• GDC 2019: OpenXR Specification And API Released Publicly For AR And VR Devices
    open xr ar vr augmented virtual reality logo

    ,The OpenXR specification and application programming interface is public for the first time today.

    The 0.90 provisional OpenXR specification provides a standardized interface between virtual worlds and the devices which track movement as well as render and display those worlds. The Khronos Group, which is releasing the standard for developer and industry feedback, is broadly supported by companies invested in AR and VR technologies.

    Multiple implementations of the specification are available today. An open source implementation called ‘Monado’ from Collabora is launching. There is also a developer preview of the OpenXR runtime from Microsoft for VR headsets using its tracking technology.

    “Competing proprietary standards don’t inspire confidence in the consumer to invest,” said Neil Trevett, President of the Khronos Working Group. Now, “there’s no longer an engineering reason why applications can’t be deployed on any HMD that supports OpenXR.” 

    OpenXR = Virtual Reality And Augmented Reality

    OpenXR carries broad industry support. This chart from the Khronos Group shows groups supporting the standard as of March 2019.

    Representatives from a number of companies working in VR and AR voiced their support for the standard today. They include Facebook, Microsoft, Epic Games, Unity, HTC and Intel. Microsoft is “dedicated to supporting the launch of OpenXR this year on Windows Mixed Reality and HoloLens 2,” Technical Fellow Alex Kipman said in a prepared statement.

    “Facebook and Oculus continue to believe in the value the OpenXR standard delivers to users and developers. We plan to provide runtime support for apps built on OpenXR 1.0 on the Rift and Quest platforms later this year,” said Nate Mitchell, Oculus Co-founder and head of VR product, Facebook, in a prepared statement.

    Development timeline of OpenXR through March 2019.

    Next Steps

    Last year at the SIGGRAPH computer graphics conference headsets with widely varying specifications ran the same OpenXR application. That’s the ultimate promise of the standard — simplifying cross-platform development and allowing for a single application to run on a wide range of devices. SIGGRAPH was also the last major milestone for the standard before today’s release.

    OpenXR can be used with Vulkan for high-performance rendering as well as other 3D APIs like Direct3D and OpenGL. You can find the new specification on the Khronos website and dig through the documentation.

    Watch for updates from UploadVR as we track the roll-out of OpenXR over the course of the year.

    Tagged with: GDC, Khronos Group, OpenXR

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  • VR to Dominate Korean Pavilion at GDC 2019 Over half the companies will be displaying some sort of VR or AR tech.
  • Half-Life VR References Found In DOTA 2 Update – Report
    Half-Life VR References Found In DOTA 2 Update – Report

    We may well be formally introduced to Half-Life VR at GDC this week. Valve’s long-rumored VR game could be revealed alongside its new SteamVR headset which we wrote about late last year. But, ahead of any such reveal, more apparent references to the game have been uncovered.

    Word comes by way of the Valve News Network’s latest video (below). According to the video, a Tools Update to Valve’s DOTA 2 featured a few more references to Half-Life VR or ‘hlvr’. Specifically, the documentation makes reference to a ‘hlvr_weapon_shotgun_prototype’ and ‘SPORE damage’. Spore is a term associated with material from Half-Life’s alien dimension, Xen, as well as a Spore Launcher weapon in the original game. And the shotgun is, well, yeah, a shotgun.

    We haven’t seen the text ourselves but VNN has been a pretty reliable and persistent source of these leaks. It’s far from the first time ‘hlvr’ terms have been found in updates to Valve products, either. The real question is if this update (which went live on March 6th) suggests we could be playing Half-Life VR at GDC this week.

    We’ve previously reported that Half-Life VR is in the works and is a prequel instead of Half-Life 3. We’re expecting the game to be something of a showcase for Valve’s latest headset. We previously reported that device has a 135 degree field of view (FOV) with resolution similar to that of Vive Pro. Half-Life VR may even be bundled with the device.

    Whatever awaits us this week, you can be sure we’ll bring you the latest.

    Tagged with: Half-Life VR, valve

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  • Wireless PSVR Headset Detailed In New Sony Patent
    wireless PSVR patent

    The future of Sony’s PSVR headset just got even more promising. A recently granted patent suggests a wireless version of the device is in the works.

    The patent sprung up online over the weekend. It details a headset that seems to wirelessly communicate with a piece of hardware external from the PS4 itself. In the patent’s drawings it essentially looks like the original PSVR wirelessly linked to the breakout box. The description says that the console powering the headset would feature a “program capable of switching a frequency band used for communication earlier than before according to a change in an environment in which a communication device or a communication partner is placed.”

    It’s not clear if this is simply a new version of PSVR or a full PSVR 2. The patent shows the kit running on a PS4 and using a PlayStation Camera, but these could all be placeholder images for what’s next.

    Wireless VR headsets that are still powered by PCs or consoles are an interesting prospect. HTC already offers an official wireless VR adapter for its HTC Vive, for example. However, these products require fast connectivity. It’s also essential that they don’t add on any perceivable latency to the VR experience. Still, if Sony is working on an official solution for its next VR headset it could mean a big jump in immersion between PSVR 1 and 2.

    So far we’re not sure when to expect a PSVR 2 reveal. The assumption is that such a device would run on Sony’s next console, a hypothetical PS5. There have been plenty of other patents from the company that point to new controllers and tracking systems too.

    Tagged with: PSVR, PSVR 2, sony, wireless PSVR

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  • Japan Using Exercise Bikes & VR Porn To Generate Electricity

    Porn-watching citizens are powering Tokyo’s Shibuya district. As we continue to learn more about the the science behind climate change and its catastrophic potential, it’s more important than ever that we continue to pursue cleaner forms of renewable energy. For most countries, this means investing in energy technologies such as wind, solar, hydroelectric, geothermal, and

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  • Oculus Teases ‘An Announcement Or Two’ Ahead Of GDC 2019
    oculus rift lenses

    The 2019 Game Developer Conference kicks off tomorrow in San Francisco. We’re expecting some big reveals on the VR side this year, and Oculus appears to be teasing just that.

    Facebook’s VR team just posted a blog outlining its plans for next week’s show. It’s largely comprised of stuff we already knew about, but there is one tiny tease. Along with new Rift and Quest demos, Oculus says it “may just have an announcement or two” up its sleeves.

    No points for guessing what that might be teasing. On Friday we confirmed that Oculus plans to announce its upgraded Rift S headset at this year’s show. It’s thought that Rift S runs the same content as the original Oculus Rift but features improved optics and inside-out tracking. It’s rumored to also be coming in at a lower price than the original Rift, though this is all just speculation for now.

    If Rift S is one announcement, though, could there be another big reveal in store? Perhaps something on the software side? We’ll have to wait and see.

    Elsewhere we know that Oculus is going to debut a new game from Turtle Rock Studios at GDC. It’s said to be a little similar to a Zelda game. There are also going to be new demos for Asgard’s Wrath and Stormland. Attendees will be getting hands-on time with new, unannounced Oculus Quest demos, too.

    And that’s just Oculus – we’re also expecting news from HTC and Valve next week. Best strap in, it’s going to be quite a ride.

    Tagged with: GDC, Ocuus Rift S, VR Headset

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  • DemVR Hackathon Aims to Create VR Experiences for People With Dementia The hackathon takes place next month in Newcastle upon Tyne.
  • Editorial: Foveated Rendering Is Essential To Consumer VR’s 2nd Generation
    foveated rendering

    Three years into consumer virtual reality, the technology is still in its first generation. While minor improvements are on the near horizon, there’s a bottleneck holding back a true next generation.

    That bottleneck is the development of (good) foveated rendering.

    Resolution and FOV: Fundamental Enemies

    Almost all consumer headsets today have a field of view of roughly 100 degrees horizontal. For VR to be more immersive, that needs to increase- human vision is around 210 degrees. But the resolution of today’s headsets isn’t good enough either- in fact, you can still visibly see the pixels and small text is unreadable.

    The fundamental problem in significantly improving these specifications is that the wider the field of view, the lower the angular resolution. Angular resolution is the number of pixels per degree — this is how we actually perceive the resolution of displays. That’s why your TV looks great far away, but low detail up close.

    Diagram from Oculus Connect 3

    A 200 degree headset would have half the angular resolution of a 100 degree one with the same display. This means that by using a display with twice the number of pixels, you would still only get the same low detail as today’s headsets if it was spread over the full range of human vision.

    Display panels with the resolution needed will exist soon — that’s just a matter of time. But the problem is in finding a way for your graphics hardware to actually drive them when they arrive.

    Even if the goal is only a 50 percent increase in field of view and angular resolution, that would require approximately 4x the number of pixels drawn as current VR. The only GPU that could run such a headset at full performance on existing games would be the TITAN RTX– obviously impractical.

    And if you had a headset with 200 degrees field of view and twice the angular resolution of today? That would require 16x the pixels drawn by the graphics hardware dozens of times every second. No GPU existing today could handle such a task, and at the current rate of progression it would be more than five years until one emerged. That could mean 10 years until the hardware became affordable.

    Foveated Rendering To The Rescue

    There’s a solution to this bottleneck. The human eye is only high resolution in the very center. Notice as you look around the room that only what you’re directly looking at is in high detail. Everything around that area isn’t as crystal clear. In fact, that “foveal area” is just 3 degrees wide.

    VR headsets can take advantage of this by only rendering where you’re directly looking in high resolution. Everything else can be rendered at a significantly lower resolution. This is called foveated rendering, and is what will allow for significantly higher resolution displays. This, in turn, should enable significantly wider field of view.

    Foveated rendering relies on eye tracking. In fact, that eye tracking needs to be essentially perfect. Otherwise, there would be distracting delays in detail when looking around.

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  • The VR Job Hub: Singularity Lab, Pixvana, Rebellion & More More jobs from the world of VR.
  • Nissan Design Works With Haptx To Bring Realistic Touch To VR Vehicle Design
    Nissan Design Works With Haptx To Bring Realistic Touch To VR Vehicle Design

    Nissan Design is collaborating with Haptx to bring a realistic touch to designing cars in virtual reality, the companies announced last week.

    Haptx makes VR gloves that have haptic technology, or the sensation of touch, thanks to 130 tiny actuators in the gloves. You can use these gloves to virtually touch things in a VR environment.

    Nissan’s designers are using Haptx Gloves to touch and interact with 3D models virtually, enabling immersive design reviews that would previously require costly full-scale physical prototypes.

    “We are entering a new era of design, and Nissan is leading the way,” said Joe Michaels, chief revenue officer of Haptx, in a statement. “We’re honored to see Haptx Gloves adopted as a tool by Nissan’s world-class design team. Working together, we can radically enhance the vehicle design process so that automakers can make better decisions, faster.”

    Above: Virtual car design

    Image Credit: Nissan/Haptx

    The announcement comes a day after Haptx announced that it had teamed up with FundamentalVR to create VR gloves that physicians can use in VR surgery.

    The auto industry has invested heavily in VR because it promises to reduce the need for physical prototypes, but auto designers hit a hurdle with touch and input. VR controllers lack realistic touch feedback and prevent designers from interacting naturally with their models.

    Nissan and Haptx are working together to address these shortcomings. Haptx Gloves let car designers feel their new model as they design it, enabling them to create new iterations rapidly by using haptic prototyping instead of physical prototyping. This innovation has the potential to revolutionize the design process, saving automakers tremendous time and cost.

    It takes years between creating the first 3D model to sitting in the driver’s seat of a complete physical prototype. Haptx Gloves can reduce that time from years to days, letting you grip the steering wheel, adjust the volume dial, and feel the click of the glove compartment in VR before the first piece of steel is bent. This type of nuanced interaction allows auto designers to get a better sense of their customer’s experience.

    Above: VR car design will be demoed at South X Southwest.

    Image Credit: Nissan/Haptx

    “Automakers have faced imperfect options in the design process. VR controllers are unnatural and inadequate for realistic feedback, but full-scale physical models are expensive and limited in their utility,” said Jake Rubin, CEO of Haptx, in a statement. “HaptX Gloves address these limitations, enabling auto designers to feel their new vehicle models throughout the design process and allowing for rapid prototyping within VR.”

    Nissan is the first automaker in Japan to use Haptx Gloves. Nissan has already made several vehicle designs touchable with Haptx Gloves, including electric cars like the best-selling Nissan Leaf and the Nissan IMs, the luxury sports sedan concept car showcased at NAIAS in January.

    Haptx demonstrated the tool publicly for the first time last week at South by Southwest (SXSW) in Austin, Texas.

    This post by Dean Takahashi originally appeared on VentureBeat. 

    Tagged with: Haptx

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  • Oculus ‘Rift S’ Will Be Present At GDC 2019

    Reports indicate Oculus’ next headset will make its debut later this month. In October of last year, a report by Techcrunch claimed that Facebook’s Oculus would be abandoning its plans of a proper Oculus Rift 2 in favor of minor hardware updates to the existing Rift headset. Dubbed the ‘Rift S’, the 1.5 VR headset

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  • Oculus Rift S PC VR Headset Set For GDC 2019 Reveal
    oculus rift s

    An email sent to Oculus developers by Facebook suggests ‘Rift S’ will be formally revealed at GDC 2019.

    UploadVR confirmed with multiple people the email mentions ‘Rift S’ alongside ‘Oculus Go’ and ‘Oculus Quest’. This suggests we should expect a formal announcement in the near future of the PC-based VR headset succeeding Oculus Rift.

    The original Rift released this month in 2016. In 2019, stock of the VR headset has been running out at retailers worldwide. Rift is no longer available in the United States at Amazon, Best Buy or Microsoft. Newegg removed the listing entirely.

    Oculus Rift S

    Rift S was first revealed in a TechCrunch report in October of last year. The report revealed the headset would be an iterative update, increasing resolution and changing to the same inside-out tracking system as the upcoming Oculus Quest VR console. Last month, we discovered references in the Oculus PC software code to a ‘Rift S’ with onboard cameras. Our findings also suggest that Rift S will have software-based IPD handling, as opposed to lens separation adjustment found on the current Rift.

    Oculus Insight is the tracking system used on the Oculus Quest standalone headset. We believe it will also be employed on the PC-powered Oculus Rift S.

    For those unfamiliar, the first Oculus Rift required USB-powered sensors placed around the room and wired back to a PC . We expect Rift S to use its on-board cameras and the “Oculus Insight” tracking system to eliminate this requirement.

    Oculus Rift started around $600 with a gamepad included with the headset. Its last price drop brought the headset down to around $350 bundled with Touch hand controllers. We believe the new headset may be positioned to bring the Rift’s price even lower.

    We’ll have hands-on reports of whatever Facebook shows at the Game Developers Conference here on

    Tagged with: facebook, GDC, oculus, oculus rift s

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  • Orion13 Is A Neon-Soaked Story-Based Adventure With Self-Aware Robots
    Orion13 Is A Neon-Soaked Story-Based Adventure With Self-Aware Robots

    Orion13 is an upcoming story-based adventure game in which you take on the role of a self-aware robot that just wants to go home.

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  • Tribeca Film Festival Announces 2019 AR/VR Program Schedule

    Tribeca Immersive returns with an incredible lineup of AR and VR experiences. Tribeca Film Festival, NYC’s annual independent film festival held in Lower Manhattan, has announced their Tribeca Immersive programming for 2019, revealing a stellar lineup of content that delves into all possibilities of storytelling through technology. During the twelve-day festival, Tribeca Immersive will showcase

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  • Pixvana’s SPIN Guide is a Next-Generation VR Presentation Tool for Enterprise Development And available through SPIN Studio