It’s Just So Nreal at AWE 2019

It’s Just So Nreal at AWE 2019

As soon as the Expo floor was opened at the Convention Center on Day One at this year’s 2019 AWE conference in Santa Clara, much of the crowd gathered in the congested nreal booth at the main entrance of the hall.  With great anticipation, hoards were checking out the various AR demos on display, as well as queuing up in long lines getting ready to ask questions regarding the release of the upcoming SDK developer kit.

Six nreal glasses were on display surrounding the booth and demonstrated non-stop and around the clock with impressive mixed reality and even trailers of movies, such as the latest installment of “Mission Impossible”.  There were longer demos that required longer wait times, but it was truly worth it, as the demos showcased an impressive demo reel of 3D AR experiences.  

nreal, not to be confused with the elite graphics game engine, “Unreal”, though like “Unreal”, this company seems to put its priority on delivering high quality and immersive visuals in the Mixed Reality landscape that are quite “eye popping”, as well.

Indeed, nreal is one of the newest and exciting consumer product companies to emerge recently.  They were this year’s recipient at CES 2019 for “Best Startup” company by Engadget, and have been actively developing ready-to-wear mixed reality devices since 2017.  In addition to attending the CES show in Las Vegas early this year, they also made an appearance at the GDC (Games Developer’s Conference) in San Francisco in March.

At the Augmented World Expo in Santa Clara last Thursday, they announced that they will be shipping the nreal Light Consumer Kit ($1199), which sports a 1080p resolution, 52-degree field of view smart glasses and a 3DoF controller and computing unit.  In addition they will also be shipping the smart glasses without the controller and computing unit for $499, which can also be used in conjunction with any smartphone using the Snapdragon 855.

To achieve its relatively low price, the nreal Light Consumer Kit requires consumers to use Android devices that are powered by the Snapdragon 855 chip by Qualcomm, who nreal is also partnering with.  Phones such as the Samsung Galaxy S10 series, Sony Xperia 1, LG G8, and the Lenovo Z5 Pro GT all contain the 855 processor and are fully compatible with the nreal Light.

Weighing at a light three ounces, these comfortable MR glasses sport an industry-leading wide-screen vivid display with a stunning 1080p HD resolution, bypassing the visual quality of the Microsoft’s Hololens and MagicLeap. Combined with its SLAM-based environment-understanding AI algorithms, nreal offers a truly immersive MR experience for their flagship product.

“We’re excited to finally make nreal Light available to consumers, which at just $499 has dramatically lowered the barrier to adoption and introduces a new category for mixed reality devices that are finally within the reach of an average consumer,” said Chi Xu, CEO and founder of nreal, in a statement.

The cost makes this truly affordable for this type of technology. 

Based in Beijing, this company  just seemed to just come out of nowhere and has a good chance to become a major player in the wearable A/R smart glasses market industry in the coming years.  Looking forward to seeing how they advance the industry.

How was the world of technology in 2016?

How was the world of technology in 2016?

January 2017 – How was the world of technology in 2016? – talk with the experts from San Francisco Bay area: Kevin Krewell, Principal Analyst of Tirias Research, Rodney Thayer, Cybersecurity Consultant and Pallab Chatterjee, Editor in Chief Media & Entertainment Technologies.

Autonomous vehicles made a lot of progress this year, more than anticipated – stated Kevin Krewell. The amount of effort and engineering going into driverless cars was remarkable. Typically, cars are a slow moving industry, taking 5+ years to qualify an equipment part going into a vehicle. But now things have changed and car manufactures are being blamed for not moving fast enough. Companies, such as, Qualcomm, Nvidia, Intel, NXP and others have been investing heavily to bring autonomous vehicles to the market in the next few years.  Elon Musk and Tesla have done the most to promote this change. Musk broke the barrier by having pre-installed software built into the Tesla vehicles, like he knew it was going to get better over time. Car manufacturers are not just making cars any more, but rather building a software platform – Rodney Thayer.

“All our knowledge begins with the senses”- declared 18th century philosopher Immanuel Kant.

The challenge with autonomous cars is that they are cameras based – added Pallab Chatterjee. Radar, lidar, sonar or real cameras are like senses of a vehicle. They are figuring things out but they create a huge amount of data. The flood of data is here and more is coming. By 2020, the average internet user will create 1.5GB of traffic per day, smart hospital – 3.000 GB per day, autonomous vehicle – 4.000 GB each per day, airplane – 40.000 GB per day and smart factory – 1.000.000 per day.

The biggest surprise that came up in 2016?

That VR came back again was a surprise to Pallab Chatterjee. It is like 3D, every 10-15 years people forget that it is not technology, it is what content is available and how the companies plan to monetize it. That was one of the problems with 3D.  It was rushed to the market because the technology was available but people said – there was nothing to watch because the content was made in a rush and it was of poor quality and stories. We see that scenario right now. The only good content for VR is in games on very expensive platforms but it is not mass market. The VR devices for mass market are not professionally created and a content is poor and people get dizzy and nauseous.

For Kevin Krewell, the biggest surprise in 2016 was how many big money acquisitions were taking place. It is not that big companies are buying small companies but big companies are buying big companies. Intel buying Altera last year was a starting point. NXP bought Freescale and now Qualcomm is buying NXP that just bought Freescale, and Samsung buying Harman Group.

The overriding challenge in 2016 was security and privacy.  A number of high level intrusions and data breaches took place, and as the year ends, more will come to light.  The risks are at all levels, individuals, companies, organizations, even standard internet providers and countries – the cybersecurity threats are guiding the way business was done in 2016 and the new ways it will be done in 2017 according to Rodney.

Here is the full episode that was aired at Bay area Comcast tv in December:

Workstations are the tool of choice at SIGGRAPH

Workstations are the tool of choice at SIGGRAPH

Siggraph, July 2016 – The annual SIGGRAPH event is the meeting place for the academics, innovators, industry and professional media producers to meet and share their experiences.  The commonality is the blending of the technology and engineering with the artistic vision that drive cinema, TV and advertising.  To help realize these visions on a release schedule, the computers used had to change and became workstations.

Dell’s Precision Workstations had a lot of visibility at the SIGGRAPH 2016 show even though Dell did not have a booth on the show floor and the company did not introduce any new products. We living on providing solutions – said Molly Connolly, WW Industry Strategist, Media & Entertainment – We are looking for symbiotic microcosms. She confirmed that the company understands the balance with software professional community and also their customers. Her focus is on how we can engage with the community and listen what their needs are to make their workstations even better.

Dell’s workstation is a solution for the SIGGRAPH community.

The facts are that you don’t need the workstation if you are just running office and email but everyone who is creating visual and digital content, and those who are using the professional applications for creating the digital content;  those professionals need system commonality, multi-processors with multiple cores, ECC memory, professional graphics compute capability, fast storage, fast IO & networking. All that workstation provides.

Workstation are for time critical applications and they are designed not to fail and require the user re-crate the content. If you running a 3 day rendering task, and you know that your film has to be in theaters in 8 weeks, the workstation is the solution for you. The same for broadcasting space. Broadcast cannot let the screen go dark or have the content interrupted.

Dell’s workstations for M&E Tech space enables the magic to happen – said Molly. Dell’s workstation has been used by the last five winner of Academy Awards for Visual Effects. Molly went on to state that – “We’ve been very fortunate. Dell precision workstation has been recognized as leader in performance.”  This recognition has been for both the desktop and portable workstations.

This capability is what is driving Dell as one of the dominant platforms for the creation of VR content.  The workstations are designed to support all the pieces needed for this new stereoscopic and 360 degree content marketplace, and are being quickly adopted as the computer of choice for the VR creators.

Looking at the process. Artists create the content – mostly at the workstation, they manage the content – typically on server, then they deliver the content and you enjoy it (or consume it).  The workstations, with their fault tolerant design, construction for long hours of continuous operation and capacity for high performance computing allow this process to happen on a predictable schedule, freeing the artists to create their vision, rather than worry about the computing.

Virtual Reality at E3

Virtual Reality at E3

E3, June 2016 – It is a season for Virtual Reality. At E3, the gaming world show that took place in June at the Convention Center in Los Angeles, the VR was presented everywhere. So far, virtual reality is associated with gaming industry sector mostly because the hard-core gaming community is willing to spend large amount of money for special purpose hardware such as VR glasses and games consoles.

VR hardware was the big draw this year.  The major platforms that were at the show took the spotlight since there was no major console release.  Dominating the major exhibits were the Sony Playstation VR units, Occulus, and Samsung Gear.  Dominating the software showcases was dominated by the HTC Vive.  Not counting the companies in the private rooms for demos, there were16 companies on the two expo floors with VR hardware or software.  These included: Sony, Occulus, Samsung, HTC, Pop up Gaming, Time of VR, Naughty America, CAPCOM, Carl Zeiss, Alienware, Bethesda, Warner Bros, Ubisoft, Cubicle Ninjas, Razer and Nyko.

The computer-simulated reality dates back 77 years. Here are the key moments in VR history. It started in 1939 at the trade show in New York City where introduced View-Master, a stereoscopic alternative to panoramic postcard. After that 30 years passed while Ivan Sutherland came up with first head-mounted display called “The Sword of Diamocles”. It passed another 30 years when the computer games company Sega introduced wrap-around VR glasses at CES in 1993. Two years later Nintendo produced the gaming console and named it Virtual Boy.

The real gold rush for virtual reality started in 2010. The market research analysts from Deloitte, CCS Insight, Barclays and Digi-Capital accordingly forecast that $24 million of VR devices will be sold by 2018, and revenue from virtual and augmented reality products and content will reach to the $150 billion mark by 2020.

Impressive VR demos at GTC 2016

Impressive VR demos at GTC 2016

GTC, May 2016 – Jen-Hsun Huang, the founder and CEO of Nvidia, one of the largest American manufacture of graphics accelerator chips, at the GPU conference, in May 2016 in California, announced that VR is going to change the way we design and experience the products. Such as shopping for cars. It is like being in virtual showroom where we can walk around our custom design car, open its door and check out the car’s interior.

At that conference took place two amazing virtual reality demos – Everest VR and Mars 2030.

For the “Everest VR” demo, Nvidia, partnered with Solfar, a Nordic VR games company, and RVX, a Nordic visual effects studio for the motion picture industry. RVX worked on movies, such as “Gravity”, which won the Oscar for Visual Effects. Using advanced stereo photogrammetry, pixel by pixel, a CGI (Computer Generated Image) model of Mount Everest was created.

For “Mars 2030” Nvidia worked with the scientists and engineers at NASA, along with Fusin VR, taking images from dozens of satellite flybys of Mars. They reconstructed 8 square kilometers of the surface of the planet. Even the rocks were hand sculptured, with millions of them being carefully placed, based on the satellite images.

Steve Wozniak, a co-founder of Apple, was invited to experience the Mars 2030 demo. As soon he slipped on his headset he was transported to a rover to drive around the planet.

Here are the key moments in VR history.

It started in 1939 at the trade show in New York City where introduced View-Master, a stereoscopic alternative to panoramic postcard. After that 30 years passed while Ivan Sutherland came up with first head-mounted display called “The Sword of Diamocles”. It passed another 30 years when the computer games company Sega introduced wrap-around VR glasses at CES in 1993. Two years later Nintendo produced the gaming console and named it Virtual Boy.

The real gold rush for virtual reality started in 2010.

That year Google came out with 360 degree version of Street View on Google Maps. In 2012 small company Oculus collected $2.4 million for a production of VR glasses. Two years after, Oculus was purchased by Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, for $2 billion! The market research analysts from Deloitte, CCS Insight, Barclays and Digi-Capital accordingly forecast that $24 million of VR devices will be sold by 2018, and revenue from virtual and augmented reality products and content will reach to the $150 billion mark.

So far, virtual reality is associated with gaming industry sector mostly because the hard-core gaming community is willing to spend large amount of money for special purpose hardware such as VR glasses and games consoles. But that is changing. VR is appearing in different sectors of business and entertainment.

Yes, it is known that VR may cause motion sickness for some viewers and there are still a number of obstacles to work on but the technology is unstoppable now.