VR Reigns in New Frontier Category at Sundance Film Festival

In the Sundance Film Festival’s New Frontier exhibition, virtual reality is making a strong showing with 11 VR installations at this year’s festival. The projects range from a high-flying experience through the skies of San Francisco to a first-person perspective of a college assault as well as a number of compelling examples regarding how news gathering and documentary storytelling is evolving. The technology is advancing so rapidly that creators already have new ideas about how to produce the content. Continue reading VR Reigns in New Frontier Category at Sundance Film Festival

Oculus Launches Movie Studio to Make Content for its Headset

Oculus VR is expanding its focus from video games to virtual reality films. The Facebook-owned Oculus has created a new in-house movie studio called Story Studio to create films and find the best practices for VR storytelling. The new content created by Story Studio intends to help attract more users to the Oculus Rift headset, while also encouraging other filmmakers to make similar VR films. Story Studio’s first work is a short film called “Lost,” which debuted at the Sundance Film Festival. Continue reading Oculus Launches Movie Studio to Make Content for its Headset

New VR Content Shows the Future of News and Documentaries

Virtual reality is poised as the next revolution in storytelling, and the creators of VR content are not picking the easy stories. For example, Vice News is using VR to cover the New York Million March, a demonstration in which 25,000 people protested police violence. The United Nations’ campaign to raise awareness of vulnerable communities includes a VR film that follows the plight of 12-year-old Syrian refugee. Both the news report and the film are available on the VRSE platform, which makes such stories readily accessible.  Continue reading New VR Content Shows the Future of News and Documentaries

Gannett’s Oculus Rift Experiment Covers Skiing Championships

Gannett is once again experimenting with ways to approach journalism through virtual reality technology. This time, the company created the “World Championships Skiing Virtual Reality Experience.” Viewers can be transported to Vail, Colorado where they can watch the skiers train and hang out — or even ski down the mountain themselves. The experience features 360-degree footage of the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships and there is a 2D version for people who do not have access to an Oculus Rift. Continue reading Gannett’s Oculus Rift Experiment Covers Skiing Championships

Epson Moverio BT-200 Making Strides Toward Immersive AR

Several augmented reality devices debuted at CES this week, but Epson’s Moverio BT-200 offers one of the more complete experiences to-date. The glasses run Android 4.0 from a wired smartphone-like controller and provide a full-color image in the center of the user’s field of view. Sensors for the device include a camera, accelerometer, gyroscope, microphone and compass. The product is not consumer ready, but priced at less than half that of Google Glass ($699.99), it is a promising platform for developers to build an app library for AR. Continue reading Epson Moverio BT-200 Making Strides Toward Immersive AR

ARKAMYS Demonstrates 360-Degree Audio-Visual Experience

With the rise of new headsets promising unique augmented and virtual reality experiences, many are anxiously awaiting the first killer product, while others are wondering how we will produce the compelling content — movies, games and other experiences — that will make the technology worthwhile to the public. ARKAMYS is a company that specializes in automotive audio, but at CES this year it is demonstrating how its tech can be used to create a 360-degree experience in which the user steps inside another’s perspective. Continue reading ARKAMYS Demonstrates 360-Degree Audio-Visual Experience

Startup Demos Virtual Reality Audio with Neoh Headphones

3D Sound Labs, a French company exhibiting in the Eureka Park startup area at the 2015 International CES, demonstrated new headphones that combine head tracking and software to dynamically tune sound that creates what the company describes as “the most immersive, wearable sound experience.” According to CEO and co-founder Xavier Bonjour, a former Technicolor executive, the Neoh headphones produce an experience that does for sound what virtual reality technology is producing visually. Continue reading Startup Demos Virtual Reality Audio with Neoh Headphones

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

Jaunt Releases New VR Music Experience for Google Cardboard

Virtual reality developer Jaunt has created a new app for Google Cardboard that allows users to experience performances by musician Jack White in a 360-degree, stereoscopic 3D virtual reality experience. The app, called “Jack White: THIRD-D,” is part of Google’s rollout of a new page in its Play store dedicated exclusively to content for Cardboard. Google claims that it has shipped more than 500,000 Cardboard devices as the demand for virtual reality has risen. Continue reading Jaunt Releases New VR Music Experience for Google Cardboard

Samsung Launches Gear VR Headset, Powered by Galaxy Note

Galaxy Note 4 users interested in virtual reality can spend $199 for the newly launched Samsung Gear VR Innovator Edition, available via the Samsung and AT&T sites (a Verizon version is on its way). A variety of VR games and applications are available from the Oculus VR app store and a 16GB microSD card starter kit. Since Gear VR is designed for mobile, there are limitations to the types of games you can play, but Samsung offers a Bluetooth controller with more standard game controls in a $249 bundle. Continue reading Samsung Launches Gear VR Headset, Powered by Galaxy Note

VR Films Are Expected to Make a Splash at Sundance Festival

At the Sundance Film Festival in Park City next month, attendees can expect to watch both great films and virtual reality experiences. Ten of the 13 installations in the festival’s New Frontier program involve VR or other digital interactive technology. These projects use several different brands of headsets, from Oculus Rift to Google Cardboard and Samsung’s Gear VR, and for one of the first times, the content for these devices will be original, not a promotion for an existing movie. Continue reading VR Films Are Expected to Make a Splash at Sundance Festival

DreamWorks Developing 360-Degree Rendering for VR Films

DreamWorks Animation is working on new technology that will bring its pre-rendered CGI films to virtual reality headsets like the Oculus Rift and Gear VR. To support headtracking, the company has developed “Super Cinema” technology that pre-renders the entire 360-degree image so that no matter which way a user turns his/her head, the frame is already generated. This technology would allow consumers to have an immersive VR experience even on lower-end hardware. Continue reading DreamWorks Developing 360-Degree Rendering for VR Films

Mozilla Launches First of its Kind Native VR Web Experience

This past year, Mozilla announced plans to develop a website that could support virtual reality. In June, it released an update with an experimental design for Firefox and the Oculus Rift. And earlier this week, to help celebrate Firefox’s 10th anniversary, Mozilla launched MozVR.com, a site featuring virtual demos, website blueprints, source code and guided tutorials to propel the growth of VR online. For now, the experience is only possible with the support of Firefox’s VR-enabled feature and an Oculus Rift headset. Continue reading Mozilla Launches First of its Kind Native VR Web Experience

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