Items tagged with Virtual Reality

Growing up, if something broke, you took out some tools and fixed it. These days, however, things are different. It's not that consumers don't have a knack for fixing things, or desire (I believe there are many that still do), but we're living in a sophisticated electronics age with devices that are increasingly difficult to repair. It's refreshing, then, that HTC's Vive Pro bucks the trend, as revealed in a teardown analysis. More often than not, it seems when the folks at iFixIt get their paws on a premium electronic device, it's a scary endeavor for anyone sitting on the sidelines. Need an example? Revisit the iPad 6 teardown from earlier this month, or the Galaxy S9+ teardown that came before... Read more...
If you have been holding off buying a virtual reality headset in anticipating of newer, higher resolution models coming out, HTC has some good news. The company announced today that it is accepting pre-orders for its Vive Pro head mounted display (HMD). It's priced at $799, the same as what the original Vive debuted at, with the first batch of pre-orders slated to ship on April 5. That's the good news. The not-so-awesome news is that the pre-order price covers the headset only—it does not come with any touch controllers or base stations, nor does it include a wireless adapter. That is a major bummer for anyone who does not already own a current-generation Vive system. Those who do can use... Read more...
Motorola has been banging out add-ons called "Moto Mods" for its Moto Z phones, such as an enhanced smart speaker with Amazon Alexa integration, a pico projector, and a 360-degree camera. For its next trick, Motorola appears to be launching a virtual reality headset that is akin to Samsung's Gear VR and Google's Daydream View, but most likely built for Daydream VR in Android and marketed as a Moto Mod. The infamous inside man Evan Blass (otherwise known as @evleaks on Twitter) posted a couple of press renders of the upcoming VR headset and retail packaging. There are no details to go along with the leak, such as specs, pricing information, or a release date. However, one interesting bit is a... Read more...
Qualcomm on Wednesday announced a new virtual reality (VR) reference platform based on its flagship mobile chip, the Snapdragon 845. This is the same system-on-chip that Samsung for its Galaxy S9, which is expected to be announced at Mobile World Congress (MWC) later this month, which packs power computing and graphics muscle that Qualcomm hopes to leverage for VR. "We continue to deliver new advancements in technologies for our customers to utilize as they aim to capitalize on the growing standalone and smartphone VR industry," said Hugo Swart, Head of Virtual and Augmented Reality Business Group, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. "With the Snapdragon 845 Mobile VR Platform, we’re supporting... Read more...
In the wake of aggressive price slashing from the competition in recent months, HTC just showed the world that it is committed to VR, now and into the future. At CES, the company announced the Vive Pro, a upgraded version of the original Vive VR headset with a higher resolution and other tweaks, and a new wireless adapter that is compatible with both the original Vive and the new Vive Pro. Let's start with the new headset. The Vive Pro's biggest upgrade is the resolution—it has been bumped up to 2880x1660, or 1440x1600 per eye, which translates to 615 pixels per inch. Some were expecting an upgrade to 4K, but what HTC unveiled instead is a 78 percent increase over the Vive's 2160x1200 (1080x1200... Read more...
So apparently Apple is really committed to releasing an augmented reality headset in the not-too-distant future. To accelerate its efforts, Apple has gone out and acquired Vrvana, a startup from Montreal, Canada, that ran an unsuccessful Kickstarter campaign for its Totem headset. That piece of hardware never came to market, but the engineers behind it will not have a chance to contribute to something potentially bigger. Citing two unnamed sources, TechCrunch says Apple paid $30 million for Vrvana. The site also claims that when it reached out to Apple, it refused to comment, but also did not deny the report. It certainly makes sense to us—$30 million is a drop in the bucket for Apple,... Read more...
HTC today cut the cord on virtual reality hardware by introducing the Vive Focus, a standalone VR headset that does not need to be tethered to a personal computer or smartphone. The Vive Focus is a completely self-contained solution with all of the necessary hardware integrated to the headset itself, including a high-resolution AMOLED screen and a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 system-on-chip (SoC). The trade off is that the Vive Focus is not as powerful a solution as the regular Vive, which must be plugged into a relatively burly PC and delivers high-end gaming experiences. However, the Snapdragon 835 is Qualcomm's flagship mobile chipset and should enable some interesting VR experiences, without requiring... Read more...
Virtual reality is proving to be more than a passing fad. Things could have fizzled after the Oculus Rift finally came to market following a hyped up (and successful) Kickstarter run, but what happened instead is that it started a movement. Everybody seems to be jumping on board, from HTC to Microsoft. You can add Apple to the list as well, and not just because of fancy camera technologies in its newest iPhones. Apparently Apple is looking at creating a standalone augmented reality headset within the next two years.Augmented reality (AR) is a form of VR that blends virtual objects into real world settings. Microsoft is pushing mixed reality (capable of both AR and VR experiences) pretty hard... Read more...
Despite all of the hype and excitement surrounding virtual reality over the past couple of years, the market for VR has not grown at the pace Nokia had anticipated or hoped it would. As a result, the company has decided to 'optimize' its investments in VR, starting with halting development of Ozo, a 360-degree VR camera that debuted at $60,000 before receiving a price cut to $45,000. The company is also reducing its workforce as it pivots to digital health. "Nokia Technologies is at a point where, with the right focus and investments, we can meaningfully grow our footprint in the digital health market, and we must seize that opportunity," said Gregory Lee, president of Nokia Technologies. "While... Read more...
(function(d, s, id) { var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0]; if (d.getElementById(id)) return; js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id; js.src = "//connect.facebook.net/en_US/sdk.js#xfbml=1&version=v2.10"; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs); }(document, 'script', 'facebook-jssdk')); Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg is catching heat on social media for what some have called a "disgusting" exploitation of the disaster in Puerto Rico to promote his company's virtual reality efforts. The "corporate stunt," as one Twitter user put it, was a demonstration of Facebook Spaces, a service that allows users to create a 3D virtual avatar of themselves to use with Oculus Rift, and communicate with other... Read more...
Every Star Trek fan in the world has been waiting for a real-life Holodeck to emerge. NVIDIA has gone and built one and is now inviting designers and developers to test it out. Well, sort of. NVIDIA unveiled an intelligent virtual reality platform that is capable of delivering photorealistic visuals and real-world physics, all simulated in a VR environment. Called Holodec, NVIDIA is essentially offering developers the necessary tools to build and immerse themselves into a virtual design lab. "NVIDIA Holodeck empowers designers to bring peers, partners and customers along the design journey to explore intricate, life-like 3D worlds together and ensure that the best ideas are discovered," said... Read more...
Owners of the ASUS ZenFone AR may be tempted to ask their friends and co-workers, "Do you even AR, bro?". Asking that question is a surefire way to solicit puzzled (and perhaps annoyed) looks, but once they see what the ZenFone AR is capable of, those dirty glances and quizzical faces will quickly morph into ones of excited curiosity, and maybe even jealously. That's because this whole augmented reality business is rather new, and the ZenFone AR is one of only two smartphones to support Google's Tango (formerly Project Tango) AR platform (Lenovo's Phab 2 Pro being the other). The ZenFone AR also supports Daydream, Google's virtual reality play. Being Daydream-ready is not quite as exclusive as... Read more...
Do not hold your breath waiting for Nintendo to fully embrace virtual reality gaming. Along with augmented reality and mixed reality experiences, VR has captured the attention of hardware makers and developers who believe that we are on the verge of a revolution in gaming. Not everyone is buying into it, though, and certainly not Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime. "The problem with VR is that there aren't a lot of experiences that are truly fun," Fils-Aime said at Variety's Entertainment and Tech Summit Presented by Twitch.Image Source: Flickr (Jeff Dlouhy) It is not surprising to hear Fils-Aime say that. He said pretty much the same thing two years ago when speaking with Polygon... Read more...
Late last month, Microsoft and Valve announced that Windows Mixed Reality headsets would play nicely with SteamVR content. “Virtual reality enthusiasts know that Steam is a great place to enjoy cutting edge immersive experiences,” said Microsoft Technical Fellow Alex Kipman at the time. “We can’t wait to bring their content to you.” Unfortunately, it appears that this match made in virtual reality heaven will not arrive on October 17th, which is when the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update and Windows Mixed Reality devices will officially launch. According to a new report from German news outlet Computer Base, Microsoft and its partners are only in the beginning stages of incorporating support for... Read more...
Virtual reality could very well end up being the future of gaming. Or it could not—it is just too early to tell at the moment. No company wants to be left behind, however, and it appears as though Nintendo may have baked support for some kind of VR technology into its dual-purpose Switch game console. A peek at the source code reveals a reference to a mysterious "VrMode," leading to speculation as to what Nintendo is cooking up. Have a look: Just found this while looking at IPC interfaces on the Switch. Iiiiinteresting! #reswitched pic.twitter.com/J3QoKrJWKN — Cody Brocious (@daeken) August 27, 2017 The reference was found Cody Brocious, a principal security consultant at Accuvant Labs and founder... Read more...
Researchers from the Université de Montréal have published a study that found certain types of video games resulted in the loss of grey matter in the brain, while other types of video games resulted in an increase. Specifically, the study claims that gamers who frequently play first person shooter type video games like Call of Duty, Killzone, and Borderlands 2 lose grey matter mass in their brain. Researchers say that in FPS gamers, the grey matter mass loss occurs in the hippocampus, an area of the brain that the scientists say is critical to healthy cognition. On the other hand, the study also claims that people who play video games that require significant spatial learning, such as the Super... Read more...
While companies left and right have been jumping on the virtual reality bandwagon that was created in large part by the Oculus Rift, one firm has been curiously absent—Apple. That changed yesterday when Apple announced at its annual developer conference (WWDC) an external graphics enclosure that will enable developers to develop and test graphically demanding apps, including VR content. The "External Graphics Development Kit," as it is called, can attach to any Mac with Thunderbolt 3 connectivity. Support for the enclosure is added through macOS High Sierra, the latest version of Apple's operating system. It is the first time in the history of the Mac that external graphics processors have been... Read more...
Google just pulled off a major VR coup by scooping up Owlchemy Labs, a game development studio based in Austin, Texas that is best known for its VR title Job Simulator. The company's latest game, Rick and Morty Simulator: Virtual Rick-ality, has also helped put Owlchemy Labs on the map, though it is Job Simulator that has racked up multiple awards and was named as an official launch title for the HTC Vive, Oculus Touch, and PlayStation VR. Now Owlchemy Labs is a Google property, though what exactly the sultan of search plans to do with its new development studio is not yet clear. In a short blog post announcing the acquisition, Google praised Owlchemy Labs for setting a high bar in VR engagement... Read more...
Critics had a lot of good things to say about Henry, a short film based around the first original character designed for virtual reality. The protagonist is a less-than-cuddly hedgehog who is lonely and in search of friendship, and he captured the hearts of viewers. Henry ended up winning an Emmy award for Outstanding Original Interactive Program, though despite its success and that of other projects, Oculus has decided to shut down the studio that was pioneering these efforts. This will not happen overnight. Oculus said it is amidst a shift in which it is "winding down Story Studio," which it created two years ago to showcase what VR is capable of. The hope from Oculus was that Story Studio... Read more...
It seems hard to fathom, but it has been nearly a year since Oculus started shipping finalized Rift headsets to the public. The Oculus Rift debuted at $599, a bit more than consumers were expecting, and it did not help matters that Oculus ran into some delays due to component shortages. Nevertheless, it marked the beginning stage of getting VR gaming into the mainstream. Now a year later, a price cut makes the cost of entry a bit more palatable. More on that in a moment. The headset was not the only thing that got delayed. Oculus originally intended to launch motion sensitive Touch controllers in the first quarter of 2016, but instead they arrived in December of last year. Priced at a $199 for... Read more...
In the VR space for the PC, it is largely a two-horse race between Facebook-owned Oculus and its Rift headset and the HTC Vive, the latter of which has the backing of Valve. Interestingly enough, it appears that Valve is also working with LG Electronics on yet another VR headset solution, one that will utilize SteamVR Tracking and the OpenVR platform. Perhaps a price war is not too far off.That is getting a bit ahead of ourselves. It remains to be seen how pricing for VR hardware will shake out in 2017, but in terms of available solutions, LG is going to be joining Oculus and HTC. The company is planning to show off a prototype at the Game Developers Conference that runs from today until March... Read more...
Anticipating demand is not easy. Just ask Nintendo, which grossly underestimated how many gamers would be interested in its NES Classic Edition console. And then there is Sony with its PlayStation VR. Not only did Sony have to anticipate demand for a new product, but it had to factor in how popular VR gaming would be at this early stage. It turns out that Sony was a bit conservative in its thinking as well.Andrew House, global chief executive of Sony Interactive Entertainment, told The New York Times that he had doubts about the VR market catching on so quickly and being a draw in the mass market. He along with some others within Sony had advised the company to temper its expectations and to... Read more...
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