Artificial Intelligence, startups, Virtual Reality (VR), VR World

Sensory reality pods let workers de-stress in VR

Dutch startup Sensiks claims it has the answer to job stress and fatigue in the workplace, in the form of a sensory reality pod (SRP) that stimulates multiple senses to immerse its users in relaxing virtual environments. The company also mentions the ability to “recall memories from the past” using its multisensory simulations. Each pod is 240 cm tall and 140 cm wide. Workers sit inside, donning a VR headset that presents them with 360-degree video while corresponding scent cartridges release smells like burning wood and freshly-cut lawn. Other sensory manipulations involve changes in temperature, air flow, and light frequencies. Visuals may take a person to

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Microsoft, Space and Science, Virtual Reality (VR), VR World

Microsoft develops ‘canetroller’ device for the visually impaired

Researchers at Microsoft have developed a device they call the “canetroller”, a haptic VR controller that works with the HTC Vive headset and tracker to help people with visual impairments navigate virtual environments. The canetroller consists of five parts: a cane controller that the user sweeps and taps as they would a regular cane, a brake mechanism to be worn around the waist, a slider placed between the controller and the break to impart the physical resistance generated by the brake, a voice coil that provides the controller with tactile feedback, and a tracker that monitors the controller’s position. The actual controller is shorter than normal

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Google, Intel, News, Oculus, Sport, Virtual Reality (VR)

NBA partnership brings immersive basketball experience to fruition

A previously-reported partnership between Intel, the NBA and television network TNT has been brought to fruition, with the release of a VR app for watching basketball games, highlights and recaps in VR. Released in time for this weekend’s NBA All Star game, the TNT VR app integrates Intel’s True VR technology to provide an immersive experience that simulates being at the arena as a spectator. Although the app is free, those hoping to watch full games will need to sign in using their cable provider credentials. The software is compatible with a range of VR platforms, and is available from the Oculus and Google Play

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Artificial Intelligence, Augmented Reality (AR), Business, Internet, VR World

eBay announces plans for new AR tools, AI development

eBay has joined the ranks of retailers dipping their toes in the augmented and virtual reality waters, according to a Fortune report. The online marketplace announced that it is currently developing an AR kit in order to add AR features to its website later this year. One proposed feature will allow shoppers to see how an item would look or fit in its intended space–such as by overlaying the image of tires on a car–before making a bid or a purchase. Another feature will let sellers choose the proper box size when packaging merchandise by showing images of the different size options over the item

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Apple, Virtual Reality (VR), VR World, Wearables

New Apple patent describes optical system for VR headsets

Details of Apple’s new design for a wearable VR device went public last Thursday when the United States Patent and Trademark Office published a patent application Apple filed in 2017 related to optical systems. The patent describes an “Optical System for Head-mounted Display” intended to make VR headgear more comfortable. In the application, Apple notes that VR headsets can be “cumbersome and tiring to wear” due to “bulky and heavy” lens arrangements. VR devices typically use microdisplays, requiring high magnification of visual content and thus thicker lenses between the display and the wearer’s eyes. Currently, many popular headsets overcome this issue by using Fresnel lenses–a type of

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Space and Science, Virtual Reality (VR), VR World, Wearables

4-D goggles let virtual objects “touch” users

Researchers from the UC San Diego and San Diego State University have developed a pair of 4-D goggles intended to synchronize the feeling of being touched with visual input from a VR device. The creation is based on the neuroscience team’s new study that maps the regions of the brain dedicated to multisensory integration. The researchers used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to detect oxygenated blood flow–an indicator of neural activity–to different brain areas to detect which ones were activated by a combination of visual and tactile input. Once they had the relevant regions localized, the team was able to gauge what timing of sights

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Artificial Intelligence, Military, News, Technology Security, Wearables

China starts with AI facial recognition in fighting terrorism

Just a few weeks before Chinese Lunar New Year festivities starts, Chinese authorities decided to take even more precaution measures. The Chinese will be making around 3 billion trips during these days and there is a new high-tech law enforcement tool that will help them feel secure. Facial recognition eyeglasses have already been tested and proven useful in Zhengzhou’s East Railway Station when they helped local police capture seven people connected to major criminal cases, and a further 26 traveling on false documents. The station, one of the busiest in China, has its own police force but it can be hard for an individual policeman to

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Artificial Intelligence, Companies, News, Technology Security

Boston Dynamics presented upgraded SpotMini – a robot dog

We all remember Atlas, the “crazy” robot that was jumping and doing flip-overs all around. Well, now he got himself, well, a “pet” in a matter of speech. On Monday,Boston Dynamics presented a kind of a “robot dog” that is learning new tricks every day. The company, currently owned by SoftBank, showed its SpotMini bot opening a door and holding them open, using its extendable arm/neck. The all-electric droid stands 84 cm tall, features canine-like mechanics and a five-degree of freedom manipulator arm that takes its cues from a sensor suite. Among these sensors are stereo cameras, depth cameras, an inertial measurement unit and position and

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Buying Guides, Guides, Reviews, Virtual Reality (VR), VR World

New to VR? A beginner’s guide

Virtual reality (VR) produces a computer-generated environment–complete with realistic sights, sounds and other sensations–which a person can explore by wearing a special kind of headset and, in some cases, using certain props. Basically every VR experience will allow the user to feel as though they are in this simulated world and look around it, while more advanced systems allow for movement and interaction. While the ability of VR to provide valuable, realistic experiences without introducing real-world risks has found many fans across various industries (from healthcare to real estate), the most popular types of virtual reality content remain video games, movies and television. For those

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Biotech, Entertainment, Space and Science, startups, Virtual Reality (VR), VR World

Dreamscape Immersive launches multisensory VR “Alien Zoo”

Location-based startup Dreamscape Immersive debuted its multisensory VR experience “Alien Zoo” on Feb. 7. The experience is open to the public at Westfield Century City in Los Angeles through March 2. Up to six people can visit Dreamscape Immersive’s intergalactic exhibit during one 40 minute time slot. The experience itself takes just 12 minutes, but participants need time to gear up with a VR headset, a backpack, shoe coverings, and sensor-equipped gloves. Each person has a full-body avatar in the “Alien Zoo” environment. To make this possible, Dreamscape Immersive partnered with Artanim, a Swiss research institute developing motion capture technology, which created a body-mapping software that

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Analysis, Augmented Reality (AR), Internet, Mobile, News, Virtual Reality (VR), VR World

Verizon tests 5G network at the Super Bowl through VR

Time’s arrow never stops marching forward, and neither does technological advancements. Verizon has pushed the envelope at the Super Bowl, mixing “5G” mobile network alongside VR to do some pretty incredible things, even by 2018 standards. What is 5G and what is it capable of? 5G, as its name implies, is the 5th generation of mobile network technologies. While 4G offers speeds comparable to modern home Internet connections, 5G offers speeds and latencies equal to or better than these connections. Once it actually enters the market, different networks will have different performance under 5G. However, this should lead to across-the-board improvements in mobile network performance.

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Analysis, Hardware, News, Virtual Reality (VR), VR World

BodyNav tackles movement in VR without motion sickness

Movement in VR is a hotly-contested subject. Those lucky enough to get their hands on the latest and greatest virtual reality hardware are split into multiple camps on this debate, but the biggest two of them are: Pro-analog — those who prefer traditional in-game movement methods (like analog sticks) to simulate walking, running, etc. Pro-teleport — those who prefer more VR-centric movement methods, like teleportation. If you’re interested in learning more about VR motion sickness, check out this video from Super Bunnyhop. The reason for the difference in opinions is motion sickness, which occurs when your perceived movements don’t match up with signals from your

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Analysis, Mixed Reality (MR), News, Virtual Reality (VR), VR World

Want true ‘mixed reality’? Imverse lets you see yourself in VR

While Windows Mixed Reality was originally launched alongside the HoloLens (providing a proper mixed/augmented reality experience), nowadays it’s being used to promote headsets that aren’t all that different from a standard VR headset. If you’ve been missing a proper “mixed reality” experience, you aren’t the only one: Imverse does too, and recently they showed off a proper mixed reality demo. This rendition of “mixed reality” makes your actual human body, clothing and all, visible in VR. It does this using a combination of cameras and external sensors, alongside a standard VR headset. Imverse has presented a pretty fascinating implementation of mixed reality, and we wouldn’t

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Analysis, Augmented Reality (AR), Google, Mobile, News, Smartphones, Virtual Reality (VR), VR World

Google bring AR Stickers to Motion Stills…to mixed reception

Google’s interest in VR is no secret. From the wildly-successful Google Cardboard (and the movement it inspired), to their push for 360 content on YouTube, it’s clear that Google thinks VR is the future. This affinity extends to AR as well, and for right now it looks like Google is looking to compete with social media giants like Snapchat in the AR arena. At the tail-end of 2017, Snapchat started pushing AR tie-ins and a full-blown Lens Studio for AR effect creation. For its Pixel phones, Google launched AR Stickers as a demonstration of the power of the Pixel camera. The app and its eponymous

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Analysis, News, , Virtual Reality (VR), VR World

Do virtual reality and church belong together? This pastor thinks so

The fun part of the 21st century is that you never really know what two things will be combined next. Doritos tacos? Human Uber? VR church? All of the things mentioned are as real as the device you are reading this story on. And while the first two are a bit too whacky to discuss here, let me introduce you to D.J. Soto, the pastor of the world’s first virtual reality church. D.J. Soto’s mission was to create a more inclusive church, which perfectly alines with the goal of classic Christianity — to reach out to the outsiders of society. Yet Soto felt that modern religious

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Companies, CPU, Enterprise, Hardware, HP, Microsoft, Mixed Reality (MR), News, Virtual Reality (VR)

HP muscles into VR hardware space

HP appears to be the latest hardware manufacturer to be making a strong push into the VR space, after announcing a range of developments including the pending release of a professional version of its mixed reality headset. The announcements came earlier this week at SOLIDWORKS World, a popular event for those working in the field of 3D CAD. Among the product announcements are an upgrade to the HP Z4 Workstation, the pending (March) release of the commercial-grade HP Windows Mixed Reality Headset – Professional Edition, an HP VR Launch Kit designed for specialized VR deployment, and the extension of HP’s Device as a Service offering

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Companies, Hardware, News, Virtual Reality (VR)

Walmart expanding immersive retail efforts with VR studio acquisition

Walmart is making a deeper foray into virtual reality, having announced this week the acquisition and re-launch of VR studio Spatialand through it’s tech incubator, Store No 8. The news comes via a blog post by Katie Finnegan, who serves as both Walmart Global eCommerce’s VP of Incubation and Principal/Founder of Store No 8. According to Finnegan, the company had worked with Spatialand last year, to develop a proof-of-concept VR experience in conjunction with Jeremy Welt. Prior to the acquisition, Welt worked as a VR consultant for companies including Splash and Mindshow, having previously served in business development roles at YouTube and Disney. He is

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Entertainment, Gaming, HTC, Software Programs, Space and Science, Virtual Reality (VR), VR World

Brain-controlled video game to hit VR arcades this year

Boston-based startup Neurable will bring its brain-controlled VR video game Awakening, which the company claims is the first of its kind, to VR arcades around the world by the end of this year. This brain-computer interface (BCI) is made possible by the attachment of an HTC Vive VR headset to a brain-scanning headband equipped with electrodes that pick up neural activity by recording electroencephalography (EEG) signals. When the gamer focuses his gaze on an object in the game, Neurable’s machine learning software recognizes the resulting changes in the EEG signal and turns this into a game command, selecting that object for use. For this to

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Entertainment, News, Reviews, Virtual Reality (VR), VR World

Las Vegas Strip’s Big Apple roller coaster has a new VR experience option

The New York-New York Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas has teamed up with German company VR Coaster to add a virtual reality experience to its Big Apple roller coaster starting Feb. 7. This development will make the 4,777-foot long Big Apple coaster the longest in the world to be equipped with VR. For an extra $5 in ride fees, riders will be able to don wireless VR headsets once they board the coaster; the storyline will take them to an alien research facility in the Nevada desert where an extraterrestrial specimen has just escaped, and as the ride begins, so does a search for

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Analysis, Augmented Reality (AR), Auto, Education, Gaming, Hardware, Virtual Reality (VR), Wearables

Improving the feel of virtual and augmented reality

Although VR headset technologies continue to improve, with a number of new technologies slated for release this year, and with a long-rumoured Apple AR device potentially in the works, it’s easy to lose sight of the fact that there are several more senses beyond sight and sound. And, because virtual taste technology appears to be nowhere near commercialization, and the only commercialized virtual smell technology remains in pre-order phase, sniffing virtual roses or eating a virtual slice of cheesecake are likely a long way off. Those looking for a bit more sensory engagement in virtual and augmented reality can take heart, however, because a number

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