Starting the VR project « eyeWander »

Based on the interactive 360° video installation project « Fenêtres Associatives » made by Vincent de Vevey for his Media Design Master exam at the HEAD, Memoways is producing the further development of the mobile VR app and the upcoming version of the interactive installation.

The project

“eyeWander” proposes a new way to experience interactive video within VR.
Users can generate personalised narrative contexts by “organically” aggregating facts and videos into a sharable playlist of content.
Watching and interacting in this way offers a unique and immersive journey through world changing projects from humanitarian aid agencies, demonstrating how interactive storytelling can enhance the public’s understanding of complex issues.

“eyeWander” is a VR project made out of 3 complementary parts: an artistic installation built around a VR headset, a standalone mobile VR app and a documentation website.

With the help of funding support (we already have a financing from the City of Geneva), we will bring the current mobile VR app prototype made for the Master exam to a new level.
Beyond the local use within an artistic installation, the upcoming app will connect complex realities from our world to a personalised VR experience, that can be shared across the web.
A virtuous cycle allows users to become aware of humanitarian issues, and then to engage by sharing their own “wandering”, simply with their eyes, through the stories, facts and figures of our project…

This VR project will be presented to the public through different forms and use cases:

  • An artistic installation for festivals and events, starting in November 2017.
  • A standalone mobile VR app for Android & Samsung Gear (or any cardboard device), for begin of 2018.
  • A website for documentation and communication purposes, starting in October 2017.

The installation

The first version of the installation, presented at the HEAD jury Master exam in June. This version was working without VR headset, with a VR prototype app made with WondaVR

In a darkened room, the public is immersed in floating video sequences surrounding a unique spectator wearing a VR headset. Through watching and interacting with the content in the VR headset, the active spectator, sitting on a turning chair in the middle of the room, triggers synchronised projections of video sequences on the floating screens around him/her.
The user is immersed with is headphone to have the best audio quality for the interviews. For the next step in November, we want that the public present in the room can also experience the interviews using other headphones to follow the story of the active spectator.

Through those screens, the public gets an idea of the thematics and stories being presented to the active spectator in the VR headset: short video sequences superposed with pregnant sentences, present places, people or situations, to create a thematic context. The user with the VR headset can choose between several augmented narrative portraits of selected cooperation organisations.

Each presentation is a 360° video with integrated interactive elements (videos, pictures, short sentences and data-visualisations), allowing to get more informations or short stories linked to the main interview, just by looking a longer moment on specific interactive elements in the 360° video. Once the 360° video interview is finished (lasting between 3 and 5 minutes), the user is invited to freely “dive” into additional material, to learn more about specific aspects.
In the dark, simply by directing the eye in a certain direction, video sequences are unveiled and come to live, like pointing a flash light in room without light.

In the installation room, short video loops, projected on the floating screens, are synchronised with the interactions of the VR user. The audience, while waiting to wear the VR headset, gets a glimpse of the topics and thematics, linked to the choices and the behaviour of the active user.
The playhead of the projected videos is controlled by the user’s movement of the head, so that the surrounding audience rapidly gets aware of the formal mechanic of the video projections.

This first version of the public installation is already financed through a funding from the Ville de Genève and will be presented end of this year (more information to come).

The following points are concepts and ideas that we wish to pursue :

  • Move beyond linear and static storytelling to a more organic, evolutive and personnalized experience through the original “Comet” concept made possible with the Memoways video platform called Kura;
  • Based on curated video feeds, “magnetic” keywords and platform linking strategies (see the schema later in this document), each personal experience within the mobile VR app can be shared on the social web. This expands organically the audience of the project from an individual niche consultation to a broader connected collective experience;
  • Even if this aspect is not a visible feature, it is very important to mention that by using the Kura video platform, the project will evolve without application updating, based on the separation of the content with the app. This means we will be able to change, remove and add new video content and the way the content is connected together (the magic of the “magnetic” keywords), without having to update the app itself. The same of course applies also to the future user experience within the installation.

The mobile VR app

Top image: first version of the installation (without VR headset) Bottom image: mockup of the upcoming VR augmented information layer

The first version of the mobile VR app is described above.

We intend to bring the new mobile VR app to the Play Store early 2018, thereby reaching a broader international audience than the very local audience of the interactive installation.

We will wish to enhance the user experience with following features:

  • Floating keywords in the main menu, linked with arrows to the main interviews and between themselves, presenting a grid of related thematics, places, or actions. When staring at a keyword, the application is presenting a playlist of content labeled with the selected keyword, as a chain of circular thumbnails.
    Selecting play will play one content after the other; it is possible to come back to the main menu at any moment. The creation, curation and updating of those keyword playlists is done with our Kura web application.
  • Keywords that dynamically appear as coloured capsules in the 360° video, linked to specific temporal segments of the interview. This part is the transposition of Memoways Comet concept to the VR / 360° video space.
    While listening to the interview, the user can turn around to discover more information in the 360° video; when looking a longer moment on an appearing keyword capsule, the capsule is “captured” and transformed into an icon going to the bottom right (or left) corner of the viewing field. Each additional keyword selection adds an icon to the existing ones, like a floating pearl necklace…
    At the end of the linear interview, a dialog proposes to either watch the generated playlist of content based on the selected keywords, or to keep the playlist for later and come back to the main menu.
  • Connexion to the Facebook / Google / Twitter account, to be able to save and share videos and playlists. The presentation of the shares is made possible through a “webview” generated from the platform.

Further developments could include the following features:

  • Edit your playlist: change order, add new related content, remove content from a playlist.
  • Define a private or a public sharing mode. In the private mode, it is simply an “unlisted” url that can be shared with selected people; in the public mode, the shared playlists can be discovered on a specific page in the mobile VR app, and later on the website.

 The team

The core team for the project is:

  • Vincent de Vevey. Interaction designer, Media Designer and Sound designer
  • Ulrich Fischer. Producer, entrepreneur and new media expert
  • David Hodgetts. Polyglot developer, specializes in interactive media projects.
  • Nicolas Goy. Web application, back-end developer with specific expertise in web video

Vincent De Vevey conducts the interviews with the associations: he records them with 360° video, and handles postproduction. He is also in charge of the visual aspect of the motion design in the videos. He has the artistic director role.
http://vincentdevevey.com

Ulrich Fischer produces the project with his company Memoways. He assists and guides Vincent de Vevey on all conceptual, artistic, technical and aesthetic questions. As the producer he is in charge of the strategic and financial questions.
http://ulrichfischer.net

David Hodgetts works on the development of the VR installation which revolves around two software artifacts: a mobile VR app with custom mechanics to drive the projections in the installation mode. The VR app targets the Gear VR platform and uses the Unity3d framework. The video player runs on OSX, is written in C++ for optimal performance, communicates via UDP with the VR app and integrates with MadMapper by opening a Syphon server. Source code is released under the MIT license where possible.
http://davidhodgetts.ch

Nicolas Goy as the developer of the Kura video platform and the Comet video player (he did also the transmedia project Confusion.today) develops the custom video player for the interactive video streams within the VR app, creates a bridge between Kura and the VR app and makes the webview and sharing mechanism.
https://the-missing-bit.com

Memoways introduces Comet

Something is missing on the web.

When you watch a video on Youtube for example, you are looking at a static file: a bit like a PDF, it will never change, evolve or allow you to personalize the story you get.

COMET-VideoPlayer-static-web

Imagine that the video stream is adapting itself to your questions, your needs or even your behavior

COMET-VideoPlayer-dynamic-web

We created Comet…

COMET-VideoPlayer-steps-web

Comet connects a video to a stream of video fragments.
On one hand, you have an edited movie, telling a story in a closed and linear form.
On the other hand, you have a stream of video fragments, giving access to additional information in an open and dynamic way.
The head of the Comet is the edited movie, while the trail is the stream of video fragments.
The use of the video player is very simple: watch a video, select interesting topics just by clicking on keywords that will dynamically appear under the video and create a personal playlist of additional content, you can then remix and share.
Comet enables users to easily create and share their experiences with video !

La suite…

Memowalk on the podium of the ESNC award

The mobile video application concept of Memowalk was awarded at the ESNC Swiss Regional Award 2015 with the third place.

For the 12th year running, the ESNC has proven to be a success with 515 submissions from more than 40 different countries.

We would like to congratulate you as your idea took the 3rd place in the ranking list and was recognized by the Expert Panel. The competition was very high and you were very close to win the competition for the Most Promising application idea for European GNSS.

Once the accuracy of the GPS positionning system becomes widely available and easy to implement, it’s up to companies like Memoways to provide users with original usages.
The Memowalk concept uses the GPS signal (in combination with the accelerometer) to create behavioral patterns. With those patterns it is possible to generate a story that « fits » with the behavior of a user, over time.

We have several ideas and available code to realize innovative usages – now we « just » have to find partners with financial capacities to bring them to the world.

Memoways is finalist of Red Herring Europe 2015

Europe_Finalist logo

Memoways has been chosen as a finalist of the Red Herring european list for 2015.

The Red Herring editorial team selected the most innovative companies from a pool of hundreds from across Europe. The nominees are evaluated on 20 main quantitative and qualitative criterion: they include disruptive impact, market footprint, proof of concept, financial performance, technology innovation, social value, quality of management, execution of strategy, and integration into their respective industries.

Finalists for the 2015 edition of the Red Herring 100 Europe award are selected based upon their technological innovation, management strength, market size, investor record, customer acquisition, and financial health. During the months leading up to the announcement, hundreds of companies in the telecommunications, security, Web 2.0, software, hardware, biotech, mobile and other industries completed their submissions to qualify for the award.

The Finalists are invited to present their winning strategies at the Red Herring Europe Forum in Amsterdam, April 13-15, 2015. The Top 100 winners will be announced at a special awards ceremony the evening of April 15 at the event.

Unfortunately, we won’t be able to attend the Forum in Amsterdam, but are happy and proud to be one of the 100 companies chosen by the selection committee of Red Herring.

Getting started with Memoways

remix-web

To test the Memoways platform with Tansa our OS X editing software and Memobeam our video remix tool in the browser, we offer following possibility:

  • Contact us and tell us about your project. You will either receive access to a personal workspace (you can then upload assets and test the whole system in the limit of 200Mo of uploaded video material) or you will get an invitation to get access to our demo workspace, where you can « play » with already existing assets.

You will get an email with an invitation to create your personal account: clic on the the link and create a new user with password.

michi-login-june2014-web

Once your account created, you need to perform following steps:

  1. Download Tansa, read the short tutorial (french / english is coming). Tansa is only working on OS X 10.9 Mavericks, so please make sure your computer is up to date.
  2. Enter your mail & password, select the workspace and wait for the workspace to load
  3. If you got a personal invite, you can upload and test with your own content; with the public demo workspace you can « play » with the already existing assets
  4. You can simply create a Beam just with « command b » in a project and watch the result in your browser, like this example.

tools-web

Closing the project Move Your Story

After 18 months of work, we are now closing the research projet « Move Your Story » with our partner TAM of the University of Geneva.
The project was funded end 2012 by the CTI, with the goal to develop an algorithm based on the sensors of a smartphone in order to drastically improve the results of our mobile application Memowalk.

La suite…

Move Your Story: the mobile app for Android

In the frame of the research project Move Your Story we worked on a new version of Memowalk for Android.

Here is an overview of the features of this mobile app that will be used for several projects in the next months. The whole app can be customized in order to fit to the needs of each individual customer:
– icon / logo
– splash screen and the overall design
– algorithm
– help / about

At this point, the publishing of the movie is not implemented yet, but it is possible to watch, rename and delete each walk/movie within the mobile app.

mys-memowalk-splash-web

La suite…