OTOY Uses Blockchain Tech for Distributed Cloud Rendering

The technology underlying Bitcoin is now under development to render 3D visual effects. Los Angeles-based OTOY, which provides a GPU-based software system to create a cloud-based pipeline for 3D content, is hoping to raise as much as $134 million to develop RNDR, distributed cloud rendering for VR and other content, via blockchain technology. HBO and Discovery have invested in OTOY, which has also partnered with Facebook and Mattel. Relying on cloud-based GPUs for rendering is a much less expensive solution than supercomputers. Continue reading OTOY Uses Blockchain Tech for Distributed Cloud Rendering

Snap Inc. Files for IPO, Describes Itself as a Camera Company

In its IPO filing, Snap Inc. revealed that an average of 158 million people use the Snapchat app — sending more than 2.5 billion messages and images — every day. The company’s annual revenue grew from $58.7 million in 2015 to $404.5 million last year. Nearly all its revenue comes from advertising, especially on mobile. Expected to seek a market valuation of $20 billion, Snap may receive $4 billion, which, according to Standard & Poor’s Global Market Intelligence would make the company one of the biggest tech offerings ever in the U.S. Continue reading Snap Inc. Files for IPO, Describes Itself as a Camera Company

Ambient Paradigm Has Implications for Media & Entertainment

A future ambient business model would change the way we think about screens, mobile and IoT in a post-device world — an emerging reality that we expect to see illustrated at CES 2017. Recently, a look at what it means for businesses to operate in a post-device world has surfaced in forward-thinking analyses. Specifically, some reports have examined how Apple continues to prosper as customers increasingly do almost everything on anything. At UBS, analyst Steve Milunovich thinks Apple is already moving towards an ambient (present on all sides) paradigm, with a proliferation of devices that increasingly allow you to interoperate seamlessly across a full range of digital formats. In this new paradigm, the real growth will likely be extensions of services. Continue reading Ambient Paradigm Has Implications for Media & Entertainment

Apple Considers AR Tech for Wireless Digital Glasses Project

Insiders report that Apple is working on a pair of wireless digital glasses that would connect to iPhones and possibly use augmented reality. “While still in an exploration phase,” reports Bloomberg, “Apple has talked about its glasses project with potential suppliers” and “the company has ordered small quantities of near-eye displays from one supplier for testing.” According to those familiar with the concept, Apple isn’t ready for mass production and, if it moves forward with the eyewear, we shouldn’t expect to see a product until 2018. Chief exec Tim Cook, under pressure to make up for waning iPhone sales, has expressed interest in AR following the success of “Pokémon Go.” Continue reading Apple Considers AR Tech for Wireless Digital Glasses Project

Facebook Borrows From Snapchat, Periscope Adds AR Masks

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery it’s said, and that’s what’s going on among social media platforms. Facebook’s WhatsApp is experimenting with a Status feature that is basically a photocopy of Snapchat Stories, sharing photos, videos and emoji. Elsewhere, Periscope is copying both Facebook and Snapchat, by offering its own animated augmented reality selfie masks. The first ones offered, which allow the user to look like Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump, have been available throughout the duration of the election. Continue reading Facebook Borrows From Snapchat, Periscope Adds AR Masks

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

Avid Chief Talks Third Party Apps at ETC Cloud Conference

At ETC’s Cloud Innovation Conference at NAB 2016, Variety editor David Cohen led a discussion with Avid chief executive/president Louis Hernandez Jr. “It’s been a remarkable journey,” Hernandez said. “With Avid Media Central, we wanted to connect people. We took our standalone applications and put them where they could be shared. Now you’re seeing a rapid expansion of the apps you can purchase: We have a record number of third party apps indexed on a common operating system. This is the direction that things are going.” Continue reading Avid Chief Talks Third Party Apps at ETC Cloud Conference

Nokia Reimagines Hardware with OZO Virtual Reality Camera

Nokia just debuted OZO, its $60,000 virtual reality camera and the first hardware product the company has made since it sold its mobile phone business to Microsoft in 2014. OZO was productized by Dolby Laboratories veteran Ramzi Haidamus, hired by Nokia in July 2014 to figure out the future of its hardware division. When Haidamus saw an early prototype of the virtual reality camera, he says, he was sold on the idea of developing it. He declined to say how many OZOs Nokia has sold thus far. Continue reading Nokia Reimagines Hardware with OZO Virtual Reality Camera

Lucasfilm Shows Off ‘Star Wars’ VR Experience with HTC Vive

Lucasfilm’s ILMxLAB R&D unit just did a limited demonstration of its new “Star Wars” virtual reality experience: “Star Wars: Trials on Tatooine,” using the HTC Vive headset. The user, by walking around in a 15×15-foot space, explores the planet’s surface, does some maintenance on a Millennium Falcon, meets R2-D2 and fight offs a group of attacking Stormtroopers with a lightsaber. After unveiling the experience to a group of journalists, Lucafilm plans to allow other “select audiences” to also experience it. Continue reading Lucasfilm Shows Off ‘Star Wars’ VR Experience with HTC Vive

Snapchat Working on AR, Gamer Developers Turn to VR Titles

Snapchat has been making hires and acquisitions in augmented reality that may signal development of smart glasses. The company has brought in key people from Microsoft HoloLens, PTC’s (formerly Qualcomm’s) Vuforia and Eyefluence, an eye-tracking technology company. Snapchat’s interest in AR dates back to March 2014, when it quietly acquired Vergence Labs, maker of glasses with an embedded camera, for $15 million. At the time, the acquisition seemed out-of-place but now appears to be part of a larger AR strategy. Continue reading Snapchat Working on AR, Gamer Developers Turn to VR Titles

Intel to Leverage RealSense for Augmented Reality Headset

Intel is leveraging RealSense, its 3D camera technology, to develop a wearable headset for augmented reality, say sources knowledgeable about the chip maker’s plans. Those same sources report that Intel is more likely to license its headset design to other manufacturers rather than produce its own branded model. Intel’s RealSense could potentially help distinguish its technology offering in a field that already includes many major companies such as Apple, Microsoft, Alphabet’s Google and dozens of startups. Continue reading Intel to Leverage RealSense for Augmented Reality Headset

SpecOut Lists 99 VR, AR Headsets for Comparison Shopping

Product comparison site SpecOut.com provides “detailed information and specs on thousands of gadgets” for those researching smartphones, streaming media players, motherboards and more. Now the site has added a section on virtual and augmented reality headsets that features currently available and soon-to-be-released devices such as the Sony PlayStation VR, Oculus Rift, Avegant Glyph, HTC Vive, Microsoft HoloLens and 94 others. This is a great resource for those interesting in HMD product descriptions, pricing, and details such as refresh rate, processing source, and field of view. Continue reading SpecOut Lists 99 VR, AR Headsets for Comparison Shopping

Expert Predicts Madden NFL and Reality Shows Coming to VR

Videogame designer, Carnegie Mellon University professor and former Disney Imagineer, Jesse N. Schell, soared through a list of 10 virtual reality prognostications at Unity’s recent Vision AR/VR Summit in Hollywood. One of five speakers asked to soothsay about VR’s future, the creative director behind the “Toontown Online” massive multiplayer online game (MMO) predicted that by 2018, “Madden NFL” will be released in VR, and by 2020, there will be at least 10 VR reality television shows and a $10 billion VR adult video industry. Continue reading Expert Predicts Madden NFL and Reality Shows Coming to VR

Google Updates Cardboard, Develops Standalone VR Headset

Google is doubling down on its virtual reality investment with a new $20 version of Cardboard, which uses the smartphone as a screen and a standalone, all-in-one headset that doesn’t need to be tethered to a smartphone, computer or game console. Up until now, Google, which has sold five million Cardboard VR viewers since late 2014, has been seen as experimenting with VR. With the new VR headset — and appointment of Clay Bavor as its first VR chief, Google is entering the VR arena in earnest. Continue reading Google Updates Cardboard, Develops Standalone VR Headset

Unity Warns VR Forecasters “Wrong,” Sets Course Correction

John Riccitiello, CEO of game engine company Unity, set a course correction for virtual reality adoption in his keynote address at the Vision VR/AR Summit conference in Hollywood this week. Riccitiello warned, without equivocation, that analyst prognostications suggesting VR will become a $100 billion industry by 2020 “are wrong.” He assured the audience of 1,500 plus developers that VR is a transformative platform that will reap financial rewards in the long run and give birth to great “century companies” like Netflix and Disney. Continue reading Unity Warns VR Forecasters “Wrong,” Sets Course Correction

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