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Paraplegics rehab in VR, “The Inevitable,” new Rogue One trailer, and much more …

What We're Reading

Welcome to another edition of What We’re Reading, Marxent’s weekly series featuring staff members highlighting the best articles, videos, music and more they saw over the prior 7 days. This week, those finds included stories from The Verge, Vice, Ad Week, YouTube and many more. Up first, it’s …

The Best Thing We Read This Week …

Do you believe in miracles? For many current paraplegics, a miracle is about the only way they thought they would ever walk again. But as explained in an article in Nature, and in the video above — both shared by Marxent Senior Engineer Jeff Cowgill — new breakthroughs could see feeling and mobility restored to people who had traumatic spine injuries. Per the article: “Following 12 months of training with this paradigm, all eight patients experienced neurological improvements in somatic sensation (pain localization, fine/crude touch, and proprioceptive sensing) in multiple dermatomes. Patients also regained voluntary motor control in key muscles below the SCI level, as measured by EMGs, resulting in marked improvement in their walking index. As a result, 50% of these patients were upgraded to an incomplete paraplegia classification.”

The Best Thing We Listened To This Week:

Marxent Senior Unity Designer Brian Turner has this week’s audio highlight: “The new single from Glass Animals, ‘Youth,’ has been stuck in my ear all week. It’s off their upcoming album, ‘How to be a Human Being,'” he explains. “It has a more moody feel than the songs they are known for, but still manages to have that familiar Glass Animals sound.”

The Best Book We Read This Week …

The Inevitable by Kevin KellySenior Content Strategist Joe Bardi (aka, the guy who is writing this post), is flying through Wired editor Kevin Kelly’s new book, “The Inevitable.” Kelly’s 30-years-in-the-future prognostications — on-demand everything, intelligent robots filling more and more jobs now thought of as exclusively human, a network of cloud storage systems that is constantly getting smarter — seem extra-plausible, as he bases all his projections on trends and breakthroughs happening right now.

The Best Thing We Wrote This Week …

Realism lighting

Brian Turner (see our music recommendation above) wrote a great piece on the use of lighting in creating realistic 3D imagery — that’s “realistic,” not to be confused with “real.” “I’ll be focusing on ‘realism,’ which is not to be confused with ‘reality,’ or ‘the real world, or whatever phrase you use to describe the magical dance of energy that engulfs us all,” Brian explains. “I’ll leave it to the philosophers to tackle what is ‘real,’ and instead focus on what makes 3D images look real to the viewer.”

We also added a new entry in our How We Got Here series, this one profiling Jessi Sparks, “Marxent’s Post-It loving, detail-obsessing, User Experience fanatic.” (He official title, if you must know, is Senior User Experience Designer.) You can check out the rest of the How We Got Here series here.

But Wait, There’s More …

Product Manager Vince Kilian shared this behind the scenes piece on the creation of Unity’s “Adam” video — which you may have just read about in Brian’s story about lighting. The video is amazing, but as Sales Director Marcus Athari pointed out, it’s also a tad on the depressing side.

Speaking of 3D design, Nick Kizirnis, Lead of Product Management & User Experience Strategy, shared this link for a very large curated list of articles and videos on all things UX and VR.

We love people who take a moral stand here at Marxent, which is one reason we greatly enjoyed the L.A. Times report on a photographer is suing Getty Images for $1 billion after they billed her for her own photo.

Wrote some really bad erotic fiction? There’s an award for that! Marxent Marketing Creative Director Joe Johnson was the first to track this down, though he’s not the only one currently giggling. Why did he find it so interesting? “I think the work speaks for itself. Badly.”

And Finally …

Darth Vader’s back! That’s literally all you see of Star Wars’ most infamous helmet-head in the new trailer for Rouge One. Plenty of sly hints here. Is it December yet?

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