Entertainment, Event, Game Reviews, Gaming, HTC, News, Oculus, Sony, VR World

December’s Top VR Gaming Announcements

Thanks to PSX (PlayStation Experience) and The Game Awards 2017, December has been chockfull of VR gaming announcements. We’ve gone through all of them and picked the most notable ones. New Game Announcements   Vacation Simulator Platforms: PC, PSVR Launch Window: 2018 Vacation Simulator is billed as a sequel, since “after you job, you vacation”. In contrast to the small office environment of Job Simulator, players will tackle a full island of activities in this game, accompanied by a few robots. Judging by the trailer and Owlchemy Labs’ former work in the industry, this game is gonna be a good one. Accounting+ Platforms: PSVR, PC (eventually)

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Augmented Reality (AR), , News, , VR World

Facebook’s AR Studio opens for all developers

In April of this year, Facebook opened up the AR Studio platform for in-house development of augmented reality applications. AR Studio boasts many features for developers, including face-tracking, real-time data integration, 3D rendering and more. Yesterday, the company finally opened the studio to all third-party developers who want to utilize it. If you aren’t too deep into the world of development, you may not immediately know why this matters. To put it in simple terms, big tech companies like Facebook opening up their tools to developers worldwide makes development cheaper and easier, especially for independent developers or studios that couldn’t otherwise afford to make these

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Augmented Reality (AR), News, Virtual Reality (VR), VR World

AirBNB exploring augmented and virtual reality

In a recent blog post, hospitality service company AirBNB discussed the role of augmented and virtual reality in their business. Citing the expansion of VR and AR technologies, the company sees opportunities to make travel easier and more engaging. On the pre-trip side, AirBNB indicated they are exploring ways to “allow people to connect with their destination, host, and co-travelers.” This could include more immersive location preview technologies, such as 360 degree photos and 3D scans — empowering prospective renters to immersively view properties. Further into the future, the company sees the possibility of weaving together VR experiences to allow customers to “share more than

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Artificial Intelligence, Augmented Reality (AR), Entertainment, Mixed Reality (MR), News, Virtual Reality (VR), VR World

VR, MR and AI features to play prominent role at Sundance Film Festival

Next year’s Sundance Film Festival will see a very prominent role for VR, MR and AI-centric productions, based on a media release by the Sundance Institute. More than twenty films, experiences and installations variously utilizing AI, MR, and VR technologies will be part of the upcoming festival, which runs from January 18 to 28, 2018, in Park City, Utah. The productions have been fostered as part of Sundance’s New Frontier initiative. Launched in 2007, it is directed at curating productions “at the convergence of film, art, media, live performance, music and technology.” This latest production batch follows from an open call for VR work earlier

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, News, Oculus, Rumors, Virtual Reality (VR), VR World

Oculus files patent application for curved display in VR headsets

According to multiple sources, Oculus has filed a patent application for a VR headset that uses curved displays. The application was filed in August, but was published by the WIPO at the end of November. Although it is unclear whether the patent will be granted, and additionally unclear as to when a curved-display Oculus headset may be manufactured, the technology would help resolve a number of issues with VR headsets using conventional flat displays. First, using a curved display can simplify the construction of VR headsets; while standard flat-panel displays require sometimes quite sophisticated lens systems to account for optical distortion, a curved display can

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Hardware, Opinion, startups, VR World

VR pen project’s developer and development status short on details

A seemingly impressive VR development that came out of “stealth mode” this week remains short on details. Drawboard, which according to its Twitter account is based in San Francisco, appeared rather suddenly on the web last week. Its website is seeking pre-orders for a pen to be used in VR, offering features such as six degree-of-freedom, sub-millimeter tracking; 512 levels of pressure sensitivity; USB charging; and tactile feedback. The pen apparently “works with Windows Mixed Reality headsets or Rift/Vive via Leap Motion,” and will be available in a “limited production run” in early 2018. However, the current state of the product’s development is unclear, as

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Augmented Reality (AR), Gaming, iOS, Mobile, News, Smartphones, VR World

LEGO AR-Studio Brings Lego To Augmented Reality

LEGO AR-Studio is pretty great. There’s a bunch of reasons for this, but in light of fiascos like Battlefront II, AR-Studio successfully provides a kid-friendly experience for free, without any predatory microtransactions. That alone should earn it applause, especially when compared to the countless Android/iOS titles that exist almost solely to separate you from your hard-earned money, one dollar at a time. LEGO AR-Studio, in addition to having a good businesLs model, also seems like a genuinely fun game. It offers six popular virtual LEGO sets for people to play within Augmented Reality, and goes the extra mile by offering a variety of scripts and animations

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Business, Companies, Hardware, News, Virtual Reality (VR), VR World

Huawei’s VR Controller Seen In FCC Filing: Headset Closer Than We Think?

A Chinese smartphone manufacturer Huawei may not have extensive mainstream penetration in the West like Apple and Samsung do, but in 2016 they hit #9 in revenue for tech companies around the world. A lot of their success is based in China, and they often trade places with Apple as the 2nd largest smartphone manufacturer in the world. Huawei is a big name in the industry, to say the least. That they’re working on a Gear VR-styled headset has been known for a while: journalists at Road To VR went hands-on with a Huawei VR headset at CES 2017 earlier this year. Now, they’re developing their

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Apple, Augmented Reality (AR), Business, Companies, Google, Hardware, Microsoft, Military, News, VR World, Wearables

Apple Manufacturer Quanta Partners With Lumus For AR Displays

Quanta Computer Inc. is a manufacturing partner for Apple and many other hardware manufacturers in the PC/smartphone space. They’re one of the most important companies that consumers have never heard of. Recently,  they reached out to Lumus, an Israel-based business that designs displays for AR glasses and headsets. If you recall Google’s “Glass” project from a few years back (which included very limited shipments of Google Glasses), Lumus works on similar hardware and has been doing so for quite a while. In 2008, they sold the PD-18, one of the first AR glasses of its kind, and just a few years later they started producing hardware

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Augmented Reality (AR), Mobile, News, VR World

Mapbox Acquires Fitness AR

Mapbox, an open-source location data platform for mobile and web applications, recently acquired Fitness AR. For those who aren’t familiar with Mapbox, you’re probably familiar with the applications that utilize it: Lyft, Snapchat, and other popular apps all use Mapbox’s location services to power their applications. Fitness AR, meanwhile, is an iOS application that utilizes Apple’s ARKit, a framework for the development of augmented reality applications on iOS devices. Even prior to being acquired by Mapbox, Fitness AR made use of Mapbox to display map terrain within its application. This isn’t the only business that Mapbox has acquired in recent memory. In fact, it’s not

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Entertainment, News, Software Programs, Virtual Reality (VR), VR World

Foundry upgrades Cara VR toolset

Creative software developer, Foundry, this week announced the launch of Cara VR 2.0, the latest version of its virtual reality plug-in toolset for its Nuke digital compositing application. The software combination helps VR producers work more efficiently when producing VR and 360 video content. Nuke is used by many professional studios, including Digital Domain, Walt Disney Animation Studios, DreamWorks Animation, Sony Pictures Imageworks, Sony Pictures Animation, Framestore, Weta Digital and Industrial Light & Magic. “To fully realise the potential of VR, we need to enable content creators to build experiences that are more immersive than anything before,” the company said in a media release. “The

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Entertainment, News, Space and Science, Virtual Reality (VR), VR World

BBC striving to bring VR to the mainstream via new studio

The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) has announced ambitious plans to expand the scope of their VR content production. The broadcaster says that it has now formed a studio dedicated to virtual reality, enabling it to build upon its previous VR content. The BBC’s previous VR efforts have included We Wait, addressing the global refugee crisis; The Turning Forest, a fairy tale based in a magical forest; and Trafficked, a 360-degree documentary regarding human trafficking in Mexico. Concomitant with this week’s announcement was the wide release of A VR Spacewalk, an experience based on NASA and European Space agency training programs. While A VR Spacewalk had

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Amazon, Augmented Reality (AR), Cloud Computing, News, Virtual Reality (VR), VR World

Amazon launches Sumerian, a new VR/AR development platform

Amazon is one of the biggest names in tech, and this doesn’t stop with its status as a storefront. Another way Amazon has made its impact known is through its Amazon Web Services, which serve as a backend for applications worldwide. AWS offers server infrastructure and tools well beyond the scope of typical indie developers, and for this reason, it’s a favorite among enterprises and indies alike. So when Amazon makes an announcement in this space, everyone pays attention. Sumerian, software tools debuted by the retail giant, is an extension to the Amazon Web Services platform, and it focuses on the creation of virtual reality,

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Enterprise, News, startups, Virtual Reality (VR), VR World, Wearables

Varjo Alpha Prototype VR Headset: What You Need To Know

If you haven’t heard of Varjo Technologies yet, there’s a good chance that’ll soon change. The Finnish startup is working on an advanced VR headset, built from modified Oculus Rift’s and other components, and is aimed at professional users. The Varjo Alpha Prototype (a work-in-progress name) offers a 1080p display for each eye, with a 35-degree horizontal FOV for each. There is also a “context display”, which offers a 100 FOV view and runs at 1080 x 1200 at 90hz refresh rate. According to Varjo, the refresh rate on these headsets may eventually go as high as 120hz, for true-to-life motion. While the headset may

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

PIXO VR demos new emergency responder training platform

PIXO VR, a virtual reality safety training company, has unveiled their new training platform for emergency response personnel. The platform was demonstrated during the Emerging Technologies Symposium for Emergency Solutions at Concordia University Portland, Oregon, earlier this month. At the conference, teams of first responders worked to contain a virtual oil truck fire within a PIXO VR-created virtual environment. According to the company, virtual reality simulations of this type has many advantages over conventional field training techniques, in terms of safety, repeatability and cost. These constraints on standard training techniques can leave first responders ill-prepared to best handle emergency situations. “Training in virtual reality allows

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Augmented Reality (AR), Auto, News, VR World

Nissan’s new AR experience to leverage the Star Wars universe

Nissan is poised to unveil an augmented reality experience throughout their North American showrooms that intends to educate customers on the automaker’s safety- and driving assistance-related technologies. The Nissan “See the Unseen” experience, which leverages characters from the Star Wars universe including stormtroopers and droids, will be rolled out by early December, preceding the upcoming release of Star Wars: The Last Jedi. “In our collaboration with Lucasfilm’s Star Wars: The Last Jedi, we have brought ‘Retail Theater’ to Nissan showrooms and found exciting ways to engage customers with a new world of technology,” explained Jeremy Tucker, vice president of Marketing for Nissan North America. “While

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Augmented Reality (AR), Graphics, News, Virtual Reality (VR), VR World

New real-time 3D lighting technique heralded as “Holy Grail”

A pair of computer scientists from Aalto University in Otaniemi, Finland, will soon present a new approach to computing real-time lighting effects that represents a major improvement in both efficiency and accuracy over existing methods. The new technique was developed by Ari Silvennoinen, a PhD candidate in computer science and Jaakko Lehtinen, an associate professor of computer science and scientist at NVIDIA. They pair will be presenting their research at the ACM’s SIGGRAPH Asia 2017 conference in Bangkok this week. Current lighting approaches in games and VR environments are computationally intensive, particularly if software attempts to perform pixel-by-pixel computation of all light paths in a

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Entertainment, Event, Exclusive, Interviews, Montreal Virtual Reality Market (MVRM), News, startups, Videos, Virtual Reality (VR), VR World

Montreal Virtual Reality Market shines light to city’s movement in AR/VR

November saw the third instalment of the Montreal Virtual Reality Market – an industry gathering held in Montreal. With over 50 virtual- and augmented reality companies located in the city, Montreal is well positioned to burst in the VR industry: four engineering schools, massive video gaming industry (Ubisoft, EA, A2M, Gameloft to name a few), world-renowned filmmaking and developed IT market surely makes for a lot of qualified skills floating around here. We visited the event nestled at Societe Des Arts Technologique (Technological Arts Society) to check up with the AR/VR startups coming out of this French-speaking city and converse with some of them. Drone

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Android, Entertainment, iOS, News, Toys, Virtual Reality (VR), VR World

Book publisher launches traditional book-VR combo for kids

Hollywood, California-based book publisher Quantum Storey announced this week that it has launched the world’s first virtual reality book series for children. Aimed at younger kids, their “Operation YOU” series combines traditional printed books with virtual reality. The books include access to a companion Android and iOS app, as well as Google Cardboard goggles. The first title in the series, which is now available exclusively at Walmart, is entitled “Morning Nightmare.” It confronts the challenges children experience boarding school busses. According to the company, the VR app places children in the book’s environment in the first person, virtually transforming them into the book’s main character.

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Apple, Augmented Reality (AR), Hardware, Rumors, Virtual Reality (VR), VR World

More hints emerge about Apple’s AR effort

While the web is perennially rife with speculation about Apple’s plans to develop a hardware device in the AR/VR space, a somewhat under-the-radar story out of Taiwan may shed a bit more light on the company’s plans. As reported by the Nikkei Asian Review, one of Apple’s supply chain partners, MacBook and Watch assembler Quanta Computer, hinted during their most recent earnings conference call that they may be playing a significant role in the development of an augmented reality device. Reportedly, such a device built by Quanta would be released no later than 2019. Although Quanta executives did not state for whom they would be

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