This will only be running until Friday or so, but it is amazing. The singer is Beatie Wolfe, and the presentation is best viewed with your VR headset on. This augmented reality experience is in a 360 degree virtual environment, with the visual component changing with each repetition of her new album Raw Space. She created this in collaboration with interactive creative firm Design I/O and the famous engineering team from Nokia Bell Labs. You can get a lot more detail about this unique performance directly from the You Tube Live page, and get counted as a viewer in the process.

The videos of KYARY PAMYU PAMYU’s music have always been some of the most surreal footage coming out of Japan, but her latest seems to be somewhere between the Wizard of Oz and Plan 9 From Outer Space, with a cast of munchkins played by Easter eggs. The track is, appropriately, called Easta, which is Japanese for Good, and I can’t help but feel there is a bit of a second language pun going on there. The new single (which has 5 tracks on it, but tow of them are just instrumental versions of two of the others) is her 14th, and was released this past week on the 5th. At the same time, she also released her KPP 5 Years Monster World Tour 2016 DVD, filmed at the final performance of the tour at Budokan. Here’s the bit I find really interesting; folks picking up the limited edition version of the disc get a VR headset included with it, so they can get the full 360 degree immersive effect of the concert. That’s right, they filmed a VR version of the show, and put it on disc.

The SIGGRAPH Computer Animation Festival 2017 entries are still open, and will be until March 21st, which is also their deadline for VR Theater entries. So you still have a bit of time to submit your projects to the gathering, which will be held from July 30th to August 3rd in Los Angeles this year. Yes, the competition can be daunting; after all, these are most of the folks doing serious VR and Animation work on the planet. But if you have something that you are proud of and willing for others to see, this could be the perfect venue for you to put your work in the public eye. And maybe it might be you standing on stage and accepting the award this year.

I am not a sports fan, but I would love to be at the super bowl this year. Since it is apparently being held in Huston, NASA decided it would be a great place to set up their Mars VR simulator Future Flight. The ride runs for two minutes and takes you through real 360 degree Martian terrain captured by the most recent rovers, and ends with a 90 foot drop (using a carnival ride drop to make it real) for the free fall of reentry on your return to Earth. They have a number of other activities and exhibits set up, including a replica of the Curiosity Rover which gathered the images and is doing some serious science, and a full size replica of the James Webb Space Telescope, scheduled to launch next year. If you are in Huston the entire exhibition is free, you should really check it out!

I found this video amazing; it is an explanation of how they used a real person to create a game character, and in the process invented the combination of technology needed to allow that person to act in real time in the game. Which means that anyone with deep enough pockets (which would have to be very deep, at this point) could schedule time to get themselves scanned and processed, buy the gear including the head mounted camera system, and do the same thing. It allows you to be fully immersed in the 360 VR game environment as yourself, with everyone able to see and hear you, right down to your current facial expression. Of course, it will be a decade or so before the price comes down enough that the rest of us get to try this out, but its good to know it is on the way.

It will be years before a manned Mars mission gets to happen, and all bets are off about which country might get there first. But starting this past Monday they cut the ribbon for the opening of new Destination: Mars exhibition at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. It uses a mixed-reality presentation created by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory to give you a fully immersive idea of what being on Mars would be like. They used all the images they received from the Curiosity rover to build the virtual environment, so you can’t get much closer to an authentic experience than that. They are using the Microsoft HoloLens™ mixed reality headset to deliver the experience, and astronaut Buzz Aldrin will be your holographic guide. For those who missed it, I posted about this last June, complete with a couple of videos demonstrating the process; nice to know it is finally available. I am adding this to the list of fun exhibitions I want to visit, and am thinking some time next year I should be able to make it. Perhaps I will see you there.