Nvidia Debuts New AI Model That Quickly Generates Objects

Nvidia Research is introducing a new AI model that largely automates the process of creating virtual worlds, making it easier for developers to populate games and VR experiences with a diverse array of 3D buildings, vehicles, characters and more. Trained using only 2D images, GET3D generates 3D shapes with high-fidelity textures and complex geometric details. GET3D can generate “a virtually unlimited number of 3D shapes based on the data it’s trained on,” according to Nvidia, which says the objects can be used in 3D representations of buildings or the great outdoors, in games or the metaverse. Continue reading Nvidia Debuts New AI Model That Quickly Generates Objects

Adobe Will Purchase Digital Design Rival Figma for $20 Billion

Adobe announced it plans to purchase rival digital design suite Figma for $20 billion in cash and stock. The news was disclosed as part of its Q3 earnings report, which saw revenue of $4.43 billion, exceeding analysts’ expectations. Despite the healthy cashflow, Adobe says it may have to finance part of the deal, which will have to clear regulatory hurdles in a very pro-competition environment. Founded in 2011, Figma released its first product in 2015, leveraging the WebGL API to create real-time collaborative tools for web-based design teams “working together beyond company walls.” Figma lists Airbnb, Conde Nast and Github among its users. Continue reading Adobe Will Purchase Digital Design Rival Figma for $20 Billion

Nvidia and Stanford Develop Downsized Holographic Glasses

Engineers at Nvidia have teamed with Stanford University researchers to develop a virtual reality headset that looks and feels more like a regular pair of eyeglasses, according to a research paper presented at SIGGRAPH 2022. The “Holographic Glasses” can depict scenes in full-color 3D holographic images using optical lenses that are just 2.5mm thick. The so-called “pancake lenses” not only have a slimmer profile, but also offer a 200-degree field of view and the potential for resolution that is virtually unlimited and can be “cranked up” at will. Continue reading Nvidia and Stanford Develop Downsized Holographic Glasses

Immersive Gamebox Pacts with Netflix for IRL ‘Squid Game’

Netflix has licensed “Squid Game” rights to location-based game destination Immersive Gamebox, which will launch an interactive — and safe — version of the deadly competition, at U.S. locations including Manhattan, Dallas, Salt Lake City and San Jose, as well as overseas sites in the UK and Germany. Fans who purchase a ticket for $24.99 to $39.99 (£20.62 to £32.98) can participate in all six challenges from the show using 3D motion tracking visors and touchscreens placed around the room. Players that don’t “survive” will lose “lives,” while winners “earn money in the piggy bank,” though not actual cash.  Continue reading Immersive Gamebox Pacts with Netflix for IRL ‘Squid Game’

Disney Accelerator Startups Focus on Web3, Immersive Tech

The Walt Disney Company has announced the six companies to participate in its latest business accelerator program. The 2022 Disney Accelerator focuses on tech startups involved in Web3 and immersive experiences through work in augmented reality, NFTs and artificial intelligence. The six participants are: Flickplay, Inworld, Lockerverse, Obsess, Polygon and Red 6. Disney will offer participants investment capital, co-working space, guidance from Disney’s senior leadership team and an executive mentor. The Accelerator program will conclude with a Demo Day this fall at the Walt Disney Studios lot in Burbank, California. Continue reading Disney Accelerator Startups Focus on Web3, Immersive Tech

TikTok Launches Effect House for User-Generated AR Filters

TikTok has officially gone live with Effect House, the augmented reality tool that allows users to create AR filters and share them with the community. The ByteDance company has been testing the feature since last summer. Since then, at least 450 creators have used Effect House to create more than 1.5 billion videos that generated over 600 billion global views, according to TikTok. “Whether you’re teleporting into new worlds with Green Screen or freeze-framing with Time Warp Scan,” Effect House empowers expression “through a wide array of engaging and immersive formats.” Continue reading TikTok Launches Effect House for User-Generated AR Filters

JPMorgan Pegs Metaverse at $1 Trillion, Opens Virtual Bank

Investment banking firm JPMorgan Chase is betting on the metaverse, which it predicts “will likely infiltrate every sector in some way in the coming years, with the market opportunity estimated at over $1 trillion in yearly revenues.” The company has opened a virtual branch in Decentraland, a browser-based 3D world to coincide with publication of the 18-page “Opportunities in the Metaverse” report by Onyx, the blockchain division the bank launched in 2020. Although it’s the first bank known to open a branch in the metaverse, JPMorgan is just the latest of numerous businesses to plant its flag. Continue reading JPMorgan Pegs Metaverse at $1 Trillion, Opens Virtual Bank

Algorithms Use NeRFs to Instantly Convert 2D Images to 3D

A new technique for machine learning that allows computers to use algorithms that turn 2D images into 3D is stirring a lot of excitement in the worlds of games, computer graphics and AI. The approach relies on “neural rendering,” which uses a neural network to generate 3D imagery from multiple 2D snapshots. A merger of concepts from the worlds of computer graphics and artificial intelligence, neural rendering gained steam in 2020 when researchers at Google and UC Berkeley demonstrated how a neural network could photorealistically capture a scene in 3D after ingesting several 2D snapshots. Continue reading Algorithms Use NeRFs to Instantly Convert 2D Images to 3D

Dimenco’s Glasses-Free 3D Display a Hint of Things to Come

Dimenco’s new stereoscopic 3D display has been called “breathtaking” and the future of screen viewing. The Netherlands-based company’s Simulated Reality Pro gives the impression of images coming out of the screen without special eyewear. Dimenco defines Simulated Reality (SR) as immersive technology somewhere between augmented reality and virtual reality. Dimenco’s display tech relies on visual parallax and perspective-shifting to provide its SR experience. The viewer’s eyes are tracked by an in-unit sensor that serves discrete left- and right-eye views rapidly enough to read as a single image, allowing you to “look around” the picture elements. Continue reading Dimenco’s Glasses-Free 3D Display a Hint of Things to Come

Microsoft CEO Nadella Details His Vision of Metaverse-for-All

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella thinks the metaverse will be transformative. “Just like the first wave of the Internet allowed everybody to build a website, I think the next wave of the Internet will be a more open world where people can build their own metaverse worlds, whether they’re organizations or game developers or anyone else,” Nadella told analysts on an earnings call last week. The remarks follow Nadella’s January 18 statement that Microsoft’s $69 billion bid for Activision Blizzard “will provide building blocks for the metaverse.” Microsoft expects the deal to close in fiscal 2023, which begins July 1. Continue reading Microsoft CEO Nadella Details His Vision of Metaverse-for-All

Meta’s VR Evolution Includes New Cross-Platform 3D Avatars

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has been busy reinventing his company since the October announcement that the parent entity would name-change to Meta Platforms, where Zuckerberg remains chairman and CEO. Traditional social media engineers and support staff workers at the company, which turns 18 this month, are being urged by managers to reapply for new positions that involve responsibilities in augmented reality and virtual reality, according to reports that say Meta is actively recruiting from tech giants such as Microsoft and Apple to fill thousands of new jobs in hardware and software. Continue reading Meta’s VR Evolution Includes New Cross-Platform 3D Avatars

Unity Game Engine Makes ‘Digital Twins’ for Industrial Tests

Game giant Unity is using its game engine technology to help businesses make “digital twins” of real-world objects, environments and even people. These virtual entities take the brunt of testing products, machines and environments. Currently there are dozens of companies reportedly using Unity’s game engine to model digital doubles that can sub-in for robots, manufacturing lines and buildings, among other things, virtually operating and monitoring them even as they are optimized and trained. These twins rust when exposed to water and respond to things like temperature. They learn to avoid a ditch or call attention to a broken part. Continue reading Unity Game Engine Makes ‘Digital Twins’ for Industrial Tests

CES: Immersive Virtual Monitor Does Not Require a Headset

MIT Media Lab spin-off Brelyon, founded in 2018, is demonstrating its Ultra Reality screen technology this week at CES 2022. The display tech uses computational optics to essentially offer a curved 120-inch 3D “theater-like experience” via a 32-inch desktop monitor, which the company suggests is ideal for entertainment, gaming and enterprise applications “beyond screens, into the metaverse.” The concept relies on realistic depth effects and image composition techniques to provide users with a plug-and-play, high-fidelity, virtual experience that does not rely on VR headsets. Continue reading CES: Immersive Virtual Monitor Does Not Require a Headset

CES: Fittingbox Demonstrates Unexpectedly Useful AR App

Sometimes you see a product idea that is so obvious you wonder why no one created it sooner. French company Fittingbox has developed an augmented reality app and a 3D model database that lets you try on new frames for eyewear without taking off your old glasses, so you can actually see what you look like as you try them on. Diminished reality is a subset of augmented reality focused on removing, rather than adding, elements of what you see and hear. The Fittingbox app uses the selfie camera on a smartphone to scan the face of the customer. It then recognizes and removes the wearer’s glasses from the 3D modeled image. Continue reading CES: Fittingbox Demonstrates Unexpectedly Useful AR App

Meta Building a Safe Metaverse While Expanding VR Holdings

Social media platforms, which have had challenges maintaining a safe, socially conscious online environment — as the year’s spate of whistleblower disclosures and global regulatory hearings proves — may face an even tougher time maintaining civility in the metaverse. The shift from monitoring text, images and video to supervising a live 3D world will be orders of magnitude more complicated, observers say. According to a 2020 safety video for “Horizon Worlds,” a game Facebook developed for its virtual reality platform Oculus Quest, the company plans to record what happens in the metaverse, storing data that transpires in users’ VR headsets. Continue reading Meta Building a Safe Metaverse While Expanding VR Holdings