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What Makes This “Real”? Virtual Reality in Tech

junio 11, 2015

Two major players, Google and Facebook, are working to create virtual reality tools that can bring VR experiences to the general population. Google’s VR platform, Google Cardboad, uses a cardboard cutout to mount your phone and form a headset. Carboard was first introduced at the 2014 Google I/O developers conference for Android devices and has since been adopted by more than a million users. Meanwhile in 2014, Facebook acquired Oculus, a company working to develop head-mounted VR displays.

Cardboad (left) and an Oculus development kit (right)

Google-Cardboard-VR-headsetmaxresdefault

(images: thewestsidestory.net and http://www.youtube.com)

At the Google I/O 2015 developer conference, members of the Cardboard development team presented the tool’s various potentials, touching on the use of Cardboard in education, journalism, and sales. They also discussed the less practical application of making it easier for people to have difficult or even impossible experiences like flying or freefalling.

Cardboard screenshot

unnamed

(image: http://www.play.google.com)

In comparison, at the 2015 F8 Facebook Developer Conference, the VR presentation launched into a talk about our definitions of “real”. Michael Abrash, chief scientist at Oculus, gave a thought-provoking presentation about how our “realities” are formed by input from all of our sensory receptors – vision, hearing, smell, taste, etc. – and are therefore more flexible than we may have previously thought.

Oculus Rift screenshot

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(image: http://www.theriftarcade.com)

Google is challenging developers to begin incorporating Cardboard into their models and apps. With the ability to order Cardboard from a manufacturer or even build their own, hundreds of developers are already building virtual experiences for Cardboard. Facebook and Oculus also have a growing developer community. However, in his talk, Abrash focused more on the need to improve the mechanics of VR itself and less on the ways in which app developers can incorporate the tool into their businesses. He pointed out that we still have a lot to learn about tracking the human body (our own and that of others) and incorporating the outside world into the VR experience. We still lack a deep understanding of many factors that will ultimately be very important to VR.

Despite this fact, VR is on its way. Google, in particular, has hit the ground running in order to bring VR to the general public. These new technologies suggest that the future holds the ability to have any experience with anyone in any location at any time. At that point, what will our realities be?

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Year End Tech Review Series: Startups

enero 20, 2015

SharkTank Demos – Silicon Valley

December 19th, 2014

Ruby Skye | San Francisco

This was an amazing evening, with lots of great pitches. These people are creative,the event was just a place to hang out and find out about the newest industry trends and meet some awesome people.

The format was a contest for some of the top Silicon Valley fundable startups. The judges were some of the most well known investors, such as: Micro Ventures, Nobility ventures ( See full list below). The winner of the evening received a $100K check issued by one of the judging investor firms.

Below are the winners of the contest:
1. MOTOCHIC

The coolest pitch was Debra Chin’s, the founder of MotoChic, which was the winner of a $100k investment fund as well.  Debra’s convertible every day stylish gear is form fitting, fashionable and functional, and is great for women on the move.  Debra’s model rocked as well. The model did a very SEXY presentation of the bag.  Debra is my kind of gal for sure: easygoing and cool as a cucumber! Here is Debra’s kickstarter page: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1980480960/motochic-convertible-backpack-for-work-play-and-ev.

2. SLAPS

Second runner up was SLAPS, slang for satin-lined caps.  This one really speaks to the current movement toward simplicity & authenticity.  Back to basics BABY!  The company was launched in early 2014 by Grace Eleyae and her siblings Emmanuel and Angel.  Created and founded by Grace and Angel Eleyae, a SLAP is not only a stylish beanie, but it protects hair too. The cap comes in different colors, and the idea sprouted when Grace Eleyae wanted a satin cap she could wear all the time, not just at night. Read more here:  http://www.theclause.org/2014/11/new-start-up-slaps-away-competition/.
3. DISCOVERLY
Discoverly was the third runner up among the pitches.  It is a tool to navigate and employ your social data. Basically, using social to work, enabling users to navigate and employ their social data. Apparently, the platform hooks up employers with the right kind of recruits, and the data is shared anonymously.  Theodore Summe is the founder & CEO of this startup.  Good idea but HOT?  I would say, “no”, in my opinion.  Just my opinion….
4. HEDGE SPA
Think the name of this startup is super cool and relevant.  How about Hedge Spa as the name!  Bernard Lee is the founder and CEO of this very B2B company, and the company seems to be doing just fine, and it seems to be a niche, attracting certain group of Client-Tel, regardless of the type of outreach (again, my opinion).  But, Dr. Lee wants more capital.  Don’t we all!! Read more at: http://hedgespa.com/.
5. COLATRIS
Colatris was a pitch done by Albert Eloya. Josh Deffibaugh and Albert Eloya, the founders, knew that there was a need for a mobile translator so they were determined to help companies reach an international audience with minimal effort and cost.  The product helps mobile developers translate their apps for international rollouts.  Read more here: http://www.geekwire.com/2014/colatris/.
MORE CONTESTANTS…
Darla Brown has a story, and was there to raise money for producing a movie from her book, “52 weeks”.  Darla is determined to raise awareness on Domestic Violence issue.. “52 Weeks” is a riveting story about a woman who is a co-dependent in an abusive relationship.
The plot is based in the Bay Area. In short, the main character ends up getting pregnant by a man that her many premonitions had warned her not to get involved with. One thing leads to another, her love life turns sour, and she goes from being the object of his affection to what the hood calls a “bug-a-boo” in a short amount of time, leading the main character to fight for the respect that she feels she deserves.
The complete list of startups follows below:
Oblako, Eze Products, Inc., Bink Inc., SmartPhoneRecords LLC, Motochic Grear, EmpInfo, Colatris, Discoverly, Hedge Spa, Sugar Brown Media Productions.
We also had a fantastic after party at this very cozy and amazing restaurant called Pachamama Raw.  This Bolivian couple know how to cook healthful food that is super tasty and presents, let’s say flair, glamour, music and everything else that is great. .  Just check them out at http://pachamamaraw.com.  This place has a story ( Monroe/Dimaggio wedding, JFK visits and a famous speakeasy in San Francisco.  Read their story, and again, don’t forget to try them out.
INVESTORS:
Micro Ventures (Bill Clark), c (Andrew Bartels), SF Angels Group (Manny Fernandez), Bay Angels (Roger King, Gary Starr) Voivoda Ventures ( Peter Nedyalkov), Double Rock Venture Capital (Suraj K. Rajwani), Giovanni Tripodi (Angel), Eric Lagier (Angel), Anna Dvornikova (Angel Tech venture), Manu Das ( Angel ), Peter Bloom (Angel), Matt Bornstein  (Investor), Blumberg Capital, Don Hemingway Angel Search, Bhrigu Raj Jhabua (Angel), Valery Kondruk (Angel), Axel Schultz (Angel) and Mario Marinucci (Angel
MORE PHOTOS:

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