Looking at Facebook, Sony and Samsung, you might think the future of virtual reality is all entertainment and social interaction. While video games and movie watching are both primary components of the recent virtual reality wave, there's much more to the field. Matterport, a company focused on 3D-mapping tech, and BeAnotherLab, the group behind interactive art installation "The Machine to be Another" -- are each pushing forward virtual reality, and neither are focused directly on game-like interactive immersion. The medium of virtual reality is young, but it is already varied. So, what does the future hold? We asked five questions surrounding that subject to three people who are shaping that future: the panelists for our "Back to Reality: VR Beyond Gaming" panel at Expand 2014 (which starts tomorrow!). Head below for their answers!
It's what you've all been waiting for! Engadget Expand is the place this week. We're taking over the Javits Center in Manhattan on November 7th and 8th. We're pretty damn excited for what's on tap this year, and we think you should be too. But, in case you need convincing read on for 10 reasons to get pumped.
We're sending one lucky Engadget reader (and a guest of choice) to Engadget Expand in New York City on November 7-8, thanks to our friends at JetBlue Airways and our sponsors. What's more, if you're one of the 10 runners-up, Suitable Technologies will give you a block of time to mosey around the Expand floor remotely with its BeamPro device.
If you didn't make it to Expand SF or Expand NY 2013, we won't hold it against you, but the truth is, you missed out. Don't make the same mistake again. The third edition of Expand is happening in New York City this fall, and you can buy your tickets to attend immediately. Twenty bucks gets you a two-day pass to all the festivities, and students get in the door for half that -- of course, we have individual day passes available, too, and you can get the full rundown of your ticketing options right here.
What do your dollars buy you? Only access to some of the coolest people and technologies on the planet. We're talking giant robots, virtual reality demos and even workshops to teach you how to hack together your very own gadgets! Plus, you'll get to hang out with fellow tech-heads and your favorite Engadget editors, too. So, check out the Expands of the past, then go grab your tickets to the future. You'll be glad you did.
2013 was a banner year for our fledgling series of gadget get-togethers, Engadget Live. Now that 2014 is here, we're running it back with a slate of events across the country that'll be better than ever. For the uninitiated, Engadget Live is all about bringing folks together to geek out on the latest gadgets -- and for us to connect with you, our readers, face-to-face (as opposed to face-to-screen). Naturally, it also gives you a chance to play with the latest gear from companies you know and love, and maybe from some companies you don't know, but should love. If that's not enough to entice you, perhaps the promise of free stuff will do the trick. We'll be giving away a bunch of that very same gear and tons of swag to attendees at every event.
The tour kicks off on Friday, June 20th in Austin, Texas -- with stops in Seattle on July 18th, Boston on August 22nd and Los Angeles on October 3rd. Just hit the linked locations above, and you can buy your tickets to any Engadget Live right now for FREE. Oh, and keep in mind our nationwide tour culminates in the third Engadget Expand conference in New York City on November 7-8.
We'll have more info to share about each Engadget Live (and Expand, too) as we get closer to each event, so keep your eye on Engadget.com to get all the latest updates. Still, you should mark your calendars now, and we'd recommend arriving early to every Live event -- the lines can be city blocks long. And, if you're a company interested in sponsoring or participating in any Engadget Live, drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. See y'all there!
Listen, we're not going to promise you that watching an hour-long episode is the same as going to Expand. The good news for those of you who were unable to attend due to scheduling or geography, however, is that the ticket price is a bit lower, and many of our favorite moments have been saved for posterity. We've done our best to whittle a weekend at San Francisco's beautiful Fort Mason center into one bite-sized chunk of Engadget Show goodness. We'll take you behind the scenes at the event and show you what it takes to run your very own consumer-facing electronics show.
We've got conversations with Google's Tamar Yehoshua, OUYA's Julie Uhrman, Jason Parrish and Corinna Proctor from Lenovo, Chris Anderson, DJ Spooky, Mark Frauenfelder, Veronica Belmont, Ryan Block, plus folks from NASA, 3D Robotics, Oculus, Google Lunar X Prize, TechShop, Lunar and IndieGogo. We'll go for a spin on ZBoard's latest electric skateboard and show off the da Vinci surgical robot, the Ekso robotic exoskeleteon and the latest UAV from 3D Robotics -- we'll also be taking you out on the town in a Tesla Model S. And for a little bit of high drama, there's our first-ever Insert Coin: New Challengers competition, including conversations with the semi-finalists and the big moment of truth. All that plus kids, dogs and your favorite Engadget Editors. Join us after the break for a warm and fuzzy Engadget Show, won't you?
Tamar Yehoshua has led Google's efforts to optimize Search across platforms, devices and languages and earlier this afternoon she took to the Expand stage to discuss how the discovery process has changed. Following her talk, Brian Heater caught up with Tamar to chat about the evolution of search and the company's focus on voice. Check out our video after break for the interview in its entirety.
Follow all of Engadget's Expand coverage live from San Francisco right here!
We had a chance to grill the head of Samsung's North American design studio, Dennis Miloseski, during our panel discussion about the growing sophistication of mobile devices here at Expand. As it turns out, he had even more to talk about, so we wired him up and threw him in the hot seat backstage. He gave us a look into the story behind the Galaxy S 4, the changing face of TouchWiz UI and building Samsung's design studio stateside. For the full interview, check out the video after the break.
Follow all of Engadget's Expand coverage live from San Francisco right here!
Puppet shows and tech rarely ever mix so succinctly: Insert Coin finalist Gal Sasson has taken the ages-old art form and put it on a motorized stage powered by Arduino, making it more entertaining and interactive in the process. The product, dubbed Make a Play, consists of a stage and control board (complete with buttons, knobs and joysticks) all hooked into a nearby computer, and we had the chance to play around with it at Engadget Expand. After decorating the background and adding puppets and toys onto the stage, kids can control the lighting, move two motorized carts to change the position of each puppet and they can even turn on tiny LED lights attached to the toys. But it goes one step further: you can record all of the puppets' movements and audio associated with your play, which means that your creations can be played back and reproduced on the stage whenever you want. Gal is still working on his launch strategy, so pricing and availability have not been officially announced. We take the stage for a spin in the video and image gallery below, so take a closer look.
We first heard about Observos a month ago when it became a participant in our Insert Coin semifinals, but it wasn't until the Hexagonal Research product showed up at Engadget Expand that we were able to see working models of its environmentally aware sensors. Each sensor, which is shaped like a hexagon and is about twice as thick as a hockey puck, is capable of monitoring the temperature, humidity and barometric pressure of virtually any object you can think of. For indoor sensors, a small screen on top displays the desired information of the item you're monitoring, but there's no need to keep a close eye on it -- the information can be relayed to a web interface by communicating wirelessly with a base station hooked into your router. (Outdoor sensors are more rugged to handle external weather conditions and don't have a display screen.
You can program the setup to alert you via email or text if something is awry, regardless of where you are, and you'll be able to monitor everything directly from your smartphone; in the future, Observos hopes to expand into a control network that would give you the ability to make changes to environmental conditions remotely. In other words, if your plants get low on moisture, you'd be able to program a flow valve to open automatically.
While the company's Expand booth featured only six sensors, up to 40 could be used simultaneously. The Observos team plans to launch its Kickstarter campaign this coming Monday, and backers can grab one indoor sensor and base station together for $175, with the price going up as more sensors are added; outdoor sensors will be a bit more spendy as well. A hacker's board will also be available at $75 for anyone who just wants to tinker around with the goods. Check out our video and full image gallery below for another look.