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Connections - augmented/virtual reality

Intel’s venture capital firm to invest $38 million in startups

Intel Capital is investing $38 million in a dozen startups focused on autonomous machines, data and connectivity, sports and health, and virtual reality. One of the robotics firms, Chronocam, is creating computer vision sensors and systems that are like the biological human eye. Embodied is making socially assistive robots while Perrone Robotics is developing a software platform for autonomous vehicles and robots. Among the four startups focused on data and connectivity, two are China-based: Eazytec which provides IoT technologies for monitoring the water and air in China and Grand Chip Microelectronics which offers connectivity solutions for WLAN, Wi-Fi, cellular and IoT. The two others are Paxata, which is working on a business information platform that turns raw data into meaningful information for enterprise and IT users and StealthMine, which is securing data encryption for enterprise applications. Sports and health firms Cubeworks, Kinduct and L4Connect are developing tiny millimeter-sized wireless sensors, a data and analytics platform, and dashboards respectively. Virtual reality startup Dysonics is working on solutions that will enable people to capture 360-degree sounds for live VR experiences. Lastly, InContext Solutions is helping manufacturers and retailers simulate their products and services in virtual reality.

Key Takeaway: 

Intel Capital, Intel’s venture capital firm, is investing $38 million in 12 startups focused on robotics, IoT connectivity and data analytics, sports, health and wellness, as well as virtual reality, with technologies that are ground-breaking and could be useful for various customer markets such as the enterprise, health and wellness organizations.

Publication: 
Publication Date: 
October 24, 2016

Facebook demonstrates social chats in virtual reality

In a demonstration Thursday, Facebook's CEO Mark Zuckerberg showed off the new live virtual reality chat for Oculus Rift which allows people to connect with friends and family in a virtual environment. With Oculus Avatar, users will be able to create digital avatars of themselves, and the Oculus Touch controller can enable them to display facial expressions such as being surprised, happy or confused. While that feature is pulled off with a controller for now, the vision is to use gestural tracking and voice analysis in the future. The VR environment can also change backgrounds to real world locations like the home or the office. With Parties and Rooms, avatars can play cards, chess and fence as well as watch videos together, listen to music or hang out. Facebook's demonstration shows that advancements in VR can also transform the social experience, in addition to gaming.

Key Takeaway: 

Facebook live demoed a new software on Oculus platform, with features such as Avatar, Parties and Rooms that enable people to create avatars and play activities with friends through virtual reality, which could transform the way people interact with each other.

Publication: 
Publication Date: 
October 6, 2016

Microsoft and Intel hire playwrights to improve AI and mixed reality

At Microsoft, a team of writers that include playwrights, poets and novelists develop lines for the company's AI Cortana to give her character and a consistent voice. These writers ensure that Cortana does not sound like a machine nor too human but an artificial intelligence. While steering clear on divisive topics such as politics, the team gave Cortana a favorite movie (Star Trek) since users were interested in knowing it. Elsewhere, Intel has also hired a playwright to create mixed reality experiences for the company. Intel is developing a technology where a digital fish consumes 3G and Wi-Fi waves that are visible to the user. The playwright is also a collaborator with Google’s Creative Labs and other technology projects.

Key Takeaway: 

Microsoft has professional writers that include novelists and playwrights to give artificial intelligence Cortana a human-like character and voice while Intel has hired a playwright to create a mixed reality environment for users.

Publication: 
Publication Date: 
September 19, 2016

5 billion viewers watched the Olympics 2016

Around 5 billion people watched the Olympics this year on their digital screens, surpassing the online audiences of the previous Olympic events. More than 2 billion minutes (33 million hours) were watched in the US in the first 10 days of the games. In China, 7.5 million streams were viewed. Social media was a big factor to the large turnout of audiences online. Almost a third of Snapchat's daily active users viewed Olympics-related content on the social media site, which includes video clips on Live Stories. The company showed footage from the games every 24 hours in partnership with broadcasters from seven countries including the US, UK and Brazil as well as content from the crowds. Virtual reality streaming was also popular in this year's games and may have greater potential in the 2020 Olympics which will be held in Tokyo.

Key Takeaway: 

Online audiences during the recent Olympics 2016 reached 5 billion viewers worldwide, more than the last two Olympics events, with social media and virtual reality content a popular hit among viewers.

Publication: 
Publication Date: 
August 30, 2016

How virtual reality will transform businesses

Business and technology experts predict virtual reality will transform the business environment. Virtual reality can let customers experience and interact with a product before buying. It can also be used to train employees and surgeons for difficult tasks. Other uses include taking stock of inventory and hosting virtual conferences. As the price drops and features become more powerful, expect virtual reality to be adopted by more companies. In the future, better sensors will enable higher quality images, more accurate motion detection, and lighter and more affordable headsets. Lightweight materials such as carbon fiber could also be incorporated and smart objects integrated to create different applications.

Key Takeaway: 

Pundits predict increased adoption of virtual reality among businesses, changing how organizations market their products, train employees, conduct events, manufacture products and more.

Transforming Business Models: 
Publication: 
Publication Date: 
August 22, 2016

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