AR & MR Week

The main focus of Digital Den’s work has been on VR, but that doesn’t mean that AR and MR haven’t been on the radar, and they became even more true this week because of a couple of events.

First, on Thursday, November 17th, the Boston Unity Group (BUG) hosted the Meetup Building Mixed Reality Experiences with the Microsoft HoloLens where Gavin Bauman of Microsoft showed how to use Unity 3D to author applications for Microsoft’s HoloLens. It was actually pretty amazing to find out how easy it is to transfer Unity 3D VR skills to AR/MR.
Gavin Bauman of Microsoft, Hololens Demo

Then on Saturday, November 19th, both AR and VR were front and center stage at MIT’s Hacking Arts conference, and the panel Remixing our Senses was particularly valuable, and provided some serious food for thought. Among other things, there were numerous AR and MR applications discussed and demonstrated, and by the end it was pretty clear that Digital Den needs to get more serious about investing in AR and MR in addition to the our established base of VR hardware and software.

It looks like it is time for us to start getting our feet wet in AR/MR. Watch for more news on this front in the future.

VR@MIT Recap

Digital Den shared our “Intro. to AR and VR” exhibit at the VR@MIT open house on Monday, November 14th, and we had a ton of fun showing our demos as well as seeing the others.

Of course, that haptic glove still under development at MIT was particularly cool to see! The main purpose of the event was to promote the VR@MIT IAP course 6.s096: Mobile Virtual Reality Development Challenge that will be offered in January, so that’s something on the horizon we’ll be keeping an eye on!

Mars

Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, you have probably noticed there’s a serious case of “Mars Mania” going around right now. The current fever was only stoked higher last week when Elon Musk presented his plan to establish a permanent human habitation on Mars with his company SpaceX.

ICYMI Here’s a short 5 minute summary version…


Here’s the full hour plus long version…

We here at Digital-Den are good with all of this. In fact, we’re so good with it, one way we “boot-up” our demos is with entirely Mars related media. That’s because Digital-Den’s Founder (Mary Hopper), has been Mars obsessed ever since the Mars Viking Mission.

So, it was awesome to get the chance to attend the very special event Moving to Mars: A discussion with Mars One candidates at the Museum of Science on Wednesday evening.

mars-one

Mars One mission candidates: Josh Richards, physicist, engineer, comedian; Peter Degen-Portnoy, software engineer; Yari Golden-Castaño, systems engineer; R. Daniel Golden-Castaño, US Army veteran and engineering student;Sara Director, artist

The event turned out to be a mind-bending, inspirational encounter with the “real thing,” and it only further solidified the probability that Digital-Den will continue to feature tons of Mars related content in our demos and “possibly” do more than that, too.

More specifically, we has been exploring the possibility of working with one or more partners on a Mars related project or “maybe” even doing one of our own. Of course, no matter what, we keep our eyes on what is going on in this “space” right now (yes, ha ha, bad pun intended).

Seriously, there’s quite a lot going on. Each new VR hardware platform release or upgrade brings one or more Mars related demos or titles now as well as the promise of more in the near future.

For example, at the lowest and most accessible end are these 360° NASA videos.



Full-Circle Panorama Beside ‘Namib Dune’ on Mars (JPL/NASA)
NASA Releases 360-Degree Video Of Martian Surface (Emily Calandrelli, Tech Crunch)

Then, higher-up on the “presence” scale, there is Mars is a Real Place. It was one of the first paid apps released on the Samsung Gear VR store, and it was made by DrashVR who is the same guy who made Titans of Space. The title and this information alone should be enough of a recommendation, but just in case, it is worth noting that it actually works — it feels like you are really on Mars, and yes, it is stunning!

A bit different take on the question is Field Trip to Mars created by Framestore and backed by Lockheed Martin.

Yet further out on the scale of immersion, as well as a bit more of a journey, is the mixed reality Destination: Mars exhibit at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida that uses Microsoft Hololens to give a narrated tour for Earthling through a Martian landscape.
‘Destination: Mars’ Virtual Reality Experience Now Open at Kennedy Space Center (Sarah Lewin, Space.com)

Another title to look forward to on the near horizon is called Mars 2030 that is being done in cooperation with NASA using their own media and is expected to be released on multiple platforms sometime this year.

These are just a few examples — there are numerous others on the scope. Busy space! Still, it is a worthy place to be, and we intend to be there too. Watch for more news about Digital-Den’s work in this area soon…

Hub Weeked!

Last week was HubWeek in Boston, and it turned great (despite some lousy weather)! Here are just some of the most relevant highlights…

hubweek

The festivities kicked off for Digital-Den on Sunday September 25 at the Harvard Art Museum with the insightful panel discussion Museum as Teaching Lab: Experiments in Inclusive Design.

hamham-intro

Then after a quiet Monday, things got into full swing on Tuesday morning with a visit to MIT to see the Mass Historical Society sponsored event History and Future of Mass Innovation. The title of this one promised to hit upon some key themes behind Digital-Den’s work, and the panel’s number of interesting and sometimes unexpected insights. The event was videotaped, so hopefully that will be posted sometime soon.

mit-mhs

Then on Wednesday Digital-Den spent the afternoon at Harvard’s Innovation Lab (iLab) sharing our AR & VR demos with the large, high-energy crowd attending their HubWeek event A Cross-disciplinary Exploration of the Emerging Worlds of Virtual and Augmented Reality. We were just one of over 30 ventures that shared the exhibition floor, and this was by far the biggest and most inclusive event representing Boston’s AR/VR eco-system to date. It was impressive and a ton of fun to see everyone in one place at the same time.

hilab2

Those were just some of the biggest highlights of a fantastic week. Then finally, the week ended for us on Saturday with us taking our demos to Gilded Fest which was billed as a “Festival of Music, Technology, and Innovation,” and it was held at Lawn on D beside the Boston Convention Center. While this event was not technically billed as a HubWeek event, and the weather wasn’t particularly cooperative, that didn’t stop us from sharing our demos nor getting a sneak peak of Harmonix’s Music VR for PlayStationVR that isn’t going to be officially released until October 13th.

playstation-2

Yep, that was certainly a high note to end on! 🙂

Busy week!

Next week is HUBweek in Boston, and it is going to be an exciting and busy time!.

You will be able to find Digital-Den doing demos here…
A Cross-disciplinary Exploration of Emerging Worlds of VR & AR
Hosted by Harvard Innovation Lab (i-Lab) as part of the HUBWeek Festival
Wednesday, September 28th. 1:00 – 5:00 pm

We will also be doing some demos here too…
Gilded Fest: Festival of Music, Technology, and Innovation
Held at the Lawn on D
Saturday, October 1st, 10 am – 10:00 pm

Stop by and check out our latest fun toys and content!

Demos & Drinks

Digital-Den had the pleasure of participating in a particularly cool event last Thursday evening when we joined a number of other companies at Tech-in-Motion’s Immersive Tech: Demos and Drinks hosted by Fragomen in downtown Boston. The event featured a particularly nice range of home-grown immersive technology beyond our own low to mid-range VR demos.

Some highlights included Sam Fisher of Audio Fusion showing his Virtual Analog Studio on a Vive, Mike Quan and Robert “Bob” Hughes of Boston360video explaining their 360 degree cameras while Seth Mantye and Calvin J. Moisan of Eagre Games (founded by Myst co-creator Chuck Carter) gave a preview of ZED, an adventure puzzle game set inside the dreams of a dying man. Of course, one of the most popular demos turned out to be Robert Moore of VR Motion Labs giving attendees the chance to try out their 2DOF motion control platform running a sophisticated race simulation. Fun time!

Find out more about the event on Tech-in-Motion’s Facebook and Meetup pages…

Immersive Tech: Demos and Drinks

Thursday, Jul 28, 2016, 6:00 PM

Fragomen
100 High Street Boston, MA

458 Technologists Went

Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) are poised for rapid growth and Tech in Motion Boston is excited to showcase companies that are revolutionizing this sector of the tech industry! Join us Thursday, July 28th at Fragomen’s Headquarters for our classic Demos & Drinks event – Immersive Tech edition! There is no formal agenda for this eve…

Check out this Meetup →