Watch It Go!

This house! It was fabulous. I made a 3D tour for Carriage House NW, its manufacturer, before it was delivered to its lucky owners on Orcas Island. See for yourself!

And the Winner Is...

Last month I won $50 for being the top contributor for the Matterport Official User Group. Yay!

The thing is, I'm pretty sure I was the #1 recipient of help while working on this 3D tour for the Georgetown Steam Plant. I got advice from at least a dozen other Matterport folks on scanning dark spaces, capturing 3D data on inaccessible places, and troubleshooting issues I ran into with the Leica BLK360.

I"m really pleased with the end result, especially because Chris' magical "oversaturate" filter in MPEMBED gave it a warm glow. 

I Do My Own Stunts :)

I took my new BLK360 laser scanner onto my rooftop and neither it nor I fell off! The purpose of this experiment was to test how the BLK360 handles height differentials between scan points (very well), and whether it is bi-directionally compatible with Matterport cameras (yes).  Check out my rooftop and weedy yard!

There may actually be practical applications for this madness. A 3D scan of your roof may help roofing contractors plan repairs and replacements. But NO, that is not a service I plan to offer.

I Want a Cheeseburger

The Bellevue you see below is not on the East Side. It's in Kenya, where my friend Allan lives. Big Square serves all kinds of delicious things: fried chicken, ribs, double cheeseburgers with onion rings... The place looks a whole lot like a fast food joint in Taipei, where I grew up.

I love visiting exotic locales through my friends' work, but sometimes, virtual tours from afar remind me that we're all in this together.

Saturday Reading List

There is quite a lot going on in the virtual reality world...

Via Architectural Digest: Baltimore designer Patrick Sutton has ditched fabric swatches and mood boards for virtual reality. He finds that $5000-$7000 spent on immersive digital renderings by Highrock Studios result in great ROI in the form of quick client decisions.

The Guardian has released a virtual reality dance performance called Celestial Motion, created in part by recording dancers wearing motion capture suits. This is part of The Guardian's ongoing  investments in VR content. 

Via Rutgers University Professor Greg Burdea has started a company based on his research on VR as a form of treatment for elderly patients suffering from cognitive impairments. 

Via tnooz: Mammoth Lakes, California produced a virtual reality promotional video with the hope that the immersive content would create emotional connections. The project outperformed expectations  especially in its ability to offer those with mobility issues the visceral experience of skiing and paragliding for the first time.

Via Geekwire: Seattle startup Onda Origins introduces consumers to coffee growers through virtual reality content, and uses blockchain to ensure a verifiable bean to coffee experience. After seeing their VR tour of a Costa Rican coffee farm, officials at Microsoft's Global Dining Services signed Onda Origins up as a supplier.

Via Fortune: Did you know that truck driver deaths account for 40% of US worker fatalities? UPS is using virtual reality for driver safety training, as is Linde, a large-scale industrial gas supplier. Considering the 50,000 truck driver shortage, it's also hoped that VR's cool factor can help bring new recruits on board.

Gearbrain interviews London-based VMI Studio, which produces life-like renders of yet-to-be-built apartments: "with a brochure you get people looking for five seconds, but in this you get people playing for half an hour." And coming soon, non-visual stimuli such as sound, temperature changes and smell: "the future of the property marketing suite will be sensory spaces that you can go into...something where you don't just walk around and see the apartment, you smell it."

I Made A New Friend!

One limitation of the Matterport camera is that direct sunlight interferes with its infrared sensor, making outdoor 3D capture very challenging - and at times downright impossible. The Leica BLK360 laser scanner handles bright light well and covers large, empty spaces efficiently. But its long scan times make it impractical for furnished interiors.  

Last year Matterport began testing Leica BLK360 integration, so that scan data from both devices can be combined into one single 3D model. The beta program is now open to the public and I signed up today. I also took a trip to Kuker-Ranken, a local Leica distributor, to gets some hands-on instruction on using the BLK. Stay tuned... you may soon be seeing more of the outdoors in my tours!


The Mixed Reality Heart of the Weather

The Weather Channel has partnered with The Future Group to bring weather report to life. According to the announcement, upcoming weather presentations "will combine 360 HD video and augmented and virtual reality elements that are driven by real-time data and our expert on-air talent to transport our audience into the heart of the weather".

Here in Seattle, though, we can enjoy plenty of bad weather in real life. Instead, how about a virtual realty soak in a beauty swimming pool, brought to you by French Matterport friend Florent Hauss?

Häagen-Dazs' VR Bee

Häagen-Dazs created a virtual reality experience that lets viewers see the world from a honey bee's perspective. The project's goal is to raise public awareness of bees' plight and enlist support for bee protection. 

If were hoping for a VR sweet treat, Ohio Matterport friend Luke Ekul's frozen yogurt tour might hit the spot. (Don't miss Luke's spectacular drone footage! Click on the red circle near the entrance.)

U of O's Big VR Investment

After 5 straight years of declining enrollment, the University of Oregon has launched a $230,000(!) recruitment initiative. It produced virtual reality tours showcasing the Autzen Stadium, home of the Oregon Ducks football team, the campus pottery studio, and other facets of student life. 

If you're curious to see what a virtual reality campus visit is like, here's Mexico Matterport friend Héctor Bohoslavsky's tour of the Tecnológico de Monterrey's library!

Life to (Virtual) Death

A Beijing cemetery offers a virtual reality experience that simulates the transition from life to death. Participants see their "virtual souls" depart as past moments flash before their eyes. A second VR experience at the cemetery shows their 8-step cremation process. 

I'm not sure I'm ready for virtual death, but I did enjoy Colorado Matterport friend Chris Hadlee's 3D tour of the Las Animas Cemetery. 

Better Than a Little Paper Umbrella

The Winnipeg Free Press says virtual reality beverages are the latest hospitality-industry craze. For instance, the Baptiste & Bottle bar in the Conrad Chicago Hotel serves "Macallan Rare Journey", a $95(!) drink served with virtual reality goggles that take you on a distillery tour. 

One Aldwych in London offers "The Origin" at a much more affordable $23. "Before taking their first sip, customers watch a two-minute VR video in which they fly over the Scottish Highlands, down to London and finally into Covent Garden. At the exact moment when customers enter the virtual version of the Lobby Bar, a bartender brings their cocktail."

The next time you're in the mood for Turkish food, bring along your own virtual reality goggles and check out Matterport friend Ahmet Temizelliler's stunning tour of the Bursa Ulucami!