The Weather Channel Used VR to Simulate a Shockingly Realistic Tornado

iStock
iStock

Viewers typically don't tune into The Weather Channel for action-packed thrills, but a shockingly realistic simulation of a tornado that recently aired on live television delivered just that.

As spotted by Poynter, the live segment used immersive mixed reality (virtual reality blended with real backdrops) to demonstrate the damage that a powerful tornado can do. As meteorologist Jim Cantore stood on set explaining how to protect yourself when a tornado hits, a wooden beam launched across the room and smashed through a window. Then, a beat-up sedan crashed through the ceiling, and a wall of the studio was torn off like a Band-Aid. Or so it seemed. 

The Weather Channel has been incorporating augmented reality into its forecasts for a couple years now, but its newest segment on tornadoes, at nearly eight minutes long, is perhaps its most elaborate one yet. It took several months to produce the simulation via Unreal Engine, which is also used by the video game industry. Cantore then wrote the script and rehearsed the dramatization for a few days before going live.

Michael Potts, vice president of design at The Weather Channel, told Poynter this technology represents the future of weather broadcasts.

"Turn on the weather channel in 2020, and 80 percent of the time we might have a set that takes you to a street corner in Cincinnati, or downtown Boston, or Biscayne Boulevard in Miami," he said. "You're not just looking at what the seven-day weather forecast is, but you're being immersed in it. You're feeling it."

Check it out for yourself in the video below:

[h/t Poynter]

This 'Smart' Bed Accessory Will Rock You to Sleep

Damir Khabirov/iStock via Getty Images
Damir Khabirov/iStock via Getty Images

Unlike other consumer goods, mattresses have largely remained exempt from the wave of “smart” home technology. Some mattresses, like the Tempur-Pedic or Sleep Number bed, offer options to adjust their incline or firmness, but the rest are not terribly sophisticated.

Adiva is looking to change that. The company is currently promoting the Adiva One, a “smart” bed accessory that claims sleepers can benefit from a slight rocking motion similar to movement that soothes babies. The device fits under the four legs of a bed frame and gently agitates the mattress while you sleep. Adiva asserts this calming motion can promote deep sleep. Motion sensors clipped to the mattress track the sleeper’s movement, allowing the device to make adjustments on the fly.

Because the attachments fit under furniture legs, they can also be placed under a sofa, in the event you wanted to produce a calming motion while binge-watching television.

Adiva appears to be basing its philosophy on a 2011 study published in the journal Current Biology, which examined the role of a gentle rocking motion like that of cradling a baby or sleeping in a hammock. In the study, 10 volunteers napped on beds that were either stationary or rocked slightly. The shaken sleepers reported a comfortable nap and the study’s authors reported deep sleep was induced more quickly in the shaken subjects versus the stationary ones. The sample size was small, however, and with limited research available on sleep oscillating devices, you might want to opt for the Adiva One with cautious optimism. It works for babies, so it might work for you, too.

The Adiva One is currently being funded via an Indiegogo campaign, where early adopters can purchase the device for $1428, or 53 percent off the expected retail price of $3075. The device is expected to ship beginning in April 2020.

[h/t Digital Trends]

The 8 Best Horror Movies to Stream on Amazon Prime Right Now

A24
A24

Streaming services offer a wide variety of movies, but for October, nothing else but some horror will do. If you’ve gotten your fill of spooky content from Netflix, check out these eight films currently available on Amazon Prime that are guaranteed to send a chill down your spine.

1. Hereditary (2018)

A slow burn that eventually catches fire, Hereditary sees Toni Collette as a mother struggling with her mother's death. When her kids begin experiencing strange visions, Collette will have to face some of the demons lurking in her family's past.

2. Child’s Play (1988)

Chucky will be your friend ‘til the end. Unfortunately, the end might come prematurely and gruesomely in this horror classic about a doll possessed with the spirit of a serial killer (Brad Dourif) who gets adopted by a child and his mother. Pint-sized terror ensues.

3. Rosemary’s Baby (1968)

Mia Farrow experiences a highly complicated pregnancy in this eerie and atmospheric film that continues to shock more than a half-century after its release. While carrying her first child, Rosemary realizes that her high-rise neighbors are taking an unusually strong interest in her offspring.

4. Black Christmas (1974)

Margot Kidder leads a cast of co-eds who find their holiday break less than relaxing when they begin to get picked off by a rampaging killer. Bob Clark directed this 1974 classic, which helped establish the slasher genre as we know it and served as an inspiration for John Carpenter's Halloween. (Nearly 10 years later, Clark would direct a very different kind of holiday-themed classic: A Christmas Story.)

5. Goodnight Mommy (2015)

Looming dread saturates every frame of this stylized Austrian film that sees twin 9-year-old brothers struggling to cope with their mother, who’s come back from a plastic surgery appointment heavily bandaged and acting so oddly that the brothers begin to suspect she may not be their mother at all. An effective third-act twist might compel you to pass the recommendation on.

6. Pumpkinhead (1989)

Special effects legend Stan Winston directs this tale of a grieving father (Lance Henriksen) who targets the teenage gang responsible for his boy’s death by conjuring a vengeful creature.

7. Diabolique (1955)

Two women working at a French boarding school—one married, the other a mistress—decide to put their mutual problem out of his misery. Unfortunately, his demise is only the beginning of their troubles. This moody French film based on a novel was nearly filmed for an American audience by Alfred Hitchcock, but director Henri-Georges Clouzot snapped up the rights first. The result so impressed Hitchcock that he decided to up his game with the classic Psycho (1960). If it impressed the Master of Suspense, it’s worth a look.

8. Trilogy of Terror (1975)

Disclaimer: Only one segment in this made-for-television anthology is worth watching, but it’s a killer. Karen Black stars in three stories, all penned by Richard Matheson (The Twilight Zone), with the third, “Amelia,” the standout. As the title character, Black is a single woman under the thumb of an overbearing mother and hoping to further a relationship with a history professor. She buys an African artifact as a gift for him, then spends the next 25 minutes running for her life when it gains sentience. Pair it with Child’s Play for a great double feature.

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