Ghostbusters steps into VR with “hyper-reality” experience from THE VOID

Ghostbusters is coming to virtual reality, in the form of a hyper-reality experience opening at Madame Tussauds New York later this week.

Developed in partnership with THE VOID, the company behind the virtual reality laser tag-like experience that opened in Utah last year, the experience blends real-world objects with virtual reality to allow users to interact with a virtual space.

Dubbed Ghostbusters Dimension, the 15-Minute VR experience allows audiences to take on the role of a ghostbuster seeking out supernatural enemies in a New York apartment block.

ghostbusters-vr-2

“With an untethered VR experience that allows people to roam freely and interact with a physical world that matches the digital one they are seeing, consumers will have whole new levels of delight as they lose themselves in another realm,” said Clive Downie, CMO Unity Technologies, which provided the 3D engine that powers the experience.

“It’s giving presence to interactive storytelling putting people into the Ghostbusters world with high definition, high frame rate high excitement action, powered in part by Unity.”

ghostbusters-vr-1

Images courtesy of THE VOID

While clearly a promotional tool for the new Ghostbusters film, the experience also offers many more people the opportunity to experience THE VOID’s unique hyper-reality offering.

Visitors to the company’s Utah-based experience wear custom head-mounted displays and backpack computers, which provide them with a virtual reality overlay to the space they are in.

The hardware users wear is styled to look like futuristic armour and is known as RAPTURE gear.

“The Ghostbusters world is the perfect fit for THE VOID because you literally strap our RAPTURE gear on and it turns into your proton pack and proton gun,” said James Jensen, Chief Visionary Officer at THE VOID.

The experience will open at Madame Tussauds New York on the 1st of July, as part of a wider Ghostbusters exhibition.

Each hyper-reality session will last 15 minutes with up to three people able to take part at a time, meaning tickets are likely to sell out fast.

Tickets, which also get you into the rest of Madame Tussauds, cost $49.75 a person, although you do have to sign a liability waiver if you want to take part.

Nevertheless, we expect Ghostbusters Dimension to be a big hit when it opens later this week.

US wants to use the Moon as a petrol station

US commerce secretary Wilbur Ross has said that the Trump administration aims to turn the Moon into a petrol station, which will allow for the exploration of deeper parts of the solar system. According to Ross, explorers would use ice from the moon's craters to refuel on the way to other destinations.

SpaceX’s first broadband satellites are now in space

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has confirmed the company's first broadband satellites – named Tintin A and Tintin B – have been deployed and are now "communicating to Earth stations". The satellites are being used to test SpaceX's future Starlink broadband service, which aims to provide gigabit broadband worldwide.

Source: Ars Technica

Nissan to trial self-driving taxis in Japan

Nissan and Japanese tech giant DeNA have announced field tests of Easy Ride, the self-driving taxi service they developed together, will begin on March 5 in Yokohama, Japan. The cars will take passengers along a 4.5km route between the Yokohama World Porters shopping centre and Nissan’s corporate complex.

Source: Tech Crunch

Elon Musk quits AI ethics group

Elon Musk has always been quick to urge caution when it comes to AI, but now he has quit the board of the research group he co-founded to look into the tech's ethics. OpenAI said the decision had been taken to avoid any conflict of interest as Mr Musk's electric car company, Tesla, became "more focused on AI".

Source: BBC

Beef companies file petition against lab-grown meat startups

The US beef industry is fighting back against tech startups who are creating meat in a lab using animal cells. The US Cattlemen’s Association has filed a petition arguing that lab-grown meat startups should not be able to call their products "meat," since they do not come from slaughtered animals.

Millions of dollars in Ethereum are vulnerable to hackers

Researchers claim that having analysed almost one million smart contracts stored on the Ethereum blockchain, 34,200 are "critically vulnerable". A sample of roughly 3,000 vulnerable contracts that the team verified could be exploited to steal roughly $6 million worth of Ether, Ethereum’s in-house cryptocurrency.

Source: Motherboard

Stronger in old age: Stem cell research paves way for muscle-building medication

It could in the future be possible to take medication that will allow you to build muscle, even when you are in old age.

This is due to the findings of research at the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden, which found that large, and wholly unexpected, amounts of mutations in muscle stem cells blocks their ability to regenerate cells.

“What is most surprising is the high number of mutations. We have seen how a healthy 70-year-old has accumulated more than 1,000 mutations in each stem cell in the muscle, and that these mutations are not random but there are certain regions that are better protected,” said Maria Eriksson, professor at the Department of Biosciences and Nutrition at Karolinska Institutet.

With this knowledge, researchers could develop therapies that would encourage such regeneration, and so allow older people to rebuild lost muscle.

“We can demonstrate that this protection diminishes the older you become, indicating an impairment in the cell’s capacity to repair their DNA. And this is something we should be able to influence with new drugs,” explained Eriksson.

The landmark research, which is published today in the journal Nature Communications, involved the use of single stem cells, which were cultivated to provide enough DNA for whole genome sequencing – a medical first for this part of the body.

“We achieved this in the skeletal muscle tissue, which is absolutely unique. We have also found that there is very little overlap of mutations, despite the cells being located close to each other, representing an extremely complex mutational burden,” said study first author Irene Franco, a postdoc in Eriksson’s research group.

While a significant step, the research is now being expanded to look at whether exercise affects the number of mutations – a potentially vital factor in understand why and how these mutations occur.

“We aim to discover whether it is possible to individually influence the burden of mutations. Our results may be beneficial for the development of exercise programmes, particularly those designed for an ageing population,” said Eriksson.

The research is one of a host of projects being conducted across the world that have potential impacts on ageing, an area that was long ignored by much of the scientific community, but is now garnering increased support.

If many – or even a fair minority – of these findings eventually become the basis of therapeutics, it could be transformative for old age in the future, allowing people to remain healthier for far later in life and potentially even leading to longer life expectancies.