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  • Facebook Patents ‘Small Form Factor’ AR Display With ‘Large Field of View’
    facebook ar display patent

    Facebook won a patent for an augmented reality display “with small form factor, a large field of view, and a large eyebox”.

    Current augmented reality displays either have a small field of view or small form factor- but not both. The Magic Leap One for example is relatively compact with a horizontal field of view of 40 degrees. Leap Motion’s Project North Star design achieves 100 degrees, but is significantly bulkier.

    Just like all modern VR headsets on the market use the same display technique (lenses magnifying an LCD/OLED panel), all modern AR headsets use waveguides. For an explanation of how waveguides work, see this article by Chris Grayson.

    Typical approaches to increase the field of view involve using a heavier material with a higher refractive index. Facebook’s technique uses decoupling elements on each side of the waveguide. The patent claims it provides a diagonal FoV of “at least 60 degrees”- 52 horizontal and 30 vertical. Multiple possible designs are presented, the seventh having 72 degrees diagonal.

    The patent could be related to the recent Business Insider report of a source’s hands on impression at Facebook. The source claimed to have tried a prototype that “resembled traditional glasses much more closely than the bulky AR headsets offered by Microsoft (the HoloLens) or Magic Leap.”

    At Oculus Connect 5 Facebook Reality Labs Chief Scientist Michael Abrash expressed his priorities for AR hardware. At the top was social acceptability and low weight. A specific goal given was a weight of less than 70 grams. Engineering a display system that achieves a decent FoV without adding weight would be key to achieving this- and likely the research direction that led to this patent.

    Microsoft likely isn’t resting on its laurels, however. Hololens 2 is expected to be revealed just next month, and the company invests heavily in AR research. Last year the company applied for a patent for a MEMS scanner based display with FoV of “around 70 degrees”.

    It’s impossible to tell how far along Facebook and Microsoft are in commercializing these techniques. Companies patent many technologies that never make it to market. But combined with the Business Insider report, it does seem possible that progress is being made towards the AR glasses we all dream of one day owning.

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  • Why Resident Evil Still Defines VR Horror So where’s Resident Evil 2 VR!
  • GDC’s Annual Game Industry Report Reveals HTC Vive is Still Most Popular A high percentage are also developing for Oculus platforms.
  • MelodyVR Making New Version Of VR Concert App For ‘Forthcoming Oculus Device’
    MelodyVR Making New Version Of VR Concert App For ‘Forthcoming Oculus Device’

    It sure sounds like MelodyVR is coming to Oculus Quest at some point this year.

    In a recent update on the London Stock Exchange, MelodyVR owner EVR Holdings announced “an addendum to its distribution agreement” with Facebook. The update states that the company will release a new version of its platform for “a forthcoming Oculus Device.”

    No prizes for guessing what that probably is. It’s a very official way of announcing MelodyVR is probably coming to Quest but we won’t pretend to understand the businessy bits.

    The agreement also notes that the new version of the app will include “updated features and functionality”. MelodyVR is essentially a vast library of 360 degree concerts. Its aim is to provide experiences that make you feel like you’re attending live music. In recent months, the company has also experimented with live VR broadcasting. In December 2018 One Direction’s Liam Payne hosted the app’s first live concert.

    With that in mind, we’ll be interested to see what these new features might be. MelodyVR is currently only available on Oculus Go and Gear VR. If it does come to Quest, it’d be the first headset with six degrees of freedom (6DOF) tracking that the platform has appeared on. Could MelodyVR perhaps be looking to implement this feature into its video? The company could feasibly employ parallax technology, which allows you to move your head slightly in real-time video.

    Quest will be launching sometime this spring. Oculus says it’s lining up around 50 experiences for release. It certainly seems like MelodyVR could be one of them, then.

    Tagged with: 360 video, MelodyVR, Oculus Quest, VR Concerts

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  • The Workflow of 21st-Century Puppeteers Take a deep dive into the workflow of 21st-century puppeteers with Steve Caulkin, the CTO of Cubic Motion.
  • HTC Vive Pro Starter Kit now Available to Pre-order in UK HTC Vive's website says everything is in stock.
  • CreativeXR 2019 Offers UK VR/AR Devs Up To £20,000 In Funding
    CreativeXR 2019 Offers UK VR/AR Devs Up To £20,000 In Funding

    Looking to develop your dream VR app but don’t have the funds to get started? Live in the UK? CreativeXR might be for you.

    Applications for the 2019 edition of the immersive tech initiative opened this week. CreativeXR is run by Digital Catapult and Arts Council England and looks to give developers a helping hand. 20 successful applicants will be awarded up to £20,000 in early stage funding to develop prototypes. These could be for VR or AR experiences including art apps, cultural experiences and interactive storytelling. Funding for these types of experiences is essential while VR continues to largely appeal to the gaming audience.

    The video above shows you what to expect. The programme lasts 12 weeks.

    Studios will also receive access to mentorship and Digital Catapult resources. That includes the use of Immersive Labs in Belfast, Brighton, London and North East Tees Valley. Focus workshops will also run throughout. At the end of the programme, you’ll be able to pitch your project at a commissioner showcase. It’ll be a chance to then take your project to the next stop.

    Jeremy Silver, CEO, Digital Catapult, said he hopes the scheme will “encourage a new boldness in investors and commissioners too.”

    Of the 20 companies selected last year, five went on to create full experiences. They include educational experiences like Immersive Histories from All Seeing Eye and more experiential pieces like Fatherland from Limbik. Other teams that created prototypes include Hammerhead studios with Stein and Aardman Animations with CODA.

    Want to give it a shot? You have until by 17th February to apply via an official website. Good luck to all who enter!

    Tagged with: CreativeXR, funding, investment

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  • Intel’s New RealSense Camera Adds Positional Tracking To Any Headset For $199
    intel realsense slam camera

    Intel today announced a stereo camera module which performs positional tracking. The RealSense Tracking Camera T265 can be preordered today for $199. It’s intended for robotics, drones, and head mounted displays.

    Unlike all other RealSense products, the T265 is not a depth sensor. It contains two cameras with fisheye lenses and global shutter sensors. It also features an IMU containing an accelerometer and gyroscope. An onboard image recognition chip, the Myriad 2, runs Intel’s proprietary SLAM algorithm.

    SLAM

    Simultaneous Location And Mapping (SLAM) algorithms are the kind used for camera based inside-out tracking. They work by noticing unique static features in the room. By comparing the rotation and acceleration from the IMU to how these features appear to move, the position of the camera can be determined.

    SLAM algorithms are used on the Windows MR headsets, Lenovo Mirage Solo, and HTC Vive Focus, as well as the upcoming Oculus Quest and Vive Cosmos.

    The T265 is roughly the size of a USB stick. It weighs just 55 grams and consumes just 1.5 watts of power. This means even the USB port of a headset like the Oculus Go could power it.

    The inclusion of the dedicated image processing chip is thanks to Intel’s 2016 of Movidius. The Movidius team makes ultra low power specialized image processing chips smaller than a coin. The Myriad 2 has also been used in products like Google Clips.

    You may be wondering why the existing RealSense Depth cameras aren’t suitable for SLAM. Those cameras have significantly smaller field of view so can’t see much of the room. They’re designed for depth data. Furthermore, because they don’t have the built in Movidius chip the PC or headset would have to do the image processing.

    The T265’s price and the wide availability of positional tracking today means it won’t have wide appeal in the consumer VR sphere. But for hobby projects and hardware prototyping a plug-and-play positional tracking solution will be a helpful solution. Especially since this could be used on additional tracked objects.

    Tagged with: Hardware, Intel, positional tracking, slam

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  • Sansar Bringing New Comedy Shows To Its VR Platform In 2019

    After the success of its debut last year, the VR social platform looks to tap deeper into the live events market. Linden Lab has just announced a host of new collaborations designed to attract paying punters to its live events platform which launched last year. These live performances include a partnership with SF Sketchfest, San

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  • XR Portal is an Immersive Content Library Specialising in Education The online resource features over 500 pieces of content.
  • GDC 2019 Survey: 33% Of VR Devs Working On Vive, 21% On Quest
    GDC 2019 Survey: 33% Of VR Devs Working On Vive, 21% On Quest

    GDC’s annual State of the Game Industry survey of developers is out ahead of the 2019 Game Developers Conference in March and it offers some some new data about developer sentiment relative to the VR/AR market.

    You can check out last year’s report here showing Vive continues to drive the most interest among developers. On this year’s survey, the question “Which platform(s) are you *currently developing* games for?” saw 33 percent of VR/AR developers pick Valve/HTC followed by Rift at 30 percent. In addition, though, 21 percent of VR/AR developers said they were working on the still unreleased Oculus Quest. Developer kits for the $400 Quest aren’t available publicly so it’s a notable showing for the standalone VR system ahead of its launch. I should also add that the “Other” category was also selected by 42 percent of VR/AR developers.

    One other key question in the survey, which allows for multiple answers, asks “Which VR/AR device(s)/platform(s) most interest you as a developer right now?” Valve/HTC also leads in that category, with 36 percent, though Quest still made a strong showing with 22 percent of respondents picking the headset.

    Below are the answers to this same question over the last three years.

    2019

    2018

    2017

     

     AR vs. VR

    On another question, only 17 % of developers said they are currently working on VR headsets. That’s 10% more than game developers currently working on AR headsets. Likewise, 14 percent of developers said they anticipated their next game would be released on VR headsets while only 6 percent said the same of AR headsets.

    Another question, though, tried to get developer sentiment over the long view, with 34% believing AR would be the dominant “immersive reality” technology in five years.  That’s compared with 19 percent for VR.

    You can check out the survey yourself by filling out the registration form on the GDC site.

    Tagged with: GDC, State of the Game Industry, survey

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  • AR Glasses You’d Be Happy To Be Caught Dead In

    Are we finally getting closer to affordable, good-looking AR wearables? Let’s face it, humans can be, at times, vain and fickle creatures, so the fact that most HMDs tend to make their users look dorky as heck doesn’t really help when it comes to mass market adoption. Magic Leap makes you look like a Minion,

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  • Astro Bot Dev Photos May Hint At Cut Multiplayer Support
    Astro Bot Dev Photos May Hint At Cut Multiplayer Support

    Astro Bot: Rescue Mission was one of 2018's very best VR games and Sony revealed some interesting tidbits about its development today.

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  • Kill X Renamed Immortal Legacy: The Jade Cipher, Launching March for PlayStation VR Has the title improved since its E3 2018 debut?
  • Creed: Rise to Glory Update To Add Iconic Rocky Character
    Creed: Rise to Glory Update To Add Iconic Rocky Character

    Survios’ excellent VR boxing game, Creed: Rise to Glory, is teasing a big update, adding at least one familiar face.

    Yesterday the developer dropped a teaser tweet for the game. It teases a Rocky Legends update, which is ‘coming soon’. A picture of a virtualized Rocky rival Apollo Creed is included. Apollo is, of course, the father of Adonis Creed, who you play as in the main game. Creed vs Creed, anyone?

    Coming soon. 🥊 pic.twitter.com/kXudVma7JF

    — Survios (@Survios) January 23, 2019

    The name and picture suggest that at least one iconic Rocky character is coming to the game. We don’t yet know if Creed will be someone you can play as or straight up fight but we’d bet on the latter. Hopefully there’ll be some other famous faces joining the update. We’d love to fight Dolph Lundgren’s Ivan Drago and Mr. T’s Clubber Lang too. That said, the thought of playing as virtual Carl Weathers is an exciting one.

    The PSVR version of the game already allows you to fight against a young Rocky Balboa. We don’t yet know if this update will bring that content to PC too.

    We’re big fans of Creed, so the prospect of fresh content is welcome. In our review, we called it the “best all-around boxing game” yet released for VR headsets. The game introduces a phantom melee system that replicates effects like fatigue and stops players from spamming. It was one of three reasons that we handed Survios our 2018 award for VR Developer of the Year.

    Tagged with: Apollo Creed, Creed: Rise to Glory, Rocky

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