Magic Leap Ships AR Headsets to Developers With Constraints

Under mysterious circumstances, some Magic Leap augmented reality headsets have started showing up at software developers’ offices. The headset itself is even more mysterious, in that access to it requires a commitment from the user that they keep it in a locked safe. Apparently, the Florida-based startup is worried about the balance of testing the product while losing control of it out in the wild. Magic Leap, which has raised more than $2.3 billion, has promised to deliver more sets to more developers later this year.

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Yuneec Announces Updated Typhoon H and Two New Models

Yuneec International announced three new drones at CES — an update to its popular Typhoon H, which initially debuted two years ago, and two new entries: the $700 Firebird FPV (the company’s first fixed-wing drone) and the $180 HD Racer (Yuneec’s first racing drone). The $1,800 Typhoon H Plus is designed for professional photographers and videographers; Yuneec claims the drone’s six-rotor hex airframe produces 40 percent less noise than earlier hex models and can maintain stability in winds up to 30 mph. It also uses Intel RealSense tech to avoid collisions. And with a high-aperture lens and one-inch sensor, the camera can capture 20-megapixel stills and 4K video at 60fps. Continue reading Yuneec Announces Updated Typhoon H and Two New Models

Samsung’s 360 Round: 4K Camera Live-Streams 3D for VR

At the Samsung Developer Conference in San Francisco this week, the company showcased its 360 Round video camera, which captures 360-degree 4K video that can be live-streamed or recorded. The camera, with 17 lenses, is slated for release in Q4. Samsung Electronics vice president Taeyoung Kim says the company is also developing a new version of mobile VR technology with a controller that offers six degrees of freedom (6DOF) and inside-out tracking. Samsung released its Gear VR headset in 2014, which offers three degrees of freedom. Continue reading Samsung’s 360 Round: 4K Camera Live-Streams 3D for VR

Samsung Schedules Live VR Broadcasts of Sports and Music

Samsung is looking to expand virtual reality applications beyond gaming to the world of broader entertainment and, hopefully, mainstream adoption. A few months after unveiling its updated Gear VR headset, the company announced plans for live VR broadcasts from UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship), the X Games and Live Nation. Samsung will debut VR Live Pass by broadcasting the UFC Featherweight Championship bout between José Aldo and Max Holloway on June 3 from Rio de Janeiro. VR Live Pass will then offer the X Games from Minneapolis July 13–16 and a major concert performance from Live Nation in August. Continue reading Samsung Schedules Live VR Broadcasts of Sports and Music

Disney Tests Prototype, Pursues Patent for Soft-Bodied Robot

Disney recently submitted a patent application for “a robot that will move and physically interact like an animated character.” The prototype sketch with the application shows a round body similar to the soft-robot character in Disney’s 2014 “Big Hero 6.” Before soft-body robots can be employed at Disney theme parks, the company will have to deal with the issue of robotic interaction safety, since the patent application implies that theme park guests will be able to hug the soft-body characters. Continue reading Disney Tests Prototype, Pursues Patent for Soft-Bodied Robot

CES: Virtual Reality Startups Tackling Big Problems (Part 2)

Yesterday, we reported from the Sands Convention Center at CES where a number of innovative startups — including IonVR, The Eye Tribe and Reach Bionics — are demonstrating some compelling solutions for improved VR experiences this week. Today, we’ll be examining three other companies exhibiting at the Sands: Impulsonic and its Phonon ‘sonic architecture’ package; the Freefly VR head-mounted display from Proteus VR, that features a Bluetooth-connected controller; and ImmersiON VRelia, which offers a unique spherical encoding and compression solution with its mobile VR headset. Continue reading CES: Virtual Reality Startups Tackling Big Problems (Part 2)

CES 2016: Setting the Stage for VR Gaming’s Breakout Year

As the first major tech show for “The Year of VR,” the upcoming CES is likely going to be instrumental in setting the tone for the next wave of virtual reality devices. Largely seen as a platform for gamers, it is this segment of consumers that could ultimately drive large-scale adoption of the medium. In anticipation, the show organizers have dedicated a conference track and expanded the floor space devoted to gaming and VR by 77 percent. The devices and interfaces that debut at CES will become the foundation for E3 later in the year. We expect multiple HMDs to be announced, but, for gamers, much of the attention will be on the interfaces. Continue reading CES 2016: Setting the Stage for VR Gaming’s Breakout Year

Shield: Nvidia Launches its First Tablet, Designed for Gamers

Nvidia’s new Shield is a tablet PC, but also a gaming console for Android game apps, streamed PC games, and games streamed from the Nvidia Grid cloud gaming service. The Wi-Fi tablet can be used as a handheld gaming device or a console that can be plugged into a TV via an HDMI cable. For $299, gamers will get 16 gigabytes of storage and perhaps some of the best image-rendering technology on the market. The Shield tablet will start shipping at the end of July. Continue reading Shield: Nvidia Launches its First Tablet, Designed for Gamers

LeapFrog to Launch Educator-Approved Game Console for Kids

LeapFrog Enterprises plans to launch its $150 kid-friendly LeapTV game console this fall. The twist? LeapTV will debut with 100 games and videos approved by professional educators, those who ideally know what is best for children. The console will include personalization features and motion-sensing controls similar to those introduced with Nintendo’s Wii. Games will target children ages 3 to 8. At launch there will be nine cartridge titles offered, with additional titles available digitally. Continue reading LeapFrog to Launch Educator-Approved Game Console for Kids

E3 2014: Nintendo Unveils New Games, Experimental Robots

In the wake of Wii U struggles, Nintendo hopes its E3 announcements this week will please company loyalists and possibly help generate new fans. The company introduced new figurines with NFC chips that will work with its video games. It also announced integration of custom Mii avatars for the upcoming “Super Smash Bros.” fighting game, a new “Legend of Zelda” game coming to the Wii U in 2015, a kid-friendly shooting game called “Splatoon,” and a variety of other new and experimental game titles. Continue reading E3 2014: Nintendo Unveils New Games, Experimental Robots

E3 2014: $99 Game-Streamer PlayStation TV Coming to U.S.

During its E3 press conference yesterday in Los Angeles, Sony announced that the PlayStation TV device is coming to North America this fall for $99 as a standalone, or for $139 bundled with a DualShock Controller, an 8GB memory card for storing downloaded games, and a copy of “The Lego Movie” video game. Users can pair the set-top box with their PlayStation 4 console for remote play on a second television. Video and music streaming services will be accessible, as will games via PlayStation Now. Continue reading E3 2014: $99 Game-Streamer PlayStation TV Coming to U.S.

Engineers Developing Emotion-Based Video Game Controller

Stanford engineers have created the next step in interactive gaming — a video game controller that can sense a player’s emotions. The handheld game controller can monitor a player’s brain activity to decipher when a user is extremely engaged or bored, which could trigger zombies or another element of the game to be thrown at them to catch their attention. Gregory Kovacs, a professor of electrical engineering at Stanford, created a prototype controller in his lab in collaboration with Texas Instruments. Continue reading Engineers Developing Emotion-Based Video Game Controller

Kinect Sports Rivals: Next Wave of Motion-Controlled Gaming

Since the launch of the Nintendo Wii in 2006, consumers have found the idea of motion-controlled gaming to be appealing. However, the actual product never seems to work as well as promised. The recently released $60 “Kinect Sports Rivals” game uses new technology that aims to change those performance concerns. The technology includes an upgraded Kinect sensor, bundled with Microsoft’s $450 Xbox One game console. The new Kinect can detect finer body movements such as the opening and closing of a hand. Continue reading Kinect Sports Rivals: Next Wave of Motion-Controlled Gaming

Sony Unveils its Project Morpheus VR Prototype at GDC 2014

Sony has plans to introduce virtual reality to its PlayStation 4 console with new hardware called “Project Morpheus.” During the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco this week, the company unveiled a prototype with two headset components — a closed display and what looks like a PlayStation Move sensor. The unit features HDMI and USB connections, a 1080p display and just over a 90-degree field of view. The prototype, three years in the making, will also serve as a developer kit. Continue reading Sony Unveils its Project Morpheus VR Prototype at GDC 2014

Amazon STB Expected to Be a Dongle That Also Streams Games

The long-rumored Amazon set-top box, an expected rival to Roku and Apple TV, is reportedly going to be produced by Lab126 and take the form of a dongle or stick similar to Google’s Chromecast. Amazon’s device could also compete with game consoles such as the Xbox and PlayStation, as it is expected to support streaming for full PC game titles. Streaming games could provide Amazon with a competitive advantage over rivals in the STB space and, if bundled as an Amazon Prime member benefit, could help justify its subscription cost increase. Continue reading Amazon STB Expected to Be a Dongle That Also Streams Games

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