New Apple TV Could Compete with Traditional Game Consoles

When Apple unveils its next generation Apple TV product this Wednesday at its scheduled event in San Francisco, insiders say videogames will be one of the key selling points. The move marks a departure for Apple TV, which has thus far been marketed as a device for streaming video and music content. The device will reportedly feature the components necessary for generating interest from casual gamers, including more power and a faster processor for improved graphics, a motion-sensitive remote that could also serve as a game controller and an app store for downloading games. Continue reading New Apple TV Could Compete with Traditional Game Consoles

Discovery Releases Mobile App for VR Videos of Popular Shows

The Discovery Channel has released a mobile app that features virtual reality videos from some of the channel’s most popular shows, including “Mythbusters,” “Gold Rush” and “Survivorman.” The videos can be viewed as 360-degree experiences (via moving the phone), or as VR experiences with Google Cardboard. The videos, which were made by Los Angeles VR network startup Littlstar, are also available on YouTube, Discovery’s VR website, and a dedicated channel on Samsung Gear’s virtual reality video app Milk VR. Continue reading Discovery Releases Mobile App for VR Videos of Popular Shows

CableNet Explores VR, Additional Content Could Drive Adoption

Hollywood director Randal Kleiser (“The Blue Lagoon,” “Grease”) just debuted “Defrost,” a four-minute narrative virtual reality film that he hopes is the first in a series of VR films. That’s exactly what the 50 cablecasters that comprise the membership of CableLabs hope for. The industry’s non-profit R&D facility, CableLabs has been studying VR and suggests consumer excitement is strong, but that the lack of content could be a major stumbling block for cable companies interested in providing VR programming. Continue reading CableNet Explores VR, Additional Content Could Drive Adoption

SIGGRAPH: Scientists Tackle Neuroscience Obstacles to VR

Much has been written about the more obvious issues in viewing virtual reality. Top of the list is the motion sickness that some people get, a result of the mismatch between what they see and what they feel. But there’s another issue — an eye-focusing problem dubbed “vergence-accommodation conflict” — that is specific to virtual reality and is much more difficult to overcome than motion sickness. At SIGGRAPH 2015, scientists from Stanford and UC Berkeley described potential solutions. Continue reading SIGGRAPH: Scientists Tackle Neuroscience Obstacles to VR

Industrial Light & Magic Creates VR/AR Projects in ILMxLAB

Earlier this summer, we reported that Industrial Light & Magic was launching its new ILMxLAB division to develop virtual reality and augmented reality experiences for movie fans. The experimental division has now shown off three of its VR and AR proof of concept projects. In addition, ILMxLAB houses a team from Walt Disney Imagineering that’s working on futuristic Disneyland attractions. None of it would be possible without ILM’s unique blend of creative staff, cutting edge technology and years of expertise. Continue reading Industrial Light & Magic Creates VR/AR Projects in ILMxLAB

SIGGRAPH 2015: The Road to Producing Virtual Reality Content

At SIGGRAPH 2015, the computer graphics convention held this year in Los Angeles, virtual reality executives encouraged the Hollywood production community to begin to develop more content. Oculus Story Studio, the content creation division of Oculus, which makes the Rift virtual reality headset, recently debuted its second short VR film, “Henry.” Creating content for virtual reality comes with a variety of technical challenges, say the experts, but virtual reality won’t take hold until compelling content is available. Continue reading SIGGRAPH 2015: The Road to Producing Virtual Reality Content

Autodesk Stingray, Ideal Program for Mid-Small Sized Studios

Autodesk has launched Stingray, a game engine with design tools targeting for smaller studies that are looking for customization without the need for excessive programming. The engine is equipped with node-based scripting tools, however it also offers Stingray’s C++ source code for companies looking for more customization. Stingray provides quicker feedback, and will be bundled with Maya LT to provide artists with a modeling and animation app. It will arrive for Windows beginning mid-August for $30 a month. Continue reading Autodesk Stingray, Ideal Program for Mid-Small Sized Studios

Virtual Reality Startups Define Diverse Facets of New Medium

The tech world is awash in virtual reality startups, each of them focusing on developing different aspects of the new medium. Oculus VR, which was purchased by Facebook last year for $2 billion, has made great strides in several areas, including its virtual reality head-mounted display Oculus Rift, but is also working on Oculus Cinema, a consumer-facing movie-watching app. Other companies are creating avatars, virtual worlds and virtual games, and a camera that allows viewers to go on tours of homes for sale and hotel rooms. Continue reading Virtual Reality Startups Define Diverse Facets of New Medium

Report Estimates 43 Million VR/AR Devices to Ship by 2020

ABI Research projects that 43 million virtual reality devices will ship by 2020. Compare that to the 1.5 million Google Cardboards expected to ship by the end of 2015. That virtual reality and augmented reality is growing is no surprise, given the involvement of major industry players including Google, Samsung, Microsoft and Facebook. But perhaps nothing paints a better picture of VR’s growing clout than a look at the number of devices predicted to ship, from Oculus Rift’s head-mounted display to Google Cardboard’s inexpensive glasses. Continue reading Report Estimates 43 Million VR/AR Devices to Ship by 2020

Second Life’s Linden Lab Debuts New Virtual Reality Project

Linden Lab, which innovated the virtual world Second Life in 2003, is entering virtual reality with Project Sansar. The company has been working behind the scenes to build virtual worlds for Oculus Rift and other VR headsets, and relies on its experience with Second Life to inform Project Sansar. Second Life is user-centric, allowing players to create and explore virtual landscapes of their own making. Project Sansar, on the other hand, allows brands to build VR worlds and link to them from websites or third-party apps. Continue reading Second Life’s Linden Lab Debuts New Virtual Reality Project

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

VideoStitch Raises $2.25 Million for Live 360-Degree VR Feed

French startup VideoStitch has the ability to output a live 360-degree feed, using multiple action cameras, making it ideal for virtual reality. The video-stitching solution attracted the attention, and $2.25 million, from Alven Capital. VideoStitch’s software can also be used to output 3D videos as well as a simple stitching solution for video feeds. The software supports any 360-degree camera configuration, is scalable and allows processing across multiple GPUs for real-time results. Continue reading VideoStitch Raises $2.25 Million for Live 360-Degree VR Feed

New 4K 360-Degree Camera is Designed for Virtual Reality

Sphericam 2 is a 4K spherical camera launched recently as a Kickstarter project with the intent of providing photographers, cinematographers and consumers with a means of easily capturing high-quality 360-degree video. The developers behind Sphericam see the camera is an ideal solution for producing content for VR hardware including Oculus Rift, Samsung Gear VR and Google Cardboard. The camera features six built-in 4K lenses and records 360-degree video at 60fps. With 23 days to go in the campaign, the project has already exceeded its $150,000 goal. Continue reading New 4K 360-Degree Camera is Designed for Virtual Reality

Microsoft: Mixed Reality is Future of Immersive Entertainment

Microsoft used its E3 media event last week in Los Angeles to present its vision of the future of immersive entertainment with a “mixed reality” demonstration of the popular video game “Minecraft” seen through its HoloLens headset. The demonstration at the Shrine Auditorium exhibition hall lasted only a few minutes but its impact continues to resonate. Although Microsoft has provided few detailed plans, its early demos and comments made at E3 and other conferences suggest a future that is something more than a virtual or augmented reality. Continue reading Microsoft: Mixed Reality is Future of Immersive Entertainment

IDC Projects Wearables Market to Grow 173 Percent This Year

According to IDC, 72.1 million wearable devices will be shipped this year. The global forecast represents an increase of 173.3 percent over 2014. Shipments are expected to experience a 42.6 percent compound annual growth rate the next several years, reaching 155.7 million units in 2019. The demand for sub-$100 wearables from vendors such as Fitbit and Xiaomi that do not require third party apps has been particularly strong. “We expect smart wearables, those capable of running third party apps, to take the lead in 2016,” said analyst Jitesh Ubrani. Continue reading IDC Projects Wearables Market to Grow 173 Percent This Year

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