Skip to main content

Open Source Bridge 2017 :Democratize Virtual Reality

Related image

It's almost no secret that I love Open Source Bridge. There are plenty of super awesome developer conferences out there. A lot of which I never visited. But even among the ones I was fortunate enough to visit, Open Source Bridge is very special.

This all-volunteer run conference has a special place in my heart and this time it was my third time visiting it. The first two times were pretty interesting for me too. The very first time I visited Open Source Bridge was in 2015, to talk about my first contribution to Firefox OS Keyboard. It was my first talk at a conference in the United States, and at a developer conference. Needless to say, I was pretty tensed and excited as well. I still remember that talk, and also OSB made a video of the talk so that I would not forget -_-

In 2016, I was invited to present a talk regarding some IoT work which at that time was still important to Mozilla. OSB stopped recording videos from that year, but this resulted in an opensource.com article which you can read here.

Not every day you see a sign like that
This year I was invited to deliver a talk on WebVR and Aframe titled "Aframe: Your weapon in the war to democratize virtual reality". The talk was immediately after LinuxCon Beijing and the dates actually clashed. This time the conference was from 20th to 23rd June. Where 23rd was unconference day. I only had 23rd left and they actually gave me a slot on 23rd! The unconference day.

I reached Portland the night before and had my slides prepared. Fortunately, a flight back from Beijing is a pretty long one and gives you enough time to come and polish your slides. The next morning my talk was scheduled at 10 A.M. That was the only talk of the day apart from the impromptu unconference style events planned for the whole day. I reached the venue in the morning and was taken to the room where the talk was supposed to be held. Most attendees generally leave after the main talks and since this was an unconference day, I really was not expecting too many people. And when I started the talk, there were exactly 4 people in the room, as expected. I was not expecting too many people anyway. Thought it was fine, so started with them and then it all changed.

The unconference whiteboard
Just when I was about to finish introducing me and what webVR is, a bunch of more people entered the room. I just did a recap and started and by the time I was explaining why it is important to have an open ecosystem for the Virtual Reality scene, the room had completely filled up with people standing at the back! That was a complete surprise for me and a huge confidence booster. The rest of the talk went pretty well and very interactive. During my Q&A the audience asked if they can have a longer Q&A and the organizers encouraged me to continue since they didn't have any fixed schedule. The 40 minutes talk ended with an equally bigger super engaging Q&A.

But that was just the beginning of my surprise. Once it was finished and I was packing up, around 12 of the participants came and asked me if I will be available for a unconference type discussion regarding different privacy concerns of VR along with VR empathy and would like to discuss that. This ended up being another 30 minutes of passionate discussion about different aspects of VR and contributing to two pages of my notepad withed up wuth scribbles and ideas.

It really was a pleasant surprise to me that on the last day of the conference how many people were still passionate about the topic that they filled up the whole room and also took initiative to have a discussion on the technology and social aspect. My only suggestion for the organizers was to have the conference on weekends instead of in the middle of a week. That would have made it much easier for me to juggle my schedule and I assume was similar to a lot of other attendees too.

Though it really was just a one day experience for me, I really left the conference that day with a high note.


Do drop a note if you were present at the talk, and have any suggestion for me to improve. 

Popular posts from this blog

LibrePlanet 2017: Liberating your open source experience

LibrePlanet is a yearly gathering of free software activists, users, and contributors—and, it's my favorite conference of the year. Here's why.
LibrePlanet is run by the Free Software Foundation, and has steadily evolved from a yearly members' meeting with presentations from staff and board members to a full blown two-day conference with speakers and attendees from all over the world. The event brings people who care about free software together to talk about the future of the movement, address current challenges, and celebrate successes.
PreludeI was invited to give a talk at LibrePlanet 2017 on 25th March at MIT, in Cambridge, Massachusetts representing Mozilla as a Tech Speaker. I reached Boston on 25th early morning. Around 1 AM. The journey itself was awesome till I realized that you don't get Uber or Lyft at Boston Airport.

Not that the apps don't function there. They work! Just no driver will be ready to pick you up from Airport at that time. After trying to b…

Bringing the Focus back : Firefox Focus (Builds) for Android

Firefox Focus – A Free, Fast Private Browser for....android! On 17th November 2016 Mozilla announced Firefox Focus. A free fast and easy to use private browser for iOS. Firefox Focus was filled with goodies. From inbuilt tracker blocking, content blockers to making privacy the first class citizen. It was all of that. Wrapped in a nice package, but only for Apple Ecosystem. The argument for having focus was to make privacy dead simple and default experience for most people out there. An excellent read is this article "Privacy made simple with Firefox Focus".
And while this was all fine, a lot of us were severely disappointed that we don't have an android version. That all changes now.
Mozilla has released a port of the Firefox Focus source code and I decided to build a port from it. And this is how it looks in my One Plus One.
If you notice it looks almost similar to its iOS counterpart. Focus blocks tracking cookies by default in its system. But there are small design c…

LinuxCon China 2017: Trip Report

Linux Foundation held a combination of three events in China as part of their foray into Asia early this year. It was a big move for them since this was supposed to be the first time Linux Foundation would hold an event in Asia. I was invited to present a talk on Hardening IoT endpoints. The event was held in Beijing, and since I have never been to Beijing before I was pretty excited for the talk. However, it turned out the journey is pretty long and expensive. Much more than a student like me can hope to bear. Normally I represent Mozilla in such situations, but the topic of the talk was too much into security and not aligned much with the goals of Mozilla at that moment. Fortunately, Linux Foundation gave me a Scholarship to come and speak at LinuxCon China which enabled me to attend LinuxCon and the awesome team at Mozilla TechSpeakers including Michael Ellis and Havi helped me get ready for the talk.

The event was held at China National Convention Center. It's a beautiful and …