• Stanford Research Explores How AR Can Affect Human Behavior

    Examining how AR experiences can change the way people interact with the real world. In a new study conducted by Standford Universities School of Humanities and Sciences, researchers discovered that simulated augmented reality experiences have a direct effect on human behavior within the real world, even after the AR device was removed. “We’ve discovered that

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  • Prototype VR Hardware Photos From Valve’s Index Briefing In Bellevue
    Prototype VR Hardware Photos From Valve’s Index Briefing In Bellevue

    Last month in Bellevue, Washington, Valve Corporation invited a small group of journalists for the first hands-on opportunity with the Valve Index headset and its wearable controllers.

    For those unfamiliar, the teams at Valve developed critical tracking and display technologies which, in 2014, helped convince Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg (see blurry photo below) that Oculus would be a smart investment in a future computing platform.

    This blurry photo comes from a presentation Brendan Iribe gave shortly after the acquisition by Facebook showing Mark Zuckerberg trying out Valve’s simulator sickness-solving technology.

    Zuckerberg bought Oculus for roughly $3 billion. Valve, meanwhile, partnered with HTC to turn their work into a product — Vive.

    Valve Index

    Five years later, HTC’s PC VR products haven’t changed much since the original headset they partnered with Valve to ship in direct competition with Facebook’s Oculus Rift. Vive Pro adds more resolution, Vive Wireless Adapter gets rid of the cord to the PC and the latest Vive Pro Eye tacks on eye tracking to the already shipping design for around $2,000.

    Valve’s Index headset, then, is the true next generation of the Steam-centered technology platform enthusiasts picked up starting in 2016. On its development path, Valve went through a lot of design iterations in a feedback loop with trusted developers. At the Index briefing Valve showcased some of these designs.

    I’ve reached out to Valve to see if I can get more specific information about when each of these hardware designs were created — and what was learned from each approach. For instance, in developing the “Knuckles” hand-strapped prototypes they originally only used a touchpad. On the final design the controller includes an analog stick as well as a touch button.

    I’ll update this post if we get those details but, in the meantime, here are photos which show off the various designs explored by Valve on the path to their own head-mounted display and controllers. One photo below with my hand in it came from an earlier trip to Seattle where I visited the offices of a company Valve partnered with on design work for its products.


    Tagged with: Knuckles, valve index

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  • VR Cover Creates Foam and Cotton Accessories for Oculus Quest Share the gameplay, not the sweat.
  • TPCAST Air for Oculus Go Begins Shipping to EMEA Markets The system is sold bundled with the headset for business use cases.
  • Sony Licenses ‘Advanced Haptics Patent Portfolio’ For ‘VR Controllers’
    Sony Licenses ‘Advanced Haptics Patent Portfolio’ For ‘VR Controllers’

    Haptic feedback technology company Immersion Corp signed an agreement with Sony to license their “advanced haptics” patent portfolio. The company stated that Sony can use this to leverage their technology for “gaming controllers and VR controllers.”

    Immersion Corp stated that such technology could be used to simulate “sensations of pushing, pulling, grasping, and pulsing”, while Sony more vaguely simply stated that it “enhances the sense of presence and immersion.”

    Immersion Corp doesn’t actually manufacture the hardware for haptic feedback. The company certifies suitable hardware and licenses its software and more than 3500 issued or pending patents to companies wanting to add haptics to their products.

    Immersion Corp claims there are now three billion devices worldwide using their haptic technology. Most notably, the company’s ‘TouchSense’ software is used in the Nintendo Switch games console as part of the “HD Rumble” features.

    The current PlayStation VR motion controller, PlayStation Move, uses a simple rumble motor much like standard gamepads. That’s in contrast to the linear resistant actuators (LRAs) used on the Oculus Touch and HTC Vive controllers, which was also used in the Nintendo Switch. LRAs offer lower latency and finer control over vibration frequency.

    Given this and the other limitations of the PS Move controllers, Sony would almost certainly release new controllers alongside a “PSVR 2”. How far out in the future that will be is unclear of course, with Sony recently stating that the current PSVR will work with the next PlayStation console. But it’s possible that this patent acquisition is likely a step toward the development of said next generation VR controllers.

    We’ve seen a glimpse of what such controllers might look like in Sony’s own patents. The first patent was filed in early 2018, and then a refined version of the same design again in February of this year.

    The patents describe a worn controller, similar to Valve Index Controllers, with hand detection and trigger resistance. If Sony could also integrate advanced haptic feedback, it could result in a truly next-generation VR controller.

    Tagged with: PlayStation VR, sony, Sony Interactive Entertainment

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  • Review: Final Assault Why bother with boardgames when virtual tabletops do a better job.
  • Fujii Is An Adorable New VR Adventure From The Makers Of Cosmic Trip
    Fujii Is An Adorable New VR Adventure From The Makers Of Cosmic Trip

    Cosmic Trip developer Funktronic Labs is back with its latest VR game, and it looks quite delightful.

    Fujii is coming to the Oculus Quest, Oculus Rift, Valve Index and other SteamVR headsets on June 27. You might have seen a few teases for the game beginning back at Earth Day last month. There’s good reason for that; Fuji is designed to be a breath of virtual fresh air. You explore lush gardens filled with vibrant colors and exotic wildlife. We’ve got the first trailer below. Keep watching; I promise it’s not just a trailer for Pokemon Go.

    Joining you on your journey is a little gnome, though you’ll also find other wildlife to interact with. The game features three main biomes in which you’ll help grow plants by watering and touching them as well as playing them music. In fact, you might have noticed the game’s whimsical soundtrack in the trailer. It’s composed by French artist, Norman Bambi.

    Again, it looks like a pretty lovely treat of a VR game. The visuals look like they straddle the line between simplicity for Quest with enough detail to be enjoyed on more capable headsets. Have a lovely GIF of your gnome playing an instrument to prove it.

    This will be Funktronic’s third full VR game following the release of Cosmic Trip and Starbear Taxi.

    Fujii will cost $14.99 at launch across all platforms. It will also come with dedicated support for the Valve Index Controllers. We’ve reached out to Funktronic to ask if it will support cross-buy on Rift/Quest too.

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  • Location-Based VR Company Nomadic Expanding To Las Vegas
    Location-Based VR Company Nomadic Expanding To Las Vegas

    Nomadic today announced that it is expanding its location-based VR center footprint to include AREA51 in Las Vegas, NV later this year.

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  • Virtual Virtual Reality Review: Don’t Miss This Surrealist Slice Of VR
    Virtual Virtual Reality Review

    We finally give our Virtual Virtual Reality Review. Is this surrealist slice of VR something you should check out as it heads to Quest?

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  • Cosmic Trip and Starbear Taxi Dev Working on Oculus Quest Title Fujii It'll also support SteamVR compatible headsets.
  • How To Stream Oculus Quest To Twitch, YouTube, Facebook, And More
    quest dev kit

    In this detailed guide you'll find out everything you need to know to stream your Oculus Quest wirelessly to Twitch, YouTube, Facebook, and more.

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  • Terrifying Survival Horror Follia – Dear Father Will Support VR, Watch the Dramatic First Trailer HTC Vive and PlayStation VR have been confirmed.
  • HTC Vive Pro Eye Goes on Sale in Europe Starting From £1499 The headset will be bundled with Advantage for business users.
  • Watch The First Gameplay Footage Of VR MMO OrbusVR On Oculus Quest
    Watch The First Gameplay Footage Of VR MMO OrbusVR On Oculus Quest

    In this video released by the developers we get to see a brief glimpse of actual gameplay footage from OrbusVR Reborn running on the Oculus Quest.

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  • Vive Pro Eye Launches In Europe For £1,499 Or £1,697 With Commercial License
    htc vive pro eye foveated rendering eye tracking

    After being revealed at CES 2019 back in January, HTC’s next enterprise-level headset, Vive Pro Eye, launches today. Well, at least in Europe and China.

    The headset launches in 25 countries across Europe, including in the UK for £1,499. To be clear, this price includes two SteamVR 2.0 base stations and the updated Vive controllers. For comparison, the original Vive Pro kit costs £1,299, so there’s a £200 difference between the two. Unlike the original Pro, it doesn’t seem like you can buy the headset by itself at a lower price.

    We can’t yet find details for US pricing and release date. We’ve reached out to HTC to ask but £1,499 translates to about $1,936.34. Currently, the Pro Starter Kit costs $1,098. Earlier today Vive also launched Chinese orders for the headset at ¥13,888. That works out to about $2,021.82, though this is with China’s added taxes. We’ll have to wait and see what the full kit comes to.

    Crucially, Vive Pro also comes bundles with an enterprise license named Advantage and a two-year warranty for commercial use. Advantage automatically adds £198 to your basket but you can remove it too. Still, it will be essential for those looking to get Pro Eye for commercial use.

    At that price, Vive Pro Eye is nearly £600 more than the full Valve Index kit, which launches in June for £919.

    Vive Pro Eye is largely similar to the original Pro with one major addition: eye-tracking. The headset is able to follow your gaze and put it to use within a given VR app. It may be that it’s used as a form of input, for example, but it can also be used for foveated rendering. This is a crucial technique for the future of VR, fully rendering only the part of a headset display in a user’s central vision. The rest of the screen doesn’t fully render, but it shouldn’t be perceivable in your peripheral vision. This drastically reduces the processing demands of the PC powering VR. the image below shows you how it works.

    Other than that Vive Pro Eye two displays offer 1440 x 1600 pixels per eye (2880 x 1600 pixels combined). It’s got a 90 Hz refresh rate and a 110 degrees field of view (FOV).

    As we said up to this is very much an enterprise-focused headset. Anyone can pick one up but HTC has built it for business use first and foremost. Don’t expect to see game developers flock to support its new features, then. If you’re more interest in that, you’ll probably want to wait for the HTC Vive Cosmos.

    Tagged with: htc, htc vive, HTC Vive Pro Eye

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