Microsoft, Space and Science, Virtual Reality (VR), VR World

Microsoft develops ‘canetroller’ device for the visually impaired

Researchers at Microsoft have developed a device they call the “canetroller”, a haptic VR controller that works with the HTC Vive headset and tracker to help people with visual impairments navigate virtual environments. The canetroller consists of five parts: a cane controller that the user sweeps and taps as they would a regular cane, a brake mechanism to be worn around the waist, a slider placed between the controller and the break to impart the physical resistance generated by the brake, a voice coil that provides the controller with tactile feedback, and a tracker that monitors the controller’s position. The actual controller is shorter than normal

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Space and Science, Virtual Reality (VR), VR World, Wearables

4-D goggles let virtual objects “touch” users

Researchers from the UC San Diego and San Diego State University have developed a pair of 4-D goggles intended to synchronize the feeling of being touched with visual input from a VR device. The creation is based on the neuroscience team’s new study that maps the regions of the brain dedicated to multisensory integration. The researchers used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to detect oxygenated blood flow–an indicator of neural activity–to different brain areas to detect which ones were activated by a combination of visual and tactile input. Once they had the relevant regions localized, the team was able to gauge what timing of sights

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Biotech, Entertainment, Space and Science, startups, Virtual Reality (VR), VR World

Dreamscape Immersive launches multisensory VR “Alien Zoo”

Location-based startup Dreamscape Immersive debuted its multisensory VR experience “Alien Zoo” on Feb. 7. The experience is open to the public at Westfield Century City in Los Angeles through March 2. Up to six people can visit Dreamscape Immersive’s intergalactic exhibit during one 40 minute time slot. The experience itself takes just 12 minutes, but participants need time to gear up with a VR headset, a backpack, shoe coverings, and sensor-equipped gloves. Each person has a full-body avatar in the “Alien Zoo” environment. To make this possible, Dreamscape Immersive partnered with Artanim, a Swiss research institute developing motion capture technology, which created a body-mapping software that

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Entertainment, Gaming, HTC, Software Programs, Space and Science, Virtual Reality (VR), VR World

Brain-controlled video game to hit VR arcades this year

Boston-based startup Neurable will bring its brain-controlled VR video game Awakening, which the company claims is the first of its kind, to VR arcades around the world by the end of this year. This brain-computer interface (BCI) is made possible by the attachment of an HTC Vive VR headset to a brain-scanning headband equipped with electrodes that pick up neural activity by recording electroencephalography (EEG) signals. When the gamer focuses his gaze on an object in the game, Neurable’s machine learning software recognizes the resulting changes in the EEG signal and turns this into a game command, selecting that object for use. For this to

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aerospace, Business, Companies, News, Space and Science

Virgin Hyperloop One Raises $50m and Names Branson Chair

In October, we wrote about Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Group has invested an undisclosed amount in Hyperloop One, the frontrunner of a number of companies competing to bring Elon Musk’s futuristic vision of a magnetically-propelled high-speed transport system to life. Now, however, it is confirmed that the company got a lifeline in the form of $50m from Russian and Dubai investors. “This investment provides Virgin Hyperloop One with a very robust financial platform for 2018,” chief executive Rob Lloyd said in a statement. “Our focus in 2018 will be on accelerating commercial agreements for both passenger and cargo projects.” The Los Angeles-based start-up also named investor Richard Branson

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aerospace, Artificial Intelligence, Companies, Google, Space and Science

Artificial Intelligence Helps NASA Discover New Planets

The Kepler space telescope was launched in 2009, and, since then has produced more than 30,000 signals measuring light from stars to search for possible planets in distant parts of the galaxy. With a little help of telescopic data, astronomers have found more than 3,500 planets, up from 329 known before the Kepler mission. Now artificial intelligence is helping to find even more. Last week, researchers from Google and University of Texas at Austin Christopher Shallue and Andrew Vanderburg, announced that a machine-learning algorithm had discovered two new planets, Kepler 80g and Kepler 90i. Shallue, a senior software engineer with Google’s research team Google AI, came

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Education, Mobile, News, Smartphones, Space and Science, Tablets, Virtual Reality (VR)

University of Toronto grad student first to use VR in biochemistry research lecture

A University of Toronto graduate student is seemingly the first to utilize virtual reality in helping to present research findings during a biochemistry research lecture. PhD student Aidin Balo and his PhD supervisor Professor Oliver Ernst delivered a lecture to 200 people in 2016 at a conference in Berlin, which had the audience use cardboard-based tools in conjunction with their smartphones to immerse themselves in a VR experience. That experience, which was assisted by Autodesk, helped the audience visualize, in real-time, changes to the eye’s pigment in response to light. The lecture and VR experience were later presented to a larger audience at ShanghaiTech University.

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aerospace, Companies, News, Space and Science, Technology Security

Boeing Wants To Beat Elon Musk on the Way to Mars

It is obvious now that the race to Mars is on, and Boeing’s CEO seems to believe that the megarocket his company is helping to build for NASA will deliver astronauts to the Red Planet before billionaire Elon Musk’s SpaceX. Boeing is the main contractor for the first stage of NASA’s giant Space Launch System , which is designed to launch astronauts on deep-space missions using the space agency’s new Orion spacecraft. (United Launch Alliance, Orbital ATK and Aerojet Rocketdyne are also SLS contractors.) NASA hopes to build a “Deep Space Gateway” near the moon before using SLS and Orion vehicles to send explorers to Mars. The

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Entertainment, News, Space and Science, Virtual Reality (VR), VR World

BBC striving to bring VR to the mainstream via new studio

The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) has announced ambitious plans to expand the scope of their VR content production. The broadcaster says that it has now formed a studio dedicated to virtual reality, enabling it to build upon its previous VR content. The BBC’s previous VR efforts have included We Wait, addressing the global refugee crisis; The Turning Forest, a fairy tale based in a magical forest; and Trafficked, a 360-degree documentary regarding human trafficking in Mexico. Concomitant with this week’s announcement was the wide release of A VR Spacewalk, an experience based on NASA and European Space agency training programs. While A VR Spacewalk had

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Artificial Intelligence, Business, News, Space and Science, Technology Security

Elon Musk: AI Has to be Regulated by Law

Tech executive and billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk took to Twitter Sunday night to say the future potential of robots could be unexpected and potentially very scary and that the lawmakers need to regulate artificial intelligence. In response to a Twitter post of a humanoid robot made by Boston Robotics jumping up on raised surfaces with the caption,that Alex Medina, who does brand design for Vox Media published with the words “we dead,” Musk responded with a warning: “This is nothing. In a few years, that bot will move so fast you’ll need a strobe light to see it. Sweet dreams…” In case you haven’t seen it, Atlas

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Artificial Intelligence, Business, Education, News, Space and Science

Vocktail is now turning your water into wine

Researchers at the National University of Singapore have designed an intelligent cocktail glass which is capable of tricking your senses into thinking that the water you’re drinking is actually whatever you want to drink in the moment. Whether it is tea, cola, wine or beer – this invention by Nimesha Ranasinghe could make it happen. The Vocktail, short for virtual cocktail, sits in a 3D-printed structure, which holds three scent cartridges and three micro airpumps. These release “smell molecules” that should change the drinker’s perception of the flavour of the beverage. For example, a lemon scent will be pumped out for a lemonade drink. On the rim of

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aerospace, Artificial Intelligence, Business, Companies, News, Space and Science

Airbus Coming Forward to a Pilotless Plane

According to Bloomberg, European multinational corporation Airbus is looking to construct both autonomous aircraft and technology that will allow a single pilot to operate commercial jetliners, helping cut costs for carriers. “The more disruptive approach is to say maybe we can reduce the crew needs for our future aircraft,” said chief technology officer Paul Eremenko. He added that they are pursuing single-pilot operation as a potential option and a lot of the technologies needed to make that happen has also put them on the path towards unpiloted operation. “We are increasingly shifting our focus towards these kinds of innovative concepts, in particular for the development

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Artificial Intelligence, Auto, Biotech, Business, Companies, News, Space and Science, Technology Security

Ford and EKSO Partners Up creating bionic people functions

Robots have replaced many U.S. manufacturing workers, but new mechanical exoskeletons being tested by Ford Motor Co (F.N) may help factory workers to function like bionic people, reducing the physical damage of millions of repetitive tasks over many years. The company announced this week that some of its workers are currently testing out a new wearable technology called EksoVest, that essentially allows factory workers to function like bionic people. The vest, which was designed by California-based Ekso Bionics (EKSO), acts as an upper-body support system to help workers increase productivity and reduce fatigue when completing overhead tasks on the job. “Collaboratively working with Ford enabled

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Augmented Reality (AR), Business, Samsung, Space and Science, Virtual Reality (VR), VR World, Wearables

SyncThink Updates Their Eye-Sync Headset For Offline Compatibility

Virtual reality is seemingly constantly up in the news for surprising utilizations outside of gaming, and today’s story on the Eye-Sync headset is no different. The Eye-Sync headset comes from the business SyncThink, which focuses on eye-tracking technology to supplement existing VR implementations. Eye-tracking isn’t a new concept to the world of virtual reality: businesses like Tobii and FOVE have been known for quite a while for working on eye-tracking tech, but usually for gaming implementations. With the introduction of the Eye-Sync, however, eye-tracking has taken a decidedly different direction: the diagnosis of head injury, particularly concussion. Those who have undergone head trauma and suffered

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Companies, Education, News, Space and Science, Virtual Reality (VR), VR World

Virtual Reality Is Making Waves In Healthcare

As VR’s influence continues to be felt across all industries, its rise to prominence in healthcare could be seen by many as a foregone conclusion. After all, medical and scientific fields have long been fans of the latest, greatest computing technologies, especially for working with advanced sets of data. Virtual Reality has two particular applications in healthcare: treatment and training. In the context of treatment, Virtual Reality is being used to relieve pain, to assist in treatments for Parkinson’s, and even to help people work through anxiety and PTSD. Virtual Reality is particularly effective for psychologists who want to have an easier time guiding their

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aerospace, Business, Companies, Entertainment, News, Nvidia, press releases, Space and Science, Virtual Reality (VR), VR World

Nvidia Finally Announced its VR Platform Holodeck

Nvidia announced this week that it has opened early access to Nvidia Holodeck, its intelligent virtual reality platform, for select designers and developers. Nvidia Holodeck brings designers, developers and their customers together from anywhere in the world to discover, build and explore creations in a highly realistic, collaborative and physically simulated VR environment. The platform’s immersive, photoreal experience drives creativity, provides a faster and more accurate understanding of a scene or model, streamlines the review process and reduces the need for physical prototyping. Because of its realistic graphics, accurate real-world physics and multi-user collaboration, Holodeck is already used as a powerful design lab for AI agents

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aerospace, Business, Companies, News, Space and Science, VR World

SpaceX Successfully Launches Another Rocket

Elon Musk’s Space Exploration Technologies Corp. successfully launched another reused rocket from Kennedy Space Center in Florida as it continues its mission to drive down flight costs through refurbishment and reusability. This Falcon 9 booster was first used for a cargo mission to the International Space Station in February. This marks SpaceX’s 18th rocket landing in the company’s history. The launch carried a high-powered communications satellite for customers EchoStar Corp. and SES SA to geostationary transfer orbit. The company’s main goal is to make spaceflight more accessible through reusability, bringing rockets back to Earth after multiple launches, refurbishing them and then launching again. SpaceX is

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Gaming, News, Space and Science

VR Astronaut Training Exists Now. What’s Going On?

This story of VR astronaut training begins, like many others, on Reddit. On February 26th, 2015, the developers of the indie VR title Earthlight unveiled the first prominent screenshots of their game, which blew away audiences due to sheer attention to detail. Overnight, the post became a sensation, and although we didn’t know it yet, the poster woke up the following morning to Reddit PMs from NASA laboratories. To the sufficiently well-versed in U.S. federal agencies, this shouldn’t be too much of a surprise. Primitive Virtual Reality has been used by the U.S. Military and NASA for literal decades. While the earliest forms of their simulations were,

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Breaking, Event, News, Space and Science, Technology Security

See the Highlights of White House Science Fairs

Not long after moving into the Oval office, President Barrack Hussein Obama and his wife Michelle started to change the White House conventions. While the First Lady dedicated what will become an eight year campaign against obesity and fight for better education, the POTUS (President of the United States) pushed for a healthcare reform, and thanks to a series of good and some bad moves (not discussing foreign policy here), U.S. economy is doing better than ever. Still, what both Mr. and Mrs. Obama wanted was to elevate STEM initiatives above all. As Mr. Obama said, “If a NFL football team wins the championship, and receives an invite to the

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Auto, Companies, Gaming, Hardware, Nvidia, Space and Science, VR World

The NVIDIA DRIVE PX Gets ATTT Award of Excellence

The NVIDIA PX autonomous car development platform recently received the Award of Excellence in the Autonomous Driving/AI division. The accolades were handed earlier this week at the 7th Automotive Telecommunication Technology Tokyo exhibition, marking another achievement. It also showcases how the car industry is taking bigger and bigger steps towards autonomous driving. The award is the latest recognition of the key role GPUs – and the AI renaissance sparked by GPU-powered deep learning techniques – are playing as automakers race to offer more sophisticated capabilities. “With NVIDIA’s chips coming into the car industry, autonomous driving has suddenly become a reality,” said Takeshi Natsuno, head of the awards committee

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