Episode 179 – May The Merch Be With You

BB-9E augmented reality

In honor of Force Friday part deux, Michael and Michael geek out on all the awesomeness that is Star Wars merchandise now available for sale.

You could use have a Lenovo-enabled lightsaber battle.

You could build your own R2-D2 with a littleBits kit.

You could own your very own Corellian freighter of your very own, putting together over 7,500 pieces in the new, and most awesome Millennium Falcon model from Lego.

Switching gears, the team discusses the interaction among & between conversational artificial intelligences, and how they could do a platform of platform strategy play to talk with other AIs to gain the benefit of those services, all via natural language as the interface.

You’ll find drones, droids and how to do much more in this episode!

Selected links 

Star Wars iOS app — https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/star-wars/id960108075?mt=8

Business Insider article:  The hype around ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ is kicking into high gear — here’s what Disney just announced — http://www.businessinsider.com/new-star-wars-the-last-jedi-toys-2017-8

Battle Chess (Commodore 64) — https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_Chess

Archon — https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Archon:_The_Light_and_the_Dark

TechCrunch article:  The littleBits Droid Inventor Kit lets you build an R2-D2 of your very own — https://techcrunch.com/2017/08/31/the-littlebits-droid-inventor-kit-lets-you-build-an-r2-d2-of-your-very-own/

Nerdist article:  New Lego Millennium Falcon Is The Largest Set Ever — http://nerdist.com/star-wars-lego-millennium-falcon-largest-set-ever/http://nerdist.com/star-wars-lego-millennium-falcon-largest-set-ever/

TechCrunch article:  Bragi’s Dash and Dash Pro wireless earbuds to get Amazon Alexa — https://techcrunch.com/2017/09/01/bragis-dash-and-dash-pro-wireless-earbuds-to-get-amazon-alexa/

TechCrunch article: Nobody is going to ask Cortana to talk to Alexa — https://techcrunch.com/2017/08/31/nobody-is-going-to-ask-cortana-to-talk-to-alexa/

Dark Sky — https://darksky.net/app

TechCrunch article: Google reveals the top things people want to find out ‘How to” do — https://techcrunch.com/2017/09/01/google-reveals-the-top-things-people-want-to-find-out-how-to-do/

How to Fix a Toilet — http://how-to-fix-a-toilet.com

Icon Factory — https://iconfactory.com

The Noun Project — https://thenounproject.com

An Event Apart Josh Clark: The Tools I Use — https://aneventapart.com/news/post/josh-clark-the-tools-i-use

The Durham Savoyards — http://durhamsavoyards.org

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Episode 177 – What could possibly go wrong?

This episode has it all — from virtual reality, to augmented reality to mixed reality to real reality. Starting off with UPS’s VR driver training for their truck fleet, journeying to the Apollo astronaut training efforts with the Zeiss Model VI Planetarium Projector and the excitement of Apple’s recent World Wide Developer’s Conference, Michael and Michael discuss the exciting developments caused Tim Cook to say that he’s so excited about it, “I just want to yell out and scream.” Michael and Michael reminisce about the early days of the US Army’s use of there.com to provide a “real” virtual reality experience with soldiers in the field playing the roles of people at a checkpoint, to train others on the tactics being used by both regular people and enemy combatants. The video above is from the episode of The Screen Savers on the US Army’s use of there.com.

To file under the title of this episode, an octocopter drone equipped with optical recognition, recoil-handling aerodynamics and an ability to fire rifles, grenade launchers and the like is being developed. What could possibly go wrong indeed.

Closing out on a much happier note, one of the games that Michael M is excited to be playing soon is Unstable Unicorns, a Kickstarter that he backed in the early days that is now up to $672,000 in pledges, and there’s still time to get in on this fun.

Check out the show — check out the games!

Selected links

Boy Genius Report article: UPS is going all-in on VR — http://bgr.com/2017/08/15/ups-vr-htc-vive/

Early space journeys began at Morehead Planetarium — http://www.unc.edu/spotlight/early-space-journeys/

there.com — https://www.prod.there.com

ZDTVfan’s YouTube channel with old The Screen Savers episodes — https://www.youtube.com/user/zdtvfan/featured

Jim Grosse on Massively Multiplayer Simulator for Asymmetric Warfare using There.com on Tech TV’s The Screen Savers — https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cGyOHTrh0wM

Patently Apple article: Apple’s Next iOS will deliver a Big Win for Apple Regarding Augmented Reality that Leapfrogs Microsoft’s HoloLens — http://www.patentlyapple.com/patently-apple/2017/08/apples-next-ios-will-deliver-a-big-win-for-apple-regarding-augmented-reality-that-leapfrogs-microsofts-hololens.html

Bloomberg Businessweek article: Tim Cook on Donald Trump, the HomePod, and the Legacy of Steve Jobs — https://www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2017-06-15/apple-s-tim-cook-on-donald-trump-the-homepod-and-the-legacy-of-steve-jobs

Apple’s WWDC iOS 11 Wingnut AR Surreal Demo — https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jAsxW5YtWrM

ARKit demo pictures from Michael R in E172 — http://gamesatwork.biz/2017/06/19/episode-172-shining-a-light-on-ar/

Magic Leap — https://www.magicleap.com

Wired Article: Why ‘Gorilla Arm Syndrome” Rules Out Multitouch Notebook Displays — https://www.wired.com/2010/10/gorilla-arm-multitouch/

TechCrunch article: Minibar Delivery alcohol marketplace picks up $5 million in funding — https://techcrunch.com/2017/08/15/minibar-alcohol-marketplace-picks-up-5-million-in-funding/

Somabar — https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/somabar/somabar-automated-craft-cocktail-appliance

Tech Crunch article: A defense company puts a machine gun on a drone — https://techcrunch.com/2017/08/17/a-defense-company-put-a-machine-gun-on-a-drone/

Daniel Suarez book Kill Decision — https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kill_Decision

What are the co-hosts playing these days?

Unstable Unicorns — https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/ramybadie/unstable-unicorns

Exploding Kittens — https://www.explodingkittens.com

Imploding Kittens — https://shop.theoatmeal.com/products/imploding-kittens-expansion-pack

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Episode 172 – Shining a light on AR

Michael and Michael are back — and take a long careful look at the newest capabilities that Apple is bringing to light in augmented reality with the new iOS 11 operating system.  Michael R has already downloaded the development framework, and has started bringing into mixed reality the digital test objects, to great effect.  The pictures included in this post are from Michael R’s experiments with the framework thus far, and it is quite amazing to see the fidelity of the objects, as well as the recognition by the software of the planes, shadows & angles of placement.  There much to be very excited about here, and once the digital augmented reality experience is not through the screen of an iPhone, but in a more natural way (dare I even bring up the possibility of contact lenses again?) — then, then we are really onto something.  Until that point, this version of augmented reality is an interesting step in the right direction, but the consumption cannot be via holding a phone at arm’s length or wearing a ski goggle-esque contraption that distances the person from the reality they are looking to more deeply engage with.

Robots are not just for vacuuming your floor — they are also quite useful for teaching ballroom dancing, and in determining the skill level of the human student, the artificial intelligence can quickly adapt the lessons to be challenging for whatever level the student is at.  And speaking of  AI, the recent Microsoft acquisition Maluuba has crushed Ms. Pac-Man using a new method called Hybrid Reward Architecture to more effectively manage the very difficult problem of balancing the multiple rewards (and threats) in a game like Ms. Pac-Man to achieve the maximum score.

Staying on the Microsoft theme a moment longer, the team discuss Minecraft as a platform, his where multiple operating systems and devices are now converging on a common Minecraft environment.

Binky has loomed large in the news this past week — what started as a joke has turned into something more.  In this app, you can experience all the joy of social media likes & shares but not have anyone ever see your posts.  Michael M is reminded of Ian Bogost’s Cow Clicker social media game.

Selected links 

Apple ARkit — https://developer.apple.com/arkit/

Apple ARkit WWDC video — https://developer.apple.com/videos/play/wwdc2017/602/ 

Ballroom dancing robot — https://twitter.com/qz/status/874061192196534272

Ms PacMan — http://time.com/4819067/microsoft-pac-man-maluuba/

Maluuba — http://www.maluuba.com

Hybrid Reward Architecture for Reinforcement Learning — https://arxiv.org/pdf/1706.04208.pdf

Minecraft — http://www.businessinsider.com/minecraft-unites-all-platforms-2017-6

Binky — https://techcrunch.com/2017/06/10/binky/

Cow Clicker — https://cowclicker.com

BikeSphere — http://bgr.com/2017/06/14/bikesphere-michelin-safety/

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Episode 170 – Holographic Whiteboard Penguins

 

Michael and Michael kick off this episode with holographic dragons demoed by the folks at Microsoft Research.  Beside the amazing ability to project monoscopic holograms within the frame of a normal set of eyeglasses, another really exciting aspect of this innovation is the ability to use the processor to correct for astigmatism or other eyesight issues.

Moving from one collaborative display means to another, Michael & Michael talk about Google’s recently announced Jamboard and Michael R shares his experiences with the Ricoh interactive whiteboards.  Mural is another example of a collaboration solution that allows for multiple people to interact on the same board together, and this spurred a discussion on other ways to accomplish in software what the Google & Ricoh hardware  can do.

Michael & Michael both joined Pinguin to see what they could learn about this new chat system, and naturally, after the article said that the #podcasts room was empty, that was precisely the first place they went.  It wasn’t empty by the time they got there, and Michael M used the opportunity to do some marketing for this podcast.

The CNN Money article about John Oliver’s efforts to encourage his viewers to comment on the FCC proceeding 17-108 Restoring Internet Freedom caught the team’s attention, and highlighted how such requests for public comment can be spammed — FCC McFCCFace anyone?   And how in a strange circular logic, evidence that someone had loaded voter addresses and spammed the public comments with messages in favor of the new FCC regulations could be used to undermine the validity of nearly 3m public comments (at the time of this posting).

Michael and Michael close out this episode by imagining what video games could be created using the plot lines of movies.  While neither Michael is a big horror movie fan, they did come up with some interesting ideas.

Selected links 

Engadget article: Microsoft’s true holographic display fits in your glasses — https://www.engadget.com/2017/05/20/microsoft-holographic-display-in-glasses/

Google’s Jamboard — https://gsuite.google.com/products/jamboard/

Ricoh’s interactive whiteboards — https://www.ricoh-usa.com/en/products/pl/equipment-interactive-whiteboards/_/N-1w

Mural — http://mural.ly

TechCrunch article:  Pinguin is a public chat room for nerd(ier) people — https://techcrunch.com/2017/05/10/pinguin-is-a-public-chat-room-for-nerdier-people

CNN Money article:  John Oliver tackles net neutrality again, encourages viewers to ‘go FCC yourself’ — http://money.cnn.com/2017/05/08/media/john-oliver-net-neutrality/index.html

Go FCC Yourself — www.gofccyourself.com

Slashfilm article: Hack ’n Slash: 20 Horror Movies That Should Be Video Games — http://www.slashfilm.com/horror-movies-that-should-be-video-games/

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Episode 164 – Addictive AR

 

 

 

Michael and Michael start this episode off with an excellent roundup of how technology gets that dopamine drip going with an article from The Guardian that focuses on the newly published book by Adam Alter, Irresistible.  Starting with the psychological and cultural affinity with liking content, and proceeding quickly to the linkages between gambling and games, the article walks the path to augmented reality and virtual reality — what makes an experience repeatable and desirable to come back to again and again.

Turning their attention to augmented reality, Michael and Michael imagine the the future of not only designing 3D spaces with the Microsoft Hololens, but also how the perspective of the user of such technology is afforded the chance to see directly what could not be physically possible.  Not everyone can have a front row seat in the operating (or other) theater, but with AR & VR you can — and this begins to open up whole new worlds of possibility.

Michael M shares his experience from an Uber ride in New York this past week, where the car was outfitted with a Mobileye device that watches for speed limits, distance between the driver’s car and those ahead, as well as lane departure warnings.  This aftermarket option provides visual and audio alerts to the driver, and sparked a conversation on the nature of event data recording in automotive black boxes.

The team rounded out the episode with the Sony Xperia Touch Projector, which turns any surface into an interactive environment, prompting Michael R to break out his Magic Cube virtual laser keyboard.  Only a matter of time before the sharks with lasers appear…

selected links 

The Guardian article:  How Technology Gets Us Hooked — https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/feb/28/how-technology-gets-us-hooked

Irresistible by Adam Alter — http://adamalterauthor.com/irresistible/

Mashable article:  Why I Flooded Instagram With Likes — http://mashable.com/2014/02/14/lovematically-instagram/

Microsoft Devices Blog:  Stryker chooses Microsoft Hololens to bring operating room design into the future with 3D — https://blogs.windows.com/devices/?p=259304?ocid=newsletter_ema_omc_hol_Stryker

Techcrunch article:  Mobileye outfits 4,500 for-hire cars in NYC with collision avoidance tech — https://techcrunch.com/2017/02/17/mobileye-outfits-4500-for-hire-cars-in-nyc-with-collision-avoidance-tech/
Mobileye features YouTube — https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HXpiyLUEOOY

Event data recorder — https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Event_data_recorder

A Car’s Black Box — http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/magazine/2014/09/how-your-car-is-tracking-you/index.htm

Wired article:  Sony’s Xperia XZ Premium screen is so high-quality it’s better than most people’s TVs  — https://techcrunch.com/2017/02/17/mobileye-outfits-4500-for-hire-cars-in-nyc-with-collision-avoidance-tech/

Magic Cube virtual laser keyboard — http://www.virtual-laser-devices.com/Magic%20Cube_Final.pdf

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Episode 160 – 3D OBD


src = obdii.com

Car? Whar? Over thar!

Michael & Michael get together to talk about one of the original examples of augmented reality, the Head Up Display (HUD) for cars, and explore the example of the Hudway Glass, an ingeniously simple Kickstarter product that allows a user to place their phone on the dash and have the phone’s display reflected back to the driver. Michael R remembers an app with this kind of capability from way back when called V-Cockpit.

Keeping with the pretty clever car theme, the pair then move to the innovation that Ford is bringing to the market for Ford and Lincoln cars: an OBD II module that plugs into your Ford car, and because of the software in your car and this additional module, you can remote start your car, download your car’s performance data, even use the 4G LTE modem as a wireless hotspot to connect your WiFi devices in the car. Michael R noted that while the OBD II port has been a standard part of every car since 1996, each manufacturer has their own proprietary software so a universal version to provide all the connected car capabilities is not highly likely. Even so, Michael R has the OBDLink MX tool for translating error codes and warning lights, along with engine diagnostics. Enabling connected car data sharing opens up more possibilities, and the insurance marketplace is one of them, as evidenced by Progressive Insurance’s Snapshot offering.

Wrapping up this short show, Michael and Michael agree that 3D TV is not the wave of the future anymore, and the article points toward the idea of VR and TV merging at some time. While certainly possible, we’ve seen other examples of holographic TV, and from Neal Stephenson’s novels, concepts of immersive storytelling where people become the actors themselves.

selected links
Hudway Glass — https://hudwayglass.com

V-Cockpit GPS app — https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/v-cockpit-gps/id303482803?mt=8

Haptic Socks – https://tampub.uta.fi/handle/10024/97672

TechCrunch article: Ford’s new SmartLink OBD accessory adds connected features to other cars — https://techcrunch.com/2017/01/26/fords-new-smartlink-odb-accessory-adds-connected-features-to-older-cars/

OBDLink MX — https://www.amazon.com/ScanTool-OBDLink-MX-Wi-Fi-Diagnostic/dp/B00OCYXTYY/ref=sr_1_22?ie=UTF8&qid=1485538594&sr=8-22&keywords=obd+ii+wifi

Progressive Insurance Snapshot — https://www.progressive.com/auto/snapshot/

Postscapes roundup of connected car enablement devices — http://www.postscapes.com/connected-car-devices/

TechCrunch article: 3D TVs are Dead — https://techcrunch.com/2017/01/25/3d-tvs-are-dead/

Neal Stephenson’s Cyberpunk novel “the Diamond Age” on the concept of “ractors” – people who play roles in a virtual reality experience — https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Diamond_Age

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Episode 159 – Virtually Secure

Michael R and Michael M, go deep on virtual assistants and the security storm around WhatsApp in the news recently. We also look at how an old virtual world shopping experience may be coming to life in virtual reality.

The duo start with the Facebook/Oculus tour of the White House and think about whether movies and television shows have the layout and rooms of the building right.  Michael and Michael quickly then turn to Amazon’s focus on virtual reality shopping experiences stemming from articles from TechCrunch and Variety.  Michael R shares his experiences in developing just this kind of experience for Sears 10 years ago.

Then things get even more interesting with holographic personifications of artificial intelligences — where the Gatebox anime character looms large — or rather hovers in a coffee machine style enclosure, and interacts with the user via voice and text chat.   While speech commands are picking up steam, it is still has a social hurdle to climb.  It is embarrassing or just feels weird to talk to inanimate objects, even though the author of the Digital Trends article makes the valid connection that talking to devices is like talking to a pet, and pets do sometimes listen…

The show wraps up with an interesting discussion on the security news related to WhatsApp.  We hope you enjoy!

Show Links:
Virtual White House – http://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/columnist/baig/2017/01/13/obamas-lead-white-house-tour-virtually-help-oculus/96532192/
The West Wing http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0200276/

Amazon possibly working on VR Shopping Experience https://techcrunch.com/2017/01/19/amazon-job-posting-suggests-plans-to-bring-shopping-experiences-into-vr/
Google Daydream View https://store.google.com/product/daydream_view
Oculus Rift https://www.oculus.com
Samsung Gear VR http://www.samsung.com/global/galaxy/gear-vr/
Bridge AR/VR headset https://bridge.occipital.com
Sears VR Shopping Experience – now 10 years old https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0ABxTr8sL3U&feature=youtu.be

Variety article — Amazon VR Shopping app http://variety.com/2017/digital/news/amazon-vr-shopping-app-1201962695/

AI Assistants are like Pets http://www.digitaltrends.com/mobile/talk-to-ai-assistants-like-your-pets/
Gatebox Home AR Powered Holographic Robot http://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2016/12/the-anime-girlfriend-experience-gateboxs-ai-powered-holographic-home-robot/
Gatebox story http://gatebox.ai/story/
Gatebox https://gateboxlab.stores.jp/items/57ea607100d331404d002d77

Twitch See Bots Chat https://www.twitch.tv/seebotschat

Security Researchers call for Guardian to retract false WhatsApp backdoor story https://techcrunch.com/2017/01/20/security-researchers-call-for-guardian-to-retract-false-whatsapp-backdoor-story/?ncid=rss
SecurityNow! Transcript Episode 595 -What’s up with WhatsApp? https://www.grc.com/sn/sn-595.txt

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Episode 158 – 2017 Kickoff

We kick off 2017 with a short show.  Michael M. and Phaedra discuss an augmented reality app launched in conjunction with the recently released movie “Hidden Figures”, review Smart Canes and have a lively discussion about the challenges surrounding video capture and the importance of thorough testing from the Kotaku article — a good reminder for everyone involved in technology development.

The augmented reality app (App StoreGoogle Play) has the user go to specific geographic locations, such as on the University of North Carolina campus to unlock content related to the stories and accomplishments of STEM leaders.  Michael gave this a try, and the picture above shows the statue of Katherine Johnson superimposed on the phone screen in front of the Bell Tower at UNC.

Show Links:
Hidden Figures – http://www.imdb.com/title/tt4846340/
AR and Hidden Figures – http://wraltechwire.com/-hidden-figures-ibm-augmented-reality-project-links-in-3-triangle-universities-/16402395/
Smart Canes and Wheelchairs – https://techcrunch.com/2017/01/05/smart-canes-and-wheelchairs-among-tech-empowering-the-disabled-at-ces/
Racist Video Game – http://www.kotaku.co.uk/2017/01/12/how-we-accidentally-made-a-racist-videogame

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Episode 155 – Holiday Potluck


Gearing up for the festive season, Michael and Michael serve up a veritable smorgasbord of holiday potluck delights.

Starting with well, um, leftovers from last week, Fitbit has indeed acquired the technology, software assets and intellectual property of Pebble and many of the people from Pebble will be joining Fitbit to continue their work on wearable technology. This brings up an interesting point on the nature of cloud services and the integration with physical devices — that one without the other does not work, as products and services are becoming more and more intertwined.

Moving on to appetizers, Cortana now has more capabilities in Windows 10 that allow for someone to issue a voice command to shut down the system — not just the system owner — and Pantone has announced the color of the year for 2017, a fresh vibrant green called Greenery (15-0343 TCX), expressing hope and optimism to rejuvenate, revitalize and unite.

Stopping at the main dish area, where we find all the news that’s fit to virtually experience — Michael and Michael explore how virtual reality can help the ‘reader’ become more immersed in a news story, by virtually being there and interacting. BMW is using augmented reality with their Visor for BMW Mottorad concept vehicle. And finally, how the Occipital Bridge has been just announced with the blended / mixed reality experience allowing for an iPhone 6, 6s or 7 to be coupled with a camera and Occipital’s software to provide a full virtual reality experience that you have to see to believe. And you can get one now, if you act fast!

Rounding out with dessert, Michael R shares the 3D printing test he’s done of a dragon’s head door knocker. This is something amazing — can’t wait to see the full size print!

selected links

MacRumors article: Fitbit acquisition of Pebble — http://www.macrumors.com/2016/12/08/pebble-fitbit-buyout-customer-refunds/

BGR article: New voice commands for Cortana — http://bgr.com/2016/12/08/cortana-shut-down-microsoft-windows-10/

iEEE article — VR immersion for news stories — http://theinstitute.ieee.org/technology-topics/consumer-electronics/virtual-reality-can-immerse-people-in-news-stories-and-prepare-them-for-natural-disasters

Switchpoint 2016 conference in Saxapahaw, NC — https://event.switchpointideas.com/2016

Games at Work e134 with discussion on Switchpoint — http://gamesatwork.biz/2016/03/20/episode-134-swords-and-virtual-realities/

New York Times Virtual Reality viewer — http://www.nytimes.com/marketing/nytvr/index.html

Mashable article: BMW Mottorad Concept motorcycle with augmented reality Visor — http://mashable.com/2016/10/12/bmw-motorrad/#aXY19b9M_iqz

Occipital Bridge mixed reality viewer — https://bridge.occipital.com

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Episode 153 – Chicken and Mushrooms

solarroof
Michael and Michael get together to cook up an episode chock-full-o tasty post Thanksgiving treats — starting off with the promise of solar, with the example of the American Samoa island of Ta’u and the new solar roof tiles made available from the Tesla/SolarCity team. The Google Project Sunroof site is still up & running, so you can check your own roof to see how suitable it may be for solar.

Alexa has teamed up with Allrecepies to help out in the kitchen, providing step by step guidance on how to cook delicious dishes. The video shows an example of how Alexa can use the Allrecepies API to suggest what can be done with a set of ingredients in the fridge. While we won’t spoil the surprise, the answer has something to do with chicken and mushrooms.

A news report from Marketplace highlighted the work done by Alibaba to create virtual reality shopping experiences for Chinese consumers in stores like Macy’s and Target. This reminded Michael and Michael of the work they had done years ago, and discussed most recently in episode 148 (http://gamesatwork.biz/2016/10/02/episode-148-painting-with-digital-and-physical-ink/). Michael R’s video on his work on the virtual Sears store is in the show notes below. One of the pair’s patents outlines how a virtual store could be created dynamically based on the shopper’s preferences.

Rounding out the show with a little Star Trek goodness, are the Propel Star Wars Battle Quads, and an IFTTT mashup using the Force Band by Sphereo. We are in for a very happy holiday season.

Drop us a line with your ideas and thoughts about digital convergence on Twitter or Facebook!

show links
SolarCity Roof
Google Project Sunroof
Island of Ta’u goes 100% solar

Alexa, what can I make with chicken & mushrooms?
Allrecepies

mobile & enterprise are keys to VR & AR scale

VR shopping

MyVirtual Model
Tag Along Shopping Patent
Sears Second Life Walkthrough

Star Wars laser battle quadcopters
Use the force… to make coffee

Play