November 24, 2017

Weekly Wins: Rest In VR

WRITTEN BY: Ivana Atlija

This week we look at an innovative approach to burial sites in densely populated places, humanoid robots that are doing some pretty cool things, holograms, digital pills, and what in the world is an Internet Escape Pod? Find out below!

iVeneration is using VR and AR to honour deceased loved ones, Boston Dynamic’s Atlas robot is doing flips and Toyota introduces the T-HR3 robot that mimics your moves, Looking Glass is bringing holograms to everyone, doctors are using digital pills to help stop opioid addiction, and KFC offers an escape from the craziness of Cyber Monday. Not in the mood to wait in long lines, claw your way through crowds, and spend a ton of money on things you don’t need? Skip Black Friday, stay in, kick back, and enjoy some Weekly Wins… for free!

1. Virtual Headstones

Hong Kong is a very densely populated city, and one thing they’re running out of room for is cemeteries. What do you do when a country cares about honouring the dead, but is running out of room to do so? Introducing, a new system that gives you the ability to pay your respects digitally using VR and AR technology.

iVeneration is a company working to revamp the funeral industry with technology. Rather than using up valuable space and spending tens of thousands of dollars on traditional funeral services, iVeneration is creating virtual headstones that allows families to visit their late loved ones anywhere with augmented reality. The burial areas can be decorated with digital candles, flowers, photos and more. Although it seems a little far-fetched, this is a cheaper, greener alternative which the company believes upcoming generations may use for their parents.

"It’s both incredibly cool and incredibly unnerving."

2. Robot See, Robot Do

We’ve come a long way from robots looking like they’ve had one too many Jack and Coke’s. So far, in fact, that Boston Dynamic’s Atlas robot – the world’s most dynamic humanoid – is now doing backflips. If you haven’t seen this uncomfortably human-like hunk of metal land a 360 flip, you need to. It’s both incredibly cool and incredibly unnerving.

Speaking of incredibly cool, Toyota introduced their third-generation humanoid robot, the T-HR3, which can mimic and replicate your movements. The T-HR3 is controlled by an operator who wears data gloves and an HTC Vive VR headset, and sits in a special chair built with a bunch of torque servo modules (that’s just fancy talk for motors that allow for fluid, accurate motions). The entire set up is called the Master Maneuvering System (MMS) and basically means if you raise your arms, move your legs, or walk a little, the T-HR3 will copy you. Remote manipulation is cool and all, but the question remains: will it do the Carlton?

Holograms are no longer just for sci-fi films

3. Holograms Are Here!

Holograms are something we’ve all dreamed off, and there’s finally a startup looking to turn them into a reality. Looking Glass unveiled their idea for a hologram device called the HoloPlayer One which lets users interact with 3D creations. After connecting the device to your computer, it reflects the content into 32 different depth planes, resulting in a 3D image. The device also comes with a depth-sensing camera, so you can interact with the holograms. It’s all very new and exciting, but HoloPlayer One is still in its early stages and is a far way off from being like the movies.

4. A Digital Pill To Swallow

Digital pills are the latest innovation in the medical field and they’re helping stop opioid addiction. These pills have a tiny sensor and transmitter built inside, which is released once the pill hits the patient’s stomach, dissolving the gel cap. The sensors detect when a pill has been taken, transmits the signal to a small device attached to the patient’s belly, then alerts doctors and researchers at remote locations through the cloud.

The main goal for these digital pills is to help doctors monitor and understand how patients use prescription painkillers at home. Although they’re not on the market yet, testing has proved to help doctor’s spot and stop dangerous drug use early and have a better understanding of exactly how many prescription drugs patients really need.

Why just put your phone down when you can spend 10K?

5. Escape The Internet For 10K

KFC is at it again. For a mere $10,000, you can be graced by an surrounding Colonel Sanders hut that will hug you and cut off your cell signal. Called the Internet Escape Pod, this dome-shaped tent features a drumstick for a door handle and a giant Colonel Sanders that hangs out on top. Made of steel, stainless steel mesh, and high-density foam, the whole thing weighs eight pounds and is one-of-a-kind, waiting to be purchased by someone looking to escape the Internet craziness of Cyber Monday with KFC (or, you could just put your phone down).