Authors Posts by Lukemary Slade

Lukemary Slade

Lukemary Slade
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Lukemary Slade is the Second Life avatar (created since March 8, 2007) of the editor in chief of Mondivirtuali.it, in RL a financial analyst and VR mentor always ready to talk about virtual and augmented reality, geek technologies and startups.

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Sansar cover

Sansar, the new virtual reality platform developed by Linden Lab actually in “creative beta“, has already over 270 virtual “experiences” loaded into its atlas, from simple “sand boxes (literally made like a sandy desert) to simple work plans, up to good quality installations, some of which created by Italian users like Colpo Wrexler or Christower Dae, known names to the Italian community which used and still use Second Life. egyptian tomb Sansar Studios

Sansar, first impressions

The “first 30 seconds impression” (after a couple of minutes of waiting needed to load the scene) is positive: the avatars to chooose to start having your own digital identity in the new Linden Lab‘s virtual world are not very dissimilar to the Second Life basic avatars, but they are already quite customizable enough since you can vary the parameters for yours shape and anatomical details (eyes, hair, mouth, nose etc), as well as your clothing (certainly we are far from Second Life’s fashion virtuale fantasy, but give time to the platform to grow and you will see that we could get to similar or superior levels). Sansar tomba egizia ingresso

Sansar can also be used without VR devices

Browsing (we tried the platform in worst-case conditions, ie through a portable PC, a couple of years old, connected through wi-fi, with features barely in line with the minimum recommended requirements) is sufficiently fluid, even if not available at the time of testing a VR viewer and its controllers and having decided to try a minimal configuration, even without a mouse, it was not always easy to move the avatar inside closed environments. Very nice the sounds and the lights (and their shadows).Sansar tomba egizia prima stanza

The Egyptian tomb is perfect

For this very first “immersion” in Sansar I choose, through the proposed scenes, an ancient Etyptian tomb, carefully reconstructed thanks to a partnership with the Sorbonne University and with the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities (as already revealed by Inara Pey) very pleasant to visit, albeit relatively modest. I can not comment for now about the larger dimensions that will characterize each individual “experience” compared to Second Life’s sims, but if you think about how SL was in its early stages, before 2007 (and how it has basically remained Opensim), the passing of a decade is evident and in favor of Sansar, as obvious as it is. Sansar tomba egizia seconda stanza

No: Sansar won’t be SL 2

For those who are asking for it, no: Sansar won’t ever be a “new” Second Life (platform designed to stay online for many years), but it could become a platform robust and flexible enough to be used, along with other programs, for the development of virtual video games or movies, or simulation experiences that might be applied both in the field of education both in the professional field (for instance for staff training). Sansar tomba egizia uscita These first impressions live from Sansar end here, also because the California company is asking not to divulge too much information about it, but if you wanna know how this will end continue to follow Mondivirtuali.it, even through our account on Twitter and our fanpage on Facebook (but remember: Mondivirtuali is also on Flickr, on Pinterest, on Scoop.it, on Paper.li and also on Youtube).

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    Sansar cover

    Here we are: sthese day Sansar is sending the confirmation to access requests for its online virtual reality platform to all those who have asked to be able to access through www.sansar.com site. Technically is the awaitedopen creator beta”, in fact it could be a real pre-opening to the public, given the criteria for selection seem to have been much wider compared to last year when a few hundred creatives had been able to access to start testing the system (still in development: at this time, for example, the alpha channel is missing, as well as dynamic textures, Which means in the new Linden Lab‘s virtual world there is no way to recreate water).

    Sansar loginSansar’s system requirements

    Probably the requirements for accessing the new platform will do the selection: a user who connects via a pc“regular” pc desktop needs to have at least a 64 bits operative system (Windows 7 SP1 or newer), DirectX 11, Cpu Intel Core i3-2100 or Amd Phenom II X4 945, at least 4 GB RAM, at least 3G free space on disk, a video card Nvidia GeForce GTX 450, or Amd R9 280, or Intel HD Graphics 5500 with at least 2GB dedicated video memory.

    Recommended bandwith is at least 10 Mbps the minimum 5 Mbps, optional, but recommended a microphone for voice chat and high-quality headphones recommended for an immersive spatial audio experience and Xbox One or Xbox 360 game controllers (but if you don’t have them you can use the mouse to controll your avatar). By the way, if you really want to “live” Sansar in virtual reality mode, the stalk rises and minimum requirements are: Cpu Intel i5-4590 or equivalent, at leat 8 GB RAM, at least Nvidia GTX 970 or equivalent video card, while everything else remains the same.

    Sansar sandboxSansar and Second Life are really different

    The VR option is actually one of the cards on witch Linden Lab focus to make Sansar “the” the new generatin reference platform for virtual worlds fans, a platform which for many years will live with the “oldSecond Life but which will have many differences both in the business model (it will cost much less to rent the new “scenes” in confront to the old sims, also having much more space available, but Linden Lab will apply a sort of “consumption tax”, ie a commission on every transaction between users, the Sansar dollars will also worth around triple than Linden dollars, since the first listing should be 1 US dollar for 100 Sansar dollars) as well obviousley as it is concerned the technical and “immersion” characteristics.

    The problem upstream, which seems to have curbed Linden Lab so far, is that the sales of VR viewers and controllers for now I have grown so much less explosive than forecasted, due to very high costs of the devices. Some recent signals show the availability by the manufacturers (like Facebook, which owns Oculus Rift) to reduce the price of devices, but for now some consulting firm like eMarketer forecast that 10,7 million VR users (ie who used at least once a month a VR device of any kind) present in the US at the end of 2016 won’t exceed 22.4 million at the end of the year, and then climb to 36.7 million next year and to 49.2 million at the end of 2019, also thanks to the spread of lso thanks to the spread of VR videos.

    Virtual reality, no boom for now

    Encouraging numbers, but they represent only between 3% and 5% of the US population and yet it is not clear if on other markets (Asia?) sales may be better, or slower. Moral of the story: for now, if you want, try to ask for access to Sansar, begin to get used to its scenes, if you are creatives try to make some content (which must be created externally using programs like Unreal Engine or Unity and then imported in Sansar).

    But do not wait a boom like that of Second Life in 2007: that will eventually arrive in two or three years if the VR and the AR have really got their feet around the world. If you wanna know how this will end continue to follow Mondivirtuali.it, even through our account on Twitter and our fanpage on Facebook (but remember: Mondivirtuali is also on Flickr, on Pinterest, on Scoop.it, on Paper.li and also on Youtube).

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      accelerator vr cover

      Some of you will know already that in addition to the project Mondivirtuali.it I’ve been involved or almost two years in the Italian startups accelerator SeedUp, specialised in the realization of ad hoc acceleration paths focused on pre-seed and seed investing, ie the stages in which the startup is made, business plan is defined and validated and the very first investiments for further development of the company are started.

      Even SeedUp look at virtual reality

      Well: among the areas that SeedUp is considering, considerng them very promising, beside green economy, food, fintech and insurtech there is also technology, particularly the development of apps and services for smartphones, virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR). The VR / AR field is very competitive and you need very strong skills (and adequate capital): if you think to be successful simply by offering more or less graphically curated content for some public bodies or private companies you risk not to go a long way. VR AR main investors

      Rothemberg Ventures believes more than all of us

      It is interesting, then, to take a look at what are the main investors in this field and on whom they have bet so far. The first posting is, as recently stated a report by CB Insight, an old acquaintance of Mondivirtuali, ie Rothemberg Ventures, which has so far invested in 37 rirtual and/or augmented reality startups including, lastly, Vicarius Surgical, a “medtech” startup which aiming to use VR in the medical field.

      Even BoostVC bet on blokchain and VR

      Second place was ranked BoostVC, an accelerator which wagered in particular on blockchain technology and VR, with 24 startups accelerated so far. Their last bet is Vizor, a Finnish startup which has developed a platform for the creation of virtual reality content.

      Vive X has already 24 startups in its portfolio

      Third in the CB Insight rankings has been placed Vive X, an accelerator built up by Vive, producer of th VR viewer HTC Vive, even this one well known to Mondivirtuali’s followers. Vive X invested in 24 startups, among which an enterprise tool developer (Snobal) and an athletic trainer for soccer (Soccerdream), both of course using VR technology. VR startups

      A wealth of investors and startups

      Behind these three accelerators ranked The Venture Reality Fund, Precence Capital, Techstars, Colopl, Intel Capital and Y Combinator which have bet (sometimes together) on names like Skully, Upload, Rogue Initiative, Owlchemy Labs, Limitless, Eonite Perception or The Wave VR just to name a few. Keep these names in mind, because is possible that the next “unicorn” which will excite Wall Street’s fantasy may emerge among them. If you wanna know how this will end continue to follow Mondivirtuali.it, even through our account on Twitter and our fanpage on Facebook (but remember: Mondivirtuali is also on Flickr, on Pinterest, on Scoop.it, on Paper.li and also on Youtube).

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        Minority Report 15 years cover

        Second Life is celebrating these days its 14th birthday (SL14B), but was a film launched 15 years ago, Minority Report, that had a wider impact on our everyday life. In the Steven Spielberg‘s movie, launched in June 2002 in Us and then all around the world, Tom Cruise was a 2054 cop member of the “precrime” (a special police department which apprehends criminals thanks to the foreknowledge of three “precogs“), he used driveless cars, he was able to handle computers through simple gestures, and in all the movie film you can see a lot of devices for biometric recognition and ad hoc advertising. Minority Report driveless cars

        A year before Second Life

        Were all technologies considered science-fiction at the time, but became real in a few years, with a much wider impact on everyday life than that of Second Life, the virtual reality platform designed by Philip Rosedale which has never been able to overwhelm the traditional web nor to have the impact of social media like Facebook, Twitter or similar. Think about driveless cars: in 2014 Google started to back the first projects, then arrived Apple, Uber, Tesla and producers like Ford, General Motors, Bmw, Audi and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. So that in 2054 scenes like that in which Cruise was trying to escape on a motorway populated only by driveless car may not be so unusual. Minority Report precog

        Precognitive algorithms

        The concept of “precognition”, or foreknowledge, is no more so abstruse, at least at a software level: the Carnegie Mellon University has already developed a predictive program, CrimeScan, while according to a study of UpTurn cited by Cnn, about twenty major US police districts would already have adopted precognitive algorithms ni their investigative activities. It’s at least since 2014 that we are trying to develop algorithms which, analyzing tweets and posts published on social network like Twitter and Facebook, could be able to predict or intend to commit crimes by their authors or however dangerous situations. In the case of Twitter, in particular, as already noted Ubergizmo, geo-localized tweets analysis, their frequency, the presence of certain words is already able to predict 19 of 25 different types of crime.

        Yesterday virtual, today real

        So: while we waited for virtual worlds to become real, other geek technologies have shifted from science fiction to concrete reality but this could be just the beginning, should virtual reality and augmented reality continue to grow. If you wanna know how this will end continue to follow Mondivirtuali.it, even through our account on Twitter and our fanpage on Facebook (but remember: Mondivirtuali is also on Flickr, on Pinterest, on Scoop.it, on Paper.li and also on Youtube).

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          Atari Box cover

          Video games fans have long known that “retro gaming” market is growing, so much that even SeedUp recently has been able to evaluate some projects of “mini-business” participating in the Campania regional final of JA – Junior Achievment 2017 which proposed just to build ex novo arcade console replicas of the Eighties. Atari

          The Atari story

          But no one expected that Atari, an icon of the Seventies which helped to make the video game home consoles marke became a mass market but then, saturing the market with hundreds of low quality games, ended up going out (the last Atari console, Jaguar, launched in 1993 and withdrawn in 1995, just sold 125 thousand units, versus over 50 million of Super Nintendo), could announce its return. Atari Box

          Chesnais bets on Atari Box

          Instead, it happened: Fred Chesnais, who bought Atari brand in 2013 from bankruptcy and brought the company into profit specializing in the development of mobile games, just announced in an interview on GameBeats that he want to launch on the market a new console, the Atari Box, of which for now we know a little if not that it will be based on a pc-tecnology and that design is still to be defined.

          Console, an overcrowded market

          Waiting to see if Atari Box will succeed in the miracle of allowing Atari to cut a slice in the already overcrowded consoles market, dominated by group like Nintendo, Microsoft and Sony, if you wanna know more you can take a look at this very short video of the new Atari’s product.

          If you wanna know how this will end, continue to follow Mondivirtuali.it, even through our account on Twitter and our fanpage on Facebook (but remember: Mondivirtuali is also on Flickr, on Pinterest, on Scoop.it, on Paper.li and also on Youtube).

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            There is excitement in Linden Lab: in recent days, the official Twitter account of Sansar (@SansarOfficial)  announced many times (the first time May 21, then May 26, finally June 6) that the “creator beta” of the new virtual reality platform of the developer of Second Lifewill open this summer” and that you can still apply for early access through https://www.sansar.com. Sansar opens creator beta

            Sansar: creator beta will open this summer

            At the opening of creator beta Sansar won’t have a support for Linux and Mac users, even if they’ll be able to access Sansar through Bootcamp, whic btw is an app to install Windows on Mac, since MacOS system is not yet able to run virtual reality.

            For now, Sansar works on PCs (Windows) with Oculus Rift and HTC Vive viewers. Given accumulated delays compared to initial forecasts (after the opening to the first test users already in 2015 the public opening should have been due by the end of 2016), it’s not excluded that even the creator beta there will be not at the end of June but at the end of Augusto or in September. Sansar opens creator beta

            Will it be worth to open to the public in 2018?

            At that point, however, the new consoles and virtual reality viewers generation could be at the doors: virtual reality now requires high resolutions (2160×1200) and high FPS (not less than 90) to offer experiences really without disturbance and fatigue to the sight, so performance 5 times higher than current ones, as already promises AMD for the next consoles generation will make the difference.

            Wil Linden Lab try to open to public with a system still “calibrated” on a tools generation destined to go out of the market by next 12-18 months, or will it prefer to wait still a half a year or two, also to take advantage of the expected fall in viewers’ price?

            If you wanna know, continue to follow Mondivirtuali.it, even through our account on Twitter and our fanpage on Facebook (but remember: Mondivirtuali is also on Flickr, on Pinterest, on Scoop.it, on Paper.li and also on Youtube).

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              anti terrorism VR cover

              The repetition of bloody attacks such as those in London of these last months, is bringing some companies operating in the field of virtual reality and increased to develop counterterrorism applications.

              An example is given by the US multinational Eon Reality, founded in 1999 by Dan Lejerskar, Mikael Jacobsson and Mats Johansson in Irvine, California, which has grown throughout the world over the years (with offices, among others, in Paris, Manchester, Moscow, Doha, Singapore, Seul and Melbourne). anti terrorism VR

              Eon Reality develops counterterrorism apps

              Precisely thanks to a new counterterrorism application Eon Reality won, for the second year, the InnovPlus Award promoted by Singapore’s Ial (Institute for adult learning). The project used virtual reality platform AVR to create an improvised explosive device recognition and defusal application for anti-terrorism training and VIP protection.

              The goal of the project is to create a realistic simulation for security personnel to give them a realistic training experience without the danger. This is just an example how virtual reality and aumented reality could help security forces to raise the alert level against further terroristic attacks quickly and with relatively small investments. Auggmed anti terrorism VR

              Europe is developing Auggmed

              Europe is developing Auggmed (Automated serious game scenario generator for mixed reality training), a three-year project of 5.5 million euros developed under the Horizon 2020 program which has already produced the first prototypes, with good feedbacks from the end-users.

              Even in this case, the goal is to enable single and team-based training with different levels of experience so that all end-users involved can respond in the most efficient way to terrorist and criminal threats.

              Auggmed, a completely mobile platform with an operating system simply involves downloading the software to a touchscreen or laptop that runs on a Windows operating system and has a reasonable processor and graphics card, automatically create scenarios tailored to the needs of individual users in training and offers new ways to learn decision-making skills, emotional management techniques and analytical thinking while under pressure.

              Develops even for augmented reality

              A more immersive experience requires a VR headset such as Htc Vive (that in the coming months should go from the cable-related release to one  equipped with sensors and antennas) and by the coming year the consortium of 14 partners behind Auggmed should integrate the platform with a Google Glass-type AR headset.

              If you wanna know how it will end, continue to follow Mondivirtuali.it, even through our account on Twitter and our fanpage on Facebook (but remember: Mondivirtuali is also on Flickr, on Pinterest, on Scoop.it, on Paper.li and also on Youtube).

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              In a recent studio about the five main “supertrends” which can influence long term investments, Credit Suisse examined among others the perspectives of some of the most promising technologies, like virtual reality and augmented reality. Thanks to devices like Samsung Gear, poin out the experts, virtual reality grown a lotin recent years.

              Samsung Gear sold 5 million units last year, topping the estimates (ranging from 2 to 5 millions), on total estimated sales of 8-10 million of virtual reality devices if you consider also Oculus Rift, HTC Vive and Sony Playstation VR. “While the numbers look healthy, we believe that lower hardware price points could support an even higher adoption of the technology” pointed out analysts. VR AR Credit Suisse

              From gaming to interactions and commerce

              According to the experts virtual reality and augmented reality will move beyond technology and gaming enthusiasts into areas such as consumer applications and manufacturing. If so far the focus was on gaming, in the next 5 years it should translate on interaction, extending then on commerce in the following 5-10 years.In this way it shold go from a potential market of 8 billion dollars (video games), to 68 billion (interaction), upt ot 600 billion dollars (commerce).

              At the same time from big VR glasses, PCs and video games, we should translate to slim VR glasse, the start of AR, holograms and gloves, and then to a VR integrated in daily life, in buying/selling houses through VR/AR, up to a real mass market. “Another very interesting area for VR/AR is education, with several startups such as Immersive VR, Alchemy VR, Curiscope and even Alphabet making inroads“. VR AR future

              Virtual reality for education service providers

              VR/AR trechnology is helping education service providers to offer more enriching and interactive experiences. The primary idea for virtual worlds is that they enable immersive learning, which will assure higher attention and active involvement from students.

              Long term outlook for the AR/VR market is then “very positive” according to Credit Suisse who think that virtual reality and augmented reality market can potentially become even larger than the current smartphone market (600-700 billion dollars), growing at the same pace as the latter in 2001 – 2015.

              The very fact that Apple, analysts conclude, is working on incorporating AR capabilities in its new flagship iPhone 8 confirms that virtual reality and augmented reality trend has consistent long-term growth potential.

              If you wanna know hot it will develop, continue to follow Mondivirtuali.it even through our account on Twitter and our fanpage on Facebook (but remember: Mondivirtuali is also on Flickr, on Pinterest, on Scoop.it, on Paper.li and also on Youtube).

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                Half Life 2 VR cover

                For the few who didn’t know, Half-Life 2 is a “first person shooter” (Fps) sci-fi videogame developed by Valve Software Corporation launched in November 16, 2004 (several months in advance because of the hacking of source codes), lucky follow-up of Half-Life, launched in 1998 and followed by two expansions (Half-Life: Opposing Force and Half-Life: Blue Shift).

                Like its predecessor Half-Life 2 received two subsequent expansions (Episode One, in 2006, and Episode Two, in 2007) which sold so far over 12 million copies. Half-Life 2 VR preview

                Half-Life 2, graphics and flexibility

                Strengh in the game, which see Gordon Freeman as the main character, besides the excellent graphics (Half-Life was based on a heavy modified version of Quake Engine, Half-Life 2 on Source Engine, whose quality was so better that it was used also for the remake of Half-Life), was the flexibility which lead to the birth of a series of mods and expansions like Half-Life 2: Deathmatch (which introduced the multiplayer mode), Half-Life 2: Lost Coast (additional level published in  2005 after being initially rejected for the basic release), Half-Life 2: Survivor (arcade version) and Half-Life 2: CTF (inspired by multiplayer games of the “capture the flag” kind, with new weapons and “power up”). Half-Life 2 preview 2

                 Half-Life 2, nuova mod VR

                Since the beginnigs Half-Life series received a fervent support by independent game developer, encouraged by Valve Software, who developed a development software kit ad hoc, so to develop new mods both in single player both in multiplayer mode.

                Now, after and independent remake ofHalf-Life (Black Mesa) a new modder group announced on Stream to be developing a mod to play Half-Life 2 and its two expansions even in VR mode.

                The new mod will be free and could be e a nice bonus for VR viewers like Oculus Rift, even if it’s not clear when it will be availabl (“soon” is the only indication). If you wanna know how it will go to end, follow Mondivirtuali.it even through our account on Twitter and our fanpage on Facebook (but remember: Mondivirtuali is also on Flickr, on Pinterest, on Scoop.it, on Paper.li and also on Youtube).

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                Improbable SoftBank cover

                Do you remember Improbable Worlds, British startup funded by American venture capitalist Andreessen Horowitz, together with Hong Kong’s firm Horizon Ventures, and Singapore’s fund Temasek Holdings, who in March 2013 provided 22 million dollars in a “series A” round?

                A 502 million dollars bet

                Well: these days Improbable raise 502 million dollars more in around “series B” lead by Japanese SoftBank Group (round involving even the alreaady mentioned venture capitalist). It’s one of the biggest venture capital agreement ever realized in Great Britain and that’s saying a lot about the expectations Improbable raised with its distributed operating system SpatialOS used for building virtual spaces shared on a mass scale. Improbable SpatialOS

                Breakthrough technology for the gaming industry

                Virtual reality technology of Improbable Worlds seems able to revolutionize the gaming industry, but also to help explore disease, to improve cities, to understand economies and to solve complex problems. SoftBank beyond betting on the new likely “unicorn” is also closing Vision Fund, a 100 billion dollars fund investing in innovative startups already subscribed by Apple and Saudi Arabia.

                A founders meeting promoted the agreement

                As revealed Bloomberg, operation was born from a meeting between Herman Narula, Improbable Worlds co-founder and Ceo, and SoftBank founder and Ceo, Masayoshi Son, who is trying to establish SoftBank (which traditionally invested in telecommunications and gaming in Japan) as a frontrunner investor in emerging technologies. SoftBank Masayoshi Son

                SoftBank will help Improbable grow

                Improbable for its part was looking for an investor that could provide enough capital to continue to grow (Improbable is planning to hire more people on London and San Francisco) without having to sell out to some global tech giant, has appened to many European startups that in recent years have been acquired by US tech giant (for instance: Sweden company Mojang, developer of Minecraft, bought in 2014 by Microsoft for 2.5 billion dollars).

                Surely we will hear more about Improbable Worlds, therefore if you wanna know how the story ends continue to follow Mondivirtuali.it, even through our account on Twitter and our fanpage on Facebook (but remember: Mondivirtuali is also on Flickr, on Pinterest, on Scoop.it, on Paper.li and also on Youtube).

                I più letti ultima settimana / Most read last 7 days

                Apple Faceshift cover

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                Even Apple comes into play VR: Cupertino bought Faceshift, a Swiss startup that deals with “motion capture” to offer features and services that integrate and improve everyday life.
                cosplay sexy cover