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  • Hello again.

  • As you know, I am Eli.

  • And after a little bit of trouble shooting that didn't fix the problem, we're now like Google Hangout in order to do this interview today.

  • So I'm here with Tim son UPS CEO and founder of Whirlwind FX.

  • And we're gonna be talking about their vortex system for, like, video game play in virtual reality.

  • So thanks for being here today.

  • Yeah.

  • Thanks.

  • Thanks a lot for having me.

  • Yeah.

  • So Okay, so what is What is the border or you're about to show me?

  • So what is the vortex?

  • Why should people care?

  • Sure.

  • So Vortex is a 40 game accessory that enhances your game Play without changing how you play.

  • Imagine feeling d gust and of wind and explosions while you're playing call of duty vortex, which is this guy right here is, um essentially, ah, environmental simulator.

  • So it simulates the virtual environment that you're in, um, enhancing that experience, improving the immersion off their gaming.

  • So vortex has recognition software where our engine will map or texts and trigger vortex hardware with any game that you're playing.

  • Um, so it can work with YouTube.

  • It can work with video games.

  • Um, like call of duty doom.

  • Um, Marvel vs Capcom Infinite.

  • Like any on screen action games, it can trigger off.

  • How is there something in those games we don't realize?

  • Like, what signal is it triggering off of?

  • Sure.

  • So we're using, um we're using basically what developers give you, um, that they have to give u S O on way Use that stimulus and we plug that into, uh, an algorithm that basically recognizes the certain amount of scenes to drive the hardware.

  • So, like, for example, when you see an explosion, it's usually like interrupting flame.

  • Essentially that, you know, it flashes and then goes away.

  • We can see that you know that experience and that content, and we can match map vortex triggering based on that.

  • So you will.

  • When you see in an exploding flame, you'll feel, ah, heat, you know, rise and then fall in a pop pulsing fashion.

  • Oh, that's weird.

  • So this is that.

  • So it's actually analyzing somehow what's going on screen and then determining what it's supposed to.

  • D'oh!

  • Yes, so on screen action is, it's a real time analysis.

  • It's amazing what a modern day computing can can really crunch in real time and how fast it can go.

  • That's a dress.

  • It almost makes me question, like, Why not?

  • Why not?

  • Something else other than this particular device?

  • Like why?

  • Why did you decide to make this device?

  • Sure, being a gamer, um, I was actually, you know, sitting in of the arm eat up of all places in San Francisco, and I was in an experience where I was looking over the top of Everest and, um, someone actually happened to open the door to the room.

  • And I got a cool breeze of air over my body as I was in this experience.

  • And it really, like was, like, very impactful.

  • It really made that experience stick out in my mind.

  • And so what I do was I actually started, you know, being an engineer, classically trained, I started going in and building, you know, vortex.

  • Being able to recreate that experience and that memory for other people on when I quickly realized, is like, uh, the key is to being able to map onto the content because the content it really you really need to be ableto fuel that rise and shape of that experience in an environment, and that changes.

  • What do we made that you know, memorable for me?

  • Um And so that's what I We ended up building the algorithm and the software recognition, uh, and basically be able to real time trigger or text.

  • That's interest.

  • So we're talking about the vortex that so for D.

  • So what does that actually mean?

  • Is it just a fan that blows in your face or like what?

  • What is it doing?

  • So in hardware, Um, it is a fan blower system with low latent see on top of a low latent C control system for heating.

  • So we have the ability to dynamically change the temperature of the air flow out of the device in with very little agency.

  • So when, For example, when you are playing Capcom infinite Marvel vs Capcom infinite.

  • When you know whole cast is special, he flies down on the screen on a giant asteroid rock That's like basically a giant fireball, and you can feel the heat coming out of vortex to match, you know, match that experience.

  • And then when he lands in and it disappears, the heat actually matches that.

  • Another example is like if Holck is, you know Sweeney's fist, and he makes contact with the enemy or your your opponent every time he makes a ah swing vortex will create a light gust of wind that will match that experience.

  • Um, but there's other.

  • You know, this actually widens to not just poke swings Fist.

  • Uh, it can go into things like watching a YouTube trailer off, you know, heart of this swarm a Starcraft trailer where, when you see and hear, like a spaceship sweeping across the screen, which happens a lot, um, vortex will speed up and then slow down as it goes out into the into the distance.

  • So you get that four D effect or that immersive experience while you know, watching your every day content or playing your everyday gay.

  • Um, and that was really the key to the product, and I think that's what's most exciting for us.

  • That's interesting.

  • So are these responses actually pre programmed?

  • Or is it all dynamic like, How do you How do you deal with some weird as Glick that just becomes obnoxious, right?

  • You know, Let's let's say I don't know.

  • A ship is doing something and then It just becomes annoying to people like, Is there is it map?

  • So that could be changed?

  • Or does it just dynamically figure out what's going on?

  • So it is dynamically figuring out what's what's going on.

  • So it's, it's it's understanding the situation.

  • And when you see you know, an explosion, you get those big moments that come in and really enhance that experience.

  • Um, so I'll give you another example when you're in call of duty and you're on like an anti aircraft gun, and every time you shoot one of those big rounds, it creates a big, you know, muzzle flash out on the screen.

  • You can feel that that dynamic pulsing in that change off that experience in real time.

  • Um, and you know, our algorithm are constantly evolving and constantly learning to improve itself as it's going.

  • Okay, that's kind of interesting.

  • Now, is this a one?

  • A one unit thing?

  • Can I have surround vortex, or is it just one box in front of me?

  • So yeah, absolutely so looking for right now, we're really optimizing for one, but were quickly, quickly going to be able to support two more like a stereo experience where you can have sweeping motion.

  • So imagine, like in game of Thrones, the dragon is coming across the screen and blowing up the loot train as you're watching it, you could have a sweeping, dynamic heat feel that kind of merges the too so that you can have even more directional feedback and position ality.

  • Um, but one of the things that you know what what?

  • What it was originally made for was for V, our experiences.

  • Uh, now, now, now that we're a little further down in the kind of immersive revolution we've realized that it the algorithm can actually map onto every day content.

  • But v are actually it's it also horses.

  • What seeded the our experiences when your, um you know, shooting a gun at your left character.

  • You can you can feel that you know, that experience from that position in you are experience.

  • That's kind of cool.

  • So that so Is this your first product?

  • Um, they selling with this?

  • So then why did he target?

  • Like it looks like you're targeting the consumer.

  • So especially with so many you know, entertainment company is getting to the V r World.

  • Why didn't you go for selling some trying to sell something to Disney.

  • Seems like that would be Ah, safer bet.

  • Sure.

  • So we we have actually partnered with bigger kind of out of home entertainment experiences.

  • Actually, I did sell two units to date Disney.

  • I sell it.

  • Sold units Thio avoid.

  • We've partnered with some other 40 experience, Cos um, it is sent.

  • It's definitely interesting what's happening in kind of be out of home entertainment industry, especially with V r.

  • Um, But our primary focus is consumer, because that's where we see the breath of content that we can really support and have that, you know, premium experience for, um, be where it doesn't need direct, you know, integration.

  • But, you know, those out of home entertainment experiences there Definitely interesting for us as well.

  • One school.

  • So then how much is one of these things gonna cost us?

  • Then where does it cost?

  • Yeah, so right now we're at pre order, we're looking toe launch.

  • Uh, we're actually looking to start shipping our first beta units early.

  • You know, this month, actually, So we're building out our beta units right now, and we're looking to shift february 12th and then um, the price point is $120 horrible.

  • And so then how do you How do you do?

  • Is this a computer Things to ask, uploading the computer or doesn't read the h d M I or how does it connect?

  • So right now, it's, um it's USB, uh, and power.

  • So it's just plug and play.

  • You download our our software engine and you run it in the background, and then you just go and start playing your games or videos.

  • Um, you can basically have it right out of the box, have an experience that's unique.

  • Um, and what's really exciting is that you're able to go and experience and play some of the games that you I haven't played in a while, could be on older game, and it can map onto those experience intruder real time.

  • And then where do you position because you're showing it.

  • It looks like a pretty big widget.

  • And so I would think you would put it in the center.

  • But if it's that big, yeah, where do you position it?

  • So we found, like the optimal position is actually had a 45 degree, um, position so I would say kind of off to the periphery to the sides of the of your screen so you can have a single.

  • You know, you have your computer and your normal gaming setup, mouse and keyboard, and then you haven't off to the left or the right kind of away from where your normal game plays.

  • And the thing about it is that you can, uh, you can adjust the angle at which you you aim it.

  • So if you're taller, gentleman or a shorter gentleman as you're sitting O r or a woman, um, you can you can adjust it that way and then also we have Essentially, we have a oversized dial here that allows you to adjust the intensity kind of like just like audio.

  • Um, you know, if you're feeling that you're particularly, uh, hot today, you can always turn down the the heat effects, or you can turn them up.

  • You can turn.

  • You can change.

  • Thea.

  • Essentially, you can change the wind effects as well, so you can change the wind effects.

  • And then also we have some underling end underlying led is that allow you to kind of really customize that experience um, and have that unique, you know, gaming, gaming lights as well.

  • Um, so that's that's basically it.

  • And you just said it, and you basically forget it.

  • And you have that experience when you, uh when you game.

  • So do you have any of the beaming EA Sports is so frickin massive at this point, Do you have any big name EA sports people that that are jumping for this thing?

  • Or so right now, we're really focused on beta testers and getting units out to the field.

  • And EA Sports is something that we're really interested in.

  • And we're you know, we're cultivating some of those relationships now, but it's not our primary focus, because this is really for, you know, the immersive, uh, experience.

  • It's really so that you can have that unique experience with your game play more for the, you know, average gamer, as opposed to Hey, sports is all about, you know, how can I win faster, huh?

  • So what?

  • I mean, when you look at your company may like it's interesting because you've got the hardware and the software.

  • I would think the software would be what's actually interesting and valuable here or Do you think it's the hardware like when you When you When you look at the breakdown, what's what's the actual valuable thing here?

  • Well, uh, it's funny.

  • I'm a hardware guy, so I'm a Harvard geek.

  • I love building hardware.

  • There's no value in the hardware compared to the software.

  • We're like 90 10.

  • Software's everything.

  • Hardware's only 10%.

  • Is that it?

  • I would say it's the Cup, right?