Samsung launches massive VR content library with HMD-enabled live streaming

Samsung has announced the launch of a new VR content service, playing host to a huge library of virtual reality experiences. SamsungVR.com and the Samsung VR application will not only have masses of content for consumers, but will enable developers, publishers and enthusiasts to live stream and host their content in one accessible location.

Announced at Unpacked 2017, SamsungVR.com will have over 8,000 videos and 2,000 premium experiences available at launch. The new platform will initially feature content from a range of providers; Copa 90, Rinse FM and Nowness are all due to launch local content for the platform in the coming months.

The platform will be available for mobile, web and, obviously, the Samsung Gear VR itself, although understandably there currently seem to be no plans to expand to other VR devices. Seemingly working like a sort of VR Netflix, you’ll be able to browse channels based on your interests, taking in everything from animation to wildlife.

“Samsung already leads the way in giving people access to VR through our best-selling Gear VR headset, and we want ensure that we are also offering our consumers the very best VR content experiences.” said Conor Pierce, vice president of IT & Mobile at Samsung Electronics UK and Ireland.

“Together with the new Samsung Gear VR and Controller which we announced at MWC earlier this year, our vast curated library of free high-quality content and our efforts to engage working the best content creators out there, we will make it easier than ever to for people to find and consume VR content.”

The mentioned work being done with content creators is perhaps one of the more interesting aspects of SamsungVR.com. Among the experiences available in the new library will be a range of premium made-for-VR series, including Invisible, a supernatural drama that follows a mysterious American family, which is directed by Doug Liman, the man behind The Bourne Identity.

Images courtesy of Samsung

Additionally, there is a clear social media aspect to this update. Partially enabled by the new Gear equipment being released, it will supposedly be near-seamless for users to capture and upload VR content straight from their Gear camera. And with the capability to live stream as well, it would appear the other inspiration for the platform is Twitch.

The combination of professionally curated content and user uploads/streams seems like a potentially strange one and how it fits together will be an important part of making the platform work. However, in concept alone a Netflix-style library for VR content, particularly if the premium originals are on par with Netflix’s efforts in that direction, seems like a no-brainer.

The Twitch-like aspect of the service seems somewhat less natural, but given the size and growth of the streaming platform, if the Gear can establish a solid presence, it seems something that creators will be able to take by the reigns and establish something unique with.

DJI’s First Drone Arena in Tokyo to Open This Saturday

Consumer drone giant DJI will open its first Japanese drone arena in the city of Tokyo this Saturday, providing a space for both hardened professionals and curious newcomers to hone their flying skills.

The arena, which covers an area of 535 square metres, will not only include a large flying area complete with obstacles, but also offer a store where visitors can purchase the latest DJI drones and a technical support area where drone owners can get help with quadcopter issues.

The hope is that the arena will allow those who are curious about the technology but currently lack the space to try it out to get involved.

“As interest around our aerial technology continues to grow, the DJI Arena concept is a new way for us to engage not just hobbyists but also those considering this technology for their work or just for the thrill of flying,” said Moon Tae-Hyun, DJI’s director of brand management and operations.

“Having the opportunity to get behind the remote controller and trying out the technology first hand can enrich the customer experience. When people understand how it works or how easy it is to fly, they will discover what this technology can do for them and see a whole new world of possibilities.”

Images courtesy of DJI

In addition to its general sessions, which will allow members of the public to drop by and try their hand at flying drones, the arena will also offer private hire, including corporate events. For some companies, then, drone flying could become the new golf.

There will also be regular events, allowing pros to compete against one another, and drone training, in the form of DJI’s New Pilot Experience Program, for newcomers.

The arena has been launched in partnership with Japan Circuit, a developer of connected technologies, including drones.

“We are extremely excited to partner with DJI to launch the first DJI Arena in Japan,” said Tetsuhiro Sakai, CEO of Japan Circuit.

“Whether you are a skilled drone pilot or someone looking for their first drone, we welcome everyone to come and learn, experience it for themselves, and have fun. The new DJI Arena will not only serve as a gathering place for drone enthusiasts but also help us reach new customers and anyone interested in learning about this incredible technology.”

The arena is the second of its kind to be launched by DJI, with the first located in Yongin, South Korea, and detailed in the video above. .

Having opened in 2016, the area has attracted visitors from around the world, demonstrating serious demand for this type of entertainment space.

If the Tokyo launch goes well, it’s likely DJI will look at rolling out its arena concept to other cities, perhaps even bringing the model to the US and Europe.

For now, however, those who are interested can book time at the Tokyo arena here.

Commercial Human Spaceflight Advances Prompt Calls for Space Safety Institute

Commercial human spaceflight has been a long-held dream, but now it is finally poised to become a reality. Companies including Virgin Galactic and SpaceX are inching ever closer to taking private citizens into space, and there are serious plans for spaceports in several parts of the world, including Hawaii, the US, and Scotland, the UK.

But while the industry is advancing, the legal side of this fledgling commercial space industry remains underdeveloped, leading to calls for the development of an organisation to establish a framework for the safe operation of spaceports for human commercial spaceflights.

Writing in the journal New Space, Mclee Kerolle, from the United States International Institute of Space Law in Paris, France, has proposed the establishment of a Space Safety Institute recognised by the US congress and the United Nations.

This institute would “develop, enforce and adopt standards of excellence”, allowing the industry to develop while protecting it from liability and insurance risks.

“Currently, no international regulatory body exists to regulate the operation of spaceports,” he wrote. “This is unfortunate because while the advent of commercial human spaceflight industry is imminent, a majority of the focus from the legal community will be on regulating spaceflights and space access vehicles.

“However, the regulation of spaceports should be viewed in the same light as the rest of the commercial human spaceflight industry.”

The article focuses particularly on the establishment of a spaceport at the Kona International Airport in Keahole, Hawaii. At present, the spaceport’s development is subject to regulation by the Federal Aviation Authority, however there are aspects to spaceport development that do not apply to conventional aviation operations.

A spacesuit design for commercial flights developed by SpaceX. Featured image: SpaceX’s proposed spaceport for its conceptual interplanetary transport system. All images courtesy of SpaceX

The institute would be designed to first and foremost ensure safety within the industry, so it would be important, according to Kerolle, to ensure it was made up of individuals with expertise in the field, rather than bureaucrats.

“To make sure that this flexibility is inherent in a Space Safety Institute, the organization should be composed of individuals within the industry as opposed to government officials who are not familiar with the commercial human spaceflight industry,” he wrote.

“As a result, this should protect the commercial human spaceflight industry to some liability exposure, as well as promote growth in the industry to ensure the industry’s survival.”