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Digital Savant

Posted: 11:03 a.m. Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Column: what you missed at Engadget Live on Friday 

GALLAGA: Future of tech may include virtual reality, vaporized spirits
Valentino Mauricio
Michael Gorman, editor of Engadget, demos local company Chaotic Moon’s virtual reality game, “Death From Above,” during Engadget Live at the Austin Music Hall on Friday.

By Omar L. Gallaga

On Friday night, the Austin Music Hall was converted into a small technology expo hosted by Engadget, my tech blog of choice for gadget news. The event, "Engadget Live" was part of a tour that starts in Austin and continues the rest of the year in other cities. You can read my impressions of the event, including what hits and misses for the future of tech were on display, in Tuesday's print edition of the American-Statesman or on

Here's an excerpt from the piece:

Direct hit: It was a good night for local tech startups and the most well-known of them at Engadget Live was Chaotic Moon Studios, which was premiering a new game called “Death From Above.” Chaotic Moon rarely sticks to the script when it comes to public demonstrations. At SXSW in March, the company debuted a stun-gun drone. And yes, someone got Tasered.

“Death From Above” was less shocking, but it drew a huge line because of the medium it’s played in. Using a virtual-reality goggle technology called Oculus Rift, the game simulates driving a jeep through a war zone. There’s a steering wheel, foot pedals and the Oculus Rift itself, which surrounds your field of view with the game in all directions and changes your view as you move your head around. But the twist Chaotic Moon put on “Death From Above” is making the game a two-player experience. A second player uses an iPad as a radar screen to drop bombs, aiming for the jeep.

One Austin startup I neglected to mention in the piece was Plum, which is in the home automation game with lighting pads, smart plugs and other devices.  The company raised more than $307,000 in April for one of its projects on Kickstarter.

Check out the full column here. You can also check out a great video by Efren Salinas that captures the vibe of the event. Did you make it to Engadget Live? If so, what did you think?

Omar L. Gallaga

About Omar L. Gallaga

Omar L. Gallaga writes about technology culture for the Austin American-Statesman. He was a technology correspondent for NPR's "All Things Considered," helping originate the All Tech Considered segment and blog.

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