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  • The Sims FreePlay Brings In Multiplayer AR An update to The Sims smart[phone title brings in augmented reality (AR) features.
  • Sixense Will Refund Its VR Controller Backers, Switch To Enterprise
    Sixense Will Refund Its VR Controller Backers, Switch To Enterprise

    Sixense pioneered hand controllers for virtual reality applications in 2013, but the company hasn’t been able to produce its Stem consumer product for VR. And so the company is announcing today that it will refund all of the money raised from its Kickstarter campaign backers and preorder customers.

    Amir Rubin, CEO of Los Gatos, California-based Sixense, said in an interview with GamesBeat that the company will now focus on the enterprise market with its six-degrees-of-freedom (6DoF) controllers, which allow people to use their hands in virtual reality applications. In many ways, this represents yet another failure in the overhyped VR market, but there’s also a certain measure of success for Sixense.

    Earlier this year, Sixense formed a joint venture with Penumbra, a health care company that wanted 6DoF technology for things like VR surgery training and patient recovery. That raised some much-needed capital for Sixense. In September, Penumbra bought an additional 40 percent of the joint venture, bringing the total owned to 90 percent, for $20 million. That gave Sixense the ability to replay its 2,383 Kickstarter backers, who gave the company $604,978 in 2013.

    Above: Amir Rubin, CEO of Sixense, ran a Kickstarter for a wireless version of his company’s motion-sensing controllers in 2013.

    Image Credit: Dean Takahashi

    Rubin said he was grateful for the support of the backers.

    “After a lot of consideration, we decided, based on current market conditions, we will refund all of the Kickstarter backers at 100 percent,” he said. “We will refund every backer and every preorder.”

    Rubin said that when the company emerged with its Stem wireless hand controllers in 2013, before Oculus Rift came out, the industry needed a solution for navigating VR.

    “There was no 6DoF control system for VR to go with the Oculus headset,” he said.

    But then Valve showed off its SteamVR controllers and gave that at no cost to HTC. Oculus launched in 2016 with an Xbox controller, and later that year it debuted its Oculus Touch controls. With those solutions from the major vendors in the market, there wasn’t as much need for the Stem controllers, which were both more precise and more expensive.

    To survive, Rubin started focusing on health care solutions, mobile devices, and the enterprise. It spun out a VR building application, and then it cut the deal with Penumbra.

    Above: Sixense Stem controllers

    Image Credit: Sixense

    “With enterprise, we were able to be comfortable as a company and continue to develop our technology,” Rubin said. “Penumbra is one of the most committed companies in the VR health care market.”

    Rubin said he was down on the VR market’s potential until about three months ago, when the music-and-swordfighting game Beat Saber debuted and generated millions of sales on VR headsets. He was also impressed with Facebook’s Oculus Quest wireless VR headset.

    “We feel the market has what it needs as its first real consumer product,” Rubin said. “We will take our technology to the enterprise and health care.”

    Eventually, he said that the consumer market will develop further and require the more precise technology in the Stem controllers. And when that happens, Sixense

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  • Jaunt Changes Focus From VR To AR As a result of Jaunt's work in volumetric capture, Jaunt is turning away from VR and focussing on AR/
  • Oculus Go Used For In-Flight Pilot Training Demonstration
    Oculus Go Used For In-Flight Pilot Training Demonstration

    Co-founders of a Texas-based company called Thrust Vector, which does contract development and consulting for both AR and VR, used Oculus Go while piloting an aircraft and say they have flown “probably 2 dozen full approaches in full VR, all the way down to about 50 feet above the runway.”

    CTO John Nagle wrote in an email to us that they used mapping software Mapbox along with the Unity world engine and “Oculus Go in this case because it represents the lowest cost VR device, and we wanted to show it was fundamentally capable enough to work.” In a video demonstration, Nagle is shown piloting an airplane with co-founder John Paul Sommer as “safety pilot.” Inside Oculus Go, an application renders visuals for Nagle based in the information supplied by “an open source ADS-B sensor called Stratux, which also has an AHRS capability (Attitude and Heading Reference System.) It uses a WAAS-enhanced GPS for position.”

    “It is still 3DOF, but it is airplane-referenced. In an airplane, the headset rotates in 2 ways; the airplane can turn, and your head can turn also. We do the math to keep head motion airplane-relative. We do plan to use more powerful headsets in future tests, of course,” Nagle wrote.

    “We always acted as safety pilot for the other during testing, so we were never actually flying blind. The approach boxes bring you perfectly down the approach path, and the MapBox data has sufficient fidelity to really give me confidence that I know where I am. We’ve also done a number of ‘unusual attitude’ tests, where one of us is eyes-closed, head-down, while the other does a series of steep and aggressive maneuvers in an attempt to cause disorientation. Then, the pilot will say, ‘your airplane’, at which point the other person will don the headset, right the aircraft, and bring it in for landing.”

    The idea is that with a “PC-driven VR system such as the Oculus Rift, we can create an endless array of training scenarios; poor weather, equipment failures, even combat scenarios with virtual ground and aerial targets. And unlike a simulator, the trainee will feel every stick input for real. The irony here is, many people using VR flight simulators experience nausea, because they’re seeing movement that their body doesn’t actually feel. Having VR in-flight can actually prevent nausea, because your sight is now in total agreement with your vestibular system.”

    Nagle added that he believes “FAA approval is usually relegated to things which are permanently mounted in the cockpit. Nonetheless, we look forward to working with the FAA as we refine the technology to make sure we stay within the boundaries of common sense and the regulations. After all, ultimately the goal is to improve safety, not compromise it.”

    Tagged with: Flight Training

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  • Introducing MagiMask: A New AR Headset Looking To Right Wrongs & Elevate AR "We believe people have been led into the AR market with false hopes and outrageously expensive hardware."
  • Wrench Gives You A Different Kind Of Car Simulator
    Wrench Gives You A Different Kind Of Car Simulator

    Few genres seem to fit VR better than racing simulation, letting you jump into the driver’s seat of just about any car without spending millions of dollars. But Missing Digit’s Wrench wants to offer a different kind of car simulator.

    Wrench is all about getting under the hood of fast and furious machines. It’s a complement to the types of Gran Turismo and Project Cars players that want to take things further, not just to swap out parts on the fly but get into the real nitty-gritty of vehicle maintenance and tweaking. If you’ve followed the app’s progress over the past year, you’ll know it features stunningly detailed models of everything from engines to the tiny nuts and bolts that piece them together. Motion controller support, meanwhile, allows for realistic handling of those objects and installing them into cars.

    It sounds like an incredibly comprehensive tool, but is there really an audience for that?

    “Wrench is definitely something that would appeal to many sim racers,” developer Alec Moody explained to me over email. “There are a few games in the car repair genre that have been quite successful but it’s an under developed genre. Gamers are used to seeing high production value racing games but they haven’t seen a similar level of effort in the repair space.”

    Moody explained that he’d had a positive reception to the experience in the wider automobile industry, but was still looking to gain traction with gamers ahead of launch. “I think Wrench looking polished and being something other than a racing game is part of why I have had such a positive reaction in the car world,” he said. “I’m also taking a very different approach than existing car repair games. Mostly that difference can be summed up with quality over quantity.”

    But how do you gamify something that many people would class as complicated beyond their capability? Well, Wrench makes a career out of your work that you have to sustain. You’ll need to please first-timer customers to turn them into regular visitors, for example.

    “Wrench‘s game flow revolves around servicing complete cars, not building cars from a pile of parts,” Moody said. “The videos I have been pushing show building from a pile of parts because that is an easier narrative to drill down into a 1-2 minute format- From a gameplay perspective its substantially different. The approach I am taking is that the total assembly is quite complicated and we don’t expect new players to jump into the most difficult tasks straight away. New players can nibble around the edges of the assembly and then slowly move deeper into the car as they feel more confident. That progression might look something like this: Oil changes, brake pad changes, larger suspension work, replacing engine accessories/timing belt, and then finally moving into rebuilding engines.

    There’s also a methodical pace to the gameplay that lets players learn as they go. Take the video above, which features a 47-minute task reduced down into a minute of footage.

    “I also think there is an

    The post Wrench Gives You A Different Kind Of Car Simulator appeared first on UploadVR.

  • Pokémon Go Gets Big Rebalance 'Gym King' characters like Blissey get a nerf as Niantic Labs prepare for Gen 4 launch.
  • Moncler Genius Launches AR-Enhanced Book Outerwear brand works with REWIND to create AR-enhanced book.
  • VRHealth Secures CE Registration, Looks To Move Into EU Market OVer 30 facilities in the U.S. already use VRHealth.
  • VR vs. Subtle Moves Kevin E tells of times when the VRFocus team agree on the quality of a VR videogame, then explains why he disagrees with part of our Arca's Path preview.
  • TD Ameritrade Holding Corporation Announces Finance Education Experience In Partnership With Oculus Go  “Learning through an interactive experience is an exciting and immersive way that will help investors understand more."
  • Vuzix Confirms App Developer Partners For CEATEC 2018 Company also set to make a presentation at the event in Japan.
  • ‘No Man’s Sky’ Developers Poll Players On Potential VR Support
    ‘No Man’s Sky’ Developers Poll Players On Potential VR Support

    Since the game’s release in 2016, VR gamers have been asking for VR support for No Man’s Sky, the sandbox space survival game from Hello Games. The most recent hint the developers might be considering it comes from a recently posted poll to the community of players, asking what they wanted to see in future updates to the game. Among the 10 possible options is ‘VR Support’.

    No Man’s Sky was first teased in late 2013 and became one of the most anticipated titles in gaming history due to Hello Games’ ambitious claims about its scope and depth of features. By the time it released, a particular criticism was that while Hello Games had claimed it would be multiplayer, players could only see named planets from other players. They could not actually directly interact. Over the past two years, however, the game has received multiple major updates addressing the missing features from launch as well as performance and stability issues, and much of its playerbase now seems satisfied with the state of the game today. In many ways, it now feels like a completely different game and similar to the originally teased concept.

    The demand for VR support for No Man’s Sky is not arbitrary. Earlier this year, we wrote about reasons why the game would be perfect for VR. VR is extremely well suited to games where the player is primarily in a cockpit, though only a portion of No Man’s Sky is set inside a spacecraft. Elite Dangerous, another sandbox space game with planetary landing, is considered by some to be one of the best VR games available, and many players have bought a VR headset to enhance their experience in it.

    Of course, this is only a poll, so the community may vote to prioritize other features, or potentially not enough will vote for VR support for it to ever be added to the game, but the fact that Hello Games intentionally put it into the list means there is a decent chance of it coming eventually. It is also not known whether this would be limited to PC VR headsets, or whether it would also come to PSVR (given that the game is already on PlayStation 4). Regardless, we’ll keep you updated as soon as any further VR news from Hello Games emerges.

    Tagged with: no mans sky, PlayStation VR, VR gaming

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  • Hands-on: Twin Peaks VR Takes The Festival Of Disruption To Glastonbury Grove And The Red Room
    Hands-on: Twin Peaks VR Takes The Festival Of Disruption To Glastonbury Grove And The Red Room

    An official Twin Peaks VR experience premiered at the Festival of Disruption in Los Angeles.

    Presented by Collider Games, the demo was less than 10 minutes long in an HTC Vive headset with hand controllers. Twin Peaks VR uses teleport locomotion so it is perfectly comfortable for first-time VR folks, which likely includes some long-time Twin Peaks fans reading this post. For those unfamiliar, Twin Peaks first aired in 1990 from the mind of David Lynch to change the face of television with shocking revelations and iconic locales like the “Red Room.” The series ended after two years on a Lynch-directed high note, but those wishing to dive deeper into Lynch’s surreal universe filled with waking nightmares and doppelgangers were only partially satisfied by a prequel film, Fire Walk With Me (1992).

    More than 25 years later Showtime brought Twin Peaks back with Lynch directing 18 mind-bending episodes which aired last year. Many cast members came back to their roles for Twin Peaks: The Return including original stars Kyle MacLachlan and Sheryl Lee. Over the weekend Twin Peaks VR offered some fans their first chance to visit two locations from Twin Peaks — Glastonbury Grove and the Red Room. The project was shown as part of Lynch’s Festival of Disruption, a two day art, film and music event to benefit Lynch’s foundation promoting transcendental meditation. Photos provided courtesy of the The David Lynch Foundation show Kimmy Robertson, who plays Lucy, checking out the experience.

    Kimmy Robertson (Lucy from Twin Peaks) tries an HTC Vive at the Festival of Disruption. Photos above courtesy of the David Lynch Foundation.

    The experience started with a flashlight out in the forest in search of Glastonbury Grove, a place which serves as a kind of portal to the “Red Room” — a place I was both afraid and excited to visit. Because the experience uses teleportation for movement it should be comfortable for most users. Some early VR headset buyers find the teleportation movement style breaks their sense of immersion and prefer to have the option to move freely around the environment using sticks or touchpads, like in a traditional video game. More on this near the end of the article.

    I could see the owls watching me from the trees and Glastonbury Grove was just a few teleports away. I quickly found my way into the Red Room looking into the murky puddle on the ground. From there I saw a number of iconic items including a ring, coffee, white horse and the “evolution of the arm” — with familiar sound and lighting effects that were also alarming, like a section where the room and curtains seemed to darken so I couldn’t see into the corners anymore. I tried to escape through the virtual curtains but I was almost too afraid to reach forward and move them aside.  Indeed, the very last segment of the official Twin Peaks VR preview artificially shook my view for a few seconds — like I was getting ripped from that world.

    Overall the Twin

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  • Magic Leap Brings Star Wars’ Adorable Porgs To Mixed Reality

    It’s like Tamagotchi, but in a galaxy far, far away. Magic Leap made their fair share of announcements during their inaugural L.E.A.P. developer conference last week, showcasing an impressive collection of upcoming, as well as already-released experiences and updates. From mixed reality board games, to realistic A.I., every corner of the Magic Box event space

    The post Magic Leap Brings Star Wars’ Adorable Porgs To Mixed Reality appeared first on VRScout.