INIT

INIT

Author: Dave Birnbaum

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There’s a revolution underway – a quiet revolution of the senses.
Technology is shifting from engaging just your eyes and ears to engaging your entire body. Embodied media and next-generation wireless networks, sometimes collectively called the Tactile Internet, will shift the fundamental relationship between humans and the technologies we invent. The transition of cyberspace from being virtual to being a physical place you can visit with all your senses is the biggest deal since... maybe since ever. Let's talk about it!
INIT is a different type of tech podcast. We get geeky, but we keep track of the human story. More than anything, INIT is about people – the people behind the tech, why they do what they do, and their vision of the future. We've all heard the adage, "the best way to predict the future is to invent it." INIT brings you conversations with the inventors of our shared future.
Who should listen to INIT?
If you’re a designer, maker, or developer, you'll learn how to make cool new experiences using new embodied technologies and immersive interfaces.
If you’re an artist, you might get inspired to use these new ideas to play with reality.
If you’re a student, you'll learn from others how you can build a career in immersive technology.
If you’re just curious about the future, you'll learn how immersive technology will impact all our lives in the coming decades.
No matter why you’re here, listening to INIT means you’re on the forefront of an emerging digital culture. I’m excited to be on this journey with you – we're all INIT together!
12 Episodes
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The Art of Haptics

The Art of Haptics

2020-05-1242:09

Daniel Belquer is an award winning composer and intermedia artist. Discussion topics include the use of haptics in live events and concerts, creative tools for tactile art, the state of wearable devices, therapeutic haptics, and COVID-19 and what it means for the tactile internet. Special Guest: Daniel Belquer.
Touchy Subjects

Touchy Subjects

2020-02-2847:02

Robby Hoffman is an award-winning stand-up comedian and writer. Discussion topics include sex tech, television, haptics in mobile phones, plumbing, VR, and Mars settlement. This episode contains explicit content. Robby was named one of Comedy Central's UP NEXT comedians and was listed on Conan O’Brien’s Comics to Watch list. She headlined for the New York Comedy Festival and recorded her first one-hour TV special, "I’m Nervous," at JFL42 in Toronto for Crave TV in 2019. An ex-Chasidic queer Jew, Robby is a fixture at the Just for Laughs comedy festival in her hometown of Montreal, and has written for The Chris Gethard Show (TruTV), Workin' Moms (Netflix), Baroness Von Sketch Show (IFC), and Odd Squad (PBS), for which she won a Daytime Emmy Award in 2019. Special Guest: Robby Hoffman.
Tactile Telepresence

Tactile Telepresence

2020-02-0301:09:04

Jeremy Fishel is a roboticist and haptician, founder of Tangible Research, and co-founder and former CTO of SynTouch. In this episode, Dave talks with Jeremy about the new device he helped create, the Tactile Telerobot, which lets you manipulate robotic hands and feel what they feel. Other discussion topics include modes of human touch, evolution of tactile senses, biomimicry, the tactile internet, tactile versus visual AI, and the ANA Avatar XPrize. Before his recent ventures, Dr. Fishel was recognized by Popular Mechanics as one of the Innovators of the Year in 2013 and accepted as a delegate of the Academy of Achievement under the personal recommendation of General David Petraeus. Under his technical leadership, SynTouch was recognized as a Technology Pioneer by the World Economic Forum. Jeremy lives in Chico, California with his wife Emily, and their two children Linda and Teddy. Special Guest: Jeremy Fishel.
The Mood Button

The Mood Button

2020-01-0401:15:10

Dr. David Rabin MD, Ph.D is a board-certified psychiatrist and translational neuroscientist. He's the Chief Innovation Officer, co-founder, and co-inventor at Apollo Neuroscience, the first scientifically-validated wearable system to use skin vibration to improve heart rate variability, focus, sleep, and access to meditative states. Dr. Rabin has also organized the world’s largest controlled study of psychedelic medicines in collaboration with colleagues at Yale, the University of Southern California, Mt. Sinai, Modern Spirit, and MAPS (Multidisciplinary Association of Psychedelic Studies) to determine the mechanisms of the therapeutic benefits of psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy. Special Guest: David Rabin.
Dave moderates a panel discussion about current trends in the technology and business of immersive media. Panelists are Samantha Gorman, Co-Founder and director at Tenderclaws, David Brady, CEO and Co-Founder of Cream Productions, David Gull, CEO and Founder of Outer Realm, Rene Amador, CEO of ARWall, and Mark Rickard, Founder and Executive Producer at Virtuality. This discussion occurred on November 12th, 2019, at the Digital Hollywood conference in Los Angeles. Digital Hollywood (https://www.digitalhollywood.com/) debuted in 1993 and is among the leading trade conferences in its field with over 15,000 top executives in the film, television, music, home video, cable, telecommunications and computer industries attending events each year. Organizer Victor Harwood is considered a leading authority on the convergence of the entertainment and technology industries. David Gull is a tech entrepreneur, licensed architect, startup advisor, and LEED Accredited Professional with particular focus on Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality solutions for Real Estate and futuristic enterprise visions. He has delivered 500+ New Development Virtual Tours to date. He believes people make decisions based on gut-level emotions, and VR and AR can be powerful assets to create emotionally compelling experiences that motivate people to take action. Rene Amador has worked with 16 startups over 22 years, starting at age 10 when he got his start selling personal finance software his father developed for the Commodore Amiga computer. After working in digital development for FOX Broadcasting Company and the Baker Entertainment Group, he co-founded digital agency Automaton Creative, where he pitched and directed over 350 commercials, short films, and pilots as co-founder, general manager, and creative director. Rene co-founded ARwall in 2017 as an augmented reality solution for filmmakers. David Brady is CEO of Cream Productions, a company he co-founded in 2003. With offices in Toronto and Los Angeles, Cream develops, finances and produces distinctive and award-winning content across a wide range of TV and digital platforms in North America and internationally. Cream is a world leader in VR/AR technologies and storytelling, starting its VR unit in 2015. Cream is currently developing a proprietary technology to create high-fidelity, low-computational AI backed virtual humans. Mark Rickard is an award-winning film and VR producer. He has developed and produced several feature films alongside Hollywood luminaries like Terrence Malick & Edward R. Pressman, and was a producer on the 2019 film RUN THE RACE, which was Executive Produced by Tim Tebow. Mr. Rickard founded the immersive entertainment company, Virtuality, in 2017, with initial ventures including the groundbreaking volumetric adaptation of monologues from MACBETH, titled “Shakesperiences”, which he also directed. He’s aiming to again break new ground with forthcoming experiences based on major literary works such as an award-winning novel by Arthur C. Clarke. Samantha Gorman is Co-Founder and Director at Tender Claws, an award-winning independent creative studio operating at the intersection of art, games, and technology. She has been working in XR since 2002, specializing in writing for interactive media, and is currently a PhD fellow in Media Arts & Practice at USC’s School of Cinematic Arts. With her work at Tender Claws she brings a unique approach to XR content creation, making players question the nature of technology and our place in a tech-driven society, for experiences that truly compelling and provocative. Work from Tender Claws has helped launch every major XR platform including Google Daydream, Google ARCore, Oculus Go, and Oculus Quest. Video of this panel session can be viewed here (https://vimeo.com/375173788). Special Guests: David Brady, David Gull, Mark Rickard, Rene Amador, and Samantha Gorman.
Dave moderates a panel discussion about the use of VR, AR, and XR in space exploration and education. Panelists are Rob Ray, Senior Designer at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and Dr. Susan Jewell, founder of Mars Academy USA and avatarMEDIC. This discussion occurred on November 12th, 2019, at the Digital Hollywood conference in Los Angeles. Digital Hollywood (https://www.digitalhollywood.com/) debuted in 1993 and is among the leading trade conferences in its field with over 15,000 top executives in the film, television, music, home video, cable, telecommunications and computer industries attending events each year. Organizer Victor Harwood is considered a leading authority on the convergence of the entertainment and technology industries. Rob Ray is a Senior Designer in the Human-Centered Design Group at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. At JPL, Rob leads the human-centered design practice for ProtoSpace, the Lab's flagship AR platform for scientists and engineers. ProtoSpace uses AR technologies to tranform 3D CAD drawings into immersive, collaborative, problem-solving environments. As the design lead for ProtoSpace, Rob works to mak it something akin to a rollercoaster ride that boiled the perfect egg – a simultinaety of spectacle and utility. Rob is also a visual artist (http://robray.net/) and co-host of the Opposable Thumbs creative challenge podcast. (https://www.opposablepodcast.com/) Dr. Susan Jewell has been a leader, innovater, speaker, and educator in the areas of space exploration, space medicine, edutainment, and "astropreneurship." She has built crew teams for expeditions and analog missions in isolated and extreme environments. She pioneered Mars Academy USA (https://marsacademyusa.com/) and the Space Surgery Institute (https://spacesurgeryinstitute.com/), organizations that focus on developing simulation-based training programs and VR/AR edutainment content to lay the groundwork for settlement of Mars and the moon. Video of this panel session can be viewed here (https://vimeo.com/374982025). Special Guests: Rob Ray and Susan Jewell.
Dr. Marcello Giordano is a Research Scientist at Chatham Labs (https://chathamlabs.com/) with a background in human computer interaction (HCI) and haptics. He received his PhD from McGill University in Canada, where his work was concerned with haptics in musical interaction and incorporating touch into digital music. Now, in both his research and his applied work at Chatham Labs, Marcello aims to bring touch to a wide variety of digital interactions. Previously, Marcello was a HCI Researcher at Huawei Technologies, investigating haptics for mobile devices, and a haptics engineer for Ultrahaptics Ltd., where he worked on both research and products utilizing Ultrahaptics's mid-air haptic technology. Special Guest: Marcello Giordano.
Ghost in the Interface

Ghost in the Interface

2019-11-2834:20

Laura Buecheler is the CEO and Co-founder of GHOST-feel it (https://www.ghost-feel.it/) GmbH, a Berlin-based startup focusing on haptic user interfaces. She is a biomedical engineer and entrepreneur with a mission to connect different disciplines. Laura believes her past experience in the sensor industry will help her realize the true potential for haptic user interfaces. Topics of discussion include product design trends, smart prosthetics, AI, sensory substitution, and neural implants. Special Guest: Laura Buecheler.
Dr. David Parisi is a professor specializing in emerging media. In this episode, we talk about his new book, Archaeologies of Touch: Interfacing with Haptics from Electricity to Computing, which traces the iterative development of haptics across four centuries. Use this link and promo code MN82600 to purchase the book with 30% off! (https://www.upress.umn.edu/book-division/books/archaeologies-of-touch) The first chapter is free to download here (https://www.upress.umn.edu/book-division/books/archaeologies-of-touch/ParisiIntroduction.pdf) Special Guest: David Parisi.
Cool Heat

Cool Heat

2019-11-0801:09:20

Inventor and entrepreneur Dr. Matthew Smith created the first wearable personal thermostat. In this show, he relates his experience starting his company, lessons learned through constant engagement with customers, and the exciting and complex science underlying thermal sensations and their profound impact on our subjective human experiences. Special Guest: Matthew Smith.
The Signal and the Noise

The Signal and the Noise

2019-11-0601:05:46

Dr. Carolina Brum is an HCI expert with a background in music, gesture acquisition and signal processing. As part of Google's ATAP team, she helped create the radar-based gesture input feature for the Pixel 4. Topics of discussion include sensor fusion, AI, digital privacy, and cultural conventions for interpersonal touch. Dr. Brum runs a consulting company based in Montreal, Canada. She crafts user experiments and algorithms to foster effective interaction with emerging technologies. Carolina has worked on projects involving music, dance, baseball, and helped create in-air gesture control for phones as a part of Google's Project Soli. Her research interests include sensing, algorithms, human motion and gesture analysis, statistical signal processing, interactive objects and environments, and human interaction experiments. Carolina received a Ph.D. from McGill University, where she created a framework for predictive filtering of sensor data. She has a B.S. in Electrical Engineering and a S.M. in Mechanical Engineering. She collaborates with the Input Devices and Music Interaction Laboratory in Canada, the Computer Music Group in Brazil, and the Responsive Environments Group/MIT Media Lab in the US. In and out of her lab, Carolina is always chasing movement. Special Guest: Carolina Brum.
Introducing INIT

Introducing INIT

2019-11-0611:21

There’s a revolution underway – a quiet revolution of the senses. Technology is shifting from engaging just your eyes and ears to engaging your entire body. Embodied media and next-generation wireless networks, sometimes collectively called the Tactile Internet, will shift the fundamental relationship between humans and the technologies we invent. The transition of cyberspace from being virtual to being a physical place you can visit with all your senses is the biggest deal since... maybe since ever. Let's talk about it! INIT is a different type of tech podcast. We get geeky, but we keep track of the human story. More than anything, INIT is about people – the people behind the tech, why they do what they do, and their vision of the future. We've all heard the adage, "the best way to predict the future is to invent it." INIT brings you conversations with the inventors of our collective future. Who should listen to INIT? • If you’re a designer, maker, or developer, you'll learn how to make cool new experiences using new embodied technologies and immersive interfaces. • If you’re an artist, you might get inspired to use these new ideas to play with reality. • If you’re a student, you'll learn from others how you can build a career in immersive technology. • If you’re just curious about the future, you'll learn how immersive technology will impact all our lives in the coming decades. No matter why you’re here, listening to INIT means you’re on the forefront of an emerging digital culture. I’m excited to be on this journey with you – we're all INIT together!
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