SLAM – markerless tracking for AR

Simultaneous Localization and Mapping is a series of complex computations and algorithms which use sensor data to construct a map of an unknown environment while using it at the same time to identify where it is located. This of course is a chicken-and-egg type problem and in order for SLAM to work the technology needs to create a pre-existing map of its surroundings and then orient itself within this map to refine it.


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Budget 360° Video Cams Are Almost Here

Two low-cost 360° cameras are almost shipping, assuming you purchased them over a year ago during their Kickstarter campaigns. the Bubl and Giroptic cameras are both small enough to be handheld, feature internal image stitching and live streaming, and both are under $1000.


The elegantly minimal Bublcam uses 4 lenses to capture full spherical video to slightly less than 1080p at 30 fps. The website lists the retail price at $799.


The pear-shaped Giroptic 360cam won’t win any beauty contests (reminds me of Cookie Puss™ the bug-eyed ice cream cake from outer space) but may be friendlier to use, having an ergonomic orientation that invites it being held in the palm of your hand. With only 3 lenses it has blind spots (about 300° vertical), but swappable battery/base-mounts provide an ethernet connection or interestingly a light socket connection. The website lists the retail at $499.

Both cameras completed their Kickstarter funding in 2014. The Bublcam should ship to backers before the end of the year, while the 360cam may ship in the first months of 2016.

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GONE – a serialized VR thriller

Virtual Reality Production by WEVR, Produced by Skybound Entertainment for Samsung Milk VR.

A serialized virtual reality thriller, GONE centers on Meredith Clover, a mother consumed with the search for her missing daughter. Nine-year-old Emilia Clover vanished impossibly, in broad daylight, before a dozen baffled useless witnesses. Navigating a complicated trail of increasingly surreal clues and her own daughter’s closely guarded secrets, Meredith discovers that her Emilia is much more than simply gone.

Breaking new ground in virtual reality, GONE will immerse visitors in the mystery, allowing users to navigate multiple points of view within environments. Visitors won’t solve the mystery of GONE without exploring all of its darker corners.

GONE is created by author, writer, and director JT Petty known for his work across mediums including SPLINTER CELL, THE BURROWERS, and OUTLAST. The series is produced for Samsung Milk VR, a premium virtual reality content service, by Skybound Entertainment’s David Alpert, Executive Producer of AMC’s THE WALKING DEAD franchise and Cinemax’s upcoming exorcism series, OUTCAST.
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Jaunt NEO – 360 Camera

Palo Alto startup Jaunt teases with renders of their 360° cinema camera codenamed “NEO”. The company produces 360° content including a Paul McCartney concert available for ios, a handful of mock “movie trailers” aimed at mainstream audiences, and various corporate and retail tie-ins with Quantas Airlines, North Face, and Elle Magazine. They even boast hipster actor Jared Leto on their Board of Advisers.

While prototypes of their capture system can be seen on their website, these spooky teaser renders of their “5th generation” camera will have to suffice. The company promises stereoscopic, light field, and hdr capture.

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Project Sansar – VR from the makers of Second Life


“Slated for general availability in 2016, Project Sansar will democratize virtual reality as a creative medium. It will empower people to easily create, share, and monetize their own multi-user, interactive virtual experiences, without requiring engineering resources. The platform will enable professional-level quality and performance with exceptional visual fidelity, 3D audio, and physics simulation. Experiences created with Project Sansar will be optimized for VR headsets like the Oculus Rift, but also accessible via PCs and (at consumer launch) mobile devices. Users can explore and socialize within Project Sansar experiences through advanced expressive avatars, using text and voice chat. Continue reading “Project Sansar – VR from the makers of Second Life”