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HP Sprout is a physical-to-virtual PC. Translation: It's a weird new future

October 30, 2014 | Telepresence Options


It's hard to find the words to describe the funky but creative HP Sprout system, but let's give it a go: it's a desktop computer with a projector that scans physical items, turns them digital in a few seconds and allows you to manipulate the images using your fingers.

Boiled down: It's a blend of what we already know -- the standard computer, letting you check email, surf the web, write documents and so on -- with a touch of the future, particularly in the form of having a "touch mat" instead of a traditional keyboard and the ability to instantly make 3D objects into scans.


The First Feature-Length Oculus Rift Film is Perfect Poop-Your-Pants Halloween Viewing

October 28, 2014 | Telepresence Options


The focus with Oculus Rift may currently be on virtual reality gaming but, as we learnt at last week's Interstellar VR experience, there's room for the headset in Hollywood too. Now Oculus Rift has its first ever feature-length movie, The Banshee Chapter, a horror movie just in time for an immersive Halloween scare.

A modernised Lovecraftian tale, The Banshee Chapter (produced by Star Trek's Zachary Quinto) was first given a standard video-on-demand release back in 2013. Now its makers have teamed up with virtual-reality experts Jamwix to give the film a VR overhaul, retroactively adding headset support that "creates the sensation you're inside the movie itself," according to engineer Bill Booth.


Take Control of Video Conferencing with Motrr & Rango

October 23, 2014 | Telepresence Options


Santa Cruz, Calif. - October 22, 2014 - Motrr, bringing high design robotics to everyday life, and Rango have partnered to launch a fully interactive video calling experience you can't find anywhere else. Rango is an app designed from the ground up to utilize the Galileo motorized dock to turn your iOS device into a 360 degree remote control video camera perfect for travel, business and personal use.


Panasonic's On4Today Brings Telehealth to Assisted Living Facilities

October 21, 2014 | Telepresence Options


The market for telehealth solutions is growing rapidly as technologies and networks improve. Users across the globe - from patients to healthcare providers - are looking for an efficient, cost effective way to make use of health services.

A recent report from BCC Research predicts the market will grow to $43.4 billion by 2019, - with the 'telehome' category dominating the segment.


Google/Magic Leap's 3D "Cinematic Reality" to replace VR, AR?

October 15, 2014 | Telepresence Options


Google and other investors are planning a huge investment in Magic Leap, a secretive but boastful company building hardware and software it says will deliver "cinematic reality."

Sources say Google is leading what could be a $500 million funding round for the Florida-based company; Andreessen Horowitz may be one of the other investors in the consortium. Magic Leap already announced $50 million in funding earlier this year.


San Francisco Drone Maker Unveils Smartphone-Controlled Drone That Folds Up Into Pocket Size

October 14, 2014 | Telepresence Options


SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) -- A San Francisco-based drone maker has unveiled a device it calls a drone for the masses that can shoot video and fold up into the size and shape of a cellphone.

The AeriCam Anura is a pocket-sized drone with fold-away rotors that can be controlled and monitored over WiFi with a user's smartphone.


Highfive: A videoconferencing startup hopes to make conference calls feel less like the ninth circle of hell

October 8, 2014 | Telepresence Options


Today, the odds are better than ever that the team you work with is composed of people from around the country or even the world. To get together for collaboration and conversation, we arrange conference calls. Unfortunately, conference calls are hell, as depicted in this YouTube video. The reason it has over 8 million views is that it's painfully, hilariously true.

Today a startup called Highfive is unveiling its solution, a $799 gadget that hopes to do for the speakerphone what Nest did for the thermostat. It's an HD video camera with a four-piece microphone array that connects to any screen with an HDMI input. It's paired with a modern software package that makes organizing and joining a meeting feel less like the mental equivalent of walking over hot coals. The goal is a mass-market solution that can carve off a big slice of the $3 billion Cisco and Polycom rake in each year selling teleconferencing machines. "It would be amazing to imbue this category with a little bit of sexiness," says CEO Shan Sinha.


'LovePalz' Social Network Lets You Control Strangers' Sex Toys from Afar

October 8, 2014 | Telepresence Options


I've written before about teledildonics, the fancy name for computer-controlled sex toys capable of being operated over large geographical distances. It was this past summer, when I tested out OhMiBod's blueMotion, the bluetooth-enabled vibrator designed with long-distance couples in mind.

"For us, its about keeping a connection or making a connection with somebody who might be not physically standing next to you," OhMiBod cofounder Suki Dunham said at the time.

But while OhMiBod is gearing their teledildonic products toward couples, another company, LovePalz, wants to help you have long-distance cybersex with total strangers. The Taiwan-based company is currently beta testing a new social network, called LovePalz Club, that'll let users set up profiles, connect with new friends they find attractive, and then control those new friends' sex toys. In other words, it's a combination of Facebook, OkCupid, Tinder... and actual sex.


Microsoft Can Now Turn Any Space Into The Holodeck

October 6, 2014 | Telepresence Options


Last year, Microsoft Research revealed Illumiroom--which used projectors to stretch the image on your TV to take over a whole wall. Now comes the sequel. Called RoomAlive, this new system can turn every surface in a room--from the floor to the couch cushions to your own skin--into a glowing screen that reacts to your movement. It's as if your whole analog world has been digitized. And that digital world can see where you're looking, pointing, and touching, and adapt itself accordingly.


INFOGRAPHIC: Why Millennials (and everyone else) prefer face-to-face meetings

October 3, 2014 | Telepresence Options


It would stand to reason that most millennials prefer a virtual meeting over face-to-face interaction in today's business landscape. Ours is a generation, after all, that increasingly seeks comfort and convenience in instant messaging, web casting and video conferencing, right?

Not so fast. According to this infographic, compiled by CT Business Travel and NeoMam Studios, a digital design studio, 78 percent of Gen Xers and 80 percent of millennials say they actually prefer in-person communication with their colleagues.

It's a sentiment that transcends age. Eighty-seven percent of all professionals believe that face-to-face meetings are essential for clinching business deals. This is largely because virtual conferencing not only creates lapses in emotional cues but inhibits crucial opportunities for casual bonding.


Virtual reality brings immersive experiences within easy reach

October 2, 2014 | Telepresence Options


The recent investments in virtual reality by powerhouses Facebook, Samsung, Microsoft, and others promises immersive telepresence conferencing experiences. Here is an excellent article by Chris Griffin of the Australian who offers one of the best overviews of the state of the industry.


Pristine raises $5.4M for Google Glass videoconferencing for physicians

September 30, 2014 | Telepresence Options


Start-up Pristine has raised a $5.4M series A round to continue development of their videoconferencing tele-health application for Google Glass. The app will connect physicians, surgeons, and medical first-responders to instantaneously share their view of medical emergencies, surgical procedures, and other medical applications for consultations with subject matter experts in the field.


You can now attach your iPad directly to your face to experience virtual reality

September 17, 2014 | Telepresence Options


Story and images by Carl Franzen / The Verge

It was only a matter of time. The iPad has been adapted for all sorts of intriguing and surprising purposes over the years (including, recently, a sex toy). Meanwhile, a number of enterprising organizations and individuals have sought to create makeshift virtual reality goggles out of people's readily available mobile devices (e.g. Google Cardboard). Now the two trends have converged: AirVR is a Kickstarter project from Toronto design firm Metatecture that seeks $20,000 in funding from backers to create an inexpensive headset for converting your iPad Mini (Retina) or soon-to-be-delivered iPhone 6 Plus into a portable virtual reality viewer.

It works as you might expect: slide the iPad Mini or iPhone 6 Plus into a bulky headset with two lenses displaying left-eye and right-eye imagery, respectively. Metatecture says it's already developed some initial apps for the product, and points out the headset also leaves all the ports on your iOS device open, so you can attach other potentially useful peripherals like a game controller. If successful, the company plans to begin selling its AirVR headsets for just $49 a pop in early 2015. "AirVR brings the magic of Virtual Reality with you everywhere you go," the Kickstarter campaign suggests. "Ditch the tangle of cables and experience VR anywhere in the world."


New York University's Global Classroom

September 16, 2014 | Telepresence Options


We are continuing the syndication of the stories in this year's issue of Telepresence Options Magazine with an article by Andy Howard: "New York University's Global Classroom" where Andy takes a look at NYU's distance learning program that connects the school with the world.

In the coming weeks and months we will continue publishing the other articles from the Summer 2014 issue including:

Telepresence Entrepreneur - Array Telepresence's Herold Williams Rides Again
Telepresence Intrapreneur - Cisco's Susie Wee leads from the Front
Telepresence Robotics - State of the Industry 2014 by Andra Keay
AVI-SPL- A Look Inside the World's Biggest pro-AV Shop by David Maldow
Handicapping the Codec Wars by Tim Kridel

WebRTC - Reality Check 2014 by Tim Kridel
Room Control - Making it Easy - What's New and Cool in Room Control by Lindsey Adler
Streaming Video - Proxibid: How video streaming their auctions amped their revenues by Andy Howard
Distance Learning - New York University's Global Classroom by Andy Howard

Get Instant Access to the Digital Edition & Buy a Hard Copy of the Magazine:


Dell Venue 8 7000: a slim tablet with a 3D camera and videoconferencing privacy feature

September 12, 2014 | Telepresence Options


Story and images by PC Pro

The Dell Venue 8 7000 series will be the first tablet to arrive with Intel's RealSense snapshot technology - a multicamera system that creates 3D images.

The RealSense system is similar in some ways to the HTC One M8, which uses multiple cameras, but also includes a tiny, specialised chip alongside infrared and standard camera sensors in order to capture depth.

Dr Achin Bhowmik, CTO of Intel's perceptual computing, said it gives the tablet "almost human" vision, with a 99% accuracy rate within four metres.

This may sound a bit dull: after all, 3D smartphones have previously failed to excite consumers, as did similar systems such as Leap Motion.

However, Intel showed off a series of apps that suggests this implementation has potential, letting users choose a new focal point after snapping a picture and measuring real-life objects - in order to see if a new sofa will fit in your front room, for example.

It can also be used for augmented reality, to scan detailed images for 3D printing, and can offer "privacy" with video conferencing, as the depth of detail lets you eliminate the background - so you can hide the fact that you're Skyping from your bedroom rather than the office.


Polycom launches Video as a Service (VaaS) in UK & Europe with distributor Imago

September 10, 2014 | Telepresence Options


UK first country in EMEA to launch Polycom VaaS

Following a successful pilot program in the US, Polycom will bring Video as a Service (VaaS) to the UK in partnership with distributor Imago Group.

Imago will be the first to market with the Polycom Powered subscription-based cloud video service RealPresence Cloud Video Meeting Services. It will also enhance its VaaS-t cloud video service.


'Anti-router' stops drones, cameras, and Google Glass from connecting to Wi-Fi networks

September 8, 2014 | Telepresence Options


Story and images by Dante D'Orazio / The Verge

Are you paranoid that strangers are using drones, security cameras, hidden microphones, or even Google Glass to spy on you? If so, you might be interested in a little device called Cyborg Unplug. Just stick it into a power outlet and watch as it sounds an alarm whenever such a surveillance device enters the vicinity of your home. Even better, you can lock those devices from connecting to your Wi-Fi network. If you're really looking to make a statement, you can even show those "Glassholes" who's boss by preventing all surveillance devices near your Cyborg Unplug from connecting to any Wi-Fi network.

The device is really just a tiny router the size of an old Apple Airport Express that's had its firmware customized to sniff out and block devices based on their MAC addresses. It's created by Julian Oliver, an artist living in Berlin who originally came up with a bit of code called that was designed to kick Google Glass devices from your Wi-Fi network. Apparently the idea was such a hit that Olvier decided to make a complete consumer product based on the same premise.


Samsung Introduces VR Headset powered by Facebook's Oculus Rift

September 6, 2014 | Telepresence Options


We're excited to announce the Samsung Gear VR Innovator Edition, a new mobile virtual reality headset using the Galaxy Note 4, created by Samsung and powered by Oculus.

Over the last 12 months, we've been collaborating with Samsung on the future of mobile virtual reality. The project actually began as an experiment to see if great VR was possible on next-generation mobile hardware. Oculus CTO John Carmack and the mobile team at Oculus were able to blow everyone away in an extremely short amount of time, quickly proving that we were on to something special.

The culmination of that work is Gear VR Innovator Edition, an add-on to the new Samsung Galaxy Note 4, using the phone's GPU/CPU to power the device and the Quad HD low-persistence 5.7 inch 1440p AMOLED screen as the display. One of the best aspects of mobile VR is the completely untethered, easy-to-use experience: you connect the Note 4 to the headset, you put it on, and you're in. That level of accessibility, combined with Oculus software to easily launch and transition between VR applications without taking the headset off, really makes the experience magical.


WebRTC-Reality Check 2014

September 4, 2014 | Telepresence Options


We are continuing the syndication of the stories in this year's issue of Telepresence Options Magazine with an article by Tim Kridel: "WebRTC-Reality Check 2014 " where Tim takes a look at the progress (and lack of progress) on the WebRTC front. .

In the coming weeks and months we will continue publishing the other articles from the Summer 2014 issue including:

Telepresence Entrepreneur - Array Telepresence's Herold Williams Rides Again
Telepresence Intrapreneur - Cisco's Susie Wee leads from the Front
Telepresence Robotics - State of the Industry 2014 by Andra Keay
AVI-SPL- A Look Inside the World's Biggest pro-AV Shop by David Maldow
Handicapping the Codec Wars by Tim Kridel

WebRTC - Reality Check 2014 by Tim Kridel
Room Control - Making it Easy - What's New and Cool in Room Control by Lindsey Adler
Streaming Video - Proxibid: How video streaming their auctions amped their revenues by Andy Howard
Distance Learning - New York University's Global Classroom by Andy Howard

Get Instant Access to the Digital Edition & Buy a Hard Copy of the Magazine:


Conscious Brain-to-Brain Communications Promises Brain-to-Brain Telepresence

September 2, 2014 | Telepresence Options


On the left, the BCI subsystem is shown schematically, including electrodes over the motor cortex and the EEG amplifier/transmitter wireless box in the cap. Motor imagery of the feet codes the bit value 0, of the hands codes bit value 1. On the right, the CBI system is illustrated, highlighting the role of coil orientation for encoding the two bit values. Communication between the BCI and CBI components is mediated by the internet.

Brain-wave sensors have been used to 'telepathically' control everything from remote-controlled helicopters to computer-generated avatars.

Now scientists from the University of Barcelona in Spain, Axilum Robotics in France, Harvard Medical School and Starlab Barcelona have advanced the technology to enable someone in India to send the equivalent of a "telepathic" email to his colleague in France using nothing but the power of his mind.

The researchers used electroencephalography (EEG) headsets to record electrical activity from neurons firing in the brain of the Indian "transmitter" subject and convert the words: "hola" and "ciao" into binary.

In EEG, electrical currents in the brain are linked with different thoughts that are then fed into a computer interface. The computer analyses signals and controls a specific action.

In the researchers' latest study, published in Plos One, researchers decided to interface with another brain to receive the signal.

In the initial test, the greeting was sent from a volunteer in Thiruvananthapuram, India to another volunteer "receiver" subject in Strasbourg, France.

There, a computer translated the message and then used electrical stimulation to deliver the message to the receiver's mind.

The "message" appeared as flashes of light in the corner of their vision.

Just another step towards direct brain-to-brain telepresence communications where messages are instantaneous and capable of triggering the proper neuro-transmitters to create photo-realistic inter-personal communications.

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