Oculus Story Studio Uses VR Drawing Tool for New Animation

Oculus Story Studio, launched in early 2015 to tell virtual reality stories, has a winner on its hands with “Dear Angelica,” a 12-minute animated experience that features the voice (and life story) of actress Geena Davis. Debuted at the Sundance Film Festival, “Dear Angelica” was drawn in VR with a new tool called Quill. The project follows Oculus Story Studio’s previous VR efforts — “Lost,” about a robot that gets lost in the woods; and the Emmy-winning “Henry,” an animated story of a hedgehog who sought love (and hugs), the latter directed by Pixar animator Ramiro Lopez Dau. Continue reading Oculus Story Studio Uses VR Drawing Tool for New Animation

3D Television Gives Way to Rise of 4K and HDR Technology

Support for 3D television has experienced a steady decline and now its demise seems inevitable (unless it is later resurrected). Samsung ceased its 3D support last year and Vizio has not offered 3D since 2013. Hisense, Sharp and TCL were among the companies that did not showcase 3D sets during CES earlier this month. “LG and Sony, the last two major TV makers to support the 3D feature in their TVs, will stop doing so in 2017,” reports CNET. “None of their sets, not even high-end models such as their new OLED TVs, will be able to show 3D movies and TV shows.” DirecTV shuttered its 3D channel in 2012 and ESPN did the same in 2013. Despite affordability of 3D TVs and the success of 3D in theaters, the technology failed to gain traction in the home. Continue reading 3D Television Gives Way to Rise of 4K and HDR Technology

Retailers Push AR Shopping Apps for Tango-Equipped Phones

While most consumers may currently think of gaming or video when they hear “augmented reality,” retailers are experimenting with a new batch of AR apps that leverage mixed reality tech. For example, Amazon’s Product Preview lets shoppers visualize different TV sizes and brands in their homes, Lowe’s Vision accepts measurements to map out placement of kitchen appliances, and WayfairView helps consumers place new sofas and cabinets with their existing furniture. Gap plans to launch DressingRoom on Google Play at the end of the month, providing users with the ability to dress virtual mannequins with different clothing options. Continue reading Retailers Push AR Shopping Apps for Tango-Equipped Phones

Pogue’s Last Gadget Standing Showcases New CE Devices

Last Gadget Standing, which took place at the LVCC on Saturday, January 7, is a well-loved event in its 16th year. Created by Living in Digital Times founder Robin Raskin and guest emceed by journalist David Pogue, the event chooses — by live and online audiences — the “most likely to succeed product.” The live event’s winner — which is chosen by an applause meter — was the Matrix PowerWatch, which is powered by the wearer’s body heat. The online winner was the Linksys Velop, a whole home wireless mesh system for robust Wi-Fi. Continue reading Pogue’s Last Gadget Standing Showcases New CE Devices

Razer Reveals 4K Projector for Gamers Who Want to Go Big

While CES saw an array of gaming laptops, mice, monitors and streaming services this past week, Razer debuted a compelling alternative for gamers looking to seriously ramp up their home setups. An extension of Razer’s Chroma full-spectrum lighting system — which brightens keyboards, headphones, mice and more — the new concept 4K projector, dubbed Project Ariana for now, lets gamers compete beyond their monitor by essentially taking over an entire room. Razer also announced that other manufacturers, including Antec, Lenovo, Lian Li, NZXT, Philips, Nanoleaf and Wicked Lasers would be using the 16.8-million-color platform. Continue reading Razer Reveals 4K Projector for Gamers Who Want to Go Big

Beyond the Headlines: This Year’s Outliers of Interest at CES

If you look hard enough, CES is often the place to discover smaller, less publicized technologies and products that could become the seeds for something practical and useful to the ETC member companies. This year I came across several that fit this description, including a technology called SynTouch that could prove beneficial to haptic feedback R&D and physical product quality control, a simple and elegant method from ManoMotion to use hand gestures as a user interface, an OLED necklace that could lead to the launch of a social e-collectible marketplace, and a tiny chip from Chirp Microsystems that could provide a compelling motion capture solution. Continue reading Beyond the Headlines: This Year’s Outliers of Interest at CES

SkyLights and Gogo Bring Personal Entertainment to Airlines

People are accustomed to accessing on-demand video at will, so a flight on an airplane with a communal TV screen can be jolting. Now, startup SkyLights aims to let airline passengers don a virtual reality headset to watch the latest 3D Hollywood movies. French entrepreneur David Dicko’s company offers a headset with six-hour battery life and noise-canceling headphones, which has been tested on flights for almost one year. French carrier XL Airways will soon begin to offer SkyLights headsets for rent, at $16 per flight. Continue reading SkyLights and Gogo Bring Personal Entertainment to Airlines

Marketers and Movie Producers Try Out New VR Experiences

When “Assassin’s Creed” opens in U.S. theaters on Dec. 21, moviegoers will get a chance to experience the cinematic version of a role-playing game via virtual reality. At select AMC theaters, the moviegoer can put on an Oculus Rift VR headset and become a passive character in an action scene with star Michael Fassbender. To create this challenging VR experience, the movie’s producers teamed with chipmaker Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), which provided graphics expertise in exchange for being associated with the popular franchise. Continue reading Marketers and Movie Producers Try Out New VR Experiences

Early Corporate Trials with Augmented Reality Prove its Value

Augmented reality has found a spot on the factory floor of AGCO Corp., a company that manufactures agricultural equipment in Jackson, Minnesota. Workers wear Google Glasses that display diagrams and instructions as an aid in conducting quality checks on tractors and chemical sprayers. The result is so successful that the Duluth, Georgia-based company plans to expand the program next year, using 3D computer-generated imagery to help workers weld 30-foot booms to chemical sprayers. Continue reading Early Corporate Trials with Augmented Reality Prove its Value

Mavic Pro Review: DJI’s New Drone Is Compact and Capable

DJI’s Mavic Pro drone is now being reviewed and sold to consumers, and it’s coming up roses. Already sold out or back-ordered in many places, the drone features numerous advanced features in a highly portable package, with a range of 4 miles and a top speed of 40 mph. The Mavic Pro has taken a page from the technology book of the larger Phantom 4, using an array of cameras to see obstacles in 3D and make quick decisions to avoid them. The small controller can hook onto a smartphone, which becomes its main screen. Continue reading Mavic Pro Review: DJI’s New Drone Is Compact and Capable

Google DeepMind Speeds AI Learning with Computer Dreams

Google’s DeepMind division has improved the speed and performance of its machine learning system with technology whose attributes are similar to how animals are thought to dream. Dubbed “Unreal” (Unsupervised Reinforcement and Auxiliary Learning), the system learned to complete Labyrinth, a 3D maze, ten times faster than the best existing artificial intelligence software and can now play up to 87 percent of expert human players’ performance. DeepMind researchers will now be able to try out new ideas much more quickly. Continue reading Google DeepMind Speeds AI Learning with Computer Dreams

Adobe Introduces Extensive Updates for Creative Cloud Apps

Among Adobe’s updates to Creative Cloud applications is the debut of Project Felix, a 2D/3D compositing tool that allows the user to easily combine 2D and 3D objects and create a photorealistic scene. Photoshop CC now offers a universal search tool for searching Adobe Stock, and other workflow-related features. After Effects has a new 3D rendering engine that’s twenty times faster than before, and Premiere now offers better support for VR content and Character Animator. Adobe also previewed the Project Nimbus photo editor. Continue reading Adobe Introduces Extensive Updates for Creative Cloud Apps

Intel Eyes Future Beyond PC Chips, Buys VR Company Voke

Intel is acquiring Santa Clara-based Voke, a small company that develops virtual reality tech. While most VR “software is based on animated scenes,” notes The Wall Street Journal, “Voke developed a system called TrueVR that uses sets of paired cameras and software that help capture live images and simulate the sensation of three-dimensional space for viewers with computer displays or virtual-reality headsets.” Voke helps broadcasters capture and stream live events such as sports and fashion shows to provide users with multiple angles. Earlier this year, Intel announced plans to purchase Replay Technologies and its 3D video tech used for sports broadcasting. Continue reading Intel Eyes Future Beyond PC Chips, Buys VR Company Voke

Facebook Shows Off AR Masks, Stylized Filters for Live Video

After acquiring the face-tracking and 3D face replacement company MSQRD, Facebook integrated its augmented reality selfie lenses, dubbed Masks, starting with a Halloween skeleton, witch and pumpkin. Users in the U.S., U.K. and New Zealand, and public figures, will be able to use the iOS version of Masks on Facebook Mentions. The company says it will rollout masks to Android and other countries in coming months. Facebook also demonstrated stylized filters, which will be a real-time processing option for Live Video. Continue reading Facebook Shows Off AR Masks, Stylized Filters for Live Video

Microsoft Debuts its First Desktop PC, Designed for ‘Creators’

Microsoft has debuted Surface Studio, a desktop personal computer that transforms into a digital drafting table — and the company’s first desktop PC. Surface Studio is an all-in-one-PC that sports an aluminum body with a 28-inch screen on top of a stand. An accessory device, dubbed Surface Dial, is an add-on to the mouse, for a more precise way to zoom into images. The company also revealed that an upcoming update to its Windows 10 operating system will make it easier to create, manipulate and view 3D objects. Continue reading Microsoft Debuts its First Desktop PC, Designed for ‘Creators’

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