The Next Major Tech Convergence: Virtual, Augmented Reality

Written By Captain Philippe Lewicki of HTMLFusion

With so many developments in virtual reality this year, many of us are excited about a coming boom in 2016. I am too — but I am less focused on VR mobile apps or the endless cool hardware and gadgets appearing daily on my screen (though I admit to finding them very enticing.) I am most excited about what these advancements mean for us when everything comes together.

I believe we are on the verge of a major new technical convergence where augmented and virtual reality, artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things will change our world as dramatically as the emergence of smartphones did.

Hear more about the Future of Virtual Reality from the CTO of Juant here.

Phillipe Lewicki talks at the Tech in Motion 50K Celebration in Los Angeles, above.

The last time we saw this happen was in 2007.  A well-timed merging of cellular technology, capacitive screens and UI design — mixed by the legendary Steve Jobs — set the stage for a world craving things like mobile apps and image sharing.

We love all this technology, but it stresses us out. These machines are here to increase our productivity, entertain us and improve our social connections; however, our laptops and phones are cumbersome and not designed for our human bodies. Relying heavily on these physical machines dampens our capacity to connect with others and discourages us from participating in activities where we move around.

This can be resolved. We are in the process of better integrating the machines in our lives. With this next major conflux, we will be connected to our devices in an intuitive way. These physical limitations will begin to disappear.

A combination of factors makes this possible. First, after enduring decades of false promises, we are finally seeing AI deliver results, thanks to new learning machines and neural network technologies. Programs like Siri and Google Now show how our voice can command actions on our screen, and the last few years have proven that they only get smarter.

Add to this the Internet of Things, which emphasizes how the Internet is beginning to transcend our phones and laptops to operate within our watches, glasses, audio speakers and thermostats. These devices are connected and responsive.

Integrate the concept of mixed realities and you can begin to see the possibilities.

In our weekly labs at HTML Fusion, we focus on how this future will look and feel. Our visit to Microsoft’s HoloLens Academy gave us a peek into what was possible. We continue to learn more and more about manipulating augmented reality spaces as we spend our weeks teaching machines to respond to our movements and desires.

We call this work the Holo UI. It is our platform for exploring how we control augmented reality, and it’s a small window into the converging future. You can consider it a seed.

This is a tool for a much more immersive experience. Our machines are integrating into our physical world, learning to interact with us naturally. Our cell phones, laptop, and desktop computers will slowly disappear and be replaced by more human-like interactions. We can still be productive and connected without staring at the screen.

Humans were designed to be moving, not stuck behind a screen and keyboard. This convergence will let us move again.

I am excited to work with my team, and a growing community of inspired entrepreneurs, to actively create this future and the way we use these machines — and make the impossible possible. This convergence is happening now, so the time has come for us to define how we will interact with technology, the Internet and each other. Now is our a chance to make this technology more human.

Follow HTML Fusion’s blog and @htmlfusion on Twitter for a weekly window into their latest tech discoveries.

You can also see innovative speakers in Virtual Reality and beyond at Tech in Motion Events across North America. Check out the event calendar.

team_philippeAbout the Author

Philippe Lewicki, Captain at HTMLFusion

HTMLFusion is a Culver City-based team of veteran developers working with mixed reality environments and creating successful businesses with entrepreneurs who have great ideas. Most recently, they were invited to the HoloLens Academy to share and explore their augmented reality work.

Their current project is a user-friendly virtual reality platform for real estate called OpenHouse VR.

Toronto Gamers Unite!

Tech in Motion Toronto sprang into spring with an exciting interactive gaming demo at MaRS Discovery District! Hosting four exciting development companies in the Toronto gaming scene, Gaming Interactive: Demos & Drinks gave Sago Sago, Trompo Games, Throw Away Games and Bluish-Green Productions a chance to show members behind-the-scenes development of their latest games.

On the hunt for a new gig? Check out their job board for a list of open positions.

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As the first “gaming”- themed Meetup since the early days of the chapter in 2013, Tech in Motion Toronto was excited to once again host the local gaming community for a night of free beer, pizza, and of course exciting interactive demonstrations!

Do video games belong in the Smithsonian? Hear what the curator of the largest exhibit there has to say here.

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First to present his dev tools was Max Cranley, Director and Co-owner of Trompo Games. The event was actually the first pre-App-store-release demonstration of Trompo’s newest game, Wormarium – and boy, was it a hit.

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Following Max, Colin McCune – Director of Engineering at Sago Sago Toronto, gave Tech in Motion members an inside look at the methodology behind their children’s mobile app games. At their booth later in the evening, Sago even gave out vouchers for free downloads of their games Friends, Forest Flyer, and more!

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Attend a Tech in Motion demo night near you – find the closest upcoming event.

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Adam Clarke, CEO of Throw Away Games, then gave the audience an overview of the projects they have worked on. In addition to video games like Robo’s World: The Zarnock Fortress and The Stellar Adventures of Cat Damon, that includes cool mobile apps like Pixq and bitgraffiti.

The owner of Throw Away’s collaborator on the game Zarnock, Bluish-Green Productions’ Atilla Branyiczky, then spoke about how he crafted the difficulty curve for the game and his decision to make it bi-directional.

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The interactive gaming focus of this event was popular with the audience. One member, Luis Montecino, summed it up well: “The event was really well done and the companies invited had very interesting projects! Thanks for giving us access to this kind of content!”

Even new members of the Toronto chapter were speaking out about the topic. One attendee, Brad, exclaimed “This was my first meetup! Thanks everyone. Great presentations and lots of fun to meet some cool new people”.

The guests shuffled out at the end of the evening with handfuls of leftover doughy goodness from the #RandomActsofPizza brought to us by our friends and sponsors, Panago Pizza, along with brains full of worms and robots from a truly enlightening night of gaming.

Be sure to join us at our next Tech in Motion event in Toronto! As always, big thank you to our constant sponsorship partner, Jobspring Partners.

Is Pac-Man a Museum Piece? You Bet!

When video games finally win widespread recognition as a major art form, some of the credit will surely go to Chris Melissinos. Chris, a guest speaker at Philadelphia’s Gaming Expo, is the man who created the largest-ever exhibition on “The Art of Video Games” for the Smithsonian American Art Museum.

“Video games are a medium that incorporate all forms of art: illustration, sculpture, music, narrative, character, culture, everything,” said Melissinos, a Queens native whose exhibition drew near-record crowds in Washington before starting a nationwide tour that just landed at The Hudson River Museum in Yonkers. (Feb 15-May 18)

As Verizon’s Director of Corporate Strategy for Media and Entertainment, Chris tracks new technology, picks the coolest stuff and develops the plans for bringing it to Verizon’s customers.

“Given my experience with and passion for video games, you can bet they will examining their role in Verizon’s future media strategy,” said Melissinos, who began programming at 9 and completed his first game when he was 12. “Verizon provides an amazing set of platforms, from mobile to cloud, upon which video games can be delivered and enjoyed.”

Such efforts to shape gaming’s future come just as many Americans are enjoying the efforts Chris made to chronicle its past.

He first got the idea for a gaming retrospective 9 years ago. He and a friend came across a treasure trove of gaming memorabilia, systems, accessories and more than 6,000 games. Chris remembers marveling for several hours at his friend’s time capsule, and then the idea struck him.

“These,” he thought, like Indiana Jones before him, “belong in a museum.”

It took Chris 7 years to make his idea a reality, but the reception vindicated the effort. The Art of Video Games drew 680,000 visitors in its 6 months at the American Art Museum, second in the museum’s history.

The family-friendly exhibition features 20 gaming systems spanning 40 years, each equipped to demonstrate 4 artistically important games. Visitors can also play five of the pivotal titles in game history: Pac-Man, Super Mario Brothers, The Secret of Monkey Island, Myst, and Flower.

“Video games, at their core, are about connection,” Chris explained, “connecting players to the artist and other players. Verizon, at its core, is also about connection, connecting customers to the people and things who matter most to them.”

RSVP to see Chris speak at Tech in Motion’s Gaming Expo in Philadelphia on October, 16th, along with some awesome demos from ten Philadelphia-area gaming studies and video-game inspired anthems from Dj CUTMAN.

This post was adapted from the original article “Pac-Man a Museum Piece?” at Verizon.com. Read the full story at Verizon.com.

Recap: Mobile Gaming with Android and iOS

It was a chilly Thursday night in September, but the audience of Tech in Motion: Silicon Valley kept cozy and warm thanks to the wonderful heaters at The Downtown Brit. Donning their favorite gaming clothing, people came from all over the Bay Area to discuss mobile gaming for Android and iOS.

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Our first speaker of the night was Kejun, senior designer from NVIDIA. There, she works on the SHEILD, a brand new, hand-held, android gaming device that can be used to stream games to and from TVs. She took the topic to heart, “What is the future to mobile gaming?” Her presentation started off as an explanation on her experience with the design process. What worked verses what didn’t work, and what that had meant to her. She went on to explain the features of the SHEILD. Kejun ended her presentation on what she believed to be mobile gaming’s future. No, they will not take over counsel gaming, but she would like to see games be able to stream and cross traditional platforms.

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With the emphasis of positive social impact, Josh, the CEO of Raindrop Games created Arrival: Village Kaiske for iOS. Josh started with a small team of 5, which then downsized to 3 with a handful of come-and-go internships. But he did it, and with no funding, Josh released his strategy game Arrival: Village Kaiske in 2009. He drove home the importance of getting actual play testing done before your game is released. “What may make sense for you might not make sense to another person.”

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It was a great event and we appreciate everyone who came out to listen to our awesome presenters! Don’t miss out on Silicon Valley’s next event – join the group!