Study Shows Restricting Field of View Alleviates VR Sickness

For some users, virtual reality creates motion sickness, with the result that they either avoid VR completely or limit their time with VR experiences. Now, two engineering professors at Columbia University say that they’ve come up with a solution to VR sickness that can be easily applied to the current array of consumer VR headsets, including Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, Sony PlayStation VR and Google Cardboard. The solution is simply a matter of dynamically changing — sometimes quite subtly — the field of view (FOV). Continue reading Study Shows Restricting Field of View Alleviates VR Sickness

Sony to Release VR Headset and 50 VR Titles by End of 2016

At E3 in Los Angeles this week, Sony made a splash in virtual reality, by announcing a release date for its VR headset, designed to work with the PlayStation 4, now owned by 40 million people. PlayStation VR, which will go on sale in the U.S. on October 13, will offer 50 titles by the end of 2016, including an exclusive Batman game, Capcom’s “Resident Evil 7,” Square Enix Holdings’ “Final Fantasy XV” and a “Star Wars” title. The company also debuted exclusive PlayStation 4 games, including Batman and Spider-Man titles. Continue reading Sony to Release VR Headset and 50 VR Titles by End of 2016

Microsoft Unveils New Xbox, VR Plans, Cross-Platform Games

At E3, Microsoft debuted the 4K video-capable Xbox One S, which is 40 percent smaller and $49 less than the previous $349 Xbox. The new console, also offered as a $400 version for a 2-terabyte hard drive, will unveil as a special edition in August and a standard version by end of year. Microsoft also plans to release a new virtual reality console and cross-platform games. Microsoft is in heated competition with Sony, which has sold an estimated 40 million PlayStation 4 consoles versus Microsoft’s estimated 21 million Xbox Ones. Continue reading Microsoft Unveils New Xbox, VR Plans, Cross-Platform Games

Alphabet Update on Wireless Internet, Search, Education, Cars

At its annual shareholders meeting, Alphabet chairman Eric Schmidt reiterated the company’s plan to wirelessly connect homes to high-speed Internet. The technology, viable now due to improvements in computer chips and more accurate wireless signal targeting, can deliver a 1 gigabit per second connection, equivalent to Google Fiber’s capabilities. Schmidt also delved into the company’s plans to advance search features, explore 3D printing for building construction, meatless meat, autonomous cars and other sectors. Continue reading Alphabet Update on Wireless Internet, Search, Education, Cars

Facebook Launches 360 Photos for Sharing Immersive Images

Facebook just introduced a new way to view panoramas and VR photos on smartphones. Rather than zooming in and out, the new feature, dubbed 360 Photos, will allow the user to simply upload a panorama or photo from an iPhone, Samsung Galaxy, 360 app or the Ricoh Theta camera and its ilk, which Facebook will then convert. Via a compass icon, the user can then scan the photo by tilting the phone or click/tap-and-dragging. A Gear VR user can tap the “View in VR” button to scan the 360 photo by moving his head. Continue reading Facebook Launches 360 Photos for Sharing Immersive Images

E3 Predictions for Sony, Microsoft: More Hardware, Games, VR

At E3 2016 next week, Sony will come to the show having sold over 40 million PlayStation 4 consoles, outselling Microsoft’s Xbox One, by two-to-one. The company plans to debut a more powerful console, a virtual reality headset, and numerous first-party games. Microsoft, meanwhile, plans to launch a wide range of new Xbox hardware this year, beginning with, rumors have it, a slimmer, smaller version of the current Xbox One. In addition to new consoles, Microsoft will show off HoloLens and debut new games. Continue reading E3 Predictions for Sony, Microsoft: More Hardware, Games, VR

E3 Loses Exhibitors as Publishers and Gamers Connect Online

When the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) opens its doors in Los Angeles next week, some familiar game publishers will be missing for the first time. Electronic Arts has opted to hold its own mini-expo, Activision did not take a booth this year, and Disney is exiting the video game publishing business. That’s big news for E3, the industry’s premiere trade show that draws 50,000 video game industry members and historically has been the site of major title unveilings and celebrity appearances. Some ask whether E3 might be losing its luster. Continue reading E3 Loses Exhibitors as Publishers and Gamers Connect Online

AWE 2016 Addresses Rapidly Evolving VR and AR Ecosystem

This year’s Augmented World Expo (AWE) in Santa Clara was equal parts augmented and virtual reality. Curtis Hickman of The VOID presented some compelling instances in which physical and psychological misdirection are effective tools for the VR experience. Meta CEO Meron Gribetz demonstrated the sub-millimeter hand tracking accuracy of his company’s AR HMD. Jared Finder provided an update on the core tech components of Google’s Project Tango. Baobab Studios CEO Maureen Fan discussed the importance of image composition and story beats in VR. Highlights from the show floor included the latest ODG AR glasses and waveguide AR displays from Epson and Lumus. Continue reading AWE 2016 Addresses Rapidly Evolving VR and AR Ecosystem

Walmart Evolving its Supply Chain with Uber, Lyft and Drones

Later this month in Denver and Phoenix, Walmart will launch a pilot project, in partnership with Uber and Lyft, to deliver groceries to homes. Other companies that have competed in this area include Instacart, DoorDash, the U.S. Postal Service, Uber and Amazon, all of which vie to establish accounts with retailers and restaurants. Walmart is also testing a delivery service with its warehouse company Sam’s Club in Miami, using startup Deliv, which also handles same-day deliveries for Kohl’s, Macy’s and others. Continue reading Walmart Evolving its Supply Chain with Uber, Lyft and Drones

Microsoft Pushes Windows 10 as Only ‘Mixed Reality’ Platform

Microsoft is positioning itself as providing, with Windows 10, the only platform for “mixed reality,” which the company describes as “providing devices with the ability to perceive the world, breaking down the barriers between virtual and physical reality.” In a three-minute video, Microsoft shows how it believes various types of augmented reality will be able to interact, using HoloLens headsets, VR helmets and other devices. Microsoft invites its partners to build on the Windows Holographic platform. Continue reading Microsoft Pushes Windows 10 as Only ‘Mixed Reality’ Platform

Google Pushes Phone Makers and Carriers to Update Android

Google has increased its efforts to get cellphone manufacturers and carriers to update to the latest version of Android. That includes speeding up security updates, offering technology workarounds and limiting phone testing requirements. To back up these enticements, Google is also publicly naming the laggards in a ranking intended to shame manufacturers into catching up. At stake are not simply Google’s latest operating system but new offerings such as its Daydream virtual reality system. Continue reading Google Pushes Phone Makers and Carriers to Update Android

Alamo Drafthouse, Legion M Team Up to Produce Film, TV, VR

In a newly inked deal, Alamo Drafthouse, the indie theater chain/film distributor, will place executives on the advisory board of startup studio Legion M to evaluate scripts and talent for feature films, shorts, and virtual reality experiences among other potential entertainment projects. Alamo and Legion M portray their agreement as a revolutionary way for fans to become key stakeholders in the success; thus far, Legion M has raised $400,000 from accredited investors and nearly $141,000 from fans. Continue reading Alamo Drafthouse, Legion M Team Up to Produce Film, TV, VR

Top Game Console Companies Test Tweaking Release Cycles

At least some game console manufacturers have decided not to wait for long release cycles to upgrade their hardware, but instead will begin to release new capabilities in between generations. Microsoft has said as much with regard to its next Xbox One, code-named Scorpio, and Sony has reportedly made noises that its upcoming releases will have forward and backward compatibility. They are both following the model of devices like PCs and smartphones that operate on a continuous evolution cycle. Continue reading Top Game Console Companies Test Tweaking Release Cycles

Xbox One VR Rumors Fueled by Game Developer and E3 Site

Speculation that Microsoft is planning a more powerful, VR-capable Xbox One for next year has been fueled by news that at least one developer plans to show a virtual reality game for the console at E3 in June. According to Ars Technica, “a well-known European studio is planning ‘a new VR game’ set in the universe of an established, long-running franchise.” To further fan the flames, the E3 site added an Xbox One VR category featuring four developers so far. While Sony announced that it plans to launch a $399 PlayStation VR in October, Microsoft has yet to officially announce plans for a VR console. Continue reading Xbox One VR Rumors Fueled by Game Developer and E3 Site

The Netflix Zone: Virtual Video Store Showcased at Hack Day

One of the more compelling demos during Netflix’s latest Hack Day was a virtual reality showroom using HTC Vive’s room-scale VR. Developers Joey Cato, Marco Caldeira and Adnan Abbas created “The Netflix Zone,” where subscribers can peruse titles on shelf racks arranged by categories and personal recommendations. Movies and original shows such as “Orange Is the New Black” and “House of Cards” appear on shelves as VHS cassettes. When you select certain cassettes, the shop morphs into a setting that reflects the title. Continue reading The Netflix Zone: Virtual Video Store Showcased at Hack Day

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