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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Companies, Intel, News, Virtual Reality (VR), VR World, Wearables

Intel and TNT partner to bring VR to basketball broadcasts

Chipmaker Intel and US-based television network TNT this week announced a partnership that will bring virtual reality to NBA fans, beginning with the 2018 NBA All-Star Game. The companies intend to use Intel’s True VR camera technology to enable fans to watch NBA games from multiple perspectives. This will allow viewers to virtually place themselves in a range of vantage points, including high in the stands and at courtside. Intel and TNT indicated this will provide an opportunity for those who cannot attend games in person to have what is essentially an in-the-stadium experience. In their announcement, the companies also said they will be using

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Business, Companies, HTC, News, Virtual Reality (VR)

HTC announces arts funding initiative

Yesterday, HTC VIVE announced a new initiative to advance arts and cultural initiatives using VR technology. Called VIVE Arts, this new program will inject millions of dollars into the development of VR installations in collaboration with organizations worldwide. The new program will build upon HTC’s existing arts and cultural institution partnerships, which currently include London’s Royal Academy of Arts, Taipei’s National Palace Museum, Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle (French National Museum of Natural History) in Paris, Washington D.C.’s Newseum, and St. Petersburg’s Hermitage Museum. In addition to being used in on-site VR installations, content developed under the program will be made available in the VIVEPORT app

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Companies, Entertainment, Gaming, Graphics, News, Nvidia, press releases, Virtual Reality (VR)

NVIDIA aligns with the Force with new video cards

Fans of Star Wars who desire high-end graphics hardware can look forward to NVIDIA’s imminent release of two collector’s edition GPUs: the new Jedi Order™ and Galactic Empire™ editions of their TITAN Xp line. The cards utilize NVIDIA’s Pascal-based GP102 GPU technology, featuring 33,840 CUDA cores running at 1.6GHz and 12GB of GDDR5X memory running at 11.4Gbps. This equates to 12TFLOPs of processing power — more than sufficient for highly-demanding applications at the highest detail settings, and well-suited for VR use cases (such as the Trials on Tatooine VR experience). But, besides high performance is a commitment to style, with the cards mirroring the light

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VR World

Google releases new SDK for immersive audio

In an effort to assist developers in creating more immersive audio experiences in AR/VR environments, Google has today released a new spatial audio SDK called Resonance Audio. Building upon their Google VR Audio SDK, Resonance Audio is intended to provide improvements in modelling of complex sound environments, audio performance, and cross-platform functionality. Moving beyond basic 3D spatialization, Resonance Audio allows developers to fine-tune aspects of their sound sources — including controlling the direction of acoustic wave propagation. This allows, for example, a virtual guitar to sound quieter when positioned behind it rather than in front of it, or for it to be louder when facing

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Companies, Education, Entertainment, Google, News, Virtual Reality (VR), VR World

Discovery and Google collaborate on immersive VR experiences

This past Friday, Discovery Communications and Google launched the first chapter of Discovery TRVLR, a collaboration that they herald as a “groundbreaking new immersive series,” which aims to provide a 360-degree cross-cultural experience. This new content is viewable by using the Discovery VR app. The app supports a range of mobile and VR platforms, including the new Google Daydream View headset and Google Cardboard. To date, the app has been downloaded over four million times. Each new chapter of Discovery TRVLR will explore a different continent, and immerse viewers in the rituals, traditions, quests, and environments of those regions. A total of 38 episodes will

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Breaking, Entertainment, Gaming, Hardware, Sony, VR World

Sony announces Skyrim VR hardware bundle

Those looking for a hotly-anticipated VR experience and a complete VR hardware bundle may be in luck on or after November 17th: according to Sony, not only will that date mark the release of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim VR, but the title will also be made available with a hardware bundle. The PlayStation VR Skyrim VR Bundle will include the PS VR system, a PlayStation Camera, two PlayStation Move controllers, and a PS VR Demo Disc containing samples of 13 PS VR titles. US pricing is $449.99, while Canadians will pay $579.99 CAD. Incremental upgrades will also be rolled out with this hardware release.

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Back to School, Biotech, Companies, Education, Virtual Reality (VR), VR World

Technical and industrial VR applications improve safety

Although many tend to focus on gaming and entertainment when thinking about VR technologies, virtual reality is proving transformative in technical and industrial applications, too. Three recent announcements illustrate how VR can directly improve safety: Osso VR In October, the US Department of Education announced the winner of their EdSim Challenge, which saw 249 immersive simulation submissions vie for a grand prize of $430,000 in cash and prizes from IBM and Microsoft. Osso VR won this year’s competition with a surgical training system that allows new surgical techniques to be practiced on virtual patients. Michael E. Wooten, a deputy assistant secretary at the US Department

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Companies, Entertainment, HTC, News, Virtual Reality (VR), VR World, Wearables

Logitech develops tangible solution to VR keyboard input

Logitech yesterday announced the availability of the BRIDGE developers kit, an SDK intended to assist application developers with the challenge of effectively enabling text entry in virtual reality environments. The kit, designed to work with the HTC Vive, includes a Logitech G gaming keyboard, a Vive Tracker to enable proper keyboard positioning, and associated software. The software interfaces with the HTC Vive Tracker to seamlessly integrate a virtual keyboard (complete with key animations) and the user’s hands into any SteamVR app. “The developer’s application does not need to manage anything; the overlay appears automatically as soon as the associated Vive Tracker is turned on,” explained

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Augmented Reality (AR), Companies, Entertainment, Game Reviews, Gaming, Sony, Virtual Reality (VR), VR World

Sony unveils several new Playstation VR titles

As we previously anticipated, Sony announced a number of new titles on Monday for their now one-year-old Playstation VR platform. The announcements push the number of games available for the platform ever closer to the three hundred mark. Following is a brief overview of the titles unveiled Monday: Megalith Produced by Destructive Games, this is billed as “an action-packed hero shooter that transforms you into a titan, letting you use your massive size and firepower to compete with others in a quest to become a god.” Bow to Blood Developed by TribeToy, gamers will use VR to serve as “captain of a powerful airship,” set

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Audio/Video, Biotech, CPU, Education, Graphics, Hardware, News

Promising display technique may help avoid VR sickness

European researchers today announced a display technique that may help many virtual reality users avoid nausea, one of the most common symptoms of “virtual reality sickness.” Virtual reality sickness, which often causes symptoms similar to motion sickness, can result from latency between eye movement and displayed changes in the VR environment. Often, there is a trade-off when using higher resolution images in VR: although they improve realism, they also increase computational processing demands, which can increase nausea-inducing latency. These latest findings by researchers at Brunel University London, and the Bonn-Rhein-Sieg University of Applied Sciences and Saarland University in Germany, builds upon a technique called “foveated

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Business, Companies, Entertainment, News

Universal Music and WITHIN partner on musical VR experiences

VR/AR entertainment tech company WITHIN today announced plans to collaborate on virtual reality music experiences with Universal Music Group (UMG). This move builds on two projects already created by WITHIN, in collaboration with UMG artists OneRepublic and The Chemical Brothers. This development is the latest in an apparent trend for UMG to be involved in more expansive projects. Following their entry into the film and TV production industries with their 2014 purchase of Eagle Rock Entertainment, UMG entered an arrangement this May to co-develop feature films with Red Bull GmbH, StudioCanal and Terra Mater Film Studios. Today’s announcement will see WITHIN and UMG collaborate on

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