Sony Showcases Interactive Hologram Experiences at SXSW

The South by Southwest (SXSW) technology, media and culture conference is taking place in Austin, Texas this week. From March 10-13, Sony invited guests to its WOW Studio, an interactive exhibit blending art and technology that featured displays and prototypes involving spatial audio, AI and robotics, tabletop projection, VR gaming, and more. Sony created interactive augmented reality without the fuss (or added cost) of goggles, glasses or other headgear, and SXSW attendees had the opportunity to participate in immersive hologram experiences.

Continue reading Sony Showcases Interactive Hologram Experiences at SXSW

HTC Beefs Up Resolution and Adds Headphones to Vive Pro

HTC’s new Vive Pro VR headset made a major splash this week in Las Vegas and received notable Best of CES awards, including the Best Gaming Product from Engadget and the Best VR/AR award from The Verge. HTC added built-in headphones to this version and increased the resolution of the dual-OLED displays 78 percent to 2,880 x 1,600 (1,400 x 1,600 per eye). The headphones offer spatial audio support, but no noise-canceling functionality. HTC added dual microphones and dual front-facing cameras, which should attract developers. Continue reading HTC Beefs Up Resolution and Adds Headphones to Vive Pro

VR and AR Expected to Further Redefine Experiences at CES

Virtual reality, augmented reality and immersive experiences crossed over the apex of the hype curve and are now tracking the slope of enlightenment as they develop into niche market applications or pivot into location-based entertainment. Resolution, frame rate, horizontal and vertical field of view in the HMDs (head mounted displays), and head and body tracking technology, have all improved over the last year with further advances expected next month at CES 2018 in Las Vegas. This applies equally to next generation HMDs, projection, and heads-up approaches to immersive experiences. Continue reading VR and AR Expected to Further Redefine Experiences at CES

Google Debuts Spatial Audio SDK for Immersive Experiences

Google has launched Resonance Audio, a spatial audio software development kit based on technology from the company’s current VR Audio SDK. The latter was introduced with the Cardboard SDK in January 2016 and then integrated into the main Google VR SDK in May of the same year. The goal with Resonance Audio is to make it easier to develop for mobile and desktop platforms. The VR SDK audio engine already supports multiple platforms, but Google recognized that it could be “confusing and time-consuming” to work with various audio tools. Continue reading Google Debuts Spatial Audio SDK for Immersive Experiences

Samsung’s 360 Round: 4K Camera Live-Streams 3D for VR

At the Samsung Developer Conference in San Francisco this week, the company showcased its 360 Round video camera, which captures 360-degree 4K video that can be live-streamed or recorded. The camera, with 17 lenses, is slated for release in Q4. Samsung Electronics vice president Taeyoung Kim says the company is also developing a new version of mobile VR technology with a controller that offers six degrees of freedom (6DOF) and inside-out tracking. Samsung released its Gear VR headset in 2014, which offers three degrees of freedom. Continue reading Samsung’s 360 Round: 4K Camera Live-Streams 3D for VR

Samsung Takes on Rift With Windows Mixed Reality Headset

Microsoft and Samsung have partnered on a new virtual reality headset, HMD Odyssey, that relies on the former’s Windows Mixed Reality, Windows 10 software for immersive computing on devices and headsets. Samsung is not the first company to base its VR headsets on Windows 10: Acer, Dell, HP and Lenovo Group are all building such VR devices. But Samsung is Microsoft’s most important partner thus far as the computing company faces Apple, Google, Facebook and other major rivals in the virtual reality/augmented reality arena. Continue reading Samsung Takes on Rift With Windows Mixed Reality Headset

Companies Showcase Next Wave of AR and VR at CES 2017

The primary takeaway from the companies showing in the AR and VR Marketplaces in LVCC South Hall was that many new products look similar to last year’s devices, but they offer significant improvements that will make the experience they deliver more compelling. Mobile VR headsets are finding ways to capture lean-in movement, blurring the difference between new offerings and the high-end VR HMDs such as Oculus Rift and HTC Vive. AR glasses are getting lighter, clearer and brighter. And startups are exploring opportunities to bring VR and AR experiences into current social media platforms and build on media sharing habits. At CES this week, we learned compelling news from the likes of ODG, Zeiss, Lumus, Vuzix, DTS and others. Continue reading Companies Showcase Next Wave of AR and VR at CES 2017

Virtual Reality Will Be a Major Force at CES 2017 Next Month

In 2016 the definition of virtual reality became somewhat diluted as it entered mainstream culture. Everything from non-interactive 360 videos viewable on a tablet to free-roaming full-body head-mounted display experiences inside warehouse spaces was marketed as VR. We saw ‘magic window’ VR experiences, a push for consumer HMDs including Gear VR, Oculus Rift, HTC Vive and PlayStation VR, and the introduction of low-cost alternatives such as Google Cardboard. It should come as little surprise that more than 210 companies exhibiting at CES 2017 use the keywords AR and/or VR in their descriptions; 72 are clustered in the Gaming and VR Marketplace section in South Hall Lower Level between spaces 21760 and 26025. Continue reading Virtual Reality Will Be a Major Force at CES 2017 Next Month

Oculus and Facebook Aim to Make Virtual Reality More Social

Oculus debuted Parties and Rooms for the Samsung Gear VR mobile headset, a significant move in making virtual reality more social. Parties allows a multi-person conversation to take place on top of whatever else the individuals are doing in VR, and Rooms is a digital lounge where up to four people can gather to watch videos, play simple games or just relax. Facebook also just launched its “Coordinated App Launch API,” which will enable those friends hanging out in Rooms to launch a developer’s multiplayer game. Continue reading Oculus and Facebook Aim to Make Virtual Reality More Social

AR Experiences a Breakout Year, More to Come at CES 2017

Until “Pokémon Go” burst onto the scene last summer, augmented reality was developing quietly in the shadow of virtual reality. With the spike of awareness around the success of “Pokémon Go,” we are rapidly redefining and evolving our ideas of what an AR experience can be. The AR landscape includes developers, storytellers, world builders, platforms and SDKs, apps and browsers, glasses and lenses, image recognition, spatial audio and spatial awareness tech, haptic feedback and other sensory input/output tools, agencies, research institutions, and more. We expect AR to be a major topic at next month’s CES 2017. Continue reading AR Experiences a Breakout Year, More to Come at CES 2017

Facebook Launches Live 360 Video with National Geographic

Facebook rolled out its initial support for 360-degree Live streams, allowing publishers to stream immersive videos directly to News Feed. The first publisher to do so is National Geographic’s Facebook Page, which will show scientists emerging from 80 days of isolation in pods at Utah’s Mars Desert Research Station and feature footage of the ersatz Mars landscape and interviews with the researchers. Later in the month, Facebook Live 360 broadcasts will be an option in Facebook Live’s API. Continue reading Facebook Launches Live 360 Video with National Geographic

YouTube Supports Live Streaming 360 Video and Spatial Audio

YouTube has begun supporting 360-degree live streaming video and spatial audio. Google has supported 360-degree video since last year and spatial audio in the Cardboard since January via the company’s VR platform. This announcement broadens that support to the main YouTube platform. For YouTube creators, all that’s required is a camera that captures 360 video. From the end-user perspective, there’s no extra technology or headsets required to watch 360-degree live streams. The videos will play on any device, including desktop, tablet, iOS and Android. Continue reading YouTube Supports Live Streaming 360 Video and Spatial Audio

GDC 2016: Creating Virtual Worlds for Companies and Brands

Tony Christopher, president and CEO of Landmark Entertainment Group, is currently developing a Virtual Worlds Fair. The project started with a discussion with Steven Spielberg 20 years ago, and is currently moving forward with funding from Chinese backers. The fair will feature four key areas: Dataland, an entertainment and education VR experience for children; Intencity, for branded VR experiences; Passportal, to virtually experience the wonders of different countries; and the Tower of Humanity, to celebrate the planet through virtual experiences. Continue reading GDC 2016: Creating Virtual Worlds for Companies and Brands

IBC 2014: NextVR Unveils 360-Degree 3D VR Camera System

NextVR, a virtual reality technology and content company, introduced a 360-degree 3D virtual reality rig outfitted with six RED Epic Dragon cameras at IBC in Amsterdam last week. The “NextVR Virtual Reality Digital Cinema Camera System” supports the recording and live streaming of immersive, ultra high definition, stereoscopic content at 60fps and includes spatial audio capture. NextVR also unveiled VR content acquired with the equipment, displaying it on the new Samsung Gear VR headset. Continue reading IBC 2014: NextVR Unveils 360-Degree 3D VR Camera System

Texas Instruments Video: Explaining How Immersive Spatial Audio Works

  • This 3 1/2 minute video by Texas Instruments clearly and concisely explains the three components of their 3D audio technology: beam steering, crosstalk cancellation, and head related transfer function (HRTF or the psychoacoustic effect).
  • “Laptops, tablets, mobile phones and other multimedia devices offer an impressive visual experience,” suggests the video. “However, the overall experience is hindered by space constrained audio systems that lack clarity and depth — until now.”
  • Texas Instruments explains in the video how its audio technologies convert the “small sound stage” into an enhanced, immersive experience via techniques that manipulate sounds in desired directions in a 3D space.
  • This is a must-view for anyone interested in spatial audio applications for consumer electronics.