Disney Selects 11 Companies for 2017 Accelerator Program

The Walt Disney Company announced 11 tech and media companies will receive funding and support as part of the Disney Accelerator program, now in its fourth year. The companies will be given access to work space at Disney’s L.A. creative campus and guidance from entertainment and media technology leaders. The 2017 class covers a range of compelling areas such as artificial intelligence, eSports, messaging, online learning, robotics, video games and virtual reality. Among the 11 startups are Epic Games, creator of Unreal Engine tech, and location-based VR firm The VOID. Continue reading Disney Selects 11 Companies for 2017 Accelerator Program

Facebook Introduces Live Video Broadcasting to Social VR

Facebook is ramping up its social VR efforts through live video streaming. “Users of Facebook Spaces, the social hangout in virtual reality that the company launched earlier this year, can now broadcast via Facebook Live,” reports Variety. “The new feature essentially allows Spaces users to host a kind of virtual reality talk show, and stream it to all of their followers, even if those audiences are tuning in with a mobile phone or a desktop browser.” Slate will be the first to use the new feature to produce a weekly live show. Continue reading Facebook Introduces Live Video Broadcasting to Social VR

Facebook Offers New Price Reduction for Oculus Rift Bundle

For the second time this year, Facebook is hoping to jumpstart sales of its Oculus Rift VR headset with a price reduction. Facebook’s Oculus VR unit will offer the Rift, Oculus Touch motion controllers, seven VR games and more as a $399 bundle over the next six weeks. The bundle was earlier offered for $598, which was $200 less than the combined launch prices. According to Jason Rubin, head of content at Oculus, the new bundle price is meant to leverage the increased number of apps and games available for the Rift (700+ today, compared to 400 in March). Continue reading Facebook Offers New Price Reduction for Oculus Rift Bundle

Digital Cinema Camera Maker RED to Release VR/AR Phone

Camera manufacturer RED Digital Cinema plans to release a smartphone, dubbed Hydrogen One, that the company is calling “the world’s first holographic media machine.” Due to ship in the first quarter of 2018, Hydrogen has been introduced with a limited number of specifications. RED is marketing the camera as ready for virtual reality, augmented reality and mixed reality, with a 5.7-inch “professional holographic display” featuring nanotechnology that switches between 2D, 3D and holographic content. Continue reading Digital Cinema Camera Maker RED to Release VR/AR Phone

VR World NYC Offers an Open Buffet of 50+ VR Experiences

Kent Bye covers location-based VR operations, pricing structures, crowd management and throughput, and reaching the mass audience in this 30-minute Voices of VR podcast interview with the founders of VR World NYC. The new midtown Manhattan portal, which opened June 24th, features over 50 VR experiences spread over three floors in a 20,000 square foot space near the Empire State Building. Visitors pay $39 in the afternoon and $49 in the evening for unlimited stay and play. Continue reading VR World NYC Offers an Open Buffet of 50+ VR Experiences

Palmer Luckey Backs VR Tool to Run Oculus Games on Vive

CrossVR’s campaign on crowdfunding site Patreon intends to raise money to fund the ongoing development of Revive, a so-called hack that allows HTC Vive users to play content that is exclusive to Oculus and not released on Steam. Now, Oculus Rift inventor and co-founder of Oculus VR Palmer Luckey reportedly pledged $2,000 per month to support the CrossVR effort. Luckey left Facebook (which acquired Oculus) in March, the aftermath of a legal battle over the VR technology. The PR team for Oculus has already stated that it doesn’t condone Revive. Continue reading Palmer Luckey Backs VR Tool to Run Oculus Games on Vive

YouTube Debuts New Features, Plans More Original Content

At VidCon, YouTube introduced new feature upgrades, among them a redesign to mobile and desktop that allows the screen size to adjust to the video format playing, and a sharing feature, currently being tested in Canada that will soon debut in the U.S. and South America. YouTube is also pursuing virtual reality via a new format being created in partnership with Lenovo and LG. And the company reports that its Red Originals are proving successful (although it didn’t provide subscriber stats) and expanding to new markets. Continue reading YouTube Debuts New Features, Plans More Original Content

8i Releases Holo AR App, Partners with Sony for Spider-Man

Startup 8i just released Holo, an Android and iOS camera app that records videos with photorealistic 3D holograms. The company also inked a partnership with Sony Pictures to add Spider-Man holograms, to coincide with the studio’s release of “Spider-Man: Homecoming.” Other partnerships for holograms include Verizon’s go90, Hearst and AOL’s RYOT. Hundreds of holograms will be available at or soon after launch, all of them captured in 8i’s Los Angeles studio and all of them available for free, at least initially. Continue reading 8i Releases Holo AR App, Partners with Sony for Spider-Man

Intel to Sponsor Olympics, Showcase VR, AI and Drone Tech

Intel has inked a partnership with the International Olympic Committee through 2024 to showcase its virtual reality, 360-degree video, artificial intelligence and drone technologies. Intel has already been using its VR and other technologies for baseball, basketball and football games, and the deal could help heighten its profile in sports. An internal group started exploring deals last fall. Because TV ratings for the Olympics have been falling, a technology sponsor could help the Games reach a younger demographic. Continue reading Intel to Sponsor Olympics, Showcase VR, AI and Drone Tech

Finnish Startup Varjo to Debut VR Headset With Better Vision

Finnish startup Varjo aims to improve the resolution of images seen through VR and AR headsets. Ordinarily, the viewer with a VR headset sees the most detail looking straight ahead, in a rectangle comprising about 5 percent of his field of view. Varjo’s founders want to change that, especially for designers, architects and other professionals who work with 3D models. Resolution with VR and AR headsets from Oculus Rift, HTC Vive and Microsoft HoloLens has improved, but nowhere near the level we see in real life. Continue reading Finnish Startup Varjo to Debut VR Headset With Better Vision

YouTube Intros Heatmaps, Production Tips for VR, 360 Video

YouTube creators who want to see specifically where people are looking in their 360-degree and VR videos are in luck. The company is introducing a new analytics tool that does just that, via heatmaps, available for any such videos that exceed 1,000 views. YouTube is also sharing tips on 360-degree videos aimed to help video producers. Making these videos is particularly challenging since viewers can watch in a variety of ways, including via a VR headset, the YouTube smartphone app or desktop web browsers, where they can rotate the video. Continue reading YouTube Intros Heatmaps, Production Tips for VR, 360 Video

Sony Expands Scope of VR Innovation Program This Summer

The ETC@USC helped Sony Pictures Entertainment and Sony Music Entertainment establish their summer 2016 VR Innovation Program. Over the course of 10 weeks, 14 USC student associates pitched, rapid-prototyped, and delivered seven proof-of-concept projects of interest to Sony executives. The students worked under the supervision of Sony execs and two advisors from the USC faculty. Sony generously supplied a presentation deck describing the program’s goals and process for distribution by the ETC. Building on their positive experience, Sony is currently running a 2017 summer program with the scope expanded to include AR and live action narrative VR. Continue reading Sony Expands Scope of VR Innovation Program This Summer

Technicolor Experience Center Opens, Launches Mars Project

Technicolor officially opened its Technicolor Experience Center (TEC) for augmented reality, virtual reality and mixed reality last week, and announced an ambitious new project based on NASA research and images. The facility, on La Cienega in Los Angeles, launched last year and has been experimenting with immersive media. TEC has partnered with Hewlett-Packard and Nvidia to create a realistic simulation of what life could be on Mars for 1 million people. A community of engineers, designers, architects and artists will work under the direction of Technicolor to create this immersive experience. The project also involves Unreal Engine, Fusion, Autodesk and HTC Vive. Continue reading Technicolor Experience Center Opens, Launches Mars Project

Snap May Include AR Tech With Next-Generation Spectacles

While Snap extends availability of its $130 Spectacles into Europe, the company is reportedly developing a second generation of the photo- and video-recording glasses. The “project is closely guarded inside the company,” reports TechCrunch. Based on a recent patent application, “it seems increasingly likely that Spectacles II will ship with augmented reality features built in … Snap’s app is already primed to support such a move. It recently rolled out an augmented reality feature — called World Lenses — in April which allows users to place digital objects around them.” Snap has also been looking into other hardware possibilities, including drones and a 360-degree camera.

Continue reading Snap May Include AR Tech With Next-Generation Spectacles

Facebook Research Aims to Read Minds With Neuroscience

Facebook is at work on a project that would enable users to control virtual reality and augmented reality experiences telepathically. The company unveiled this research in April at its annual F8 conference, and more details have emerged about a technology that could revolutionize the next era of computing. The technology is, however, a long shot, as both neuroscientists and engineers outside the company are dubious that it can succeed. The solution could be a simple headband, rather than the brain implant some companies propose. Continue reading Facebook Research Aims to Read Minds With Neuroscience

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