Embodied Cognition Experiments with EleVR’s Math Museums & Hyperbolic Space

I believe that the principle of Embodied Cognition is probably one of the most significant and important concepts to understand about virtual reality. Cognitive science researchers have been connecting the dots the importance of our bodies when it comes to perception, the subjective construction of reality, and how we process and think about information. We…

Tobii Recommends Explicit Consent for Recording Eye Tracking Data

The eye tracking company Tobii had some VR demos that they were showing on the GDC Expo Hall floor as well as within Valve’s booth. They were primarily focusing on the new user interaction paradigms that are made available by using eye gazing to select specific objects, direct action, but also locomotion determined by eye…

Deepening Social Presence with SMI Eye Tracking

At GDC this year, SensoMotoric Instruments (SMI) showed a couple of new eye tracking demos at Valve’s booth. They added eye tracking to avatars in the social VR experiences of Pluto VR and Rec Room, which provided an amazing boost to the social presence within these experience. There are so many subtle body language cues…

Using VR as a Tool to Cultivate Compassion with Condition One

Danfung Dennis of Condition One has an ambitious vision for the potential of virtual reality, and it’s one of the most radical ones that I’ve come across. He believes that VR can be used as a tool to cultivate compassion through having an embodied experience of witnessing suffering within VR. He says that the process…

HTC’s Alvin Graylin on What’s Happening in China & VR

Alvin Wang Graylin is the China President of Vive at HTC, and I had a chance to talk with him at CES this year about what’s happening in China. He provided me with a lot of cultural context, which includes support from the highest levels of Chinese Government to invest in companies working on emerging…

‘Life of Us’: An Embodied & Social Story of Human Evolution

Within premiered their first real-time rendered, interactive experience at Sundance New Frontier this year with Life of Us, which is the story of life on the planet as told through embodying a series of characters who are evolving into humans. The experience is somewhere between a film and game, and ends up feeling much like…

Bringing Conversational Gameplay & Interactive Narrative to ‘Starship Commander’

Developer Human Interact announced this past week that they are collaborating with Microsoft’s Cognitive Services in order to power the conversational interface behind their Choose-Your-Own-Adventure, interactive narrative title named Starship Commander. They’re using Microsoft’s Custom Recognition Intelligent Service (CRIS) as the speech recognition engine, and then Microsoft’s Language Understanding Intelligent Service (LUIS) in order to translate…

United Nations’ Creative Director on VR as the Ultimate Empathy Machine

Gabo Arora founded the United Nations VR, and has directed some of the more well-known VR empathy experiences starting with Clouds Over Sidra in December 2014 in collaboration with Chris Milk’s VR production house Within. Milk first showed Clouds Over Sidra during Sundance 2015, and featured it prominently in his VR as the Ultimate Empathy Machine TED talk…

Developer Owlchemy Labs Talks Keys to Early VR Indie Success

Owlchemy Labs recently announced that Job Simulator has grossed over $3 million, making it one of the most successful indie VR titles to date, and so it’s worth reflecting on some of the design principles of agency and plausibility that have proven to be some of the key affordances of the virtual reality medium. I…

Quantifying Touch on 15 Dimensions with SynTouch

SynTouch has created a system that can quantify the sense of touch on fifteen different dimensions called the SynTouch Standard, and they’re one of the most impressive haptic start-ups that I’ve seen so far. SynTouch isn’t creating haptic displays per se, but they are capturing the data that will vital for other VR haptic companies…

The Future of VR Arcades with VRsenal

HTC announced the Vive Tracker at CES this year, which will enable a range of VR peripherals that are targeted to from consumers to high-end virtual reality arcades. One of the higher-end peripherals that debuted was VRsenal’s VR-15, which has built-in haptics and the same weight distribution as a M-15 and AR-15. I had a…

Tricking the Brain is the Only Way to Achieve a Total Haptics Solution

Deep in the basement of the Sands Expo Hall at CES was an area of emerging technologies called Eureka Park, which had a number of VR start-ups hoping to connect with suppliers, manufacturers, investors, or media in order to launch a product or idea. There was an early-stage haptic start-up called Go Touch VR showing…

OSSIC CEO on Why the Future of Music is Immersive & Interactive

OSSIC debuted their latest OSSIC X headphone prototype at CES this year with one of the best immersive audio demos that I’ve heard yet. OSSIC CEO Jason Riggs told me that their headphones do a dynamic calibration of your ears in order to render out near-field audio that is customized to your anatomy, and they…

HTC Vive GM on the New Vive Tracker & Privacy in VR

The most significant VR announcement from CES 2017 was the Vive Tracker, a modular Lighthouse-tracked ‘puck’ attachment that will enable users to track additional objects within VR experiences. It has the potential to drive a lot of new innovative applications and gameplay for consumers, to kickstart a lot more mixed reality livestreams, but also grow…

Brain-Controlled VR Experiences: Challenges & Potentials

When I attended the Experiential Technology Conference in May 2016, I heard from a number of commercial off-the-shelf brain-control interface manufacturers that their systems would not natively work with VR headsets because there are some critical portions on the head that are occluded by VR headset straps. Companies like Mindmaze VR are building in integrated…

Making VR Experiences Wheelchair Accessible

Brian Van Buren is a narrative designer at Tomorrow Today Labs, and he’s also a wheelchair user who has been evangelizing how to make virtual reality experiences more accessible. I had a chance to catch up with him at the Intel Buzz Workshop in June where we talked about some of his accessibility recommendations to…