Visiting USC and seeing the future of animation and entertainment

How is the entertainment industry going to change in the 2020s?

To get a taste, and as part of our research tour to see how the world is about to change, Infinite Retina’s CEO, Irena Cronin, and its Chief Strategy Officer, Robert Scoble, meet with University of Southern California student Sagar Ramesh and get a tour through its MXR lab.

This is where students do Spatial Computing research and is only one of such labs at USC.

Here he walks us through his student project, called Ollie, which lets VR wearers animate things in a virtual world in VR. He let Scoble’s son, Ryan, play it and he discovers it along with you thanks to our new 360-degree camera. You can sign up to get the beta for free at

This is the first part of our tour through Los Angeles and some things are worth noting. First, this is the cinematic school at USC. Note that they have many labs aimed at teaching its university students about the future of film making, which, as you can see here, won’t have anything to do with flat screens. They know that in the future you will enjoy entertainment with glasses that let you see entertainment all around you.

The camera I’m holding, an Insta360 Evo which costs about $400, is a good example of how media and entertainment is about to change. Soon movies will be captured by new devices, more on that soon as we share a tour to a high-tech movie studio that Intel built for the Hollywood industry.

Second, they are going to let media makers do advanced animation just by dragging and dropping. This lets animators do much more advanced animations with very little work compared to older techniques. Even if “flattened” for older distribution methods (like TV or a movie screen) like we flattened our 360-degree camera here to a 1080p, this has deep implications on the costs of future animated movies or shows.

Third, students like Ramesh will continue work on projects like this by starting new companies and as they see markets evolve, will need many more workers with newer 3D skills. So, that has deep implications for investors, and anyone who wants a job in Hollywood. People like Ramesh are great to know because they are showing us the way.

Spatial Computing startup helps autism therapists, potentially improving my son’s life

My 11-year-old son, Milan, is autistic.

Now, he isn’t the kind of autistic that starts companies. Nope, he’s going to have a tough time adopting to the “normie” world (what we call neurotypical people). He can barely talk. He isn’t always good at paying attention crossing roads. He will have a tough time holding down a job, particularly one that requires communication with other human beings (which will be most of them, particularly since the world is turning many jobs that he will be able to do into robot-run services).

I have a bigger dream.

What if, people like him (and he isn’t facing as difficult a challenge as many others) could be helped by technology?

I see a way, and so does a little company working away at BoostVC, which I see as the spiritual center for VR/AR/AI community. That’s a startup accelerator located in San Mateo and was started by the son, Adam Draper, of one of Silicon Valley’s most famous investors. His dad, Tim, invested in tons of startups from Tesla to Hotmail, along with his firm DFJ (which recently changed its name to Threshold).

The company is BehaviorMe. Here I sit down with Andy Chavez and Annie Escalante joins via videoconference.

In the video, they explain how VR is being used to help autism therapists provide ABA therapy to kids with autism. They dig into what ABA therapy is, and how it’s currently applied.

Today their system is being used by a few therapists who are seeing good results. Why? Because these kids take to technology, particularly technology like VR very quickly. Why? They usually are amazing at visual processing. Some autistic kids, in fact, are so good at visual processing they go onto have amazing careers, like Temple Grandin did developing cattle handling facilities.

But both I, and the team at BehaviorMe, sees far more opportunity as new Spatial Computing devices come out (we use the term Spatial Computing, which means computing you can move around in, because there are many devices coming that will go far beyond the VR and AR devices we currently have). In the interview we explore some of the ways autistic kids could be helped in the future with these kinds of technology.

In fact, when Irena Cronin and I first were thinking of starting a company, I told her this is why I cared so much about Spatial Computing and the industry that quickly is forming to build and support it. I see how headset-based computing will greatly help my son have a productive life, from showing him how to do complex tasks to reminding him of basic things that you and I take for granted, like teeth brushing to finding him a ride to job or school via something like Uber or Lyft or a self driving car. Soon we will be wearing similar glasses, but for him those devices might be life saving.

Sorry for the poor audio, a new set of microphones has just arrived for future interviews.

Spatial Computing’s Entrepreneurial Opportunity, a conversation with Jeff Saperstein and Irena Cronin

It is my goal to everyday have an interesting conversation.

Today’s interesting conversation is with Infinite Retina‘s cofounder/CEO Irena Cronin and me, while being interviewed by Jeff Saperstein. He’s a coach to executives, and here we talk about our business and spatial computing (AR/VR).

In it you hear our thesis for just how deeply life itself is about to get as a perfect storm of change arrives.

Irena and I are getting to see a ton of new things and new companies and we are starting to see a bunch of patterns. All of which add up to more changes for humans on the way in the next decade than we’ve ever had to deal with. Here Jeff adeptly asks us to dig into what they mean for entrepreneurs.