Virtual reality has become the focus of conversation in the first episode of the new raunchy documentary series called The Digital Love Industry which was produced by the investigative journalist company known as Vice. The 33 minute segment dives into the taboos surrounding love and sexual experimentation that always accompanies emerging technologies.
On the outer edge of the Greater Los Angeles area, in the city of Pomona California, is a humble hackerspace located at a quiet warehouse complex just off the I-10 highway. This tranquil, unassuming place is where hackers, builders, makers, tinkerers, engineers, jugglers, and fire spinners come together to learn how to use the industrial tools within; while at the same time creating a community of inventors inside.
Trent Wilson, one of the founders, showed us around the space.
Some of the best places in LA are found deep inside warehouse complexes where creative people manifest extraordinary things. One such place exists within the collection of calm and tranquil art lofts located in an area known as the Brewery. In the past, it has housed Pabst Blue Ribbon as well as the Edison power plant; and innovation seeps out from every corner here.
In one of the buildings is a workshop where entrepreneurs, inventors, engineers, programmers, designers, roboticists, and game developers have gathered to make what they are calling “The Carnival of the Future.” More specifically it is being branded as the STEAM Carnival and looks to bring together lasers, robots, virtual reality experiences, and fire performances for a travelling high-tech circus like no other. Watch the video tour below:
Futurama was an amazing show that allowed the writers complete freedom to describe whatever they thought might be developed in the future, and one type of technology that the writers kept putting in were adaptations of virtual reality gear. Specifically, wearable devices called ‘Net Suits’ were consistently depicted in the show, as wires coming from the device fed into a computer allowing the users to explore the inside of the 3D modeled metaverse. This list dives into the references found in within the adventures of the Planet Express crew.
Season 1, Episode 2 – ‘The Series Has Landed’
The first occurrence with Virtual Reality comes in the form of a game that Amy plays while the Planet Express crew visit the moon. The experience is called ‘Virtual Virtual Skeeball’ and utilizes a standalone unit that fits on top of the gamer’s head. Two antennas stick out of the side of the headset most likely acting as a wireless communication interface that probably connects to a server somewhere else. Wires extend from the top, attaching to the device itself.
There is no mention of how this VR set is powered, but it looks like it is energized on its own. Perhaps the user must plug the goggles into the wall, or maybe it is wirelessly charged through the antennas. Regardless of how it is powered, this device is a nice allusion to the future of VR being integrated in to carnival-like environments. Arcades of the future will surely be filled with virtual reality sets giving the attendees an immersive experience that stands out from the other types of games. Not sure how people will pay for the game though. It could be coin operated, or just included in the ticket price of the attraction, but more likely credit card activated. No matter what, this reference showed that Futurama knew that virtual reality would be big in the future.
We will never know exactly what tomorrow will hold. But we can guess!
And one way to understand what types of wearable technology will present itself in the future is to reach out to as many trailblazers in the industry as possible and get them to speak about what they do. Which is what the Wearable Tech LA event in Pasadena, just off the outskirts of the Los Angeles, did on July 17, 2014.
It was organized by several influential members in the local tech scene, and this conference gathered up-and-coming pioneers in the wearable tech space to discuss what they’ve learned along the way, as well as to predict what the future might be.
For some, it was all about gadgets like glasses, watches, shoes, and wristbands that interested them the most; like this technology called Ring that attracted a lot of attention as Takuro Yoshida demoed it in-between panel talks going on inside. Optometry-related glassware showed up too. For example, Erick Miller – Founder & CEO of Epiphany Eyewear presented a video of their aesthetically pleasing smart glasses being used by Macklemore as he performed the big-hit single Thrift Shop in front of thousands of adoring fans.
Augmented reality was present at this event as well. Kayvan Mirza, CEO of Optinvent, stated in a personal interview with us that “now we have devices that have the computing power and the transparent see-through screen that can allow us to do true augmented reality.” The hardware is here, which means that products like these interconnected smart glasses can and will be made.
While smart accessories were being tried on, other people hovered around the peripherals looking for emerging trends. This included exploring the realms of wearable entertainment. Companies like this biometric platform that blends together healthcare and fun by using a smartphone app to detect heart-rate and play music based on the internal rhythms of the user. David Plans, Co-Founder and VP Products Science Biobeats, demoed their product out on stage which was quite an amusing experience watching as the music transitioned depending on how fast and fluid he was dancing.
Ed Tang, Head of Global Marketing at Avegant, showed off his company’s patented headphone technology that can be flipped down to cover the face of the user. This in turn allows their integrated optics system that is embedded inside to transmit light directly into the wearer’s eyes which allows the brain to see the visual images being displayed.
Even further, an EEG sensing headband called Muse showed that the future contains devices that sits atop the user’s head to detect brain activity, and possibly emotions. Ariel Garten, co-founder of InteraXon, creators of Muse, had participants try on the amazing devices and meditate to the sound of a quiet beach. If the user began to think too much, the sound would erupt into a stormy wind, reminding the person to relax and drift back to the peaceful waters of a calm and tranquil mind. They even have an open SDK that will allow for developers to use the sensors to create projects that can be controlled with the brain.
The entire schedule was jam packed with exciting panels ranging from sports and wearables to the future of footwear to everything ingestible. Health platforms like this smartphone Breathalyzer were talked about throughout the day.
And some, discussed implantable sensors that could be used to detect heartbeat rhythms, hormone imbalances, or even devices capable of translating visible color spectrums into sounds vibrations sending them directly to the brain. Neil Harbisson, Co-Founder of the Cyborg Foundation seen in the picture below, for example, has an antenna attached to his head that senses color. He says that it makes him feel closer to nature, like insects who also have external sensing features, or dolphins that use sounds to locate nearby objects.
But that’s not all. Topics of wearable tech for animals appeared within the panels of discussion. For instance, one guy by the name of Oliver Starr walked up on stage to give a presentation about one of his projects that involved strapping GoPro cameras to wolves in order to gain a better perspective of these wildly fascinating creatures.
He even brought with him two of his close friends. One was named Bixby who was a confidently, large black and white husky looking animal. His other companion was a quietly beautiful wolf who Oliver called Aqutaq. Bixby led the way allowing the shy wolf to creep onto the scene, cautiously making its way in front of more people than she has ever seen.
Defense mechanisms like this wearable protection armband also made its way into the event. The inventor of ArmStar, David Brown, demoed his latest iteration of their hands-free, less than lethal bodyguard device that can be used for self-defense. It contains a HD video camera, a green laser pointer, and a stunner that sets off an electricity arc with a pressure sensor on the hand. This all potentially could be utilized by police to communicate with backup and collect evidence at an emerging crime scene.
On the consumer side though, David told us that people of the future “will have a civilian model of something like this.” Which is good news to people who are scared of dark areas. When they put this device on, they become essentially a warrior of self-defense capable of fending off wild animals or mugging attackers. A simple flick of a finger, and a taser gun will frighten away any oncoming threat or possible disturbance.
Developers were at the conference as well. Winners from a recent design hackathon, presented their brand new wearables. Created at the Extreme Wearables Designathon a few weeks before, a project called Alia aims to help people unplug from their devices by keeping them subtle connected to their most trusted friend via touch.
CompassH20, another designathon winner, showcased their ephemeral wayfinding device. Glenn Zucman, one of the members involved, says that it “is an invitation to wander, to meander, to loiter, to be a 21st century flâneur.”
And a third team, presented a wearble wristband called Emoti that can be used to help parents and care-takers see how an Autistic kid is reacting to a certain situation. It lights up different colors depending on the mood of the child allowing the other people in the room to see how the person truly feels.
Amazingly, each of the three teams had at least one member of a local hackerspace called Crashspace showing that there is extreme potential coming out these co-working environments.
With so much innovation floating through this one conference on one day, it is clear that the future is full of wonderous wearable devices that will hopefully better our lives as a whole. And as Oliver Starr said during his panel presentation, “the world is waking up to wearable tech. And it is going to make some of [the people here] fantastically wealthy.” But as he states later on, it is important to “pay that forward by helping evolve tech that helps us better understand the natural world, that respects the creatures whose lives we interfere with to assuage our big brain curiosity.”
And to us here at HackerTrips, we feel that this is what the future of wearable tech is all about. These devices shown during events like this have so much possibility to change the world. But it is imperative to check out what others are doing in this emerging space. Otherwise, a dangerous idea might slip by causing the future to descend into a horrible scene of madness and wasted potential.
But so far, it doesn’t look like that will happen. Instead, the future of our wearable tech existence is filled with multitudes of useful sensors intertwingling the entire world, and even universe, together in such a way that will benefit everything from simple creatures within nature to astronaut explorers in space.
[Thanks to Wearable Tech LA for helping to spark the movement toward this beautifully interconnected future]
For more information about Wearable Tech LA, be sure to visit their website posted at the top.
Article written by @industrychanger
Black monitors and portable computers sit atop white Formica tables as 30+ VR developers bang out 3D modeled code in a co-working space that has been transformed into a horror-themed development world. Wild, red eyes stare deep into the Oculus Rift goggles that are strapped to the faces of the coffee-wired testers. They type furiously, dragging around first-person perspectives inside LCD screens while thoughts of buzzing bees and malicious things form in plain view.
Creatures of the night and destructive environments manifest out the developers’ heads, starting to take shape, seeping into the minds of the users bringing out the most imaginative nightmare scenarios. Suddenly, the scene changes, and the wearer of a DK1 glances down standing on the thinnest of ledges looking down at a falling fate of death. Below, the shaking legs of an animated avatar float above a drop so far that the G-forces alone would surely kill the unlucky person who accidentally took a misstep in the wrong direction.
Spaceship sounds echo off the corners the room. At the same time, creepy voices whisper their murderous plans to kill unsuspecting victims nearby as they craw their way through all encompassing darkness.
Then, the blank heartless eyes of a lost zombie appear tapping into the digital matrices along the edge of a mixed reality. Not quite augmented, and not completely virtual, but somewhere stuck in-between.
Ominous lights flicker. This time the landscape transitions to a desert ghost town. Fog rolls in, and the dark shadow of a man teleports itself into the distance. He hovers slowly towards the camera. Then BOOM! He lunges ready to tear out organs, feasting lusciously on bloody flesh.
“they want to kill you!”
“you’re going to die slowly”
Don’t lose your head just yet. Now, ask, “what is fear?” Is it found embedded in the zombie room, or perhaps located within a haunted elevator where no matter how hard you try, you just can’t escape..? It’s best to keep the lights on in this Mad House. No one will leave here alive!
As of July 3rd, 2014, Orange County has hosted five virtual reality-themed events that have attracted hundreds of people to various locations in the nearby area. Hackathons, demos, and info sessions have all been organized creating a spark in the VR industry that will continue to flourish like a hearty vine growing toward the energy of the sun.
However, the cost of getting to these meetups continuously is beginning to stretch passed the limits of those involved in the emerging VR culture. Unless the person is a developer who wants to show off their new projects, or is someone who wants to help set up the events, the overall satisfaction rate drops off slightly just because of the price of gas to get there. There needs to be more of an incentive to swing by and check out what is actually happening.
Now, OCVR and VRLA are both doing a good job to meet the demand for virtual reality in the Greater Los Angeles area though so far. Each group is providing amazing locations for their events. Examples include the legendary MxR Lab, the headquarters of a local independent gaming company called Sleepy Giant, and the innovative co-working place known as PeopleSpace. Heck, even an afterparty for the large gaming conference E3 was even held at the iconic Ace Hotel in downtown LA, which shows that the people organizing the events are making the right connections to further the community of VR.
The meetups are also bringing in appetizers and refreshments to keep the stomachs of the attendees filled and hydrated. OCVR is leading the way in this direction because of their food truck experience. They give out free food, free beer, and more through the use of their Burger Monster truck. This definitely helps to incentivize the experience of those looking to travel from far away. Those who decide to make the journey might not be able to afford a 1st class plane ticket, but they can drive down and eat until their heart’s content at one of these events.
But there must be more that can be done to help cut expenses to get to these meetups. Already virtual reality enthusiasts are starting to figure out who lives near them and who would be the best to carpool with. For instance, VRLA co-founders Jonnie Ross & Cosmo Scharf, drove down from Los Angeles together to visit the Orange County VR team during their 2nd demo event at PeopleSpace. Their trip was short, but the effect is still the same.
More individuals travelled from other cities to go to that 2nd demo meetup as well, which you can see in the embedded ‘Transportation-oriented’ video below.
Most people took a motorized vehicle of some sort to get there. Cars, food trucks, SUV’s and Jeeps all carried people onto the highways weaving in and out of traffic driving towards one of the hotspots of VR in town. But that’s not all. One guy even took a skateboarding contraption that he put together.
The obvious next step for those coming to the events is to arrange more carpooling, especially since Oculus will be releasing their new consumer headsets soon. This will help bring the costs of travel down, while upgrading the level of experience involved. Those making the journey together will learn from each other and might even become closer friends. After that, ideas of organizing larger modes of transportation for the community like buses, or trains, can come to fruition.
In the meantime though, let’s see what happens next.
Article written by @industrychanger
Bonus Interview with Karl Krantz at VRLA2:
All videos that were captured at the OCVR’s 2nd Demo Night can be downloaded for free here:
Imagine, if you will, a key of gold that can be inserted into any door opening up the contents stored within. It has no specified ridges on it, but rather contains segments of a universal code that, when turned slowly, unlocks the pins located inside.
With that tool in hand, you are now able to venture into the future of our existence seeing what is capable and what can be achieved. Ideas start swirling around you falling from the interstellar sky. Writing appears in front of you asking which direction you would like to travel. Which dream of another would you like explore?
Your palms are sweaty, knees weak, arms are heavy. There’s vomit on your sweater already. You’re nervous, but its okay because you know that this is just a temporary ride. It is a wild ride when shooting down a tunnel in space. As galaxies and planets pass by, you realize that you are a part of something bigger. But what?
Now snap back to reality. Oh there goes gravity.
You can feel the community all around you. The presence of 300 hundred like-minded individuals pushes forward toward a way to explore these thoughts of what virtual reality actually is. A research lab is nearby. Let’s see what’s inside.
Turns out it is creativity that holds us all together. It brings us to places that we never would have thought existed, including hacker-related incubator spaces like the Mixed Reality Lab at USC in Los Angeles, California. Students who learned new skills here went on to create companies like Oculus and Survios. But this begs the question of how they got there. Where they just smarter than the rest of us? Or where they just given the right tools at the right time?
So, lets ask a virtual reality pioneer some of those questions:
From the sounds of what Mark Bolas is saying, the key is to have the right environment around. You need people that are curious. And you need tools.
If you got all that, then you are really travelling in the correct direction towards figuring out who you are and what you are on this planet for. And, you can even journey into other worlds. Granted you have the right combination between hardware and software.
Once all strapped in, it is time to dig deeper and find what the future of our dreams look like. Where are the ideas coming from? And who is laying down the foundation for those to build up after?
So, lets pick Jonnie Ross‘s brain and see what he comes up with:
To wrap up, virtual is a dream. It is a kind of a dream. We are right at the forefront at a turning point in how people perceive themselves (and others) in time. In a sense, it is a form of storytelling. In a way, it allows us to share our ideas and experiences through technology transporting us somewhere else entirely.
It will all now come down to how we push these dreams further once they have been unlocked. Musicians, writers, game developers, film students, and many other creative people will all explore the edges of what is capable through this medium. Look for what comes next, because it will change the very fabric of how we communicate and learn from each other.
Article written by @industrychanger
Film captured by William Correa with @hndpla
More interviews found below:
Questions of self-discovery answered in this video with Mark Bolas:
Should inner city kids get involved in technology?
Tell us more Mark:
Next week we will explore the transportation aspects surrounding the virtual reality movements.
Los Angeles VR – http://www.virtualrealityla.com/
Orange County VR – http://orangecountyvr.com/
Silicon Valley VR – http://svvr.com/
San Francisco VR – http://www.meetup.com/virtualreality/
Las Vegas VR – http://www.meetup.com/Las-Vegas-Virtual-Reality-Meetup/
Mixed Reality Lab – http://projects.ict.usc.edu/mxr/
Das Tapes Soundcloud – https://soundcloud.com/das-tapes
Lock picking is a very useful skill when you are trying to open up a gate, a door, or a secret passageway. And the tools needed for the task can be found nearby, eliminating the need to purchase a set online.
First things first. You will need to know how a key works.
If you look on your key ring, you will notice that each key has ridges on it. This allows the key to fit perfectly inside the lock aligning the pins within to a level position. Once the pins are correctly placed, the lock mechanism can then be turned. If any of the pins are not aligned properly, then the lock will not open. This is why putting in a different key doesn’t unlock the lock because the ridges aren’t correctly positioned with the pins inside.
Now that you understand how a lock works, you can begin to gather the materials needed to fashion together a lock picking set. A good place to look is on the streets, specifically on the roads that have regular street sweeping. There you should be able to find broken off bristles. Typically you can tell that you have the right item by seeing how beat up the metal is. This is because of how much wear-and-tear the machines usually go through when scraping trash off the asphalt streets.
If you aren’t able to locate one of the street bristles, then you can use blued steel metal tape usually found at a local hardware store. Spring steel materials are also good. It doesn’t quite matter where the metal is coming from, as long as it is somewhat strong and thin enough to fit inside a lock.
After you got the material, the next step is to grind the metal down to the right shape and size. A nice tool to use is a simple bench grinder that can be found in hardware shops, warehouses, and possible even in your garage at home.
Get the grinder and put a bucket of water nearby. Put on safety glasses and don’t wear gloves (very important! You don’t want the glove material to get caught in the grinder. It’s better to get a small burn than to lose a finger). Start up the grinder. Then, position the metal and begin to shape the metal like the picks in the photo above. The goal is to create something with a finger-like tip that will go all the way to the back of the lock to push the pins down. Every second or so of grinding, dip the metal into the water to cool it down.
The intended products are shown above. As you can see, you need two different types of metal tools. The item with the red tape on it is called a finger or a hook. This is the one that pushes the pins down. The other metal bar is the tension or turning wrench.
To make the tension wrench, just take a straight piece of metal and heat it up using a blow torch or an oven at the end where you want to make the bend. Use some pliers to hold the metal because it will get very hot. Then take another set of pliers and bend the metal when the material is glowing red.
Once complete, you will be able to test the set. Just take the tension wrench and put it in the middle of the lock placing your thumb or index finger on the metal pushing it up slightly with a small amount of force. Then position the finger into the lock with the point facing down. Push down a pin and turn the wrench. Move the finger to the next pin and repeat the process. When all of the pins are down, the lock will open. If you don’t turn the wrench through at the same time as the pin, then the lock will reset.
It really takes some time figuring out how to explore the lock. It might get frustrating for a while, but the reward once you actually open the lock is worth the effort. You will be surprised at how good it feels the first time you do it.
After opening up one, try as many other locks you can find. Just don’t be breaking into places where you aren’t supposed to be there. Test your skills on your own locks, not other peoples’.
Article written by @hackertrips
Just down the road from the Oculus Rift headquarters is an office park where hotels, parking garages, and corporate buildings are located. This where Sleepy Giant, an independent game company focused on enthusiast gamers, held an event with OCVR.
The pivoting glass doors opened up at the entrance leading to a beautifully constructed lobby with elevators found on both sides of the area. Security access was given to those who RSVP’d on the website allowing them to travel up to the 5th floor.
Once inside, about 100 people gathered together sitting on wooden tables and standing up against the walls ready for the speakers to begin talking. They drank beer and ate Hors d’oeuvres while focusing their attention on the front of the room where the 1st presenter was preparing himself.
This is when Doug Griffin demoed a version of Faceshift, which is a that technology should enable creativity through the use of motion capture to produce facial animations that are realistic and emotional, with a system that is affordable and easy to use.
After that, E McNeill (creator of the cyberpunk hacker game called Darknet) got up and discussed the benefits and challenges of virtual reality. Some of the limitations he talked about included hardware performance requirements, limited resolutions, small market size, and the potential for nausea symptoms in some users. On the plus side, E spoke of fantasy fulfillment where anyone can unlock their dreams and the amazing developer support from Oculus & Sony.
Once the speakers were done, a long line quickly formed to try out the new Mario 64-style third-person cartoony game called Lucky’s Tale on the Oculus Rift DK2. A young developer was the first to try it out, gaining inspiration for his next project.
What made this experience top-notch was the community involvement by Oculus employees. They were there to answer questions, provide support, and get feedback from the VR enthusiasts who were happy to be discussing their thoughts on the new platform.
Shariq Hashme, the Oculus intern, showed up. His collegue Dean Beeler, their Senior Software Engineer, went down the line talking to the people waiting to try the game. And David Borel, an Oculus developer, assisted with the headset.
Amongst the crowd were food truck owners, 3d developers, science fiction writers, bloggers, journalists, marketing associates, lawyers, hardware manufacturers, and many other types of people.
OCVR co-founder, Dylan Watkins, walked around sparking innovation with his Iron Man sweatshirt and spikey hair. He spoke of upcoming meetups, possible collaborations with Alex Gray, and mobile makerspaces.
Jamie Ortiz, VP of marketing and communications with Sleepy Giant, was happy to see such a big turnout and would definitely host another event here. He also talked about growth hacking and what the term hacker actually means.
When the night came to a close, the remaining members hung outside for a bit longer discussing whatever thoughts flowed in. Arman Bastani with Oval Integration was there. Wagas Hussain, the creator of the Unreal LA Developers group floated around as well.
Jeff Howell, a SoCal attorney, talked with a local journalist about the possibilities of reducing crime and incarceration with the use of Virtual Reality. They also discussed how science fiction writers are the ones that lay the foundation for tech pioneers to create their work.
Overall, it was a night filled with amazing people.
Article written by @industrychanger
Full Video of E McNeill’s presentation:
Orange County VR’s meetup page – http://www.meetup.com/OC-Virtual-Reality-Meetup/
Sleepy Giant’s Website – http://www.sleepygiant.com/
Other Notable Attendees:
Ian Hamilton – journalist and writer
Jason A. Huff – developer with Atom Arcade (interested in music production for the Rift)
Michael Anetsberger & Joel Swank – who are looking for 3D developers
Phil Osborne – science fiction reader