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  • Google’s Gradient Ventures Joins $58 Million Investment In AR Startup Mojo Vision
    Google’s Gradient Ventures Joins $58 Million Investment In AR Startup Mojo Vision

    Mojo Vision, an under-the-radar augmented reality (AR) startup that has yet to reveal exactly what it’s building, announced that it has raised $58 million in a series B round of funding from Google’s Gradient Ventures, Advantech Capital, HP Tech Ventures, Motorola Solutions Venture Capital, Bold Capital Partners, LG Electronics, Kakao Ventures, and Stanford StartX.

    Founded out of Saratoga, California in 2015, Mojo Vision more or less exited stealth back in November, when it revealed it had raised $50 million in funding since its inception three years before. Aside from that, the startup didn’t reveal a whole lot about what it’s been cooking up — however, it did tout its AR-infused “invisible computing” platform that will deliver “immediate, powerful, and relevant” information minus the distractions of today’s mobile devices.

    While the likes of Microsoft’s HoloLens and Magic Leap are developing gnarly AR smarts that rely on chunky headwear, it seems Mojo Vision could be building something that blends into the environment — perhaps contact lenses or a similar form factor.

    “Mojo Vision is taking on a big challenge — to rethink how people receive and share information in a way that is immediate and relevant, without diverting their attention,” said Mojo Vision CEO Drew Perkins.

    Perkins previously cofounded optical networking company Infinera, which went public back in 2007. He has also founded three companies that were acquired, including Gainspeed, which specialized in improving cable network capacity and was snapped up by Nokia in 2016.

    With a fresh $58 million in financing under its belt, the startup will be better-positioned to get its technology into the public sphere, Perkins added.

    “In addition to advancing critical technologies, this capital moves Mojo closer to initial customer pilots and strategic partnerships,” he said.

    AI factor

    Google announced its new Gradient Ventures fund back in 2017, and the focus for this fund has been squarely on early-stage AI startups. That Gradient has invested in Mojo Vision strongly suggests there will be a significant AI element to its product.

    “The potential for artificial intelligence to provide access to information effortlessly and contextually without distraction is compelling,” said Anna Patterson, managing partner at Gradient Ventures. “Gradient’s investment in Mojo Vision represents our keen interest in using AI to look beyond today’s mobile form factors and develop new ways to connect the world to important information.”

    A number of companies are currently pushing to make AR “invisible,” one of which is Amazon-backed North, which recently launched $999 Alexa-powered holographic glasses. Last month, North dropped the price of its Focals glasses by nearly half, followed by news that the company had laid off 150 employees, thought to be around a third of its workforce.

    If nothing else, this served as a timely reminder of how precarious hardware startups can be and how resource-intensive it is to bring such new products to market.

    It goes without saying that Mojo Vision, whatever it’s working on, will need as much capital as it can get.

    This post by Paul Sawers originally appeared on VentureBeat. 

    Tagged with: Mojo Vision

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  • Nintendo Labo: VR Kit Includes Over 64 Games & Experiences

    Nintendo’s 4th Toy-Con release is absolutely massive. It was just over two weeks ago Nintendo made the unexpected announcement of the Nintendo Labo Toy-Con: VR Kit. Yesterday, the company dropped a huge 7-minute trailer that gave us a more comprehensive look at the enormous collection of immersive minigames we have to look forward to when the

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  • Charity Beat Saber Tournament Beat Master Taking Place in 2020, Registrations now Open It's in aid of UK-based charity Over and Above.
  • Last Labyrinth Completes Kickstarter Funding Goal The puzzle experience will now arrive in Summer 2019.
  • Nintendo Labo VR’s Elephant Doodle & Puzzle Games Feature Positional Controller Tracking
    nintendo switch tracking

    Thought Nintendo’s Labo VR for Switch was just 3DoF? You’d be wrong. Nintendo actually uses a clever design to add positional controller tracking.

    The Nintendo Switch right Joy-Con has a little known feature- an IR camera on the end. The VR Elephant Toy-Con has a slot for the right Joy-Con to be positioned in. It also has luminant paint dots on its front.

    That IR camera only has a resolution of 340×220, but that’s enough to see those dots, and from that it knows its position. It’s similar to how tracking worked on the Oculus Rift, but having the camera move instead of the object with dots on it.

    While the headset itself will still be 3DoF, the player can move the controller in and out and to the sides. The “trunk” is designed so that the dots will stay within the field of view of the tracking.

    Nintendo uses this for two games so far. The first is a sculping game that seems similar to Oculus Medium. For this kind of sculpting controller positional tracking is vital, which is likely why Nintendo engineered this system.

    The second is a puzzle game that almost reminds us of Gravity Lab. Here the higher degrees of freedom are needed to properly position the objects.

    This is a smart use of existing low cost components to deliver a better VR experience than you’d have thought was possible on Switch. In fact, this kind of interactivity isn’t even available on Oculus Go or Samsung Gear VR. Nintendo have truly impressed us with this clever innovation.

    Tagged with: Labo VR, nintendo, Nintendo Labo VR Kit, Nintendo Switch

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  • Manus VR Launches VR Training Development Studio

    ‘Studio’ offers immersive, easy-to-learn VR training with Manus VR Gloves. Manus VR, best known for their cutting-edge haptic feedback VR gloves, have been using their proprietary tech in a variety of fields for years, influencing everything from motion capture and automobile production, to immersive gaming and healthcare. Despite an impressive roster of high-profile clients, however,

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  • Check out all the Brutal Asgard’s Wrath Action in These Gameplay Videos Every single video for Asgard's Wrath in one place.
  • Preview: Final Assault – War is Hell…ishly Good Fun Hours and hours of high-quality entertainment.
  • Oculus Rift S Passes FCC Ahead Of Spring Launch, Original Rift Now ‘Unavailable’ In The US
    oculus rift and rift s

    Facebook’s upcoming Oculus Rift S PC VR headset has received FCC approval. The FCC is a US regulatory agency with responsibility over wireless frequency use.

    The headset has no specific date for release, but Facebook says it will launch in Spring. Compared to the original, the Rift S features higher resolution better lenses, five-camera inside-out tracking and a halo strap. However, it no longer features IPD adjustment and doesn’t come with headphones.

    FCC filings publicly disclose the exact wireless frequencies a device uses, as well as the peak power output of each. The filing shows no hidden secrets, the headset uses the same 2.4 GHz frequency the original Rift used. This is to communicate with the Touch controllers.

    Original Rift Unavailable

    The original Rift has been sold out at all retailers for over a week now. Until today, it was only available from Oculus.com.

    Today the Oculus website in the US states the Rift is “unavailable”. Some customers have reported their orders from earlier this week were canceled. It still shows up as available when visiting the website from some other countries, but that stock is likely to be gone soon too.

    The Rift’s price was $399 since summer 2017, but in January of this year was reduced to $349. In the context of this week’s announcement and current stock situation, this was likely a clearance sale.

    Rift S is positioned as a full replacement for the Rift, taking its place in the market. But if you’re not planning on upgrading don’t worry. Facebook told us the Rift will be supported “for the forseeable future”.

    Tagged with: facebook, oculus rift, oculus rift s

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  • ArmZ VR is a Giant Mech Wave Shooter Coming to Steam Early Access Next Week It'll support both Oculus Rift and HTC Vive.
  • PSVR’s Golem Makes Surprise Return At PAX East 2019
    PSVR’s Golem Makes Surprise Return At PAX East 2019

    It’s been over a year now since the long-anticipated PSVR exclusive, Golem, was delayed at the last minute. Questions about cancellation have spiraled the project since but developer Highware Games has occasionally spoken up to deny them. Well, we’ve got some good news for you; Golem is stepping back into the spotlight at PAX East next weekend.

    Golem will be one of seven games Sony is showcasing on PSVR at the Boston show. To be clear, we don’t yet know if this will be a brand new demo for Golem or if it’ll be something older. That said, we don’t recall seeing at the game at any trade shows last year. Even if it is old, its presence at least suggests the game is still very much in the works. It’s quite possible we see an announcement surrounding the project in Sony’s newly-announced State of Play showcase next week, then.

    The game casts players as young girl confined to her bedroom. Early on, she discovers the ability to possess gigantic stone golems. Using a single PlayStation Move controller, you explore a new land, taking part in sword battles with similarly massive enemies. Golem was originally scheduled to come out on March 13th 2018 until the delay came just the week before. Such a long delay so close to release was unexpected to say the least.

    Elsewhere Sony will be showcasing some promising PSVR games at PAX East. Ghost Giant, Falcon Age, Jupiter & Mars, Space Channel 5 VR, Trover Saves The Universe and Vacation Simulator will all be there. Should be a lot of fun!

    Tagged with: Golem, PSVR

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  • Here’s How Dead And Buried 2 Looks On Rift S And Quest
    Here’s How Dead And Buried 2 Looks On Rift S And Quest

    Looking to see how Oculus Quest games stack up to Rift S? These assets for Oculus’ Dead and Buried 2 should give you some idea.

    We’ve uploaded a bunch of videos of the upcoming VR shooter, which is appearing on both platforms. Oculus provided them to us at GDC this week. Sadly we don’t have screenshots for a direct comparison; we were only provided with Quest images on that front. So we decided to put a bunch of the clips together so that people could see what the game looks like for themselves.

    Okay and we’ll throw in some GIFs too just for good measure. Here it is again on Quest.

    And here it is one last time on Rift.

    How do you think they stack up? Personally speaking it looks like the Quest version holds its own pretty well. We’ll have to wait until both headsets our in our hands to give it a really accurate rundown, though.

    Then again, this is an internally-developed Oculus project with the full might of Facebook on its side. It remains to be seen if other developers will have a similar level of success getting their Rift games to run on the platform.

    We’re expecting Dead and Buried 2 to launch alongside both Rift S and Quest this spring. It’s also thought that this will be one of the cross-platform titles to support both cross-buy and cross-play. The former means that anyone that buys one version gets the other, while the latter means you can play together regardless of platform. Neat!

    Tagged with: Dead and Buried 2, Oculus Quest, oculus rift s, VR FPS

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  • Oculus: Rift S, Quest Price Cuts Won’t Be As ‘Aggressive’ As Rift
    Oculus Quest + Rift S

    Oculus has two VR headsets launching at $399 this spring. Unlike the original Oculus Rift, though, you shouldn’t hold your breath for price cuts on either any time soon.

    Speaking to Tested at GDC this week, Oculus VP of Product Nate Mitchell said that the Oculus Quest and newly-announced Oculus Rift S headsets likely won’t see the same aggressive price cuts as the first Rift.

    “Hopefully we’re able to bring down the costs on both these products over time,” Mitchell said. “Rift started out at $599 for the headset, plus $200 for the Touch controllers, so $799 product. And we’ve been able to cost that down. We probably won’t be able to cost down Quest and Rift S so aggressively, but certainly, hopefully, we’ll be able to cost down these products over time.”

    Oculus was indeed aggressive with Rift’s pricing, slashing the headset and controller’s price by more than half in less than three years. Still, at $399, Rift S is $50 more expensive than the current Rift, which it will replace. That news no doubt came as a disappointment to many when the headset was announced.

    “It’s a matter of different trade-offs for the device,” Mitchell said of the price. “Ultimately we went with different architecture, very different architecture with a slightly modified inside system. Where we’re landing with both products is this sweet spot, right? This $399 price point, we think it’s the right price point for both products.”

    Oculus Rift and Quest should both be launching within the next few months. Will you be getting either on day one? Or will you be waiting for one of those price cuts?

    Tagged with: Oculus Quest, oculus rift s

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  • Sony to Make new PlayStation VR Announcements via State of Play Broadcast It seems as though Sony is following in Nintendo's footsteps.
  • Space Junkies Works Surprisingly Well On PSVR
    Space Junkies Works Surprisingly Well On PSVR

    Like a lot of you, I wondered how Space Junkies could possibly work on PSVR. Ubisoft’s frantic zero-gravity shooter was first and foremost designed for PC VR and the 360 degree tracking it affords. But, not only is Space Junkies arriving on Sony’s 180-degree setup next week, but it’s only supporting the DualShock 4 controller, too. How on earth can that possibly work?

    Surprisingly well, as it turns out.

    I played my first ever match of Space Junkies this week and it was on PSVR. Not only did I pick the game up pretty fast, but I’m pretty sure I won against PC VR players using the game’s cross-play support too.

    Intuitive Controls

    DualShock 4 support trades some of the PC VR freedom in the name of approachability. The game still uses the controller’s position tracking, but the outcome is a little different. Space Junkies is a dual-wielding game but here both weapons will be locked to where you’re controller is facing. In games like Farpoint and Firewall, using the DualShock 4 meant you still had to line the controller up with your sight for accurate shots. In Space Junkies, laser sights mean you can pretty easily keep your controller centered and just tilt it to aim. It might not be the most realistic interpretation of the game but it’s intuitive and accessible.

    Other than that, navigation on works really well on gamepad. You simply hold a button down to propel yourself forwards and use the sticks to alter height and direction. If you were worried that Space Junkies might leave you disorientated then worry not; it’s even simpler to play than games like Starblood Arena.

    Finally, there’s some smart button mapping to replace other interactions. The shoulder buttons double as both equip and fire buttons. When a hand is free you use the L1 or L2 button to grab one of the items stored in your left-side inventory, for example. Then when it’s equipped, L2 uses the item in question and L1 tosses it aside. It can be a little tricky to get used to but it ultimately gets you up and running quickly.

    But Where’s Move Support?

    All that said, however, the controls work well enough for me to question why Ubisoft left out Move support. I don’t see anything in this setup, from the gaze-based movement to the blink turning, that couldn’t be done on Sony’s motion controllers. Maybe I’m missing something. Perhaps there was concern over the limited tracking range that some players would encounter. But I suspect as players get into the beta and, from next week, the game itself Ubisoft will see sufficient demand to let players make that choice for themselves.

    PSVR aside, I quite enjoyed the time I spent with Space Junkies. Arena shooters aren’t traditionally my thing but the game’s fluid controls, tight confines, and enjoyable arsenal kept me entertained. We’ll have more in-depth thoughts for you when the game launches in full.

    Space Junkies launches on PSVR, Rift, Vive and Windows VR on March 26th.

    Tagged with: Space Junkies

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