• Microsoft’s $399 Azure Kinect Development Kit Now Available For Pre-Order
    kinect azure 2019

    Microsoft detailed a new version of its Kinect depth sensing device — now called Azure Kinect — in connection with its HoloLens 2 announcement.

    Microsoft executives in Barcelona, Spain today for Mobile World Congress revealed the $3,500 HoloLens 2 augmented reality headset. The new standalone AR headset promises a big step forward in functionality from the original device, which launched in 2016. Alongside this reveal, Microsoft opened pre-orders for its Azure Kinect DK at $399.

    Orders placed now should start shipping by June 27, according to the Microsoft website, when “new SDKs will be available.”

    Azure Kinect DK

    To be clear, the new device isn’t a consumer product or replacement for the Xbox version of Kinect. The original motion-sensing gadget made quite the splash when it released in 2010. Interest faded quickly, though, and developers stopped making games for Kinect.

    Instead, Microsoft positions the new Azure Kinect as a developer kit. The system features a 1 megapixel depth sensor, 7 microphone array, 12 megapixels RGB video camera and inertial sensors for spatial and orientation tracking. One big selling point for developers could be the “External sync pins to easily synchronize sensor streams from multiple Kinects simultaneously.” That means it should be possible to arrange Kinects in large arrays for larger-scale data collection. Microsoft says the device doesn’t need a cloud service to operate. It can be combined, however, with “Azure services to enable complete solutions.”

    Microsoft pursues a wide range of VR and AR technologies. The company’s 3D capture studios, for example, produce detailed scans of real world performers. Unfortunately, these capture studios are only in major cities and require time and money to use. Could new depth-sensing systems like Azure Kinect one day be used to provide similar capture areas in many more places? Right now we don’t know what quality of capture might be possible with multiple Azure Kinects. Nonetheless, we’ll be curious to see what developers end up doing with an array of these sensors viewing a single space.

    Tagged with: Azure Kinect, Kinect, microsoft

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  • Microsoft Unveils the new HoloLens 2 at MWC19, Retails for $3,500 The first details have now been released.
  • Mozilla’s Firefox Reality Browser Will Natively Support HoloLens 2 The company continues to expand support for the immersive browser.
  • Microsoft Reveals HoloLens 2 AR Headset
    microsoft hololens 2

    Microsoft unveiled the second generation of its standalone HoloLens AR headset at a press conference in Barcelona, Spain.

    HoloLens is a self-contained standalone augmented reality headset. It consists of see-through optics which seem to project virtual images into the real world. HoloLens 2 features enhanced field of view, “fully articulated hand tracking” and better comfort overall, according to Microsoft.

    This story is developing and we’ll update as we get more details.

    The headset also appears to have a useful flip-up feature. On-stage demonstrations for the headset showed responsive digital panels which responded to the proximity of hands in dynamic ways. The panels seemed to invite users to interact with them. The on-stage demo also showed individual finger tracking. 

    Microsoft showed avatars which could mimic real-world movements as well as interactions that spanned voice commands and phones. Altogether, the demonstration offers a hint of Microsoft’s vision for enabling shared mixed reality experiences spanning a variety of devices.

    The new headset was announced alongside a new Kinect depth sensing kit, called Azure Kinect DK, available now for $399. Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney took the stage with Technical Fellow Alex Kipman saying that his company will support Microsoft’s HoloLens strategy “as an open platform.”

    The Enterprise Edition of the headset is $3,500. There is a pre-order site live now and it is also available for $125 per month, according to Microsoft.

    Here are some of the specifications as listed by Microsoft:

    Optics: See-through holographic lenses (waveguides)
    Resolution: 2k 3:2 light engines
    Holographic density: >2.5k radiants (light points per radian)
    Eye-based rendering: Display optimization for 3D eye position
    Hand tracking: Two-handed fully articulated model, direct manipulation
    Eye tracking: Real-time tracking
    Voice: Command and control on-device, Natural Language with internet connectivity
    6DoF tracking: World-scale positional tracking
    Spatial mapping: Real-time environment mesh
    Mixed reality capture: Mixed hologram and physical environment photos and videos
    SoC: Qualcomm Snapdragon 850 Compute Platform
    HPU: 2nd generation custom-built holographic processing unit
    WiFi: 802.11ac 2×2
    Bluetooth: 5.0
    USB: USB Type-C
    Camera: 8MP stills, 1080p30 video

    Tagged with: Alex Kipman, HoloLens 2, microsoft

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  • The VR Job Hub: Varjo, ILMxLAB, ImmotionVR Jobs, jobs and more jobs.
  • HoloLens 2 Leak Gives Us Our First Look – Report
    Microsoft HoloLens 2 Leak

    We’re up bright and early to get to Barcelona for Microsoft’s MWC 2019 event today. Forgive any typos – we’re really tired. But a supposed HoloLens 2 leak may give us an early peak at what to expect.

    Twitter user WalkingCat has posted supposed images of HoloLens 2. There’s no source for the information right now so take it with a grain of salt, but we’ll know whether it’s fake or not in a few hours.

    — WalkingCat (@h0x0d) February 24, 2019

    In terms of design, it definitely looks smaller and sleeker than the original HoloLens, though not by much. WalkingCat doesn’t have any specs to go with the images. We’re expecting an improved field of view (FOV) at the very least, though. The leakster says to also expect videos of the kit later on in the day.

    HoloLens is an AR headset that projects virtual objects into the real world via see-through lenses. The first edition of the device has been available as a developer edition for the past few years. We wouldn’t expect this one to be a consumer-level kit either.

    Most importantly, we’ll be interested to see how HoloLens 2 stacks up next to Magic Leap One. That much-anticipated AR headset launched late last year as a Creator Edition. It’s relatively comparable to the original HoloLens specs, so Microsoft has a chance to leapfrog it here.

    Microsoft’s event kicks off at 5pm CET. Expect Technical Fellow Alex Kipman to take the stage to talk about the big update. After that we’ll hopefully have a chance to try it for ourselves.

    Tagged with: HoloLens 2, leak, microsoft

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  • Kellogg’s Works With Accenture For VR & Eye Tracking Merchandise Plan

    Kellogg’s see’s 18% bump in sales through VR marketing research. The next time you’re shopping looking at items neatly stacked on shelves in every aisle –  some high, some low, some with promotional signage – take note that where supermarket employees place these products isn’t random. There is actually quite a bit of research and science

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  • Black Dragon Studios Announce Debut VR Title The Scraptown Shoot-Out Coming soon to Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, and PlayStation VR.
  • Live Sports and Entertainment App NextVR Arrives on Steam And it's still free.
  • Qualcomm Debuts Snapdragon X55 Modem For Slimmer, Faster 5G Smartphones
    qualcomm qtm 525 5G modem

    Backed by early 5G networks in the United States and South Korea, the first 5G devices are already in customers’ homes and hands — home routers and hotspots powered by Qualcomm’s first-generation 5G modem, the Snapdragon X50. With roughly 30 devices slated to use the X50 this year, Qualcomm today announced its sequel, Snapdragon X55, to kick off a “second wave” of faster, slimmer, and more capable 5G products around the end of 2019.

    When Qualcomm announced Snapdragon X50 back in 2017, 5G was still theoretical — standards weren’t finalized, pocket-sized devices hadn’t been tested, and regulators didn’t know which radio frequencies they would allocate to the cellular services. Since then, all of those pieces have fallen substantially into place, revealing a need for smaller and more power-efficient chips, as well as broad support for lots of different radio frequencies.

    Snapdragon X55 addresses those issues. Unlike the X50, which required a separate LTE modem, the X55 uses a single chip to support every cellular generation from 2G through 5G, as well as “virtually any” radio frequency in “any region” of the world. It uses the latest 7-nanometer manufacturing process, shrinking from 10-nanometer scale, which combined with other component improvements will cut energy consumption, allowing second-wave 5G devices to have smaller batteries.

    The X55 will also be noticeably faster than its predecessor. In 5G mode, it offers a top download speed of 7Gbps, up from the X50’s roughly 5Gbps peak, plus a 3Gbps top upload speed. When on 4G networks, it can download at up to 2.5Gbps, which is 25 percent faster than the company’s standalone X24 LTE modem. In addition to supporting both millimeter wave and sub-6GHz frequencies, it can operate in a 5G/4G spectrum-sharing mode so carriers can offer both types of service on the same radio frequencies.

    Above: Qualcomm’s Snapdragon X55 5G modem.

    Image Credit: Qualcomm

    Simultaneously, Qualcomm is rolling out its third-generation 5G antenna, the QTM525, specifically designed to fit inside smartphones thinner than 8mm. QTM525 is millimeter wave-specific, but goes beyond its predecessor by adding 26GHz support to the prior 28GHz and 39GHz bands. That will enable it to work on the fastest 5G networks currently planned for North America, South Korea, Japan, Europe, and Australia — a wide swath of territories.

    Two related new components may sound even more obscure, but they’re equally important: the QET6100 5G Envelope Tracker and QAT3555 5G Adaptive Antenna Tuning Solution. In short, the QET6100 enables a 5G device to efficiently use a 100MHz chunk of radio spectrum at once, offering faster speeds and longer battery life, while the QAT3555 lets the device work on radio frequencies all the way from 600MHz to 6GHz, with greater power efficiency and a 25 percent smaller package. They enable the Snapdragon X55 to be the first modem capable of using these new radio features.

    Collectively, the new parts will enable the second wave of consumer and enterprise 5G products to “meet the expectations that people have with regards to their smartphones and devices today,” Qualcomm said, which effectively means smaller, faster, and longer-lasting. The company expects that

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  • Patch 4 for Marvel Powers United VR Includes Further Gameplay Improvements A new objective and enemy has been added.
  • Pokemon Go Will Let You Switch Teams For 1,000 Coins
    Pokemon Go Will Let You Switch Teams For 1,000 Coins

    Pokemon Go players who made a grave mistake in joining the red, blue or yellow team can pay to change their decision. The new feature will be available with the purchase of a Team Medallion that costs 1,000 PokeCoins in the shop. Players can change their team once per year.

    “When you decide to activate it, you’ll be guided through the team-selection screens to choose your new team,” according to developer Niantic.

    The Team Medallion in Pokemon Go allows players to change their team from red, blue or yellow once per year.

    Back when I started my journey in Pokemon Go with my family I didn’t realize the value of joining the same team. My kid, for instance, went on the yellow team “Instinct” led by Spark since it was her favorite color. My wife and I, however, selected team “Mystic” and their leader Blanche since we liked the color blue. Out in the world, though, this means our little family isn’t always united against the unwashed masses of Pokemon collectors out there. Even in a battle together against a red gym (Candela/Valor) that fight in the digital realm can expand to the physical one when we can’t decide whether blue or yellow gets to keep the gym.

    Those unnecessary fights can also waste items powering up Pokemon in petty squabbles. No more, not with the Team Medallion. Now we can pool our resources and accomplish great Poke-feats together.

    The new feature goes live in Pokemon Go on February 26 at 1 pm Pacific time.

    Tagged with: niantic, pokemon go

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  • How To Watch Microsoft’s HoloLens Mixed Reality Announcement
    How To Watch Microsoft’s HoloLens Mixed Reality Announcement

    Sunday at 9 am Pacific Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, and others will kick off MWC in Barcelona, Spain with exciting HoloLens news.

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  • China’s VR Star Theme Park is a Vision of the Future, But not for Western Audiences Only because it would never get made.
  • This Guy Is Spending A Full Week In VR, For Science

    168 hours. Multiple headsets. One fascinating livestream. What’s the longest amount of time you’ve spent immersed in VR? Three, maybe four hours? Don’t worry, I won’t judge. After all, it’s easy to lose track of time while slicing through colored blocks in Beat Saber or hunting down enemy squads in Onward. But just how long

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