Augmented Reality NFTs and how Atari founder is behind it

NFTs have been one of the most successful blockchain-powered technologies of the last few years. While Bitcoin is still the main cryptocurrency and becoming a bit of a household name by now, Ethereum has solidified itself as the main environment for blockchain technology and innovation. NFTs are just the tip of the iceberg, and an important one at that, bringing more creative initiatives, from artworks to entire games, into the heart of the crypto world.

With this entirely new world to explore, it’s no surprise that more daring entrepreneurs would be willing to venture into it and find out with this new market has to offer. This time it’s Atari’s founder, Nolan Bushnell, who is developing innovative NFTs. Check it out.

Atari is delving into the blockchain

Bushnell is not alone in this. Recently, Atari, the company that created the first arcades and video games, has created a new company division, Atari Blockchain, dedicated to making blockchain content and technology, headed by Atari’s (now Atari Gaming) former CEO, Fred Chesnais.

When Chesnais had first become Atari’s CEO, he was given the arduous challenge of giving new life to a company which had long been outshined in the gaming world, was seen more as a relic of the past, and consequently had gotten into numerous debts. They were nearly bankrupt, and needed a miracle to take them out of it. Chesnais was that miracle. And crypto was a part of it.

Atari is going deep into the blockchain, creating games that take advantage of the blockchain’s inherent connection to cryptocurrency, such as Decentraland, a 3D environment made in partnership with Decentra Games, as well as Atari Casino, it’s own crypto-based online casino, which lives within Decentraland. And now they also have their own coin, Atari Token.

Bushnell’s project

While Bushnell is not ahead of Atari anymore, he never stopped working and innovating. He has been responsible for creating companies such as Modal VR, which creates large-scale VR environments, Anti-Aging Games, which creates games that help prevent brain aging (by training memory, concentration, among others), and BrainRush, a developer of educational games.

With his new project, however, he’s now looking back a bit, into the beginnings of Atari. The augmented reality NFTs he’s developing in partnership with VFX veteran Zai Ortiz bring to life the past successes of the company.

They consist of realistic 3D renderings of the old arcade consoles that Atari used to develop, remaining true to their style from those times, and bringing with them the old games they used to house. And they’ll be playable! Being AR, you can just put it on your phone and render it whenever you like, be it in your living room or in the middle of the street.

This collection, called “The Arcade OG Series”, consists of five different NFT collectibles, each of them featuring an unique arcade design, with the auctions beginning on 12 October in NFT platform Makerspace, some of them being unique, while others featuring multiple copies. And some of them also come with other, real life bonuses. One grants you a trip to Two Bit Circus in Los Angeles, along with Bushnell himself, and another will also get you an original Atari 2600, still in its unopened box, signed by Bushnell. This is the perfect collection for video-game enthusiasts and people that lived in those early days of gaming. It’s no wonder that one of the NFTs, a red Pong arcade, has as of writing a bid of 18 ETH (about 70 thousand dollars).

Of course, Bushnell doesn’t intend to stop there, and intends to bring about some more innovative NFTs soon. And so does Atari. Maybe we will see some other NFTs like those in the near future too, as Atari has a wide portfolio of classic games and hardware that still feed people’s nostalgia.

China is Creating a 1 km Long Spaceship

Biggest Spaceship In History

Yes, you read that right. A one kilometer long spaceship. If you’re more used to the American imperial units, that’s about 0.6 miles. For comparison, that is bigger than any of the Enterprise ships in Star Trek,  and more than half the size of the classic Star Destroyers from the original trilogy of Star Wars. This spaceship is pretty big even for science fiction standards.

China has been investing heavily in developing aerospace technology and technology in general for some time now, and this has already led to the creation of companies and products that manage to rival American, European, Japanese and Korean ones. In matters of space exploration, they have already put satellites into orbit and have been working on creating their own space station, the Tiangong, but the news about this huge spaceship has come as a surprise to everyone, considering that even the US wouldn’t dream of it nowadays.

Let’s see what this is all about.

The Spaceship is a Long-Term Project

Information on the spaceship came from a research outline released by the Chinese government, defining the construction of spaceships of that size as a future objective and beginning a feasibility study that should last about five years.

While with today’s technology building that spaceship would be pretty challenging, the Chinese government aims to direct research towards making them more feasible, such as by developing new kinds of materials and improving manufacturing process and engineering technology so they would be cheaper to build while also being more durable.

Still, the fact that this is actually being researched means that it is likely to become reality.

The possibilities

But, how would it be possible to build a spaceship that big?

To build it, the clear answer is of course to just build it here on Earth. It’s much easier to haul equipment from one place to another, you have a lot of workforce available and it’s much cheaper. The problem however would be to launch it: a spaceship that big would have to handle a lot of drag while leaving the atmosphere, which would not be feasible at all. It would require huge amounts of fuel just to do that, meaning room and materials that would likely be unused when in space.

The other option would then be to build it in space, Star Trek style. While we don’t have anything nearly as big as the franchise’s Utopia Planitia Mars shipyard, the spaceship could be built over the course of years by hauling equipment, materials and people back and forth, something which could be streamlined with the help of new technologies such as 3D printing.

China’s Tiangong could help with that, but something like a Moon base would make it much easier to store supplies and house more people, so that less trips would be needed. However, we’re still a bit far away from that right now.

Challenges to overcome

And, of course, even if it’s possible to build the ship, there are also many challenges involved in making it actually work.

First, there is radiation. While a 1 km long spaceship could house a lot of people, that won’t matter if they constantly have to deal with radiation poisoning. The farther away you are from Earth’s atmosphere, the greater the radiation is. That means a lot of materials spent just on radiation shielding.

Another problem is orbits. While Star Trek makes it look easy, keeping a spaceship or space station in orbit is pretty difficult, because the orbit is never perfect. Even the Moon is slowly moving away from us. You have to keep adjusting your speed in order to make sure you stay in orbit. And the more mass you have, the more fuel you need in order to change your speed. And a 1 km long spaceship is going to have a huge amount of mass.

With this length, even vibrations would be a pretty big problem. A thruster fired on the front of a spaceship that long could make it shake from side to side as if it were a piece of wire. This also means that it’s necessary to invest in new kinds of dampening techniques so that future spaceships don’t become a giant rattle with humans inside. Maybe Star Trek’s “inertia dampeners” aren’t too far off.

Still, this is thrilling news, as this kind of research is bound to bring us many new kinds of technology, even if not related to the aerospace field.