Trends with Benefits: Watching sports in VR, civilian space travel, real-life cyborgs

Virtual-reality programming is finally here! Fox Sports announced this week that it would broadcast the Big East Men’s Basketball tournament in VR, via the NextVR app. We tried it, and it is an entirely new experience in viewing sports. While it is a little odd “sitting” next to people at a game who may not know you are watching, it’s definitely a unique viewpoint.

What other kinds of programs would be enhanced with VR? Is there any kind of live program that would be a tipping point for you to purchase a system? Let us know in the comments below.

One of the biggest drawbacks of consuming VR content, is that it is mainly a solitary activity. Sure, it’s nice if you’re sitting alone on a couch, but no one wants to be “that person” in a group setting. Oculus announced this week that it is introducing new ways to make the Samsung Gear VR social. In addition to a search function to find friends, you can now interact with each other in select games, like Social Trivia and Herobound: Gladiators.

Amazon may have its its own VR aspirations, if a job advertisement on Glass Door is any indication. It’s not cheap to create this sort of content, but Amazon certainly has the deep pockets to make a run at it. Could this be an opportunity to beat out Hulu and Netflix, in a new type of original content?

Not only is Amazon moving into VR, now its CEO wants to take you to space! Jeff Bezos announced that Blue Origin hopes to launch manned space missions as early as 2017. The goal is to get to a point where the company is sending up 100 suborbital flights a year, via its reusable New Shepard rocket.

Finally, we talk about a topic that sounds like it could come straight from the ramblings of your favorite conspiracy theory friend. The difference is that this is from an actual interview given by the US Military’s own Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). Per CNN, DARPA plans to “open the channel between the human brain and modern electronics.” In other words, make cyborgs a reality. Admittedly there is a lot of good that could come from this, especially for anyone who has a disability. On the other side, it could be a real-life Terminator origin story.

Today’s episode features Rick Stella, Drew Prindle, Caleb Denison and Greg Nibler. Please subscribe and share Trends with Benefits and send in your questions to We also broadcast the show live on Periscope and YouTube every Thursday at 2:30 p.m. Pacific.

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