Google Develops Standalone Headset for Augmented Reality

Google is getting closer to creating a headset ideal for augmented reality, according to knowledgeable sources. The company established a team to develop a VR headset that doesn’t require a computer or smartphone, and now is reportedly integrating eye tracking and sensors/algorithms that will map out the real-world space in front of a user. In related news, Google bought eye-tracking company Eyefluence. The headset under development is separate from the company’s recently debuted Daydream VR platform. Continue reading Google Develops Standalone Headset for Augmented Reality

Oculus Chief Scientist Predicts the Future of VR Platform Tech

Disavowing popular wisdom that it doesn’t pay to be too specific, Oculus chief scientist Michael Abrash delineated what virtual reality tech will look like in 2021 at the Oculus Connect 3 conference last week. With the caveat that he would be proved “wrong about some of the specifics,” Abrash described a high-end VR future that includes 4K x 4K resolution per eye and 140-degree field of view displays, foveated rendering, personalized audio encoding, and “augmented virtual reality.” Abrash was the final speaker in a keynote session that stretched past two hours. Continue reading Oculus Chief Scientist Predicts the Future of VR Platform Tech

Japan Emerges as Hub for Virtual Reality Culture, Innovations

Japan is on track to become a virtual reality powerhouse, largely due to the imminent release of Sony PlayStation VR. Mixed-reality theme parks, VRcades, augmented reality, and VR retail applications are all gaining traction. Gumi, GREE and Colopl, which has made about 30 VR investments, are a few of the major domestic VR investors. One VR startup, FOVE, a pioneer in eye tracking, has already raised $11 million; its chief executive Yuka has been featured in Forbes and SoftBank’s Taizo Son, chairman/founder of mobile gaming company GungHo, is one of its investors.

Continue reading Japan Emerges as Hub for Virtual Reality Culture, Innovations

Qualcomm and Goertek Develop High-Resolution VR Headset

Qualcomm has unveiled the Snapdragon VR820, a reference platform for a standalone virtual reality headset, developed with Chinese electronics company Goertek and built on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 820 mobile processor and SDK. VR820, expected to be available by the end of 2016, offers higher resolution than the Oculus Rift or HTC Vive, although a lower refresh rate. The Snapdragon 820 was also used for the Pico Neo, a $500 Android-based VR device with handheld controller co-developed by the same two companies. Continue reading Qualcomm and Goertek Develop High-Resolution VR Headset

Oculus and Valve Have Yet to Open Tracking to Third Parties

A year after going on record that they would open up their tracking systems to third party developers, neither Oculus nor Valve have done so. So called ‘6DOF’ (degrees of freedom) tracking allows for head and body tracking, as well as mapping of physical objects like handheld objects and furniture, into the virtual world. Oculus’ Constellation tracking system uses a collection of IR-LEDs tracked by an external camera. Meanwhile, Valve/HTC’s Lighthouse tracking system uses photodiodes that track lasers from base stations. Continue reading Oculus and Valve Have Yet to Open Tracking to Third Parties

Networks Turn to Neuroscience, Biometrics to Study TV Viewing

Up until now, the methodology to find out what TV viewers like — based largely on written surveys and machines with dials to indicate their degree of enjoyment — has been fairly primitive and, most likely, not very reliable. Comcast’s NBCUniversal and Viacom are now both trying to dig deeper using biometrics, including eye movements, facial reactions, skin sensors, heart monitors, and EEGs to monitor brain waves. Viewing measurement company Nielsen even bought a neuroscience firm, Innerscope Resesarch, to add these skillsets to its lab. Continue reading Networks Turn to Neuroscience, Biometrics to Study TV Viewing

Digital Hollywood Panel Discusses Interfaces and Future of VR

An all-star panel of futurists and inventors featuring John Underkoffler, CEO & chief scientist, Oblong Industries; Philip Rosedale, CEO of High Fidelity and founder of virtual world “Second Life;” Berkeley academic Jack McCauley, founder & president of McCauley Labs and a co-founder and chief engineer of Oculus; and Richard Marks, director of PlayStation Magic Lab looked above and beyond the introduction of VR to articulate an array of visions and technical challenges yet to be mastered. The panel took place at Digital Hollywood and was moderated by ETC project manager Philip Lelyveld. Continue reading Digital Hollywood Panel Discusses Interfaces and Future of VR

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

FOVE, a VR Headset with Eye-Tracking, Thrives on Kickstarter

FOVE, which claims to be the only virtual reality headset with built-in eye-tracking, has surpassed its Kickstarter goal by nearly $100,000 with 37 days left to go in the campaign. A $399 donation awards backers with a headset and development kit, and FOVE plans to deliver both by May 2016. Eye-tracking not only enables users to play games by aiming their eyes, it opens the door to foveated rendering, which reduces the computational demands on real-time processing and provides contextual feedback, avatar eye-mapping, and more. Continue reading FOVE, a VR Headset with Eye-Tracking, Thrives on Kickstarter

“Assassin’s Creed Rogue” Game Integrates Eye Tracking Tech

The developers of “Assassin’s Creed” have teamed up with Tobii Tech to provide gamers with the ability to control the camera in the game with their natural eye movement. Tobii Tech calls it an “infinite screen” experience, tracking the user’s gaze at 50 frames per second. Users don’t have to even move their mouse to get the camera to pan or click pause when they look away from the screen. The “Assassin’s Creed Rogue” PC game will be one of the first to include this new technology when it launches early next month. Continue reading “Assassin’s Creed Rogue” Game Integrates Eye Tracking Tech

Apple Patents Graphic Interface Controlled by a User’s Gaze

Apple has patented an advanced gaze-tracking graphical user interface that could eventually allow users to control their CE devices without having to lift a finger. Gaze-tracking controls are usually inhibited by the Troxler Effect, a visual phenomenon that sometimes makes the computer cursor disappear. However, the new tech utilizes hardware and software solutions to solve the problem caused by the effect. Apple could potentially use this new interface in Mac laptops, iPhones, iPads, and even the next generation Apple TV. Continue reading Apple Patents Graphic Interface Controlled by a User’s Gaze

Startup Demos New Eye Tracking Virtual Reality HMD at CES

Japanese startup FOVE has developed a virtual reality head-mounted display with built-in eye tracking. The eye tracking enables the software to render the areas where the viewer is not looking with less precision than the area where the viewer is staring, allowing for more efficient CPU/GPU resource utilization. The rendered image was very clear, and the eye tracking worked well. When the headset goes to market, a FOVE rep expects the HMD with headtracking to sell for $400-$450. Continue reading Startup Demos New Eye Tracking Virtual Reality HMD at CES

Cognitive Scientists, Filmmakers Explore Cinematic Perception

During a two-night event hosted by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, neuroscientists and cognitive psychologists met with filmmakers to discuss their impressions of viewer attention and perception. Scientists have studied the mental and physical responses of audiences through eye-tracking experiments and analysis, while filmmakers have relied more on intuition and experience. Both groups are interested in what maintains an individual’s attention during the movie-going experience. Continue reading Cognitive Scientists, Filmmakers Explore Cinematic Perception

Tobii: Eye-Tracking Controls Finally Coming to Video Games

Tobii announced its partnership with SteelSeries to bring eye tracking to video games with a new sensor bar and the EyeX engine. A prototype at CES demonstrated in-game navigation, menu selection and aiming by using nothing more than players’ eye movements. Developers can preorder the SDK now for delivery in March, and they’ll be able to designate standard mouse and keyboard functions to gaze controls. The device is expected to cost around $100. Continue reading Tobii: Eye-Tracking Controls Finally Coming to Video Games

Eye-Tracking Technology Coming to Mobile Devices and PCs

Eye-tracking technology is on the rise. Previously found mostly in the healthcare industry as aids for those with impaired mobility, it is now being incorporated into mass market consumer electronics for gaming and everyday tasks. While touchscreens have helped curb the need for some clunky hardware extras, eye-tracking technology could be the next step in finally weaning the PC off the keyboard and mouse. Continue reading Eye-Tracking Technology Coming to Mobile Devices and PCs

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