hackers congress 2017

#HCPP is organized by czech crypto hub Paralelni Polis and visited by global crypto leaders and enthusiast from all around the world.

Hackers, crypto-anarchy, digital currencies, biohacking… of course we couldn’t miss such event!

Together with Czech Association of VR/AR we decided to show Virtual Reality to visitors. During 3 days, more than 100 people went into our virtual world, most of them for the first time. We showed them our demo, Virtual Liberland and some SteamVR environments.

Here are some of their reactions:

Martinus Urza (Cryptoanarchist – Paralelni Polis):
I extremely enjoyed the experience. Surprising, I did not expect this to tech to be that immersive already. After some time it feels very real.

Tereza Sladkovská (Paralelni Polis):
It was awesome. For the first time in my life I went to space. My favorite VR experience was definitely walking on Mars.

Zdeňka Staňková (svobodauceni.cz)
I think that in few years the graphics will be so real, some people will not want to quit VR. As Arto Bendiken said: “When VR porn hits the mainstream it will be one of the largest  evolutionary selection events in human history.” I personally see huge potential of VR in other fields – like education. Learning by doing is the best way of learning.

Karel Fillner (Cryptocurrency evangelist)
VR skiing – extremely immersive experience. Only closing my eyes during huge jump off the cliff saved me. I felt I am very close to just falling to the ground (I literally almost fell). VR comes much closer to real experience that I would be willing to admit.

Hacker congress was packed with smart and interesting people. We are glad to be part of it and show them what VR can do.

VR meetups

Did you know you can meet other people in Virtual Reality, talk to them, create stuff together and play games?
Steam released their free platform Steam VR where users upload their own virtual worlds and invite others to join them – and usually make a big mess.

We host our own room based on our Octopus club. Every week we organise a meeting with our friends. Even random people are joining us for the fun.

We play ball games. We fly and shoot drones.

Sometimes we draw pictures.

Or just sit on the roof and have a drink. Possibilities are endless and we are only starting!

Add our octopusengine profile on Steam and be notified everytime, we are hosting our VR space!

Octopus Club

This last couple of weeks were so packed with action we did not have time to write about.
And this is our biggest news:  Octopus engine has a new home!

Almost every great tech company started in a garage or some other shanky setup. We are no exception. The building is very old, and it used to be a horse stable 100 years back. Now we turned it into community club, tech hub, coworking space, geek’s lair and mad scientist’s lab.

It still pretty rough around the edges, but we keep improving it every day. Right now there are two VR stages and hardware workshop with tech equipment. Coffee-machine in the kitchen is a must. Oh and it is heated by a cryptocurrency mining rig – how cool is that?

If you want to visit us, just follow our Facebook page. We already hosted couple of small “hackathons” with our talented friends.

Deloitte – Blockchain

Blockchain – decentralised ledger – is getting more and more recognition. The other day we were invited to join a panel discussion about Blockchain organised by Deloitte. 

First we had the opportunity to learn how Deloitte and big companies think about Blockchain tech and then we, together with other guests answered questions about cryptocurrencies, bitcoin scaling and other more technical topics.

What we learned?

  • we are still in very early stage of development
  • people still don’t fully grasp and appreciate the value of decentralisation
  • enthusiasm in blockchain is high but we can see some disappointment in near future
  • technical details of Blockchain are not so easy to explain to a layman

You may ask – why were you invited to talk about Blockchain, you do VR?

Answer is – we don’t do only VR. Blockchain and cryptocurrencies are one of our core focuses. Very soon we will introduce our new project from this space. 
And it is connected with VR too, what would you use for paying in Digital World if not Digital Money?

Honza interviewed by Forbes!

Honza got some media attention a while back. He was interviewed by Forbes Czech. We cannot let this kind of opportunity for bragging to slip away, so we decided to translate it in English and publish it here.

1) From your point of view what is or how looks like the future with VR?

Today we see only very clumsy baseline of VR, on which we can develop. Most probably we will use it in direct connection with AR, as adoption rate will increase. I think it is just a natural progress of technology, affecting many areas education, communication…

We will see technologies interconnecting together: internet, VR, AR, blockchain (decentralised networks, on which cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin are running), IoT vÏcÌ, and big data, AI. I like to call this general connection of technologies “new reality”. And I believe that VR can be ideal environment which will help people discover better ways how to create, cooperate and interact with technology, as well as have fun, learn and connect.

2) Could virtual reality be better than reality one day? When? Under what conditions?

I wouldn’t say it will be “better”. However I believe, and maybe I am a little bit worried,· that for some people it indeed it may be more appealing. Why am I worried? Just look at differences between last couple of generations. Tech, especially communication channels and devices are widening that gap even further. From first telegraph, telephone call, TV to online chat rooms and social media not much time had past. We have so many new ways of interaction, yet it seems like we understand each other less and less. Such fast progress is good news for futurists and geeks, but might not be such a good news for humanity. But maybe, just maybe, VR can bring humanity closer together in more direct sense.

Honza – true visionary. Do you see the future yet?

3) What is your favourite lifehack linked to VR?

I am fascinated by VR for many years, from the very first sci-fi stories I read. From the very start, I imagined that VR+AR+AI is the killer app of technology. It can help us process and visualise unimaginable quatities of information in new ways, interacting with other people. Being able to easily and playfully work with big data and interact with AI (like neural network) directly in the machine – that is the kind of “lifehack” we are yet to invent, but it is already my favorite.

Another “lifehack” in development: Education. I’d love to see students in VR – learning and understanding complex subjects easily. I’d love to see scientists on VR conferences, debating and experimenting, visualising data, predicting trends and simulating phenomenons.

This is why we are developing octopus engine. A tool, which will make it happen. Some of it’s features we cannot fully imagine yet, but we will get there. This tool will be “my favourite lifehack”.

Do you think Honza is right? Will his prophecy be fulfilled? Stay tuned 🙂

czech VR fest (part 2)

It is already 2 months since we attended the very first Czech VR Fest (part 1)

There we met all of the high-profile guests and leading brands from the VR/AR industry.

These are the speakers we liked the most:

Jan Horsky – Jan is VR pioneer, developer, journalist, blogger and gamer. He spoke about challenges of designing hardware and optics for VR. His talk went into great technical detail and was the most informative when it comes to hard facts.

Vojta Rocek – As a co-founder of business intelligence startup Stories, Jan introduced his vision about using VR for working with complex data structures. He also put great emphasis on the need of making VR more accessible to non-technical Executives, since these are the ones making decisions. We are planning to cooperate with Stories on their VR mission.

Vit Jedlicka – president of Liberland officially introduced Virtual Liberland .

Amir Ebrahimi – Principal Software Engineer in Unity, he takes care of VR development. Unity is great platform and we were amazed how quickly they are improving their VR support.

Jaroslav Stehlik – Using drones and photogrammetry, he is putting real castle ruins and other historical places in VR. We tried his VR game from Okoř Castle, finding hidden mysteries. His project has a name Bohemia VR.

We also got a chance to present our own ideas during a short speech, we will introduce in part 3.

Next year there will be even more progress in VR space and we at octopus engine will be significant contributors.

company established

It’s official. We are no longer just bunch of geeks, we are bunch of geeks with a company! Why? Because it is convenient and because our plans and activities are becoming too grand to handle them just on the side.

There are many exciting things we will be working on. Our company wants to offer services in Cryptocurrencies, VR and IoT development, Data science, Photogrammetry (creating 3D VR spaces from real photos of environment).
But do not worry, we are not turning into corporate moguls. At least not anytime soon. Our community culture will remain, and in fact it will be even stronger.

Our firm is called Octopus engine s.r.o. (Ltd), it is based in Prague, Czech republic. Mostly because Prague is cool place to be right now. You can find the info on our contact page.
Also we will have our own CL(H)UB where we can organise events, classes, hackathons…

Octopus CLUB | HUB > CL(H)UB – Orelska 542/14 – Prague

Stay tuned, there are more news coming soon!

we are cyborgs

Long time no see… We were busy. With life and the future.

Octopus team always aims to be at the frontier of inovation. That’s why we agreed to get a RFID implant.

RFID implant is a simple little thing, that is injected in between our thumb and trigger finger.

  • xNT tag – 13.56MHz ISO14443A & NFC Type 2 NTAG216 chip
  • ISO14443A – compatible with all ISO14443A RFID systems
  • Fully NFC Type 2 compliant – compatible with all NFC devices
  • 7 byte UID and 880 bytes of user read/write memory
  • 10 year data retention. Rated for 100k writes per memory block.
  • Encased in 2.1mm by 12mm Schott 8625 bioglass with non-toxic epoxy

This RFID is effectively turning us into cyborgs – humans with artificial body enhancements. Just a little pink prick and implant is in. It’s just harmless piece of glass and electronics that can be used for storing information, payments (instead of a card or bitcoin/litecoin payment address). You can also turn it into your private electronic key, which can unlock your electronic lock device.

Contrary to popular belief, it is not possible to track someone via their implant, RFID works only through short distance as a passive device. It is just a first step merging humans with machines. And we can proudly claim we are one of the first people to use it.

And that counts.


xNT / dangerousthings

czech VR fest (part 1)

We were invited to biggest conference of Virtual and Augmented Reality in CEE region – Czech VR Festival in Prague.

Whole event took place in very artsy building. The hall – former slaughter – was filled with stages of different companies trying to impress visitors with cutting edge VR&AR tech. Most of them were games and visualisations of real world – this is still 90% of VR market right now.

It was great meeting so many people who are making in happen in VR. And we are also proud that octopusengine has much to offer even among such competition – our proposition is still quite unique.

We also found ourselves among speakers – Microsoft, NASA Unity and even couple of venture capitalists. In 2nd part, we will go into more detail – Czech VR Fest was really worth the effort.

Liberland is becoming (virtual) reality (Part 2)

Some time ago, we released first info about creating Liberland in VR. Today, virtual Liberland beta was presented on Czech VR Fest by Mr. President Vit Jedlicka himself.

President proudly announced Liberland to be the very first virtual nation. We are honored that we could make it happen. Special thanks goes also to Krzysztof Juroszek – it is his 3D model of the city which placed second in the global Liberland architecture competition and which we used for VR.

However there is much more work to be done. Streets of the city are still empty, we will add content, better textures, more models…until our graphic cards will scream and beg for mercy.

The vision is huge – to create first real-Virtual City-state, with multiple users visiting it at once, with animations moving, some mini games being played. We want to add content which will tell the story of Liberland…there may be some product placement to attract sponsors. Last but not least we want to make it all multi-platform, so everyone can enjoy Virtual Liberland at least partially.

Liberland community is huge and we received lot of responses from volunteers willing to help. But…we were quite busy and did not feel like we can manage such enthusiastic and diverse group. That’s why we decided to create the beta ourselves, and once we have something solid in our hands, only then can we really expect others to share our vision and join us.

So right now, we are turning to Liberland community again.

  • If you are still interested in helping us, stay tuned. We will prepare simple landing page, where you can tell us about you and your skills and join our dev team.
  • If you like our vision you can also support us by small BTC/LTC donation.
  • Last but not least, please like and share us on Facebook, help us spread the word! Now we have chance to tell story of Liberland in new and cool way…

To live and let live!