Posts tagged with "Virtual Reality"

Cryptograph platform announced by the 360 MAGAZINE.

The next decade’s most disruptive technology

Virtual reality has already had a major impact in a range of different industries. IDTechEx predicts in its recent market research reportthat this technology will grow to $8Bn by 2030. One way that virtual reality has been used is in planning. VR technologies have recently been shown by an article in the Financial Times to be used by the City of London Corporation to help with planning decisions for future office areas. Virtual reality will be a key technology of the next decade, with IDTechEx predicting that the augmented and virtual reality market will grow to over $30Bn by 2030.

The City of London collaboration was between the City of London Corporation, Innovate UK, New London Architecture (NLA) and VU.CITY. The level of detail captured by the project is down to a 2cm accuracy in a nearly 3km square area. This is a first for an area of this size, and aims to help planners realize what “plans offer in terms of space, enhancement of the public realm and to the City,” according to Alastair Moss, Chair of the Planning and Transportation Committee at the City of London Corporation. The ability to plan cities with VR technology will allow for more highly advanced urban planning solutions.

Virtual, augmented and mixed reality products have continued to receive high levels of funding and investment during the 2010 decade. This is predicted to continue into the next decade. IDTechExforecasts that the AR/VR and MR to be over $30Bn by 2030. This market will impact many different industries and its use cases wide-reaching and the technology will continue to innovate and accelerate innovation in these industries.

IDTechEx has a range of market research reports covering virtual reality, augmented reality, and mixed reality products. Part of the wearables portfolio, the parent report “Augmented, Mixed and Virtual Reality 2020-2030” and the detailed technology analysis of “Optics and Displays in AR, VR and MR 2020-2030: Technologies, Players and Markets” provide the key insights and deep analysis of this innovative technology for the next decade.  The detailed market research report “Augmented, Mixed and Virtual Reality 2020-2030” from IDTechEx reviews and analyzes over 100 products and details of over 80 companies, to create detailed conclusions about the future of this market. Alongside this, IDTechEx offers a second deeper dive report into the optics and display technologies in AR/MR/VR devices.

Key Questions answered in these two reports include:

  • What are the major drivers for optic or display choice in an AR/MR or VR device?
  • What are the major drivers in the adoption of AR/MR and VR devices? Which use cases benefit the most from this technology?
  • How will the sales of VR and AR/MR devices evolve from 2020-2030 and what are the drivers behind future growth?

A timeline of some of the major AR and VR headsets of the past. Source: IDTechEx

What is the impact of COVID?

Recently the versatility of mixed and augmented reality products has come to the forefront of the news, with an Imperial led project at the Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust. COVID has put the spotlight on this hands-free, interactive technology, and it is unlikely that this focus will move for some time. There will be a need for this technology in many new use cases, which previously did not require hands-free, or remote capabilities.

Where can I find more information?

More information on “Optics and Displays in AR, VR and MR 2020-2030” and “Augmented, Mixed and Virtual Reality 2020-2030” can be found at www.IDTechEx.com/Research/WT.

Saint Motel – The Original Motion Picture Soundtrack: Part 2

Elektra recording group Saint Motel have released THE ORIGINAL MOTION PICTURE SOUNDTRACK: PART 2, the second installment of a three-part album, available now at all DSPs and streaming services HERE.

The five-song collection is highlighted by lead single Preach whose official music video is available to stream on the band’s YouTube channel. Part 2 also features the previously released track, A Good Song Never Dies which debuted in PlayStation’s MLB The Show 20. Keep on the lookout for accompanying visualizers and acoustic videos which are currently in pre-production. Conceptually, THE ORIGINAL MOTION PICTURE SOUNDTRACK is modeled after a three-act movie, sometimes referred to as the Hero’s Journey storyline, manifested as three Parts that eventually combine to form a single album.

PART 1 was heralded by the infectious lead single Van Horn. Known for their cinematic aesthetic, the band brought the western-themed official music video for track directed by Saint Motel frontman A/J Jackson to life with an inventive performance on Jimmy Kimmel LIVE!. Earlier this year, the band sold out their entire North American headline tour in support of PART 1, culminating with hometown finale in Los Angeles, days before the country went into quarantine due to Covid-19.

Remaining on the cutting edge of innovation, Saint Motel make history as “the first band to open their own virtual world” powered by Mozilla Hubs. The virtual world is designed as a motel with each room dedicated to a song on the band’s three-part album, THE ORIGINAL MOTION PICTURE SOUNDTRACK. Last month, the quartet’s launch of New World welcomed fans to the virtual space where Jackson performed a live acoustic set. In this 3D VR chatroom enabled for all headsets and browsers, audiences can enter an exclusive, immersive environment to engage directly with the band through virtual meet-and-greets and intimate, live performances, consume exclusive video content, and much more. Additionally, it doubles as a space for fans to congregate and get to know each other. Saint Motel’s New World upholds what has become a tradition of engaging with groundbreaking technology for the guys. Visit here to explore the New World. In 2016, they dropped their Elektra full length debut saintmotelevision as the first-ever Virtual Reality album and first-ever Augmented Reality album and accompanied the record with the free saintmotel AR/VR app.

In recent months, Saint Motel has made a concerted effort to mobilize their fans to join them on a pair of philanthropic causes through special, limited edition merchandise. With blood donations needed now more than ever, the band has partnered with The American Red Cross to offer a Just My Blood Type enamel pin, available for free to those who donate blood. Named for their breakout hit Just My Type, the pins are also available for purchase with 100% of net profits going to The American Red Cross. Likewise, Saint Motel has joined with the National Independent Venue Association’s #SaveOurStages campaign to ask Congress to provide aid to their network of nearly 2,000 independent live music venues across the countrymany of which the band has performed in ߝ that have been 100% shut down with zero revenue due to the pandemic. All profits from a special Saint Motel X Save Our Stages tour t-shirt will go directly to NIVA’s efforts. Both items are available in the Saint Motel Gift Shop.

Stay tuned for more from Saint Motel soon.

360 Magazine, Saint Motel

Saint Motel – “Preach”

TRACK IS FEATURED ON THE SECOND INSTALLMENT OF THREE-PART ALBUM 
 
THE ORIGINAL MOTION PICTURE SOUNDTRACK: PART 2 DUE OUT LATER THIS YEAR 
 
FIRST BAND TO DEVELOP IMMERSIVE, VIRTUAL WORLD IN COLLABORATION WITH MOZILLA HUBS NEW WORLD; IN FINAL STAGES AND SET TO LAUNCH SOON 
 
Elektra recording group Saint Motel have shared their brand new single entitled Preach today. Available now at all DSPs and streaming services HERE, the track appears on the bands forthcoming THE ORIGINAL MOTION PICTURE SOUNDTRACK: PART 2, which is due out later this year and serves as the second installment of their three-part album, THE ORIGINAL MOTION PICTURE SOUNDTRACK. Keep on the lookout for the official music video for Preach which is currently in pre-production.
 
Remaining on the cutting edge of innovation, Saint Motel make history as the first band to open their own virtual world; powered by Mozilla Hubs. The quartets New World welcomes fans into a 3D VR chatroom enabled for all headsets and browsers. In this space, audiences can enter an exclusive, immersive environment to engage directly with the band through virtual meet-and-greets and intimate, live performances, consume exclusive video content, and much more. Additionally, it doubles as a space for fans to congregate and get to know each other as well. 
 
Saint Motels New World is in its final stages of development and set to launch imminently, upholding what has become a tradition of engaging with groundbreaking technology for the guys. In 2016, they dropped their Elektra full length debut saintmotelevision as the first-ever Virtual Reality album and first-ever Augmented Reality album and accompanied the record with the free Saintmotelevision app.
 
PART 1 was heralded by the infectious lead single Van Horn. Known for their cinematic aesthetic, the band brought the western-themed official music video for track directed by Saint Motel frontman A/J Jackson to life with an inventive performance on Jimmy Kimmel LIVE! Earlier this year, the band sold out their entire North American headline tour in support of PART 1, culminating with hometown finale in Los Angeles, days before the country went into quarantine due to Covid-19.
 
In recent months, Saint Motel has made a concerted effort to mobilize their fans to join them on a pair of philanthropic causes through special, limited edition merchandise. With blood donations needed now more than ever, the band has partnered with The American Red Cross to offer a Just My Blood Type enamel pin, available for free to those who donate blood. Named for their breakout hit Just My Type, the pins are also available for purchase with 100% of net profits going to The American Red Cross.
 
Likewise, Saint Motel has joined with the National Independent Venue Associations #SaveOurStages campaign to ask Congress to provide aid to their network of nearly 2,000 independent live music venues across the country many of which the band has performed in that have been 100% shut down with zero revenue due to the pandemic. All profits from a special Saint Motel X Save Our Stages tour t-shirt will go directly to NIVAs efforts. Both items are available in the Saint Motel Gift Shop.
 
Stay tuned for more from Saint Motel soon. Projecting pop hooks through an alternative lens with a flair for dramatic presentation, Saint Motel make music worthy of the big screen. Streamed and viewed over half-a-billion times, the gold-selling Los Angeles quartet magnify this vision with immersive live experiences and one unpredictable move after another. The group initially came together at film school before introducing themselves on 2012’s Voyeur. Signing to Elektra Records, their 2014 My Type EP boasted both the gold-certified title track My Type and fan favorite Cold Cold Man. In 2016, saintmotelvision yielded the smash Move.
 
Flipping the script once again, the musicians reimagined the record with a series of history-making first-of-their-kind innovations: an award-winning Virtual Reality version and an Augmented Reality version. In 2019, Saint Motel launched their most ambitious undertaking yet, unveiling their third full-length album in three parts. First up, they uncovered THE ORIGINAL MOTION PICTURE SOUNDTRACK: PART 1 powered by the shimmy and shake of Alternative Top 15 lead single Van Horn Between packing houses coast to coast on headline jaunts and earning acclaim from People, Billboard, and more, the four-piece plotted to roll out PART 2 and PART 3 throughout 2020.
 
In addition to unforgettable sets everywhere from Coachella and Lollapalooza to Bonnaroo, the boys lit up shows such as NBC’s TODAY, ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live!, and CBS The Late Late Show with James Corden, among others. Saint Motel is: A/J Jackson (vocals), Aaron Sharp (guitar), Dak Lerdamornpong (bass), and Greg Erwin (drums).
 
CONNECT WITH SAINT MOTEL:
 
 

QuantumERA × Battle of Gettysburg

Free and Early Release of Mixed-Reality App that Recreates Battle of Gettysburg

Gettysburg: A Nation Divided has pushed its launch date and waived download fees to assist teachers, parents, and students

Parents and teachers are in search of educational solutions as millions of students are now learning from home.  To help and expand their choices, a new mixed-reality app that recreates the Battle of Gettysburg is launching early.  Normally priced at $12.99, the app will be free of charge for a limited time.

QuantumERA‘s Gettysburg: A Nation Divided, is a mobile experience that envelopes students in the battle as it unfolds around them. Narrated by actor Scott Eastwood, the app’s immersive scenes transport users to 1863 with 360-degree views and avatars of men and women who were involved in the battle. Included is an artifact scavenger hunt with the ability to earn points. The student’s involvement and interactivity provide a better understanding of what happened during the turning point of the Civil War.

“Working from home while schooling our two children has been overwhelming,” said mother of two, Laura Aplin. The Gettysburg app ”has been an educational retreat for our kids. Not only are they learning about one of the most important battles in American history, but they are also able to travel through time and outside of our home. They’re not just watching something, they’re part of the experience. The added blessing is that it allows me to dedicate more time to work knowing that the kids are engaged in something productive.”

Gettysburg: A Nation Divided unites historical scholarship and mixed-reality platforms to transform students from being in the audience to becoming part of the experience. This is a critical point of engagement in a world of video games and social media, where audiences are craving highly visual and interactive experiences.

“The world we live in has changed so dramatically in a matter of weeks,” said Lane Traylor, CEO of QuantumERA. “The QuantumERA team wanted to help by waiving fees to help children learn and also escape for a while. We also want to support the millions of teachers and parents who are undertaking multiple roles, easing some of the stress that comes with navigating their new norms.”

QuantumERA is a leading content creation company that creates mixed reality experiences.  They are most well-known for their award-winning Experience Real History™ brand that recreates the Battle of the Alamo through augmented reality apps and products.

Teachers and students can find free resources for hours of engagement and fun at PerspectivesXR.org, QuantumERA’s education partner.

Free downloads of Gettysburg: A Nation Divided are available in The Apple App Store for a limited time. The BETA version of this app, optimized for Apple iPads,  is now available. Mobile optimization for other Android devices coming soon.

WEBSITE / INSTAGRAM / TWITTER

Lexus, Costa Rica, 360 MAGAZINE, Vaughn Lowery, RXL

Lexus Milestones

By Flore Chaumont × Vaughn Lowery

Lexus celebrated their 30-year anniversary this past July; and we couldn’t escape it. We were invited on a 3-day lifestyle activation in Costa Rica, testing both their latest vehicles along side of their precursors. Since Lexus is the leading producer of luxury hybrids, their choice of hosting this event in Costa Rica was not arbitrary. Aside from lush landscapes, the island is a place where environmentally driven initiatives and technologies thrive. The country is a leading producer of hydroelectric energy, and conserving their beautiful flora and fauna is one of their top priorities.

1. Accommodation

Our hopes were high and they were remarkably met with our arrival at the magnificent Four Seasons Hotel, located in Liberia, a jewel in the countryside of Costa Rica. The luxurious property, nicely integrated into the surrounding region was mesmerizing. Modern yet rustic decorated rooms spilt out onto the beachfront as we assembled at a welcoming reception. We were treated like loyalty with excellent service, savory bites and of course, great fellowship. With a 181 rooms, fitness center (which rivaled Equinox), day spa (complete with plunge pool, steam room and hot tub) and private beach, many of us were tempted to stay longer within the 1,400 acres of utter bliss. There was so much to explore via a biking excursion or a simple hike into neighboring jungles.

2. History of Lexus

During the conference, we learned about the history of Lexus; and their product line from 1989 to present. With the use of VR, we were teleported in time to when Toyota arrived in the US. In 1984, they launched the Circle F Project with the aim of releasing a luxury car. The challenge was to change America’s perception of the marque. For this project, Chief Engineer Ichiro Suzuki sets aggressive goals which will define the brand’s strategy and excellence down the route. With over 1400 engineers involved and 400 prototypes later, the Lexus LS was born. A sedan unlike any other. The name, originally Alexis, became Lexus, and the logo came to become this symbol of beauty and perfection with a succession of exceptional cars to accompany.

3. Meeting with Executives

We also got the privilege to sit down and shoot the breeze with some of the senior level executives of Lexus. Koichi Suga, General Manager of Lexus Design, explained to us his inspiration for adding the concierge and driver refresh, he maintains, “Our vision is human centered: what the customer wants, while focusing on our distinctive culture and heritage.” Indeed, the driver refreshes function is an imitation of shiatsu massage, and it was also our favorite feature in this newly reintroduced full-size flagship. In a discussion with Koji Sato, Vice President of Lexus International Products & Engineering, we were informed that the brand expects to issue its first EV by 2025. And he gave tongue to what gives the sedan a long-term advantage over SUV models. He states, “I think the sedan is more formal, more stylish, with a low center of gravity that provides a more emotional feel.”

4. Vehicle Drives

After being fascinated with the history of Lexus, we got to take a glimpse of and even test drive a few. The incredible LFA was on display and the RC F Sport (f/ in Men in Black: International) were definitely crowd favorites. We test drove three of their models: the LS 500h; RXL (new RX w/ third row seating) and LC 500h. The LS literally made us feel like a royal family. The sleek design, alongside a more pronounced spindle grill and a ton of driver/passenger amenities made the interior feel like nirvana. The RXL possesses a 4.4 inch longer wheel base than RX, now seats 7 and has been refined to exaggerate masculinity. Lastly, the LC 500h, spotlighted in the critically acclaimed Black Panther, was simply sublime, from its paw-like exterior to the silky ride it offers. The peaceful drive along windy roads near the rain forests was almost mysterious.

5. Adventure

On our final day, we drove to the Diamante Eco Adventure Park which is home to one of the highest zip lines in the world – approximately 80 stories high and 1 mile long from one side to the other. We strapped into the renowned Superman, headfirst while facing forward on our bellies. Within, 45 seconds or less we were tailed and ready to retrieve our rides.

In short, Lexus created an atmosphere which showcased creativity, confidence and courage. Everything was exemplified through their leaders, bold design and humanity. Here’s to another 30 years!!!

ZEITZ MOCAA

25 AUGUST 2019 – 23 MARCH 2020

EXHIBITION OPENING

The largest exhibition to date by internationally acclaimed artist William Kentridge opens on 25 August and will be hosted simultaneously in two parts by Zeitz MOCAA and Norval Foundation. 

Why Should I Hesitate: Putting Drawings To Work, will be staged at Zeitz MOCAA and will cover over 40 years of artistic production in drawing, stop-frame animation, video, prints, sculpture, tapestry, and large-scale installation. The title references Kentridge’s primary practice of drawing, and how this core activity informs and enables his studio practice.

The exhibitions will be accompanied by a series of events and public programmes with the artist, and leading voices in the cultural sector.

 

These include:

 Bronze, Silver and Gold members’ opening evening events on 24 August;

Public opening on 25 August (with priority queuing for museum members);

Daily members-only tours of the exhibition in the first week;

Performances, lectures and a Virtual Reality exhibition in September;

A two-day symposium with the artist and other leading cultural figures  in October;

A children’s holiday workshop programme in December;

Lectures and panel discussions in February 2020;

Late-night museum performances in March 2020.

Museum members enjoy free year-round access to Zeitz MOCAA and programming. Bronze, Silver, and Gold members enjoy further eventing benefits. For non-members, standard admission prices apply.

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NOBUKHO NQABA – IZICWANGCISO ZEZETHU… 
1 AUGUST 2019 | LEVEL 2

EXHIBITION OPENING

This exhibition is an autobiographical reflection of Nobukho Nqaba‘s childhood home and upbringing. It highlights the precariousness of daily life within an informal settlement in Grabouw, a town in the Western Cape.

Many people migrated to this community with bundled up ambitions and modest possessions all packed tightly into chequered plastic bags, commonly known as China bags. They moved in hope for better work; jobs that would eventually require them to dress in sweat-stained blue overalls.

The exhibition’s Xhosa title, Izicwangciso Zezethu means we make plans. We may plan our lives, but we have no control of the outcome. It is a game of chance.

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WOZA FRIDAY – LATE NIGHT OPENING
2 AUGUST 2019 | THROUGHOUT MUSEUM

ARTIST PERFORMANCE | ADULT DRAWING WORKSHOP | DISCOVER MOCAA

Enjoy late-night and half-price admission on WOZA Friday on 2 August.

Catch a performance by artist, Nobukho Nqaba, and Shariffa Ali, which will highlight the themes of Nqaba’s new exhibition, Izicwangciso Zezethu… 

Make your way through the galleries with Discover MOCAA, an interactive scavenger-hunt on levels 2 and 4, using clues to find key artworks in the Afrofuturist exhibition Still here tomorrow to high five you yesterday

Artist Ralph Borland will also be doing a performance with musicians, Nick Birkby and Brian de Goede, at the Dubship I – Black Starliner sculpture in the BMW Atrium.

Or join our Adult Drawing workshop taking place on level -1. No prior experience required. 

Esqapes

On July 5th, Esqapes opened the world’s first virtual reality massage center. The Esqapes Immersive Relaxation Center, located at 5757 Wilshire Blvd, Suite M111, Los Angeles, CA 90036, is like a “mini-vacation” that anyone can enjoy during a lunch break or after a long day of work. Each Esqapes environment is designed to tantalize the senses and help guests shed the stresses of daily life.

By combining beautiful virtual reality environments, carefully curated fragrances and programmed, automated massages, Esqapes will transport guests to a state of relaxation unlike anything else.

Guests can choose from 10 different Esqapes: from a tropical Koi pond at an ocean front resort, to a luxurious cabin in a snow-covered wonderland, complete with a crackling fireplace.

“The goal of Esqapes is to provide guests with a unique way to relax and take a break from the routines, responsibilities and daily issues that can cause anxiety and stress. Esqapes is using VR in ways unlike any other company, which is to de-stress and help people relax. With a combination of proprietary software, and traditional wellness practices, Esqapes is offering the spa of the future, today,” says Micah Jackson, creator of Esqapes.

Esqapes  provides a novel method of immersing users into a virtual environment, while ushering them into a heightened state of relaxation. Using this system taps into the key senses that people use to evaluate their surroundings (sight, sound, smell, touch) which in turn helps them to relax and feel comfortable.

Micah has 20 years of expertise in innovative and interactive design. Some of his prior ventures include starting Angeles Vista Creative Ventures, LLC (AVCV) he worked for AOL, Yahoo, Disney. Three years ago, he resigned from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory to pursue his newfound passion: virtual reality. Soon after, his first VR project ‘Where Angels Meet’ was chosen by Oculus/Facebook to receive funding as part of their prestigious Launchpad program. In 2018, he began to experiment with virtual reality experiences that transported viewers to beautiful places. This is how Esqapes was born.

As an African-American founder, it’s Micah’s mission to become a pioneer in the VR industry. With Esqapes, he can set this example. One of the founding principles is to maintain a diverse staff at every location and at all times. No location should be run by people of a single gender or a singular race. Guests should feel welcome at all times.

Guests can book at: http://www.myesqape.com/book

Starlight Xperience for Children

Starlight Children’s Foundation, an organization whose mission is to create moments of joy and comfort for hospitalized kids and their families, unveiled today its newest initiative, Starlight XperienceTM virtual reality, a groundbreaking new technology program that offers millions of seriously ill children a fun and exciting way to explore the world and beyond through the magic of VR.

To watch a video on Starlight Xperience and how it helps kids, please see here.

Built for the Lenovo Mirage Solo with Daydream, Starlight Xperience features a state-of-the-art and hospital-ready headset that comes preloaded with age-appropriate and dynamic content geared toward entertainment and distraction for hospitalized kids, which has been specifically modified to meet strict infection safety protocols for use in hospital settings. Pre-loaded content includes educational field trips to exotic locations through Google Expeditions and Street View, fun interactive stories like Star Wars: Droid Repair Bay by ILMxLAB, and Lola and the Giant, popular apps such as Ocean Rift and Hello Mars, and meditation exercises and therapeutic games such as Relax VR, which allows the patient to escape into beautiful environments.

Starlight Xperience was created in collaboration with Founding Sponsor, Star Wars: Force for Change, the charitable initiative from Lucasfilm and The Walt Disney Company that harnesses the power of Star Wars to empower and improve the lives of children around the world. Through grant funding provided by The Walt Disney Company and Niagara Cares – the philanthropic arm of Niagara Bottling – as well as charitable donations from grassroots donors, Starlight Xperience will be provided at no cost to Starlight’s network of more than 800 children’s hospitals and other health care facilities across the US.

“We believe Starlight Xperience has the potential to transform the hospital experience for millions of seriously ill children and their families,” said Chris Helfrich, CEO of Starlight Children’s Foundation. “We’re thrilled to stand beside The Walt Disney Company, Google, Lenovo and Niagara Cares in unveiling this exciting new program, which is the latest evolution in our 35-year history of bringing innovative entertainment technologies to hospitalized kids.”

“Providing these unique entertainment experiences reflects our commitment to bring comfort during what can be difficult times for kids and families. This is part of our Disney Team of Heroes initiative, which includes a $100 million commitment to children’s hospitals,” said Elissa Margolis, senior vice president, Enterprise Social Responsibility for The Walt Disney Company. “The collaboration with Google and Lenovo is the perfect blend of technology and content that we’ll be able to deliver to kids during their hospital stay.”

“Our goal has always been to create virtual reality experiences that are accessible, useful, and relevant to as many people as possible,” said Amit Singh, VP of Business & Operations for AR & VR at Google. “Starlight Xperience is a shining example of that goal coming to life in a really great way. We’re thrilled to be able to support Starlight in bringing transporting VR experiences to hospitalized children across the country.”

“We are thrilled to be working with Starlight and Google to bring technology to hospitalized children in their time of need. Helping to provide a solution for the children and their families allows us to truly make a difference for the better,” said Gunjan Shah, general manager for North America Smart Devices at Lenovo.

Starlight Xperience was developed in part through a series of grants provided by Starlight to the CHARIOT program (short for Childhood Anxiety Reduction through Innovation and Technology) at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford. CHARIOT implements new technologies in the hospital that are nontraditional yet familiar to children to engage and distract them during stressful or painful procedures, keeping clinical usage in mind and improving upon the typical hospital experience. This past summer, Starlight Xperience was soft launched and tested at five children’s hospitals: Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford, Children’s Hospital Colorado, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare in St. Paul, Minn., and Texas Children’s Hospital.

“At Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare, virtual reality has been a fantastic addition for our patients,” said Chantel Barney, Ph.D., a clinical scientist who leads Gillette’s VR program. “In some instances, we’ve been able to curb the anxiety and fears our kids typically experience during procedures such as blood draws, transfusions, wound cleanings, casting and more. It’s a wonderful distraction for kids and parents alike.”

“We’re proud to support Starlight Xperience and look forward to bringing smiles to the faces of hospitalized children through this educational and inspirational program,” said Andrew Peykoff II, President and CEO, Niagara Bottling. “This technology makes learning fun and we’re excited to expand the program to even more children.”

Thanks to the grants provided by The Walt Disney Company and Niagara Cares, in addition to the generosity of charitable donations from individuals, Starlight is on track to deliver up to 1,000 Starlight Xperience kits to its network of hospital partners by the end of 2018, with a goal of doubling that by the end of 2019. A donation to Starlight will entertain, educate and inspire hospitalized kids across the US through stimulating immersive experiences that transport children from the hospital to any place in the world – or beyond – through the magic of virtual reality.

The public is invited to learn more and support the program online at www.starlight.org/starlight-xperience.

ABOUT STARLIGHT CHILDREN’S FOUNDATION
Starlight creates moments of joy and comfort for hospitalized kids and their families. For 35 years, Starlight’s programs have positively impacted more than 60 million critically, chronically and terminally ill or injured children in the US, Canada, Australia and the UK. With your help, more kids and their families will enjoy Starlight Gowns, Starlight Fun Centers and other Starlight programs at a children’s hospital or facility near you. Support Starlight’s work by visiting www.starlight.org and by following Starlight on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

ABOUT STAR WARS: FORCE FOR CHANGE
Star Wars: Force for Change, a charitable initiative from Lucasfilm and Disney, harnesses the strength of Star Wars to empower and improve the lives of children around the world. Since 2014, it was inspired by Star Wars fans, and the countless hours they have dedicated to philanthropy over the past four decades. To date, over $16 million has been raised for charitable causes around the world on behalf of Star Wars: Force for Change. With a bright future ahead, and new Star Wars stories to be told, Force for Change aims to continue collaborating with causes and encouraging others to be forces for change in their own community. To learn more, please visit ForceForChange.com.

ABOUT THE WALT DISNEY COMPANY
The Walt Disney Company, together with its subsidiaries, is a diversified worldwide entertainment company with operations in four business segments: Media Networks; Studio Entertainment; Parks, Experiences and Consumer Products; and Direct-to-Consumer and International. Disney is a Dow 30 company and had annual revenues of $55.1 billion in its Fiscal Year 2017.

ABOUT LENOVO
Lenovo (HKSE: 992) (ADR: LNVGY) is a US$45 billion Fortune Global 500 company and a global technology leader in driving Intelligent Transformation through smart devices and infrastructure that create the best user experience. Lenovo manufactures one of the world’s widest portfolios of connected products, including smartphones, tablets, PCs (ThinkPad, Yoga, Lenovo Legion), data centers and workstations as well as AR/VR devices and smart home/office solutions. Lenovo works to inspire the difference in everyone and build a smarter future where everyone thrives. Follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Weibo, read about the latest news via our Storyhub, or visit our website at http://www.lenovo.com/.

ABOUT NIAGARA CARES
Niagara Cares, a philanthropic arm of Niagara Bottling, is committed to supporting local and national community initiatives serving children and families in need by engaging stakeholders and investing its resources. Niagara Cares efforts include national strategic partnerships, local community grants, employee engagement, volunteerism and the Andrew D. Peykoff, Sr. Scholarship Program. For more information, visit www.niagarawater.com/niagara-cares.

Where Angels Meet

First Trailer Now Available for VR “Movie” that Allows Viewers to See Life as an Angel

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be an angel? Where Angels Meet, a new cinematic VR experience, launching September 1 exclusively for Oculus Rift, follows the life of a young African-American man named Marcus from the perspective of his guardian angel. The VR experience allows viewers to don their wings and visit heavenly landscapes, as well as transcend time to witness key moments in Marcus’ life.

Where Angels Meet was created by Angeles Vista Creative Ventures (AVCV), one of the winners of 2017 Oculus Launchpad program. AVCV also announced today that it has released the first trailer for the experience at whereangelsmeet.com/trailer/

Where Angels Meet is a unique, narrative VR experience which touches on themes of the afterlife, spirituality, faith, racism and the common challenges of life. The story follows important milestones and events in Marcus’ life. Having grown up with the understanding that his mother died in childbirth, Marcus finds solace in his imagination and strength in his beliefs, as he transports himself to the marvelous “Garden of Light” where he can meditate and find comfort from life’s worries.

“Although Where Angels Meet is a fictional story, the aim is to provide insight into the life of a young African-American man, from a unique perspective,” said Micah Jackson, CEO of AVCV and creator of Where Angels Meet. “Marcus’ story parallels many of the issues and challenges that people of color face in the modern age and virtual reality is a powerful medium to convey this message.”

The “Garden of Light” is a wondrous, lush and beautiful place and serves as the central hub of the experience, as throughout the story different sections of the Garden will be visited. The “Garden of Light” is one of the most beautiful environments to ever be created in virtual reality. It will truly leave a lasting impression on viewers and can only be seen using the Oculus Rift.

About Angeles Vista Creative Ventures:

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How cheap Internet prices has helped online education in evolving?

Imagine this is 2004, and you’re an engineering student aspiring to clear the GATE exam. What would your first instinct be? It would undoubtedly involve looking for a nearby institute or consulting your college seniors about how hefty a fee you should be expected to pay for the course.

The year 2017 alone projected the growth of EduTech market at about $255 billion. This number is likely to grow at an exponential rate because more and more students are deciding to enrol for online courses. But what are the circumstances that contributed to this enormous growth? What are the factors that dominate this market niche?

Online Education:

An underlying sense of how online education works is dependent on the goal of the learner. The primary category of learners come to earn certifications which when added to their resumes, boost their career portfolios. The second category of learners come with a sole goal to improve their professional skill set and thus to establish expertise in that area.

Gaining an online degree was earlier not respected or considered credible. But all that is rapidly changing with the drastic increase in the number of students opting to study online and also the number of quality education providers online. While the availability of high-speed internet is one major factor, ease in accessing this technology, economical pricing, superior quality of education and the flexibility it provides form the other significant factors which contribute to the growth of students opting to learn online.

How does affordable internet contribute to this growth?

India and Internet:

The origin of the seed for digital education in India is a bit hazy, but the presence of E-Learning has been prevalent thanks to the educational programmes done by Doordarshan and Aakashwani in the previous decades. Though the internet was a common phenomenon in the early 2000’s, learning wasn’t the main takeaway from any of it. It was primarily used to communicate and not an everyday household luxury because of its expensive setup costs.

With the advent of affordable and high-speed bandwidths, the penetration of internet increased, and with it, the user base surged. The highest surge in the number of users in India was probably towards the end of 2016 when Reliance Jio made affordable and cheap 4G internet a reality while the Indian Currency Demonetisation forced digital literacy in the country.

Rural Penetration and Indic Languages:

The internet has opened up a wide range of possibilities in rural India. Students who previously travelled hundreds of kilometres and paid thousands of rupees at coaching institutes for GATE, UPSC, CAT etc. examination preparation, can now prepare from the comfort of their homes. All they need is a laptop or a smartphone with a small internet pack or access to a community WiFi network.

Sreenath K, a railway coolie from Kerala has cleared the UPSC examination by using the free WiFi available at the railway station. Every day, while he moved the luggage around the station, he used to listen to classes via his earphones on his smartphone. While this is an epitome of ‘how affordable internet has empowered the common man and thus helped in evolving the education in India’, the question of content and trust issues still exist.

A Yourstory article indicates that a majority of the Indian population prefer and trust content in their native languages. This opens up an excellent opportunity for regional content creators.

Thus teachers from anywhere in the country can upload their content in their native languages, and peer-reviewed content ratings help students choose the best of the lot and learn from them.

Accessing Content and types of Content:

While there is an abundance of text-based content available for students to consume, the most preferred content type is video. Video-based content has made it easy for students to understand complex topics from a primary school level to even GATE, CAT or UPSC.
While this stands, audio and image-based content rank next to video content. This is so because before the advent of 4G, accessing a video file was a difficult task but affordable 4G and free WiFi has made video streaming easier and faster.

While there are numerable video tutorials and audio tutorials available for free on youtube and other podcasting mediums, there are many other paid course portals available which provide various certification courses. The increase in the demand for skilled certification has increased the number of contenders in this category. This healthy competition, in turn, has contributed to improving the quality of the course content available.

Educational content is not just confined to the limits of the formats mentioned above. There has been a significant surge in content being generated for Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality too. Gamifying the material has helped it, but at the same time, the pricing and the costs involved in including these technologies in a daily learner’s life are huge as of now.

It is not just this new technology, India is ranked 67th by Ookla’s internet speed test, the average internet speed in India is 18Mbps. Though this is an acceptable speed, it is not enough to cater to the ever-growing digital population.

With an estimated growth in the edtech industry to about $1.6 Billion by 2021, the best way to achieve this is by complete rural penetration of the internet, promotion of Indic and regional languages based content, affordable higher bandwidth and integration of new technologies into e-learning modules.