2016: The Year Seattle Embraced Virtual and Augmented Reality

Trond Nilsen addressing the September VR Hackathon

Ed: This post was made possible by the mad compiling and organization skills of Eva Hoerth and Kayla Didier.

As we pull the curtains on 2016, we’re coming to a consensus that this was a horrible, no-good, rotten, very bad year. We lost cherished icons and elevated a reality star bigot to the office of President of the United States. Terrorism, refugee crises, Brexit, and other calamities flowed through our news feeds amid fake news concocted by Russian spies, climate change deniers, and white supremacists. And yet a bright spot appeared this year, particularly in the Pacific Northwest, with the emergence of the virtual and augmented reality industry. Continue reading

SIXR’s Summer Cinematic VR Challenge and Hot Tub Party

Jeff Lewis demos one of the VR experiences created over a weekend near Discovery Park. Photo by Nikola Costa.

A quickly growing cohort of artists is inventing cinematic VR in Seattle. Last weekend about fifty cinematic VR pioneers gathered at a home known as the Birdhouse near Discovery Park to create 360 VR experiences. SIXR organized the event and suggested a theme: relaxation, inner peace, leisure, and introspection. I stopped by the event for a few hours on Saturday, finding myself in a funky private home full of good books and good people sharing ideas, food, code, and laughs. Despite the theme, the scene was buzzing with activity. Continue reading

Monday Compliments

Recently I decided to give people more compliments. I started to notice that whenever I gave somebody a genuine compliment, it not only made them feel good, but it made me feel good, too. Then I thought, hey, maybe I should pick a day of the week when I give people compliments on social media. Why not Monday? I did this for a few weeks, sort of hoping that it would catch on and other people would start giving out compliments on Mondays, but it didn’t really.

I’m still determined to make the world more complimentary, so I thought I’d take this post to compliment a few people who’ve been doing great things for Seattle’s VR/AR community.

First, a hearty high five to Elizabeth Scallon, associate director of CoMotion Labs. Elizabeth has been coordinating the masterful opening of this startup incubator/innovation center/VR playground, getting us tenants set up and oriented. I had the chance to see Elizabeth fill a white board with organizational schematics last week, and was so impressed by her brilliance.

Compliments to everyone who made the Cinematic VR Challenge happen. I dropped in on this weekend create-athon on Saturday and am going to write about it more in depth in coming days. But for starters, huge congrats are in order for the events organizers, including Budi Mulyo, Boberton Bob, and Diana Fairbank. I can’t wait to see the results of this heroic group effort.

Compliments are in order to the Washington Midsummer Renaissance Faire, where I spent yesterday admidst knights, magicians, and fairies. I’ve never been to one of these before, and I had so much fun. More specifically, I wish to compliment whoever grilled this gigantic turkey leg. It was delicious.