Archives for March 2017

March 30, 2017 - Comments Off on ‘Catching a Real Ball in Virtual Reality’

‘Catching a Real Ball in Virtual Reality’

I am frankly very skeptical about virtual reality's ability to catch on using today's technology as an example (I'm looking at you, anemic PlayStation VR library) but there's no doubting that there's some interesting possibilites just waiting to be unleashed.

Look no further than this amazing video from Disney to see the potential of VR and AR. Using motion sensing, this technology basically augments the human's ability to catch a ball. That's pretty rad, and still only scratches the surface of what's possible.

March 27, 2017 - Comments Off on ‘The Phone for Humans’

‘The Phone for Humans’

As more and more people discover that their phones are making them crazy, I've seen the occasional Kickstarter campaign pop up dedicated to bringing back the 'dumb phone'. These simpler devices, which are less connected while still providing us with the core essentials we need, seem to have a newfound place in people's lives as they try to disconnect.

Though dumb phones may find some slight popularity, we are without a doubt living in the age of information and technology, and there's no going back. What I'm hoping for (instead of regression) is a device which will evolve into something that knows when to bother me, or when to give me some peace and quiet.

The 'Siempo', currently in the midst of a Kickstarter campaign, is trying to do just that. Rather than limiting the amount of features the phone includes, the Siempo has well-designed concepts like a powerful and easily-accessible version of 'Do Not Disturb' called 'Physical Pause' where pushing a button on the phone will stop all but the most urgent messages from coming through.

The feature which I'm most interested in is the 'Intention field', a 'pass-through' type of app which lives on the home screen and is intended to be opened whenever you have a thought that needs to be acted on. You can write a person's name, click their contact information, then write a text out and send it without opening your messages. You can jot down a bit of writing and save it to your notes without opening the rest. This is a fantastic idea, and allows you to get something done without being inundated with requests, messages, or other actionable which might break your focus.

A more mindful phone is an idea worth pursuing, and I hope that this project sees the light of day.

March 20, 2017 - Comments Off on ‘Apple’s Next Big Thing: Augmented Reality’

‘Apple’s Next Big Thing: Augmented Reality’

The Gurman post I've been waiting for hit early this morning, essentially confirming that Apple's next big move will be in the world of AR. This should come as no surprise to anyone paying attention to augmented reality's potential, and the fact that Apple's first crack at augmented reality is already on your iPhone, in the form of 'Portrait Mode' on the iPhone 7 Plus.

The article asserts that the lead on the project, Mike Rockwell, was hired back in 2015, and that development is well underway:

Last spring, in a sign that it's serious about taking products to market, Apple put some of its best hardware and software people on Rockwell's team, including Fletcher Rothkopf who helped lead the team that designed the Apple Watch, and Tomlinson Holman, who created THX, the audio standard made popular by LucasFilm.

Apple has also recruited people with expertise in everything from 3D video production to wearable hardware. Among them, the people say: Cody White, former lead engineer of Amazon's Lumberyard virtual reality platform; Duncan McRoberts, Meta's former director of software development; Yury Petrov, a former Oculus researcher; and Avi Bar-Zeev, who worked on the HoloLens and Google Earth.

Apple has rounded out the team with iPhone, camera and optical lens engineers. There are people with experience in sourcing the raw materials for the glasses. The company has also mined the movie industry's 3D animation ranks, the people said, opening a Wellington office and luring several employees from Weta Digital, the New Zealand special-effects shop that worked on King Kong, Avatar and other films.

This has moved far past the point of experiment and into product, and here's a crazy theory: If you want to see Apple's vision for augmented reality, they've given you a sneak peak in this ad.