News

In a previous post we talked about the amazing use case of immersive media for creating empathy. We referenced the Clouds Over Sidra video that was created by VR company Verse to help draw the attention of large companies and potential supporters to a location they were looking for funding in. They did this with an amazing VR video that allowed viewers to better identify with the needs of the cause.

Today we are featuring a similar use case but this time by a Bublcam owner who is using immersive media to educate around their initiative. The organization Sight to Sky provides low cost, high impact primary healthcare to remote mountain communities. They used a Bublcam to capture educational videos in the locations where they are offering their services, take a look:

This video was embedded on the organization's website in a blog post they created and they use it today to introduce potential volunteers to the environment they would be helping in. They’ve also shared this video with their community on Facebook.

The takeaways for our Bublcam owners and anyone considering purchasing one given these examples are the following:

1. If you are trying to recruit volunteers or supporters for any cause or charity, a spherical video can provide an invaluable first hand experience 

2. Overlaying strong audio to your a bubl video can give a distinct clarity to your message

3. Spherical videos can be used simultaneously for promotion, education and to generate buzz on social communities

      We hope you’ll take a look at the Sight to Sky project and consider using bubl videos to help out your social cause soon.

      Following $4.6M Seed Closing Including Samsung Ventures, Bubl Performs Management Change in Preparation for High Growth

       

      Internal Reorganization Enables Further Capital Growth and Allows the Company to Navigate Demand for the Bublcam Following Successful Delivery of First Production Round

       

      TORONTO, ON--(Marketwired - Sep 2, 2015) - Bubl Technology Inc., creators of the Bublcam, the world's first fully spherical consumer camera, announces that following the close of its $4.6M Series Seed funding round including Samsung Ventures, J-Tech Capital and other strategic investors, it will perform organizational changes to its executive management team as it prepares for its next round of growth. The changes also come on the heels of Bubl's successful delivery of the first production round of the Bublcam to thousands of Kickstarter backers and pre-order customers. Further financial details have not been provided.

       

      Bubl represents one of the most promising startups in the $15.9 billion VR entertainment market where spherical media has huge potential to fundamentally change the way audiences interact with content. "We have been thrilled to work with Bubl's founders on this successful raise and are looking forward to this next stage of their evolution. They are a company well positioned for tremendous growth," says Ana Serrano, Chief Digital Officer, CFC and Executive Director, IDEABOOST digital entertainment accelerator.

       

      As part of the changes, Founder and CEO Sean Ramsay will move to Founder, CINO, enabling Ramsay, the visionary behind the Bublcam, to focus on the product vision and technology. Current VP of Hardware Dan Mills will serve as interim CEO. Mills will steer the company through the next stage of growth.

       

      "Bubl Technology has evolved since our initial Kickstarter campaign," said Ramsay. "The original vision was a simple to use app and a spherical camera, but now we've developed so much more -- an entire ecosystem of hardware and software spherical technology for consumers. I'm excited to focus my skills and time on my passion, which is the product vision -- bringing more strategic partnerships and technical thinking to the new ecosystem we've been tirelessly building over the last 13 months. Dan is such an amazing asset to this company and he will spend more of his time focusing on the future corporate trajectory of the company."

       

      Mills, who has been with Bubl Technology since the beginning, has extensive management experience and will ensure the business continues to exceed expectations. "Bubl Technology is growing faster than we imagined, and these changes will help us continue to deliver superior spherical technology to consumers," said Mills. "I've seen this company adapt and mature throughout the years and am excited about our bright future."

       

      Mills will serve as interim CEO effective immediately. Bubl's Board of Directors is currently conducting an executive search for a permanent CEO to ensure that both the next round of capital growth and corporate direction will create the best options possible for Bubl.

       

      About Bubl Technology
      Bubl Technology Inc. delivers the most innovative 360-degree camera and software offerings in the world. The Bublcam is the world's first spherical consumer camera that provides users with the ability to capture fully spherical photos and videos and share them with anyone, anywhere. Bubl is a graduate of CFC's IDEABOOST digital entertainment accelerator.

       

      View the press release on Marketwired here.

      Bubl's Sean Ramsay is on a panel at the upcoming VRLA Summer Expo and we are giving away one Bublcam!

       

      Participation is simple:

      "You need to see what’s inside this bubl: LINK TO BUBL #BublcamAtVRLA"

       

       

      For example:

      You need to see what’s inside this bubl:

       

      Don't forget to use the hashtag #BublcamAtVRLA so we capture your entry!

       

       

       

      The winner of a brand new Bublcam will be announced at 2:00PM EST on Monday August 31, 2015 by random draw.

       

      Details: 

      Contest Opens: Wednesday August 26, 2015 at 12:00pm EST

      Contest Closes: Saturday August 29, 2015 at 11:59pm EST

      Winner to be Announced on: Monday August 31, 2015 at 2:00pm EST

       

      Rules for Participation:

      - Must be 18 years of age or older

      - Must have a valid North American shipping address

      - Odds of winning depend on the number of entries received

      - No purchase necessary to enter

      Hi everyone,

       

      Welcome to the 50th update to our Kickstarter community. Here is the most recent news from our Bubl.

       

      Shipping Complete!

       

      This has been a very special week for us here at Bubl as you may have seen the press release regarding shipments. While we are still working out final logistics with a few backers and pre-order customers we are happy to communicate that we have officially shipped all Bublcams from this manufacturing round.

       

      Bubl Product Prototyping… Underwater

       

      One topic that has already been posted in the Community section of our Support Centre that we are taking action on, are waterproof housings for the Bublcam. Our firmware engineer, Ed Shen tested out a prototype while on his travels to Hawaii. We’re still early in prototyping possible housings, but the Bublcam performed really well on this journey! Head over to our Xplor app to experience the full bubl.

       

      The Community section of our Support Centre is a place we encourage you to post feedback and product suggestions to help us build our roadmap. We will continue to use this Community topic thread to update you on progress with our prototyping efforts so follow the topic if you’d like to stay in the loop.

       

      Android Update

       

      This week a new update to our Android app was released. We hope that you will test it and let us know if you see improvements, particularly concerning the advancements made to wifi connectivity to improve stability between device and the Bublcam. Your feedback is important to us so get in touch with your Bublcam Assistant, let us know in Slack or in the Community.

       

      VRLA Summer Expo

       

      Sean will be speaking on a panel alongside Jaunt VR, Google and GoPro at the upcoming VRLA Summer Expo. We’re excited to contribute our views on VR and particularly on making this technology available at the consumer level on this panel. We hope you’ll be there and if you are be sure to say what’s up to Sean and let him know your thoughts on the rapid growth of VR!

       

      Thanks everyone, as always don’t hesitate to contact us should you have any questions or concerns regarding your Bublcam.

       

       

      We recently had the opportunity to work with Ryan J. Rizzo, CEO of Poesis Media who took the DJI Phantom II drone out for a flight with the Bublcam. We launched from the 11th floor of the Tiff building to take a look at downtown Toronto.  We were forced to improvise a gimbal for the Bublcam’s ¼”20 tripod mount, but we succeeded.

       

       

      The idea of capturing 360º or spherical drone content isn’t new, but it is still somewhat absent. With the introduction of technologies like the Bublcam, we hope to see an increase in spherical and VR based media captured from above.

       

      By partnering with drone manufacturers like DreamQii for their Plexidrone Indiegogo campaign, we also got to learn a lot about the opportunities this type of content could create. We also spoke recently with Neil Mathew from Perceptiv Labs on how the Bublcam may provide new outlets for VR content captured from drones. He says,

       

      “I think VR and drones are like two pieces of a beautiful jigsaw puzzle. The ability to transport yourself to an entirely different location with a drone is incredibly exciting to me. For example, I can wear my VR glasses and fly over the grand canyon anytime I want. I'm not just talking about passively consuming content. I'm talking about the ability to have a sort of “out-of-body” experience moving through the world around us in a way we've never been able to before.”

       

      What the Bublcam provides is one of the fastest drone based media capture workflows out there. It allows people to create content and share it with ease without the need to find the most compelling content over and over as is needed with single view cameras. While you need to get the right gimbal for your drone first, we’ll take care of the rest.

      the Bubl team.

      Here at Bubl we are most excited about getting the Bublcam into the hands of our community members. This is because, most importantly, we know that it will be our customers who will help us to understand the true extent of the applications of spherical media!

       

      One Bubl employee, firmware engineer Ed Shen, took home a Bublcam recently for the weekend. He brought it along to a personal training session at a local community centre with his boxing coach. When he brought back a bubl video the results were inspiring, check this out:

       

       

      How amazing is the idea of a personal training video in virtual reality?! Practice from the comfort of your home, box without the risk of ever getting hit! Looks like we weren’t the only ones with this idea as we found an article on BBC on this very topic.

       

      Technologies such as ours at Bubl Tech, the MYO armband by Thalmic, headset providers like Oculus Rift and others, lead us to believe that the world of physical fitness will be brought to an entirely new virtual level in the very near future.

       

      Other news sites like NY Times have also brought attention to the use of technology in fitness comparing fitness apps and personal trainers. In the end the journalist actually chose the mobile app over the personal trainer because of the convenience and accessibility for her day to day life. It seems only logical that VR content will be incorporated into fitness applications like FitStar to add the personal touch and sensation of one on one attention from a trainer, even if virtual.

       

      If you have a VR headset try out the shadow boxing video from Huron Park Recreation Centre with coach Alan Jamil.

       

      What are some other fitness applications you could imagine using VR as the display medium?

      One of the true game changing aspects of spherical technology is its ability to enable virtual reality and the creation of experiences that make you feel like you can be anywhere, anytime.

      When we think of VR technology in this way the possibilities become endless. Particularly in our ability to allow anyone to fully experience any environment. Chris Milk did a Ted Talk recently on this topic that was extraordinarily compelling. We wanted to share this with you and hope you will enjoy it:

      In the talk, one of the things Chris discusses is a spherical documentary created called “Clouds over Sidra” by VR company Verse, the United Nations and another co-collaborator. They went to a Syrian refugee camp in Jordan and captured the story of a 12 year old girl and her family who fled Syria to Jordan and were living in a refugee camp.

      Chris explains that, “Because of the fact that you’re looking at what she’s looking at through the VR glasses you feel her humanity in a deeper way, you empathize with her in a deeper way.”

      This team took the documentary to the World Economic Forum in Gabos. It was shown to decision makers and Chris explains that for a moment, these leaders were able to experience the refugee camp first hand.

      We believe that using technology to create new channels of communication and new experiences can better the world. Creativity hand in hand with new technology fuels progress by allowing others to gain a new perspective and perhaps trigger emotion and empathy.

      We spoke with Andrew Worrall from Free the Children about how he views technologies impact on social causes:

      “Over the years, technology has become essential in helping us create a greater social impact and act as an efficient vehicle to share our (Free the Children’s) mission and story. Whether it be through social media, a compelling video or blog post, technological tools provide the ability to engage internally and externally by telling stories of success and impact in a captivating way. The dawn of spherical media for virtual reality has put a new tool of communication in our hands. It gives us the power to place the audience inside the story. It is a game-changing tool that we have not even begun to explore.”

      The creation of spherical documentaries is just one way to connect with others using this technology. Imagine an event, fundraiser, protest or rally that was captured in a sphere and broadcast to the world so anyone could tune in from wherever they were (perhaps to watch in a VR headset with their mobile phone) to participate and experience the event as if they were really there. Sean Ramsay, CEO at Bubl, shares his thoughts:

      “All of the possibilities for the application of VR technology are still quite unknown,” says Sean Ramsay CEO of Bubl. “We have only begun to discover that when a person experiences photo and video based VR content they instantly connect or have a desire to be in that place. We originally believed that people would simply want to enjoy that moment from wherever they are utilizing the VR technology, but instead VR media that is not 3D based often can trigger a feeling of actually wanting to be in that place the moment was captured; which is completely unexpected and can lead to incredible new experiences through VR and the real world.”

      The spherical technology industry can have major social impact and we are proud to be contributing to its advancement. How would you use spherical technology for your social program or cause?

      Earlier this month we were selected to participate as a contributing artist in an amazing upcoming educational event here in Toronto called the TIFF Kids digiPlaySpace. This event runs through the March Break and is put together as a fun learning opportunity for kids, families and educators. Installations from Canadian and international media artists feature learning-centric video games, robotics, mobile apps, hands-on activities and workshops.

      Something we’ve noticed about our technology is that it seems to be shockingly intuitive for younger generations when compared to adults. As soon as we put a spherical image in front of a child their immediate reaction is to begin exploring the content. Whereas, adults seem to stare right at the image, waiting for an indicator that encourages them to touch and play.

      Our contribution to the TIFF event was quite simple; we loaded some spherical content into our pilot mobile app for iOS (provided by TIFF). An iPad was projected onto a larger screen and iPhones were inserted into two head-mounted devices for a virtual reality immersive experience.

      This event has sparked some thinking for us around the applications of spherical technology in the education sector. I spoke briefly about the topic with Dallas Kachan, VP Marketing at Edsby, a software company creating next generation learning management systems. A very interesting point he made was that education seems to be the last sector on the planet to adopt new technology although it is perhaps one that could most benefit from it. Technology could have a much larger role than it currently does in facilitating the learning process.

      And while this generation of children, coined as “digital natives,” are most receptive to this format of learning the applications span a much broader user base.

      Spherical technology for the creation of virtual content can enable a long list of educational use cases. Not the least of those including vocational experiences for teenagers learning about career paths, young drivers, simulation training in aviation and military, just to name a few.

      Even more significant are the applications in industrial use. Providing new hires with immersive experiences with environments and tools in a virtual way can save time and money in the onboarding process compared to traditional methods. This is likewise applicable in continued education and training of a workforce.

      Accessibility of this technology will enable increasing adoption and we are very excited to see progress in this sector. If you happen to be in the city of Toronto over the coming weeks we encourage you to go and check out the TIFF Kids digiPlaySpace event. It runs from March 7th to April 19th and don’t miss our Bubl installation at the entrance to the artists section.

      Virtual reality is a hot topic in technology today and it seems like it is only just the beginning. Up until very recently the content that was generated for virtual environments was entirely digital, created through computer programs for the purpose of gaming or training / simulation. The dawn of spherical camera devices such as the Bublcam has created new opportunities for virtual reality content creation. This has propelled the development of affordable virtual reality head-mounted devices to visualize real world spherical and 360-degree content.

      Virtual reality is typically described as an immersive, visual, 3D environment. The truth is – what makes the experience 3D has nothing to do with the head-mounted device you are using to view the content, it is all based on the content you are visualizing itself. While through computer programming we are able to create 3D environments, real world content that is captured in 360-degrees or in a sphere is almost always, 2D.

       

      At Bubl, we look at it as upstream and downstream-based VR. Downstream VR is what most of the VR world waits for to download. Incredibly visual and complex digital stereoscopic 3D environments, for gaming and storytelling that can take quite a long time to create. Upstream VR is primarily about real world content that is captured utilizing spherical and 360-degree video cameras or camera rigs that capture content and upload it to a device for VR-based consumption.

      There are a number of complexities associated with capturing 3D content from the real world, most importantly, capturing all the data required from the environment in order for it to be stereoscopic can be a hugely expensive and time consuming process. In the interest of enablement, real life footage captured in a sphere is projected in a viewer, providing the perception of a virtual environment even though you are simply immersed in a 2D projection.

      Another important consideration regarding the evolution of virtual reality today is the head-mounted displays. The Oculus Rift is a display itself, therefore the content has to be fed to the device through a program, application or a web browser. This is different from headsets such as Samsung’s Gear VR, Google Cardboard and others that insert a mobile device to visualize content via a split screen hosted in a mobile application.

      At Bubl we see virtual reality as a major component of our business. Spherical content captured with the Bublcam is compatible with any head-mounted device. Our mobile applications enable the split screen format by allowing you to simply toggle between content views such as gyroscope, tactile and VR.

      Bublcam Content in Split Screen

       

      We are certain that 2015 will be an amazing year for virtual reality and we are excited to be contributing to the advancement of this industry. We have not made any adjustments to the current production schedule, meaning we anticipate the first shipments of Bublcams for spring of this year. While we understand that this is a less specific timeframe than many of you would want, it is necessary in order to not disappoint with missed deadlines.

      Pertaining to the Bublcam’s enabling of virtual reality, you can expect to see the toggle functionality within our mobile applications for content visualization in a head-mounted display when you receive your cams. In addition to this, we will make a Bubl branded head-mounted display to be paired with all mobile devices available for purchase as an accessory by the summer.