Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Using Oculus / VR headset to sculpt in 3D

Just curious, had always dreamed to sculpt in 3D using a VR headset and thought to google, find out what's going on now:

Here's a discussion from March 2015:


Also, found a testimonial on an industrial design LinkedIn group
for Geomagic Freeform which is a haptic modeler.

From Christopher Pardell:

"...Freeform. Which is still the Bugatti of modeling apps.
It uses haptics so that you can literally FEEL the surface of the model as you work on it, and for that reason is the fastest to master and gives you the best sense of the virtual space. 3D systems now has an Entry level version of this software called GSculpt... Much kore affordable and it has most all of the tools you will need to get into modeling. Files produced by GSculpt or FreeForm are always qualified solids, and can go directly to any 3D printer, or mill that can run from STL... Although the top version of FreeForm also has the most sophisticated surfacing capabilities as well. GSculpt and FreeForm also have limited subDivision modeling capabilities for rapidly generating very complex forms....and FreeForm Modeling Plus includes sophisticated mold and drafting tools for generating models that are perfectly drafted, or, even for generating models of injection tooling directly... Which will become more important as 3D printed tooling becomes more prevalent.

Of these, FreeForm is the king. It will take you a year to really master Solidworks.
You can master FreeForm in about a month. FreeForm also deals with 3D space in a far more relatable way that makes it fast and facile. For example, Nike's shoes are designed on FreeForm systems. I have designed very thing from engagement rings, to a 30' boat on FreeForm. From animatronic characters and the tooling to produce them, to a 40' long amusement park attraction, to a replica Ferarri."

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Valve room scale survey

Earlier this week Valve published the results of a "Room Scale VR Survey" completed by 2008 members of its VR Community. The findings: 860 (~43%) of respondents said their gaming PC was in their bedroom and 1,393 (~69%) said they were not willing to move their PC to accommodate a VR experience. The average space respondents feel they can devote to VR is about 8.5'x 9'. Why does this matter? Well, last March, Valve and HTC debuted the HTV Vive virtual reality system consisting of a VR visor, a couple of custom controllers and a tracking system the allows the user to wander around a 15'x15' area. 'While the Vive system certainly sounds impressive I've had questions about how practical it'll be,' writes Peter Smith. 'How many people have a 15'x15' clear area in front of their PC? Turns out, not many.' 'According to this survey at least, using all of the 15'x15' space the system can track is going to leave most users frustrated,' adds Smith.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Email house

Your next house could snap together like a jigsaw puzzle without the use of any power tools. Clemson University students designed and built Indigo Pine, a carbon-neutral house that exists largely as a set of digital files that can be e-mailed to a wood shop anywhere in the world, CNC cut, and then assembled on-site in a matter of days. “Indigo Pine has global application,” says the Clemson team. “Because the house exists largely as a set of digital files, the plans can be sent anywhere in the world, constructed using local materials, adapted to the site, and influenced by local culture.”

Saturday, October 10, 2015



DirecTV VR boxing app


See also:  


DirecTV is taking a first stab at virtual reality (VR) with a new app that takes users ringside to a boxing fight.

BKB VR, as the app is being called, is being made available for Google Cardboard-based VR viewers, as well as the Samsung Gear VR headset. Cardboard users can download the app for Android phones on Google Play, and for iPhones on the App Store.

However, don’t expect any live boxing fights in VR just yet: BKB VR delivers pre-recorded highlights from a fight that happened earlier this summer, which was recorded in 360-degree video. In addition to the app, DirecTV is also making 360-degree footage of the fight available through Samsung’s Milk VR service.

BKB VR is meant to promote Big Knockout Boxing, a flavor of boxing that DirecTV developed for its Audience network. The app is just one of many that has recently been published to promote existing TV properties. In August, Discovery released its own VR app to promote some of its digital and TV talent.


DirecTV launches virtual reality app under AT&T  

As part of its continuing evolution under AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T), DirecTV has launched its first virtual reality application to give boxing fans a new, up close view of the fight.

The app, called Big Knockout Boxing VR App, offers fans the chance to watch highlights from the June 27 BKB fight event at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. The app works with virtual reality-ready smartphones and is available for Samsung Gear VR Innovator Edition and Cardboard headsets. Consumers can also watch via the Samsung Milk VR service.

The app is available via the Oculus Store, Google Play and the App app store.

The content for the fights on the app was filmed by a five-camera system designed to capture the event from the perspective of the audience. The app aims to offer consumers a short immersive experience focused on the fight’s most exciting moments.
“We believe that much of VR’s growth will be mobile driven,” Jon Molod, DirecTV vice president of Digital Entertainment Products Group, said in a released statement. “As the technology evolves, we hope to find new ways to use VR to enhance not just BKB, but all sports experiences.”
The move comes almost two months after DirecTV announced a new set-top box for Ultra HD programing, which will offer customers the opportunity to watch 4K movies on their 4k televisions. 

Since AT&T’s acquisition of DirecTV was approved in July, the company has been working to leverage packaged deals, cross pollination and video offerings.
Danielle covers technology and startups for the Dallas Business Journal. Subscribe to our new TechFlash email newsletter.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Microsoft Takes HoloLens on U.S. Tour,2817,2492851,00.asp

By Stephanie Mlot 

Microsoft is taking its HoloLens augmented reality headset on the road.
Developers are encouraged to reserve a seat in one of Redmond's 40 in-person demos coming to 10 cities across the country (and Toronto).

Starting in its hometown of Seattle, Microsoft will run a series of hands-on trials and offer access to its development team during events from October to November. A full schedule of the 11 cities and dates for events is listed below.

Visit the website to register for your space in the limited demos.
  • Seattle: Oct. 13-16
  • Toronto: Oct. 19-22
  • Salt Lake City: Oct. 20-22
  • Chicago: Oct. 26-29
  • San Francisco: Oct. 26-30
  • Los Angeles: Nov. 2-5
  • New York City: Nov. 2-5
  • Minneapolis: Nov. 9-11
  • Phoenix: Nov. 10-12
  • Atlanta: Nov. 17-19
  • Austin: Nov. 17-20
Microsoft first showed off its augmented reality HoloLens in January, demonstrating how holograms will be incorporated into our everyday lives. The headset allows users to mix the virtual world with the real one, overlaying a Skype window or a pixelated game of Minecraft.
In August, Redmond chief Satya Nadella announced that the company expects to have the first version of the HoloLens out "within the next year." It's not yet ready for primetime, but a developer version is set to arrive in Q1 2016 in the U.S. and Canada. Those with deep pockets will be able to snag one for $3,000. Windows Insiders can apply on, and Microsoft will begin sending applications to purchase in January.

"This is a five-year journey, but we're looking forward to getting a v1 out, which is more around developers and enterprises," Nadella said in August. "It's in the Windows 10 timeframe, which means that it is within the next year."

For more, see PCMag's Hands On With Microsoft's Impressive HoloLens.

Also check out details of Redmond's HoloLens video-capture process.


Thursday, October 8, 2015

Facebook AR

Zuckerberg Confirms Facebook Is Working On Augmented Reality

“Yeah!” Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said excitedly in response to a big question for his company: is Facebook working on augmented reality? “It’s a bit further out,” he followed up during a talk about virtual reality at the Vanity Fair New Establishment Summit in San Francisco.

Facebook’s intentions in virtual reality were already clear after buying Oculus, which is already shipping units in partnership with Samsung and is prepping the launch of its flagship headset. Facebook’s Michael Abrash said virtual reality is already “past the knee of the curve,” and has basically arrived. But augmented reality, by its nature, presents a new type of problems, Abrash said — hence it taking a little longer for it to become as feasible as virtual reality.

“It’s very interesting; it’s something we’d all use if it worked well,” Abrash said. “It’s kind of seamless. Maybe it’ll be contacts [or glasses]. You’ll have something on and it’ll be VR and AR as you choose. But right now the VR tech is past the knee of the curve. For AR, it’s harder. There are a whole host of challenges — how you do the optics and displays and get photos onto the eyes, how you have something that’s socially acceptable and comfortable all day. I think VR is here now, I think AR will be here, but it’s a long road to get there.”

Augmented reality represents a different opportunity for Facebook than virtual reality. With VR as is, the Oculus Rift is designed to be an immersive experience that essentially helps the user shut out the rest of the world and focus only on the experience. It will let people experience intimate moments. An example Zuckerberg gave was giving family members the opportunity to watch a child take its first steps.
“It’s very interesting; it’s something we’d all use if it worked well.”
— Michael Abrash
“What Facebook is, is a way to give people a voice to share anything that they want in any form of medium with any audience they want,” Zuckerberg said. “Certainly this more immersive content will be an increasing portion of what gets shared. But another part of the beauty of Internet communication is it’s asynchronous. [But there will be] use cases where you can be in person with someone, doing surgery remotely, that you very much need to be synchronous.” 12027093_10102388426141661_6188485856299985289_o
AR, however, is about keeping a connection with the world around the user. The implications for a Facebook-driven AR system are pretty obvious. Imagine, maybe, walking down the street and getting a heads-up display for the number of likes a business has. By definition, AR is supposed to augment a user’s vision and give them the capability to do more with the world around them, and Facebook can use that to power a whole suite of new experiences.

Facebook won’t be the only company working on augmented reality, but it certainly has the ability to become a juggernaut in the space. There’s also the looming presence of the notoriously quiet augmented reality startup Magic Leap, which received a massive investment from Google. And of course, the classic problem case here was Google Glass, which ended up with social backlash rather than acceptance of the new technology.

So while Zuck and Abrash gave few details on exactly how Facebook’s AR dreams will be delivered, the mere confirmation that it’s looking beyond VR is important. Its facial recognition combined with AR could have wide-ranging use cases. Facebook knows more about people and the world they live in than almost any company. Eventually, it could overlay that information right on the world itself so you can look up from your screen, and instead look through it. 

Zuckerberg earlier explained “If you think about phones, it’s still a little awkward to take it out of your pocket. In the future, if you want to look around you should be able to look around. If you want to select something, you should be able to look at it.”

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Darpa electroceuticals

DARPA is sinking some cash into the buzzy new research field of "electroceuticals," which involves stimulating nerves to control the activity of organs or bodily systems. The newest techniques have little in common with electroshock therapy, which sends a strong current broadly through the brain tissue; today's cutting-edge methods can target individual neurons, and turn them "on" and "off" with great precision. Under DARPA's new ElectRx program, seven research teams will explore different ways to modulate activity of the peripheral nervous system. Some will stimulate neurons directly with electricity, while others will take more roundabout routes involving light, acoustics, and magnetic fields.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Google exec: Robot brains

Google exec: With robots in our brains, we'll be godlike

Futurist and Google exec Ray Kurzweil thinks that once we have robotic implants, we'll be funnier, sexier and more loving. Because that's what artificial intelligence can do for you.

I suspect a few of you are looking forward to being robots.
Who wouldn't be fascinated by the idea of becoming someone other than themselves? We do get so tired of being the same dull soul every day.

What kind of robots will we be? Happily, I can provide an answer. For living inside my head all day have been the words of Google's director of engineering, Ray Kurzweil.
For more than a curt while, he's been keen on humans going over to the bright side. He's predicted that humans will be hybrid robots by 2030.

But what will this be like? More importantly, what will this feel like? Are you ready to engage what's left of your humorous humanity when I offer you the information that Kurzweil believes we're going to be quite wonderful people when we're part robot?
Kurzweil, though, has reassured me. Speaking recently at Singularity University, where he is a member of the faculty, he explained that my brain will develop in the same way my smartphone has.
"We're going to add additional levels of abstraction," he said, "and create more-profound means of expression."
More profound than Twitter? Is that possible?
Kurzweil continued: "We're going to be more musical. We're going to be funnier. We're going to be better at expressing loving sentiment."

Because robots are renowned for their musicality, their sense of humor and their essential loving qualities. Especially in Hollywood movies.

Kurzweil has a truly, madly, deeply optimistic view of who we will be when nanobots are implanted into our brains so we can expand our intelligence by directly tapping into the Internet.
This is such a relief. I had feared that when a robot was implanted into my brain, my head would hurt. I was afraid that I wouldn't be quite in touch with my feelings, as I wouldn't be sure if they were real or just the promptings of my inner robot.

Kurzweil insists, though, that this is the next natural phase of our existence.

"Evolution creates structures and patterns that over time are more complicated, more knowledgeable, more intelligent, more creative, more capable of expressing higher sentiments like being loving," he said. "So it's moving in the direction that God has been described as having -- these qualities without limit."

Yes, we are becoming gods.

"Evolution is a spiritual process and makes us more godlike," was Kurzweil's conclusion.

There's something so uplifting, yet so splendidly egocentric in suggesting that man will soon be God, thanks to artificial intelligence. The mere fact that this intelligence is artificial might be a clue as to its potential limitations.

Moreover, I rather think of us as a dangerous species: Primitive, yet believing we're so very clever.
There are so many fundamental things with which we struggle. Here we are, though, believing that we'll be godlike in a few years' time.

Lord, help us.