FashionLens – A virtual dressing room for Microsoft HoloLens

You probably remember Microsoft’s announcement for their augmented reality hardware called HoloLens which occurred around the announcement of Windows 10.  For those of you who did not see their popular promotional video, look below.

Microsoft has requested ideas for uses of their HoloLens hardware so I submitted an idea called FashionLens which I am also posting here on my blog.

Try on clothing virtually!

There would be two modes to this functionality. First the program needs to get detailed body measurements and then you could choose products from participating stores and try them on yourself with holoLens and see it from your own point of view.

The second mode I would call “mirror mode”. Here, the user would choose to create a mannequin or avatar of themselves and the clothes would be placed on the personal avatar. The user could walk around the avatar and look at it from different angles or command the avatar to sit down or position it in different poses my moving it around with their hands.

There are a number of features that would be common to both modes. Users would be able to adjust how the garment hangs on themselves, tuck shirts or blouses in, wear pants at their preferred level on their hips, or leave buttons undone. Users would also be able to try items out with those from their own wardrobe. Speaking of the wardrobe, users would be able to scan the barcode on their own clothing or search through a database to add clothing to their wardrobe so that they can mix and match new items with those they already own.

Users would also be able to take pictures of themselves in the virtual clothing that could then be submitted to participating stores to be potentially included with product information or they could easily share the pictures on social media to receive feedback from others before making a purchase.

So what do you think?  Check out other ideas at Microsoft’s Hololens site or vote for this idea here:

https://microsoftstudios.com/hololens/shareyouridea/idea/fashionlens-a-virtual-dressing-room/

 

Screen your calls in the cloud

I used to be agitated by the sound of the phone. My wife and I both have cell phones but we got a land line because there are some parts of the house where we have no reception and we occasionally misplace our phones. Shortly after we purchased it and before we could even give the number to friends, the calls started. Political calls, sales calls, and a plethora of other junk was funneled into our house. It was as if I had hooked up a sewer pipe directly to my kitchen and it dumping garbage calls into my home, hence the agitation.

Most of the calls were automated; robots per se. Companies have found it is much cheaper to record a call and then automate the call and playback process rather than hire the work out to a call center. Internet based phones, like the one I have, called Voice Over IP (VOIP) phones make it even easier and cheaper for companies or individuals to implement these automated calls. Such calls have earned the name robocalls and are increasingly used for illegal sales calls and scams. These internet-based calls often originate from overseas but have domestic phone numbers, real or spoofed, which allows them to violate the FTC’s National Do Not Call Registry so don’t count this registry to save you from them.

I wanted to get rid of the phone all-together but my wife, wanting to always be connected with friends and family, had become somewhat attached to the security of a backup line. My first step was to get a phone that audibly announced the caller ID so that I could avoid getting up for more junk calls. I then did my best to ignore the incessant ringing once I heard the telltale caller ID of another vapid robotic exchange.

Last week, however, everything changed. I was preparing for a presentation on hacktivism and I was researching how to prevent fax spam when I came across a cloud-based service that claimed to stop robocalls. I instantly wanted to learn more. Not only did this company claim to have good success in preventing these calls but they were offering the service to consumers for free.

The service I am talking about is Nomorobo. It is pronounced like No More Robo and it came out of a robocall challenge issued by the FTC to develop a solution to the robocall problem. Nomorobo maintains a black list of bad calling numbers but robocallers routinely change their numbers and these are often spoofed, meaning that they are not the actual number that the calls originate from. For this reason, Nomorobo only keeps a number in the blacklist for a short time and relies more on the characteristics of the call in much the same way that spam messages are blocked.

Now, some robocalls are legitimate ones that I actually would want to receive. These include calls from my doctor reminding me of an appointment or from my pharmacy about a prescription to pick up. Nomorobo can identify legitimate robocalls and allow those through so you do not miss that appointment or forget that prescription or bring the kids to school on a school closing.

The service relies upon answer anywhere, a feature of many VOIP carriers that allows calls to be sent to two numbers simultaneously. After signing up for Nomorobo and giving it your phone number, you log into your VOIP carrier and configure answer anywhere to go to Nomorobo’s number. Calls are then routed to both numbers and Nomorobo will drop calls after the first ring if they are a robocall. Nomorobo is currently supported on Verizon FiOS, Comcast Xfinity, Time Warner Cable, and AT&T U-verse.

So, in the end, you still receive the calls but the line will only ring once if it is a robocall. In the last year, Nomorobo has blocked 15.1 million robocalls. For me, it is blocking three to five calls each day. I am so much happier with this service and my wife can keep the phone.

Interesting questions on virtual reality and gaming

We are getting closer and closer to virtual reality.  Some companies such as Google and Oculus have already produced virtual reality headsets and others are on the way such as the Sony PlayStation VR.  These systems offer only the headset component of virtual reality.  We have yet to develop two-way communication to and from the brain so that VR so that stimuli can be sent directly to the brain and so that players can interface with the VR system by sending the appropriate physical signals that are translated into virtual ones. However, the introduction of these initial systems will likely generate the support and refine existing technologies to bring us closer to that point.

I recently started watching an anime called Sword Art Online and I have to say that I am fascinated with it.  The series chronicles various players in a virtual reality massively multiplayer online game (VRMMO) while discussing a variety of important topics such the psychology, ethics, social costs and benefits, relationships and gender.  While VR has been discussed in science fiction for quite some time now, I found that the questions raised by the series were more relevant to today’s technological and social landscape.

Here are some of the questions that were raised in the series or ones that I asked myself as I watched the series:

1. How “real” are in-game relationships and in-game experiences as compared to real life?

2. When games present an immature culture, lacking in societal norms, how ethical is it to exploit the differences between real-world and in-game expectations?

3. Are the actions taken by persons in a video game indicative of their character or heart condition?

4. What are the consequences of exploring repressed or recessive character traits by allowing them to become dominant in an in-game persona?

5. At what point does protecting your privacy online cross the line and become dishonesty or misrepresentation?

6. Can gaming be used as a healthy tool for emotional recovery from a traumatic incident?

7. Will virtual reality blur the lines between fantasy and reality?  What about augmented reality? (Google Glass, Microsoft HoloLense)

8. Are advertisements that influence your thoughts and desires directly through a video game simply a more advanced way to appealing to human psychology and physiology or are they ethically wrong?

9. What are the social consequences of virtual research and simulation involving human subjects?  What are the consequences for researchers conducting virtual research or simulation on non-human subjects?

10. Is a game just “a game”?

11. What are the economic consequences of integrating game economies with real economies through real money exchange rates?  Should in game markets that utilize real money exchanges be subject to oversight and by whom?

12. Should there be a standard for in-game rights and legal recourse for those who violate those rights?  Legal issues might include in-game property rights, defamation of character/game persona/avatar, sale of virtual assets, transference of virtual assets or online personas upon death.

13.  Does the immediate gratification of a video game reduce a person’s motivation for self-development in the real world?

Social networking strategy

Social networking is my thing this year and I just wanted to share my strategy with you in case you find it useful.

I spend about 30 minutes each day managing my Twitter and Linkedin accounts and it really helps.  Each day on Linkedin, I search for others I can connect with. I also look through my connections and find people whom I can endorse and after endorsing them I ask them to endorse me as well. I added my social networks to my email signature so that people I communicate with will add me or view my social networks.

Weekly, I look for one thing on my Linkedin that I can improve and then I improve that area.  It may be adding more detail to a section or revising some wording but I make regular edits.  Next, I Google myself to make sure that no negative information appears about me and that my positive sites appear early in the search results.

Most employers Google potential employees and they check their Linkedin, Twitter and public Facebook so it can really pay off.  You can also search for jobs on Linkedin but it will only show jobs that you are connected with so as you add more connections, more jobs will become available.  I never would have landed the book contract if it weren’t for Linkedin.

Ready for VandyLAN 8?

Are you ready for some great PC gaming? Bring your computer to VandyLAN 8 where we will game all day long and into the night. Come for the entire thing or just stay a while. Either way, you will have a great time. We will have the projector set up as a score board. Let me know what games you would like to play.

Things to bring with you to VandyLAN

1. Computer, Monitor and Keyboard for PCs or a Laptop
2. Mouse
3. Ethernet cable (the longer the better)
4. Power Strip
5. Game media for games you want to play

Optional but recommended
1. Headset (Headphones and microphone so you can speak only to your teammates)
2. Blank CD/DVDs for burning games. We can share ISOs too so this is not a requirement but some prefer a real disk.
3. Gaming pads, controllers and/or joysticks
4. Mouse pad (provides comfort)
5. External hard drive for file sharing

I would like to play some freelancer at the LAN party. Freelancer is a game from Microsoft that was abandoned years ago after a long wait for a sequel that never arrived. The modding community has extended the game over the years and added much more to the world including many ships, systems, bases and other things. One of the best mods is called Discovery. Another great thing about playing freelancer is that it won’t cost you a dime.

Here is what you need to do to run the game and discovery
1. Install Freelancer (http://theisozone.com/downloads/pc/windows-games/freelancer/)
2. Install the Freelancer 1.1 update (http://www.microsoft.com/games/freelancer/)
3. Installed the Discovery 4.86 Exiles
(http://www.moddb.com/…/down…/discovery-freelancer-486-exiles)

Instead of setting up my own server, we will be using a server that already exists. I set up an account on this server already and I will get a ship. I will also earn some money so that I can give each player at the LAN party enough money for a ship. The name of the server is “Discovery Free Play Non-RP 24/7”. I talked to the owners and they are fine with all of us connecting for the LAN party and you are all free to join early too. See this page for information on all the ships you can fly. http://discoverygc.com/wiki/Ship_Portal

We will form up as teams and then fly to an empty area of space so that we can do some team battles. We can also do some cooperative activities. We will balance the teams based on the ships we have so that a few powerful ships do not dominate the battle.

This video gives you an idea how combat works in Freelancer with the Discovery mod.

Here is a demo of what Artemis looks like in the theater. I only have three laptops in this setup with the main screen and the camera did not operate well in the low light but I thought it made for a cool demo.

Christmas and New Year Greetings 2010

Joy to the World the Lord has Come!

As we approach the celebration of our Savior’s birth, our minds think of family and friends. We are hoping that this year has been a blessed year for you. That even in the midst of the trials you were able to find some peace and comfort. We pray that you had joyful times and your Christmas will be filled with special memories.

Our year definitely had its challenges but we were clearly blessed in the midst of them. Even more, these experiences allowed us to grow in our dependence upon the Lord.

Aimee has been an RN for 10 years and at Cleveland Clinic for almost eight years. She began this year on the same surgical unit that she enjoyed for over six years. Early in January she began to experience debilitating knee pain that made it difficult to ambulate and shortly thereafter had to take a medical leave. It was not until June that she found relief from her osteoarthritis and was able to return to work. The trial was long but her spirit was being renewed day by day as she sought comfort in the Lord.

Aimee returned to work at the Cleveland Clinic in a new area. SI am now working in the outpatient setting at the Taussig Cancer Institute. She immediately felt comfortable and enjoys her new job.

As I was graciously caring for Aimee during those difficult months, I was also caring for a dear friend, Chris, who broke his leg early in January. We felt honored to provide a safe place for a friend in need. God provided so much grace while we extended a helping hand. Both Aimee and Chris are happy to now be healed and feel so blessed to see God’s hand in and through it all.

I have been working year round on my doctorate degree for the past four years. The dissertation portion of my doctorate program has been challenging. With caring for Aimee and Chris earlier this year, and needing some time away from school, I took a well-needed break from the program. After returning to the program and several months of very hard work, I was recently told that I am officially a doctoral candidate. I look forward to completing the program in 2011 when, Lord willing, I will receive the title Doctor of Information Assurance.

I continue to work at a legal technology company called JurInnov. I have been a technology director there for the past four years and now, with the launch of JurInnov’s new security business line, I am directing the information systems and information security departments. Every other week or so, I write an information security article for this blog that I then syndicate to JurInnov’s Security Spotlight site. I enjoy writing professional articles in my field of expertise.

I continue to work on my novel, The Prevailing Palette. I have primarily been polishing earlier chapters with a focus on improving the flow of the story and my writing style. The characters in the story are developing well, each with their own unique personality and charm.

I and Aimee continue to enjoy using our home to bless others. Aimee hosted two women’s Bible studies as she has done for the past two and half years – In the spring they studied ‘Seeking Him’ by Nancy Leigh DeMoss. In the fall they studied ‘Jesus the One and Only’ by Beth Moore. These studies have provided great fellowship among the women and growth in the Lord. Aimee plans to continue the tradition of leading the studies each year.

This year we were blessed to be able to travel to Israel on the Moody Bible Institute tour. We enjoyed seeing the land where Jesus spent my earthly time and it was made even more special because we shared the experience with family. Mom and dad along with Aunt Nancy, Aunt Camilla, Uncle Dennis, and our cousin Nikko all went on the trip with us. We were amazed to see the places of the Bible come alive for us in Israel. It was an experience that transformed our lives. Miraculously, Aimee, who had been virtually unable to walk due to arthritis pain, was given new knees in Israel. We praise God that she was able to climb stairs and mountains with very little pain.

We look forward to being proud parents of Faith Marie. She is due February 3rd and we well up with joy as we prepare for her arrival.

We pray for God’s peace to be with you at Christmas and through the New Year.