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Archive for the ‘virtual reality’ category

Dec 3, 2021

Meta gave a sneak peek of one of its first VR wearables

Posted by in categories: augmented reality, virtual reality, wearables

In the novel-turned-movie Ready Player One by Ernest Cline, the protagonist escapes to an online realm aptly called OASIS. Instrumental to the OASIS experience is his haptic (relating to sense of touch) bodysuit, which enables him to move through and interact with the virtual world with his body. He can even activate tactile sensations to feel every gut punch, or a kiss from a badass online girl.

While no such technology is commercially available yet, the platform Meta, formerly known as Facebook, is in the early stages of creating haptic gloves to bring the virtual world to our fingertips. These gloves have been in the works for the past seven years, the company recently said, and there’s still a few more to go.

These gloves would allow the wearer to not only interact with and control the virtual world, but experience it in a way similar to how one experiences the physical world. The wearer would use the gloves in tandem with a headset for AR or VR. A video posted by Meta in a blog shows two users having a remote thumb-wrestling match. In their VR headsets, they see a pair of disembodied hands reflecting the motions that their own hands are making. In their gloves, they feel every squeeze and twitch of their partner’s hand—at least that’s the idea.

Dec 1, 2021

We Are Stars with Andy Serkis — 360 VR Video

Posted by in categories: chemistry, education, virtual reality

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Kaleidoscope Presents: We Are Stars.

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Nov 30, 2021

Free Version of ‘Masterpiece Studio Pro’ VR Creation Suite Now Available for Non-commercial Use

Posted by in category: virtual reality

Masterpiece Studio (formerly MasterpieceVR) today announced it’s releasing a free edition of its latest professional VR creator suite, Masterpiece Studio Pro. The free software license is targeting individuals looking to use the suite for non-commercial use.

The free version is said to contain the entire set of features of Masterpiece Studio Pro, which is a subscription-based service aimed at freelancers, teams, and educators using its creation tools for work.

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Nov 29, 2021

Exclusive: Lytro Reveals Immerge 2.0 Light-field Camera with Improved Quality, Faster Captures

Posted by in categories: electronics, virtual reality

Lytro’s Immerge light-field camera is meant for professional high-end VR productions. It may be a beast of a rig, but it’s capable of capturing some of the best looking volumetric video that I’ve had my eyes on yet. The company has revealed a major update to the camera, the Immerge 2.0, which, through a few smart tweaks, makes for much more efficient production and higher quality output.

Light-field specialist Lytro, which picked up a $60 million Series D investment earlier this year, is making impressive strides in its light-field capture and playback technology. The company is approaching light-field from both live-action and synthetic ends; last month Lytro announced Volume Tracer, a software which generates light-fields from pre-rendered CG content, enabling ultra-high fidelity VR imagery that retains immersive 6DOF viewing.

Immerge 2.0

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Nov 27, 2021

Leap Motion designed a $100 augmented reality headset with super-powerful hand tracking

Posted by in categories: augmented reality, virtual reality

Gesture interface company Leap Motion is announcing an ambitious, but still very early, plan for an augmented reality platform based on its hand tracking system. The system is called Project North Star, and it includes a design for a headset that Leap Motion claims costs less than $100 at large-scale production. The headset would be equipped with a Leap Motion sensor, so users could precisely manipulate objects with their hands — something the company has previously offered for desktop and VR displays.

Project North Star isn’t a new consumer headset, nor will Leap Motion be selling a version to developers at this point. Instead, the company is releasing the necessary hardware specifications and software under an open source license next week. “We hope that these designs will inspire a new generation of experimental AR systems that will shift the conversation from what an AR system should look like, to what an AR experience should feel like,” the company writes.

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Nov 23, 2021

Hands-on: VR Goes Skydiving at iFLY — The Ultimate Haptic Simulation

Posted by in category: virtual reality

iFLY, a leading provider of indoor skydiving facilities, today launched their iFLY VR initiative which combines the company’s indoor skydiving experience with immersive visuals powered by a Gear VR headset. I got to try to experience for myself at the company’s SF Bay location.

Now available at 28 locations in the US, the iFLY VR experience is an optional $20 add-on to the usual indoor flight experience offered by the company (which starts around $70). After training and getting a feel for stable non-VR flying, customers don a purpose-built helmet which incorporates a Gear VR headset. They can choose between several different skydiving locations—like Dubai, Hawaii, or Switzerland—where iFly has recorded real skydives specifically for use in the iFly VR experience.

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Nov 22, 2021

New device modulates visible light —without dimming it —with the smallest footprint and lowest power consumption

Posted by in categories: augmented reality, genetics, internet, quantum physics, robotics/AI, virtual reality

Over the past several decades, researchers have moved from using electric currents to manipulating light waves in the near-infrared range for telecommunications applications such as high-speed 5G networks, biosensors on a chip, and driverless cars. This research area, known as integrated photonics, is fast evolving and investigators are now exploring the shorter—visible—wavelength range to develop a broad variety of emerging applications. These include chip-scale LIDAR (light detection and ranging), AR/VR/MR (augmented/virtual/mixed reality) goggles, holographic displays, quantum information processing chips, and implantable optogenetic probes in the brain.

The one device critical to all these applications in the is an optical phase modulator, which controls the phase of a light wave, similar to how the phase of radio waves is modulated in wireless computer networks. With a phase modulator, researchers can build an on-chip that channels light into different waveguide ports. With a large network of these optical switches, researchers could create sophisticated integrated optical systems that could control light propagating on a tiny chip or light emission from the chip.

But phase modulators in the visible range are very hard to make: there are no materials that are transparent enough in the visible spectrum while also providing large tunability, either through thermo-optical or electro-optical effects. Currently, the two most suitable materials are silicon nitride and lithium niobate. While both are highly transparent in the visible range, neither one provides very much tunability. Visible-spectrum phase modulators based on these materials are thus not only large but also power-hungry: the length of individual waveguide-based modulators ranges from hundreds of microns to several mm and a single modulator consumes tens of mW for phase tuning. Researchers trying to achieve large-scale integration—embedding thousands of devices on a single microchip—have, up to now, been stymied by these bulky, energy-consuming devices.

Nov 21, 2021

The metaverse will make your meetings worse

Posted by in categories: entertainment, virtual reality

As part of its recently announced rebranding, Facebook is doubling down on its vision of the metaverse, an immersive virtual-reality environment for gaming, work meetings, and socializing. In promotional materials, Mark Zuckerberg and his friends enter the metaverse via the company’s own Oculus headsets, and are transformed into cartoon-y animated torsos, often while arranged around a virtual boardroom.

According to Zuckerberg, the metaverse promises an at-work reality better than our own, with lush backdrops and infinite personal customization (as long as that customization stops at the waist for humanoid characters). Borrowing elements from world-building games and environments like Second Life and Fortnite, and inspiration from science-fiction referents like Ready Player One and the Matrix, the insinuation is that working within the metaverse will be fun. (This despite the irony that all of these virtual worlds are positioned as dystopias by their creators.)

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Nov 19, 2021

Researchers are using artificial intelligence to create better virtual reality experiences

Posted by in categories: augmented reality, robotics/AI, virtual reality

Working at the intersection of hardware and software engineering, researchers are developing new techniques for improving 3D displays for virtual and augmented reality technologies.

Virtual and augmented reality headsets are designed to place wearers directly into other environments, worlds and experiences.

While the technology is already popular among consumers for its immersive quality, there could be a future where the holographic displays look even more like real life. In their own pursuit of these better displays, the Stanford Computational Imaging Lab has combined their expertise in optics and artificial intelligence. Their most recent advances in this area are detailed in a paper published in Science Advances and work that will be presented at SIGGRAPH ASIA 2021 in December.

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Nov 15, 2021

Good VR Is Not Always Going to Be High Fidelity

Posted by in categories: augmented reality, virtual reality

WIRED sat down with West to sift fantasy from reality and pin down what XR is actually good at. And it may come as a surprise that a lot of it relies on collecting a lot of data. The following interview is a transcript of our conversation, lightly edited for clarity and length.

WIRED: So let’s start with sort of an ontological question. There’s been this idea that we’ll be in or go to the metaverse, or several metaverses, which tech companies posit will exist in VR or AR. Do you see VR and AR as being more of a tool or a destination?

Timoni West: That’s a great question. I would actually say neither. I see XR as one of the many different mediums you could choose to work in. For example, we actually have an AR mobile companion app [in beta] that allows you to scan a space and gray box it out, put down objects, automatically tag things. So I’m using AR to do the things that AR is best for. I’ll use VR to do the things that VR is best for, like presence, being able to meet together, sculpt, or do anything that’s, you know, sort of intrinsically 3D.

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