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

Facebook Spaces now available on Vive, other platforms pending

Facebook has brought its beta social VR app, Spaces, to users of the HTC Vive. First announced in April, Spaces had previously only been available to users of the Oculus Rift. Spaces is among a handful of apps that combine social media with an immersive VR experience. Using the app, users can meet in VR; go Live; play games; make video calls; and create and share 3D objects, videos, and photos. These features are identical to those available to Rift users. Interestingly, however, the Spaces app is not available via the Steam store, and is instead being offered for direct download via Facebook’s website. “VR

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Entertainment, HTC, News, Oculus, Virtual Reality (VR)

Paramount and Bigscreen to offer free VR screenings of Top Gun

Virtual reality cinema company Bigscreen has partnered with Paramount Home Media Distribution to virtually screen showings of Top Gun for 24 hours, commencing at 6pm EST on December 29th. The Bigscreen experience aims to bring the movie theatre experience to home audiences, allowing them to interact in a virtual lobby and watch videos on a virtual movie screen, complete with immersive sound and lighting. “Bigscreen’s virtual reality platform offers a new way for fans to experience films in their homes,” said Bob Buchi, President Worldwide Home Media Distribution, Paramount Pictures. “We’re excited to be a part of this experiment using cutting-edge technology to give fans

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Android, Augmented Reality (AR), Google, News

Google dances away from Tango

Google has announced that they are moving on from Tango, their augmented reality platform, in favour of their newer ARCore platform. The announcement came via Twitter last Friday. “We’re turning down support for Tango on March 1, 2018,” the Tango team said in a Tweet. “Thank you to our incredible community of developers who made such progress with Tango over the last three years. We look forward to continuing the journey with you on ARCore,” they concluded. Tango’s fate appears to be largely a result of software becoming more capable. While Tango required cameras and IR sensors to locate and orient itself to objects in

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Apple, CPU, Hardware, News, OSx, Virtual Reality (VR)

Most powerful Mac ever could cost you over $13,000

Those in the market for a very expensive, last-minute Christmas gift may be in luck — on December 14, Apple made its new iMac Pro available for purchase. Lauded as the most powerful Mac in the company’s history, the workstation-class iMac Pro features Xeon multi-core processors, a 27” 5K Retina display, and heaps of additional features. That this new machine is being released at the same time as a significant upgrade to Final Cut Pro X is not coincidental. This is decidedly not a computer intended for consumer audiences — it is, rather, a powerful workstation intended to provide the raw computing power needed for

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Apple, Augmented Reality (AR), News, Software Programs, Virtual Reality (VR), VR World

Apple adds VR features to Final Cut Pro

Apple this week announced a significant upgrade to its pro video editing app, Final Cut Pro X. Released contemporaneously with the new, high-performance iMac Pro, the application introduces a variety of new features, including 360-degree VR video editing and support for full-resolution 8K video. Also upgraded are Apple’s Motion and Compression applications. Motion is Apple’s companion app that is used for creating and editing motion graphics, titling, and composting, while Compressor is intended for video and media compression. Among the new VR-specific features in Final cut Pro X are 360-degree 2D or 3D titles; VR-specific blurs, glows and other effects; controls to assist in editing

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Education, Mobile, News, Smartphones, Space and Science, Tablets, Virtual Reality (VR)

University of Toronto grad student first to use VR in biochemistry research lecture

A University of Toronto graduate student is seemingly the first to utilize virtual reality in helping to present research findings during a biochemistry research lecture. PhD student Aidin Balo and his PhD supervisor Professor Oliver Ernst delivered a lecture to 200 people in 2016 at a conference in Berlin, which had the audience use cardboard-based tools in conjunction with their smartphones to immerse themselves in a VR experience. That experience, which was assisted by Autodesk, helped the audience visualize, in real-time, changes to the eye’s pigment in response to light. The lecture and VR experience were later presented to a larger audience at ShanghaiTech University.

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Apple, Augmented Reality (AR), Mobile, News, Smartphones, Tablets

“High-touch” fashion industry sees advent of AR technologies

The traditionally “high-touch” fashion industry is among the latest to embrace augmented reality, with the advent of Code and Craft’s new AR Product Catalog tool. The mobile app, which utilizes Apple’s ARKit technology, allows fashion vendors to showcase their collections in an augmented reality environment. The company says the technology allows them to replace the traditionally expensive sample interaction process with a “life-like 3D online showroom experience.” Women’s apparel brand Maggy London International is the first to pilot the new technology. Notably, the AR experience of the product catalog is also integrated into their ERP system, which allows viewers to access key product information such

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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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Augmented Reality (AR), Hardware, Mixed Reality (MR), News, Virtual Reality (VR), Windows

Acer releases first Windows Mixed Reality headset in India

Taiwan-based computer hardware manufacturer Acer this week introduced their Windows mixed reality headset to consumers in India. The announcement came at the conclusion of the Acer-sponsored Predator League gaming event in Bengaluru. The headset, which boasts a 2880 x 1440p resolution and up to 90 Hz refresh rate, was released in North America in early October. The headset also features a 13-foot cable. Pricing in India is not yet available, although will likely be near US pricing, which is approximately 19,200 Rs. given exchange rates at the time of this article. This is, notably, the first Windows MR headset to be made available in India.

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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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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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