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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Analysis, Augmented Reality (AR), Google, Mobile, News, Smartphones, Virtual Reality (VR), VR World

Google bring AR Stickers to Motion Stills…to mixed reception

Google’s interest in VR is no secret. From the wildly-successful Google Cardboard (and the movement it inspired), to their push for 360 content on YouTube, it’s clear that Google thinks VR is the future. This affinity extends to AR as well, and for right now it looks like Google is looking to compete with social media giants like Snapchat in the AR arena. At the tail-end of 2017, Snapchat started pushing AR tie-ins and a full-blown Lens Studio for AR effect creation. For its Pixel phones, Google launched AR Stickers as a demonstration of the power of the Pixel camera. The app and its eponymous

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

Get Humble’s Not-so-Humble VR Gaming Sale

Humble entered the scene of PC gaming with Humble Bundles in 2010. These were pay-what-you-want bundles of indie games, with the choice to split your payment between the developers and charities. While Humble has since grown into a more traditional Humble Store, it still has a reputation as a great place to get cheap games…and their newest VR sale is nuts. Remember our Top 10 VR Games article? Well, it turns out games from that article ended up in this sale. These games are: Fallout 4 VR – 31% off for $41.99 SUPERHOT VR – 33% off for $16.74 GORN – 25% off for $14.99 Sairento

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

Do virtual reality and church belong together? This pastor thinks so

The fun part of the 21st century is that you never really know what two things will be combined next. Doritos tacos? Human Uber? VR church? All of the things mentioned are as real as the device you are reading this story on. And while the first two are a bit too whacky to discuss here, let me introduce you to D.J. Soto, the pastor of the world’s first virtual reality church. D.J. Soto’s mission was to create a more inclusive church, which perfectly alines with the goal of classic Christianity — to reach out to the outsiders of society. Yet Soto felt that modern religious

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Entertainment, Gaming, HTC, Software Programs, Space and Science, Virtual Reality (VR), VR World

Brain-controlled video game to hit VR arcades this year

Boston-based startup Neurable will bring its brain-controlled VR video game Awakening, which the company claims is the first of its kind, to VR arcades around the world by the end of this year. This brain-computer interface (BCI) is made possible by the attachment of an HTC Vive VR headset to a brain-scanning headband equipped with electrodes that pick up neural activity by recording electroencephalography (EEG) signals. When the gamer focuses his gaze on an object in the game, Neurable’s machine learning software recognizes the resulting changes in the EEG signal and turns this into a game command, selecting that object for use. For this to

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News, Sport, VR World

Meet Black Box, the world’s first virtual reality gym

Exercise and weight loss has always been a prominent part of virtual reality. In fact, the health-seeking mission started even earlier, with games like DDR and consoles like the Wii. The gaming industry has always been searching for an exercise stimulating solution with occasional success stories, like the one of Job Stauffer, then-Telltale Games employee, who lost 50 pounds playing a VR game. So it isn’t surprising to see VR industry “work-out” (pun intended) innovations in the fitness space as well. A Boise-based company Black Box, started by Ryan DeLuca and Preston Lewis, is attempting to disrupt the way you exercise. The duo has created Black Box

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