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…


It has been a strange week full of ups and downs. Just one of the downs, although by no means the worst, was attending an event where I thought I was going to come back with some fantastic, juicy new tidbits to share about what’s hot in “frontier technologies” like AR/VR. Sadly, what actually happened was it became abysmally apparent how drastic the gap is between what’s already possible, as in things as basic as what I share on Cosma 3D, and what even “experts” seem to be aware of right now. There was very little overlap. Needless to say, this does not bode well for the prospects of the VR/AR industry.

On the other hand, a key new good development this week was that Mark Zuckerberg finally started to show-off why he spent that $2bn on Oculus. It was not nearly as frivolous nor clueless as some people would have you believe. Specifically, Facebook made a splash by saying that they are now going to feature 360-degree video ads on Facebook. The fact they would be doing this has been known for awhile, but now they ARE actually doing it. Here are a few articles about the move.

Facebook Unleashes VR-Style 360 Videos For Ads And iOS (Josh Constine, Tech Crunch)
See the First 360-Degree Video Ads on Facebook (Tim Peterson, Advertising Age)
AT&T, Samsung, Nestle Among Brands Test New Format

Here is an excellent video that nicely recaps where things are so far.

Facebook Brings 360-degree Videos to iPhone and Gear VR

Okay, ironically, the video says there are no ads on the Gear VR — that is true. They are only on Facebook news feeds (for now, anyway). Here is a web page about this new 360-degree ad feature: 360 Video (Facebook).

So that’s great. You can now see 360-degree ads on your Facebook news feed. I’m pretty sure most of you are NOT celebrating this latest development. Then again, look more carefully and you will notice that YOU can also create and publish your own 360-degree videos. As far as the purposes of this site go, the later is by far the more important thing, because to go along with the new ability to publish your 360-degree videos (evil ads or otherwise), Facebook just published some helpful resources about how to get started making your own 360-degree videos. Bravo!
Learning Resources: Get started with 360 Video today (Facebook)
Best Practices for Immersive Storytelling (Chris Milk and Aaron Koblin, Facebook) (pdf)
360 Video Upload Guide (Facebook) (pdf)

There you have it. It is pretty much possible to use almost any mobile phone to record and publish 360-degree photos and videos directly to both YouTube and Facebook fully tagged with searchable metadata like geo-codes, names, dates and what-not. These videos will be able to be seen on Google Cardboard and/or Gear VR. Furthermore, the process is so simple that school kids can do it (and probably have been using their phones to share Photo Spheres and related media on Google Street View for over a year or so already).

The resources Facebook posted, as well as seeing a “need” based on my unfortunate experiences at the aforementioned event, led me to finally post a long overdue page on Cosma 3D about DIY 3D/360/VR photos and videos.

Please enjoy and, by all means, share this page!


If you download the current version of the New Computer Museum, Virtual Edition, you will quickly see that it is definitely a “draft.” There are a lot of “Under Construction” signs and only half of the galleries are there yet. The good news is that there will be a new, more robust version published in late November. In the meantime, we are looking for reviewers. If you are interested, please let us know by email at


Digital Den developed and maintains Cosma 3D, an extensive catalog of the best 3D and VR content available, and we also have a collection of the latest VR headsets to view it. Now we will bring that collection and our expertise to one of your events!

You’re going to be hearing a lot about 3D and VR over the next few months. We can help you learn what it is all about, navigate the sometimes confusing and competing options, and then get you set up to hit the ground running with all of the new 3D and VR content!   Here’s just a sample of what we can bring to you.

We can also tell you how to get set up so that you, or your students, can author your own 3D and VR media. Check out our own Cosma 3D Experience Gallery to get a better sense of all of the content, hardware and expertise that we can share with you.

Please contact us if you would like Digital Den to bring our demonstrations of our applications and exhibits to one of your upcoming events!


NEW Computer Museum VR Ed. Release!

Sunday, October 18, 2015
1:00 PM to 2:00 PM
50 Broadway, Cambridge, MA

The “virtual edition” of the NEW Computer Museum will be published on Sunday, October 18th. Come see a demo and provide feedback for future releases of both the virtual and “potential” real life editions. RSVP at the New Computer Museum Meetup

Welcome Area, New Computer Museum v. 1.5

Welcome Area, New Computer Museum v. 1.5

The goal of the “Virtual Reality Edition” of the New Computer Museum is twofold. It demonstrates the vision of what the “real” New Computer Museum has the potential to become, and it also stands on its own as a valuable educational experience for use in classrooms. You can see more screen shots of the virtual exhibits on the New Computer Museum home page.


Dear Digital Den/NEW Computer Museum Supporters,

Here is the latest news about “the journey”…

“The Party”
Digital Den hosted a party on October 20th, and it was a great success!

For those of you who could not be there…
Mark Micheli made a fantastic video that captured the spirit of the event:
Rus Gant took some beautiful photos available on Digital Den’s site:
Ken Gagne also posted an excellent review and photos on his Apple II Bits Blog:

Thank you so much to everyone who came out to support the cause!

Special thanks to everyone who provided and supported the exhibits…
Dan Berman, Michael Thompson and Harlan Hersey ,
Rhode Island Computer Museum
Adam Rosen, Mac Museum
Bryan Harwell, Replay’D, Nintendo
Ian King, Living Computer Museum, Posters
Rus Gant, Oculus Rift
William Tremblay, Vintage VR System
William German, Core Memory
Neil Carlson, Digital Den, General, XBox and Games
Mark Micheli, Digital Den, Photography
Sminu Mary Paul, Digital Den, Welcome Table
Andrew Flanagan, Digital Den, Interfaces Exhibit

NEW Computer Museum
The big news that was announced at the event was that, in addition to
continuing to create fun exhibits and events, Digital Den will support an
initiative to found an organization named the NEW Computer Museum.

Here is a very proto-web site that will be used to support that initiative:

NEW Computer Museum Meetup, Group & Event
There is now a brand new “Meetup” group complete with an event scheduled.
Please join and RSVP ASAP:

Digital-Den/NEW Computer Museum
Brunch Meetup/Update, Saturday, November 16th, 11 am – 1 pm
Asgard Irish Pub, 11 am – noon’ish
350 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge
Digital Den@ Met Storage, noon’ish – 1pm
134 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge

Great Story
There has been quite a bit of media attention over the last few months.
You can find links to the best coverage on the Digital Den web site, but I would like to draw special attention to a great article written by Dave Brooks of the Nashua Telegraph. He really got it right, and I am grateful!

DEC-heads and ‘Wang gang’ members, take note: A computer museum’s in the works (David Brooks, Nashua Telegraph)

Ok, so that’s about it for now. As always, please feel free to contact me with ideas, concerns or just general questions. One more time, thank you to everyone for your help and support!