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Giulio Prisco (M, 57)
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    teleXLR8, a telepresence community for cultural acceleration, now based on open source virtual reality and video software


    The teleXLR8 online talk program based on OpenQwaq has been covered by Hypergrid Businessas an online open TED, using modern telepresence technology for ideas worth spreading, and as a next generation, fully interactive TV network with a participative audience.

    TED (the well known Technology, Entertainment and Design global set of conferences and talks on “ideas worth spreading”) is a role model. teleXLR8 offers similar content with fully interactive online talks and discussions using modern video conferencing and virtual reality technology, almost as good as being there in person.

    The previous phase of teleXLR8 project, based on Teleplace, has been running as a free, invitation-only beta on the Teleplace servers and network infrastructure since March 2010, and produced many online talks by well-known emerging technologies experts and futurists, and online extensions to conferences such as the ASIM 2010 Conference, satellite to the Singularity Summit 2010, and the TransVision 2010 Conference. In the latter, streamed interactively as a full 2-way “mixed-reality” event with both local and remote speakers, the participants in Milan were joined by remote participants from all over the world. The Turing Church Online Workshop 1, held on Saturday November 20 2010 in teleXLR8, explored transhumanist spirituality and “Religion 2.0″.

    All talks have been recorded on video and posted to video sharing sites the day after the talk. The videos have been seen by tens of thousands of viewers and covered by important technology oriented websites including internetACTU, IEET, KurzweilAI, H+ Magazine, Next Big Future, HyperGrid Business and Slashdot.

    At the end of 2010 the teleXLR8 project, based on the industrial strength commercial Teleplace platform, was put on hold waiting for funding.

    In May 2011 Teleplace made the visionary decision to open source their technology as OpenQwaq. This permits continuing teleXLR8 as a free, invitation-only program based on OpenQwaq, with more frequent talks, workshops and conferences.

    The initial release of OpenQwaq was functionally equivalent to Teleplace with the exception of the video subsystem used for webcam videoconferencing, video playback and session recording, because the proprietary video codecs used in Teleplace could not be included as open source. The OpenQwaq development team and 3d Immersive Collaboration Consultants (a value added OpenQwaq consulting and hosting company) have then integrated the open source video and audio codecs used in the VLC media player.



    In August 2011 the teleXLR8 project has been re-launched. See my short presentation Welcome to the 2011 season! The first talk has been announced by KurzweilAI: “teleXLR8 is reopening on Sunday 21 10 a.m. PST with a talk by [experimental quantum physicist/programmer] Suzanne Gildert on Hack the Multiverse!. The teleXLR8 online talk program is “a telepresence community for cultural acceleration,” as their blog puts it. Translation: an audiovideo seminar — think TED in Second Life, plus webcam videoconferencing and video session recording."

    Suzanne outlined the basics of Quantum Computing, described the the D-Wave One quantum computer, and explained how to program it. See the D-Wave blog Hack the Multiverse for more. The talk covered an introduction to quantum computing and the technology of building quantum computers, then moved into a tutorial discussing Energy Programming: A new way of programming unlike anything else in existence, with a special treat for those attending the talk: A chance to navigate one’s avatar around a lifesize virtual copy of the D-Wave One quantum computer.

    More than 30 participants attended the talk and asked many interesting questions in a lively Q/A session after the talk. This talk has been the first field test of the new OpenQwaq server hosted by 3d Immersive Collaboration Consultants, which has performed very well. For those who missed the talk, the full video coverage is on the teleXLR8 video channel on YouTube:

    VIDEO A – 1h 33 min, recorded by Giulio Prisco
    VIDEO B – 1h 43 min, recorded by Frederic Emam-Zade, includes 10 min of chat before the talk, taken mostly with a zoom on the viewgraphs
    VIDEO C – 1h 50 min, recorded by Jameson Dungan, includes 18 min of chat before the talk, taken from a fixed point of view

    The same videos are available on the teleXLR8 video channels on Blip.tv and Vimeo.

    The teleXLR8 project will continue with more frequent talks, seminars, online conferences and mixed-reality extension of traditional conferences, interviews, talk shows, and e-learning courses. Thanks to the built-in video recording feature of OpenQwaq, we will post the full video coverage to our video sharing channels on Blip.tv, Youtube and Vimeo after a few days. Participation in the realtime interactive sessions is free, but invitation-only: if you wish to participate, please contact us, join the mailing list or the groups on Facebook and Linkedin, and ask for an invitation.

    teleXLR8 is not for profit, and running on open source software strongly reduces the operating costs, but we still have to pay for server resources, bandwidth and manpower. We will not charge attendance fees, but encourage donations from users and actively look for sponsors. These days, Internet users expect everything to be free online, but of course there is no such a thing as a free lunch. Google and Facebook are free... or are they? In my articles here, I have often voiced my concern for the freedom of the Internet, which should not belong to governments and giant corporations, but to the user community. I think supporting innovative community projects based on open source software is a good way to protect our Internet.

    In an interview published on H+ Magazine, I said: “I use Teleplace [now OpenQwaq] because, based on my (quite extensive) knowledge of and experience in this sector, at this moment Teleplace [now OpenQwaq] is by far the best operational technology for online meetings, workshops, presentations, seminars, conferences and e-learning.” Modern desktop telepresence technology can effectively open conferences to remote participants and, with OpenQwaq, online meetings and conferences have already passed the tipping point of critical usability and performance. Online events are now a very useful complement, or a faster and cheaper alternative, to traditional conferences.

    teleXLR8 is described as a “telepresence community for cultural acceleration” because interactive and immersive telepresence technology, with integrated videoconferencing, document sharing and collaboration in 3D virtual reality, can accelerate global cultural development by permitting people to fully participate, interactively and immersively, in their favorite interest groups and intentional communities, independently of their geographical locations. The explosion of the Internet in the 90s has, by permitting the rapid spread of world-changing ideas, initiated this process whose results are beginning to be very clearly evident in today’s world. The explosion of telepresence in the 10s will accelerate it forward. By reducing the need for physical travel, telepresence can also make our planet greener, and give us a better quality of life. More on our manifesto “Telepresence Education for a Smarter World“.

    Sat, Aug 27, 2011  Permanent link
    Categories: internet, telepresence, openqwaq, telexlr8
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    Spaceweaver     Sat, Aug 27, 2011  Permanent link
    I already attended two events using this technology, the TRANSVISION 2010 in Milan last year and the Hack the Multiverse event last week. The tool is very impressive in capabilities and smoothness. Given enough bandwidth it can be used for virtual and mixed reality collaboration and sharing. As a new user I tried out some of the functions. Within less than a hour I was able to navigate around, customize my avatar, upload and download videos ,pictures and documents into and from the virtual environment and even modify the virtual environment itself (adding screens, tables, seats, whiteboards etc. Hope I didn't ruin anything, tried not to leave traces :-)), and of course seamlessly participate in the meeting.
    giulio     Sat, Aug 27, 2011  Permanent link
    Thanks for commenting Spaceweaver. As you say, one of the features of OpenQwaq is that it is very easy to use for non-geeks with an average familiarity with computer systems. We encourage all new users to read our help page and watch our help video first. Our help documentation addresses the most common issues and problems of newcomers.

    Your trial and error learning did not leave many traces and did not ruin anything besides a) deleting the user database, b) embedding a few viruses in the textures used in our auditorium, and c) corrupting the boot sector of the server's operating system ;-)
    elysium     Sun, Aug 28, 2011  Permanent link
    I attended too, was cool. Thanks for helping put it together!
    giulio     Mon, Aug 29, 2011  Permanent link
    Thanks Elysium, I had not realized you were there.

    Did you use one of the shared logins userN@telexlr8.com?

    Send me your email and I will create a personal login for you to come to the next talks.

    I had created the shared logins to try implementing a first-come first-served queue system for users without a personal login (the equivalent of waiting in line at the door), but I found out that a queue cannot be implemented this way (an equivalent system will be implemented in the code sooner or later). In the meantime I will replace the shared logins with more personal logins, and enable/disable access for specific talks depending on the requests.
    elysium     Mon, Aug 29, 2011  Permanent link
    Yea, I joined that mailing list and found one of those shared logins. I was user14 if I recall correct, and I only managed to show up maybe halfway through the whole thing. I'll send you an email in the next little while for a proper login, thanks :)
     
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