Space & Innovation

Hail an Uber 'Copter At Sundance Film Festival

On-demand helicopters are a ride option for attendees at big international events. Regular Joes could be next in line.

Late for your meeting with major investors? Need to rush to your own movie premiere? Not to worry: Uber has high-fliers covered with on-demand helicopter rides.

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This week, the ride-sharing service will be offering Sundance Film Festival attendees the option of hailing a helicopter from Salt Lake City International Airport directly to Park City, Utah. The 15-minute ride costs a mere $200 per person during the day and $300 at night, according to the LA Times.

The film festival definitely isn't Uber's first time in the air. Over the past couple years, "UberCopters" have been in service for Cannes, Coachella, the Formula 1 United States Grand Prix, and Fourth of July rides from New York City to the Hamptons, the LA Times reported. Each time, Uber partnered with local helicopter operators.

But Uber's partnership with Airbus for Sundance has sparked rumors that the company is serious about having more passengers "get to the choppa!" on a permanent basis. Airbus says this is a pilot project (no pun intended). If it continues, they'll be competing with the NYC startup Blade, which has actually been called "the Uber of helicopters."

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Previous helicopter rides from Uber haven't come cheap, and generally cost between $400 and $600 per person. Or, for some events, a single privacy-seeker could book the whole helicopter - including door-to-door SUV service - for $3,000.

Hitching a helicopter for a mere 40-mile ride from the airport isn't the choice of my travel dreams. Instead, I'd log into an app that would send over a real Faraday Future car. I'll be at Terminal One wearing warm winter boots and a swanky parka.

This past week in Las Vegas, thousands of people attended the Consumer Electronics Show, where exhibitors showed off the latest in electronic devices. Among the technologies trending were virtual reality gadgets. From goggles to full-body suits to omni-directional treadmills, here's a look at the latest advances in virtual reality.

Microsoft's HoloLens is a wearable holographic system that works with Windows 10. It allows people to project apps onto a variety of surfaces and use them to visualize data, CAD renderings and more.

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3-D HoloLens Augments House And Office[

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The long-awaited release date of the Oculus Rift system has finally arrived. Looks like the VR goggles will ship in March at a cost of about $599. Pre-orders available now.

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At the Consumer Electronics Show, Samsung showed off its Gear VR, an Oculus headset that accommodates a Samsung Galaxy smartphone. The company also demonstrated Rink, a pair of handheld, gesture-based controllers meant to be used with the Samsung Gear VR.

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Look out gamers. PlayStation announced that it's working on more than 100 new games for its forthcoming virtual reality headset.

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Google Cardboard's inexpensive virtual reality goggles inspired others to produce cheaper versions that are compatible with the company's apps. Speck announced its Pocket VR and I Am Cardboard announced its DSCVR Headset -- both designed to display content created for Google's Cardboard VR.

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At the Consumer Electronics Show, HTC released its Vive Pre, a headset meant mainly for developers. It has a front-facing camera that gives wearers a view into the real world. The consumer version of the Vive is expected to begin shipping in April.

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Along with the goggles and headsets that make virtual reality possible, electronic companies are also coming out with gadgets the expand the sensory limits beyond vision. For example, the Tesla Suit from Tesla Studios is a full-body suit that contains small sensors that send out tiny electrical pulses to stimulate different parts of the body, depending on the action happening in the virtual world. You can help fund the Kickstarter campaign

here

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The Vico VR is a wireless tracking device that senses a person's body movements and incorporates those movements in real-time into the virtual world. Here, a player uses the sensor to box.

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Virtuix announced its omni-directional treadmill at last year's Consumer Electronics Show, but this year they used it to host the first-ever eSports tournament in VR. There were four HTC Vive headsets connected to four treadmills. Participants could sign up to join a competitive multiplayer shooter game called Omni Arena.

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Virtual Reality Enters a New Dimension