Items tagged with Virtual Reality

It's game-on between the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift, both of which are battling for supremacy in the virtual reality space, but is one better than the other? That's a point of debate—both have their pluses and minuses, and while you're putting check marks underneath each one for various categories, go ahead and give one to the Vive in the teardown section. The Vive proved slightly easier to operate on than the Rift, according to the experts at iFixIt who don't get a bit wobbly in the knees when tearing down expensive hardware. Just as they did with the Rift last month, the fearless crew made quick work of disassembling the many parts that make up the Vive, starting with the interchangeable foam... Read more...
The competition is heating up in the virtual reality arena, not just on the consumer side with headsets like the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive, but for content creators as well with an increasing number of hardware options. GoPro seems particularly interested in the category as it expands its VR lineup to include the Omni, a six-camera rig for recording 360-degree video. Priced at $5,000 for an all-inclusive setup, the Omni isn't cheap, but it's more accessible than GoPro's $15,000 Odyssey package or Facebook's $30,000 Surround 360 platform. It's also a much more compact system than either of those solutions—the cube-shaped device is just big enough to hold half a dozen HERO4 Black cameras and proprietary... Read more...
It turns out that Huawei had something more up its sleeve than a pair of smartphone launches. In addition to recently unveiling its P9 and P9 Plus handsets, Huawei decided to formally throw its hat in the virtual reality ring by unveiling its own VR headset, one that will go up against Samsung's Gear VR gadget.Similar to the Gear VR, Huawei's headset requires a smartphone. Specifically, it's designed to work with the company's two aforementioned handsets, along with its larger Mate 8 device, any of which slide into the viewer and connect using a USB cable. All three phones feature Full HD 1080p displays, so Huawei won't be setting any resolution records here.In lieu of that, Huawei points out... Read more...
Let's face it folks, the practice of taking selfies is here to stay. So are selfie sticks, for that matter. Rather than fight it, Facebook and its Oculus division are embracing it, taking a real-world trend and injecting into the virtual world. It sounds a little silly on the surface, but it's a logical extension that could lead to some interesting use case scenarios. Out in San Francisco at Facebook's F8 developer conference, Facebook CTO Mike Schroepfer covered his face with a Rift headset. So did an engineer named Michael Booth, who was back at Facebook's headquarters in Menlo Park. The two VR buddies then went on a virtual trip together to London, and much to the crowd's delight, they took... Read more...
As the owner of Oculus and its Rift headset, social networking giant Facebook has an obvious vested interest in virtual reality. For VR to succeed, there needs to be compelling content that will make people buy the hardware and jump on the bandwagon, and to ensure that content creators have the tools they need, Facebook today introduced a 360-degree camera at its F8 Conference. Appropriately enough, the prototype camera is part of a high quality, 3D video capture system called Surround 360. The camera itself features 14 wide-angle cameras that circle what looks like a UFO attached to a stick. There's also a fish-eye camera on top and two more on the bottom for a total of 17 lenses. The Surround... Read more...
Former Saturday Night Live comedian and current U.S. Senator Al Franken (D-MN) has some concerns with the Oculus Rift's privacy policy and whether or not all the data collection taking place is truly necessary for the VR headset to function. He jotted those concerns down in an open letter to Oculus CEO Brenden Iribe and requested that he respond by May 13, 2016. "When done appropriately, the collection, storage, and sharing of personal information may enhance consumers' virtual reality experience, but we must ensure that Americans very sensitive information is protected," Franken wrote in his letter. The Rift's privacy policy has come under scrutiny now that headsets have begun shipping out to... Read more...
Whether or not this latest push for virtual reality resonates with consumers and brings the technology into the mainstream remains to be seen. But it appears that all of the major players in the space, from the GPU manufacturers, to game developers, and VR leaders like HTC, Oculus, Samsung and Sony (among others) are all in it for the long-haul this time around. Some of us here at HotHardware have witnessed everything from the introduction of the Nintendo Virtual Boy to Virtuality pod-laden movie theaters first hand, and can say with certainty that the latest wave of VR technology is head and shoulders above anything that’s come before it and the companies involved are infinitely more optimistic... Read more...
The Oculus Rift has finally begun shipping to fans that have been eagerly anticipating their pre-orders.  For many, the Rift is the virtual reality device beat despite the best efforts of HTC, Sony, and others.  According to some, however, the Oculus Rift may come with a greater cost than its $599 pricetag and we aren't talking about the beast of a gaming machine you'll need to adequately power it.  Instead, these concerns stem from Facebook's ownership of Oculus.  These concerns have been heard before, of course, back when Facebook acquired the company two years ago, but now Reddit detectives have offered up some evidence to support the suspicions.Photograph from Sergey... Read more...
After first opening up preorders in early January during the Consumer Electronics Show, the Oculus Rift is now shipping to customers. Oculus VR co-founder and CEO Brendan Iribe made the announcement via Twitter yesterday. According to Iribe, early birds will start seeing their shipments arrive Monday, March 28th and we’re sure to receive plenty of unboxing videos and first impressions when that time arrives. Customers that dragged their feet on preorders will unfortunately have to wait all the way until July to receive their Oculus Rift. The first Oculus Rift has shipped, deliveries begin Monday 3.28.2016. pic.twitter.com/C0MMKmezun — Brendan Iribe (@brendaniribe) March 24, 2016 The announcement... Read more...
It's fair to say we're at the early stage of the modern virtual reality and augmented reality movement that's poised to transform the industry. That's evidenced by first generation consumer headsets like the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive, both of which are promising but also expensive and require a relatively powerful PC to run. The VR/AR category will evolve, though a Canadian startup is taking a stab at what a second generation head mounted display (HMD) might be like and it has the backing of AMD. The startup is Sulon and it's built what it claims is the "first and only all-in-one, tether free, 'wear and play' spatially-aware headset for VR and AR." Called Sulon Q, the Canadian outfit unveiled... Read more...
If you have $3,000 to drop on Microsoft's HoloLens or $799 for HTC's Vive headset, more power to you. But for those of you who suffered sticker shock even at Oculus Rft's $599 price tag, there's still Cardboard, the ultra-cheap alternative that works with your smartphone. It's just $15, and it's now available to purchase directly from Google online store.This is the first time Google's sold Cardboard in its store. Up until now, it was only available through third-party sellers, sometimes as part of a bundle. Not anymore—it's available to purchase and in-stock for just $15, or $25 for a two-pack, both with free shipping. You can't beat the price, unless of course you hack a cardboard box at home... Read more...
Virtual reality has captured the hearts and imaginations of consumers and developers alike. In keeping with modern times, even McDonald's is hitching a ride on the hype train with a VR solution of its own. It's the Happy Meal box, which customers can fold up into a set of virtual reality glasses similar to Google Cardboard. McDonald's Sweden is piloting the VR initiative. The fast food chain came up with the idea in conjunction with licensed child psychologists Karl Eder and Fadi Lahdo, who believe that the creation of Happy Goggles can be a learning opportunity for kids and adults alike, one that even brings them together. "New generations are growing up in a in a world where smartphones and... Read more...
Samsung was quite the busy bee today, first by unveiling its new generation Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge handsets (we'll have some hands-on impressions to share tomorrow), and then by introducing the Gear 360, a small but potent 360-degree camera that Samsung thinks can turn us all into VR capture professionals.Be sure to check out our just-posted Hands-On Video Demo Of The Galaxy S7, Galaxy S7 Edge And Gear 360 VR That's the hope, anyway. Samsung is (rightfully so) trying to capitalize on the fast emerging field of virtual reality. So far, the bulk of VR solutions have concentrated on the content consumption side of things—headsets like the Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, and of course Samsung's... Read more...
Everyone and their uncle is on the verge for releasing a virtual reality (VR) product to retail. Case in point, Oculus is taking pre-orders for its Rift headset, the first batch of which will ship in late March, while pre-orders for HTC's Vive will kick off later this month. Then you have Google toying with a second generation VR viewer of some kind, and of course Sony is prepping its PlayStation VR platform, which now looks like it will debut this fall.Sony hasn't exactly shied away from talking about its PlayStation VR headset—it's built specifically for the PlayStation 4 console, sports an industrial, visor-style design, and pairs a Full HD 1080p LCD display with a uniquely developed optical... Read more...
Gaming is often the focus when VR is brought up, and while that could be the "ultimate" use for the tech, other content can make it seem just as worthwhile. In time, we could see full-fledged movies available in VR, and right now, we can find a lot of "one-off" content including music videos. And for sports fans? Well, there are few things as cool as being placed right in the middle of the action. Over the past few months, we've taken the field with the New England Patriots, and were able to see what LeBron James is made of. Now, the folks at the PGA have done us a solid and invited us on the tour to see some of the action up close. With a series of four videos, the PGA takes us to... Read more...
Google's contribution to the virtual reality market so far has been a blueprint for a low-cost viewer that users can can construct at home out of cardboard and a few other parts. It's a thumbing of the nose to the high priced competition—Oculus Rift sells for $599, and you need a relatively powerful PC to run it—but it's not Google's only play. The Mountain View company is said to be cooking up a second generation viewer, one that's much more sophisticated than a cardboard contraption.Earlier in the week, it was rumored that Google's next generation VR headset would feature a plastic chassis and support a wide range of Android smartphones—essentially its own version of Samsung's Gear VR headset,... Read more...
If there's to be an era of virtual reality, it likely begins this year, coinciding with the launch of the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive, the two most high-profile VR headsets up to this point. However, Oculus and HTC aren't the only players—it's said that Google is working on a higher-end successor to Cardboard, it's cheap and chintzy (but effective) viewer for experiencing virtual reality on mobile devices.The next version will be an upgrade in every way, including form factor (it will be a headset instead of a handheld viewer) and additional support for Android. It will feature a plastic chassis instead of cardboard, along with integrated sensors and lenses, but it won't be a standalone headset—it... Read more...
There's little doubt that Apple has a bit of an interest in virtual reality, but there hasn't been much proof up to this point that the Cupertino company has been planning to take that interest one step further. Well, according to Financial Times, Apple is indeed en route to deliver a VR product to market, and has assembled a large, experienced team, to see it through. The report says that Apple has plucked some VR talent from Microsoft's HoloLens team, as well as from Lytro, the company that gave us our first light-field camera. Beyond that, we learned only last week that Apple has also brought VR expert Doug Bowman into its ranks, which is about as much of a tip-off as we need. Way back in... Read more...
Do you think maybe companies are super excited about the prospects of virtual reality? Samsung certainly is, and its efforts aren't stopping at the Gear VR headset it sells, either. Looking at the content creation side of things, the South Korean electronics maker is opening a studio in New York to produce unique programming and to connect a variety of industry players, including filmmakers, content developers, and industry influencers. Samsung isn't saying a whole lot about its "Samsung Studio" venture, which it announced at the Sundance Film Festival. Only minor details are available—Samsung says it will be located in one of its existing facilities that's currently home to a marketing team,... Read more...
If you have even a passing interest in technology, then you've likely heard about the recent advances in virtual reality. It's the hottest topic in tech right now, particularly as Oculus and HTC ready the release of their respective headsets, and it's drawing in players both big and small. With regards to the former, Apple just added a major player to its ranks.His name is Doug Bowman and prior to joining Apple, he worked as a computer science professor at Virginia Tech. Bowman was also the director of the school's human-computer interaction center, a position he held for five years before taking a sabbatical and joining Apple, and has been involved in several 3D and VR projects.U.S. Navy personnel... Read more...
When it comes to virtual reality technologies, the consensus is that seeing is believing. However, VR isn't just about treating your eyeballs to a plethora of realistic visuals, it's about bombarding the senses as a whole for a truly immersive experience. With that goal in mind, Google today announced the addition of spatial audio support to its Cardboard SDKs for Unity and Android. What spatial audio does is allow users to hear where sounds are coming from. It goes beyond simple left and right side audio and attempts to let developers produce sounds the say humans actually hear it, including above, below, in front of, and behind them. In this case, all that's required is a set of headphones... Read more...
Oculus starting accepting pre-orders for its Rift VR headset yesterday, though at a price many weren't expecting. At a dollar shy of $600, sticker shock reverberated through the Internet community, and not without reason -- Oculus founder Palmer Luckey commented just a few months ago that Oculus Rift would be in the "ballpark" of $350, setting up what would turn out to be an unreasonable expectation. So what happened? In a Reddit AMA, Luckey apologized for the disparity and explained that his "ballpark" comment was made in haste. At the time he, he was trying to dispel the notion that Oculus Rift would cost $1,500, a figure that represented the all-in cost of owning Rift after you factor in the... Read more...
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