronic Imagining 2018 conference, Azuma also said that we should re-frame the challenge with AR headsets and glasses by seeing their design as an opportunity to help consumers see better.

At just under 53 minutes, Azuma’s presentation is an investment in time, but a highly recommended one whether you are an AR newcomer, user, developer or anything in between.

You can watch it here. You can also get a good overview of it via this Next Reality article.

In researching virtual reality (VR) for months, I have also had to keep up on the AR field, as you can’t talk about one without the other even though they are so different – they face similar issues. Azuma’s presentation had the clearest and most to the point information that I have come across yet. Also appealing is how down-to-earth Azuma is about the topic. So often, you hear the exaggerated marketing talk of “the best” this or “the breakthrough” that or the “real game-changer”. Azuma leaves the superlatives out speaks in a language that even non-technical people can understand.

It is getting more and more important for even the layperson to understand the potential of AR and how far it can go beyond the Pokémon Go experience.

Azuma talks about the importance and benefits of AR use for companies for training and marketing and uses that do not even exist yet. But if AR only gets picked up in the world of industry and enterprise then it will remain niche, he says. He talks about consumer uses such as creating personal stories, with his wedding as an example. He takes us to the gazebo he got married in and imagines using AR to fill it in with memories. The power of being able to fill in real spaces with meaningful objects that you can interact with could really appeal to the consumer. Azuma sees AR’s potential to connect people with everyday spaces in a personal, often small-scale, yet spectacular way.

Whether for AR or VR, the biggest complaints always come down to the headsets, the glasses, the cables and the gadgets, among other issues such as field of vision, light reflection, quality of image and so forth. Every time I put on a shared headset, I have to admit; I get kind of grossed out by the eye smears and sweat left behind by someone else on the glass and the fabric. My multifocal glasses become malformed and blurry every time I have to adjust the glasses or program, which unfortunately is a lot (but that’s for another post).

What really caught my eye in Azuma’s speech was his way of gently bursting the bubble of the AR glasses problem. Convinced that there is currently no other possibility than some sort of glasses for AR use, Azuma decides to go with it rather than fight against it. He cleverly reminds us that we use goggles for swimming; ski glasses for skiing; protective glasses on the work floor; reading glasses for reading and other glasses for other purposes. It makes you wonder why we are fighting so much against glasses in the AR world. Azuma seems to say that, at least for now, it’s time we adjust our mindset, remove all of that negativity about glasses and embrace and promote them –while improving them and everything else about AR as well, of course.

While lenses for AR placed directly on our eyes sound ideal, Azuma says we are nowhere near being able to make and market those as the expense is too big and different eyesight prescriptions make it almost impossible, at least at the moment.

Why not change our view and start to imagine our own personalized sets of AR glasses with only our eye smears and sweat on them, adjusted to our own specific eyesight?

As with most things, it’s all how you sell it. Perhaps it’s time to put the focus on how cool all these new AR glasses are going to be. Google Glasses tried and failed and created a kind of stigma around anything that might resemble them. Don’t be surprised if we end up with something that looks quite similar though hopefully works a lot better.

Speaking of AR glasses, or rather mixed-reality (MR) ones, the mysterious Magic Leap is still one of the glasses manufacturers that everyone is keeping their eye on. They promise a magical user experience through speaking to our “visual cortex” in a “biologically friendly way,” according to their CEO. But how? You may wonder. Well, check out this article via Next Reality to see what is included in the recent Magic Leap patent application. The question remains, as posed by many, if there’s more to Magic Leap than meets the eye.

by Sarah Markewich – SIVAR project intern spring 2018


Oculus Dash

Op Oculus Connect, kondigde Oculus Head of Rift, Nate Mitchell, de Core 2.0 update aan die naar de Rift op pc kwam, wat Oculus Dash, een totale revisie van de winkel- en bibliotheekervaring op Rift oplevert. Hiermee kan u ook uw desktop apps gebruiken op één van de virtuele monitoren in VR.

Oculus Home en het Universal Menu zijn oorspronkelijk ontworpen voor gamepad-controllers. Zodra Touch op het toneel verscheen, werden de motion controllers simpelweg in laserpointers gemaakt als een stopgat om de interface aan het werk te krijgen.

De update brengt een totale revisie naar Oculus Home en het Universele Menu, een die speciaal is ontworpen voor bewegingsinvoer.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SvP_RI_S-bw

Het volledige artikel kan u vinden via deze link:
https://www.roadtovr.com/oculus-dash-is-a-total-interface-overhaul-for-rift-that-lets-you-use-your-pc-in-vr-oculus-connect-4/


HTC's Standalone Vive Headset

VR nam een grote stap voorwaarts. HTC heeft een nieuwe Vive standalone VR-headset gelanceerd die geen smartphone, pc of kabelverbinding nodig heeft.

De huidige HTC Vive vereist dat de omvangrijke headset aan een sterke PC gekoppeld is,
maar de Taiwanese firma heeft nu het snoer afgesneden met zijn mobielere Vive standalone-aanbod.

Het is een vergelijkbaar idee voor Samsung's Gear VR en Google Daydream View, maar met een belangrijk verschil.
In plaats van uw telefoon in de hoofdtelefoon te schuiven, heeft de nieuwe Vive VR-headset al het scherm, de kracht en de room-mapping ingepakt.

Dit is de eerste standalone headset die Google's Daydream-platform zal gebruiken,
dat de zoekreus aangekondigd zou zijn voor telefoon / pc-vrije apparaten tijdens zijn Google IO-evenement.

Het komt uit in eind 2017 - we wachten nog steeds op een stevige HTC Vive-vrijlating,
maar het kan zich op een paar kerstlijsten van een paar mensen vinden.

Lees het volledige artikel op:
http://www.techradar.com/news/htc-vive-standalone-vr-headset-doesnt-need-a-pc-phone-or-cables

Officiële website::
https://www.vive.com/us/product/standalone/


Hoe een carrière starten in VR

Waardeer je games als een kunstvorm? Vind je het idee van een carrière in VR spannend?
Wordt u geïnspireerd door de pioniers die in interactieve inhoud breken, om ons te begrijpen op de indrukwekkende VR-ervaringen?

Gnomon nodigt u uit om de artiesten te ontmoeten die deze ervaringen mogelijk maken. Survios is een VR-studio in Los Angeles,
die spellen "meer menselijk" maakt door de kracht van cutting-edge technologie te gebruiken en te investeren in het juiste talent.
Ontmoet Justin Coury (Lead Artist), John Kim (Senior Animator), James Littlejohn (Senior VFX Artist)
en Kevin Wilson (Senior Environment Artist) - vier ongelooflijke talenten van Survios in Gnomon voor een avond van inzichtelijke
presentaties en onbetaalbaar industrieadvies.

Herbekijk het event hier:
https://www.gnomon.edu/community/events/how-to-launch-a-career-in-vr-an-evening-with-survios


Merge Cube

Met behulp van augmented reality  heeft Merge VR een kubus ontworpen waarmee kinderen hologrammen kunnen vasthouden en interageren.

De Holo Cube is speelgoed die kan worden omgezet in verschillende objecten van muziekinstrumenten naar virtuele huisdieren, of werelden van mini-blokken.
In combinatie met de VR Bril van de firma kunnen kinderen direct communiceren met de hologrammen.

"Speelgoed is een hulpmiddel die we gebruiken om op te groeien, en de Holo Cube biedt nieuwe manieren om te leren, te spelen en te verbinden met anderen," zei Merge VR-oprichter Franklin Lyons. "In plaats van het gebruik van de typische interfaces van 2D-schermen, ontwikkelen we fysieke producten die de echte wereld samenvoegen met het digitale; Nieuwe manieren creëren voor verbeelding en creativiteit om te bloeien. "

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9m3zCNVlsEs

 

Meer informatie:
http://www.wired.co.uk/article/holocube-hologram-toy-ces-2017
https://mergevr.com/cube


Man fietst door Verenigd Koninkrijk in VR via Google Street View

Aaron Puzey zei dat het begon uit verveling. Na een jaar lang elke dag een half uur lang te trainen op zijn hometrainer begon het al snel te vervelen. Hij droomde al langer van de mogelijkheid om in Virtual Reality rond te fietsen op zijn hometrainer.  Door de grote vooruit gang in de technologie heeft hij zijn droom werkelijkheid kunnen maken. Met het koppelen van een Galaxy Gear aan Google Street View kon hij zijn fietstocht doorheen het Verenigd Koninkrijk starten. 1.500 kilometer van Land's End naar John o' Groats - allemaal vanuit het comfort van zijn woonkamer

Puzey documenteert zijn reis via een blog, Cycle VR. Hij post een bewerkte video van de hoogtepunten van elke 100 kilometer. Hij hoopt zijn reis af te werken in ongeveer 50 dagen.

Meer informatie op: http://www.cyclevr.com/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W7iCL_GO7ag

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t0TNiDNbUDc