Author: John "Pathfinder" Lester

John "Pathfinder" Lester is a leader and expert in Community Development, Knowledge Management, 3D Simulations, Multiuser Virtual Worlds and Immersive Learning. His background is in neuroscience research and medical education, and he previously worked at Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts General Hospital and Linden Lab. John is currently the Chief Learning Officer at ReactionGrid, helping clients develop new systems for immersive learning using next-generation virtual world platforms that integrate with the web. John is also Community Developer and Creative Advisor at Wiggle Planet, helping create free range, self-animated artificial life at the intersection of augmented reality and the physical world. For more contact info please see http://about.me/pathfinder

Wiggle Planet Educational Game Demo at CES 2016

Exciting times here at Wiggle Planet!  We just finished creating an educational game demo featuring our Wiglet characters working with the new Square Panda Playset.

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The Square Panda Playset is an accessory to the iPad that utilizes physical letters and an electronic playset to wirelessly connect to the iPad and engage children in multi-sensory games that explore phonics and basic reading skills.

Our game demo titled “Monster Dance Party” was included in presentations with Square Panda’s release at CES 2016 in Las Vegas.

Check out the video below for a full tour of Monster Dance Party:

This project was a lot of fun, and we’re looking to do more!  If you’re interested in developing innovative games and apps that leverage big data with emotionally-resonant dynamic characters that truly have a life of their own, we’d love to talk with you.

– John Lester
Lead Technology Evangelist, Wiggle Planet

 

In The News: Wiggle Planet in The Press Democrat

Wiggle Planet was recently featured on the front page of the The Press Democrat.  The leading article discussed the rise of coworking spaces in Sonoma County, and the front page photo featured Wiggle Planet founder Jeffrey Ventrella and his dog friend Otto.

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Wiggle Planet in the News: “Petaluma startup’s educational app plays with reality”

Petaluma’s primary newspaper, the Petaluma Argus Courier, just ran a great piece about Wiggle Planet.

Wiggle Planet has developed a software platform that allows for the creation of emotionally intelligent animated characters that can inhabit the world around us through geolocation-based augmented reality.

Wiggle Planet has developed a software platform that allows for the creation of emotionally intelligent animated characters that can inhabit the world around us through geolocation-based augmented reality.

“Petaluma startup’s educational app plays with reality”

What if you could open a book and have the characters spring to life from the pages to play and interact with? It sounds like fantasy, but the creative minds at Petaluma-based Wiggle Planet, are making it reality — an “augmented reality” that has the potential to disrupt the educational and entertainment industries.

Founded by Jeffrey Ventrella in 2012, Wiggle Planet has developed a software platform that allows for the creation of emotionally intelligent animated characters that can inhabit the world around us through geolocation-based augmented reality. Differing from virtual reality, augmented reality is a layer of the digital world on top of the real world. Augmented reality incorporates the real world as opposed to virtual reality that is designed to escape it.

It sounds complex, but for the average person it’s simple. The user downloads a Wiggle Planet app and through it is able to see and interact with a unique variety of animated characters called Wiglets that are “artificially alive.” Through the software they’ve developed, the Wiglets incorporate artificial intelligence, virtual physics and genetic inheritance, which make them completely different from the characters in video games.

“They are dynamic characters that can be used in particular for storytelling,” said John Lester, lead technology evangelist for Wiggle Planet. “They are not pre-programmed or scripted agents. They are artificially alive. They have dynamic, evolving behaviors. And the best way to summarize it is this: it’s augmented reality plus artificial life as an overlay on the physical world.”

Check out the full article for lots of great information!

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Peck Peck, an animated character created by Wiggle Planet, stands outside the Petaluma Historical Library & Museum.

-John “Pathfinder” Lester
Lead Technology Evangelist, Wiggle Planet

The Future of Digital Storytelling with Dynamic Characters at #DigitalHollywood

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Looking for the Future of Digital Storytelling with Dynamic Characters?

Here’s our new one-sheet handout that summarizes how we’re making it happen.

Look for us at Digital Hollywood 2015 this week!

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Team Wiggle Planet

Wiggle Planet at Digital Hollywood 2015

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We’re thrilled to announce that Jeffrey, the founder of Wiggle Planet, will be presenting on a panel at the Fall 2015 Digital Hollywood Conference.

The conference will be held October 19th – 22nd at the Ritz Carlton in Marina del Rey, California.

Here are the details on Jeffrey’s panel:

AR – VR and the Human Brain:
The Impact of Neuromarketing on the Real-Time Design of Immersive Entertainment and Advertising Productions
Tuesday, October 20th, 2015
9:45 AM – 11:00 AM – The VR – AR – Immersive Track

As part of Team Wiggle Planet’s push to explore the future of immersive entertainment/education and how Wiglets intersect with all of these innovations, JeffreyJohn Lester and Jackie Van Winkle will be attending the entire event from Oct 19th to the 22nd.

If you’re in the neighborhood and would like to connect with us, please drop us a line at info@wiggleplanet.com.

-Team Wiggle Planet

 

Give us Feedback and we’ll Send you a Real (Physical) Augmented-Reality-Enabled Greeting Card

We love creative ideas about the future of artificial life, augmented reality and Wiglets.

And we also want to build a community that supports people who are fascinated by all this as much as we are.

So we’ve put together a short survey to help us learn more.  As a reward for completing it, we’ll snail-mail you a Wiglet Greeting Card that will show you something special when you use the free Peck-Peck’s Perch app.

These are high-quality color printed cards that are blank on the inside for you to use however you wish (send to a friend or keep for yourself).

You'll get one of these high-quality color printed greeting cards!

>>> Click here to take the Survey! <<<

Take care,
-John “Pathfinder” Lester

Wiglet on a Wiener: How to make your own Wiglet videos

How did I make this video?  Read on to learn!

Initial Preparation: You’ll need to make sure that your iPhone/iPad is upgraded to iOS 8 and that your desktop/laptop Mac is upgraded to OS X Yosemite.  Also, your iPhone/iPad must be a newer model that uses a cable with an 8-pin Lightning connector for recharging.  Unfortunately, devices that use cables with the older 30-pin connector won’t work.

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If the end of the cable that plugs into your iPad/iPhone looks like this, then you’re all set.

Install Peck-Peck’s Perch on your iPhone/iPad and then visit Wiggle Planet’s Shop to download and print out our free augmented reality markers.

“I’m ready for my closeup. Let’s get going!”

Step 1: Connect your iPhone/iPad to your computer using the Lightning cable.  Open QuickTime Player on your Mac and choose “New Movie Recording” from the File menu.

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Step 2: Click the little arrow next to the red record button and choose iPhone or iPad as the source camera. Also select your device name in the Microphone section to record all audio coming out of your iOS device.

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Step 3: Run Peck-Peck’s Perch on your iPad/iPhone and press the red record button on your Mac to start the recording.

Point your iPad/iPhone at one of the printed augmented reality markers and let the fun begin!  When you’ve had enough, click the stop button and save your movie on your Mac.  You can then upload it to Youtube to share with the world.

If you make a cool Wiglet video, please leave a comment so we can check it out.  Thanks!

Take care,
-John “Pathfinder” Lester