The Best New Products Displayed at Augmented World Expo

Several demos stood out at the 9th annual Augmented World Expo in Santa Clara, California last week. The most compelling involved a holographic display from Brooklyn-based Looking Glass Factory. Co-founder and CEO Shawn Frayne and his team have been working for a few years on a technique that “blends the best of volumetric rendering and light field projection.” Also compelling was a markerless multi-person tracking system that runs off a single video feed, developed by a Canadian computer vision/deep learning company named wrnch. And marking its first exhibit in the United States since launching its latest satellite office in San Francisco this April, Japanese company Miraisens demonstrated how a suite of effects could be used to enhance extended reality experiences. Continue reading The Best New Products Displayed at Augmented World Expo

Leap Motion Introduces Hand Tracking for Samsung Gear VR

Leap Motion, a company that provides hand tracking for smartphone-based virtual reality headsets, introduced a reference design for its Leap Motion Mobile Platform to work on top of the Samsung Gear VR. Leap Motion relies on two mini-cameras set in a faceplate to detect finger motion. The company began by providing a desktop-mounted, non-VR hand tracker, but segued into smartphone-based VR headsets. Although no manufacturer has yet announced products integrating Leap Motion, a few may do so at CES 2017. Continue reading Leap Motion Introduces Hand Tracking for Samsung Gear VR

With New Funding, AltspaceVR Plans More Virtual Gatherings

AltspaceVR, a virtual reality chat room and communication platform, just raised $10.3 million, which it will use to work towards a business plan that could include paid virtual gatherings with celebrities. Founded in 2013, Altspace launched its VR chat room in June. Its global user base spends time on the site chatting, browsing, playing games or watching videos; the software runs on Oculus, Mac and PC desktops and 3D TVs. Users can add a Leap Motion or Kinect motion sensor to add gestures to their robot avatars. Continue reading With New Funding, AltspaceVR Plans More Virtual Gatherings

Oculus Acquires Technology That Enables Direct VR Interaction

With the acquisition of Pebbles Interfaces, Oculus VR is poised to replace its Touch controller with hand-sensing technology that allows users to interact directly with the virtual world. This is Oculus’ latest acquisition this year of companies offering expertise in tracking and 3D mapping. Pebbles’ technology, based on custom optics, sensor systems and algorithms, tracks hand movement in real space, with detailed mapping of where each hand is in relation to the other. The terms of the purchase were not announced. Continue reading Oculus Acquires Technology That Enables Direct VR Interaction

Venture-Backed AltspaceVR Creates Virtual Reality Chat Room

AltspaceVR, a virtual reality communications platform backed by Google Ventures, enables multiple users from anywhere in the world to gather and share a virtual space. Unlike the text-based chat rooms of the 1990s, AltspaceVR uses computer cameras and Leap Motion trackers to translate users’ movements, mannerisms and gestures into the virtual world. It has been described as “Second Life for the first person.” AltspaceVR, now open to the public, was founded in 2013 and is led by Eric Romo, a former SpaceX propulsion lead analyst. Continue reading Venture-Backed AltspaceVR Creates Virtual Reality Chat Room

2015 CES: Razer Unveils its $199 Open-Source VR Headset

PC game hardware manufacturer Razer may be looking to compete with virtual headsets such as the Oculus Rift and Samsung Gear VR. At CES, the company unveiled its own VR headset, the open-source OSVR Hacker Dev Kit. According to Razer, the $199 kit is compatible with Oculus DK2 software and experimental Linux and Android VR software. Slated for June availability, the kit is tied to a new consortium that plans to offer an alternative test bed for developers interested in VR. Continue reading 2015 CES: Razer Unveils its $199 Open-Source VR Headset

Virtual and Augmented Reality to Have Major Presence at CES

Virtual and augmented reality tools have been around for at least 40 years. In 2014 the next generation of VR and AR hardware was being energetically developed, beta tested, and discussed by the niche VR community. It was also used to create small-scale experiences as part of the marketing campaigns for other entertainment assets. Expect 2015 to be the year when hardware, software, and content companies work towards consumer adoption of VR and AR resources and experiences. Continue reading Virtual and Augmented Reality to Have Major Presence at CES

Oculus Acquires Nimble VR for its Hand-Tracking Technology

Oculus, the virtual reality company picked up by Facebook in March, has acquired two startups that may bring hand-tracking and better mapping of 3D interiors to the Oculus Rift headset. Nimble VR (formerly 3Gear Systems) is the startup behind Nimble Sense, a camera that connects to the headset and uses Kinect-like technology to track a user’s hands and sync movements to the user’s VR experience. Oculus also bought 13th Lab, a computer vision and augmented reality firm focused on 3D reconstruction. Continue reading Oculus Acquires Nimble VR for its Hand-Tracking Technology

CES 2014: Compelling Products Generating Early Buzz (Part 1)

With the annual Consumer Electronics Show just around the corner, we’ve compiled a first pass list of products and services we’re looking forward to seeing in Las Vegas next week. We believe these should be of particular interest to those who work in entertainment media. While we anticipate seeing products that directly compete or overlap with those on this list — and we hope there will be plenty of additional surprises — we wanted to share some of the expected highlights in advance. Continue reading CES 2014: Compelling Products Generating Early Buzz (Part 1)

New Leap Motion Controller Draws Interest from Developers

The upcoming Leap Motion Controller allows users to control their computers with gestures. But this goes beyond the basics like hand motions or jumping around and enters the realm of “painting” on the screen via fingertips with incredible control. Autodesk and other drawing-focused software makers are among those working with Leap Motion to make apps compatible with the new Controller. Game makers are also developing for the device. Continue reading New Leap Motion Controller Draws Interest from Developers

Hardware, Gadgets Outpacing Software at SXSW this Year

Among the most talked-about things at this year’s South by Southwest conference are a camera that automatically takes photos every 30 seconds, a new gaming console and a gadget that allows people to control their computers and other devices by waving their hands. It is estimated that at least two-dozen panels, talks and presentations at this year’s SXSW involve a new device or gadget. Continue reading Hardware, Gadgets Outpacing Software at SXSW this Year

Leap Motion Develops Gesture Control to Challenge Touchscreens

  • While computer makers are focused on adding touchscreen capabilities to desktops, Leap Motion has created a $70 matchbox-sized device that adds gesture control to computers, essentially negating the need for touchscreens.
  • The technology uses two small cameras and multiple infrarad LEDs to track the motion of a person’s fingers with an accuracy of a hundredth of a millimeter, Technology Review reports. The second camera is used to prevent errors from a hand obscuring itself. All the processing is done by a drive software installed on the computer.
  • According to Leap Motion co-founder and CEO Michael Buckwald, “Leap provides the solution to ‘gorilla arm,’ a term used to describe the dubious ergonomics of a person repeatedly lifting his or her hands from the keyboard or mouse and reaching out to operate a computer’s touch screen,” the article states. “Users of Leap’s device can lift their hands just slightly off the keyboard and make more economic gestures with their fingers.”
  • “If you’re controlling a cursor [with Leap], you don’t have to move one-to-one with the screen, like you do with touch,” says Buckwald, so small motions translate to larger movements on screen, making interaction faster than using a mouse and keyboard.
  • “We’re working with lots of consumer OEMs and for laptops but also automotive and medical companies,” he adds. In the future, the technology will be applied to mobile devices as well as new technology such as head-mounted displays. Leap Motion anticipates the technology will one day enable complex 3D interactions.
  • Pre-production versions of the device have been sent to developers who have created various applications for the interface, including a aircraft game and photo-browsing program. The post includes an impressive video featuring these uses and others.