Chris Madsen Gives Me a Guided Tour of the Engage Social VR Platform

Yesterday, Chris Madsen, who works in business development at Immersive VR Education (the creators of the Engage social VR platform), gave me and Andrew a personal guided tour of Engage. Among other experiences, we visited the surface of Mars, and took a look at an interactive model of the Mars Curiosity rover:

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We also visited a talk show set:

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And we wrapped it up at a virtual recreation of the Neolithic henge monument at Avebury in England:

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The Curiosity experience included a look at how the rover landed on the Mars surface; it was amazing to watch the entire procedure unfold!

Chris has some pretty great stories to tell about the early days of social VR development from five years ago, so I hope to interview him this fall for my Metaverse Newscast show. Thanks to my producer Andrew to taking these pictures using the Snapshot feature in Engage!

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Kim Kardashian and Second Life

Yesterday, Kim Kardashian posted a screenshot from Second Life to her Instagram account to promote her new perfume!

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Being Kim Kardashian, the photo has already gotten 1,154,320 likes. (I wonder how many of those people even know what Second Life is.)

And that’s not the first time she’s done it, either. Wagner James Au of the blog New World Notes tells us she did the same thing on Twitter on July 11th of this year.

Oh, by the way, since we’re discussing her, never, ever, search the SL Marketplace for “Kardashian”, mmmkay? (Remember, I warned you! Do not click that link!!)

EF EVE: A Volumetric Video Platform

EF EVE allows you to use two Kinects (Microsoft’s camera and motion controller for Xbox consoles) to create a volumetric video of yourself, which you can then share with others in VR headsets or on the desktop!

How, why EF (which is short for Experimental Foundation) would use a hardware product that has been discontinued by Microsoft is a bit of mystery. But if you have a Windows 10 PC and two Kinects, you can subscribe to EF’s volumetric video camera app for $34.99 a month to create holograms of yourself or other people to share on their VR platform. You can download and install the client software for free from their website or from Steam (it works with the Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, or on your PC desktop) to watch the volumetric videos.

I have to admit this is really cool, although of limited usefulness at the moment. Also, since the Kinect has been discontinued, this product has a limited shelf life. Here’s an example of a hologram in various VR environments:

Here’s a video that shows off EF EVE’s presentation tools:

And finally, we have a new use for VR: dance lessons!

Now, it’s not clear that this is social VR (that is, an experience you can share with other people), so I am leaving it off my list of social VR apps. But it is interesting nevertheless!

Thanks to Jurgita Kačkytė of the Virtual Reality Technology Facebook group for the tip!