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VRTO — CANADA’S LARGEST VIRTUAL & AUGMENTED REALITY CONVENTION — ANNOUNCES UPDATED LINEUP OF EXCLUSIVES AND SUPER SESSIONS

THE VOID, AMD, IMAX, and TWO BIT CIRCUS headline groundbreaking panel revealing their vision for a future with Out-of-Home VR as public entertainment 
VRTO (Virtual & Augmented Reality World Conference & Expo), Canada’s largest virtual, augmented and mixed reality convention — and the largest on North America’s east coast — is pleased to announce its updated lineup for the second annual edition of its critically acclaimed deep-dive symposium at Ryerson University’s Faculty of Communications and Design (FCAD) located within the Rogers Communication Centre in Toronto, June 24th-26th.

Among VRTO’s new additions are an unprecedented expert panel on the future of Out-of-Home VR entertainment, where industry leaders James Jensen (Chief Visionary Officer and Co-Founder, THE VOID) Ed Callaway (Entertainment Architect, AMD), Eyal Kleiner (VP of Virtual Reality, IMAX), Aaron Pulkka (Reality Engineer, Two Bit Circus) and Joel Zika (Founder, The Dark Ride Project) will discuss their vision for a future with VR as a ubiquitous form of public entertainment.

Also announced is a one-of-a-kind somatosensory multimodal pavilion of works at the intersection of art and technology curated by leading academic in the computing sciences Dr. Maria Karam. The pavilion will take audiences on a time travel experience combining surround audio arrays, interactive VR experiences, EEG mind readers, holograms, AR, and haptics. Works featured in the pavilion are headlined by three world-class art innovators, all in attendance: Willy Le Maitre, Michael Page, and Alex Mehew — who will also be discussing his new Augmented Reality exhibit reBlink, which opens at The Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) this July.

VRTO brings the best and brightest from the VR world together under one roof as these announcements are simply additions to the already star-studded convention, which spans three days and features more than 65 expert speakers, 40 VR/AR exhibitors and 10 rooms, halls and studios each focused on different disciplines and interests — from Web VR to education, tourism, real estate, and applications in mental and physical health among others.

“One of the biggest challenges for VRTO 2017 is unpacking the sheer scope of the many titans of the industry and unique exhibitions coming together for the first time under one roof.” said Keram Malicki-Sanchez, VRTO Founder and Executive Director who spoke at ideacity last week. “VRTO is not a tradeshow — it is a symposium, a mesh of unique installations by world-class artists and inventors and a training ground for those looking to lead the industry. From inventors like Steve Mann, Graham Smith, David A Smith, and Maria Karam to leading researchers like Stanford University’s Walter Greenleaf — discussing decades of mental health research — or Peggy Wu — discussing VR for the Mars astronauts — to industry leaders and researchers from Google, Microsoft, AMD, Jam3, Modiface, OCAD, the Canadian Film Centre and Ideaboost — everything has been curated and engineered for maximum impact at VRTO.”

Other exclusives at VRTO include the long-awaited launch of the living ecosystem study entitled “Pulse on VR” by CFC Media Lab and OMERS Ventures (in collaboration with Noridicity) to be unveiled by co-principal investigator Ana Serrano at the conference. Citing some unreleased findings in her talk, Serrano will discuss how the global race is on to build the most robust “immersive media cluster” and that support infrastructure created today will make or break who wins this race in the future when VR and AR hit the mass market.

And for the first time three of the world’s first interactive Virtual Reality artworks come together under one roof with “Presence Fields“, an exhibition by Toronto artists Graham Smith, David Rokeby, and Vincent John Vincent exploring the possible message behind the new medium of virtual reality. First created by the artists in the early 1980’s, the exhibit parallels their original pieces with three of their current works in the same field of artistic exploration. The exhibit is a manifestation of the legendary Marshall McLuhan’s concepts that artists have a historical role as technological pioneers and that avant-garde artworks can be important “markers” that help define how a new medium impacts society.

VRTO 2017 consists of one of the most prestigious lists of VR industry giants ever assembled. Some of VRTO 2017’s many speakers, exhibitors and activations include:

  • Out-Of-Home VR Super Session — panel on the future of Out-Of-Home VR Entertainment; moderated by VR evangelist/Forbes contributor Charlie Fink, including:
    • James Jenson – Chief Visionary Officer, THE VOID 
    • Eyal Kleiner – Vice President Virtual Reality, IMAX
    • Ed Callway – Entertainment Architect, AMD
    • Joel Zika – Producer, The Dark Ride Project/eOne 
    • Aaron Pulkka, Reality Engineer, 2 Bit Circus
  • Dr. Maria Karam — inventor, entrepreneur, and leading academic in the computing sciences; curating a special pavilion of works at the intersection of art and technology, featuring art innovators:
    • Alex Mehew – Co-Founder, Impossible Things
    • Willy Le Maitre – 3D imagery pioneer
    • Michael Page – inventor and professor of Holography
    • Tough Guy Mountain – previewing their 2017 Nuit Blanche exhibit
  • Dr. Walter Greenleaf — Stanford University research neuroscientist, technologist and leading authority on the medical applications of virtual reality technology
  • Graham Smith — Canadian VR pioneer; Chief Science Officer of Dutch educational technology company WebChair 
  • Moses Znaimer — Canadian media mogul; creator of Dora Award-winning audience-interactive play “Tamara” and “Tour of the Universe” the world’s first flight simulator ride
  • David A. Smith — Computer scientist; creator of both the first 3D interactive game “The Colony” and the virtual set/camera used in James Cameron’s “The Abyss
  • Dr. Sarah Diamond — President, OCAD University
  • Roy Taylor — Corporate VP – Studio Alliances, Content & VR, AMD
  • James McCrae and Dr. Karan Singh  — Co-Founders, JanusVR
  • Todd Makurath — CEO, Bullitt
  • Michael Halminen — Creative Lead, Google Canada
  • Tim Merel — Founder/CEO, Digi-Capital
  • Eduardo Cuervo — Researcher, Microsoft
  • Jai Krishnan — Chrome Media Product Manager, Google
  • Michael Leventhal — Homes Weinberg, former VP of Magic Leap
  • FIVARS Pavilion (Festival of International Virtual & Augmented Reality Stories) — the world’s best immersive shorts, hosted inside an 8K projection mapped spherical cylinder from UK based 360° projection company Igloo Vision, debuting in Canada
  • HumanEyes — creators of the VUZE VR Camera (the world’s first 3D, 360°, spherical virtual reality camera); making its Canadian debut and available for sale at VRTO
  • VR Arcade — a highly stylized arcade featuring multiple VR activations from Canadian developers Secret Location and Iris VR 
  • Artist-Run Media Art Centres Super Session — panel celebrating the past and future of artist-run tech co-ops featuring four Toronto based artist-run media art centres: Trinity Square Video, Charles Street Video, Gamma Space, and Dames Making Games
  • Janus Camp — 2-day gathering at VRTO exploring the frontiers of the web 3.0. Workshops, classes and interactive demos aimed at giving the tools and skills needed to start creating in the immersive web.
  • ARt Gallery — Augmented Reality art gallery featuring international works by Dan Goldman, Daniel Leighton, Alex Mehew, Branislav Dordevic
VRTO 2017 takes place at Ryerson University’s Rogers Communication Centre (80 Gould St, Toronto) Sunday, June 25th to Monday, June 26th from 10am-6pm daily; with a special media/VIP preview and reception taking place Saturday, June 24th from 1pm-6pm. Tickets are available at conference.virtualreality.to.

About VRTO
VRTO (Virtual & Augmented Reality World Conference & Expo), brings the best and the brightest from around the world together under one roof for an internationally recognized and critically-acclaimed symposium in Toronto, Canada. Known for its ground-breaking talks, roundtable discussions, intensive training, onboarding workshops, structured networking events, and themed pavilions, it’s the largest conference on the eastern seaboard of North America, featuring more than 65 speakers, 40+ exhibitors and 10+ active rooms, halls and studios focused like a laser on VR & AR. For more information visit conference.virtualreality.to.

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