Hello World is a new series by Bloomberg that provides a glimpse into New Zealand technological and scientific innovation by game-changing inventors, engineers and scientists who are going to shape our world in the future.
Something about Kiwis mean that we aspire to the impossible. As a nation, we are not afraid of cooking up outrageous ideas in start-ups and then bringing them through to fruition and commercialisation. These ideas could change everything we know and accept as reality
Watch the full 30 minutes here, it’s pretty amazing.
8i Studios: Capture a loved one in virtual space and in 3D, for all posterity
8i is a Wellington-based virtual reality start-up, cut from a similar cloth as Weta Studios. They are developing software that will bring Virtual Reality to the masses.
“The difference between watching a video and seeing a hologram of the real thing is so powerful. As we saw these [VR] headsets coming along, there was no cheap, efficient scalable solution to capture reality and to author experiences, at a scale and realism and at a pace that would create a similar sort of content experience for people to enjoy. So we created that” Eugene d’Eon – Co-founder and Chief Scientist at 8i.
This unique software will mean that pretty soon you will be able to capture a loved one in virtual space, and will forever after be able to interact with their hologram in 3-dimensional space.
Eight cameras are carefully spaced in a room and are able to capture you in 3D space with a high level of detail. Suddenly the sheer escapism of virtual reality using a VR headset becomes an infinitely more personalised and intimate experience for people.
Think of a mother capturing her baby’s first steps. A couple capturing their dance on their wedding day. The vision of someone you love laughing with joy. All of these sudden, seemingly fleeting and magical moments in life are able to be faithfully captured for continued enjoyment in years to come.
What if you could capture someone you love, so that you could remember their gestures, how they talked and walked, forever? now you can! Watch this segment.
Potential real life applications
Other than personal use, this sort of personalised 3D technology has massive implications for just about every other industry imaginable. There is always a need for providing communication in a broad variety of contexts, delivering information with a 3D hologram of someone is the next level of technological sophistication, the demand for this kind of content delivery will be massive.
- Distance education/In-person education
- E-commerce/face-to-face customer service.
- Government and public services
- Communications and ITC
- Healthcare/aged care
- News media
Mark Sagar: Hyperrealistic intelligent machines that look and behave just like humans
Associate Professor Mark Sagar is a motion graphics specialist who has won two Oscars for his work on movies like King Kong and Avatar. He is known for rendering realistic anthropomorphic emotions onto computer models.
His latest project fuses neuroscience with artificial intelligence. He’s building a baby named Baby X. Sagar’s simulations attempt to map the human brain, so that artificially intelligent machines can react with realistic human expressions.
On the outside, the baby can look out at the world through cameras and microphones to process faces, objects and noises. She can produce genuinely human emotional reactions in real-time to people who interact with her via the screen interface. She seems, for all intents and purposes – real. Watch here:
Potential real life applications
- Customer service – Forget about Siri, this would provide a much more human AI interface so that humans can interact with intelligent computers.
- Learning tool – Students could interact with a “teacher”, or rather an intelligent machine that looks and behaves like a human teacher.