2018 SHAPE Exhibitors: Technology to Spark and Feed the Imagination
The 2018 SHAPE exhibitors demonstrated how digital convergence is transforming entertainment—today and into the future. Visitors had hands-on interaction with AI, AR, VR, and other kinds of technology that let their imaginations fly. There were interactive visual-effects booths, technology that could capture full-body and even facial motion to translate it into a pretty convincing avatar, and 5G demonstrations moving creativity at the speed of thought. Here are some of the highlights.
While many of the exhibits demonstrated technology appropriate for big-budget productions, Insta360 introduced a 360-degree camera that an average consumer passionate about immersive experiences could use in daily life. The camera connects to mobile and other connected devices and lets the user take full 360-degree images that are fast, fun, and inspiring. The technology is available now on the Apple store for under $300; the extended selfie stick—which is erased after the video is filmed—is a bit extra. The company showed demos of snowboarding, marrying couples, bikers, adventurers, and lots of other folks capturing their experience on 360-degree video. And, the only hint that there was a camera involved was the presence of an extended arm that looks like a celebratory salute.
Meanwhile, tech giant Intel took to the fast lane with a transparent acrylic vehicle, built to drive the imagination. The model includes different features and “equipment” both inside and outside the vehicle as you walk around it. The model weighs over 5,600 pounds—more than a real car. The demo also included videos affixed to the side of the model to illustrate the use of these leading-edge security features. The technology is already installed in the newest cars currently on the road and will be included in thousands more in the near future. It’s not clear how many of those cars might be transparent acrylic ones though.
Virtual Reality That Transforms in Infinite Ways
Many exhibitors explored the edges of virtual reality to the delight of attendees who wanted to see their own imaginations come to life.
360DOME.PRO was demonstrated inside a popular geodesic dome that took visitors into virtual reality without the need of headsets or goggles. You start out swimming in the deep ocean, over coral and sponges, through schools of fish that then transform into an ancient Roman catacomb that, in turn, morphs into an asteroid-filled outer space, fantasy worlds evoking the future, the origins of life, and, finally, deep spirituality.
VRC – VRC (the Virtual Reality Company) presented Raising a Rukus, an adorable film adventure starring two young siblings and their dog Rukus.
VIVEPro is the latest edition of the VIVE virtual reality technology, with practical applications that range from film to gaming to business operations.
MIRROR RORRIM – Mirror Rorrim presented a joint exhibit by Open the Portal and Electronic Countermeasures, showing digital experiences that showcase, and raise doubts about, the limits of the universe. Look in a mirror. What do you see? Your own face? The edge of the universe? Are you sure?
Jaunt – Jaunt offers a variety of headset and non-headset-based VR, AR, and 360 technologies, mostly aimed at bigger productions.
Mettle demonstrated its Mantra VR and FLUX technologies, used to create fluid special effects and 360-degree fractal flames.
Next-Generation Entertainment–Far Beyond Keeping You in, and out of, Your Seat
Otoy— How can you make Las Vegas even more Vegas? Otoy’s virtual reality platform OctaneRender and Cinema 4D were used by artists who amped up the impact of Sin City in immersive, transformative ways.
Liquid Cinema – The company gave a sneak preview of its VR-based film Equator 360.
New York Film Academy Los Angeles – Staff and instructors demonstrated some of the latest technology that’s incorporated into film studies courses. Students now graduate equipped with all the digital knowledge they will need to bring their creative ideas to life.
Phenix – Phenix demonstrated its streaming technology that maintains less than a half-second of delay. The demos showed side-by-side examples of the Phenix solution’s “real time” and the delay hiccups of so-called “live” streaming.
KUKA Robotics demonstrated the KIRA 2.0 cinema robotic system. The Kira “arms” are integrated with digital cinema hardware, making it possible to film with great accuracy and at high speeds. This means a level of precision in filmmaking that goes way beyond human capabilities.
Mobile Devices and Technology to Transport You Wherever You Want to Go
Red Hydrogen One – Holograms on your phone? Why not?
Razer was a co-sponsor of the eSports gaming session on Sunday.
Samsung – Samsung unveiled its Galaxy S9 and S9+ and partnered with AT&T to provide seamless, intuitive streaming and functionality. Samsung also demonstrated interactive technology that let attendees try virtual skiing or the virtual climbing of a mountain – handrails provided (just in case) for those experiencing virtually-induced vertigo. Samsung also won the unofficial prize for best souvenirs, as attendees lined up to have their faces copied and imprinted on tote bags. And, in the toasty Burbank sun, Samsung’s frosty pops were a very cool hit.
AT&T – SHAPE host AT&T unveiled great new technologies and highlighted partnerships as well as its onsite 5G WIFI that kept digital thoughts and creations moving at lightning speed. These included Animatronics with Live Facial Capture and CGI with Live Facial Capture. Participants shot themselves, integrated the right effects, and were able to share the results immediately. There was also Full-Body Motion Capture, so you could play a zombie, a vampire, or the alien of your choice. You could also create an animated avatar to stroll through the exhibits at SHAPE.
For gamers, there were advanced 5G content experiences and a live TWITCH broadcast. Then, there was the AT&T helicopter Flying Cell on Wings (or COW) – ideal for first responders after a natural disaster. We also offered a video optimizer diagnostic tool, available to be used by anyone who wanted to bring in their own app or video streams.
Other Digital Innovators Blasting Boundaries
Ambidio – Want to transform your mobile device into an auditory sensation? Ambidio’s two speakers truly amp up the ability to be creative with sound.
Ericsson tapped into the nostalgia of the Warner Bros. backlot by creating the feeling of an old Hollywood speakeasy. The experience came complete with lightning-fast 5G technology.
IBM keeps reinventing itself with innovations in areas like blockchain technology and advances in its AI and IBM Watson solutions. Watson’s creations have been used by previous AT&T Create-a-thon filmmaking contestants, and visitors this weekend got to play with interactive demos of the technology.
Cognitive Code – SILVIA is the latest AI platform from Cognitive Code, which creates virtual beings and sound that are lifelike and immersive.
Faceware – Imagine winning a game just by scowling the right way. Faceware Technologies unveiled FoIP (Faceover IP) that lets gamers truly be in each other’s faces. Wherever your opponent is, you can have a face-off during your interaction.
Hitachi – Hitachi’s stream-based data capture system scours the web for real-time topics and keywords that are trending – letting digital companies respond and react appropriately in real time.