Author Archives: victoria swihart

Jul
15

Steven Spielberg brings “Minority Report” technology to life!

Let’s face it, when talking about the future of technology it is hard not to mention Steven Spielberg’s “Minority Report.”

It’s not always “Minority Report.” Sometimes it’s a seminal sci-fi book like “Snow Crash” or “Ready Player One.” Other times, it’s a different movie, such as “The Matrix.”But a lot of the time, it’s “Minority Report.” It’s a movie that made user interfaces sexy (well, some would argue Tom Cruise did a lot of the work)

Amblin Entertainment

Now Steven Spielberg is taking steps to bring the technology of his 2002 American neo-noir science fiction mysterythriller to a whole new realm.

Joining a startup called, The Virtual Reality Company, (We thought the name could have been more creative too.) the two-time Best Director Academy Award winner will be taking a seat on the advisory board. The startup has assembled a diverse team of some of Hollywood’s elite with the credentials and awards to pioneer this technology in film. The Virtual Reality Company’s founding team includes:

  • Robert Stromberg – Chief Creative Officer – 2-Time Academy Award winner for the production design on Avatar and Alice in Wonderland, and the Director of Disney’s Maleficent.
  • Chris Edwards – CEO – Founder and CEO of The Third Floor, a previsualization studio whose recent credits include: Marvel franchises like Avengers and X-Men, the new Godzilla, and Gravity.
  • Joel Newton – President – A longtime producer who has built an Oscar-Nominated management/production company.
  • Guy Primus – COO – Co-founded and managed Tentpole Ventures, a seed-stage tech investment fund that focuses on consumer lifestyle companies and whose portfolio includes Pinterest, DogVacay, Fancy and Loom.

Now that the team is assembled the next thing to do is raise funding…which I am sure they should have no problem doing with Spielberg onboard. There are even whispers of Spielberg and Ridley Scott directing some new content together to sweeten investment deals. The Virtual Realty Company is currently raising a $23 million funding round.

We have worked with Spielberg before in the visual effects world and are excited about the opportunity to be integrating virtual reality into film! Keep following us for more sneak peaks of this new collaboration!


Jun
10

BMW Pours Technology into New Sedan

BMW officially introduced the next-generation of its flagship 7 series sedan on Wednesday. The new sedan host technologies including gesture control and self-parking.

With the wave of a hand drivers can now answer or decline calls with ease.

Gesture control allows the driver to use hand signals to control things like the radios volume or answer telephone calls. The self-parking feature meanwhile allows the driver to exit the vehicle and use its smart key to tell the car to park itself.

A remote allows drivers the capability of a self-parking car with the push of a button.

MUNICH— BMW AG unveiled its new top-of-the-line 7-series sedan, a luxury car packed with electronic wizardry like remote-control parking that demonstrates how computing power is challenging horsepower for buyer loyalty.

The latest 7-Series, due to land in showrooms in October, arrives as the car industry faces a historic transformation. Tough restrictions on emissions are forcing car makers to reduce weight and develop electric and hybrid vehicles. Traditional car manufacturers, which have ruled the industry for more than a century, face new competition from startups like Tesla Motors Inc.

And Silicon Valley technology startups including Apple Inc. and Google Inc. are edging in to the business, threatening to usurp profits from car-generated data and potentially bringing their own driverless technology and cars to market.

The challenge for Germany’s three premium brand manufacturers—BMW, Audi and Mercedes-Benz—is to maintain their technology lead even as the race shifts away from the gearbox to information technology. The 7-series is the BMW’s clearest statement yet of how it sees the future of driving.

This remote parking feature is just the beginning of what’s coming down the road. German automotive supplier Bosch GmbH has developed a valet parking system that will enable a car not only to slip into a parking space but actually drive around the parking garage and find a space and later come and pick up the driver. Daimler AG, which owns rival Mercedes-Benz, this week said it has formed a pilot project with Bosch to develop the valet parking system.


Mar
09

Everything You Need To Know About The Apple Watch

Apple announced Monday it will launch its Apple Watch — the company’s first leap into the competitive wearables market — on April 24. Pre-orders for the device start April 10.

The smartwatch starts at $349, with the higher-end Edition model starting at $10,000.

Here is a comprehensive look at what will no doubt become the world’s most popular smartwatch.

Styles

Let’s start by defining the available choices, the company has separated Apple Watch models into three distinct collections: The Apple Watch Sport, the Apple Watch, and the Apple Watch Edition. All three offer both 38mm and 42mm rectangular case sizing options, but materials and finishes vary by collection, as do the band options offered by default.

Apple Watch Sport

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Apple Watch Sport has an anodized aluminum finish, which comes in both ‘space’ gray and silver. These finishes resemble the existing case materials of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, with their matte look. The display of the Watch Sport editions are protected by a special ion-treated durable glass, similar to what is used on the iPhone. The Watch Sport will ship with a rubberized plastic sport band, which is available in a range of colors.

The Sport version of the Apple Watch is the most affordable in the range, but it also is the one that aesthetically most resembles the current iPhone models. Rubberized straps might not suit all tastes, but the interchangeable custom strap system Apple designed for all the watches mean users can easily change those out.

The Apple Watch Sport is $349 for the 38MM and $399 for the 42MM model.

Apple Watch

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The Apple Watch is the middle-ground collection of the wearable, with stainless steel casing available in either a shiny polished silver or a glossy ‘space’ black. The stainless steel is paired with a sapphire crystal protective layer covering the display, which should provide additional scratch resistance vs. the basic Watch Sport model. Strap options on the Watch Collection include sport band, leather bands with multiple buckles and a leather loop, as well as a stainless steel link or Milanese loop bracelet. The choice of strap affects the price of the Watch collection.

The Apple Watch is $549- $1049 depending on band for the 38MM. The Apple Watch steel 42MM runs $599-$1099 for the same.

Apple Watch Edition

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The Watch Edition uses the same sapphire crystal to protect its screen, but it comes in either rose or yellow 18-karat gold, which partially accounts for its much higher cost. The Watch Edition also offers exclusive strap options, including leather bands and sport bands with special 18-karat gold hardware in finishes matching the case of each particular model.

Apple Watch Edition will cost you over $10,000.

Native Apps

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Apple’s Watch has a lot to offer in terms of its watch functions, with various faces with customizable colors and detail views, and software-based “complications” that mimic their namesake on analog automatic and manual watches. Some complications include alarms, weather, sunset/sunrise, chronograph, upcoming appointments, interactive animations and more.

Apple offers a set number of stock faces, but each of these offers additional customization options in terms of complications, all of which can be added or removed using simple touch-based commands. You can have a stock tracker as part of your default view, as a result, or an integrated activity tracker and stopwatch, or any combination of any of the above and more

Out of the box, Apple Watch will also offer native calendar, maps and reminder integration, giving you glances for upcoming meetings, as well as the ability to accept meeting invites on your wrist. Notifications tell you when to get moving to your next appointment, and the native maps view can provide turn-by-turn navigation on your wrist with a full visual overview of where to head next.

Of course, third parties will be able to greatly expand the functionality of the watch with apps of their own. Apple demonstrated apps that allow you to call an Uber, unlock your hotel room door, chat on WeChat, or view Instagram photos.

The big button beneath the digital crown allows for quick access to favorite contacts, which you can then either message or call directly from he watch. But you can also draw images to share with contacts, or tap out a pattern with special meaning to the receiving party. Since the Apple Watch also tracks heart rate, you can send your own direct to a contact, too.

Apple also allow you to receive messages and calls, and to respond to them immediately, or to simply lower your wrist to dismiss them. The Apple Watch offers up context-specific responses to inbound messages based on contextual cues, too, meaning you shouldn’t have to pull that phone out of your pocket that often. You can actually take calls on your wrist thanks to the device’s microphone and speaker, as well as triage email, and handoff longer, more in-depth tasks to your connected smartphone.

Features

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Apple has built a lot of unique features into the Watch so that it can truly supplement the iPhone – there isn’t all that much in the way of duplication, but instead the wearable goes beyond, offering sensors that aren’t present on Apple’s smartphones and tablets.

Some of the unique features of the Apple Watch include its taptic engine for providing physical cues and messages, as well as notifications; heart rate monitor and motion sensors for activity tracking; Built-in Bluetooth support for connecting to accessories; and the digital crown, which allows for control without sacrificing screen real estate.

Battery Life

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While rumors had suggested that Apple was having trouble getting the battery lifespan up to something reasonable, Apple now claims that its watch should be able to handle at least 18 hours of regular use. That’ll vary depending on how you use it, of course — but Apple is content enough with the lifespan to call it an “All-day battery”.

See more at- http://techcrunch.com/2015/03/09/apple-watch-will-ship-on-april-24-cost-349-to-10000-depending-on-style/

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Mar
05

Star Wars inspired hologram comes to life on your smart phone.

A new 3D technology aims to give mobile devices the power to display holographic images and video.

BARCELONA, Spain –– “Help me, Obi-wan Kenobi. You’re my only hope.”

Ever since R2-D2 beamed out a tiny hologram of Princess Leia in Star Wars, 3D projection has been a pop culture mainstay and the dream of many a techie.

If one company has its way, your next smartphone, tablet, or smartwatch could be just as capable as everyone’s favorite droid.

Silicon Valley-based company Leia (yes, like the princess) is developing a technology that gives any LCD display the ability to generate 3D holographic images. It showed off a public prototype of its screens for the first time at Mobile World Congress.

While Leia’s holographs won’t be projected like the hologram of Leia in Star Wars, they will offer a true sense of depth and be viewable from up to 64 different angles without any special glasses. A 3D movie, on the other hand, can only be seen from one angle.

Fattal’s company, appropriately named Leia, recently demonstrated a prototype of its display at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

As an example of what the tech can do, you’ll be able to open Google Maps on your smartphone, zoom in on the Empire State Building, and move your head around it to see every side of the tower in 3D, as if it’s actually right in front of you.

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Similarly, you and your friend could be looking at the same image, but if you’re standing in front of it, you’ll only see its front, while your friend standing on your right will only see the object’s right side. The possibilities are out there and this little device could put the future in your hands all from and idea conceived in the past.

For more information about Leia and the technology they utilize you can read up on it at Reuters; http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/03/05/us-telecoms-mwc-mobile-holograms-idUSKBN0M11QZ20150305