Analysis, CPU, Guides, Hardware, News, VR World

Meltdown and Spectre fixes: all you need to know

Remember Meltdown and Spectre? If you don’t, take a look at our article on those exploits, as they most likely make your device vulnerable. It’s been nearly two months since Meltdown and Spectre went public. In this time, manufacturers like Intel and providers like Microsoft have been rushing to provide quick, secure fixes to the exploits. Meltdown & Spectre fixes have progressed enough for us to have a better idea of what to expect from them. Where can I get Meltdown & Spectre fixes? Meltdown effects every modern Intel processor and is the most severe of the two exploits. Meltdown fixes have fortunately been rolled

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

Amidst layoffs, HTC combines its smartphone and VR divisions

Despite HTC continuing the own the bragging rights to being one of the biggest names in VR and smartphone spaces, that still does not alleviate the financial hurdles the company has been struggling with since last year. This past week carried more changes, as Digital Trends reported HTC layoffs in their US offices, as well as a merging of their smartphone and VR divisions. This comes on the heel of Chailin Chang’s resignation as president of HTC, and according to DT, as many as 100 people could have been fired. Amidst dwindling smartphone sales, we take a look at the state of HTC’s virtual reality business. Fortunately,

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2018, Android, Apple, Augmented Reality (AR), Google, Mobile, News, Smartphones, Tablets, VR World

Google to release ARCore during the Mobile World Congress

2017 has been a busy one for VR/AR teams at Google, with company’s continued push into the space with Google Cardboard, AR for Pixel phones and, most recently, ARCore framework. The latter was announced mid-2017, and after all of this time in development, ARCore is finally ready to start shipping to developers and manufacturers. The framework will allow developers to more easily develop augmented reality applications for supported Android phones. While Google seems to want to make ARCore near-universal, there’s a fair chance that it will only launch for a select few devices for the time being, with the Pixel and Galaxy series being a

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

Pluto wants to be Discord for VR

Is the world of virtual reality missing a Discord equivalent? The boys over at Pluto seem to think so. Discord is popular as a gaming-centric communication application, thanks to features like Rich Presence and in-game overlays. It’s also a free alternative to services like Mumble, while still being more feature-rich than Skype. Discord has quickly become the most prominent communication app for gamers, so how does Pluto hope to do this for VR? Put simply, by providing an in-game overlay. A big downside of virtual reality as it is now is that there aren’t many options for social networking unless you’re in an app strictly

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Mobile, News, Smartphones, Virtual Reality (VR), VR World

Greenpeace uses VR to help double its sign ups

For charities like Greenpeace, increasing engagement is a top priority. Charities need donations and volunteers to function and without enough engagement, the organizations won’t have enough resources to accomplish its goals. While recognized charity powerhouses don’t need to worry too much about this worst-case scenario, it’s always good to get more people onboard. According to Paula Radley, a manager at Greenpeace, virtual reality is helping them do this in a big way. When they attend an event, they set up stations where multiple users can put on VR headsets to engage with 360 VR video of the Amazon rainforest, surviving in the Arctic and more. Greenpeace’s mobile app

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Augmented Reality (AR), Mobile, News, Smartphones, Tablets, Toys, VR World

Hot Wheels joins LEGO and other toys in Augmented Reality

At the 2018 Toy Fair, Mattel showed off a new augmented reality app that works with its Hot Wheels toys. Specifically, the application renders real-time 3D models of Hot Wheels Cities playsets when you aim your camera at their boxes in stores. The rendering shows the fully-assembled set, and you can even press a “Try Me!” button onscreen to send a virtual Hot Wheels car through the track. Mattel says that they will be releasing this Hot Wheels AR app in Fall 2018. They aren’t the first toy company to use this idea, either: Lego debuted a similar in-store AR app in 2016. Meanwhile, Lego AR-Studio

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Business, Companies, Gaming, News, startups, VR World

Stories you might’ve missed: $150 HTC Vive alternative, VR Twitch and Hero Vision

There are fast news days, and sometimes there are fast news weeks. Earlier this month, VR stories were coming out so quickly that we couldn’t keep track of all them! Now that we’ve caught up, we’re going to catch you up, too: here are three big VR stories you might’ve missed from earlier this month. Zeiss provides a $150 HTC Vive alternative While VR headsets have a lot to offer, the price barrier to most good VR experiences is undeniable. For PC VR, you pretty much need to shell out for a Vive or Rift…and even at their best, those headsets cost $300+. Zeiss’s entry-level VR

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Gaming, News, Sony, VR World

Want to get PlayStation VR? PSVR is $100 off until March 3rd

Sony PlayStation VR

From now to March 3rd, 2018, the PlayStation VR headset will be on sale for $100 off. This includes both the headset alone (which costs $300), as well as various bundles including certain VR games. Here’s a quick rundown on the best bundles available, as well as what to expect after the sale is over. Why is this happening? Short answer: nobody knows. Longer answer: it’s possible that Sony is gearing up for a new PSVR headset launch, or potentially their new motion controllers. While PS Move controllers provide an…acceptable VR experience, their inadequacy when compared to solutions made for VR, like the Oculus Touch controllers, has

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Analysis, Gaming, HTC, News, VR World

Developers are receiving HTC Vive Pro kits

Since earlier this month, VR developers have started receiving HTC Vive Pros so they can start optimizing around the new headset. After the HTC Vive Pro’s announcement at CES, news on the headset has been trickling out steadily. Most of this news is developer-centric: prior to this story, we learned that some developers are using the new Vive Pro hardware to enable hand-tracking applications. We've been eagerly awaiting this moment to share with you all. Announcing the arrival of the newest member of our VR HMD family… It's a Vive Pro! 🌟 pic.twitter.com/5lkK5sqh0G — Owlchemy Labs (@OwlchemyLabs) February 16, 2018 Owlchemy Labs, developers of Job Simulator

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Analysis, Augmented Reality (AR), Breaking, Hardware, Mobile, News, Qualcomm, Smartphones, Virtual Reality (VR), VR World, Wearables

Qualcomm pushing mobile VR: Lighthouse-free 6DOF and exclusive Q&A

Ahead of the 2018 Mobile World Congress, Qualcomm is pulling out the big guns with the announcement of their Snapdragon 845 chipset and its VR-centric features. They’re pushing these features under the wider “Xtended Reality (XR)” umbrella, which includes AR as well. With the Snapdragon 845 reference design, Qualcomm is bringing a number of features to the table. Foveated rendering, for instance, uses eye-tracking to render what you’re not looking at in low-res to save on performance. Most interestingly, Qualcomm is also hoping to provide a full, roomscale 6DOF (six degrees of freedom) VR experience. 6DOF tracks full head-and-body movements, while 3DOF only tracks the direction

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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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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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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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