Fast forward a few years, and the first HoloLens remains on a very limited release.HoloLens 2, however — known under the code name “Sydney” — promises to be a different story altogether.The lack of specific names could indicate that the next generation HoloLens may have different trademarking involved, or something else that Microsoft is saving as a surprise.As for price, the HoloLens 2 won’t be cheap.2.24.19 MWC19 – are you excited?This video does not explicitly show the HoloLens.
Since Oculus first appeared on the scene in 2012, the market has filled with VR headsets and visors on an immense – and perhaps unjustified – wave of hype.Whether you’re looking to play VR video games, watch 360-degree documentaries, or just watch films really close up (for some reason), there are now a host of hardware options you can buy: the Oculus Go, HTC Vive, Samsung HMD Odyssey, and Google Daydream, to name but a few.However, sales of headsets and other VR kit have yet to match the initial hype, and there are plenty of reasons for this: the high costs of developing new hardware, and issues around motion sickness and eye strain and the huge number of headsets now competing for space rightly making consumers wary.When talking about VR hardware, it’s easy to focus on the new specs and processors being touted by its manufacturers, rather than the experiences that users of the tech are – or aren’t – having on the ground.The National Theatre’s latest VR project is Draw Me Close, a joint production with the National Film Board of Canada, which recently had a run of previews at London’s Young Vic Theatre.Walking through a VR simulation with real physical interaction – opening real doors, shutting windows, and being hugged or held by live actors – manages to make characters and objects viewed through a visor feel close and familiar, creating a sense of intimacy and connection amid the isolated nature of virtual experiences.
Based on the footage it looks like it’s a mixture of first-person shooter mechanics with the same style of rhythm-based music gameplay the developer has become known for.Other than the announcement tweet and debut trailer we know basically nothing about Audica at this time.You can see the announcement trailer here:Here’s what the Steam page has to say:Audica is a VR Rhythm Shooter from Harmonix, the makers of Rock Band and Dance Central .Audica is incredibly intuitive and immersive from the first time you play – use your blue and orange blasters to shoot color-coded targets to the beat while in a breathtaking cosmic arena.
Walmart’s cavernous stores apparently aren’t large enough to hold the Hidden World in DreamWorks’ latest How to Train Your Dragon film.Instead, the retailer announced today that it will use its parking lots to host free five-minute VR dragon-riding experiences — and the expected significant lines of people — in an effort to spur merchandise sales at matching gift shops.Developed by Walmart-backed Spatial & in partnership with DreamWorks, the endeavor looks more like a theme park installation than a traditional retail experience.Visitors as young as 8 years old are allowed to participate in the action, which starts with a character greeting at an onboarding tent before moving into a VR world powered by headsets and motion VR chairs.Since the goal of the free ride is to sell merchandise, guests are led directly to a themed gift shop right after they take off the VR gear.A YouTube video of the experience shows fully computer-generated fantasy scenes that look as if they could be straight out of a modern video game, though kids and adults aren’t handed controllers or actually playing anything.
A new book about Facebook's acquisition of virtual-reality firm Oculus has revealed an almost 2,500-word email from Mark Zuckerberg from 2015 detailing his grand vision for AR/VR.Zuckerberg's email was about Facebook's potential acquisition of gaming startup Unity — a deal which never came off.In the email, he says that Facebook's biggest weakness is "innovation."A new book contains a nearly 2,500-word email from Mark Zuckerberg in which he lays out his grand plans to dominate virtual-reality, TechCrunch reports."The History of the Future," by Blake Harris, tells the "larger-than-life true story true story of Oculus," the VR company which Facebook bought for $3 billion in 2014.The email from June 2015 was reportedly sent from Zuckerberg to then-Oculus CEO Brendan Iribe, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, and six other Facebook execs.
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Virtual reality experiences have historically been islands — unconnected apps and videos, sometimes platform-specific — but the past year has seen efforts to tie them together using device-agnostic tools and portals.Mozilla’s vision has been to leverage the web and browsers for VR, and now it’s launching a free WebVR “starter kit” developed with web and app development community Glitch.Their kit is a five-part video course accompanied by interactive code examples, designed to help developers learn to use A-Frame, a free WebVR development framework.A-Frame creates VR content that can be viewed on HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, Google Daydream, and Gear VR headsets, as well as desktop and laptop PCs, including everything from complex 3D animated objects to 360-degree panoramas.“Our hope is that this starter kit will encourage anyone who has been on the fence about creating virtual reality experiences to dive in and get started,” Mozilla explained in a blog post today.To that end, interactive code examples are presented on Glitch’s site alongside step-by-step instructions and a viewing window, enabling developers to see how a “remix” of the code changes the VR output.
Ars Technica’s best games of 2018Over the years, Valve has made dozens of changes to the system-level software behind SteamVR.Most of them aren't inherently interesting if you're not a VR developer.Then there's the latest update, which Valve says was prompted by a change in the "limits of what we thought was humanly possible for controller motion."After looking at "tracking data from Beat Saber experts," Valve says it had to increase the theoretical limits for how quickly a human can move in VR."One of these checks relates to how fast we thought it was physically possible for someone to turn their wrist," Jackson writes.
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Browsers these days are so powerful you can almost do anything in them.The Web, however, is the great equalizer, at least when it comes to supporting platforms.Almost all devices with screens have one and, because of that, there is a large talent pool of web developers more familiar with technologies and languages like HTML and Javascript.Of course, it won’t all happen by magic and developers will still need to work their way around WebGL, which is fortunately also getting more common.Making it a standard, however, is one step in making WebXR available on all browsers, making it accessible to anyone and everyone, no matter the hardware.The Motorola Moto G7 was revealed today with specifications that supplant its predecessors.
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Standards group W3C moved VR and AR on the Web forward this week with the publication of a draft specification.The WebXR Device API “describes support for accessing virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) devices, including sensors and head-mounted displays, on the Web.” When paired with 3D content made in WebGL, the API can turn a standard URL or web address into a portal to another world.Most VR developers build interactive virtual worlds in engines like Unreal and Unity.Programmers often write the underlying logic of those worlds in a language like C .WebXR (which builds on earlier work called WebVR) could open up VR and AR development to developers familiar with Web-based tools like Amazon Sumerian, or languages like Javascript.“The WebXR Device API will provide the first opportunity for AR and VR to help people at web scale,” explained Trevor Flowers, chair of the Immersive Web Community Group.
Last year OrbusVR: Reborn ushered forth as a “ground-up re-imagining” of the VR massively mutliplayer online role-playing game that will aim to relaunch the game sometime this year.This week, we’ve learned OrbusVR: Reborn is set to officially go live in April.With new visuals, new classes, new mechanics, and tons of new features, it may as well be a sequel or complete overhaul rather than just a mere expansion.OrbusVR is, for all intents and purposes, the first VR MMO.Obviously some experiences like AltspaceVR may predate it and there are likely going to be plenty of MMOs in VR created in the coming years, but OrbusVR does hold the crown as the first one to actually release into the market after a successful Kickstarter campaign.It’s a buy-to-play MMO, meaning once you buy it you don’t have to pay a subscription fee or anything like you do in World of Warcraft or Final Fantasy XIV.
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Fancy yourself an international rally champion, blasting sideways down gravel roads all across the world?Well, you'll soon be able to feel like you're doing it for real because Dirt Rally 2.0 will be available for virtual reality racing on the Oculus Rift.Dirt Rally 2.0 arrives on Feb. 26.On Friday, developer Codemasters confirmed on Twitter that the rallying game will also be offered on the Oculus Rift.While there are no further details, it's safe to say that experiencing the game in VR should be a wild ride -- you'll be able to turn your head to look all around (probably not the best idea while going 120 mph over a blind summit).The game's predecessor, Dirt Rally, also offered a virtual-reality experience that launched two years ago.
Spaces has opened its virtual reality entertainment center in a Cinemark movie theater in San Jose, California.It’s all about getting people off their couches so they can be entertained in theaters instead of staying home and watching Netflix.I got off my couch to head over to the VR experience on February 8 at its Century 20 Oakridge and XD theatre in San Jose, California, at the Westfield Oakridge Shopping Center.I was able to try out the Terminator: Savaltion themed “Fight for the Future” VR experience at the theater yesterday.As such, Spaces is getting players at its location-based entertainment centers to feel more immersed in the experience.And now I finally got to trial the real thing in San Jose along with the wacky Perrin Kaplan and Alice Martinez of Zebra Partners.
Whether it’s updating your fantasy football lineup, downloading tickets for the game, or streaming an important matchup while out and about, nearly everything that has made being a sports fan on the go more convenient requires a fast mobile connection.But with the birth of 4G came faster speeds and better reliability that made monumental improvements to the day-to-day life of sports fans — including never missing a ninth inning or a buzzer shot again.So, what happens when the speed of our current networks dramatically increases once again?As 5G technology continues to make its way into the wild, these experts predict a total paradigm shift in how we view, share, and interact with our favorite sports in the coming years.Even on the lower end, it can reliably provide speeds at 100Mbps, which still ranks about five times faster than the majority of home internet connections according to a report from Akamai Technologies from 2017.While 5G’s speed and low latency are amazing, its ability to function in more densely populated environments is another important element, meaning that, in theory, you’ll never have an issue sending that tweet, uploading that video, or posting to Instagram inside the stadium again.
HTC made waves last year when it released the high-powered HTC Vive Pro headset, but now HP could be firing back with an even higher-resolution headset of its own, which is codenamed Copper.The headset was detailed in an exclusive first look piece on the website Road to VR and the outlet skipped no details on what it was like to use HP’s next-gen hardware.In terms of specs, Copper will have dual 2,160 × 2,160 displays (one per eye), which is much higher than the HTC Vive Pro’s 1440 x 1600 pixels-per-eye display.Copper won’t, however, radically improve other key metrics like field-of-view.We've got new details on the Disney+ streaming serviceJust as important as the improved resolution, Road to VR reports that HP will ditch the ‘halo’-style strap that its previous headset used and opt instead for Oculus Rift-style velcro straps that will run along the sides and top of the headset.
Oculus VR’s next-generation Rift headset may be called the “Rift S,” according to Upload VR, which says it’s found new filenames in Oculus’ PC application that support the naming scheme.Additionally, Upload VR reports that setting options in a new version of the user interface code suggest that the device will have cameras built-in, which would mean users don’t need to use external cameras for tracking, as is the case with the current Rift.This all supports a TechCrunch report from November of last year that first surfaced the Rift S name and the idea that the next Rift will have what’s known as inside-out tracking.That means it may have a system of cameras and sensors that let the VR headset position itself and your body in 3D space, instead of requiring external accessories to do so.A number of upcoming VR products use inside-out tracking primarily because it removes the need for those pricey accessories and because it opens up the possibility for wireless play or, at the very least, improved portability of the headset, so you could more easily take it to a friend’s house or on the road with you.That’s not to say that the Rift S, or whatever it ends up being called, will be wireless.
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NTT Docomo has built a 5G-ready system which can stream 8K stereoscopic VR, opening a wide range of possibilities.8K is becoming the next big thing (quite literally, in the case of some displays!)Docomo’s system can stream high-resolution panoramic VR content from any location over 5G.The solution consists of an 8K 3D camera with 360-degree video recording abilities, a Yamaha-developed spherical 3D microphone with 64 channels of audio recording, several computers, and a 5G base station.In order to deal with the processing and bandwidth demands, the carrier is using a new 8K video encoder with a 60 FPS output to limit nausea.Several computers turn the 3D camera’s nine 4K video streams into two 360-degree 8K 3D videos in real-time.
Apple’s Safari browser will soon stop websites from using your phone’s motion data by default, potentially breaking web-based AR and VR experiences that rely on this functionality, reports DigiDay.With iOS 12.2, the company is introducing a new privacy setting called “Motion and Orientation Access” into version 12.1 of its browser, which will be disabled by default.Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but DigiDay speculates that a report from Wired last year is to blame for the changes.The report raised concerns that thousands of sites used scripts that pull data from a phone’s motion-sensors without the user’s consent.Many of these sites then used this data for tracking, analytics-gathering, and audience recognition.Multiple VR and AR developers spoken to by DigiDay said that they expected the changes to break aspects of their sites’ functionality.
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To unfurl an interactive murder mystery, Peter Flaherty knew he wanted to incorporate augmented reality, which overlays digital media on top of the real world, and projection mapping, which shrink-wraps video onto physical objects."The more your body's engaged in any interactive or immersive form, the more meaningful it is," Flaherty said in an interview at the Sundance Film Festival on the night before the fest opened late last month.At the festival's New Frontier showcase of tech-heavy immersive projects, Flaherty's piece, called The Dial, is one of several using participants' bodies as a key mechanism for how they work."It's a critical moment culturally with the advent of spatial computing and the advent of also machine learning, for us ... to put the body back at the center of the potential relationship of technology and humans," said Melissa Painter, another creator whose project, Embody, is featured at Sundance.Inside the glowing room-sized cube of The Dial, one viewer -- dubbed the navigator -- and two other people pace around a table with iPhones that reveal augmented-reality characters acting around a projection-mapped miniature house.All these high-tech orchestrations are designed to happen naturally as you follow whatever path through the story you want to take.
Walt Disney’s first real VR animation, Cycles, won’t be its last.CNet reports that Disney is working on another “top secret” VR short film.Word comes by way of Cycles director Jeff Gipson, who will also direct the new project.Cycles is on display this week at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival in Utah.The piece will apparently be three to five minutes long.Perhaps more excitingly, though, Nicholas Russell, Head of Disney’s professional development program, said that the VR team is being allowed to explore project with existing Disney characters.
Depending on who you ask, VR is either alive and well (and might just help keep you healthy), it's dead, dead, dead or, at the very least, a promise still unfulfilled.Since you're reading this, I'm guessing you're either the former or looking for new signs of life.CES 2019, the huge Las Vegas consumer electronics show in January, did indeed give us some things to look forward to with virtual reality.VR headsets come in a few different forms.There's the cheap headset that works with your phone and there's the much more expensive option that requires a powerful PC or gaming console and some space to move around.In between those are standalone headsets that are cordfree and don't require any additional external hardware to run them -- something we're sure to see more of in 2019.
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