Posts tagged with "VR"

Studio House illustration by Wanny ng for 360 MAGAZINE

SPOTLIGHT: STUDIO HOUSE

Listen to fireside chat w/ Studio House on 360 MAG podcast on Apple/Spotify HERE.

Located opposite Lake Montebello in downtown Baltimore, Studio House is a project space for communion. The home offers independent artists the opportunity to cultivate connections, and their individual and creative practice in and around City of Baltimore. The objective of this chamber is to bring together a group of rotating artists who have demonstrated a commitment to their creative maturity.

The project space was founded by Mahari Chabwera in December 2021 through early collaboration with The Contemporary Arts Network and ongoing collaboration with philanthropist Changrong Ji.

As a nexus for restoration and community, the residency experience is open (but not limited to) visuals artists, photographers, writers, curators, musicians and filmmakers. The house offers a space for everyone to gather, relax, research, play, share resources and develop nourishing projects. 

Throughout their stay, artists receive studio visits from curators, collectors, art advisors, and thriving artists on the field.

Studio House participants have the opportunity to work collaboratively within 4,400 square feet. house, each trimming a studio area to serve their practice. Artists can participate in group excursions to museums, galleries, beaches, farmers’ markets, thrift stores and dance parties. Each has access to its own spacious private room, shared bathroom, common living room, kitchen, balcony, front patio, and fenced in yard.

Current Participants:

Alliannah Hamilton|Austin Miles|Jabari Jefferson
Angelique Scott

Osean world

OSEANWORLD POP-UP

25-year-old digital artist Osean has announced his latest collaboration within the metaverse. Joining forces with social impact-driven metaverse gaming platform REALM, Osean has created NU RADIO, a unique and creative space encapsulating the richness of Oseanworld, the passionate inclusivity of REALM, and the interests of Ocean’s dedicated fan base and engaged community. The creative team will take to Elizabeth Street, NYC, on June 21-22 for a NU RADIO-themed pop-up which will allow attendees to go on an AR scavenger hunt around the City.

The scavenger hunt will feature a trippy neon arcade, where fans and media will gain a first look at Oseanworld’s latest adventure. Fans will be led on a scavenger hunt around Manhattan, collecting points via the Realm app at each designated stop. There will also be plenty of chances to win prizes from Ocean’s highly sought-after digital and physical clothing and accessories collections. Osean and REALM have both dedicated their platforms to bridge the gap between the digital landscape and reality, and this pop-up is the perfect opportunity to explore what that looks like. Attendees will also be able to play the Beta of NU RACE, with the official REALM beta launch taking place on July 21st in NYC

REALM presents an entirely new canvas for Osean, allowing him to take his artistic visions for the dreamy Oseanworld universe to an even higher level. REALM weaves AR, VR, and mixed reality into its platform, employing the most innovative tech and enabling artists to expand their creativity with very few limits. 

Osean, who has collaborated with big-name music artists like Offest, Madeon, Lauv, and Trippie Redd, works at the intersection of anime, self-actualization, and Gen Z pop culture. Coming of age in a generation that has lived largely online, Osean seeks to represent this experience while providing a chance for real connection in an increasingly digitized and decentralized universe. 

NU RADIO will allow for limitless creativity. The platform will feature a main hub with multiple minigames where players can be fully immersed in Oseanworld. Users will lose themselves in NU RADIO City: a beacon of socializing, quest discovery, and NU RADIO racing (a multiplayer racing game with prizes and custom Oseanworld avatars). Featuring candy-colored skies and Osean’s signature character, Mad Monkeii, NU RADIO will be available on iOS and android, with PC and VR versions to closely follow. The NU RADIO official game “NU RACE” is set to launch later this summer and will allow multiplayer races in true Oseanworld fashion. 

Follow Osean updates at: Youtube//Instagram//Twitter

headphones image by Alex Bogdan for use by 360 Magazine

Yayo Da Cartune – Make It Rain

Yayo Da Cartune releases a one-of-a-kind virtual reality music video for “Make it Rain”. The video is an immersive 360 experience, meaning if a viewer watches with virtual reality goggles, they can view the video as if they were physically interacting inside of the world. Instead of being an outside listener to the melodic yet pulsating track, fans can experience from within, bringing a whole new meaning to interactive listening. Watch the video HERE.

“Make it Rain” by Yayo Da Cartune (Cinematic Music Group/Geffen) is available at all digital retailers HERE.

Yayo‘s songs together tell a distinct story of loss, loyalty, pain and turmoil; all aspects of the grave conditions he grew up in. His soundtrack for the struggle lays bare his emotions and exposes a side of him he previously kept to himself. Raised as one of six children, Yayo’s been surrounded by music since he was a kid. Growing up, he and his siblings would use blank cassette tapes to record Lil Wayne tracks from the radio, and his young single mother would play songs from artists like Dru Hill, Ginuwine, Tyrese, and Usher.

 By the age of 13, he’d been arrested, beginning a streak of jail stints that would stretch for over a decade. While time behind bars kept him away from friends and family, it brought him closer to music. Shy by nature, he entered jail singing competitions to help pull him out of his shell. After being released in 2016, Yayo dove in, using his skill as a tattoo artist to provide a source of income and keep him out of trouble. At first, Yayo released raucous, free-associative freestyles, but as he listened to Drake, Future and T-Pain, his sound evolved into something more melodic and emotionally charged. After years of releasing music and working as a well-respected tattoo artist, he started picking up momentum toward the end of 2020, releasing songs like “Live to Die” and previewing other tracks on Instagram. Months and hundreds of thousands of IG post views later, he secured a deal with Jonny Shipes and Cinematic Music Group.

Science Tech by Gabrielle Archuletta for use by 360 Magazine

What’s New at CES

By: Skyler Johnson

The Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Nevada, showcased some of the world’s newest technologies, everything from medical devices to self-driving cars. These technologies and the companies behind them vary in size, from startups to massive corporations. They have displayed their newest products, unveiling prototypes for devices that may become essential in just a few years down the road. Here are just a few:

Health Products

The Fasteesh Y-brush, currently a medical device, revolutionizes teeth brushing. Because of the shape, the brush can clean teeth in ten seconds and is three times more effective than a typical toothbrush. Currently, this is being implemented in care facilities and retirement homes.

Japan’s Quantum Operations exhibited the first non-invasive glucose monitor. This changes the way in which diabetes patients measure their glucose and will reduce the repeated pains garnered by needles. The device is worn like a watch, reminiscent of an Apple Watch, and can record glucose levels in the body.

Hapbee’s device, worn like a necklace, influences mood. It uses ultra-low frequency magnetic waves to help the body in both relieving stress and gaining energy. It offers the same benefits as caffeine and melatonin without the harmful effects on the body.

Convenience

If you ever dreaded your alarm clock, Loftie has you covered. Their alarms aid in the process of sleep through implementing breathwork and soundbaths while awake, and white noises and nature sounds while asleep. The two-phase alarm system is designed to both get you out of bed and not leave you irritated through professionally crafted tones.

Ottonomy.io developed robots that allow for both indoor and outdoor deliveries to our doors. A contextual navigation system allows for the robot to safely traverse environments. Because it’s all-electric, the device is more sustainable than traditional delivery methods and is especially worth considering during ongoing supply chain issues and staff shortages.

Urban Canopee fights against the effects of climate change by creating a product that transforms plant life to act as natural umbrellas. The result is cooler urban environments, increased biodiversity, and improved air quality.

Gaming

Perfect for the metaverse, Shiftall creates technology to allow for an all-body VR experience. Not only will users be able to control virtual environments using their hands, but also their feet. The gaming potential with this expansion is limitless.

With the growth of e-sports, Glytch intends to create stadiums for the new sport. The company will open 32 e-sports venues across America and Canada in the next eight years. Each venue will be 90,000 to 120,000 square feet and the home stadium of a different team.

Vehicles

A new winter sport has arrived with the development of the Moonbike. A cross between a snowmobile and a motorcycle, they provide a unique way of traversing the show. They are also fully electric, silent, and much lighter than snowmobiles, helping to keep the mountains snowy for years to come.

CES introduced many sustainable vehicles. The Jeep Wrangler 4xe will be the first hybrid Jeep to enter the market. The Bobcat T7X is the first all-electric compact track loader. There are two new companies that are planning to launch electric vehicles: EdisonFuture and Fisker. The former will release electric solar trucks and delivery vans. The latter displayed the Fisker Karma, an all-electric SUV.

There are also innovations occurring in autonomous driving. Helm develops autonomous vehicles that allow for safer and more efficient autonomous driving for both SUVs and commercial trucks. John Deere announced the release of the first autonomous tractor to help farmers increase yield.

Conclusion

Overall, many exciting new innovations were exhibited during CES. While not all these products will reach a consumer base, it’s exciting to think of the potential benefit these technologies will deliver.

Nightclub Gif by Reb Czukoski for use by 360 Magazine

MERGING VERSES NFT

The future of fashion is the merging of two verses, the virtual world (metaverse) and the physical world. We explore this through the unity of traditional photography and animation—where humans and AI co-exist.

The NFT world is something that is growing and still confusing for many people not directly involved in the producing and purchasing of these new age art pieces. 360 MAGAZINE was able to interview several people directly involved in the production side of NFTs, including producer and model Bee Davies and photographer Jacques Burga.

Interview with Bee Davies

  • What made you become interested in NFTs?

I became interested in NFTs when I started doing virtual production and realized that there was no marketplace for digital art. More than that, there was no fan base. We know famous photographers and people who collect their photographsbut there’s not the same kind of hype surrounding animators. An NFT marketplace not only legitimizes their work, but provides a platform that opens up the door for a whole new kind of collector.

  • How do you respond to people suggesting NFTs are overly expensive and pointless?

Couldn’t you say that about all collectibles? Digital art, like any art, is meant to be enjoyed; the NFT marketplaces and wallets allow you to do that much more easily.

  • What is your favorite NFT?

The one I produced with Jacques for 360, because it exemplifies the merging of the real world and the metaverse.

  • Was it odd to see yourself become an NFT?

Not at all. Since the dawn of social media we have all had virtual versions of ourselves, this is just an overt way of expressing it.

  • What are your biggest artistic inspirations?

I would like to create and produce a completely virtual fashion show for the industry’s top fashion houses (this means AI talent, virtual runways, and digital clothing/accessories…as well as an audience attending in VR). And of course, mint every bit of the digital experience so it can be enjoyed in the metaverse for eternity.

  • What are some upcoming projects you’re looking forward to?

I have a bunch of NFTs that will be dropping soon that I’ve collaborated on with different animatorssome of which feature the actors from the SciFi TV Pilot I created.

Interview w/ Jacques Burga

  • What made you become interested in NFTs?

It’s a whole new way of making business. I enjoy pushing boundaries when it comes to projects related to my field. It also makes me feel there’s always a next step to follow and to explore disciplines that I wasn’t precisely an expert in.

  • How do you respond to people suggesting NFTs are overly expensive and pointless?

To keep the mind open to new ways of mixing technology and creativity may be good advice.

  • What are your inspirations as a photographer?

I am inspired by People and Beauty

  • Why did you decide to blend photographic elements with virtual ones?

Our world has become very virtual. Photography gets elevated when it’s blend with other disciplines such as Art or Technology (virtuality.)

  • What is your relationship with digital artwork?

I’m working on digital projects related to Fashion and NFT. My relationship is continuously growing.

  • When did you become interested in photography?

When I left an internship at a high profile magazine in Paris and decided to become independent and nurture my desire to create fashion.

  • What, in your opinion, is your best piece of artwork/photography?

I cherish every project since it is composed of pieces that create a nice puzzle for me.

  • What projects can we expect to see from you in the future?

I will always want to explore and collaborate with new technologies and artists that share my vision of fashion and people.

NFTs available on OpenSea.

MEET THE TEAM

Media Partner: 360 MAGAZINE

Studio: Daylight Studio

Producer: Bee Davies / Hive Global Media

Photographer: Jacques Burga

Make-up Artist: Sarah Tweedy

Hair Stylist: Christine McManemi

Wardrobe Stylist: Yash Joshi

NFT Marketplace: Opensea

Digital Designer: Edward Harber

Model: Bee Davies 

Animator: Vizzee

Virtual Model Creator: Vizzee

Metaverse Creators: Vizzee / Mercedes Luna Larrahona / Zoë Jane Bernet

PA: Stefanie Murza / Aleko Syntelis

nft image for use by 360 magazine
nft image for use by 360 magazine
nft image for use by 360 magazine
nft image for use by 360 magazine
nft image for use by 360 magazine
nft image for use by 360 magazine
Saint Motel - It's All Happening - Artwork from Sydney Worden from Glenn Fukushima from Elektra for use by 360 Magazine

SAINT MOTEL ANNOUNCES U.S. AND EUROPEAN TOURS

Elektra recording group Saint Motel have announced U.S. and European tours in support of their forthcoming album The Original Motion Picture Soundtrack. The band’s U.S. tour will kick off this September with three special hometown shows at Los Angeles, CA’s The Roxy Theatre, and wrap on Halloween at Madison, WI’s Majestic Theater. In March of 2022, the band will return to the road for a European tour. The upcoming dates mark Saint Motel’s first live shows since their sold-out U.S. tour wrapped in March of 2020. Pre-sale tickets for all dates will be available beginning tomorrow, and general on sale begins this Friday, June 11 at 10:00am local time here.

Saint Motel’s highly anticipated new album The Original Motion Picture Soundtrack will be released on June 25, 2021. The album is available for pre-order now here. The band recently unveiled an official music video for the album’s current single “It’s All Happening”, co-directed by Saint Motel front man A/J Jackson and Mario Contini. Watch it on the band’s official YouTube channel here.

On The Original Motion Picture Soundtrack the Los Angeles-based band dreams up their own cinematic experience in album form, as its songs cycle through stories of love, danger, and impossible triumph. The album also embodies an opulent sound true to its ambitious scope. Co-produced by front man A/J Jackson and Grammy Award-winner Mark Needham (The Killers, Dolly Parton, Chris Isaak), The Original Motion Picture Soundtrack continues the Saint Motel custom of joyfully blurring genres, bringing in elements of everything from symphonic pop to big band.

Audiences began experiencing the album with the release of a pair of EPs: The Original Motion Picture Soundtrack: Pt.1 and The Original Motion Picture Soundtrack Pt. 2. Among many highlights, “Van Horn” has amassed nearly 20 million streams, while the band performed it on ABC’s JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE! Receiving critical acclaim, Dujour described “Preach” as “a bop,” while American Songwriter poured over the album’s concept in an in-depth interview with A/J. Further looks came from Ladygunn, Hollywood Life, and more. Now, fans get the full picture of Saint Motel’s vision with the complete The Original Motion Picture Soundtrack studio album.

In the lead up to the album, Saint Motel made history as “the first band to open their own virtual metaverse” powered by Mozilla Hubs. The virtual world is designed as a motel with each room dedicated to a song on The Original Motion Picture Soundtrack. 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 Saint Motel’s website 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.

Saint Motel U.S. Tour Dates

September 30, 2021 – Los Angeles, CA – The Roxy Theatre

October 01, 2021 – Los Angeles, CA – The Roxy Theatre

October 02, 2021 – Los Angeles, CA – The Roxy Theatre

October 04, 2021 – San Luis Obispo, CA – Fremont Theater

October 05, 2021 – Santa Ana, CA – Observatory

October 07, 2021 – Salt Lake City, UT – Depot

October 08, 2021 – Boulder, CO – Boulder Theater

October 09, 2021 – Fort Collins, CO – The Aggie

October 11, 2021 – Omaha, NE – Slowdown

October 12, 2021 – Columbia, MO – The Blue Note

October 13, 2021 – Urbana, IL – The Canopy Club

October 15, 2021 – Nashville, TN – Brooklyn Bowl

October 16, 2021 – Athens, GA – Georgia Theater

October 17, 2021 – Knoxville, TN – The Mill & Mine

October 18, 2021 – Asheville, NC – Orange Peel

October 20, 2021 – Louisville, KY – Mercury Ballroom

October 21, 2021 – Charlottesville, VA – Jefferson Theater

October 22, 2021 – Harrisburg, PA – Harrisburg University

October 23, 2021 – Baltimore, MD – Baltimore Sound Stage

October 26, 2021 – New Haven, CT – College Street Music Hall

October 27, 2021 – Burlington, VT – Higher Ground

October 29, 2021 – Buffalo, NY – Town Ballroom

October 30, 2021 – Grand Rapids, MI – The Intersection

October 31, 2021 – Madison, WI – Majestic Theater

Saint Motel European Tour Dates

March 31, 2022 – Berlin, Germany – Franz Club

April 02, 2022 – Hamburg, Germany – Stage Club

April 03, 2022 – Cologne, Germany – Luxor

April 05, 2022 – Munich, Germany – Hansa 39

April 06, 2022 – Milan, Italy – Circolo Magnolia

April 08, 2022 – Amsterdam, Netherlands – Paradiso Noord

April 09, 2022 – Brussels, Belgium – Botanique The Rotonde

April 10, 2022 – Paris, France – La Maroquinerie

April 12, 2022 – London, UK – Islington Assembly Hall

April 13, 2022 – Manchester, UK – Academy 2

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 platinum-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, saintmotelevision 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 Pt. 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 rolled out Pt. 2 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

Saint Motel Website

Saint Motel – New World

Twitter

Facebook

Youtube

Instagram

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.

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

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.

Listen to Vaughn’s interview with Koji Sato, President, Lexus International, Chief Branding Officer on 360 MAG Podcast HERE.

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!!!

Article: Vaughn Lowery, Flore Chaumont

Victoria Arlen, 360 MAGAZINE, Free Wheelchair Mission (FWM), Gala

Free Wheelchair Mission Raises $1.8 million at Miracle of Mobility Gala

Inspirational TV Personality Victoria Arlen Delivers Message of Hope

Guests use VR Glasses to be Transported to Guatemalan Village

An unforgettable evening on July 25th filled with surprises, heartfelt inspiration and the pure joy of giving culminated with Free Wheelchair Mission (FWM) receiving over $1.8 million in donations in one night – the most ever at this event and enough to transform the lives of more than 22,500 individuals living with disabilities in under-resourced nations around the world. Already, the humanitarian nonprofit has distributed 1.2 million wheelchairs around the world.

The 600-plus who attended the 16th annual Miracle of Mobility gala at Segerstrom Center of the Arts were treated to a fabulous gala evening PLUS three unique opportunities:

1) listening to television personality and gold medalist Victoria Arlen, whose own story of regaining mobility is incredible

2) journeying virtually to a small Guatemalan village using Oculus VR glasses and feeling like they are on a mission to distribute wheelchairs

3) taking part in an exciting live auction where generous donors bought wheelchairs for individuals living with a disability in an under-resourced nation. Each $80 donation will buy one wheelchair – changing that person’s life forever as he or she begins a life of mobility.

Guests enjoyed an internationally themed cocktail reception with food stations offering global cuisine, a silent auction filled with an eclectic array of gifts and experiences, a performance by Infinite Flow, the first wheelchair dance company in the world, and inspirational remarks from Free Wheelchair Founder and President Don Schoendorfer.

The evening’s special guest, 24-year-old Victoria Arlen, holds impressive credentials: ESPN host, Paralympics gold medalist, Dancing with the Stars semi-finalist, author and most recently, co-host of the NBC TV’s American Ninja Warrior Junior.  Those credentials would be impressive for anyone but considering that Victoria was struck by two rare neurological diseases at the age of 11, causing her to be trapped in her body in a minimally conscious state for four years, it is an incredible turnaround.

Victoria spoke at the gala about her journey, including the four years when doctors doubted that she would ever return and the subsequent several years when she fought back to begin life again. She offered a message of hope and the importance of being thankful for what you have.

“When you focus on what you still have, you will find it changes your perspective, and that change in perspective creates hope. Hope that tomorrow will be just a bit better than today and when you take that hope, and mix in your own hard work, lots and lots of hard work, I believe you will find yourself back on the path to living out your own dreams.”

Victoria credits her parents with the hope that saved her. “Over and over doctors told my parents they needed to accept the very real possibility that I would not survive and, even if I did, the Victoria they once knew was not coming back. And while my family was willing to accept the diagnosis, they refused to throw up their hands and accept that this was all my future had in store. They accepted the diagnosis, but NOT the prognosis,” Victoria related.

“Somehow, they believed I was not a lost cause. I now believe that it was their refusal to accept that prognosis that brought me back to life.”

Following Victoria’s talk, a robust live auction led to the donation of more than 21,900 wheelchairs to be built and distributed in 93 countries around the world. In 2017, Free Wheelchair Mission reached the milestone of one million wheelchairs distributed and now is pursuing its goal of reaching the next million by 2025.

“Tonight’s gala was successful for so many reasons, most notably the many volunteers who help us bring the gift of mobility to people living with disabilities around the world and the many donors who embrace our mission and recognize how even a simple $80 donation can change a life forever, “ said Free Wheelchair Mission CEO Nuka Solomon.

“The gift from Free Wheelchair Mission provides the mobility that allows each recipient to begin a new life – whether it’s taking care of themselves, attending school or working – and we find that the vitality of the entire family and community are changed too,” Solomon added.

Key sponsors of the gala included Transformation Sponsors: Advisors Mortgage Group and The McDonald Family; Freedom Sponsors: The Hummelberg Family, The Morris Family Foundation, Diamond Hill Capital Management, KPMG and PR Construction. The full list of sponsors can be found here.

About Free Wheelchair Mission:Free Wheelchair Mission (FWM) is a humanitarian, faith-based nonprofit based in Irvine, Calif. that designs and manufactures cost-efficient, durable wheelchairs for individuals living with disabilities in under-resourced nations. FWM collaborates with a worldwide network of like-minded partners that facilitate wheelchair distribution in 93 countries. FWM provides renewed dignity, independence and hope through the gift of mobility at no cost to the recipient. Just $80, the cost to manufacture and deliver one wheelchair, can change a person’s life forever. Founded in 2001 by Don Schoendorfer, Ph.D., the organization reached the milestone of distributing one million wheelchairs in 2017. FWM currently intends to distribute the next million wheelchairs by 2025. For information or donations, visit freewheelchairmission.org.