Torkel Danielsson

Building what’s next.

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Thoughts on stand alone VR devices

Google is rumored to be working on a stand alone VR headset. I think a stand alone headset makes a lot of sense:

1/ Dual-purpose devices don’t work out. VR is good enough for people to want to purchase a stand alone device. Or it’s not good enough, and then it doesn’t matter either way.

2/ Also, a well made VR viewer that attaches to a phone (i.e. Gear VR) is just as big and almost as heavy as a stand alone viewer would be. So there are only marginal space savings to be made.

3/ Making the best VR experience is not the same thing as making a mobile phone. Screens needs to be optimized differently, possibly using more than one screen. Chip cooling is a thing in VR. Faster sensors. Different appication stack. Support for positioning and control input. So many things are different from what needs to go into a phone.

4/ Compared with desktop/console, the mobile eco-system is 10X the size

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Livestreaming VR Camera

For the past months I have been tinkering with a VR camera based on the raspberry pi compute module (details). It has turned out better than I could have ever imagined. It’s super fun stuff and everything has just worked in a way that tech projects in my experience never does. VR is a powerful medium with simulated, virtual, worlds. But I think that reality is the real killer app for VR. Here’s a short video update:

Here’s a photo of the rig mounted to the RC car:
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On the photo below it’s mounted to the drone, this was taken at a meetup for the Linköping Hackerspace - the folks there are great and they loved it.
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Here’s the full setup, all battery powered :)
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Lastly, I am thrilled to share the news that I have joined Voysys as a co-founder. The merger of VR and reality is incredibly fun and rewarding technology to work with. I hope to share the experience and excitement that I feel

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Live two-camera video stream from Raspberry Pi to Oculus Rift

I’ve been playing around with the Oculus Rift on and off since the DK1 came out two years ago. Now I finally took the time to make my own live-streaming rig. Here’s a quick video:

It might not look like much. But it captures 180°x120° of video in HD, encodes it in h264 and sends it out over IP, live to a PC which displays it in the Oculus Rift. It gives a good teleportation presence. The video quality is surprisingly good (the wide-angle lenses are a huge improvement over the stock pin-hole lenses of the raspberry pi cameras).
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The Raspberry Pi came out in February 2012 so it is no surprise that the BCM2835’s CPU is very far from being capable of live-encoding and streaming video.
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But the VideoCore GPU has some nice tricks up its sleeve. The GPU has direct connections to cameras (CSI) and offers hardware accelerated video encoding to h264. So when it comes to live streaming video

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Reducing emissions is not enough

I often see messages like “come on people, we need to save the planet! let’s all stop driving, stop flying, take cold showers and become vegans!”. Although it’s well intentioned, it’s sadly a wasted effort. It may even be counter productive.

The main environmental issue we are facing right now is global warming from greenhouse gases, primarily CO2. There is a great report from the IPCC describing in detail what we should expect if we do not limit these emissions. Things are made made much worse by the fact that CO2 emitted today is estimated to remain in the atmosphere for thousands of years. So even if we cut emissions to zero when things get too bad, by then it will be too late and things will be very bad for a really long time.

Looking at the IPCC reports, I would recommend cutting back emissions drastically as soon as possible. But global CO2 emissions are at an all time high, and

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Thoughts on Basic Income Guarantee

I keep on hearing people talking about this:
Article: http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-02-10/top-01-loves-guaranteed-minimum-income-one-caveat
Top NYC VC (mentions it in the end): http://avc.com/2015/01/five-changes-being-driven-by-zero-marginal-cost/
Econtalk podcast on AI (mentions it at the end): http://www.econtalk.org/archives/2014/12/gary_marcus_on.html

There is clearly a disruption of labor going on. I would be willing to vote yes on a large scale test of a basic income guarantee as a means to solve the societal issues of falling employment (it’s worse than we think: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/big-lie-56-unemployment-jim-clifton).

I see a disconnect between people equipped with tech, education, wealth, great networks of peers and those without. One group is working more than ever, the other less than ever. Maybe basic income guarantee can change this, if so let’s try it!

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Like a techpodcast, but for real events

I really enjoy listening to podcasts, watching interesting videos, checking twitter and reading thoughtful blog posts. I am very happy with this part of my media consumption. New media.

Sometimes too happy - I have to force myself to break free from a computer that sucks me in and won’t let go. A first world problem if there ever was one… But it’s the above type of media that mostly draw me in. And of course there is the occasional old-media article that is thoughtful and good. But they getting more rare. And almost always those old-media essays are too long… TL;DR is a real thing. Keeping things short and dumbing things down are orthogonal axes.

There is new app, Omni, that is like Techmeme but for regular news. A step in the right direction. But then again I think that much of what is reported in the news is not worthy of reporting but is there only to fill up predefined time slots.

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