Recently, the NYC Media Lab presented an outstanding VR/AR event called Exploring Future Reality. The ExFR’17 event took place in downtown Manhattan and showcased the latest and greatest minds that are testing the boundaries in tech. I was fortunate enough to attend the ExFR’17’s Startup Lightning Pitch event to witness some pioneering technologies firsthand. Nine promising Startups delivered outstanding pitches showcasing the potential applications that VR/AR/MR technologies possess in enhancing various fields such as design, medicine, and hospitality.
Brought to life in Columbia University’s Computer Graphics and User Interfaces Lab in conjunction with the knowledge of current Columbia MD students, this exciting startup could totally revolutionize the way that surgery is performed. vasAR aims to fix the current struggle doctors face of only seeing a 2D x-ray images to go off of while performing surgery. Through the use of augmented reality physicians would be able to see 3D models of patient’s blood vessels, which they could use as a reference while performing endovascular surgery on the patient.
Street Smarts VR
Oliver Noterware, a former Infantry Officer in the Marine Corps, presented his company StreetSmarts VR. StreetSmarts VR wants to tackle the problem of inefficient police training. They’ve identified three key problems with police training that they believe VR can help overcome. Currently about 1,000 dollars per officer per year is being spent on training, and they project this market to be worth 1 billion. StreetSmarts VR creates immersive material that allows users to be in a high-stress, intense situation. Through these VR experiences, they hope to improve officer reactions and reduce police-citizen violence. A key feature in their VR functions is the ability to debrief after the scenario. Oliver Noteware says that customers have mentioned the value of “ being able to talk about it with your training partner and see it from different angles and see what actually happened”. He remarks that this feature is crucial because “the way that you remember things first person is not always exactly what happened, there is a lot of bias there”.
Geopipe is very unique in its ability to render a highly detailed 3D model of the real world and then allow users to easily download the model in industry-standard file formats. Users can specify what they want in their image. Take a map of Manhattan for example, you can specify the neighborhood and if you want trees included in the model. The potential use cases for Geopipe are endless. Not only does it have a direct appeal to architects and designers, it can also be used for special effects in movies- think of action movies where the cities are being destroyed.
VirtualAPT is another startup that is completely reimagining the way industries conduct business. VirtualApt builds autonomous robots that create 360 degree videos that can then be embedded on client’s websites. These autonomous bots create video that accurately shows the dimensions and size of the space being recorded. So far, VirtualAPT has identified three specific target markets: real estate, retail, and hospitality. VirtualAPT could easily subdue the aggravation and struggle of house hunting by making open houses a thing of the past. Through the highly accurate video of the autonomous bots, potential buyers can go on a virtual house tour without ever having to leave their home. In the retail industry, consumers can go on a personalized and virtual shopping adventure at a boutique in Paris without ever having to leave NYC. Lastly, VirtualAPT can maximize the hospitality industries profits by helping hotels sell their mid-priced rooms. Many times hotels sell there cheapest and highest priced rooms because consumers do not understand what they are getting in the mid priced sections. Overall, VirtualAPT seems to hold the promise of allowing consumers to spend their time more efficiently while helping businesses increase profits.
2 Seconds to Safety
This startup focuses on developing a mobile solution that can guide people to safety in hazardous situations. Two Seconds to Safety’s pitch was heavily focused on implementing technology to reduce unnecessary deaths due to gun violence. A waveform of a gunshot has a distinct pattern, and this would allow the technology in Two Seconds to Safety to detect the exact location of the threat. Through the use of artificial intelligence, individuals would tell you when to run, when to hide, route you towards safety, and even reroute you if your original path is no longer safe.
Gaspard Giroud is partner at Piranha , a motion graphic design & visual effects studio, and his latest project is starting GAROU. GAROU aims to create immersive content for brands by building experiences for customers. Imagine if Manhattan were shrunk down so you could walk all around it and experience it from different views you’ve never seen before, maybe from a helicopter? With GAROU you can do that.
Meghan Nelson, executive producer at Superbright, presented her teams latest development, OBJEKTS. OBJEKTS is a private SaaS platform that allows companies toconvert their 3D content into industry standard hardware and software platforms. OBJEKTS target customers are enterprise companies, and OBJEKTS maintains a real competitive edge because they are agnostic with studios
Emoshape provided audience members with a startling sneak peak into the future of robot emotions. Emoshape has developed the first Emotion Chip for AI and Robots. The Emoshape has countless potential and use cases that I imagine will be used widespread in the future. One example that Emoshape CEO, Patrick Levy-Rosenthal gave, was in video games so the characters in the game react with similar emotional responses as the gamers.
This startup is a direct response to the recent issues that we’ve seen in ad campaigns (think of Pepsi commercial). CEO & Founder Micah Ainsley Brown created a product that is sure to shake up the way focus group and provide a new and fresh outlook on how to create ad campaigns. Through the use of AI and neurocomputing, Centiment hopes to guide advertisers during the creative process by helping them create inclusive and less bias ads.