Windows 10 Update to Include Windows Holographic Access

An update to the Windows 10 operating system will enable PC users to jump into mixed reality next year when their computers run the Windows Holographic shell Microsoft introduced in early 2015. “The update will allow users to multi-task in mixed reality environments, which combine traditional 2D Windows 10 apps with immersive, 3D graphical environments,” notes TechCrunch. “These will be enabled via a range of ‘6 degrees of freedom devices,’ input devices that add positional tracking to other more traditional forms of input, like clicking and pointing.” The team is also looking to make this available to PCs that do not currently have the necessary specs to run full-scale virtual reality. Continue reading Windows 10 Update to Include Windows Holographic Access

Facebook and Unity Team to Build Desktop Gaming Platform

Facebook is working with game engine Unity to build a dedicated, downloadable desktop gaming platform. The new platform will not require the intensive coding of Facebook’s previous SDK, making it easier for game publishers to offer iOS and Android games on the desktop. Developers now have until August 31 to get “instant access” to an alpha version of Unity 5.4 needed to build and export games to Facebook’s Web and desktop app. Facebook’s move is seen as an attempt to regain gaming revenues lost to the mobile platform. Continue reading Facebook and Unity Team to Build Desktop Gaming Platform

Sony Debuts Immersive Video to Promote Movie on Snapchat

To promote its new thriller “Don’t Breathe,” Sony Pictures Entertainment created the first immersive, 360-degree video ad for the social media platform Snapchat, with its more than 150 million mainly young users. The campaign is a 10-second video that lets users “swipe up” to see the 90-second 360-degree video on a Web page in the app. “Don’t Breathe,” about three burglars who invade the home of a blind military veteran and find themselves trapped and fighting for their lives, opens in theaters August 26. Continue reading Sony Debuts Immersive Video to Promote Movie on Snapchat

Nvidia’s New GTX Series Super-Powers Laptops, Enables VR

After first debuting the Maxwell-based GTX 980 graphics chip in a notebook last year, Nvidia has now upped its game, with notebooks and laptops powered by its GTX 1000 series chips, more specifically the GTX 1060, GTX 1070 and GTX 1080. These new GPU chips, which Nvidia declares “VR-ready,” use the company’s more efficient Pascal architecture to provide nearly identical operation to their desktop chips; only the GTX 1060 provides a slightly slower base clock speed in a notebook. Continue reading Nvidia’s New GTX Series Super-Powers Laptops, Enables VR

Samsung, NBC and OBS Test VR Broadcasts of Rio Olympics

Samsung has partnered with NBCUniversal and the Olympic Broadcasting Services for 80 hours of virtual reality broadcasts of the Rio Games, including the opening and closing ceremonies, diving, basketball, track and field, and gymnastics. The scope of VR content will be limited: 80 hours is a smidgen of a total 6,700 hours of programming and the VR will air the day after each event. Samsung, a major Olympics sponsor since 1998, will apply lessons learned in Rio to the 2018 Winter Olympics in its home turf of Korea. Continue reading Samsung, NBC and OBS Test VR Broadcasts of Rio Olympics

Samsung Readies Launch of its New Galaxy Note Smartphone

Samsung will roll out the 5.7-inch Galaxy Note7, a new version of its larger sized Galaxy Note, on August 19. The new phone features an iris scanner that identifies users based on their eye patterns, a “secret folder” that hides owner data from people who might use the device, and a stylus with a finer point that feels more like pen on paper. Samsung also added water resistance, expandable memory, a curved screen in a metallic housing, a next-gen USB Type-C port, and a camera flush with the rest of the housing. The AMOLED display is capable of playing HDR video. Continue reading Samsung Readies Launch of its New Galaxy Note Smartphone

Journalists to Use Samsung Gear 360 Cameras for VR News

As part of a global initiative to introduce the potential of 360-degree news reporting, Samsung is providing 50 Reuters photojournalists in 25 countries with its Gear 360 cameras. According to Digital Trends, “The cameras and new content will fuel Focus 360 — Reuters’ new virtual reality and 360-degree video and photography worldwide news portal, which launches online and on Android August 2 and on iOS August 5.” Samsung Galaxy phone owners “will also be able to watch Focus 360 content on the Samsung Gear VR headset.” Continue reading Journalists to Use Samsung Gear 360 Cameras for VR News

Facebook Touts Major Growth, Driven by Mobile Advertising

Facebook added 220 million monthly users in the past year, for a current total user base of 1.71 billion people. More than 90 percent of those users access Facebook via their mobile devices, where Facebook reaped 84 percent of its $6.2 billion in advertising revenue in the last quarter. The company saw 80 percent growth in Q2 from mobile ads, from an overall 59 percent growth rate in advertising. WhatsApp and Messenger, both of which have 1 billion users, are part of the company’s next move into video. Continue reading Facebook Touts Major Growth, Driven by Mobile Advertising

Facebook Open-Sources Designs for Surround 360 Camera

Facebook just put the blueprint and software for its 17-lens Surround 360 stereoscopic 3D camera on GitHub, fulfilling a promise the company made earlier to make the camera design, assembly instructions, control software and stitching software available for free. Facebook’s move is seen as an effort to enable more people to create 360-degree immersive videos. By open-sourcing the camera’s construction and operation, developers will be able to create products and speed up the development of the marketplace. Continue reading Facebook Open-Sources Designs for Surround 360 Camera

Nvidia Rolls Out Titan X Chip for Games, Artificial Intelligence

Nvidia introduced Titan X, a new chip that is a successor to a current chip with the same name, targeted at the high-end gaming and artificial intelligence communities. Priced at $1,200 and available beginning August 2, the new Pascal-based Titan X chip offers 12 billion transistors, compared to seven billion on a high-end Intel chip. The new Titan X will be available as an add-on card for PCs. Nvidia’s closest competitor, Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) offers a similar chip for PCs and game consoles. Continue reading Nvidia Rolls Out Titan X Chip for Games, Artificial Intelligence

Halsey Minor Seeks to Disrupt VR Production with Live Planet

Numerous companies are introducing virtual reality cameras, filling a void that existed a year ago when VR productions were limited to the low-resolution Ricoh camera or custom rigs with multiple GoPro cameras. Among those manufacturers now offering 360-degree cameras are Samsung and LG aiming at the consumer marketplace, and Nokia, Jaunt and Lytro positioned towards the professional market. Kickstarter campaigns are also underway for additional cameras. The latest venture comes from CNET founder Halsey Minor, who is building an end-to-end immersive video system. Continue reading Halsey Minor Seeks to Disrupt VR Production with Live Planet

Second Life Creators to Launch Virtual Reality Project Sansar

For 13 years, San Francisco-based Linden Lab has been presiding over Second Life. Now, the company is about to create a virtual reality network, dubbed Project Sansar, to provide an environment for individuals and businesses to experiment in VR. Sansar has been constructed to be incredibly scalable and immense, which could be either exciting or daunting to potential users. Linden Lab hopes it’s the former, and that people will use Sansar to build innovative VR worlds for problem-solving and social interaction. Continue reading Second Life Creators to Launch Virtual Reality Project Sansar

Microsoft Debuts Xbox One S, Project Scorpio to Soon Follow

On August 2, Microsoft’s Xbox One S will be available for $399. The new console is 40 percent smaller than the Xbox One, offers a tidy built-in power supply, and is capable of standing vertically, a throwback to older Xboxes. The Xbox One S is also more powerful, with a faster processor that, for the first time, provides 4K video for streaming Netflix and Amazon Video, and high dynamic range (HDR), as well as the ability to play Ultra HD Blu-ray discs. But only users with 4K TV sets will be able to see the difference. Continue reading Microsoft Debuts Xbox One S, Project Scorpio to Soon Follow

Advanced Wireless Research Initiative to Develop 5G Networks

The Obama administration has announced its Advanced Wireless Research Initiative, a government-funded $400 million seven-year project aimed at developing 5G wireless networking technology, with speeds 100 times faster than today’s 4G and LTE networks. As stated, the project also wants to “maintain U.S. leadership and win the next generation of mobile technology.” The National Science Foundation will lead the project, and other commercial partners including Samsung and carriers will participate. Continue reading Advanced Wireless Research Initiative to Develop 5G Networks

ILMxLAB Debuts ‘Tatooine’ VR, Develops Darth Vader Projects

Darth Vader is the star of an upcoming Lucasfilm virtual reality project centered on “Star Wars.” Although the project is largely undefined at this point — it has no name, genre, or release date — what we do know is that the story will both reveal new details about Darth Vader’s background and try out some innovative storytelling techniques. Lucasfilm’s ILMxLAB, which accesses award-winning VFX facility Industrial Light & Magic, Skywalker Sound and the “Star Wars” story group, is developing the project. Continue reading ILMxLAB Debuts ‘Tatooine’ VR, Develops Darth Vader Projects

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