• DigiLens Raises Funding For Holographic AR Displays From Niantic And Mitsubishi Chemical
    DigiLens Raises Funding For Holographic AR Displays From Niantic And Mitsubishi Chemical

    DigiLens has raised a new round of funding from Pokemon Go maker Niantic and Mitsubishi Chemical’s Diamond Edge Ventures to develop holographic waveguide displays for augmented reality applications.

    Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed, but it is the third round of funding for DigiLens. The investment will let Sunnyvale, California-based DigiLens continue to make quality holographic waveguide displays for global automobile, enterprise, consumer, avionics and military brands.

    Previously, DigiLens raised $25 million in May from Germany’s Continental, a tech company interested in automotive applications for holographic displays. At that point, the company had raised $60 million.

    “We are thrilled to have Niantic and MCHC join Continental AG and our other strategic investors,” said Chris Pickett, DigiLens CEO, in a statement. “These investments will strengthen the ecosystem of support for DigiLens, its licensees and their customers for the manufacturing of large volumes of displays at consumer price points that cannot be matched by other technologies.”

    DigiLens is creating proprietary nanomaterials and core technologies for transparent, augmented reality (AR) displays for several global industries. The new relationship with Mitsubishi Chemical will result in first-of-its-kind plastic material for waveguide displays that will be lighter, less expensive and nearly unbreakable, which is especially important for eye-glass thin smart glasses and displays for smart helmets.

    Niantic makes consumer AR gaming experiences with titles such as Pokemon Go, Ingress, Ingress Prime, and the forthcoming Harry Potter: Wizards Unite. Niantic CEO John Hanke has made no secret that he wants to help push augmented reality technologies forward.

    “Niantic has spent years transforming the world into a game board,” said Hanke, in a statement. “DigiLens is on an amazing path, in collaboration with MCHC, to bring more affordable and accessible hardware experiences to players around the world, making it possible for characters and game play to be seamlessly woven into the real world, supported by compelling safe and lightweight plastic AR displays.”

    Mitsubishi Chemical Holdings makes advanced materials, and it created Silicon Valley-based Diamond Edge Ventures in July 2018 to engage with startup companies and the venture community worldwide.

    “We could not have found a better first investment than DigiLens, as it demonstrates how MCHC’s advanced technology can help create a new market through strategic partnership with a world technology leader.” said Patrick Suel, president of Diamond Edge Ventures, in a statement. “Through this investment, we also become an active participant in an AR/VR technology ecosystem projected to have broad impact across , and we will accelerate adoption of a new computing platform that will benefit users worldwide”

    The company has developed a photopolymer material and holographic copy process to manufacture precision diffractive optics by printing rather than traditional expensive methods like precision etching. The resultant eyeglass display has higher efficiency and wider field of view at a low cost.

    DigiLens has formed strategic partnerships with other HUD and AR market leaders including Panasonic, Sony, Rockwell Collins, Continental and Foxconn.

    This post by Dean Takahashi originally appeared on Venturebeat.

    Tagged with: DigiLens

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  • U.S. Army To Receive 100,000 Microsoft HoloLens Headsets

    Microsoft lands $479M contract to put the MR headsets into the hands of soldiers in active combat zones. Mixed reality will be joining the ranks of the U.S. Army thanks to a huge $479 million contract between the legendary military branch and Microsoft. According to a Bloomberg article, Microsoft HoloLens technology will be used to increase the lethality

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  • Have a Happy Perpmas With Perp Games This Festive Season on PlayStation VR There's going to be 24 days of giveaways.
  • HTC Considers ‘Shadow VR’ Their ‘Oculus Quest’ Competitor
    HTC Considers ‘Shadow VR’ Their ‘Oculus Quest’ Competitor

    A couple of weeks ago at an HTC event in San Francisco, CA I had the chance to talk with Dan O’Brien, General Manager at HTC. In addition to alluding to the company’s positive VR hardware sales, he also elaborated on the announcements surrounding the Vive Focus launch, the Vive Wave SDK, Viveport store, and specifically, their consumer-focused strategy for the budding standalone VR headset market.

    The Vive Focus is a standalone VR headset with inside-out tracking (similar to Windows VR and Oculus Quest) that allows the user to walk around the room without cords, a PC, or even a smartphone powering it. It comes with a single 3DOF controller (which means you can rotate and move your wrist but can’t reach into the digital space like you can lean with your head) and is based on the Vive Wave SDK. There is a dev kit for two 6DOF Vive Focus controllers I got to try, but who knows how far off that is and it won’t be standard.

    Interestingly, given the relatively premium price for Vive Focus (either $599 or $749 depending on the service package you purchase) it’s targeted specifically at the Enterprise market — not consumers.

    “Right now, customers that will find valuable are typically early adopters that buy all the new tech, we’re fine with that, but the Wave SDK really enables us to talk to consumers with other hardware partners,” said O’Brien. “So Shadow Creator and Shadow VR, which is launching at a price point of $399, is a very consumer friendly price point. And with that, we have the ability to enter the mobile space at different price points with partners and not just putting the burden on ourselves.”

    Naturally, as the discussion expanded and mentions another headset, powered by the Vive platform, at the same $399 price point as the upcoming Oculus Quest standalone, things got interesting. Clearly that’s their main competitor here, right?

    “I haven’t , but I think it’s great for the community, it’s great for the VR industry, and I think we’re gonna learn a ton about price points and adoption levels,” said O’Brien. “We’re still talking about an early adopter consumer mix, we’re not at early mass yet. Products like Quest and some of the Wave platforms like Shadow VR will teach us a lot about those price points and adoption levels. We’re really focused on the products that we are delivering, like Focus, on giving a complete Enterprise solution and answering a lot of the problems we see out there.”

    So it seems like a major piece of HTC’s strategy going forward, especially in the realm of standalone consumer VR, is partnerships with other hardware manufacturers that they can get to use the Wave SDK and access Viveport as their primary marketplace.

    “The Wave SDK serves as two pieces: the backend for developers, to actually bring their content in and make it work with our standalone product, but it’s also the run time,” said O’Brien. “So we provide that run time to the hardware

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  • MAG Studios is Remastering Space Combat Sim CDF Starfighter VR The remaster update will arrive in mid-2019.
  • Spheres Review: Finding Poetry And Symphony In The Wonders Of The Universe
    Spheres Review: Finding Poetry And Symphony In The Wonders Of The Universe

    Spheres is an educational VR space app unlike any other. Whereas the likes of Star Chart and Titans of Space can enamor you with fantastical sights and plentiful facts, Spheres is the first VR app to truly embrace the awesome force of our universe and harness your headset to showcase it like never before. It does so in spectacular fashion, making it little wonder as to how it secured a seven-figure deal.

    The Darren Aronofsky-produced experience consists of three episodes, each around 10 minutes in length. Every installment explores a particular phenomenon within our galaxy and beyond, from the warped machinations of a black hole to the birth of the planet we inhabit. Writer/Director Eliza McNitt finds a common thread to link these installments – sound. We watch magnetic fields soar past our ears, screeching as they go, and tap away at the beginnings of the universe as if it were a xylophone that’s had its bars scattered across the cosmos.

    There’s a privileged beauty to experiencing it akin to hearing whale song for the first time. But it’s a visual feast, too, exposing the invisible workings of our galaxy in ways that are truly a sight to behold. Crucially, there’s interactivity at its heart. Spheres doesn’t just want you to watch, it wants to turn you into a celestial being capable of moving planets and toying with the very DNA of our universe. The blend of these three pillars — sight, sound and interaction — creates a 30-minute package that’s constantly astounding you in one way or another, like an interstellar playground that keeps on giving.

    But it’s the second episode, narrated in measured whispers by Jessica Chastain (who only fuels the Interstellar comparisons we’ve already made), that’s the real standout. It’s a no-compromise journey into the center of a black hole with dizzying but extraordinary results. A light show like no other ensnares you as you find yourself in a hectic haze of gravity. Perhaps most tellingly, it’s an educational experience I won’t soon forget.

    Spheres is VR’s equivalent to Planet Earth or Blue Planet, a high-production tour de force that will sweep you up in the majesty of the universe around us and leave you wide-eyed and overwhelmed. It’s one of the most competent showcases of how VR can truly give you an experience unlike anything else, and it’s not to be missed.

    Final Say: Must See

    Spheres is available now on Oculus Rift for $9.99.

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  • The Virtual Melds With the Real in Chained: A Victorian Nightmare The immersive experience opens today in Los Angeles.
  • War Dust VR Livestream: Watch Us Play A Battlefield-Style VR FPS On Twitch
    War Dust VR Livestream: Watch Us Play A Battlefield-Style VR FPS On Twitch

    War Dust is only in Early Access on Steam and is quite rough around the edges, but it’s certainly nailed the thrill of large-scale combat already. Pitting two teams of 32 players against one another, this is the largest scale VR shooter we’ve seen yet, channeling vibes from Battlefield with jets, helicopters, tanks, and more across various objective-based maps. Just yesterday the developers have introduced another brand new map.

    We’ll be playing War Dust on Rift using a two Touch controllers. We’re starting around 1:30 PM PT and we’ll aim to last for around two hours. We’ll be livestreaming to the UploadVR Twitch page where you can interact with us directly and chat among yourselves. Streaming is something we’re going to double down on doing more often very soon so you should get in on the ground floor of our Twitch community early! After today’s stream we’ll qualify for Twitch Affiliate status, which will introduce more perks for viewers (like a custom emote coming soon!) and more ways to interact during streams.

    You can see the full stream embedded right here down below once it’s up:

    Watch live video from UploadVR on

    You can see our most recent past archived streams over on our YouTube channel right here or in the Twitch video archives here. There’s lots of good stuff there!

    Let us know which games or discussions you want us to livestream next and don’t forget to follow the Twitch channel and sign up for notifications.

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  • Trinus VR Comes To Daydream, So Now The Mirage Solo Can Act As A PC VR Headset Too
    Trinus VR Comes To Daydream, So Now The Mirage Solo Can Act As A PC VR Headset Too

    Trinus VR, an app which uses video streaming your WiFi to let mobile and standalone VR headsets act as if they were PC VR headsets, launches in early access today for Daydream. Daydream is Google’s VR platform which runs on compatible smartphones and the Lenovo Mirge Solo standalone headset.

    That means that if you have a Daydream compatible smartphone and a gaming PC, you can grab a cheap DayDream View headset for $50 on Amazon and jump into any SteamVR content that doesn’t rely on 6DoF headset or tracked controllers.

    If you’re running Trinus with the Mirage Solo, things go to the next level. The software fully supports the headset’s 6DoF positional tracking, passing it through to SteamVR. You can duck, lean and walk around the experience (provided you disable the Solo’s built in 1×1 metre boundary system). It will also have the VR game on your PC render at the correct 75Hz refresh rate of the Mirage Solo.

    Trinus also supports PSVR and Google Cardboard. For Oculus Go and Gear VR users, the open source project ALVR already provides the same functionality as Trinus for those headsets. Trinus tell us they plan to add support for Go and Gear VR in Q1 2019.

    Trinus recommends using a direct connection to the PC

    To keep perceived latency low and compensate for dropped frames in the transmission, Trinus incorporates its own asynchronous reprojection on the headset itself. While this increases battery life, it’s generally effective at smoothening out the experience and bringing it much close to a real PC VR headset.

    Of course, the problem with Trinus and all apps like it is that image quality and latency still don’t match using a real PC VR headset. Contrary to popular belief, this isn’t caused by the wireless transmission itself (in fact, Trinus even supports wired over USB)- it’s actually the compression. Neither WiFi nor USB have sufficient bandwidth to transfer the raw image to a VR headset, so compression is used. This introduces artefacts to the image, but it also adds latency because it takes the PC time to encode each frame (encoding is more computationally expensive than decoding if at an acceptable quality level).

    The main thing that prevents Trinus from being a true PC VR solution is Daydream’s controller, however. While it has a touchpad, it lacks even a basic trigger, and is rotation-only 3DoF, not 6DoF positional. You can pair two controllers at once and Trinus supports this, but most of SteamVR’s content really needs positional tracked input to be playable. Trinus really only works well as a solution for playing gamepad games.

    Imperfections aside, Trinus delivers on the goal of providing you with a basic gamepad-input PC VR experience for a fraction of the cost of a PC VR headset. With it now supporting Daydream, your Mirage Solo can take on a new role entirely. We expect for many it will be a “gateway drug” to buying a dedicated PC VR headset for Christmas.

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  • Craft Your own Cell When Prison Boss VR Escapes onto PlayStation VR Trebuchet’s new title will arrive next week.
  • Space Pirate Trainer Review: Time To Pull Out Those Blasters And Scream V-Arrrrrrrrr! (Update)
    Space Pirate Trainer Review: Time To Pull Out Those Blasters And Scream V-Arrrrrrrrr! (Update)

    The more things change, the more they stay the same. I’ve always been enthralled by video games, and I spent the better part of my childhood in arcades lining up quarters on the glass screens of shooters like Space Invaders, Galaga and Phoenix to mark my place in line. Some 30 years later, wave shooters are one of the most prevalent VR game genres. Now one of the earliest and most recognized – Space Pirate Trainer (SPT) – has just made its debut as a full-release game after being in early access for well over a year.

    At its heart, SPT is very similar to the aforementioned arcade games: fast, frantic and frenetic. The swarm-like, increasingly difficult waves of enemies remind me of a virtual reality Geometry Wars, but with distinct levels and populated with droids and drones instead of shapes.

    The concept is simple: grab a gun (or shield, but more on that later) in each hand and blast as many droids as you can out of the air as fast as possible. Your pistols have a variety of fire modes – single-shot, pulse, beam, scattershot, rail, grenades and so on – that can be switched on the fly. Reach over your shoulder and you can swap out your gun for the most interesting – and in my opinion the most challenging yet also most fulfilling – weapons in Space Pirate Trainer: the volton, an energized baton that can transform into a shield, a melee weapon, a lasso and a mobile battery.

    In shield mode, the volton will deflect incoming projectiles, and if you get lucky you might just strike a few drones on the return trip. You only get hit if a laser tags you directly where the sensors detect your HMD (although that didn’t stop me from spinning and worming my arms around incoming fire), and while you can just hold the shield up over your face in the early stages making it an easy-yet-blurry cakewalk, the powered buckler is relatively small, so you have to keep an eye out in later levels as projectiles will be coming in quickly and often from 180-degrees and sometimes from above. You can emit a larger force field which will float in front of you and divert approaching lasers , but it’s a quick burst and takes a while to replenish, so you’ll have to be efficient when you use it.

    Not only can you pull in droids with the energy lasso and slam them to the ground or bash them with your shield, you can also use the volton to power various environmental weapon placements like a tesla coil and large laser turret that is absolutely devastating to large groups of enemies. Like I said, it’s one of the most interesting, creative and unique weapons in a game that otherwise features pretty standard sci-fi shooter variants.

    There are also various power-ups you can activate through rapid combo kills such as hexagonal shield walls, quickfire super lasers and even your own helper drone that will

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  • ‘Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse’ Receives Web AR Tie-In

    Your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man returns to AR for some superhero selfies. ‘Spiderman: Into the Spider-Verse’ arrives in theaters December 14th and if early reviews are any indication, Marvel may have yet another hit on their hands. The cross-dimensional animated feature boasts an absolutely stellar voice cast comprised of Jake Johnson (Peter Parker/Spider-Man) and John Mulaney

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  • The Elder Scrolls: Blades Mobile Version Delayed To 2019
    The Elder Scrolls: Blades Mobile Version Delayed To 2019

    Bethesda has announced that their upcoming mobile game The Elder Scrolls: Blades will not release until “Early 2019”. The previously stated release window was Autumn 2018. Blades is a new installation in The Elder Scrolls series made for mobile devices and is planned to eventually release on PC, consoles, and even VR headsets.

    The game was first announced at E3 2018. On stage, Bethesda’s director & executive producer Todd Howard stated that the game would be available for all levels of VR, from mobile VR to high end PC VR.

    The announcement today only mentions that iOS and Android are coming in early 2019. While this could technically also include Android based VR platforms like Oculus Go and Google Daydream, it seems unlikely. The more likely situation here is that the VR version will come later in 2019 (at the earliest) as a lower priority.

    It’s not clear what has caused the delay for Blades. In an interview with Geoff Keighley at the time of the announcement, Todd Howard said that his ideal scenario was to release it right after E3. Perhaps the recent issues and controversy with Fallout 76 have caused the company to reprioritize their developers, although it could be unrelated.

    We also still don’t know exactly which VR platforms the game will land on. With Oculus Quest releasing in 2019 too however, Blades could be that headset’s biggest hit, or greatest missed opportunity. We’ll keep you updated on any further news about Blades from Bethesda.

    Tagged with: Bethesda, The Elder Scrolls, The Elder Scrolls: Blades, VR gaming

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  • E3 2019: Will Oculus, HTC or Microsoft Take Advantage of Sony’s Absence? If they don't E3 2019 could be sparse of VR.
  • Mozilla Updates Firefox Reality With 360 Video and Improved Language Support You'll be able to watch 360 content in a new dedicated theatre.