Google to Acquire Part of HTC Mobile Division for $1.1 Billion

Google will spend $1.1 billion to purchase part of HTC’s smartphone operations. The Internet giant plans to use HTC’s engineering and design teams to help ramp up its nascent hardware efforts to complement its expanding portfolio of software products and grow its revenue beyond Android and search ads. The deal, which is expected to bring about 2,000 HTC employees to Google, also includes a non-exclusive licensing agreement for HTC intellectual property. While HTC has shown growth potential in VR with its Vive headset, its mobile business has been struggling. Continue reading Google to Acquire Part of HTC Mobile Division for $1.1 Billion

VR Industry Forum Draft Guidelines Push for Open Ecosystem

Over the weekend, the Virtual Reality Industry Forum (VRIF) released its draft VR and 360 video production and distribution guidelines at IBC 2017 in Amsterdam. The draft document begins with an intro section suggesting best practices for VR/360 production, including experiences with three degrees of freedom (3DOF). It then makes specific recommendations for the technical aspects of visual and audio VR/360 content production, media and presentation profiles, and content security. VRIF aims to release the full guidelines, with an emphasis on an open ecosystem, at CES 2018 in January. Continue reading VR Industry Forum Draft Guidelines Push for Open Ecosystem

Growth of Smart Devices Requires a Next-Gen Wi-Fi Solution

As smart devices in the home multiply, so does the need for Wi-Fi. Cisco reports that, through 2021, data routed via Wi-Fi to mobile devices will grow 48 percent a year. Several ideas to meet the demand have been proposed. Some have suggested putting a router in every room or floor of the house; most routers already connect to the cloud to optimize the network. Another idea is for the user to rent Wi-Fi through his or her cable company. Yet another is WiGig, whereby smart devices themselves would provide bandwidth. Continue reading Growth of Smart Devices Requires a Next-Gen Wi-Fi Solution

OTOY Uses Blockchain Tech for Distributed Cloud Rendering

The technology underlying Bitcoin is now under development to render 3D visual effects. Los Angeles-based OTOY, which provides a GPU-based software system to create a cloud-based pipeline for 3D content, is hoping to raise as much as $134 million to develop Rndr, distributed cloud rendering for VR and other content, via blockchain technology. HBO and Discovery have invested in OTOY, which has also partnered with Facebook and Mattel. Relying on cloud-based GPUs for rendering is a much less expensive solution than supercomputers. Continue reading OTOY Uses Blockchain Tech for Distributed Cloud Rendering

New Intel Chip Can Handle 4 Trillion Operations Per Second

One year after its acquisition of Movidius, Intel is introducing a new chip called the Myriad X, which TechCrunch describes as “a ‘Pro’ version of the Myriad 2, bringing a major redesign to the computer vision-minded chip, while also flaunting some new sophisticated deep-learning capabilities by way of its new ‘Neural Compute Engine.’” While a dedicated computer vision chip has a wide range of potential applications, Intel is looking to use the Myriad X in drones, robots, smart cameras and VR and AR headsets. Continue reading New Intel Chip Can Handle 4 Trillion Operations Per Second

Magic Leap’s AR Smartglasses Described by Inside Sources

Florida-based startup Magic Leap has kept its augmented reality plans under wraps. But a patent application with drawings featuring smartglasses just surfaced, revealing more information about what the $4.5 billion company is up to. The original design patent, filed in 2015, showed the skinny glasses had sensors on the right and left-hand sides and goggle-like frames. This second public design application may be closer to what the ultimate Magic Leap AR glasses will be, even as a company spokeswoman denied it. Continue reading Magic Leap’s AR Smartglasses Described by Inside Sources

Google Debuts Software Tools for AR App, Web Developers

Google just released ARCore, software to enable developers to more easily create augmented reality apps. The company took its first step into augmented reality in 2014, when it introduced Tango, its 3D mapping system. But it had a hard time getting Android phone makers to make the necessary hardware upgrades to foster widespread AR adoption. Google now hopes that, rather than expensive hardware upgrades, developers will be more enticed by its software solution for allowing apps and sites to track physical objects and overlay them with virtual images. Continue reading Google Debuts Software Tools for AR App, Web Developers

Addressing the Myths That Impact Creation of VR Standards

In VentureBeat, The Khronos Group president Neil Trevett and Sensics CEO Yuval Boger list four myths that are standing in the way of VR standards and more rapid market growth — “Myth 1: It’s too early for standards,” “Myth 2: Standards stifle innovation,” “Myth 3: Consumers won’t be impacted” and “Myth 4: There are too many cooks developing standards.” Trevett and Boger counter all four and note that The Khronos Group and IEEE are leading efforts to develop VR standards. The ETC’s VR/AR Initiative program lead, Phil Lelyveld, says that despite outreach efforts to the creative community by those organizations, active contributors are predominantly hardware and tool developers and technologists. Continue reading Addressing the Myths That Impact Creation of VR Standards

Startup Debuts Prototype of Game Controlled by Brainwaves

Neurable, a Boston-based startup founded by engineer/neuroscientist Ramses Alcaide, is showing a prototype of a game, with the working title “Awakening,” that allows users to break out of a virtual room by issuing mental commands. The prototype, said to be a few years away from commercial introduction, includes an HTC virtual reality headset and seven sensors that read brainwaves. The user selects objects by looking in the general direction of the object she wishes to select, thus narrowing the number of items to be considered. Continue reading Startup Debuts Prototype of Game Controlled by Brainwaves

Intel Claims Big Performance Leap for Next Gen Core Chips

Intel reports that the eighth generation of its Core line of chips, to be debuted in new laptops in September, will offer as much as a 40 percent increase in performance over its previous generation. Although the PC market has been declining, Intel — whose chips are already in 80 percent of PCs globally — is still posting upticks. In Q2, Intel saw a 12 percent increase in chip sales. Intel’s only remaining competitor in this sector is Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), which is also bringing its new Zen chips to market this year. Continue reading Intel Claims Big Performance Leap for Next Gen Core Chips

HTC Slashes Cost of its Vive Virtual Reality Headset by $200

Just weeks after Facebook temporarily reduced the price tag for its Oculus Rift virtual reality headset, HTC announced it is chopping $200 off the cost of its Vive headset. The HTC Vive now costs $599, which brings it closer to the $499 Rift (currently $399 during its summer sale). Both VR devices require connection to a computer. HTC’s new price point is intended to spark new interest in the device and its accessories such as the Vive Tracker, wireless adapters and a new head strap. The deal also offers access to VR game titles through a one-month free trial to HTC’s Viveport subscription service. Continue reading HTC Slashes Cost of its Vive Virtual Reality Headset by $200

Google Purchases AIMatter to Boost Computer Vision Efforts

Google just acquired AIMatter, a Belarus startup that will boost the tech giant’s efforts in computer vision, the artificial intelligence sector that helps computers process images as well as, or even better, than humans. AIMatter has already built a neural-network-powered AI platform and SDK that quickly processes images on mobile devices, as well as Fabby, a photo/video editing app that has been used as a proof-of-concept. AIMatter has employees in Minsk, the San Francisco Bay Area, and Zurich, Switzerland. Continue reading Google Purchases AIMatter to Boost Computer Vision Efforts

Gartner Forecasts Timeline for Adoption of New Technologies

Gartner Research reported on emerging workflows for new technologies. In the Gartner Emerging Tech Hype Cycle, the company studied 2,000 emerging technologies and identified 32 that could create competitive advantages over the next ten years. Gartner tracked these technologies’ progress and assessed their chances for entering the mainstream market. Among the technologies it identified are augmented reality, virtual reality and some forms of artificial intelligence, followed by blockchain. Continue reading Gartner Forecasts Timeline for Adoption of New Technologies

Enhance Games Brings ‘Rez Infinite’ to HTC Vive, Oculus Rift

Game developer Enhance Games announced the availability of “Rez Infinite” for the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift VR headsets, now accessible via Steam and the Oculus store. The VR version of the popular game debuted on PlayStation VR late last year and was quickly the top-rated VR title on Metacritic. “The game has collected more than 40 awards, including Best VR Game Winner at The Game Awards 2016,” reports VentureBeat. Enhance commissioned indie studios Monstars and Resonair to make the new VR versions of the game. Continue reading Enhance Games Brings ‘Rez Infinite’ to HTC Vive, Oculus Rift

HTC Exec Shares Lessons From Novel For a VR-First Future

Road to VR is featuring a guest article this week by Alvin Wang Graylin, China president of Vive at HTC, who sings the praises of Ernest Cline’s best-selling novel Ready Player One. The story depicts an existence in which “VR is intertwined into every aspect of our daily lives,” writes Graylin. He believes there are positive lessons to be learned from such a “VR-First future.” The book details tech “that has the potential to create truly transformative impact on our future lives, culture, and world,” which is why he makes sure every member of his China Vive team has a copy. In his article, Graylin outlines what he sees as the 16 key takeaways from Ready Player One.

Continue reading HTC Exec Shares Lessons From Novel For a VR-First Future

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