New Toys!

We are just past the season for getting toys, and boy did we do that — we added a bunch of cool new toys to our “Pop-up Lab” that will be available to play with during our events and workshops. Here are the highlights of what we have recently added to the collection…

“VR Ready” MSI Laptop (Core i7 6700HQ, 2.60 GHz, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060, 16 GB)

HTC Vive (Set up for room scale VR)

Newest Model of Samsung Gear VR

Ricoh Theta S 360° Camera

Watch for another round of purchases this quarter that will most likely include a TPCast Wireless attachment and trackers for the Vive, a Google Daydream as well as an AR headset (Microsoft Hololens or Meta). Then there will also be a lot of new development software and in-house applications to share. Please stay tuned…


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 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,

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…

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!

Coming soon…

It’s been looking pretty quiet lately, but looks can be deceptive. Sometimes when it looks the quietest is when the most is going on behind the scenes. This is one of those times.

It is too early to share details, but watch for news about these things soon!
♦ Public events with VR demos in May and June.
♦ A new version of an old project will be released in June.
♦ Then there is that “real life” move that is in progress…

Please stay tuned… -Mary

Coming soon…

Note: This post was updated the day after the Oculus Rift was released.

As mentioned in the last post, 2016 is billed as the year that Virtual Reality (VR) will finally take off, and it just might do it. As predicted, the fun kicked-off with the buzz out of the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas this week.

Facebook backed Oculus created a frenzy by accepting pre-orders of the Consumer Edition of the Oculus Rift on Wednesday, January 6th. It turns out that it costs $599, and the first shipments will be March 28. Oculus says that it will also be available in “limited locations at select retailers” starting in April. This means that will still see it under the Coming Soon category on our Cosma 3D site. Note that this edition will not include the much touted “Oculus Touch Controllers.” That will not be available until later this year, but to soften the blow, they are bundling the games EVE: Valkyrie and Lucky’s Tale.

The $599 price tag was much higher than most fans expected, so it caused a backlash. Here are two articles that appeared the morning after pre-orders began.
“No More Ballparks” — Oculus’ Palmer Luckey Admits Screwing Up Rift Price-Point Messaging (Natasha Lomas, Tech Crunch)
The Oculus Rift’s Problem Isn’t Price—It’s Perfection (Dina Litovsky, Wired)

HTC Vive has also just released their next developer version called the Vive Pre. It is creating quite the buzz in tech-land. Here’s a nice, “relatively” accurate update on the state of VR products today. My tiny quibble with it is that I think they played the HTC Vive down a bit too much at the end.

Oculus Rift Versus HTC Vive: The VR Headset Battle (Bloomberg Business)

It is exciting to hear about all that is happening, but on the other hand it is frustrating that there’s so much hype, closed door demos for developers and the press as well as other types of activities that do not involve products and content that are readily available to typical consumers right now. We are focused on overcoming that frustration by focusing on what is already available and possible in the here and now.

That being said, it is also valuable to know what’s going to be coming just over the horizon, so Cosma 3Ds Coming Soon and Platforms pages have just been completely updated. This is where you can find information about what you can look forward to seeing in the “relatively” near future (roughly in the order you can expect to see them). Enjoy!

Oculus Rift (Oculus VR, Facebook)
Vive (HTC, Steam VR)
PlayStation VR, fka Project Morpheus (Sony)
Hololens (Microsoft)
Magic Leap (Magic Leap, Google)

Of course, we’ll be trying to get our hands on as many of these as we can as fast as possible, and then bring them to you through our events. Please stay tuned…

More info.
Virtual Reality In CES 2016 Spotlight As Sony, HTC And Facebook’s Oculus Show Off VR Gear, Content (Salvador Rodriguez, International Business Times)
Hands-On with New HTC Vive vs. Oculus Rift at CES 2016 (Steve Burke, Gamers Nexus)
HTC Vive VS Oculus Rift VS PlayStation VR: release date, price, specs and games (Adam Shepherd, IT Pro)
How 2016 will be the start of your virtual-reality future (Scott Stein, CNET)
This is the best analogy we’ve ever read about the future of virtual reality (Jillian D’Onfro,

Fond farewell

I had a major dilemma back in the winter of 2012/2013 when I started to think about making my computer hardware and software collection publicly accessible — where to do it? I definitely didn’t want to invite the general public into my home, so I started to look into renting. I quickly found out that things had changed a lot since the days when I had my computer business in Harvard Square (Studio-E, 1994-1997). The commercial rents in Cambridge have become absolutely mind-blowing — they are literally some of the highest in the world. There was no way I could rationalize paying so much for such a tiny, non-profit mission of making some old computers available to the public for free.

Then one day I was walking by Metropolitan Storage. It was a place that had become near and dear to my heart over the years as I had turned to them again and again for stashing my stuff — I had come to think of them as one gigantic, practically boundless “room of requirement.” My ever expanding collection of computing history had made its way there more than once over the 20 years since I had my business. I had an “aha moment,” walked in and struck a deal. The folks at Metropolitan Storage were absolutely fabulous about helping me get set up. They even painted and wired a space right inside the main door, and they were happy to guide anyone who came looking for me to my new space that I decided to dub “Digital Den.”

metropolitan-outside all-best

One of my visitors included Hiawatha Bray from the Boston Globe who wrote this article about my new adventure that debuted on the front page of the business section of a Sunday edition. Hiawatha even included a picture of Bill Gates visiting the old computer museum in Boston!
A passion to preserve the digital past (Hiawatha Bray, Boston Globe, August 31, 2013)

The Globe also sent a reporter to shoot a video to go with the story, and the video does a great job of showing the space that the team at Metropolitan Storage custom built for me.
Cambridge museum aims to preserve digital history (Boston Globe Video)

I eventually learned that I was not alone in my quirky choice — I had other neighbors that had also found some interesting, non-traditional uses for their self-storage units. My favorite co-inhabitant was a woman who had worked with the team at Metropolitan Storage to construct a fantasy closet to house her massive collection of clothes. There was also another unit right next door to mine that had a really fantastic, huge custom built study.

Over time I decided that I wasn’t getting enough traffic from the public to rationalize the expense, so I decided to evolve to a “pop-up” model. It made me sad, but I moved my collection back home and let go of my space. I figured I might get another space someday, maybe shift clothes instead of computers, go for a closet space, too …

Alas, that isn’t going to happen after all. Early on in my adventure I learned that MIT had actually bought Metropolitan Storage’s property years ago, and so they could choose to use it for something else someday. Sadly, I learned over the summer that MIT has decided to do just that. Many of us in Cambridge have been talking about it for months — where in the world is all that stuff going to go? What are they going to find in those rooms? A dorm, really? How are they going to do that!?! But most of all, what are all of us Cantabrigians going to do without our wonderful, perennial “rooms of requirement?”

Then last weekend the Boston Globe ran a story about the closing, and they included a video capturing the beautiful custom spaces my former neighbors are giving up. It is a bitter-sweet tribute to what is being lost, and it is also sad that only now is everyone seeing the wonderful things that the team at Metropolitan Storage had been doing for its tenants.
A housing boom claims warehouse full of home trappings (Tim Logan, Boston Globe)

Be sure to check out the story and the video. It really is a tribute to an irreplaceable institution that is going to be sorely missed! So long Metropolitan!

Gift Shop!

There is a new version of the New Computer Museum, Virtual Edition!

New Computer Museum v.1.5 (, 57 mb, Google Drive, 11/25/15)

You will find a number of new galleries and objects in this version.
There are more details and instructions in the online Guide.

This version even has a Gift Shop with some geeky computer gift ideas!
Even if you don’t download the app, you can see them on the web.

Disclaimer: These are just some fun ideas — the New Computer Museum
gets no proceeds and makes no guarantees about the products.

Enjoy & Cheers!
The Digital Den Team