Virtual Reality

Mother reunites with her deceased daughter through Virtual Reality

Will it be possible in the near future?

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Image by GadgetMatch

Virtual Reality (or VR) has been around for years. Although it hasn’t offered a lot of practical uses for consumers, the technology has recently made it possible for a mother and her deceased child to meet in a virtual world at the very least.

The nine-minute documentary is titled ‘너를 만났다’ (Neoreul Mannatda) or I Met You by the South Korean TV network MBC. With eight months of production, they’re able to re-create the child’s voice, face, and body through VR and AI. The first episode of the VR Human Documentary series premiered last 7th of February on MBC’s YouTube channel.

It was in 2016 when Jang Jisung lost Nayeon, her seven-year-old daughter. She departed the world due to a rare disease that’s incurable. With Jisung exploring the virtual world, her husband and three children are simultaneously watching what’s happening through a screen.

It started with the appearance of the white butterfly together with a song that they usually play for Nayeon. When she heard Nayeon’s voice saying ‘엄마!’ (eomma!), Jisung bursted into tears and saw her child’s appearance in a surreal environment. She continuously tried to grasp her virtual presence after not seeing her for a long time. They continued to talk and say how bad they missed each other — which made even the production staff emotional.

Of course, it did not end there. After Jisung and Nayeon did a high-five gesture, they slowly elevated towards another world. She saw a grass-filled environment with a wooden bed, a tree, and a picnic table. She was even greeted by Twilight Sparkle, Nayeon’s favorite My Little Pony character.

They also celebrated Nayeon’s birthday with a cake plus 꿀떡 (kkultteok) or honey rice cake and a bowl of 미역국 (miyeokguk) or the seawood soup that’s essential for Korean birthdays. As she counts the number of candles, Nayeon gave another candle and let her mother put it on her cake as a sign that she’s getting a year older. The power of VR made her grab the candle and stick it like it’s a real thing.

Nayeon was able to play for several minutes around the virtual tree until she had to go to bed. Their conversation continued. She told her not to cry, not to fight with her father and siblings, and to take extra care by not getting sick. It ended with the white butterfly’s appearance and Nayeon saying ‘잘가’ (jalga) or goodbye to her mother. Jisung has then transversed to the first virtual world.

Jisung agreed to appear in the show to comfort those people who lost a child, sibling, or parent.

Does the story sound familiar? There’s a Black Mirror episode that resembles how someone can be “reincarnated” through cloning and virtual reality. The TV series is pure science fiction but it gives us a preview of how a tech-driven future might look like.

 

There’s no guarantee that someone will get over one’s death quickly. The grieving process might even take years before someone’s sorrow fades away. As said by the Princeton Neuroscientist Michael Graziano, there’s nothing wrong or unethical about seeing the virtual equivalent of a dead person as a comforting memory.

Even without proper English subtitles, you’d still feel emotional by watching the full episode.

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OPPO AR Glass launches, works like the HoloLens

Looks like the HoloLens

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At its on-going OPPO Inno Day 2019 conference, the company has today announced its first AR Glasses. These new augmented reality smart glasses run OPPO’s Glass OS and work quite a lot like the Microsoft HoloLens or Google Glass.

The announcement comes at a time when the smartphone company has said that it is now focusing on diversifying its portfolio of product categories. According to Android Authority, the Oppo AR Glass will be released in 2020, however, the specifics on exact availability or pricing are yet to be revealed.

The AR glasses include support for 3D surround sound to offer users an immersive AR experience. It also comes with various modes of interaction, including gestures and voice recognition.

The company didn’t go into detail about the technical aspects of these AR glasses, suggesting it’s still at the prototyping and development stage. It does reveal that the eyewear sports as much as four cameras, two fisheye, one HD, and one Time-of-Flight (ToF) to give it a comprehensive view of the world

OPPO didn’t give a release date for the glasses, but it also announced other new products. The company said its first smartwatch will be released in the first quarter of 2020, and it announced a 5G CPE connection Hub.

OPPO founder and CEO Chen Mingyong said that the company plans to invest a whopping CNY 50 billion (US$7.1 billion) in research and development over the next three years. In addition to 5G and AR, research will focus on IoT and AI

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Gaming

From Jedi to Avenger, Lenovo announces AR game Marvel: Dimension of Heroes

Your turn to save the world

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dLenovo made us live our Jedi dreams in 2017, now they want us to be an Avenger. Announced at IFA 2019 is the company’s follow-up to fan favorite AR game Star Wars: Jedi Challenges — they’re taking us to another universe with Marvel: Dimension of Heroes.

The hardware you’ll need

Much like Jedi Challenges, you’ll need nearly the same hardware to make Dimension of Heroes work. There’s the Lenovo Mirage AR headset, the Tracking Beacon, and instead of a Light Saber replica, you get a pair of Universal Controllers.

Of course you’ll also need a compatible smartphone to run the game. Basic requirements are as follows: Has to be larger than 4.3 inches to align with phone tray display cutout. For iOS devices, it has to have at least a 1.4 GHz Dual Core chip along with 1GB RAM. For Android phones, it needs at least a 2.0 GHz Quad Core chip with 2GB RAM. You can check the full list of compatible devices at lenovo.com/miragear.

Play as your favorite Marvel Superhero

There aren’t a lot of details available as to how the game will play out. The only clue so far is that you have to “defend your reality” as any of the six superheroes headlining the game. The six are original Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) Avengers Captain America and Thor, Captain Marvel, Black Panther, Doctor Strange, and Star-Lord from Guardians of the Galaxy.

Fans of the MCU should easily recognize the mentioned superheroes as they prominently feature in the last two Avengers films — Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame.

In early 2018, I had the chance to speak with some Lenovo Executives and they did mention working on a Marvel AR game. More popular characters like Iron Man and Spider-Man were mentioned but they’re noticeably missing in this lineup.

While Spider-Man’s future in the MCU is looking bleak, I personally am still hoping we get an AR game featuring the wall-crawler.

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Oculus Rift S and Oculus Quest launch dates revealed

Facebook still wants to make VR relevant

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Apart from Messenger updates and the new Secret Crush feature, Facebook also announced the launch dates of two new virtual reality (VR) devices — the Oculus Rift S and Oculus Quest.

The Oculus Rift S is an updated version of the Oculus Rift. It now has a higher resolution at 2560 x 1440. It also features Oculus Insight, the company’s new tracking system with built-in motion sensors. In turn, the new sensors eliminate the need for additional motion trackers.

According to the company, the headset’s integrated audio and more comfortable head strap will add to the improvements. It will also come with revamped Touch controllers and repositioned motion sensor rings for better tracking.

For those who prefer a wireless VR headset, the Oculus Quest might be something you’d want to consider. It’s pretty similar to last year’s Oculus Go but with beefier specs.

For starters, it runs on a Snapdragon 835 chip with a choice of 64GB and 128GB storage. It carries a 2880 x 1600 resolution, the Rift S’ Oculus Insight, and four embedded sensors. It also comes with the Rift S’ improved Touch controllers.

Both will be officially available on May 21 with a US$ 399 price tag for each. Pre-orders are now open.

SEE ALSO: Facebook Dating added a new feature called Secret Crush

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