News

  • Google’s Daydream 6DOF Controllers Now Shipping To Developers
    Google’s Daydream 6DOF Controllers Now Shipping To Developers

    The first unboxing video for Google’s 6DOF controllers hit the Web as the first wave of developer kits appear to be shipping out.

    VR and AR developer Alex Coulombe posted the following video showing the complete contents of the developer kit, including AAA batteries and a charger for them as well as the controllers, the “tracking faceplate” and a cord to connect it to the Lenovo Mirage Solo standalone VR headset. The USB-C connector on the controllers is for “flashing” them, not for charging, according to a paper in the unboxing video.

    We’ll update this post as hands-on impressions start to show up.

    If Google is developing a standalone VR headset with the same controller tracking technology built into the headband, it is possible the company could provide robust inside-out tracking in a next generation system. Google’s investments in VR so far suggest its efforts have been focused on the unique capabilities of 6DOF hand controllers, and I think this kit could be a hint that the company is doubling down on standalone VR in 2019.

    Tagged with: Daydream, google

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  • Gearbox Software Awaiting Fan Feedback on Borderlands 2 VR Before Further VR plans are Made The open-world RPG is due out at the end of the week.
  • Oculus On ZeniMax Lawsuit: ‘We’re Pleased To Put This Behind Us And Continue Building The Future Of VR’
    Oculus On ZeniMax Lawsuit: ‘We’re Pleased To Put This Behind Us And Continue Building The Future Of VR’

    The parent company of Bethesda, Id and other well known gaming brands agreed to settle its VR-related lawsuit with Facebook on undisclosed terms.

    The ZeniMax lawsuit centered on the hiring of John Carmack away from Id and the expertise in VR he took to Oculus and later Facebook. A Texas jury originally found Oculus and its VR executives owed ZeniMax some $500 million — an amount later reduced with Facebook vowing an appeal.

    “We’re pleased to put this behind us and continue building the future of VR,” Oculus spokesperson Tera Randall wrote in an email.

    It seems unlikely, but we’re curious if the terms of the settlement touched upon any future VR titles from ZeniMax or its subsidiaries. Back when it was on Kickstarter in 2012, Oculus was going to bring a version of Id’s Doom to its VR headsets. That plan never materialized as Carmack, a key creator of the original Doom and the technology which drives 3D games, moved to pursue VR work full-time at Facebook. Bethesda has since brought versions of Skyrim, Doom and Fallout to VR headsets on storefronts other that the one offered by Facebook’s Oculus. While the games still play on an Oculus Rift, they are supported indirectly through Valve’s SteamVR.

    “We are pleased that a settlement has been reached and are fully satisfied by the outcome. While we dislike litigation, we will always vigorously defend against any infringement or misappropriation of our intellectual property by third parties,” reads a statement from Robert Altman, ZeniMax’s Chairman and CEO.

     

    Tagged with: facebook, zenimax

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  • Zenimax and Facebook’s VR Lawsuit has Finally Been Settled The terms of the settlement have been kept confidential.
  • LG Files Patent for VR Headset With Haptic Feedback and 6 Cameras Hand tracking built directly into the headset.
  • VR Adventure Park ILLUCITY Opens in Paris This is just the first of many.
  • New Report Uses VR To Unearth Hidden Pollution Along US Border
    New Report Uses VR To Unearth Hidden Pollution Along US Border

    A new report from Palm Springs’ The Desert Sun uses VR to help tell the story of pollution along the US border in interesting new ways.

    Journalists at The Sun began investigating pollution in the New River, which runs from the Mexican city of Mexicali, over the border and into the US, in 2016. Their findings were compiled in a comprehensive new report named Poisoned Cities: Deadly Border that features VR as one small part of the larger piece.

    Various sections of the report can be consumed in different ways, depending on how much time the reader has and how they want to experience the story. They might just choose to listen to short audio clips that give them a feel for the situation, for example, or they can read the lengthy full report that uncovers alarming pollution rates in Mexicali.

    VR, however, finds itself as a halfway house for people that want something more in-depth but might not want to commit to reading the full story. Journalists prepared a virtual tour of Mexicali’s industrial sites, complete with audio to walk them through what they’re seeing and added extras like images and maps to flesh the story out further.

    It’s an intriguing way to utilize VR as a piece of journalism and something we could see a lot more of in the future.

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  • One Direction’s Liam Payne to be MelodyVR’s First Live Broadcast And it's taking place next week.
  • VRChat Is Finally Available On The Oculus Store
    VRChat Is Finally Available On The Oculus Store

    Popular social VR app VRChat is now available on the Oculus Store for Rift. Previously the app supported the Rift through SteamVR. The Steam version of the app has also been updated to use the Oculus API when used with a Rift.

    Direct Oculus API support tends to deliver higher performance and better stability to Rift users than using SteamVR.

    VRChat is a massively multiplayer social VR platform. Think of it as a preliminary “metaverse”- like a primitive version of the OASIS from Ready Player One. While the platform has become famous for its memes and funny moments, it can be a tool for genuinely interesting experiences and human connection.

    The platform isn’t without its issues though. It gas gained a reputation for harassment and trolling, which the developer has pledged to address.

    The update also upgrades the app to Unity 2017. Previously it was on Unity 5.6 from 2016. VRChat claims that this will bring better performance as well as improved stability, but that some user generated content will have to be updated against the new version.

    Tagged with: oculus store, VRChat

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  • Towards A Perilous Journey Coming to Oculus Store and Viveport in January 2019 The twin spaceship shooter is intentionally difficult.
  • Patent Sale For Osterhout Design Group (ODG) Planned For January
    Patent Sale For Osterhout Design Group (ODG) Planned For January

    Osterhout Design Group (ODG) may be dead before mass shipping its R-9 augmented reality glasses, with an asset sale planned for January focused on the AR company’s patent portfolio.

    I left a voicemail on ODG’s listed phone line, sent an email and spoke briefly on the phone with a representative of Hilco Streambank, which describes the asset sale for ODG in the following way:

    Hilco Streambank is seeking offers to acquire certain assets (collectively, the “Assets”) of Osterhout Group, Inc. (ODG). The Assets include an extensive patent portfolio covering mixed reality (augmented reality/virtual reality (“AR/VR”)) smart glasses technology, as well as other associated intangible and physical assets.

    A sale of the Assets will be conducted pursuant to Article 9 of the Uniform Commercial Code on January 15, 2019 at 10:00 a.m. Eastern Time, by Hilco Streambank on behalf of JGB Collateral, LLC (“JGB”), as collateral agent for the secured lender.

    ODG was founded in 1999 by Ralph Osterhout, whose previous work included the PVS-7 night vision goggles and the development of high-tech devices featured in a couple James Bond films. Over the last several years, ODG pitched a series of head-worn glasses culminating in the R-9 which promised a series of key features including 6DoF tracking and an extra wide field of view for around $2,000. As of this writing, the ODG website still lists the option to “reserve yours” while stating that the gadget is “shipping in limited quantities.”

    The Hilco representative I spoke with said they didn’t know what information could be made public regarding the state of the company. I’ll update this post as we learn more.

    This would be a quiet end for ODG, which hasn’t updated its social accounts on Twitter and Facebook since June. The company offered relatively low profile headgear that certainly made strides in ergonomics compared to other kinds of AR and VR hardware, but could never deliver on the promises of a robust feature set with broad appeal.

    The assets for sale are listed as a “Patent portfolio of 107 issued patents, 16 notices of allowance, 83 pending applications and 71 applications which have been abandoned but may be refiled” as well as “Related branded trademarks” and “Tangible collateral supporting the business.”

    Tagged with: ODG, Osterhout Design Group

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  • HumanEyes Rolls Out Camera That Shoots In 360 Degrees & VR180

    The Vuze XR Dual Camera from HumanEyes Technology shipped out to its first customers in late November. Jim Malcolm, the General Manager for North America at HumanEyes, was previously involved with both the launching of one of the world’s first digital cameras as well as one of the first 360-degree cameras on the market. Now, he

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  • Starship Commander: Arcade is all Talk in This Conversational Adventure The action is basic but it’s the voice recognition that shines.
  • Caltech Scientists Use AR To Help The Blind Navigate

    Scientists at Caltech are using AR to give objects in a room a voice, allowing the visually impaired to hear their surroundings. According to the World Health Organization, it is estimated that approximately 1.3 billion people around the globe live with some form of vision impairment. 217 million of those people having moderate to severe

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  • ‘Odin’ Is A 4K SteamVR Headset From Russia, Launching ‘Summer 2019’
    ‘Odin’ Is A 4K SteamVR Headset From Russia, Launching ‘Summer 2019’

    Russian startup DEUS will be showing off their new SteamVR compatible headset called ‘Odin’ at CES2019.

    The company intends to release an ‘Odin Pre’ version of headset in February. This ‘Pre’ model is aimed at businesses and developers, and will ship with a 3DoF controller for an estimated price of $1100. A refined consumer version with 6DoF controllers is planned for Summer 2019, but the price is currently TBA.

    The headset features dual 2160×2160 LCD panels providing a total resolution of 4320×2160 (4K×2K)- higher than any headset currently on the market. DEUS claims its fresnel lenses provide a field of view of 110°, the same as the HTC Vive.

    The consumer version of the Odin will use the VirtualLink USB-C cable standard, while the Odin Pre will use DisplayPort.

    While Odin uses photodiodes and laser base stations for tracking, this actually not SteamVR “Lighthouse” Tracking. Instead, the company developed their own similar system which they call ‘Horus’. DEUS claims that Horus base stations have a wider projection angle than Lighthouse, and that just the two included stations can cover 200 square metres (roughly 45×45 feet). The company also tells us that Horus supports an infinite number of base stations for larger playspaces.

    In Q2 2019 the company will demonstrate its 6DoF controllers for Odin, using the same Horus tracking system as the headset. The controllers somewhat resemble Oculus Touch, but with trackpads instead of thumbsticks. These 6DOF controllers will be included with the consumer Odin shipping in Summer.

    The headset is SteamVR compatible, meaning it should be able to play most (if not all) VR games on Steam. Buyers of the Pre version will however need to wait for the 6DoF controllers to play most Steam titles.

    The USA, South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, and China have dominated the VR hardware space so far. DEUS hopes it can add Russia to that list. But developing and shipping consumer electronics is incredibly challenging. While the company has delivered earlier development kits over the past few years, it has not yet demonstrated the ability to do so at scale. But if it can meet the challenge, the Odin may be a worthy addition to the high end PC VR market.

    Tagged with: odin, russia, SteamVR

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