Alex Boch, of ALLie Camera

Beam me up virtually, Scotty: I canna change the laws of physics, captain

Kirk, Spock teleportation

lockA while ago, Robotics and Automation News interviewed Alex Boch about 360 cameras, and he said he would be developing a new product soon which would incorporate virtual reality. 

Now, having helped build the ALLie Camera, Boch – who is VP of operations there – is back in touch to talk about the device which he says gives users a better view of events than if they were actually there.

One of the events ALLie has been used for is the American Century Celebrity Golf Championship, which Boch mentions in the Q&A that follows. 

Robotics and Automation News: Tell us about ALLie and your new project…

Alex Boch, of ALLie Camera
Alex Boch, of ALLie Camera

Alex Boch: ALLie is an immersive 360 video and VR technology company. It develops products and services for different industries. ALLie is being used in a variety of different applications, including daycare, surgeries, real estate, racing and many others.

Of course, ALLie is great for personal use too. For example, you could use it to see what’s happening in your home while you are away, you could also see what your kids are pets are doing and use the camera to record all the fun moments you could have missed otherwise.

We also had a partnership with NBC to record their American Century Celebrity Golf Championship and with a Bariatric Surgery Center in Mexico when we live streamed the actual surgery in 360 degrees.

The camera is also great for Virtual Reality because all the videos you record or live stream with it, you can watch through a VR headset. Imagine being able to see a music concert thousands of miles away from you from the comfort of your home by just wearing a VR headset.

This technology helps you feel fully immersed into the action and totally feel as if you were right there – where the camera is set up. Sometimes, you can even get a better view than if you physically were there – for example, when the camera is set up on the stage right next to your favorite singer.

So there are multiple applications of this technology.

Robotics and Automation News: What is your view of how the augmented reality and virtual reality markets will develop? The technology is relatively widely used in manufacturing and logistics.

American Century Celebrity Golf Championship
American Century Celebrity Golf Championship from a couple of years ago

Alex Boch: I’ve written an article about the subject if you’d like to read it. I think I could write an entire separate article on robots, VR/AR/MR [MR stands for mixed reality]. Have you seen the Westworld series?

Everything is moving towards AR/MR. Robots are taking repetitive human jobs and automate many of the tasks which can be outsourced to the artificial intellect.

Smart technologies will allow us to communicate beyond the physical world as it exists right now. We will soon see VR social networks where people will be able to communicate and interact with humans and robots.

Philip Rosedale has been working on his High Fidelity virtual worlds for a few years now and has achieved great progress.

A huge number of VR applications (similar to mobile applications but for VR operational systems) will be developed and introduced to the market.

When AR and MR reach the point when the technology becomes affordable to others, people will be developing applications for this industry too. So we will see apps like that virtual wing man in the Sight movie.

There are many aspects of the technology on which I could elaborate, but in general I believe that everything is moving towards building very tiny devices which will be able to “teleport” [virtually?] you to any place anywhere in the universe in seconds.

We will be able to have amazing new experiences, maybe even live multiple lives in “virtuality” and be whoever we want in our own virtual and augmented worlds.

Robotics and Automation News: How is a 360 camera used in conjunction with VR / AR glasses and headsets?

Allie 360 camera
Allie 360 cameras use Snapdragon chips from Qualcomm

Alex Boch: Any 360 video camera works with a mobile app. All the mobile phone manufacturers are striving to improve the resolution, the processing power and the optics of their smartphones, so I think having a ready-to-work VR device in our pocket will soon become a reality. So that is how the VR headsets work.

There are ones which you need to connect to the computer – Oculus, and Vive, for example – and the ones which work with your phone – you just insert your mobile phone in it.

When you are shooting the 360 video with ALLie, you have the option to switch the cell phone screen to the VR mode, which means the screen will divide in two segments – one for each eye – and then you just insert the phone in whatever VR headset you have and enjoy the VR world.

There is another way to watch it too: if you are using a camera like ALLie which can live stream in 360 to YouTube. Facebook does not support live streaming in 360 yet. YouTube – when the 360 video is being watched on the YouTube mobile app – has a VR mode button in the bottom right corner of the player. When turned on, just put your phone inside the VR headset and enjoy the VR.