17 January 2014

International CES 2014: Muse and Gaming Innovations

Photo: Mary Vincent
Interaxon's Muse was one of my favorite technologies at International CES 2014. Sensors in the headband measure EEG, detecting five individual bands of your brainwaves and measuring changes while you focus on different things. These changes are converted into digital signals that Muse sends to a Tablet, Smartphone or PC. If your mind focuses, you see and hear calm, lapping waves on a beach. If your mind wanders you see and hear thunder and cloudy skies. Muse launched at last year's CES and raised $300,000 on Indiegogo, then $6 million dollars in funding in August. They also received the CES Innovations 2014 Design and Engineering Award.

As for other CES 2014 Gaming News, check out these great articles from VentureBeat's Dean Takahashi and Engadget's Ben Gilbert.
1. The DeanBeat: The gaming innovations at CES that go way beyond the console
2. CES 2014: Gaming roundup

17 December 2013

Kunal Malik CTO San Francisco 49ers Creating Green & Software-Driven Stadium

Kunal Malik
Kunal Malik, San Francisco 49ers CTO (previously Facebook Director of IT), keynoted at the December 2013 SV Forum Technology Meets Sports Conference, and is rethinking new fan experience by making it into 'one awesome UI' by creating a software-driven stadium.

He and his team created some of their own technology because the technology didn't exist and has been using open source scalable platforms.

Highlights include:

1. Big suite tower to bring people closer to the action
2. Make it green: Solar panels, Energy-Neutral on game day, and first NFL Stadium to be LEED certified
3. Bringing new dimension to fan experience: Open space and lots of concession stands to avoid long lines
4. Challenge: Integrate disparate tech systems including point-of-sale systems, video displays, ticket purchase systems
5 Build out data platform so person cooking knows how many items to make
6. Mobile priority including ticket scanning and game center with instant replay
7. Personalization: When arriving at the stadium, the Greeter/System knows who you are, i.e. This is your 25th game and we're going to reward you with 29 percent off
8. Find your seats and your friends: Give recurring value to fan; want a scarf and it will tell you where to find it

Game on: How can we bring an experience so you don't miss a play?

1. Game Center mockup: Here's a quick score; Friendly icon showing the Replay; Tap screen and watch the play again in landscape view; Multiple angles; Do all of it in real-time as fast as possible .. Get replay before next play starts
2. In the meantime: Order food and beverages - Go into mobile device, Select food an drink, submit, says order is being processed and order sent directly to kitchen, Kitchen expediter receives order and runner delivers items to seat with notification sent to customer that order is on its way; Mobile workflow notifications; Delivers to 70000 seats; First time that this scale of order-and-delivery has been done in a stadium
3. Order a game jersey - Same concepts apply to merchandise

As a result, food is not stale due to Operations Optimization, Uses data to optimize staff; Can't predict everything but prepared for various scenarios.
When you go to the online store it will know you to improve experience. Kunal's Team will build out predictive analysis and run fan experience that's very informative including creating behavior and loyalty programs for people who have favorite players. They are looking at fans and seeing what they want.

12 November 2013

Susan Forsyth's Smoking & Video Gaming Experience Research

Photo: Susan Forsyth
Susan Forsyth, a fourth-year doctoral candidate in the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences at UCSF School of Nursing, has designed and implemented a quantitative pilot study to explore "how adolescents experience tobacco imagery in video games, how it relates to their virtual role-playing and practice in games, and how it may influence health practices and risk decisions."
Susan cites that "research suggests that the prevalence of smoking imagery in video games is rising. A 2012 article in The Lancet Oncology found that in games rated as appropriate for everyone over the age of 10, reported tobacco content increased nearly 16-fold, from being in 0.8 percent of games in 2005 to 12.6 percent of games in 2011."
You can read more about her research here.

09 October 2013

Stanford: Study Shows Women Who Wear Sexualized Avatars in a Virtual Reality World Feel Objectified

Photo: J. Fox et al./Computers in Human Behavior
Here are some highlights from a recent Stanford Virtual Human Interaction Study:

1. "...after women wear sexualized avatars in a virtual reality world, they feel objectified."

2. "Researchers at Stanford's Virtual Human Interaction Lab are delving into questions posed by sexualized depictions of women in video games.
Specifically, do female players who use provocatively dressed avatars begin to see themselves more as objects and less as human beings? Jeremy Bailenson, the director of the Virtual Human Interaction Lab at Stanford, has found a way to use virtual reality to answer that question."

3. "The Entertainment Software Association estimates that across mobile, PC and console platforms, 45 percent of American gamers are female. But few game titles feature female protagonists. In many popular games in this fast-growing industry, female characters are in the minority; more often than not, they are sexualized. Many female gamers assert that gaming culture is not welcoming to women."

More information on the study is here and the Computers in Human Behavior Journal article is here.