Category: Virtual World/Reality

Sococo builds a virtual world for real work

How do you bring a radically distributed workforce together and meld it into a single, unified team?

If you’re Sococo — short for social communication company — you create a virtual world, with virtual offices, desks, meeting rooms, and even buildings. But don’t think Second Life: You won’t find any sexy avatars, flying, pets, or islands. You will, however, see a lot of work getting done.

“We bring distributed workers together to interact in real-time,” Sococo’s chief marketing officer Mark Fisher told me. “Coworkers talk, share, chat … and interact all day long.”

The service is built on a premise of connecting people in a more natural way. Spatial shifting is a key part of that — in a real office, you need to get out of your cube and walk to see someone else — but so is context and situational awareness.

Read more at venturebeat.

Ibex is a virtual reality desktop environment for your computer

Sure, it might still be a while before any of us common folk see an Oculus Rift on our desks, but that doesn’t mean people like Hesham Wahba won’t make stuff like the Ibex.

A resident of New York City, Wahba has apparently wanted a virtual reality desktop for a long time now. Ibex is built on top of Linux and it’s currently very much still a prototype, but Wahba wants to make a program that bridges the gap between virtual reality software and virtual reality games.

Read the complete article at TechHive.

Virtual reality: More virtual than real

Remember virtual reality? The idea that science could create a virtual world of sight, sound, smell and touch was hot two decades ago, then completely fizzled out.

“VR made a huge splash in the 90s, but collapsed into near obscurity a few years later. The term VR even became a dirty word for some time, giving way to the less-hyped term immersion,” says Paul Mlyniec, president of California-based Digital ArtForms.

“There’s not much new happening in virtual reality,” adds Brian Blau, research director of consumer technology at Gartner. “I did a bit of research on VR recently and have been working in and around VR for many years, and there just isn’t much happening these days, except maybe in education and science; certainly not much happening in the consumer space.”

Blau defines VR as “immersive environments where the user either wears a head mounted display that shows a completely synthetic environment, or the user is in a cave-like room where all the walls show the graphical environment, typically one that is very different from where the user is currently sitting or standing.”

So, what went wrong?

Read the complete article at PCWorld.

Virtually Browse Supermarket Aisles And Buy Real Goods With Kinect

British software company Keytreehas created a new application that lets you virtually browse the shelves of a store when you’re standing in front of the TV. ‘Store Trek’ uses the Microsoft Kinect to deliver a 3D shopping experience that crosses the divide between in-store and online, combining the best of both. It delivers tailored virtual shelves in a store layout driven by a personalization engine you would normally have in an online store.

Read the complete article at psfk.

BAE Systems fighter pilot helmet HMD pictures and hands-on

While augmented reality is still struggling to develop a ubiquity of relevance in the consumer realm, it’s going great guns in the professional world and nowhere is it more crucial and more astounding than for fighter pilots.

BAE Systems, long provider of defence technology solutions, showed off just how advanced and how well integrated high quality AR can be when it let Pocket-lint and a few members of the public go heads-on with a series of its most developed head-mounted display helmets for fighter pilots.

The minute you slip the helmet on, the virtual display is incredibly clear. If anything, it’s so clear that the reality behind it frankly becomes boring, although we expect that might not be the case if you’re 50,000ft up travelling at Mach II with your hair on fire.

Read the complete article at Pocket-Lint.

Virtual Reality Headset Oculus Rift: The Future Of Gaming Or More False Hope?

Virtual reality (VR)—remember that?—brings back memories of 90s cyberpunk and Lawnmower Man; of cumbersome headsets that dangled the carrot of total immersion in a new world, but ended up getting you to fork out your easy-earned pocket money for some low-polygon graphics where you couldn’t really tell what was going on. As we moved into the 2000s, it seemed to fizzle out and augmented reality became the thing, but now it seems VR’s back with Oculus Rift.

Read the complete article at The Creators Project.

Virtual World Takes on Childhood Obesity

Malica Astin, 11, never paid much attention to how much physical activity she got. But one day she played basketball while wearing a small activity tracker called a Zamzee on her waist. Later, she plugged it into a computer’s USB port and uploaded the data captured by the device’s accelerometers. Unlike a FitBit, a popular pedometer geared to adults, Malica’s Zamzee didn’t tell her how many steps she took or calories she burned. Instead, it gave her points for the movements she made.

Even months later, she recalls the details of that first windfall: 758 points. And why not? The points are a currency that she can spend in the virtual world of, where she created an avatar and outfitted it with braces, a necklace, and a hula skirt.

Malica has since earned 3,612 “Zamz,” and could eventually save enough to get real items like an iPod Nano (16,000 Zamz) or Wii console (18,000 Zamz). “At first, I didn’t know what it was all about,” she says. “Then I really started liking it.”

Malica’s experience illustrates the goals of Zamzee, a startup that is testing the notion that the addictiveness of games can be harnessed to solve a seemingly intractable social ill—in this case, childhood obesity. Rather than focusing on weight loss or diet, Zamzee hopes to reward movement of any kind in children 11 to 14, the ages when, according to research, physical activity drops precipitously.

Read the complete article at Technology Review.

Steve Clayton: Kinect Powered AR Lets You Interact With Motion Graphics

Beamatron is an example of the trend we’re exploring that blends the physical world with the virtual world. It’s augmented reality concept that combines a projector and Kinect sensor on a pan tilt moving head – of the kind you may find in a nightclub. The setup utilizes KinectFusion to build a 3D model of a space and enables projected graphics to react in physically appropriate ways. For example a virtual car can be driven around the floor of the room bumping into actual obstacles and running over real ramps. Benko had great fun “driving” the car over my shoes as I stood watching.

Read the complete article at psfk.

Online role playing games are bad for your marriage

This may or may not come as a surprise – but three quarters of gamers’ spouses wish their partners would spend less time waving swords around and put a bit more effort into their marriage.

A team from Brigham Young University studied 349 couples to learn how online role-playing games, such as World of Warcraft, affect marital satisfaction for both the gamers and their other halves.

And, they found, it’s not the time spent playing games that causes the trouble, but rather the effect it has on bedtime routines.

Read the complete article at TG Daily.

Disney Parks Brings Virtual Character Experience to Times Square

This past weekend, a little bit of Disney Parks magic came to New York City, as Disney held a very special new character experience event in Times Square. Throughout the weekend, Times Square visitors were able to interact with some of their favorite Disney characters virtually, through the use of special state-of-the-art augmented reality technology.

Read the complete story at disZine