New Sarif Industries PR Video

Posted by on April 13th, 2011

Woke up to an email from our friends over at Sarif Industries, this morning.  Sarif – whom we’ve covered before – has just released a video showcasing their new line of prosthetics.

Sadly, Sarif Industries is just a viral marketing site for the upcoming Deus Ex: Human Revolution video game.   Still, its a nice bit of enhancement porn to start the day with, isn’t it?

Suwappu: part-physical, part-digital toys

Posted by on April 5th, 2011

I’ll just let BERGLondon do most of the talking for this one:

Dentsu London are developing an original product called Suwappu. Suwappu are woodland creatures that swap pants, toys that come to life in augmented reality. BERG have been brought in as consultant inventors, and we’ve made this film. Have a look!

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This is where it starts to get interesting:

We wanted to picture a toy world that was part-physical, part-digital and that acts as a platform for media. We imagine toys developing as connected products, pulling from and leaking into familiar media like Twitter and Youtube. Toys already have a long and tenuous relationship with media, as film or television tie-ins and merchandise. It hasn’t been an easy relationship. AR seems like a very apt way of giving cheap, small, non-interactive plastic objects an identity and set of behaviours in new and existing media worlds.

Then it gets really interesting, quoting directly from BERG’s Jack Schulze:

In the film, one of the characters makes a reference to dreams. I love the idea that the toys in their physical form, dream their animated televised adventures in video. When they awake, into their plastic prisons, they half remember the super rendered full motion freedoms and adventures from the world of TV.

For me, this marks an entry into the territory explored in the anime Dennō Coil. But it’s a little Tachikoma that I’d like to see running around my desk, giving me messages, through AR magics.

Jane McGonigal on the Colbert Report

Posted by on February 25th, 2011

Reader Leet Ninja Pirate writes “An interview with Jane McGonigal on the Colbert Report. Subjects include a wider gaming audience, Urgent Evoke, and the phrase “epic win.” McGonigal addresses just about all of the major issues brought up by Colbert about gaming as a worthwhile pursuit.”

Gamification of life is a very interesting strategy, and I’m very much loooking forward to reading Reality Is Broken. For more details, try Cory’s review on BoingBoing.

Profile On: Sarif Industries

Posted by on December 6th, 2010

Sarif Industries, the brainchild of David Sarif, has its roots in a repurposed Detroit auto plant and is on its way to becoming a prosthetics powerhouse…

As much as I’d love to see a day when I could write an article like that, sadly Sarif Industries is part of an ARG for the upcoming DEUS EX: HUMAN REVOLUTION RPG.  However, it is a lovely glossy bit of afternoon Transhumanity that is worth checking out.

Five Futuristic Interfaces on Display at SIGGRAPH

Posted by on August 5th, 2009

A couple of the five featured interfaces on Technology Review:

    Touchable Holography

    3D Teleconferencing

Invizimals – new AR game for the PSP

Posted by on June 8th, 2009

Dennō Coil just got a little closer to reality.

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As Kotaku describes it:

Using the PSP and a specially designed disk, Invizimal hunters will have to locate and trap 100-plus hidden creatures, adding them to their collection. Creatures will be spawned based on environmental conditions, with a bit of randomness, to keep things interesting. The trapping of those creatures is vaguely Ghostbusters-esque: find the Invizimal with the on-screen sensor, throw down the trap, then slap the beast to stun it.

World Builder

Posted by on March 12th, 2009

Created by Bruce Branit, who shot in it a few days.World Builder involved two years of post-production work to bring it to this moment.

Sent to me via twitter by heresybob.

Vuzix teases us with more details about it’s coming HUD

Posted by on January 10th, 2009

As promised these have been spotted at CES.

Pocket lint has touched them and has more details:

Vuzix’ proprietary Quantum optics technology gives Wrap 920AV wearers a “see-thru” video experience in the form of a functional pair of sunglasses with prescription lenses optional.

Claiming to be capable of 3D, Vuzix mysteriously states that an “optional Bluetooth 6-Degree of Freedom tracking sensor and/or Stereo Camera Pair will enable users to upgrade their Wrap 920AV to experience virtual, augmented and mixed reality environments“.

Awesome. Now stop teasing and gimme!

Mattel Mindflex

Posted by on January 6th, 2009

It’s never too early to get the children to move things with their minds:

Mattel’s keeping mum about the technology behind its Mindflex game, but – according to several online sources – the game requires the user to wear a headset equipped with sensors that measure brainwave activity.

This ‘activity’ is then used to guide a small foam ball through an obstacle course of hoops, which can be customised by the gamer.

It’s still unclear how the ball is kept in the air throughout its journey around the obstacle course. Some reports have claimed that a fan’s used, whilst other sources have said that Epoc-esque technology is the key to Mindflex’s power.

What we do know is that Mindflex will be paraded by Mattel at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show, which is about to kick-off in Las Vegas.

Link and photo via

See also:

Vuzix Teases Us With Awesome Virtual Reality Wrap 920AV Video Sunglasses

Posted by on December 19th, 2008


Apparently, the Wrao 920AV will be “the first to actually function as sunglasses or portable video eyewear. It’ll combine virtual reality (VR) capabilities as well as augmented reality (AR) features.” Holy crap that is awesome.

- Photo via

Ready for a Simulated Head Wound?

Posted by on December 6th, 2008

Not content to just let your character get knocked about during the game? How about being able to feel that blow to the head? Seen on, the HTX Helmet stimulates blows to the head as well as bullets zooming past you. Currently limited to just a few games right now, this is sure to change as newer games are developed, keeping in mind the players that want a truly interactive experience.

Lively… Dies.

Posted by on November 21st, 2008

Alas, Google’s own Virtual World service Lively is being shut down after just five months of operation.   While I did notice that it didn’t work with Chrome (my browser of choice) – I had high hopes for the project and thought it was – in the end far more promising than Linden Labs’ Second Life.

(I gave up on SL months ago when my frustration with it outweighed my love of the concept.)

I can be seen (Circa 2007) waxing raphosodicaly about SL and Google Earth’s early virtual world announcements here:

However, when you step back from that picture and look at it, only approx 1% of the world’s broadband users are plugged into persistent virtual worlds like WoW. Sure it seems like everyone you know is hooked on the sweet, sweet gaming crack of WoW, but let’s face it, you “know” a small sample of people in the great scheme of things. One or two percent of a subset of those who are connected to the internet is not actually a large amount.

Virtual Reality is certainly a neat technology, and it certainly is key to a particular model of the face of the future, but that model of the future — minds forever voyaging into the deep reaches of cyberspace — is a model that doesn’t map to the current nature of cyberspace. Why is that? 

Well, I (and here’s where I’m going into pure theorizing) figure it’s because Cyberspace isn’t out there. The locale of cyberspace has shifted over the last few years because of the acceptance and implementation of key technologies. Cyberspace, if the word has any real ideological weight anymore, is right here. If you look with the right sort of eyes, you can see the shape of it, even without a helmet and goggles. (Though goggles never hurt any enterprise.)

Twelve thousand, six hundred miles up there is a constellation of satellites orbiting the earth. That constellation is administered by the US Department of Defense and is known as NAVSTAR GPS . And while we weren’t looking, the gaze of those 31 heavenly bodies changed the shape of the world.

I could get technical here, but I’ll stick to the simple version. If you want a more detailed version, check the internet. However, the basic setup is simple, there are a bunch of satellites in space that allow, with the right equipment, someone to pinpoint a location almost anywhere on earth. GPS is vastly more accurate than latitude and longitude and it allows boats to navigate shipping lanes better and cell phones to navigate cars to weddings with ease. 

But it’s just a fancy map, right? Yes and no. GPS co-ordinates are not so much a map as a reference point. It’s a way to take a real geographical location like Fountain Square in Cincinnati or the north side of Uluru in Austrailia and attach a little invisible bit of data to it. The GPS system allows you to attach a little bit of data to a piece of physical meat and dirt real estate.

That’s huge. That’s ginormous.

(Original link via: Bruce Sterling and Warren Ellis.)

The Wait for “Top Gun” Virtual Reality Is Over

Posted by on October 20th, 2008

You can fly planes like a professional, even if you have no training as a pilot, thanks to another development in virutal reality.

Let’s be honest: Aerial acrobatics are about as badass as it gets. Unfortunately, they’re not too accessible for the average person without the thousands of dollars and years of training it takes to get a pilot’s license in a high-performance plane. But New Zealand company Air Sports Ltd. envisions a world where we’ll all get to duke it out on our computers with actual pilots — and those pilots will be flying real planes in the open air.In the first test flight of Air Sports Ltd.’s Sky Challenge, gamer Ernest Artigas sat on the ground and faced off against two airborne flyboys, completing a virtual obstacle course that was projected into their cockpits.

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Airsports has plans to project the images of the course map onto the pilots’ retinas.

Link and video via,

levelhead – the spatial memory game in a cube

Posted by on July 31st, 2008

Ah, games today. Check out this one, it is basically a world in a cube:

This is levelHead, “a spatial memory game by Julian Oliver“:

levelHead uses a hand-held solid-plastic cube as its only interface. On-screen it appears each face of the cube contains a little room, each of which are logically connected by doors.

In one of these rooms is a character. By tilting the cube the player directs this character from room to room in an effort to find the exit.

Some doors lead nowhere and will send the character back to the room they started in, a trick designed to challenge the player’s spatial memory. Which doors belong to which rooms?

There are three cubes (levels) in total, each of which are connected by a single door. Players have the goal of moving the character from room to room, cube to cube in an attempt to find the final exit door of all three cubes. If this door is found the character will appear to leave the cube, walk across the table surface and vanish.. The game then begins again.

This diagram shows the set-up:

levelHead set up

The best part is that Julian is releasing this as “a fully open-source project soon under the GPLv3 License”. So you can start building your own, just in time for Christmas!

thanks for the tip-off George Rohac, Jr.!

Experimental Phone Network Uses Virtual Sticky Notes

Posted by on July 22nd, 2008

The rapid convergence of social networks, mobile phones and global positioning technology has given Duke University engineers the ability to create something they call “virtual sticky notes,” site-specific messages that people can leave for others to pick up on their mobile phones.”Every mobile phone can act as a telescope lens providing real-time information about its environment to any of the 3 billion mobile phones worldwide,” said Romit Roy Choudhury, an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering in Duke’s Pratt School of Engineering.

A team led by Roy Choudhury has developed a new software system that enables users to obtain location-specific, real-time information — either passively or directly — from other mobile phone users across the world. It will be as if every participating mobile phone works together, allowing each individual to access information throughout that virtual network.

“We can now think of mobile phones as a ‘virtual lens’ capable of focusing on the context surrounding it,” Roy Choudhury said. “By combining the lenses from all the active phones in the world today, it may be feasible to build an internet-based ‘virtual information telescope’ that enables a high-resolution view of the world in real time.”

The application combines the capabilities of distributed networks (like Wikipedia), social networks (Facebook), mobile phones, computer networks and geographic positioning capabilities, such as GPS or WiFi.

“Micro-blogs will provide unprecedented levels and amounts of information literally at your fingertips no matter where you are, through your mobile phone,” Roy Choudhury said. “We have already deployed a prototype, and while some challenges remain to be addressed, the feedback we’ve received so far indicates that micro-blog represents a promising new model for mobile social communication.”

Link via

Superstruct: an ARG from The Institute For The Future

Posted by on July 14th, 2008

This is so cool I’m just going to re-blog the whole thing:

Superstruct! Play the game, invent the future.

This fall, The Institute for the Future invites you to play Superstruct, the world’s first massively multiplayer forecasting game. It’s not just about envisioning the future—it’s about inventing the future. Everyone is welcome to join the game. Watch for the opening volley of threats and survival stories, September 2008.


SEPTEMBER 22, 2019

Humans have 23 years to go

Global Extinction Awareness System starts the countdown for Homo sapiens.

PALO ALTO, CA — Based on the results of a year-long supercomputer simulation, the Global Extinction Awareness System (GEAS) has reset the “survival horizon” for Homo sapiens – the human race – from “indefinite” to 23 years.

“The survival horizon identifies the point in time after which a threatened population is expected to experience a catastrophic collapse,” GEAS president Audrey Chen said. “It is the point from which it a species is unlikely to recover. By identifying a survival horizon of 2042, GEAS has given human civilization a definite deadline for making substantive changes to planet and practices.”

According to Chen, the latest GEAS simulation harnessed over 70 petabytes of environmental, economic, and demographic data, and was cross-validated by ten different probabilistic models. The GEAS models revealed a potentially terminal combination of five so-called “super-threats”, which represent a collision of environmental, economic, and social risks. “Each super-threat on its own poses a serious challenge to the world’s adaptive capacity,” said GEAS research director Hernandez Garcia. “Acting together, the five super-threats may irreversibly overwhelm our species’ ability to survive.”Garcia said, “Previous GEAS simulations with significantly less data and cross-validation correctly forecasted the most surprising species collapses of the past decade: Sciurus carolinenis and Sciurus vulgaris, for example, and the Anatidae chen. So we have very good reason to believe that these simulation results, while shocking, do accurately represent the rapidly growing threats to the viability of the human species.”

GEAS notified the United Nations prior to making a public announcement. The spokesperson for United Nations Secretary General Vaira Vike-Freiberga released the following statement: “We are grateful for GEAS’ work, and we treat their latest forecast with seriousness and profound gravity.”

GEAS urges concerned citizens, families, corporations, institutions, and governments to talk to each other and begin making plans to deal with the super-threats.


This is a game of survival, and we need you to survive.

Super-threats are massively disrupting global society as we know it. There’s an entire generation of homeless people worldwide, as the number of climate refugees tops 250 million. Entrepreneurial chaos and “the axis of biofuel” wreak havoc in the alternative fuel industry. Carbon quotas plummet as food shortages mount. The existing structures of human civilization—from families and language to corporate society and technological infrastructures—just aren’t enough. We need a new set of superstructures to rise above, to take humans to the next stage.

You can help. Tell us your story. Strategize out loud. Superstruct now.

It’s your legacy to the human race.

Want to learn more about the game? Read the Superstruct FAQ.

Superstruct Now

Get a head start on the game. It’s the summer of 2019. Imagine you’re already there, and tell us a little bit about your future self. Where are you having dinner tonight?

(Email your answer to! We’ll post replies on this blog throughout the summer.)

Who’s game?!

via Open the Future