Illuminarium to Launch ‘Wild’ Immersive Experience in Atlanta

On July 1, experiential entertainment company Illuminarium Experiences will open its first location in Atlanta, Georgia, offering “Wild,” a virtual safari shot by RadicalMedia. The company’s immersive entertainment is intended to offer a kind of virtual reality — but without the clunky headsets. Instead, visitors walk through exhibits with 4K video on giant screens, spatial sound systems, haptic flooring and other interactive features including scent. Tickets for “Wild,” at $35, give the visitor an hour to walk through an 8,000-square-foot room. Continue reading Illuminarium to Launch ‘Wild’ Immersive Experience in Atlanta

ESA Report Details Ongoing Growth of Video Game Industry

A comprehensive report from the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) reveals that the game industry created direct economic output of $409.9 billion in 2019 as well as direct employment of 143,045 people. Further, gaming generated total income of $35.28 billion including $17.37 billion in direct compensation to workers in the video game industry. In indirect support, the game industry contributed $90.3 billion. All these figures are predicted to grow in 2020, due to the rise of gaming during the COVID-19 shutdowns. Continue reading ESA Report Details Ongoing Growth of Video Game Industry

Light Field Lab Details Future For Holographic Display Tech

Light Field Lab raised $28 million in funding to scale its holographic display technology from a prototype into a product. Its technology builds large holographic displays out of smaller building blocks, with the aim of creating holographic images that float in space and are able to be viewed without AR/VR goggles, potentially to be used for live events, holographic TVs and other applications. Chief executive Jon Karafin stated that his company’s goal is to bring holography up to “hundreds of gigapixels of resolution.” German firm Bosch is also developing glasses-free 3D auto displays. Continue reading Light Field Lab Details Future For Holographic Display Tech

Cinemark, Spaces Partner for Location-Based VR Experience

On February 8, Cinemark Holdings, in partnership with Spaces, will open VR entertainment centers at its Century 20 Oakridge and XD facility in San Jose, California, located at the Westfield Oakridge Shopping Center. Burbank-based Spaces, which spun out of DreamWorks, opened its first VR experience, based on “Terminator: Salvation,” in Irvine. Spaces offers more sensors and haptic feedback than a home VR experience, with physical features including ramps and motion platforms for a more realistic experience. Continue reading Cinemark, Spaces Partner for Location-Based VR Experience

Dreamscape Immersive to Expand Location-Based VR in 2019

Dreamscape Immersive focuses on creating virtual reality experiences as location-based entertainment in malls and other venues. From the entrance, a “departure lounge” that immerses visitors in backstories and props, titles such as “Alien Zoo” and “Lavan’s Magic Projector: The Lost Pearl” are intended to feel like journeys. Dreamscape chief executive Bruce Vaughn, who was former chief creative officer of Walt Disney Imagineering said it’s about reframing how audiences view virtual reality. Continue reading Dreamscape Immersive to Expand Location-Based VR in 2019

Kaaya Haptic HoloSuit for VR Apps to Ship This November

Kaaya Tech reached its $50,000 Kickstarter funding goal for the HoloSuit, a wearable haptic controller for virtual reality. The company will start shipping the suit, available in several versions, in November. The top-end version, HoloSuit Pro, offers 36 sensors, nine haptic feedback devices and six firing buttons, spread across two finger-tracking gloves, a pair of pants with feet extensions and a jacket with a head extension. The lower end model offers 26 sensors, and comes with a jacket or jersey with haptics and buttons. Continue reading Kaaya Haptic HoloSuit for VR Apps to Ship This November

NAB 2018: Immersive Media & Location-Based Entertainment

Location-based entertainment (LBE) is at the forefront of virtual reality and mixed reality content, and an NAB panel took a look at the role that LBE plays in distributing and popularizing this form of entertainment. Phil Lelyveld, ETC@USC’s lead of the Immersive Media Initiative program, noted that LBE represents the high-end of VR/MR storytelling, in contrast to home-based solutions. Technicolor Experience Center lead VR/AR experience producer Brian Frager said the industry adoption of standards will change that. Continue reading NAB 2018: Immersive Media & Location-Based Entertainment

IEEE Pinpoints New Technologies to Go Mainstream by 2023

As it does every year, the IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) presented a rundown of emerging technologies it believes will go mainstream in three to five years. “These technologies are still incubated out of the mainstream,” said IP Action Partners president Stuart Lipoff, who moderated the CES event. He identified seven “overarching drivers of emerging technologies,” beginning with managing complexity of feature-rich hardware, QoS-aware broadband connectivity and cheap, abundant storage. Continue reading IEEE Pinpoints New Technologies to Go Mainstream by 2023

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

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

GDC 2016: Your Brain on VR, The Psychology of Doing VR Right

Cognitive scientist, programmer, game developer, and senior technical designer for Riot Games and Radial Games Dr. Kimberly Voll took a packed house at the Game Developers Conference into the brain on VR, hailing the tremendous opportunities and flashing potential hazards this new medium presents. As someone who “engineers awesome experiences through understanding humans better, frequently in VR,” Voll’s latest project is “Fantastic Contraption,” a VR update to the popular 2008 building game, that will be shipping with the HTC Vive in April. Continue reading GDC 2016: Your Brain on VR, The Psychology of Doing VR Right

Greenlight VR Maps Today’s Virtual Reality Industry Ecosystem

Greenlight VR, a San Francisco-based business intelligence startup specializing in the virtual reality industry, has created a business map of significant VR players. The rising prospects for virtual reality as a mainstream medium has seen new demand for ways of better grasping the scope and nuances of the industry’s emerging and rapidly evolving landscape. The database profiles hundreds of VR businesses from around the world — from fledgling startups to the established companies entering this space — organized by 22 categories across 11 sectors. Continue reading Greenlight VR Maps Today’s Virtual Reality Industry Ecosystem

Touchscreen Inventor Says Haptics will be Next Step for Mobile Devices

  • What’s next for mobile devices now that capacitive touchscreens have become the standard?
  • According to Synaptics technology strategist Andrew Hsu (and inventor of modern touchscreen technology for mobile handsets), the answer could be haptic technologies that allow us to feel individual touchscreen elements.
  • “Where I see the next frontier of user interface control is that we now want to try and recreate the tactility we lost from traditional hardware interfaces,” says Hsu. “Now that we’ve gotten dynamic touch and visual interfaces, it’s time to look towards dynamic touch feedback.”
  • Hsu hasn’t make any final judgements on 3D technology yet, although VentureBeat sees it as less significant than haptics at this point: “There’s plenty of potential in mobile gaming (imagine actually feeling buttons and joysticks again), and it would also make modern touchscreen phones more accessible for the disabled and elderly. I’d much rather the mobile industry move towards screens that can dynamically generate braille text for the blind to touch, rather than focusing on making us cross-eyed with tiny 3D screens.”

Disney Demonstrates Surround Haptics System for Gaming and More

  • Disney Research has developed a new technology that leverages phantom sensations and other tactile illusions to provide a wide range of physical sensations for gamers and film-goers via chairs outfitted with vibrating actuators. The technology is being demonstrated this week at SIGGRAPH in Vancouver.
  • Disney says its Surround Haptics system makes it possible for video game players and film viewers to “feel the smoothness of a finger being drawn against skin, for example, or the jolt of a collision.”
  • The system could potentially have a wide range of applications in movies, music and games, even communication systems for the blind.
  • “Although we have only implemented Surround Haptics with a gaming chair to date, the technology can be easily embedded into clothing, gloves, sports equipment and mobile computing devices,” says senior research scientist Ivan Poupyrev. “This technology has the capability of enhancing the perception of flying or falling, of shrinking or growing, of feeling bugs creeping on your skin. The possibilities are endless.”