Microsoft Details How to Shoot for its HoloLens AR Headset

Microsoft’s HoloLens augmented reality headset allows video — which can be streamed over the Internet — to be viewed from any angle, combining the real world with computer-generated imagery. Whereas a digital object can be rendered in 3D and easily shown from any angle, live action isn’t so accommodating. To that end, the Silicon Valley company just came out with a document giving specific directions on how to capture and handle live action footage for use with its AR headset.

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Report Estimates 43 Million VR/AR Devices to Ship by 2020

ABI Research projects that 43 million virtual reality devices will ship by 2020. Compare that to the 1.5 million Google Cardboards expected to ship by the end of 2015. That virtual reality and augmented reality is growing is no surprise, given the involvement of major industry players including Google, Samsung, Microsoft and Facebook. But perhaps nothing paints a better picture of VR’s growing clout than a look at the number of devices predicted to ship, from Oculus Rift’s head-mounted display to Google Cardboard’s inexpensive glasses. Continue reading Report Estimates 43 Million VR/AR Devices to Ship by 2020

Perspective: In Reality, VR Not the Only Game at E3 (Part 2)

In Part 2 of our E3 overview, we look at the featured products and emergence of virtual reality. E3 operates with a familiar orchestration: Press events, lavish floor displays and private parties with big name bands. The Who, for instance, entertained guests of Electronic Arts. The layout of the exhibit floor gathers the platform players — Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo — in the Convention Center’s West Hall and fills the South Hall with the major game developers. In a sign of where VR leader Oculus fits into the spectrum, its booth anchored a prominent corner of the platform-centric West Hall. Continue reading Perspective: In Reality, VR Not the Only Game at E3 (Part 2)

Perspective: In Reality, VR Not the Only Game at E3 (Part 1)

If you were not at E3, the recent Electronic Entertainment Expo, you might think that the great expanse of the Los Angeles Convention Center was wall-to-wall virtual reality. Despite VR’s headline domination, it was a different story on the floor where impressive visuals and sophisticated gameplay ignited the crowd. Even jaded game industry media could not contain their excitement. As IGN enthused after the Sony press conference, for instance, “That may be the best E3 press event ever.” We divided our overview into two parts: the evolution of E3 and direction of the gaming industry, followed by a breakdown of this year’s top products. Continue reading Perspective: In Reality, VR Not the Only Game at E3 (Part 1)

Microsoft: Mixed Reality is Future of Immersive Entertainment

Microsoft used its E3 media event last week in Los Angeles to present its vision of the future of immersive entertainment with a “mixed reality” demonstration of the popular video game “Minecraft” seen through its HoloLens headset. The demonstration at the Shrine Auditorium exhibition hall lasted only a few minutes but its impact continues to resonate. Although Microsoft has provided few detailed plans, its early demos and comments made at E3 and other conferences suggest a future that is something more than a virtual or augmented reality. Continue reading Microsoft: Mixed Reality is Future of Immersive Entertainment

IDC Projects Wearables Market to Grow 173 Percent This Year

According to IDC, 72.1 million wearable devices will be shipped this year. The global forecast represents an increase of 173.3 percent over 2014. Shipments are expected to experience a 42.6 percent compound annual growth rate the next several years, reaching 155.7 million units in 2019. The demand for sub-$100 wearables from vendors such as Fitbit and Xiaomi that do not require third party apps has been particularly strong. “We expect smart wearables, those capable of running third party apps, to take the lead in 2016,” said analyst Jitesh Ubrani. Continue reading IDC Projects Wearables Market to Grow 173 Percent This Year

Microsoft CEO Announces Departures, Corporate Restructuring

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella announced that a series of executive changes would take place at the company, including the departures of former Nokia CEO Stephen Elop, and senior level execs Kiril Tatarinov, Eric Rudder and Mark Penn. Meanwhile, Windows head Terry Myerson will take on added responsibility. As part of the company’s shift from devices and services to productivity and cloud computing, Nadella has appointed a team to oversee the restructuring of Microsoft’s three engineering groups — Windows and Devices, Cloud and Enterprise, and Applications and Services. Continue reading Microsoft CEO Announces Departures, Corporate Restructuring

New ILM Team Developing Immersive VR and AR Experiences

Industrial Light & Magic has created a new division with a focus on developing virtual reality and augmented reality experiences for movie fans. ILMxLAB is planning to debut an entertainment experience based on “Star Wars” later this year. It has been working on technology for the iPad and Oculus Rift that would allow consumers to enter their favorite movie scenes and navigate through them. ILMxLAB execs indicate that the technology could launch when the J.J. Abrams-helmed “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” is released in mid-December. Continue reading New ILM Team Developing Immersive VR and AR Experiences

E3 Expected to Focus on AR, VR, Online, Mobile and Wearables

The 2015 Electronic Entertainment Expo opens it doors in Los Angeles today following a series of press conferences from major players such as Bethesda, EA, Microsoft, Sony and Ubisoft. This year we expect to see a new emphasis on virtual and augmented reality, wearable devices, online gaming and mobile apps. At last year’s show, only six companies were dedicated to VR; this week, there will be 27. Also, 74 companies touting mobile and online gaming products will be in attendance. According to Gartner, worldwide mobile revenue is expected to nearly double to $22 billion this year. Continue reading E3 Expected to Focus on AR, VR, Online, Mobile and Wearables

AWE: Grandfather of VR Seeds an Industry, Calls it to Action

In a wide-ranging keynote at the Augmented World Expo tradeshow this week, Tom Furness, a pioneer in human interface technology, traced his career innovating in virtual reality and announced the formation of the Virtual World Society. Often called a grandfather of VR, Furness’s groundbreaking work includes developing the first VR flight simulator, first VR consumer product and first retina display. His latest vision is for a network of labs where young creatives and technologists turn their talents to solving Earth’s urgent environmental and social problems. Continue reading AWE: Grandfather of VR Seeds an Industry, Calls it to Action

Augmented Reality on Track to Transform Our Everyday Lives

Augmented reality systems with technology that overlays digital interfaces onto the physical world may eventually edge out virtual reality and significantly impact human perception. While VR products such as Oculus Rift, Gear VR and HTC’s Vive get closer to launch, timelines for augmented reality devices such as Microsoft’s HoloLens and Google-backed Magic Leap remain vague. However, some believe AR is more likely to become integrated into our everyday activities and subsequently affect the way we interact, work and communicate. Continue reading Augmented Reality on Track to Transform Our Everyday Lives

AR/VR Leaders Imagine the Future at Augmented World Expo

More than 3,000 attendees and 200 exhibitors gathered in Santa Clara this week for the Augmented World Expo, now in its sixth year. The event, which has grown ten-fold since its inception, featured demos involving VR headsets, enhanced glasses, product-scanning apps and brain-scanning headbands. According to a recent Digi-Capital report, augmented and virtual reality is projected to reach $150 billion in revenue by 2020 (when AR is expected to dominate 80 percent of the market). AWE founder Ori Inbar believes “2016 will be the year of shakeups and mergers.” Continue reading AR/VR Leaders Imagine the Future at Augmented World Expo

Microsoft’s HoloLens AR Technology Designed for Productivity

Microsoft demonstrated the practicality of its HoloLens augmented reality technology at last week’s Microsoft BUILD developers conference. While it may not be as exciting as stepping into an immersive experience with virtual reality, the technology opens the door for some compelling practical applications, whether that involves educating medical students or building virtual models of rocket ships. Possibilities for business and the home is what may help augmented reality catch on and improve people’s lives. Continue reading Microsoft’s HoloLens AR Technology Designed for Productivity

Virtual & Augmented Reality Summit Comes to Digital Hollywood

Last week’s Digital Hollywood Spring event at the Ritz Carlton in Marina Del Rey featured a new track: a three-day Virtual & Augmented Reality Summit. Panels and sessions covered a wide range of topics — including cameras, software solutions, sound design, workflow, file management, and more — and demonstrated just how rapidly this new art form is evolving. GoPro’s acquisition of multi-GoPro spherical stitching software company Kolor was the big news. At the same time, VR producers say they are looking for better camera and stitching solutions. Continue reading Virtual & Augmented Reality Summit Comes to Digital Hollywood

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

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