Virtual Reality (VR) startup Condense Reality, who have developed a new system for streaming hologram-style 3D volumetric video, which essentially takes the “flat” 2D content that you watch on TV and turns it into 3D “volumetric” content like the kind you see in VR, have announced they’ve raised a seed round of more than £800,000 ($1.03 million), including £220,000 ($284,000) from SFC Capital. The company will use the investment to commercialise its technology over the next 12 months, with a view to it being adopted by broadcasters soon afterwards.
Condense Reality has been working with telecommunications giant BT, as well as the likes of the University of Bristol on the project, and so far the collaboration has focused on BT’s 5G Edge XR trial, which demonstrated the potential of 5G technology to deliver more immersive live sport viewing experiences using Augmented Reality (AR) and VR.
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An image released by BT has already teased the technology’s potential for boxing, but there are hopes to develop it for use across other sports by broadcasters.
The startup’s offering represents a major step forward in capturing volumetric video, which creates a 3D image that can be viewed by multiple people from different angles. Until now, getting this kind of video required fixed studios with green screens and hundreds of precisely-calibrated cameras, and processing mere minutes of content for streaming also took days.
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Condense Reality says its solution enables broadcasters and content creators to capture and stream volumetric video in real time, outside a studio, and with fewer cameras.
Its Condense Reality Capture platform uses state-of-the-art computer vision and deep learning to accurately reconstruct the contents of a scene in seconds, while Condense Reality Stream allows broadcasters to stream that content to viewers via their own AR or VR headsets – including Oculus, Vive, Microsoft Hololens, and Magic Leap.
The multi-platform Condense Reality Playback app also gives viewers control of their experience via an “intuitive 3D user interface.”
“Our technology aims to bridge real and virtual worlds by enabling broadcasters to record live events as volumetric video and instantly stream them to viewers,” said Condense Reality Chief Executive and co-founder Nick Fellingham.
“Our initial focus has been on recording and streaming sports, in particular boxing, so to be working on this project with BT, one of the biggest boxing broadcasters in the world, is a huge opportunity. At a time when many sporting events cannot be viewed in stadiums, enhancing the communal viewing experience in the comfort of your own home is more timely than ever,” he said.
Matthew Griffin, described as “The Adviser behind the Advisers” and a “Young Kurzweil,” is the founder and CEO of the World Futures Forum and the 311 Institute, a global Futures and Deep Futures consultancy working between the dates of 2020 to 2070, and is an award winning futurist, and author of “Codex of the Future” series.
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