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[Editorial] Will Technology be the Downfall or Saviour of Creativity?

 

Technology is dramatically changing our world. As we are in the midst of the digital transformation, mobile and smart devices have become an inextricable part of our lives.

 

As CMO of Samsung Electronics, I am often asked what technology means for the future of marketing and creativity. Behind this question I believe lies a deep-rooted concern – how will technology transform creativity? Will technology be the downfall or saviour of creativity? The rise in data engineered campaigns has the capability to remove the human connections we all need.

 

 

Embracing Change

Technology is, and always was, about change. And change brings challenges. I know this, not just because of my role, but through my personal experiences.

 

Before joining Samsung, I worked in the beauty industry. Without any background in technology, it felt like I had landed in a foreign country when I made the change from cosmetics to tech 11 years ago.

 

My role is to use what I have learned to help transform Samsung from a technology-focused, to consumer-centric company. Features and specs, of course, are important. But they only tell part of the story. No matter how fast or powerful a processor is, it only becomes meaningful when its capabilities are weaved into people’s lives.

 

 

Creative Catalyst

Samsung’s Relúmĭno is a case in point. Harnessing the capabilities of the smartphone camera and VR devices, the application helps visually impaired people see the world with clarity. With the potential to transform lives, Relúmĭno shows how technology can give voice to millions around the world to narrate their own stories.

 

 

When we look at innovations through a humanistic lens, technology can become a powerful catalyst for creativity.

 

Take 5G for example. With the speed of data transfer that 5G can bring to us, I believe 5G technology could drive an exponential change to our world. 5G will fuel the fourth industrial revolution. When we speak about how 5G will change the way we live, work and play, the story suddenly becomes even more inspiring.

 

 

A Brand-New Era

As a marketer at Samsung, I see that technology is writing new rules for creativity on a micro, as well as macro, scale. Brands are changing the way they communicate as new cultural values emerge with technological innovations.

 

With the proliferation of technology, brands are no longer bystanders in society. They can now make a difference at scale. Samsung’s DYTECTIVE, an app designed to diagnose dyslexia quickly and for free, shows that a simple idea can produce profound results.

 

 

As people are better informed and entertained than ever before, they are seeking much more than material comforts, which drives brands to create experiences with a deeper meaning.

 

 

Greater connectivity and mobility has also turned consumers from viewers and bystanders, into active participants. This opens a whole new level of relationship between brands and people, in other words, a new dimension of creativity for brands and marketers.

 

 

Do What You Can’t

Technology will transform creativity, for the better, by inspiring all of us to achieve the impossible.

 

When we aspire to enact change and stand by values that seem improbable, we are compelled to find solutions that are truly transformational.

 

At Samsung, it’s part of our DNA to enact change and stand by values that seem improbable.

 

Do What You Can’t is more than a slogan. It’s a call to action.

 

 

* This editorial is based on YH Lee’s address at Cannes Lions 2018.

Relúmĭno Helps People with Low Vision See Dance Performance in a New Light

Candoco Dance Company performs ‘Good Morning Everybody’ at the Arko Arts Theater in Daehangro, Seoul

 

On a chilly March weekend in Seoul, disabled and non-disabled performers from the U.K’s Candoco Dance Company examined individual struggles and triumphs, and the transformational potential of unity. As they danced onstage, members of the audience were breaking their own barriers and together seeing performance in a new light.

 

Assisted by Relúmĭno, Samsung’s vision-enhancing app, people with visual impairments were able to see the finer details, taking in the movements and the facial expressions of a live performance, many for the first time.

 

Art and Technology Striving for Inclusion

As the world becomes increasingly fast-paced, everyone can feel that they are being left behind. The importance of accessibility and inclusion in both the arts and the field of technology has never felt more urgent.

 

Directed by acclaimed Korean choreographer Eun-Me Ahn, Candoco’s performance tackled the subject of inclusion and accessibility head-on. Dancing together, disabled and non-disabled performers prompted the audience to consider life’s daily ups and downs, and the process of all people – with and without disabilities – finding balance in a complex society.

 

Eun-Me Ahn explains the meaning behind ‘Good Morning, Everybody’, which evokes the moment early in the day when we greet each other.

 

By its nature, dance is a visual medium of art, limiting access for those with low vision. However, the team behind Relúmĭno saw an opportunity to extend the reach of ‘Good Morning Everybody’ and amplify its message by further increasing accessibility. They invited people with visual impairments from all walks of life to the theater to watch using Relúmĭno.

 

Users test and tune Relúmĭno with the developers before the performance.

 

 

Joining the Conversation

Even before the curtain rose, as Relúmĭno users tried on the VR headsets and adjusted the fit, excitement was buzzing around what they were about to see.

 

Anticipating the performance, Do-yeon Kwon, a young movie fan, shyly smiled and said, “I can see when I sit on the front row, but my neck hurts and it’s really uncomfortable. I think ‘Relúmĭno’ could be part of the solution.”

 

Audience member Do-yeon Kim is ready to “escape from the front rows of theaters.”

 

Afterwards, it was clear that the piece had taken on a special meaning for those who viewed it through Relúmĭno.

 

Min-sol Kim described how, in the past, she would have to re-watch performances online after seeing them live to catch every nuanced movement and subtle expression. After watching ‘Good Morning Everybody’, she expressed her emotions at seeing every detail she wanted to: “Right in the middle, when a dancer in a wheelchair got onto the ground using just his arms and delivered an emotional solo, I cried.”

 

“It was an unforgettable moment for me. I could actually enjoy the play in the same space as other people and feel what the dancer wanted to deliver there and then.” Min-sol Kim (right) tells Relúmĭno developer Yong-Nam Kim.

 

It was also a source of motivation for Gyu-cheol Shim, who suffers from macular degeneration but is himself overcoming the condition through performance and art.

 

Gyu-cheol Shim said: “Even now, I go back and forth through the realms of physical freedom and disability in dance and performance.”

 

Learning from the Experiences of Others

The developers were eager to talk to the audience and find out more about their experiences with Relúmĭno. Conversations like these inspire the team, helping them to appreciate the impact that the application has on its users.

 

“Those who use the device in their everyday lives give us the most ideas,” remarked team member Chan-won Lee. “They use it in ways that we could not even imagine.”

 

From left: Relúmĭno developers Chan-won Lee, Jung-hoon Cho and Yong-nam Kim.

 

Previously, insights from Young-suh Noh, for example, led to the development of a function which allowed the talented pianist to quickly switch between reading music and looking at the piano keys, greatly improving the speed at which he could read and learn new music.

 

Theater-goer Lim Sang-ja had tried the application before and was pleased with some changes made since the last time she used it: “the focus is fixed, so I feel more comfortable.”

 

Likewise, choreographer Ahn expressed her desire that we all learn from the Korea-U.K. collaboration and increase awareness of disability in the arts, saying: “Our collaboration proves that our perceptions are indeed changing.”

 

The stage is a place which is at once unique for each individual and inclusive of everyone, and where barriers are repeatedly broken. Just as Candoco Dance Company is bringing down the wall between disabilities and art through their performances, ‘Relúmĭno’ hopes to bring down the wall between people with visual impairments and live performance.

Olympians From Around The World Visit Samsung Olympic Showcase In Gangneung Olympic Park During Olympic Winter Games Pyeongchang 2018

During the first few days of PyeongChang 2018, athletes from Korea, Italy, and India  experienced the Samsung Olympic Showcase in Gangneung Olympic Park. While at the Samsung Olympic Showcase athletes were able to experience a variety of breakthrough innovations and interactive activities powered by Samsung technology.

 

The Samsung Olympic Showcase is specifically designed to help athletes and fans embrace the excitement of the Olympic Winter Games, enabling them to create, capture and share their own experiences while celebrating the Olympic Spirit.

 

Members of the South Korea Men’s National Ice Hockey team, Bryan Young, Mike Testwuide, Michael Swift, Matt Dalton, and Brock Radunske visit the Samsung Olympic Showcase in Gangneung Olympic Park in South Korea during the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018.

 

Team members from the South Korea Men’s National Ice Hockey team show off their skills with winter sports skills by participating in the Galaxy Fitness Alpine Skiing at the Samsung Olympic Showcase in Gangneung Olympic Park in South Korea.

 

Matt Dalton from the South Korea Men’s National Ice Hockey team feels the exhilaration of gliding down snowy mountains and precipitous cliffs through the Snowboarding VR experience at the Samsung Olympic Showcase in Gangneung Olympic Park in South Korea. The film is displayed through the Samsung Galaxy smartphone and compatible Gear VR.

 

Inside the Infinity Room at Samsung Olympic Showcase in Gangneung Olympic Park, Matt Dalton, Michael Swift, and Mike Testwuide from the South Korea Men’s National Ice Hockey team experience kaleidoscope like wondrous views controlled by PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Games Limited Edition.

 

Inside the Infinity Room at Samsung Olympic Showcase in Gangneung Olympic Park, Matt Dalton and Mike Testwuide from the South Korea Men’s National Ice Hockey team are all smiles at the kaleidoscope like wondrous views controlled by PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Games Limited Edition.

 

Snowboarder from Italy, Omar Visintin experiences simulated Olympic Snowboarding through 4D motion virtual reality at the Samsung Olympic Showcase in Gangneung Olympic Park in South Korea. The film is displayed through the Samsung Galaxy smartphone and compatible Gear VR.

 

Six-time Olympian from India, Shiva Keshavan poses for a photo with his PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Games Limited Edition at Samsung Olympic Showcase in Gangneung Olympic Park in South Korea. In collaboration with the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Samsung presented over 4,000 devices to all Olympians, allowing them to capture and share through Samsung mobile technology to enhance their Games-Times experiences.

 

A true example of “Do What You Can’t,” six-time Olympian from India, Shiva Keshavan stops to hold the Olympic torch as he learns about Samsung’s 20-year heritage as a Worldwide Partner in the Wireless Communications Equipment category while visiting the Samsung Olympic Showcase in Gangneung Olympic Park in South Korea during the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018.

[Hands-on] Get Ready to Explore Windows Mixed Reality with Samsung’s HMD Odyssey

 

 

Fusing rich visuals with crisp acoustics, the Samsung HMD Odyssey offers an experience that draws you in deeper to the world of mixed reality, a blend of virtual reality and augmented reality.

 

HMD Odyssey is a head-mounted display, developed to explore the world of Windows Mixed Reality. The headset was designed in partnership with Microsoft, creating a device that seeks to reimagine the realms of virtual reality through its high-resolution dual displays, AKG headphones, built-in microphone and intuitive installation.

 

Read on for our hands-on, first impressions look at the new mixed reality headset.

 

 

Out of the Box, Into the Game

Set-up is truly intuitive. As well as being ready to play right out of the box, the Samsung HMD Odyssey’s ergonomic design also allowed me to adjust the device to my satisfaction in moments.

 

The HMD Odyssey does not require any external motion sensors, thanks to its Inside-Out Position Tracking, which frees you from the confines of a single environment and allows you to plug and play, anywhere. Just connect the device to a compatible PC* wherever you are and get ready to explore a virtual world.

 

 

To set up the HMD Odyssey, I first connected my device to a compatible PC. Next, I was instructed to point the headset towards my PC monitor, and draw the shape of the room, while keeping the headset facing the monitor. This allowed the device to map the physical space around me, and any obstacles, such as furniture and walls, in the physical world became “walls” in the virtual world, to prevent me from bumping into anything.

 

Everyone’s body is different, and the HMD Odyssey is designed for an optimal fit for everybody. For example, the hard type headband, with its cushioned Forehead Pad, is easily adjustable and ensures an even weight balance for hours of comfortable play. The headband can be tightened to sit snugly on the head, even while wearing glasses, and blocks out any surrounding light. A nice addition is the physical volume buttons, which mean that you can control sound levels with just one press, rather than scrolling through in-game controls. What is more, the Inter Pupillary Distance (IPD) Control Wheel, positioned under the goggles, adjusts the distance between the left and right dual displays, allowing you to find the perfect fit for your eyes.

 

 

 

See More, Experience More

At the heart of the full visual immersion is superior picture quality. The world may have been virtual, but the sharp, crystal clear images that surrounded me made it feel completely real.

 

The Samsung HMD Odyssey’s dual 3.5-inch AMOLED displays are finely tuned for the mixed reality experience, offering remarkable image definition.

 

 

At the same time as delivering more vibrant colors, deeper blacks and sharper contrast, the HMD Odyssey also renders motions more smoothly. The larger screen size and 1440×1600 high-resolution picture quality per each display on the left and right, provide a fluid and lifelike virtual experience, with fast focusing and a clear and stable experience overall.

 

The HMD Odyssey’s 110-degree Field of View alters the boundaries of the mixed reality world. The scope is greater than that of other devices and closer to the average person’s 120-degree real world field of view, allowing you to explore and move through worlds without viewing distortion, for heightened realism.

 

 

Achieving True Immersion

Incorporating the sense of sound through its built-in headphones and mic, the HMD Odyssey adds another crucial dimension to the mixed reality experience.

 

 

I was pulled further into the world by the device’s 360° Spatial Sound. By simulating 3D sound using direction, distance and environment, 360° Spatial Sound allowed me to pinpoint the source of noise in the virtual realm. The whole effect encourages you to use your hearing as you would in the real world, listening through built-in AKG headsets which produce clear, world-class acoustic and bass.

 

Whether working together as a team to clear missions and battle enemies, or simply chatting to other players, it is well known that building bonds a key part of the gamer’s experience. I found these bonds are even tighter with the HMD Odyssey’s fitted array mic, which allows players to communicate with each other mid-game, without ever having to remove the headset.

 

To help me navigate Windows Mixed Reality, the HMD Odyssey came equipped with two 6 Degrees of Freedom (6DOF) motion controllers that tracked movements inside the mixed reality world. A tutorial guided me through using these tools when I first connected my device to a PC, in which I learnt how to maneuver through the world, performing actions like “teleport” to rapidly shift from one place to another.

 

 

I soon discovered that 6DOF goes beyond the three axes of regular VR controllers: I had the freedom to move not only straight – forward and back, up and down, left and right – but also in the rounded and rolling motions: yaw, pitch and roll. The HMD Odyssey headset also supports 6DOF, so that your head as well as your arms can control motion in the game.

 

 

 

Diving Into Windows Mixed Reality

The first place you will visit in your Windows Mixed Reality journey, and whenever you use the headset, is the Mixed Reality Portal. The portal appears in the virtual world as Cliff House, a spacious villa with an ocean view, that I could explore and customize to access all my Windows apps.

 

 

A wide range of apps and games can be downloaded from the Microsoft store, ready to make you feel totally immersed. There is also support for Steam VR, which has over 2,000 VR games in its catalogue**.

 

 

My first game was the music-themed Rock&Rails, an exhilarating thrill-ride. I struggled not to flinch or recoil as I flew through the sky, fighting off enemies by shooting from my guitar. Rock&Rails is available from the Microsoft store with purchase of the Samsung HMD Odyssey headset, so you can get into the game as soon as you unbox your device***.

 

With a set-up that is effortless, striking 1440×1600 resolution dual AMOLED displays, built-in AKG headphones and support for a wide range of games and media. Samsung’s HMD Odyssey provides all that you need to experience the exciting new realm of mixed reality.

 

 

*Windows Mixed Reality requires a compatible Windows 10 PC and the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update. Compatibility may be checked using the Windows Mixed Reality PC Check tool available on the Microsoft Store.

**Title availability is subject to change.

***Bundle availability may change with location and date.

Samsung Electronics Brings Excitement to Fans, Athletes and Officials at the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 through Innovative Experiences at the Samsung Olympic Showcase

Samsung Electronics, Worldwide Olympic Partner in the Wireless Communications and Computing Equipment category, is bringing technological innovations to the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 through interactive experiences at the new Samsung Olympic Showcases. Samsung will encourage fans and athletes to “Do What You Can’t” through fun, immersive experiences across multiple Samsung Olympic Showcases.

 

 

Throughout the Olympic Winter Games, a total of nine Samsung Olympic Showcases, featuring a mix of cultural, technological and immersive fan experiences, will be in PyeongChang and Gangneung, including Olympic Parks and the Olympic Villages, the Main Press Center, and four at the Incheon International Airport. Samsung Olympic Showcases @ PyeongChang Olympic Plaza and @ Gangneung Olympic Park opening on February 9th will provide visitors with engaging experiences incorporating Samsung’s legacy of breakthrough innovation and interactive activities powered by Samsung technology.

 

 

Athletes and fans will first experience the Samsung brand history and heritage in engineering, design, and craftsmanship, and then the partnership history with the Olympic Games. Then through interactive experiences, visitors will be able to feel the exhilaration and escape into real-world thrills in winter sports through VR including snowboarding and skeleton, as well as participate in alpine and cross-country skiing contests that will challenge fans’ fitness capacity. For the first time, visitors will be able to experience the ‘Mission to Space VR: A Moon for All Mankind’ created by Samsung. Visitors will experience a full space mission including mission briefing, trying on the training suits and helmets, and the truly immersive experience in the Moon rig where they will feel lunar gravity with every step.

 

“For two decades as a Worldwide Olympic Partner, Samsung has connected fans, visitors and athletes from around the world with our latest technological innovations, which have now evolved to also include immersive experiences,” said Younghee Lee, CMO and Executive Vice President, Samsung Electronics. “We’re delighted to share Samsung’s latest mobile technologies and products so fans and athletes can enjoy new, unique experiences while at the Olympic Winter Games.”

 

“Over the course of our longstanding partnership, Samsung has brought new experiences and technology advancements to each Olympic Games,” said IOC President Thomas Bach. “Samsung helps to make each and every one an exciting and meaningful experience for all.”

 

Visitors will experience and engage with Samsung’s products and Galaxy brand through a variety of activities through a comfortable, interactive environment, including:

 

  • Immersive VR Experiences: Unique VR experiences powered by the Galaxy Note8 will allow fans to escape into exhilarating moments on the fresh mountain slopes in snowboarding and skeleton as well as escape to space in Mission to Space VR: A Moon for All Mankind’ – available to consumers to experience for the first time. Other experiences include simulated skiing adventures.

 

  • Playful Experiences: Promoting the playful side of technology, Portrait Pool allows visitors to turn their “selfies” into painted characters for social sharing, S Pen Gallery to create own portraits with Galaxy Note8 and S pen as a paint brush, Infinity Moment to create user generated content with the Galaxy Note8.

 

  • Kids Lounge: A dedicated kids lounge in a hands-on zone, where kids can play, learn and explore Samsung products and expand their creativity through hands-on experience.

 

  • Smart Home (IoT): Multi Device and futuristic demos powered by mobile technology that showcase the IoT, helping visitors to imagine the future lifestyle.

 

  • Unbox Samsung: The journey of ‘Unbox Samsung’ where visitors can experience the Living History of Samsung since 1988 when the first mobile phone was launched.

 

  • Purchase and Customer Service: Visitors will also be able receive customer service and make purchases of the mobile products and its accessories.

 

  • Interact & Relax: Within lounges and in the Cultural Community where various lifestyle programs will take place as well as in the Café where food and beverages will be available for purchase using Buddy Points acquired during the interactive experiences.

 

  • Special Events: A series of events will take place at the Samsung Olympic Showcase to enhance the Olympic Winter Games experience including athlete visits and celebrating holiday moments.

Diagnose and understand your app’s GPU behavior with GAPID

Posted by Andrew Woloszyn, Software Engineer

Developing for 3D is complicated. Whether you're using a native graphics API or enlisting the help of your favorite game engine, there are thousands of graphics commands that have to come together perfectly to produce beautiful 3D images on your phone, desktop or VR headsets.

GAPID (Graphics API Debugger) is a new tool that helps developers diagnose rendering and performance issues with their applications. With GAPID, you can capture a trace of your application and step through each graphics command one-by-one. This lets you visualize how your final image is built and isolate problematic calls, so you spend less time debugging through trial-and-error.

GAPID supports OpenGL ES on Android, and Vulkan on Android, Windows and Linux.

Debugging in action, one draw call at a time

GAPID not only enables you to diagnose issues with your rendering commands, but also acts as a tool to run quick experiments and see immediately how these changes would affect the presented frame.

Here are a few examples where GAPID can help you isolate and fix issues with your application:

What's the GPU doing?

Why isn't my text appearing?!

Working with a graphics API can be frustrating when you get an unexpected result, whether it's a blank screen, an upside-down triangle, or a missing mesh. As an offline debugger, GAPID lets you take a trace of these applications, and then inspect the calls afterwards. You can track down exactly which command produced the incorrect result by looking at the framebuffer, and inspect the state at that point to help you diagnose the issue.

What happens if I do X?

Using GAPID to edit shader code

Even when a program is working as expected, sometimes you want to experiment. GAPID allows you to modify API calls and shaders at will, so you can test things like:

  • What if I used a different texture on this object?
  • What if I changed the calculation of bloom in this shader?

With GAPID, you can now iterate on the look and feel of your app without having to recompile your application or rebuild your assets.

Whether you're building a stunning new desktop game with Vulkan or a beautifully immersive VR experience on Android, we hope that GAPID will save you both time and frustration and help you get the most out of your GPU. To get started with GAPID and see just how powerful it is, download it, take your favorite application, and capture a trace!

[Video] How Samsung Created its Vision-Enhancing Relúmĭno App

Samsung Electronics recently announced the launch of Relúmĭno, an application that works in conjunction with the Gear VR to help those living with low vision see the world more clearly.

 

The app provides users with a visual aid that’s more approachable and affordable than prohibitively expensive alternatives. In the video below, see how the team behind Relúmĭno was inspired to create the vision-enhancing app, and how its convenient functions make it easier for millions of people around the world to read a book, watch TV, and explore the world around them.

 

[Interview] Accessibility Matters: Relumino and Digital Inclusion with Robin Spinks of RNIB

Robin running as a torchbearer for the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics in the streets of Busan, South Korea, on November 5, 2017

 

After a year of hard work, a project team of C-Lab, Samsung Electronics’ in-house incubator program, has officially launched their visual aid application for people with low vision: Relumino. Since its release, people with low vision who have tried Relumino – and their friends and families – have offered words of encouragement and appreciation, and suggested ideas for improvement. Coming from real users of this solution, their valued insights will continue to help the developers of Relumino refine their application.

 

One of these users is Robin Spinks, Principal Manager for digital accessibility at the UK’s Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB). As a long-time partner and adviser on accessibility for Samsung UK, Robin recently visited Korea to participate in the Torch Relay for Pyeongchang Winter Olympics. Himself a person with low vision, he is also passionate about digital technology. Robin Spinks shares his excitement about and anticipation for changes Relumino will bring to people with visual impairment.

 

 

Q. Please tell us a little about yourself and the RNIB.

 

RNIB is the UK’s leading charity for blind and partially sighted people. At almost 150 years old, RNIB has a long history of designing and developing solutions to aid independence and mobility for blind people. The organization is also a key player within the World Blind Union (WBU) representing the interests of 285 million blind and low vision persons worldwide.

 

 

Q. The RNIB and Samsung have been working together for several years. Could you elaborate further about the partnership?

 

RNIB has worked extensively with Samsung to embed accessibility into products. Most recently we have worked with the television division to create an accessible user interface for the Tizen platform. Through the provision of technical guidance, User Interface insight and real-life user testing, a genuine breakthrough in television accessibility has arrived for blind and low vision customers.

 

 

Q. How would you define accessibility and why is it important?

 

Essentially accessibility is about ease of use by persons of all ability. A product or service which is accessible will be seen as well-designed and fit for purpose by almost all users. Good design is good design no matter what the use, case or operational context. To recognize the importance of accessibility is to recognize the fact that users need change as they move through life.

 

 

Q. How do you predict Relumino will change the experiences of its users?

 

Relumino is an application which clearly has great potential. Given some additional functionality and features, the app could be massively helpful in situations where a person wishes to spectate at a cultural or sporting event. Or indeed at a theatre performance or live stage show. I’m very excited to see where the application goes next.

 

 

Q. The RNIB is conducting user tests of Relumino with volunteers who have reduced vision capabilities. What feature of the application do you hope to see developed in the future?

 

A voice assistant and Relumino need to get together! The combination of high quality voice control and artificial intelligence could combine to enable Relumino to deliver some of unique experiences such as the enabling of custom filters across specific sections of the visual field. The possibilities are enormous.

 

 

Q. When using technology, what is the most important concern for people who are visually impaired?

 

Personalization is without a doubt the paramount consideration. Having the ability to customize fonts, colors and other components of the user interface is critical to ensure an optimized user experience. Voice control is also another key enabler for persons with vision impairment.

 

 

Q. As an expert in digital accessibility, what do you hope that large corporations like Samsung Electronics keep in mind when developing technologies to enhance the accessibility of the disabled?

 

Customer technologies must keep user needs front and center in all planning and development processes. Accessibility needs to continue to be an integral part of product design, development and sustainability. Regular user testing, product research and inclusive product road mapping will ensure a continuing focus on inclusive design.

 

 

Q. You took part in the Busan leg of the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics Torch Relay with Samsung UK. What did you enjoy most about your trip?

 

This was clearly a once in a lifetime opportunity and I could not have been more excited. I met lots of great people, sampled South Korean culture for the very first time and was part of one of the most amazing global events.

Samsung Announces Support for Seven New Startups Spinning-Off from C-Lab Program

Samsung Electronics announced that it will support seven startups created by Samsung employees which are being spun off from the company’s C-Lab (Creative Lab) program on October 31. Including these seven businesses, a total of 32 C-Lab alumni startups have been created as a result of Samsung’s commitment to investing in employee-driven innovation and developing a startup ecosystem.

 

From the latest in VR/AR, IoT, healthcare and more, Samsung selected the seven new startups for investment based on their business potential and contribution to innovation:

 

  • Hyperity – A VR/AR solution to remotely control smartphones and desktops through virtual screens without a physical monitor

 

  • Linkface – A unique VR solution that can detect eye and facial muscle movement and let users directly control VR content

 

  • PIXELRO – A smartphone-based solution to provide a vision correction solution to presbyopia, replacing regular eyeglasses

 

  • BlueFeel – A personal portable air purifier that doesn’t block the user’s mouth, developed as a response to users who dislike the discomfort of regular dust masks

 

  • Defind – A smart shoe matching service that carries out a 3D scan of a customer’s foot to enable them to buy shoes that fit perfectly

 

  • Soft Launch – A social media-based recommendation service for restaurants and stores aiming to combat fake reviews, and developed by employees from multiple Samsung affiliates

 

  • 1Drop – An ultra low-cost blood glucose measurement solution using LED and the camera of a smartphone

 

 

A Collaborative Approach

The prospective entrepreneurs were provided with intensive training and preparation on key aspects of running a business with the help of experts before launching their startups. They also engaged in various talk sessions with former colleagues with success spinning off businesses to obtain know-how.

 

“We have provided the support to establish 32 C-Lab alumni startups over the past two years and based on our valuable past experience, we are planning to build up a more profound and actionable program to nurture employees’ ideas and launch new startups,” said Jaiil Lee, Vice President and Head of the Creativity & Innovation Center at Samsung Electronics.

 

C-Lab alumni startups have performed well in recent years, securing additional global funding, increasing company valuation and opening up unexpected business opportunities. For example, 360-degree camera manufacturer Link Flow started as a business for travellers in their 30’s and 40’s, but after being spotted by the security maintenance industry, underwent further iterations and will be unveiled as an official product at this upcoming CES 2018.

 

Created in December 2012, the C-Lab is an in-house startup incubation program that nurtures a creative organizational culture and innovative ideas among Samsung employees. The spin-off policy was introduced in 2015 and since its inception C-Lab alumni startups have been striving to open a new startup ecosystem.

[Photo] SDC 2017 Keynote Speeches Outline Samsung’s New IoT Vision

This year’s Samsung Developer Conference brought together over 6,000 developers, innovators and Samsung partners from around the world for two jam-packed days of events that showcased how Samsung’s interconnected and intelligent services offer tools to build a more open and connected future.

 

Kicking off the full slate of presentations, discussions and hands-on labs held at San Francisco’s Moscone West convention center were keynote speeches from Samsung and tech industry leaders. The opening keynote event illuminated Samsung’s efforts to usher in the new phase of IoT that it’s calling “Intelligence of Things”, and showcased the exciting implications for developers and consumers.

 

Check out the highlights of the keynotes below.

 

SDC 2017 attendees take their seats before the start of the conference’s keynote event.

 

DJ Koh, Samsung Electronics’ President of Mobile Communications Business, opens the conference by discussing how Samsung’s leadership in hardware, IoT, artificial intelligence (AI) and augmented reality (AR) is bringing the company closer to realizing its vision of an innovative future created through “connected thinking”, where connected experiences are seamless and unified across devices.

 

During his speech, Mr. Koh announced that Samsung will unite its IoT services – including Samsung Connect, SmartThings and ARTIK – into a powerful, integrated platform called SmartThings, which will go beyond smartphones and ultimately unite the world’s largest ecosystem of mobile devices, appliances, TVs and IoT sensors.

 

Next, Injong Rhee, Samsung Electronics’ Chief Technology Officer and Executive Vice President of Software and Services, discussed some of the user-experience challenges that can arise with screen or touch-panel technologies, and how Samsung’s Bixby interface – which currently features over 10 million active users – alleviates them.

 

Mr. Rhee also demonstrated exciting ways that users will be able to interact with their connected services in the new Intelligence of Things era. To illustrate this point, he offered attendees a glimpse of Project Ambience – a prototype dongle that may be applied to a variety of electronics to make them Bixby-compatible.

 

Gilles BianRosa, Senior Vice President and Chief Product Officer for Samsung’s Visual Display Business, revealed that beginning in 2018, Samsung will offer Bixby-enabled TVs in the US and Korea. He followed up that announcement by discussing the exciting opportunities that the TVs’ Bixby integration and seamless connectivity will create, including intuitive voice controls and multi-device viewing experiences.

 

Yoon C. Lee, Samsung Electronics America’s Senior Vice President and Division Head of Content and Services, discussed how adding Bixby support and SmartThings integration to Samsung’s Family Hub refrigerators marks a big step – one that will offer developers “tremendous opportunities to develop new content, applications and experiences in areas like food, health, home management, entertainment, and more.”

 

Eui-Suk Chung, Samsung Electronics’ Executive Vice President and Head of the Service Intelligence Team, offered attendees a peek at Bixby 2.0 – an update of the intelligent assistant that’s even more ubiquitous, open and personal.

 

Dag Kittlaus, CEO and Co-Founder of Viv Labs, described the exciting benefits that Bixby 2.0 presents for developers. These include the abilities to build services without being limited by domains or interfaces, and make services compatible with any and all electronic devices. Mr. Kittlaus also announced that Bixby 2.0 is currently being introduced as a private beta SDK available to select partners, and is set to roll out in 2018.

 

Robert Parker, Samsung Electronics’ Chief Technology Officer of SmartThings, elaborated on how the platform’s support for broad integration allows developers to create seamless experiences that utilize the full Samsung device ecosystem, and highlighted how partners like ADT and NVIDIA are harnessing SmartThings to better serve their customers.

 

James Stansberry, the Samsung Strategy and Innovation Center’s (SSIC) Senior Vice President and General Manager of ARTIK IoT, outlined how Samsung’s ARTIK IoT platform will merge with SmartThings to become an ideal platform for developing enterprise-grade IoT products and services, and introduced new, secure system-on-modules (SoMs) that offer important security enhancements for IoT solutions.

 

Pranav Mistry, Samsung Electronics’ Senior Vice President of Research, shared some of Samsung’s exciting developments in AR, and discussed how the company incorporates advanced object recognition and spatial understanding software into its smartphones’ cameras to create new ways to interact with the world.

 

Google’s Vice President of Virtual and Augmented Reality, Clay Bavor, joined Mr. Mistry on stage to illustrate how Samsung and Google’s partnership on ARCore, an augmented reality SDK for Android, is opening the door for incredible AR innovations that will benefit developers and users. A preview of ARCore is currently supported by Samsung’s Galaxy S8, and support for the Galaxy S8+ and Note8 is coming soon.

 

Attendees examine the wide range of Samsung technologies that empower developers to design connected solutions that enrich daily life.

Experience Samsung 360 Round, a High-Quality Camera for Creating and Livestreaming 3D Content for Virtual Reality (VR)

 

Samsung Electronics introduces the 360 Round, a new camera for developing and streaming high-quality 3D content for specialists and enthusiasts who demand a superior virtual reality (VR) experience. Announced at the Samsung Developer Conference (SDC 2017), the Samsung 360 Round uses 17 lenses—eight stereo pairs positioned horizontally and one single lens positioned vertically—to livestream 4K 3D video and spatial audio, and create engaging 3D images with depth.

 

The 360 Round’s durable, compact design features IP651 water and dust resistance for use in everyday weather conditions and a fanless design to reduce weight and eliminate background noise. With additional features, including PC software for controlling and stitching and expandable external storage2, the 360 Round provides long lasting shooting for any sized job.

 

The growth of 360 content platforms, such as Samsung VR, Facebook and YouTube, as well as the spread of 360 videos through major media, has increased the need for high-quality 360 videos among VR professionals and enthusiasts. The 360 Round is the first product to meet these needs by combining high-quality, 360-degree imagery with advanced 3D depth at a reasonable price compared to other professional 360 cameras.

 

“The Samsung 360 Round is a testament to our leadership in the VR market. We have developed a product that contains innovative VR features, allowing video producers and broadcast professionals to easily produce high quality 3D content,” said Suk-Jea Hahn, Executive Vice President of Samsung Electronics’ Global Mobile B2B Team. “The combination of livestreaming capabilities, IP65 water and dust resistance and 17 lenses makes this camera ideal for a broad range of use cases our customers want—from livestreaming major events to filming at training facilities across various industries.”

 

The Samsung 360 Round combines high-quality images with a durable design and a content management software solution that allows VR directors to transform virtual reality through a complete set of advanced features.

 

 

High-Quality 360 Content

The 360 Round offers high-quality 3D images with a 4K camera, thanks to 17 paired lenses that capture a 360-degree view for a full 3D experience. In addition, the 360 Round enables live streaming with little-to-no latency3 and broadcasts easier than ever, with one-step stitching and control software provided by Samsung.

 

 

Durability

The Samsung 360 Round uses a uni-body chassis designed to reduce heat, removing the need for a cooling fan and minimizing size and weight. The compact design helps eliminate excess noise and reduce power consumption for hours of continuous shooting. Additionally, the 360 Round is IP651 dust and water resistant, making it an ideal choice for capturing content in the most challenging environments. With expandable connectors and ports, the 360 Round is designed to easily and quickly connect to additional equipment, such as an external mic, and storage for saving large files.

 

The Samsung 360 Round will be available in October in the United States before expanding to other markets over time. For more information please visit http://www.samsungmobilepress.com or www.samsung.com/galaxy.

 

 

360 Round Product Specification

  360 Round
Camera 17 cameras with:
– 1/2.8’’, 2M image sensor
– F1.8 Lens
Audio – 6 internal microphones for spatial audio
– 2 external microphone ports supported
Video Resolution:
– Livestreaming (3D): 4096 x 2048 at 30fps per eye
– Livestreaming (2D): 4096 x 2048 at 30fps
– Recording (3D): 4096 x 2048 at 30fps per eye
– Recording (2D): 4096 x 2048 at 30fps
Format:
MP4 (H.265/ H.264)
3D: 4k x 2k per eye / 2D: 4k x 2k
Memory
 
Internal: LPDDR3 10GB, eMMC 40GB
External: UHS-II SD Card (up to 256GB), SSD (up to 2TB)
Connectivity LAN, USB Type-C
Sensors Gyrometer and Accelerometer
Power 19V 2.1A Power input (with AC adaptor)
PC Software Requirements 2 PC software (for Camera Control / Streaming, Content Viewing)
For Post Processing:
– Windows 10
– 64-bit OS for 4K video editing
– 16 GB DDR4 RAM 2ea or more
– 850W power
– Intel Core i7-6700K or above
– GPU NVIDIA GTX 1080 x 1ea
For Preview and Live Broadcast (as above):
– Intel Core i7-6950X or above
– 32GB DDR4 RAM 2ea or more
– GPU NVIDIA GTX 1080 Ti x 2ea
Dimension 205 x 205 x 76.8mm, 1.93kg
Features IP65 Dust and Water resistance

 

1When using this feature, please put AC adaptor in a waterproof pack

2Sold separately

3Depending on network connections

*All functionality, features, specifications and other product information provided in this document including, but not limited to, the benefits, design, pricing, components, performance, availability, and capabilities of the product are subject to change without notice or obligation.

Relive the Moment – Coldplay’s ‘A Head Full of Dreams Tour’ Live in VR with Samsung and Live Nation

 

On August 17, fans from over 50 countries put on their Samsung Gear VR headset to witness the spectacular sights and sounds of Coldplay’s ‘A Head Full of Dreams Tour,’ live from Soldier Field Stadium, Chicago. The concert’s full 360 VR broadcast gave Samsung Gear VR users around the world an immersive viewing experience that has never been seen before.

 

Samsung’s VR Live Pass project kicked off June 3 at UFC 212, where the highly-anticipated featherweight clash between Jose Aldo and Max Holloway was broadcast live in VR, marking the first live VR broadcast event for Samsung and the UFC. The project continued in July at X Games 2017 in Minneapolis, where adrenaline-filled BMX and skateboarding competitions featuring the likes of Chad Kerley, Jagger Eaton and Jimmy Wilkins were also broadcast live to Gear VR users.

 

Coldplay’s concert in August was the final destination for Samsung’s VR Live Pass project in 2017. Samsung held a number of special viewing events across multiple countries, including Canada, Brazil, and the United States, leading up to the Live Nation concert to help drive user engagement for the momentous event.  

 

At Samsung 837 in New York, Coldplay fans donning Gear VR headsets enjoy an immersive, 360-degree concert experience.

 

Samsung showcased the 360 VR broadcast in locations around the world, including its Galaxy Life Montreal interactive space in Canada.

 

Fans take in the spectacular show while relaxing on the lawn at The Americana at Brand in Los Angeles.

 

Coldplay and the Gear VR make for a memorable date for a couple viewing the show at Kinoplex Itaim in São Paulo, Brazil.

 

Samsung’s VR Live Pass marked a special moment in time for the industry, as Gear VR owners were able to strap on their headsets, connect to the Samsung VR app and enjoy world-class entertainment as if they were there in the front row, regardless of their actual physical location.

 

Gear VR users who were unable to catch these events live can still enjoy replays and highlights from them through the Samsung VR app and the Samsung VR website until the end of October 2017.

ARCore: Augmented reality at Android scale

Posted by Dave Burke, VP, Android Engineering

With more than two billion active devices, Android is the largest mobile platform in the world. And for the past nine years, we've worked to create a rich set of tools, frameworks and APIs that deliver developers' creations to people everywhere. Today, we're releasing a preview of a new software development kit (SDK) called ARCore. It brings augmented reality capabilities to existing and future Android phones. Developers can start experimenting with it right now.

We've been developing the fundamental technologies that power mobile AR over the last three years with Tango, and ARCore is built on that work. But, it works without any additional hardware, which means it can scale across the Android ecosystem. ARCore will run on millions of devices, starting today with the Pixel and Samsung's S8, running 7.0 Nougat and above. We're targeting 100 million devices at the end of the preview. We're working with manufacturers like Samsung, Huawei, LG, ASUS and others to make this possible with a consistent bar for quality and high performance.

ARCore works with Java/OpenGL, Unity and Unreal and focuses on three things:

  • Motion tracking: Using the phone's camera to observe feature points in the room and IMU sensor data, ARCore determines both the position and orientation (pose) of the phone as it moves. Virtual objects remain accurately placed.
  • Environmental understanding: It's common for AR objects to be placed on a floor or a table. ARCore can detect horizontal surfaces using the same feature points it uses for motion tracking.
  • Light estimation: ARCore observes the ambient light in the environment and makes it possible for developers to light virtual objects in ways that match their surroundings, making their appearance even more realistic.

Alongside ARCore, we've been investing in apps and services which will further support developers in creating great AR experiences. We built Blocks and Tilt Brush to make it easy for anyone to quickly create great 3D content for use in AR apps. As we mentioned at I/O, we're also working on Visual Positioning Service (VPS), a service which will enable world scale AR experiences well beyond a tabletop. And we think the Web will be a critical component of the future of AR, so we're also releasing prototype browsers for web developers so they can start experimenting with AR, too. These custom browsers allow developers to create AR-enhanced websites and run them on both Android/ARCore and iOS/ARKit.

ARCore is our next step in bringing AR to everyone, and we'll have more to share later this year. Let us know what you think through GitHub, and check out our new AR Experiments showcase where you can find some fun examples of what's possible. Show us what you build on social media with #ARCore; we'll be resharing some of our favorites.

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