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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HTC, News, Virtual Reality (VR)

Nobel Prize-winning discoveries featured in new VR experience

Nobel Media and VR hardware manufacturer HTC Vive yesterday announced a new partnership that has culminated in the two organizations producing a VR experience entitled The Circadian Rhythm. The VR experience, which will be shown for the first time during Nobel Week, helps viewers visualize the work of Jeffrey C. Hall, Michael Rosbash and Michael W. Young. The trio received this year’s Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for their discovery of molecular mechanisms behind the circadian rhythm. The announcement marks the first time a VR experience has been produced in conjunction with that Nobel Prize being awarded. “Together, with HTC Vive, we are creating

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Education, News, Software Programs, Virtual Reality (VR)

Aquinas Training releases new VR “microsimulation” platform

Connecticut-based continuous learning software company Aquinas Training has this week unveiled their new Microsimulation Engine. Recently demonstrated at the NYVR Expo, the software simulates the types of pressures individuals experience in high-stress business presentation environments, such as boardrooms or auditoriums. The new microsimulation platform builds upon the company’s existing learning reinforcement product. The latter is intended to address the tendency for individuals to forget much of what they have learned shortly after attending training seminars. A core feature of the new product is easy customization; the company indicates that this flexibility means they can substantially cut development time and cost for VR simulations. According to

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

VR-enabled L.A. Noire to debut next week

Following up on the recent release of new, enhanced versions of L.A. Noire on several platforms, Rockstar Games has confirmed a release date for L.A. Noire: The VR Case Files for HTC Vive. Originally slated for release in November — alongside releases of L.A. Noire for Nintendo Switch, Playstation 4, and Xbox One — the new VR variant will debut on December 15th. Gamers familiar with the original or revamped L.A. Noire will experience a game story still set in the criminal underworld of 1940s Los Angeles, but with seven cases from the original game revamped into a VR environment. Players will take a first-person

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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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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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Android, iOS, Mobile, News, Virtual Reality (VR)

Axonom brings CPQ-VR solution to mobile

Axonom, a provider of software that combines Configure Price Quote (CPQ) technology with VR, yesterday announced the release of their Powertrak VR Design Viewer for smartphones. The newly-released Powertrak VR Design Viewer builds upon Axonom’s foundation in non-mobile VR solutions for product configuration, configured product visualization, and room planning. “VR hardware tethered to a machine, like the HTC Vive, is very effective on the trade show floor but mobile VR can be used both on-site and shared to decision makers off-site,” said Mike Belongie, COO at Axonom. “It’s the most economical and compelling way to distribute immersive 3D product designs and floor space planning layouts

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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), Dell, HP, HTC, News, Oculus, Sony, Virtual Reality (VR)

Global quarterly VR headset shipments achieve new record

Uptake of virtual reality hardware continues its upward trend, according to the latest numbers from independent market analysis firm, Canalys. In a report issued Monday, the company indicated that total global shipments of VR headsets set a new milestone, exceeding one million units during the just completed 3rd quarter. Meanwhile, Sony, Oculus, and HTC continue to dominate the VR hardware marketplace, with an 86% combined market share. One driver of headset acquisitions was a temporary-turned-permanent price cut by Oculus in Q3, who matched Playstation’s VR headset price point at $399. This precedes the upcoming release of Oculus’ $199 Go standalone headset, expected next year. “VR

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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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Event, News, Virtual Reality (VR)

VR gains foothold in destination marketing at Miami Art Week

The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA), announced yesterday that they will be unveiling what they herald as a “groundbreaking destination marketing program” at Miami Art Week (Dec 7-9, 2017). Entitled “Vegas: Alter Your Reality,” the experience consists of five, two to three-minute long VR content pieces showcasing various aspects of Las Vegas. “We are committed to constantly exploring new and innovative avenues through which we can reach potential visitors,” said Cathy Tull, senior vice president of marketing at the LVCVA. “By uniting art and virtual technology to reflect the vibrancy of the destination, Vegas: Alter Your Reality will inspire travelers to create their

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Android, Augmented Reality (AR), iOS, Mobile, News, Smartphones, Tablets, Virtual Reality (VR)

Mozilla Announces Mixed Reality Development Program

Mozilla unveiled a new development program and team that will build upon their existing work to bring VR and AR technologies to the web. The program will focus on the integration of devices, headsets, frameworks and toolsets to increase flexibility in VR/AR web development. The organization indicated that although they have been working in this space for over a year, this new team was formalized only in recent weeks. In their announcement, the organization pointed out that although there have been substantial developments this year in bringing VR/AR technologies to the web, there are still gaps in terms of cross-platform compatibility. Mozilla indicates their new

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Augmented Reality (AR), Companies, News

Williams-Sonoma purchases 3D imaging and AR firm

Home products retailer Williams-Sonoma, Inc. (WSI) announced this afternoon that they intend to acquire Outward, Inc., the developer of a 3-D imaging and augmented reality platform intended for the home furnishing and decor industries. WSI will reportedly pay $112 million US to acquire the company. The move comes in a furniture retail environment that sees WSI’s competitors increasingly using AR technologies. Target released a “See It In Your Space” component to their website earlier this year, to allow shoppers to visualize furniture placement. Meanwhile, IKEA leveraged iOS 11’s AR features in their released-in-September “IKEA Place” app. WSI says this acquisition will enable them to build

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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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Augmented Reality (AR), Companies, News

MAC Cosmetics embraces augmented reality

On Tuesday, MAC Cosmetics announced the launch of an augmented reality mirror that allows customers to preview how certain MAC shades and looks will appear when applied to their own faces. The mirrors are based on a 3D video makeup rendering technology developed by Canadian firm Modiface. Called “Virtual MAC,” the AR mirrors have been introduced in US standalone MAC locations, setting the stage for a broader global rollout early next year. “The new ModiFace-powered mirrors provide an unprecedented level of realism and fidelity that bring to life our brand’s unique sense of colour and artistry,” said Tim Tareco SVP Global Creative, Visual Merchandising +

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

University of Michigan to launch interdisciplinary VR program

The University of Michigan this week announced plans to launch an augmented, virtual and mixed reality (AVMR) graduate certificate. The initiative spans fourteen schools, colleges and offices, and involves thirty-two faculty members. The institution is touting breadth in their proposed program, compared to emerging programs elsewhere. “We have the health sciences. We are a top engineering college with proximity to one of the world’s greatest manufacturing centers. We’ve got an entertainment venue, Michigan Stadium, where we can play to live audiences of 100,000 seven times a year,” said Thomas A. Finholt, dean of the School of Information, University of Michigan. “So, we are a very

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