data in virtual reality (part 1)

Data are hot goods – everyone wants more of them. We want to visualise and analyse them, the more the better. And why do we need it? To make better decisions.

Our data are always only as good as our ability to make better decision thanks to them. And we believe the visualisation is the key to that.

Right now we are limited to process the data in spreadsheets, more or less complicated dashboards or using mostly 2D charts and lines. Or we can give it to a team of analysts or machine learning algorithm to crunch it for us. But there may be another way.

What if we could see data and interact with them in new way? Imagine that instead of messing around with spreadsheets, you have all the data all around you. Imagine you can move them around, connect them, make them alive in real time using just your hands… now it is possible, thanks to VR.

We in octopus engine are going to make that happen. It’s only the beginning. Frankly, we are not sure yet what the best approach is. But we are determined to figure it out. We are determined to try a lot of crazy stuff, find all the dead ends and have fun along the way.

Our vision is to create data processing tool in VR. It will be intuitive to use for analysts, managers, business owners, engineers and other professionals. It will help you make faster and better decisions and get deeper understanding of data.

– team octopus engine –

“In God we trust. All others bring data.” – W. Edwards Deming

(part 2)

simple bitcoin terminal

Lately we were focusing mostly on our endeavours in VR. But our vision is much broader  and extends into the physical world as well.

We are particularly excited about Bitcoin. There is  something very compelling about a digital currency, fully independent from whims of nation states and central banks.

But today, we are not going to discuss cryptocurrency. If you want to learn more, watch some Andreas Antonopoulos vids.

Today we are just bragging about our Simple Bitcoin Terminal which is a payment machine allowing stores and other brick and mortar businesses to receive payments in Bitcoins (and other cryptocurrencies) quickly and easily.

First Bitcon payment only cafe

Honza engineered a prototype one year ago, and now he is giving it more polish. Last weekend we presented it to crypto-fans during  yearly crypto flea market in Paralelni polis – Prague.

Both machines are connected to the internet and update current btc exchange rate

Now, we want to advance new technologies. So we do not aim to be bogged down by manufacturing and selling this little machine commercially.

Honza introducing his prototype

However, if you are an entrepreneur, manufacturer or electronics seller and would like to introduce Simple Bitcoin Terminal to market, feel free to contact us.

– team octopus engine –

PS: If you like our work, you can reward us with a small Bitcoin donation  11r118H2Qv4oHfjFuJnuU8GZHGNqwEH9e


who needs new reality most?

Recently we asked ourselves a question.

Who would benefit from virtual reality most?

Who is in the direst need to escape boundaries of physical reality?

Is it gamer who wants better gaming experience? Or professional who demands better visualisation for his project? Film maker, making more immersive experience?

We come up with a different answer. Those who need to escape our reality the most are the ones who are the most challenged by it – disabled people or too old and weak to go out and enjoy life to the fullest.

There is a room for many more VR applications, helping those in need. There are experiments, suggesting that VR simulations help with pain relief, psychotherapy , rehab exercises or even a next generation of social connection.

That’s why we are creating New Reality platform with these people in mind. It will empower them, allow them to experience and even control (via IoT). In our New Reality there will be no barriers…

By helping others, you will learn how to help yourselves. -Aung San Suu Kyi

– team octopus engine –

 


why we use Unity

When Honza started octopusengine, he was thinking about the universal platform to use for VR. One of the options was to create it from scratch.

But sometimes it’s better to focus on important things and outsource the rest to existing solutions.

And because games are the frontier of Virtual Reality, there were two game engines which supported HTC Vive integration – famous Unreal engine, and Unity 3D editor.

From these two, Unity seems to be more useful with comprehensive tutorials and great community. Also it is more versatile, as opposed to Unreal, which is focused mostly on games.

Our VR lab, running on Unity

Right now Unity fits our needs pretty well. Although in the future, we will create our own engine which will support all media.

By the way, if you want to try Unity for yourself, here is a little guide how to start for free:

  1. Install Unity Personal
  2. Get to know Unity Editor basics (tutorials are helpful).For Czech and Slovak speakers join our FB group for Unity
  3. Play around. Learn to use Hierarchy, Asset, Inspector. Create your first Scene, Game and 3D Object. Use some Component and create Material. Adjust position and rotation of Main Camera.
  4. If you are programmer, see our github and learn how to use scripts in Unity.
  5. Test our objZero – add it into a scene and move it around with arrow keys.
  6. Ready for VR? If you have HTC Vive or Oculus Rift headset use VRTK library .
  7. Welcome to the Matrix Neo. Contact us if you want to go deeper down the rabbit hole.

We are sure you will have the basics laid down pretty quickly if you give it a try. Just take a look what our project manager Maťo created after only a couple of hours working in Unity.

Where there is unity there is always victory.  – Publilius Syrus

– team octopus engine –


we are community

You probably know what we are creating, but you may wonder what octopus engine actually is.

OE is not a company (not yet) and it is not a pure hobby either. Right now we describe OE as community.  Community of passionate people from various backgrounds, who want to create awesome things with new technology.

Explaining our vision

That’s why we connect with others in VR meetups and hackathons, discussing new tech, sharing ideas, creating together. Our first meetup happened in PaperHub Coworking space visited by IT geeks, cryptocurrency fans and tech cyborgs. By the way, it’s the same place Honza first met Maťo and challenged him to play one match of Go. OE team emerged from that encounter.

At that time, our vision was still hard around the edges and not easy to explain. But we still found guys wanting to get involved with the idea.

Creative graphic designer, who created this scary Sea Devil 3D model, which we put into VR.

Look at those details!

Or young Internet of Things enthusiast who would like to help us with the idea of connecting VR and IoT devices.

There are many really exceptional people we are meeting on our journey. We will mention some of them in our blog so stay tuned.

OE is based in Prague, but we aim to bring together enthusiasts worldwide.

Want to be part of our movement?

Contact us!

You are the average of 5 people you hang around with the most. – Jim Rohn

– team octopus engine –

 


fun in VR – gauss distribution

We work hard on our New Reality project. But sometimes it doesn’t hurt to take a break and just have fun…like with this little demonstration of normal Gauss distribution. You may find it useful if you are teaching math or just want to show someone how it works.

You don’t even need one line of code, just put together this simple scene in Unity3D:

  1. Put pegs on the slope floor (ctrl+C) and prepare several compartments.
  2. Prepare path for balls.
  3. Generate ball objects.
  4. Add laws of physics for your balls (ball is in the gravitational field and has weight…).
  5. Send them down one by one. Balls are rolling around and end up in the compartments as they would in the real world.
  6. Watch balls being distributed into well-known Gauss Curve. Balls are currently too slippy and jumpy. For smoother outcome, we need to optimise elasticity and friction.

There are many concepts you can easily simulate in VR, we can’t wait to show you our next idea!

The noblest pleasure is the joy of understanding. – Leonardo da Vinci
– team octopus engine –

 


virtual philosophy

What happens when you let a philosopher to experience your concept of Virtual Reality? Honza invited his friend Jan Fikacek  – philosopher and university lector to try VR and play with objects in our workspace.

What does Jan say about VR and our concept?

Hardware finally enables almost photo-realistic VR experience. It is fast enough to keep the sense of stability and solidity of the virtual world.

There is one psychological effect of being in VR – you have kind of a “double perception”. You perceive Virtual Reality but also the Real Reality, although visually hidden from you at the moment. You still feel the room around you, estimate the position of furniture and walls so you don’t bump into it. And after you take off your headset, you almost feel that behind the real room around you there is another room – more real than the one you see. Super-real. And you are afraid to move so you don’t bump into some kind of super-furniture which is located in the super-reality.

Jan, deep in virtual reality

Another interesting observation – there is a contact between VR and Real Reality, in my case it were controllers – you hold the physical controllers and you see them in VR as well, if you clap them together, they clap together in both realities at the same time.

I got an idea to make VR demonstration of my philosophical concept. Even my university class is called Philosophy of Virtual Reality! 

Virtual objects with no gravity

Conclusion – VR is much more than games and simulations. It offers new points of view, interesting intellectual stimuli and lets us ask more philosophical questions about our reality and perception.

We will definitely expand on these subject in the future, with Jan’s input.

VR is beautiful demonstration of phenomenology. – Jan Fikacek

– team octopus engine –


what we learned on hackathon

32 hours of Virtual Reality experience. 25 VR enthusiasts. Lots of caffeine and pizza. No sleep. That was VRMag.cz Hackathon – where we could join other geeks in creating VR games and applications…

During this exhausting weekend, we managed a lot. Maťo learned how to create virtual worlds and animations in Unity3D.

Hell-Mars (Maťo’s fantasy world)
Simple shooting range for testing

Marek with Honza overhauled our C# code and made huge progress in interaction with objects – demonstrated by Laser Pointer of Mass Destruction (TM). Code will be available on github soon.

Lessons we learned:

  • best code = less code – 3 hours of thinking and 1 minute of coding is better than vice versa
  • check your Unity Scene in VR early (you will avoid risk of it being too large/small or suboptimal in any other way for VR)
  •  tutorials and solutions for every problem are online (even for VR dev), learn how to find them
  • sounds and music can vastly enhance your VR experience, use them
  • plan for UX before you start modelling your VR space, think how will user react to his surroundings, where will he want to go and what will he do, don’t get stuck into monitor or 2D thinking
  • VR Horror games can make you scream like a little schoolgirl

Other teams had inspiring projects of their own – creating vomit-inducing jumper game, or fast-paced office clerk with stamp simulation. We fit right in with this bunch of geeks, dreamers and weirdos.

Maťo and Honza proudly wearing OE T-shirts

Our vision – universal virtual platform for creation and cooperation – is now more real than ever before. And we look forward for new challenges.

What is “real”? How do you define “real”? – Morpheus 

– team octopus engine –

 


hello world

Welcome to our first octopus blogpost!

Technology is booming and our world is changing. People accomplished so much in recent years – advancing high tech fields VR, AI, IoT… and there are more opportunities ahead. To share faster, connect more deeply, cooperate more effectively…

Right now, our main focus is Virtual Reality. It’s not a new idea per se, but only now we are seeing it’s true progress. And yet main applications of VR are still in entertainment – games, movies, presentations (and yes, porn).

But we believe entertainment is only small fraction of what we can achieve here. There are countless opportunities in medicine, education, construction, psychotherapy, art, commerce… and we want to tackle them.

In this blog, we aim to show you everything – victories, fails, UX and programming challenges, problems with hardware. We will be brutally honest with ourselves and with you – our readers. Nobody said creating New Reality is easy.

Join us on our journey.

– team octopus engine –