Virtual reality is in the midst of an ongoing renaissance, sparking incredible interest from all along the spectrum, including tech giants like Facebook, young startups, big movie studios and independent filmmakers. With that in mind, VRSE, a new production company in the VR space, has taken to Sundance 2015 to reveal its big ambitions for this immersive technology. And it all starts with Evolution of Verse, a 3.5-minute short film featuring a computer-generated landscape setting and other visual effects that are designed to push the envelope of virtual reality.

Over the past couple of days in Utah, I've been asked several times: "What does virtual reality have to do with Sundance?" Granted, that was brought up by people who don't necessarily keep up with the technology and film industries. Still, the question isn't without merit. To a certain degree though, this year's New Frontier event, an exhibit for creators to feature unordinary storytelling during the festival, is where you'll find the answer to that inquiry. It was there that platforms like the Oculus Rift were born, while more recently, works like Birdly, a virtual reality flight simulator, look to reach new audiences and showcase how science can interact with technology. With its VR experiments, VRSE hopes to make a big impact in the burgeoning space.

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"Print stuff didn't scratch the itch. Documentary didn't scratch the itch. TV drama didn't scratch the itch. It wasn't until I started building this stuff. There was no way I could do anything else. I just couldn't do anything else. I don't know even how to explain that. And I think sometimes I wanna shoot myself in the head that I can't do anything else because it just motivates me. [VR] drives me. This is such a visceral empathy generator. It can make people feel in a way that nothing, no other platform I've ever worked in can successfully do in this way."

Let that stand as your introduction to Nonny de la Peña, the woman pioneering a new form of journalism that aims to place viewers within news stories via virtual reality. That vision has culminated in Emblematic Group, her content- and VR hardware-focused company that she runs along with her brother in Los Angeles.

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"People dream about flying." That's what Max Rheiner, creator of Birdly, a virtual reality experience that lets you feel what it's like to fly as a bird from a first-person perspective, said about the inspiration for his project. Rheiner, who's head of the masters program in interaction at the Zurich University of the Arts, is showcasing Birdly at Sundance 2015, as part of the festival's New Frontier exhibit, which brings creators utilizing unusual mediums to express their narratives under one roof, each with a different story to tell. In Birdly's case, that medium would be an Oculus Rift headset paired alongside a plastic surface (think of it as an inverted dentist chair) and a fan for the wind effect, creating an embodiment that's meant to spawn a full-body VR experience.

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When Shari Frilot first kicked off New Frontier, an exhibit that pushes the boundaries of traditional storytelling through art and technology, at the Sundance Film Festival back in 2007, the attending press didn't quite know what to make of it or the works on display.

"People came and they had no idea what we were doing, but they thought it was really cool," says Frilot of that inaugural exhibit. "And people were calling it 'art at Sundance.' So we had to fight that in the press. We're decidedly not doing an art show."

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Finally, we can stop asking Microsoft's Xbox lead Phil Spencer about virtual reality headsets. "For us, I think this is the area," Spencer told a group of interviewers at yesterday's Windows 10 event. He was responding to whether or not there's also a virtual reality headset in the works at Microsoft, just an hour after the company unveiled HoloLens: a "mixed reality" headset that enables the wearer to see holograms in real life.

For Spencer, HoloLens is both Microsoft's alternate answer to the recent virtual reality explosion and a potential answer to Sony's Project Morpheus headset -- a VR peripheral that works with the PlayStation 4, where HoloLens could work with the Xbox One. "It's very cool. To me there's not a successful consumer electronics device on the planet where gaming is not a primary form of app category on the thing," Spencer said. There's even a "Minecraft-inspired" demo -- which answers that question -- for HoloLens that shows the implications of gaming with holograms. But no demo showed the headset working with the Xbox One in any capacity. Spencer instead talked around that possibility:

"I think gaming will be important. Specific scenarios with the Xbox, we're thinking hard about. People could ask about streaming solutions. Could I use it as a display for my Xbox? We don't have answers to any of those things, but know it's all part of the same organization."

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Microsoft made a lot of sweeping statements yesterday about what it wants for the future of Xbox and Windows. We don't like broad statements here at Engadget; we like specifics. Good news! We've broken down the aforementioned statements into the stuff that really matters: how you will be affected by the upcoming launch of Windows 10, specifically as it pertains to the game console you own and the PC you use for games. We've got answers on everything from in-home game streaming to Xbox's biggest games heading to the PC, so head below for a beat-by-beat breakdown of what yesterday's big announcements mean for the future of the Xbox platform as we know it.

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IRL: A closer look at Boosted Boards' Dual+ electric skateboard

My younger, street-skating self would've scoffed at the idea of an electric skateboard, at least one that wasn't built for tricks while in transit. But having spent less time doing slappies and ollies in recent years, taking to the streets on an electric version finally seemed a viable alternative. For those who aren't planning stunts along the way, or perhaps have less experience skating, there's something to be said for an electric that focuses on cruising and getting you from A to B at a controllable pace. So when I was offered the chance to test one of Boosted Boards' Dual+ 38-inch setups, I decided it was time to take one for a spin. Starting at $999, they're clearly a luxury item, and it's not every day you get to take one for an extended test-drive. Sure, winter and its bone-chilling cold were rapidly descending on New York City when it arrived, but that never used to stop me back in the day. I did get to ride it in the warm Las Vegas sun during CES, but I never managed to use it as a commuting alternative with the weather in decline. The time I managed to spend on the board, though, was definitely worth it.

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IRL: A month with Sony's A7 II full-frame mirrorless camera

When Sony announced its second-generation A7 mirrorless camera, much of the excitement prior to release was due to the device's novel five-axis, in-body stabilization system that promised to steady shots with any lens -- new or old. Coupled with a 24.3-megapixel full-frame CMOS sensor, the same one found on the original model, the A7 II's newly minted SteadyShot built-in stabilizer automatically made this compact shooter our likely new favorite in the mirrorless camera category, and perhaps a respectable challenger to some DSLRs, too. On paper, at least, it's as solid a package as it gets -- which is, ultimately, the bare minimum you should expect when you spend $1,700.

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I refuse to "unfriend" people on Facebook.

Well, okay, that's kind of false. I will unfriend you if we're not actual, real-life friends, and I eventually forget how we knew each other. But that's not the point. The point is that my Facebook friends list is made up of people I know, or knew, in real life. They may not be people I speak to every day, or people I see in person with frequency, but they are or were a tangible part of my life: part of what makes me me. To put that more eloquently:

"I see it as my network: a digital representation of my network. An archive of the people I've encountered and come across. If I want to understand my story, my history, all of the ways that I've come about, this is one of those vehicles. It's almost like this weird digital therapy space where you can get to the heart of where you are via the people you've interacted with."

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

During the first-ever College Football Playoff National Championship, AT&T showed off a working demo of a new version of its Long-Term Evolution network: LTE Broadcast. With this, the wireless carrier is hoping to alleviate the congestion problems consumers face when they are in highly crowded places -- such as professional sports stadiums. AT&T's been working on LTE Broadcast for years, but until now has shared few details about it. In 2013, AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson said that the company was "all about architecting networks to deliver video," pointing out that the technology would be "mature in scale within the three-year time horizon." We're not quite there yet, but what I saw on Monday leaves me hopeful for the future of smooth, buffer-free television over LTE.

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