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People Doing Strange Things With Electricity
Wednesday, December 7
doors @ 7pm;
talks @ 8pm.
all ages.
Free Admission (but $5-$20 donations appreciated).
Presentations by:

Tony Parisi (Third Time's the Charm: How VR and the Web Have Finally Converged - In My Lifetime)
Chris Shaw & Jared Peters (The Past and Future of Virtual Humans)
Jennifer Berry (Honeybees as 3D Printers)

Social hour at 7pm; presentations begin at 8pm.

Plus vending by RE/Search.
Tony Parisi - Third Time's the Charm: How VR and the Web Have Finally Converged - In My Lifetime

Twenty five years after the first consumer VR crash, virtual reality is poised to upend human-computer interaction, the Internet has disrupted every facet of life as we knew it back then, and the two are now on a collision course. The Metaverse that we've all been dreaming about for decades - that shared vision of everybody connected and communicating in a web of virtual reality - is upon us. Twice before, the industry attempted to consummate this chemical wedding... and twice now, somebody ran from the altar. Well, this time, the bride and groom are pure of heart and truly ready. The confluence of cheap VR hardware, accessible 3D development, and ubiquitous networking has set the stage for an explosion of VR content, delivered over the World Wide Web.

Why has it taken so long? And why is it happening now? Tony will talk you through it.

Tony Parisi is a virtual reality pioneer, serial entrepreneur and angel investor. Tony is the co-creator of 3D graphics standards, including VRML, X3D and glTF, the new file format standard for 3D web and mobile applications. Tony is also the author of O'Reilly Media's books on Virtual Reality and WebGL: Learning Virtual Reality (2015), Programming 3D Applications in HTML5 and WebGL (2014), and WebGL Up and Running (2012).

Tony is currently Head of VR and AR at Unity Technologies, where he oversees the company's strategy for virtual and augmented reality.

Chris Shaw and Jared Peters - The Past and Future of Virtual Humans

Humans are the most human interface and the missing link in conversational technology. Modeling believable human emotion is difficult for expert animators to accomplish in even pre-recorded media. Our technology enables believable emotions in interactive characters who respond specifically to their users. Put simply, we make AI more human.

Chris Shaw is a film director, mathematician, and author who will talk about his 20+ years building virtual humans and what's next for realistic human characters in VR & mixed reality.

In 1995 Chris Shaw, Robert Shaw, Ph.D. and Jack Wiley started a company in Santa Cruz, California to build the most realistic "virtual reality" game for the arcade market. Their initial experiments with haptic-feedback exoskeletons were promising but the team ultimately wound up spending more time on the subtle dynamics of emotional character interaction. Their company, Haptek, licensed their self-animated personality software to MIT Media Lab, Intel, Sony Pictures, Microsoft, Boston Dynamics, NASA, Cisco, and others.

Chris Shaw is now cofounder and CEO of Spontanimation, Inc. He and co-founder Jared Peters will demo some new tech, showing how next generation of hyperrealistic, self-animated virtual humans will look and behave. They'll also discuss what chatbots, cognitive cloud services, computer vision, emotion recognition, depth sensing, and mixed reality headsets mean for the future of virtual humans.

Chris Shaw also wrote and directed the 1989 feature-film, Split, which the Boston Globe called "a fresh, stimulating, eye-grabbing, brain-rattling sci-fi film." Split featured some of the first computer-generated special effects thanks to Chris's brother Rob, a physicist and recipient of a MacArthur Foundation genius grant for his groundbreaking research on chaos theory. They will show a clip from the film and discuss how some of the themes are relevant to the technologies and political discussions of today.

Jared Peters is co-founder of two artificial character companies. Origami Robotics makes physical, furry robots that engage and entertain children with autism. The robots are in 20 countries and have helped hundreds of kids open up in interesting ways. Prior to entering tech, Jared was an autism educator for twelve years. He's now focusing on solving problems upstream for educators and caregivers using digital characters and Mixed Reality.

Spontanimation is developing an online service that makes it easy for anyone to build and deploy virtual humans on multiple platforms, including virtual and mixed reality. Their vision is to create virtual actors with software personalities for entertainment, training, and healthcare.

Jennifer Berry - Honeybees as 3D Printers

B Code is a living, biological 3D printer that employs honeybees to create sculptural forms in beeswax. Honeybees developed the world's first additive manufacturing over millennia of evolution, and Berry harnesses their technology to create hive systems that enhance the natural tendencies of bees. Together they produce sculptural forms never before possible by human technology or nature alone. Jennifer Berry's artworks border on the incredible in their combination of art and experimentation. Wild animals and untamed organisms are invited to collaborate to form works of art in artificial environments, calling into question our society's notion of what it means to be wild, and showing us that nature is often an eager and willing partner in our grand experiment to remake the world to suit human desire.

Berry is an artist and biologist who lives in the Bay Area and recently completed a residency at Autodesk's Pier 9 workshop.