Japan’s Virtual YouTube Celebrities Test the Waters in China

Japan’s most popular YouTube star is Kizuna AI, a virtual teenager with thigh-high socks and a pink hair ribbon, brought to life by an off-screen actress. Millions of fans follow Kizuna, the brainchild of Activ8, a Tokyo-based company. According to Activ8 founder Takeshi Osaka, what sets such so-called virtual YouTubers (or VTubers) apart is that “you can believe they actually exist.” To create Kizuna, Activ8 uses motion capture gear to create skits, music videos and game streams for its over four million subscribers. Continue reading Japan’s Virtual YouTube Celebrities Test the Waters in China

Meta AR Headset May Help Reimagine the Traditional Office

San Francisco-based startup Meta makes augmented reality headsets that its founder/chief executive Meron Gribetz wants to use to remake the traditional office. With his headset, the user can use a virtual floating screen to control 3D models, browse web pages, write code and send emails. Gribetz — who studied neuroscience and computer science at Columbia University — is now using his own employees to test the headset and its software to figure out how to improve it, an experiment described in a Bloomberg News “Decrypted” podcast. Continue reading Meta AR Headset May Help Reimagine the Traditional Office

Unity’s Cinemachine Designed for Animation, Games, Movies

At the Unite Europe conference in Amsterdam, more than 1,400 game developers examined tools and innovations from game engine company Unity. Among those was the virtual camera system Cinemachine, which makes it easier for even neophyte content creators to get creative with animation, games, eSports, cinematics and movie pre-visualization. Unity’s Asset Store offers free 3D models and environments, including the Adam character from last year’s impressive tech demo. The engine also offers generic animations that can be applied to characters. Continue reading Unity’s Cinemachine Designed for Animation, Games, Movies

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

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

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

Scandy Introduces SDK for 3D Scanning via Android Devices

Scandy, a company with technology for printing 3D images on demand, is now debuting a beta version of a $500 tool to scan objects in 3D from Android devices. The company relies on 3D sensors from chip tech provider pmd to achieve 0.3mm feature precision, a degree of resolution ordinarily found only in much more expensive toolsets. The company is also making its Scandy Core software development kit available to developers, with the idea that they will create innovative, 3D scanning products and services. The beta program is open now. Continue reading Scandy Introduces SDK for 3D Scanning via Android Devices

Oculus Acquires Technology That Enables Direct VR Interaction

With the acquisition of Pebbles Interfaces, Oculus VR is poised to replace its Touch controller with hand-sensing technology that allows users to interact directly with the virtual world. This is Oculus’ latest acquisition this year of companies offering expertise in tracking and 3D mapping. Pebbles’ technology, based on custom optics, sensor systems and algorithms, tracks hand movement in real space, with detailed mapping of where each hand is in relation to the other. The terms of the purchase were not announced. Continue reading Oculus Acquires Technology That Enables Direct VR Interaction

Augmented Reality: 3D Virtual Tech Being Developed for Drones

French company Sysveo is developing software that will enable drones to see and record virtual 3D images in the videos they shoot while in flight. The technology would work so that a drone could be programmed to display the specific blueprints of a building or home for example, against the background of a location such as a neighborhood or city. The project, which is currently in an early stage, is being developed on a patent from France’s CNES space agency and funding from the European Space Agency. Continue reading Augmented Reality: 3D Virtual Tech Being Developed for Drones

Carnegie Mellon Researchers Develop New 3D Measurement Tool

A group of researchers at Carnegie Mellon University have developed a method to accurately provide measurements for 3D objects using mobile phones. The team members discovered that they could simply make use of the inertial measurement units (IMU) installed and already used in smartphones to change the phone’s view from portrait to landscape. Some foresee this technology being especially groundbreaking in the virtual shopping space and development of self-driving cars.  Continue reading Carnegie Mellon Researchers Develop New 3D Measurement Tool

Magic Leap Patent Reveals Possibilities for Augmented Reality

Magic Leap, the startup that raised $542 million in a funding round led by Google, has filed a patent for “cinematic reality,” in which users will get access to the company’s augmented reality tech through a headset and belt pack. Magic Leap’s system stores content in the cloud, and any augmented reality content can be configured to fit in with the user’s physical environment. The patent lists interesting possible uses for the technology, from grocery shopping and home decor to surgery and hospital stays. Continue reading Magic Leap Patent Reveals Possibilities for Augmented Reality