Jul 6, 2015
During the weekend of July 11th and 12th, Southern California’s very own VR conference and expo (SoCal VR) is shooting for the stars – literally.
Developers, content creators, artists, engineers, and VR enthusiasts of all types will take part in a celebration of all things virtual. At the forefront of the event is an outer worldly theme, which looks to combines space exploration and virtual reality.
It all starts the evening of July 11, 2015 in Long Beach, California with a space-themed kickoff party.
Doors open at 7pm. Shortly after people start arriving and have their drinks in hand, a special fireside chat panel discussion begin around 7:30pm. Speakers include a couple local space experts. Of those who will be there is Jacki Morie (Founder, Chief Scientist at All These Worlds).
As her Wikipedia page states, “Jacquelyn Ford Morie is an artist, scientist and educator working in the areas of immersive worlds, games and social networks. Until 2013 she was a Senior Research Scientist at the Institute for Creative Technologies. In 2013 she started a spin-off company called All These Worlds, LLC to take her work in virtual worlds and avatars to a broader audience.”
According to a recent Motherboard interview, “All These Worlds, is currently working on virtual reality experiences for NASA that aim to ease the social and psychological difficulties of long term space travel. At the moment, NASA’s installing an early version of All These Worlds’ simulation at the Human Exploration Research Analog (HERA), located at NASA’s Johnson Space Center.”
Since there’s a 40-minute delay in communication between Mars and Earth, subjects won’t be able to interact with people outside the experiment in real time, but the simulation will sync up with Earth once a day. This will allow family members to leave recordings of their avatars which the astronauts can then interact with, and leave their own recordings in response.
At the end of the summer, “a group of scientists and engineers” will participate in a year-long Mars simulation at the HI-SEAS Habitat in Hawaii. The test subjects in that experiment will use Oculus Rift Development Kit 2 to visit virtual worlds where they can visit art galleries, swim in coral reefs, and ski on a mountaintops.
Another speaker for the event is Liam Kennedy, Inventor of the ISS-Above. His device lights up and increases the flashing frequency when the ISS is nearby, allowing users to run outside and see the space station fly over in the sky above.
As the website for the ISS-Above describes, “the brains of the ISS-Above is a very small Single Board Computer called a Raspberry Pi. It’s like a regular computer that you have in your house – just a LOT smaller…The ISS-Above works with numerous add-ons display devices that light up / change color and/or displays information in some way.”
The project was funded by a successful Kickstarter campaign, raising over $17,000 – well above the orginial $5,000 goal. Now, the devices turns up a bars, parties, and events. There is even an installation in local cafe near that’s been there since November 27th 2013. Liam Kennedy has also created a new wearable option as well.
Liam Kennedy is now looking into putting 360 degree cameras in orbit and will discuss his thoughts on the powerful nature of allowing people to teleport themselves into space to look around.
Mike Murdock, Co-Founder and Creative Director at Otherworld Interactive, will also speak on the panel. He has worked everywhere from a small, award-winning video production house to Microsoft Research (and consulting / freelancing in between) MFA from USC’s School of Cinematic Arts in Interactive Media.
Murdock even helped develop the UX / UI and virtual reality designer for the Oculus Home app for Samsung GearVR while he was at Oculus. His recent project heavily revolve around space-related environments.
Now, Murdock is working on a wide variety of content at Otherworld Interactive’s. One of their early projects was Spacewalk; a exploratory virtual reality experience set in space. The viewer is an astronaut drifting around the International Space Station. Another experience named ‘GWC: Drop the Bass‘ is a lightly interactive virtual reality animation with funny spacemen who dance to intergalactic music.
Otherworld developed a classic twin stick shooter for Google Cardboard as well. Gamers become a member of the Galactic Wrecking Company (GWC) who has been called in to exterminate an immense horde of deadly, malfunctioning robots in outerspace. User get to blow them to bits while avoiding being crushed by their sheer numbers.
Starport, a two-player social experience for mobile VR, is another space-related game by Otherworld. Players get paired with a random player and join in a series of collaborative and competitive mini games – “destroy asteroids, build castles, make friends!” Mike Murdock will provide his thoughts on space and VR from a creative design perspective.
Inside a Space Shuttle: The EndeaVR Project (July 12)
In continuation from the space-themed kickoff party, a VIP keynote will take place at the main SoCal VR event on Sunday, July 12. QGITS readers get an exclusive promo code to get them into this VIP talk.
Promo Code: vrspace
The EndeaVR Project utilizes leading-edge imaging technology to film, photograph and LIDAR-scan the entire Space Shuttle Endeavour, resulting in the most comprehensive captures of a Space Shuttle interior ever assembled – the goal is to render ultra-res VR experiences by which individuals will be able to don eyewear such as the Oculus Rift, and walk or ‘fly’ through the Shuttle, able to ‘look’ anywhere, even touch surfaces and turn switches, via eventual haptic feedback gloves etc.
The all-volunteer project involves the most advanced capture systems available, and is being done by Academy Award-winning visual effects gurus from films such as Star Trek Into Darkness, Hugo and others with participation by executives and developers with Oculus, Samsung, RED and NASA itself.
Executive Producer David Knight will show footage derived from the VR systems capturing the first comprehensive scoping of a Space Shuttle interior ever done, and talk about the plans for the new Air & Space Center being constructed in Southern California where all of it will be utilized. He will also discuss planning for a VR camera unit to go up on the International Space Station, a first and potentially revolutionary experience for everyone on the ground.