Nokia Makes the First-Ever 3D Spatial Audio Cell Phone Call

Nokia made what it claims is “the world’s first immersive voice and audio call” using cell phones, made possible by the new 3GPP Immersive Voice and Audio Services (IVAS) codec that lets consumers hear 3D spatial sound in real-time. The codec — which Nokia participated in crafting — is a major leap from today’s standard monophonic smartphone voice call experience and is part of the upcoming 5G Advanced standard. The innovation paves the way towards enhanced immersive spatial communications, extended reality and metaverse applications, says Nokia, explaining that it works across “any connected device,” including smartphones, tablets and PCs. Continue reading Nokia Makes the First-Ever 3D Spatial Audio Cell Phone Call

Google Teams with Magic Leap in Another Run at AR Glasses

Magic Leap and Google have entered into a strategic partnership to develop augmented reality solutions, combining Magic Leap’s optics expertise with Google’s technology platforms. “By combining efforts, we can foster the future of the XR ecosystem with unique and innovative product offerings.” Google VP and General Manager of AR/XR Shahram Izadi said of the union, seen by some as effort by Google to jumpstart an XR business that could someday be competitive with offerings from Meta, Microsoft and now Apple. The company was an early mover in the space, with Google Cardboard and Google Glass, but dropped out. Continue reading Google Teams with Magic Leap in Another Run at AR Glasses

Looking Glass Debuts Two New Headset-Free Spatial Displays

Looking Glass has launched a new 32-inch, glasses-free spatial display and an OLED version of its 16-inch model. The screens come in both landscape and portrait orientations and are aimed at XR professionals requiring visualization for 3D digital images, video and applications in real time. The 3D displays broadcast 45-100 views for what the company says is an uncompromised group-view experience. Sensors for touchless gesture control are available and the devices support a wide variety of software, including plugins for Unity, Unreal, Blender and WebXR. The 16-inch OLED lists for $4,000 but is offered at $3,000 for a limited time. Continue reading Looking Glass Debuts Two New Headset-Free Spatial Displays

Meta Opens Mixed Reality OS to Third-Party Hardware Makers

Meta Platforms has rebranded its Quest VR operating system Horizon OS and is opening the platform to third parties. While licensing terms have not been publicly disclosed, Asus and Lenovo have said they’re going to be designing hardware using the system. Microsoft and Qualcomm are also in round one of the companies on the inside track as Meta positions Horizon OS along the lines of a universal VR standard, not unlike Microsoft’s Windows OS for computers. All four companies have already been working with Meta on VR for Quest or its predecessor, Oculus. Continue reading Meta Opens Mixed Reality OS to Third-Party Hardware Makers

ETC’s CES 2024 Report: Creators, Displays, and AI Innovation

CES 2024 attracted more than 135,000 attendees to Las Vegas where 4,300 companies filled 2.5 million square feet of exhibit space. Technology that empowers creators, a new generation of displays, and the promise and peril of artificial intelligence dominated the show. After several years of incremental advances, market development built on maturing technology, and over-hyped trends, this year felt different with an energy that suggests the beginning of a new era. Among the major themes were embedded AI, vehicle tech, digital health, screens and XR, and numerous policy and regulation topics. ETC@USC attended the conference for live reporting on products and services. Our post-show report features extensive coverage and perspectives related to key creative, business, and technology areas. Continue reading ETC’s CES 2024 Report: Creators, Displays, and AI Innovation

CES: Ixana Transforms Human Body into Networked Receiver

Seattle-based tech firm Ixana is at CES 2024 demonstrating its Wi-R communication chip, which “reduces energy consumption by 100x compared to radiative wireless technologies like BLE, Wi-Fi, cellular, Zigbee and Z-Wave, enabling a paradigm shift in wearable technology,” according to the company, which nabbed a CES Innovation Award. The 4Mbps YR22 Wi-R chip offers “continuous charging-free body-worn health monitoring, video streaming for extended reality, and intuitive human-computer interaction,” Ixana says, explaining it works via algorithms that run via distributed computing on battery-powered devices. Continue reading CES: Ixana Transforms Human Body into Networked Receiver

CES: Samsung Demonstrates Transparent MicroLED Display

Samsung Electronics kicked off CES 2024 with a bang, premiering a transparent MicroLED display at its First Look curtain raiser that created a great deal of buzz in Las Vegas. Transparent screen technology is poised to extend virtual experiences into the world’s living rooms, and Samsung says that its MicroLED tech — the result of six years of R&D — is better than competing OLED and LED options, claiming the clear, glass-like display offers superior brightness and clarity to competing options. To illustrate its claim, Samsung’s demo lets visitors compare its transparent MicroLED display next to transparent OLED and LCD screens. Continue reading CES: Samsung Demonstrates Transparent MicroLED Display

CES: Qualcomm Chip Enables Faster Mixed Reality Features

Qualcomm’s Snapdragon XR2+ Gen 2 chip for extended reality platforms is designed to allow those who incorporate it into their gear to give Apple’s ambitious and technologically advanced Vision Pro headset a run for its money. Qualcomm says as part of the second gen Plus launch announcement that Samsung and Google have committed to using its new chip to power gen two XR experiences. Among the noteworthy XR2+ features is its single-chip architecture for 4.3K spatial computing at 90 frames per second. It supports 4.3K per eye resolution and 12 or more concurrent cameras to VR and mixed reality experiences. Continue reading CES: Qualcomm Chip Enables Faster Mixed Reality Features

Square Enix to Explore New Content Possibilities with AI, XR

Japanese triple-A game publisher Square Enix rang in the New Year with an open letter from President Takashi Kiryu emphasizing that the 20-year-old firm intends to reinforce its core business of content development and game publishing while aggressively exploring new areas like artificial intelligence and extended reality. In the short term, AI will be used “to enhance our development productivity and achieve greater sophistication in our marketing efforts,” Kiryu wrote in his letter, explaining that “in the longer term, we hope to leverage those technologies to create new forms of content.” Continue reading Square Enix to Explore New Content Possibilities with AI, XR

New Catalyst Stage Brings Virtual Production to ESPN Studio

The new Catalyst Stage at ESPN headquarters in Bristol, Connecticut blends physical space with virtual production and an LED wall. The facility “opens new possibilities in the future of content customization and scalability” for live, multi-camera shooting that includes augmented reality and extended reality in 1080p or UHD, with 4K available for specialty work, including advertising. ESPN calls Catalyst “the first studio of its kind to support both live multi-camera productions and cinematic-quality projects. GhostFrame, Unreal Engine, Disguise XR, Pixotope and Mark Roberts Motion Control cameras are among Catalyst’s tools. Continue reading New Catalyst Stage Brings Virtual Production to ESPN Studio

Samsung Unveils Smartphones, Laptops at Unpacked Event

During Samsung’s Galaxy Unpacked event in San Francisco, the company introduced its $1,200 Galaxy S23 Ultra smartphone, featuring a 200-megapixel camera sensor, an updated form factor, a Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 processor, and major jump in storage. Samsung also announced updated Galaxy S23 and S23 Plus models with the same floating camera design of the S23 Ultra and pricing that matches last year’s offerings. The company’s new Galaxy Book3 Ultra laptop touts a 16-inch, 120Hz OLED screen and offers an Intel H-Series Core i7 or Core i9 processor and an Nvidia RTX 4050 or 4070 GPU. The Book3 line features Samsung’s Dynamic AMOLED 2X display and an Nvidia RTX 3070 GPU. Continue reading Samsung Unveils Smartphones, Laptops at Unpacked Event

Apple Registers xrOS, Likely to Power Mixed Reality Headset

Apple has reportedly registered the name xrOS in association with its upcoming extended reality eyewear, expected to be released in 2023. The xrOS moniker represents a switch from another operating system’s name, realityOS, that had been used internally with regard to the device. Whatever the new system is eventually called, the highly anticipated gear will be Apple’s first major debut in a new product category since the Apple Watch was introduced in 2015. Apple’s wearables division contributed more than $41 billion to the company’s bottom line in the last fiscal year, accounting for about 10 percent of its overall sales revenue. Continue reading Apple Registers xrOS, Likely to Power Mixed Reality Headset

Meta and Qualcomm Will Develop Next-Generation VR Chips

Meta Platforms is joining forces with Qualcomm to develop a next-generation extended reality chipset for its Meta Quest 2 and other headsets. The multi-year agreement, announced at the IFA 2022 consumer electronics show in Berlin, will focus on virtual reality and augmented reality applications. While the deal leverages Qualcomm’s Snapdragon XR platforms, engineering and product teams from each company will collaborate on “core technologies to accelerate a fully realized metaverse,” Qualcomm president and CEO Cristiano Amon announced from the stage at Friday’s IFA keynote in which he was joined remotely by Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg. Continue reading Meta and Qualcomm Will Develop Next-Generation VR Chips

CES: Case Studies on How Gaming Tech Can Improve Health

Much has been written on how gaming can be an incentive to change behavior. But can it also be used to clinically improve health outcomes? Lygeia Ricciardi, founder and chief executive of AdaRose — “a community of powerful women who are maximizing self care, health and wellness” — gathered executives at CES who said their companies have successfully used gaming to improve health for numerous use cases including pain reduction, aid in concentrating, lower drug reliance and more medical compliance as well as generally improved levels of well-being. Continue reading CES: Case Studies on How Gaming Tech Can Improve Health

The Sundance Film Festival Advances Tech for Hybrid Model

The Sundance Film Festival is returning to Park City, Utah in January after holding its last annual event entirely online. The 2022 Festival will introduce a new hybrid format that will expand The Spaceship, a virtual venue of the New Frontier exhibition where attendees can socialize and visit virtual reality and mixed reality installations. Sundance is also introducing a new Biodigital Bridge, a human-scale screen that will connect “festivalgoers in Park City and those attending The Spaceship online from anywhere in the world — establishing the Festival as a metaverse that overlays the physical event with a virtual one.” Continue reading The Sundance Film Festival Advances Tech for Hybrid Model