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Watch how Steven Spielberg framed ‘Ready Player One’ shots in VR

Despite plenty of skepticism over early trailers and the source material itself, Steven Spielberg’s Ready Player One has been doing very well at the box office. En mi opinion, it made a lot of quality shifts from the book that made it a quality popcorn flick that wasn’t too nerdishly pretentious.

A lot of people in the virtual reality industry had sky-high expectations for the movie to drive people to buying VR headsets, and while that probably isn’t happening, the movie has given an opportunity to a lot of these insiders to showcase how far the technology has come. Today, HTC released a video showing how VR was used in the production of Ready Player One by the actors and the man himself, Steven Spielberg.

The video offers a healthy chunk of heavy-handed PR for Vive. Nevertheless, what’s cool about the video is what it showcases about how acting has changed because of visual effects and how technology platforms can equal the playing field a bit by getting creatives deeper inside visual worlds to deliver edits with a more precise set of tools. As the actors were clad in mo-cap suits, VR offered them a chance to orient themselves.

For Spielberg, himself, VR offered an opportunity to move freely through rough digital environments and frame shots while in full view of the 3D designs. Tech tools like the in-VR editors for game engines that Unity and Epic Games have built have done wonders for game developers wanting to peer inside game worlds, but they also have plenty to offer in more of a view-only sense where non-technical folk can explore details and pipe off commands for what they want a scene or model or environment to look like.

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RealSelf a community for cosmetic treatments raises 40 million

RealSelf, an online community where people can ask questions, share their experiences and connect with doctors providing cosmetic treatments, has raised $40 million in new funding – its first round of financing since the $2 million raised in 2008, two years after its founding. The round was led by Elephant, a VC firm co-founded by Warby Parker co-founder Andy Hunt.

Hunt will also join RealSelf’s board of directors with the close of this round.

RealSelf offers one of the largest online communities for those who want to learn more about cosmetic procedures, including plastic surgery and other non-surgical treatments, like Botox injections. It’s the sort of thing people don’t necessarily want to talk about openly on social networks, but RealSelf has found a way to get people to socialize around the topic. Its users – anonymously – post reviews, have discussions, ask questions, and even detail their progress in post-op photos series.

Reading through someone’s experiences not only gives people better insight into what a procedure is like, it also provides an emotional support system for those who are recovering.

The idea for the company came from Expedia alum Tom Seery, following a discussion he had with his wife about how hard it was to get the true story about which cosmetic treatments are actually worth the cost and show results. RealSelf’s goal is to bring more transparency to a market where customers before had been sold on promises and hype, often by doctors who would gloss over the downsides – like months spent in painful recovery – or the potential bad outcomes from riskier procedures.

Since its launch, RealSelf has grown to include over 2 million anonymous patient reviews, ratings and photos regarding hundreds of different aesthetic procedures.

And demand for this sort of information continues to grow, along with the overall market.

Last year, for example, there were over 17.5 million surgical and non-surgical cosmetic treatments performed in the U.S., up from 13.1 million procedures in 2010, the company notes. Much of that growth comes from minimally invasive, non-surgical treatments, which outpaced surgeries nearly eight to one.

With more people looking for information abo

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Facebook has auto-enrolled users into a facial recognition test in Europe

Facebook users in Europe are reporting the company has begun testing its controversial facial recognition technology in the region.

Jimmy Nsubuga, a journalist at Metro, is among several European Facebook users who have said they’ve been notified by the company they are in its test bucket.

The company has previously said an opt-in option for facial recognition will be pushed out to all European users next month. It’s hoping to convince Europeans to voluntarily allow it to expand its use of the privacy-hostile tech — which was turned off in the bloc after regulatory pressure, back in 2012, when Facebook was using it for features such as automatically tagging users in photo uploads.

Under impending changes to its T&Cs — ostensibly to comply with the EU’s incoming GDPR data protection standard — the company has crafted a manipulative consent flow that tries to sell people on giving it their data; including filling in its own facial recognition blanks by convincing Europeans to agree to it grabbing and using their biometric data after all. 

Notably Facebook is not offering a voluntary opt-in to Europeans who find themselves in its facial recognition test bucket. Rather users are being automatically turned into its lab rats — and have to actively delve into the settings to say no.

In a notification to affected users, the company writes [emphasis ours]: “You control face recognition. This setting is on, but you can turn it off at any time, which applies to features we may add later.”

Not only is the tech turned on, but users who click through to the settings to try and turn it off will also find Facebook attempting to dissuade them from doing that — with manipulative examples of how the tech can “protect” them.

As another Facebook user who found herself enrolled in the test — journalist Jennifer Baker — points out, what it’s doing here is incredibly disingenuous because it’s using fear to try to manipulate people’s choices.

Sure #Facebook, I'll take a milisecond to consider whether you want me to enable #facialrecognition for my own protection or your #data #tracking business model. #Disingenuous pricks! pic.twitter.com/s7nngaHVSq

— Jennifer Baker (@BrusselsGeek) April 20, 2018

Under the EU’s incoming d

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ATT CEO says a new 15-per-month sports-free streaming service is launching in a few weeks

AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson revealed on Thursday the carrier’s plans to launch another live TV service called “AT&T Watch,” which would offer a cheap, $15-per-month bundle of channels for customers, and be provided to AT&T Wireless subscribers for free. At this price point, the service would be one of the lowest on the market – less than Sling TV’s entry-level, $20-per-month package, and just a bit less than Philo’s low-cost, sports-free offering, priced at $16 per month.

Stephenson, who’s in court defending the proposed $85 billion merger with Time Warner against antitrust claims, announced the service on the witness stand. He held up the soon-to-arrive AT&T Watch as a rebuttal of sorts to the Justice Department’s point about the company’s continually climbing prices for its DirecTV satellite service, according to a report from Variety.

The Justice Department is concerned that, if the merger goes through, AT&T will then raise prices on Time Warner’s Turner networks, like TNT, TBS and CNN in a way that would hurt other pay TV providers.

Few other details were offered regarding AT&T Watch, beyond its price point – which is due to the fact that it will also be sports-free offering, like Philo.

But AT&T’s advantage over competitors is the distribution provided by its AT&T Wireless business. Although its existing streaming service DirecTV Now is one of the newest on the market, it has already reached number two in terms of subscribers, falling behind Sling TV.

Beyond its lack of sports, the channel lineup for AT&T Watch was not discussed, nor was an exact launch date.

Stephenson said the company hoped to launch it in the next few weeks.

Read more: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/Techcrunch/~3/hu7nPwsL1fc/

This robot can build your Ikea furniture

There are two kinds of people in the world: those who hate building Ikea furniture and madmen. Now, thanks to Ikeabot, the madmen can be replaced.

Ikeabot is a project built at Control Robotics Intelligence (CRI) group at NTU in Singapore. The team began by teaching robots to insert pins and manipulate Ikea parts and then, slowly, began to figure out how to pit the robots against the furniture. The results, if you’ve ever fought with someone trying to put together a Billy, are heartening.

From Spectrum:

The assembly process from CRI is not quite that autonomous; “although all the steps were automatically planned and controlled, their sequence was hard-coded through a considerable engineering effort.” The researchers mention that they can “envision such a sequence being automatically determined from the assembly manual, through natural-language interaction with a human supervisor or, ultimately, from an image of the chair,” although we feel like they should have a chat with Ross Knepper, whose IkeaBot seemed to do just fine without any of that stuff.

In other words the robots are semi-autonomous but never get frustrated and can use basic heuristics to figure out next steps. The robots can now essentially assemble chairs in about 20 minutes, a feat that I doubt many of us can emulate. You can watch the finished dance here, in all its robotic glory.

The best part? Even robots get frustrated and fling parts around:

I, for one, welcome our Ikea chair manufacturing robotic overlords.

Read more: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/Techcrunch/~3/WQTtFc4INrs/



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