Popular on Variety Noah Schnapp of “Stranger Things” fame has joined the voice cast of “Wolves in the Walls,” an animated VR series based on Neil Gaiman’s children’s book by the same title. Schnapp will be voicing the brother of Lucy, the main character of “Wolves,” in the second chapter of the series, which is scheduled to premiere in April. “We believe that Noah Schnapp brings a special quality to the brother role,” said “Wolves” director Pete Billington. “As soon as he read his first line, we were smitten. We love him in ‘Stranger Things’ and can’t wait for audiences to hear his performance in ‘Wolves in the Walls.’” Fable, the immersive entertainment company behind “Wolves in the Walls,” shared the casting news exclusively with Variety ahead of Sundance. The company is also using the film festival to announce a new focus on what it calls virtual beings — characters that are powered by artificial intelligence and can respond to and interact with their audience. CREDIT: Courtesy of Fable ×Actors Reveal Their Favorite Disney PrincessesSeveral actors, like Daisy Ridley, Awkwafina, Jeff Goldblum and Gina Rodriguez, reveal their favorite Disney princesses. Rapunzel, Mulan, Ariel,Tiana, Sleeping Beauty and Jasmine all got some love from the Disney stars.More VideosVolume 0%Press shift question mark to access a list of keyboard shortcutsKeyboard Shortcutsplay/pauseincrease volumedecrease volumeseek forwardsseek backwardstoggle captionstoggle fullscreenmute/unmuteseek to %SPACE↑↓→←cfm0-9Next UpJennifer Lopez Shares How She Became a Mogul04:350.5x1x1.25×1.5x2xLive00:0002:1502:15 Fable plans to premiere “Whispers in the Night” this coming summer, when the company is also going to hold a virtual beings conference in San Francisco. But even with that new focus on virtual beings, Fable plans to continue to work on “Wolves in the Walls,” which the company wants to release to consumers once it has finished all 3 parts, likely in 2020.This week, Saatchi, Billington and Shamash argued that virtual beings powered by artificial intelligence can ultimately make such VR stories more meaningful, even if they may exist on multiple screens. Most consumers would not watch VR movies for longer than a couple of minutes, said Saatchi.However, smart displays and phones might provide an opportunity to interact with virtual characters far more often, and for longer periods of time — which could ultimately lead to characters inviting viewers to join them in VR again. “I don’t think it cannibalizes VR at all,” he said.And some of that artificial intelligence-based interactivity may even find its way back into “Wolves in the Walls,” suggested Shamash: “‘Wolves’ will be this living, breathing thing.” CREDIT: Courtesy of Fable “We are changing the make-up of our team radically to add machine learning folks,” said Fable co-founder and executive producer Edward Saatchi.Fable’s first foray into this new area of interactive story-telling with virtual beings is called “Whispers in the Night,” which is a kind of spin-off of “Wolves in the Walls.” In the piece, viewers get to interact with Lucy, the main character of “Wolves in the Walls,” and even have conversations with her. “‘Whispers is a natural language processing project where you can talk to a character,” said Saatchi.Much like “Wolves in the Walls,” “Whispers in the Night” is also a VR experience, but Saatchi said that the company was working on quickly bringing the character to other mediums as well, including smart displays like Facebook’s Portal and Amazon’s Echo Show.Fable wants to tie those different types of screens together by making Lucy a character that is not only able to respond to her audience, but actually remember things. “With ‘Whispers,’ we are exploring this idea of memory,” said the piece’s creative director Jessica Shamash. “She doesn’t reset and forget everything,” added Billington. And by remembering things that people tell her, Lucy is going to personalize the experience for each and every viewer.
The show titled Flow is a revolutionary form of theatre that combines the art of dance with storytelling. Organised by Zorian Cross Productions and Art in Motio, the production will showcase over six forms of dance (including ballet, lyrical contemporary, modern and theatre jazz) with six different genres of music (including Broadway, 80’s pop, classical, and EDM), in six different stories showcased within the span of an hour and a half.Directed by Zorian Cross, Flow consists of a team of three choreographers and thirteen dancers to create an epic show the city has ever seen. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’Cross is a multi-award–winning actor and playwright. In just five years of theatrical experience, he has played major roles in plays by authors ranging from Shakespeare to Dario Fo, as well as his own original work. His first original play, The Coming Out, not only became a local sensation at the 2011 Short+Sweet theatre festival in Delhi, but also won him the Best New Talent award for acting and writing. The play went on to be performed in five different cities across the world, winning five awards in Bangalore and one in Sydney. He plans to revolutionise the Delhi theatre scene through his company – Zorian Cross Productions with the aim of promoting original work and discovering and nurturing fresh talent. The company’s debut production, Game Night, became the biggest theatrical sensation of the year, garnering over eight sold out shows. When: 25 October Where: Kamani Auditorium, Mandi House, Timing: 7 pm
Strength training over a short time period may be a fast and effective strategy for reducing risk of fatty liver disease and diabetes in obese people, a study has found. Researchers from University of Campinas in Brazil investigated the effects of strength-based exercise on liver fat accumulation, blood glucose regulation and markers of inflammation in obese mice. According to a study published in the Journal of Endocrinology, strength training can reduce fat stores in the liver and improve blood glucose control in obese mice. Also Read – Add new books to your shelfThe study reports that strength training over a short time-period, less than would be enough to change body fat composition in humans, was sufficient to reduce the accumulation of liver fat and improve regulation of blood glucose in obese mice. Obesity is a growing, global health epidemic that needs more effective intervention strategies to avoid debilitating complications including fatty liver disease and diabetes. Approximately 94 per cent of obese people are diagnosed with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Also Read – Over 2 hours screen time daily will make your kids impulsiveThis increases the risk of type 2 diabetes and its associated serious complications, including nerve and kidney damage. Although increased physical activity is a widely accepted method of improving health and aiding weight loss, the relative benefits of different types, durations and intensities of physical activities are still under much debate. A wealth of research has focussed on the benefits of energy-burning aerobic exercise, with the potential benefits of muscle-building strength and resistance training often neglected. For the study, obese mice were made to perform strength training over a short time-period, the equivalent of which in humans would not be enough to change their body fat composition. After this training the mice had less fatty livers, reduced levels of inflammatory markers and their blood glucose regulation was improved, despite no change in their overall body weight. “The fact that these improvements in metabolism occurred over a short time suggest that strength training can have positive effects on health and directly affect liver function and metabolism,” said Leandro Pereira de Moura from University of Campinas.
The rise of the sharing economy over the past few years has shifted mindsets and traditional business models. Consumers are much more open to renting items and services from individuals instead of established businesses and organizations. This is shaking up engrained business models and allowing for new possibilities in the global marketplace. The peer-to-peer sharing models, like Spinlister (where I work) and Lyft, offer new and unique options for transportation at your fingertips.Related: 8 Ways the ‘Internet of Things’ Will Impact Your Everyday LifeSharing has gone mobile. A decade ago the sharing economy was fragmented and limited in its practical use. First, people had to accept the idea of sharing. People had to be willing to trust the community and take a risk on another person actually delivering that good or service.Second, when people began sharing they were unable to do so on a global level. That made it difficult to sustain any real income. Before mobile devices were widely available, sharing was limited to informal personal networks or websites offering limited services via the Internet. AirBNB probably would have succeeded regardless of mobile technology, but what about the other major players that help drive the sharing economy as a whole?Advances in mobile technology have propelled an entirely new marketplace with people sharing everything. More importantly, it has made the fulfillment of immediate or impulsive needs possible and convenient. It helps complete transactions that start online, coordinate multiple parties and make the entire experience frictionless.Sharing would struggle if it weren’t convenient and it would never be convenient without mobile technology. People are constantly on the go and busy. If an item they’re trying to share is on their person, they need a way to update the location of those goods to be truly useful and frictionless for both sides. Mobile technologies have opened the doors for people to effortlessly share goods and make money.The realization that idle goods can generate significant income, and mobile technology makes sharing those goods easy, has transformed the sharing economy into a multi-billion dollar industry. A recent internal study commissioned by us at Spinlister found that only 4 percent of Americans have used AirBNB or Uber. Imagine how big the sharing economy will be once it hits 20, 30, 40, or 50 percent saturation.Related: The Internet of Things May See Huge Growth, So Companies Want in NowSharing in an interconnected era. I was recently discussing a concept called The Internet of Things (IoT) with a brilliant young engineer working within an exclusive technology development department at a major electronics company. There is a race to develop hard goods that both serve a function and connect directly to the Internet, other goods and devices. That information can be relayed into third party applications.For Instance, imagine you need a eight-foot step ladder. With IoT, you could locate the ladder nearest to you. Add that data to a sharing economy platform and you could share almost every object you own! This is an extreme example but it illustrates how mobilization technology will expand the sharing economy in the future.While practical use of this technology is likely five to 10 years out for major product lines, I expect these applications will trickle down to everyday goods over the next decade or two. Within that time frame I also expect the sharing economy to mature, more major players will emerge and a critical mass of people will regularly use a sharing economy platform.Once IoT is added into the equation, people will start thinking of mobility in terms outside of their mobile phones. This “mobility of things” will open the door to the sharing of almost everything you can think of. It will be easy, fluid, cheap and revenue generating.The sharing economy movement is the gold rush of our generation. The advances in mobile technology will strengthen the marketplace while making it easier and more convenient for all parties involved to participate.Related: What’s the Right Path for Startups Entering the ‘Internet of Things’? 4 min read September 22, 2014 Free Webinar | Sept. 9: The Entrepreneur’s Playbook for Going Global Growing a business sometimes requires thinking outside the box. Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Register Now »
February 16, 2015 Free Webinar | Sept. 9: The Entrepreneur’s Playbook for Going Global 2 min read Register Now » Growing a business sometimes requires thinking outside the box. Say sayonara to Helpouts, Google’s live video-discussion tool. The tech giant is pulling the plug on Helpouts on April 20.Google launched Helpouts in 2013 as a way for entrepreneurs and topic experts to share information and connect with customers online. A sort of cross between YouTube and Google Hangouts, the tool allowed people to host or attend live video demonstrations and conversations, where experts could provide one-on-one advice in real time.Related: Google Is Giving Away 2GB of Permanent Storage to Users Who Perform Security ChecksUnlike Hangouts, business owners and experts who used Helpouts were able to charge a fee for each video session, with Google taking a percentage of that, of course. “The Helpouts community includes some engaged and loyal contributors, but unfortunately, it hasn’t grown at the pace we had expected,” Google said in a post announcing the shutdown. No word on exactly how many experts were utilizing Helpouts or on how many people in general were on the platform. A Google spokesperson did not immediately return an email seeking comment.Google says people will be able to use Google Takeout to download their Helpouts history between April 20 and November 1.Related: 26 Little-Known Facts About Google (Infographic)