Huawei Kirin 980: First 7nm Mobile Chip Amps Up Processing

Huawei, in partnership with Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC), debuted the Kirin 980, the first mobile chip fabricated on a 7nm process. The Kirin 980 features 6.9 billion onboard transistors, about 1.6 times the number on the Kirin 970, while shrinking the die size down from 10nm. The result offers a 40 percent reduction in power consumption, and a 20 percent improvement in several processing metrics. That feat took 1,000 senior engineers three years and more than 5,000 prototypes to achieve success. Continue reading Huawei Kirin 980: First 7nm Mobile Chip Amps Up Processing

Oculus Team Developing VR Experience Featuring Live Actors

At Facebook’s Oculus, a new project team is developing a VR experience powered by live actors. Oculus executive producer of experiences Yelena Rachitsky, who worked on Pixar’s first VR experience based on the movie “Coco,” describes it as a melding of indie video game “Journey” and immersive play “Sleep No More.” Rachitsky said the company is interested in creating the experience of live actors “without needing to be in a site-specific location.” The experience, tentatively slated for next year, could also create a new revenue stream for the nascent technology. Continue reading Oculus Team Developing VR Experience Featuring Live Actors

Sony Showcases Interactive Hologram Experiences at SXSW

The South by Southwest (SXSW) technology, media and culture conference is taking place in Austin, Texas this week. From March 10-13, Sony invited guests to its WOW Studio, an interactive exhibit blending art and technology that featured displays and prototypes involving spatial audio, AI and robotics, tabletop projection, VR gaming, and more. Sony created interactive augmented reality without the fuss (or added cost) of goggles, glasses or other headgear, and SXSW attendees had the opportunity to participate in immersive hologram experiences.

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Disney, Lenovo Introduce AR Headset and ‘Star Wars’ Games

Disney, with Lenovo, just released a new augmented reality kit for “Star Wars: Jedi Challenges,” which retails for $200 and includes the Lenovo Mirage AR headset, AR-powered lightsaber controller and LED puck for motion tracking. The headset relies on a phone for graphics rendering and can work with the most recent Android and Apple iOS phones. The phone is placed above the user’s field of view, and the image then mirrored on a transparent plane, allowing her to see the environment combined with “Star Wars” games. Continue reading Disney, Lenovo Introduce AR Headset and ‘Star Wars’ Games

Adobe Experiments With Easy Object Removal Tool for Video

Adobe’s research team is working on a visual effects tool, codenamed Cloak, for easy and economical removal of rigs, power lines and other unwanted parts of an image. The tool is similar to Photoshop’s content-aware fill feature that lets the user select and delete unwanted elements in the image, with “intelligent” software filling in the missing background behind them. Doing the same thing with video, however, is more challenging, which is why Cloak is still in an experimental stage, with no release date slated. Continue reading Adobe Experiments With Easy Object Removal Tool for Video

Microsoft Develops Its Own Chips to Power AI in the Cloud

Microsoft is developing a chip designed specifically for artificial intelligence processing. A version of its Holographic Processing Unit, used for its HoloLens headset, the new chip will be integrated with the next version of HoloLens, to be launched at an as-of-yet undetermined date. Microsoft isn’t alone in taking chip manufacturing in-house, especially with regards to AI processing. Apple’s iPhone prototypes include the company’s AI-specific chip, and Google is working on its own second-generation AI chip. Continue reading Microsoft Develops Its Own Chips to Power AI in the Cloud

Retailers Push AR Shopping Apps for Tango-Equipped Phones

While most consumers may currently think of gaming or video when they hear “augmented reality,” retailers are experimenting with a new batch of AR apps that leverage mixed reality tech. For example, Amazon’s Product Preview lets shoppers visualize different TV sizes and brands in their homes, Lowe’s Vision accepts measurements to map out placement of kitchen appliances, and WayfairView helps consumers place new sofas and cabinets with their existing furniture. Gap plans to launch DressingRoom on Google Play at the end of the month, providing users with the ability to dress virtual mannequins with different clothing options. Continue reading Retailers Push AR Shopping Apps for Tango-Equipped Phones

Beyond the Headlines: This Year’s Outliers of Interest at CES

If you look hard enough, CES is often the place to discover smaller, less publicized technologies and products that could become the seeds for something practical and useful to the ETC member companies. This year I came across several that fit this description, including a technology called SynTouch that could prove beneficial to haptic feedback R&D and physical product quality control, a simple and elegant method from ManoMotion to use hand gestures as a user interface, an OLED necklace that could lead to the launch of a social e-collectible marketplace, and a tiny chip from Chirp Microsystems that could provide a compelling motion capture solution. Continue reading Beyond the Headlines: This Year’s Outliers of Interest at CES

Lenovo Plans to Launch Windows VR Headset Later This Year

Microsoft is planning a push into VR this year with its Windows Holographic software and Windows-compatible VR headsets. At CES, Chinese consumer tech company Lenovo is previewing its own upcoming headset based on the Windows Holographic platform (users will need a PC with Windows 10), which is expected to launch during the second half of 2017. Priced under $400, it seems Lenovo is looking to compete with the Oculus Rift, HTC Vive and PlayStation VR. Interestingly, the unnamed Lenovo headset will also feature the ability to run some augmented reality experiences using external cameras. Continue reading Lenovo Plans to Launch Windows VR Headset Later This Year

HTC Vive Now Wireless with Add-On Upgrade From TPCAST

HTC Vive is now wireless, with an add-on tetherless upgrade from TPCAST, a startup with HTC’s VR accelerator, Vive X. The wireless kit was for sale on Vive’s Chinese website, and quickly sold out; Vive did not reveal how many units were for sale. Priority was given to potential buyers with a valid Vive serial number. Priced at 1,499 RMB (~$220) plus shipping, the wireless add-on will begin to ship in the first quarter of 2017 to those who pre-ordered. Other companies are said to be working on wireless upgrades to Vive. Continue reading HTC Vive Now Wireless with Add-On Upgrade From TPCAST

Apple Considers AR Tech for Wireless Digital Glasses Project

Insiders report that Apple is working on a pair of wireless digital glasses that would connect to iPhones and possibly use augmented reality. “While still in an exploration phase,” reports Bloomberg, “Apple has talked about its glasses project with potential suppliers” and “the company has ordered small quantities of near-eye displays from one supplier for testing.” According to those familiar with the concept, Apple isn’t ready for mass production and, if it moves forward with the eyewear, we shouldn’t expect to see a product until 2018. Chief exec Tim Cook, under pressure to make up for waning iPhone sales, has expressed interest in AR following the success of “Pokémon Go.” Continue reading Apple Considers AR Tech for Wireless Digital Glasses Project

Google Releases Daydream View Headset to Positive Reviews

Google’s first VR headset, the $79 Daydream View, started shipping, the first step in the company’s goal to make Android the dominant VR operating system. Daydream faces some stiff competition, however, including Facebook’s Oculus Rift and Samsung Gear VR for PC and mobile devices, and Microsoft’s holographic version of Windows. So far, reviewers are giving Daydream a thumbs-up, as simple to use, inexpensive and light, and one reviewer calls the content on YouTube VR the new headset’s “killer app.” Continue reading Google Releases Daydream View Headset to Positive Reviews

Lenovo Introduces Project Tango Smartphone, Modular Moto Z

Chinese company Lenovo just introduced two new smartphones: Phab 2 Pro, based on Google’s Project Tango, which measures and maps surrounding objects and spaces, and Moto Z handsets that feature interchangeable, snap-on modules. The Moto Z handsets, which come out of Lenovo’s 2014 purchase of Motorola Mobility, already offer three “Moto Mods” – an extra speaker, a projector for presentations and an expanded internal battery. The company will make a reference kit available for developers to build other Moto Mods. Continue reading Lenovo Introduces Project Tango Smartphone, Modular Moto Z

AWE 2016 Addresses Rapidly Evolving VR and AR Ecosystem

This year’s Augmented World Expo (AWE) in Santa Clara was equal parts augmented and virtual reality. Curtis Hickman of The VOID presented some compelling instances in which physical and psychological misdirection are effective tools for the VR experience. Meta CEO Meron Gribetz demonstrated the sub-millimeter hand tracking accuracy of his company’s AR HMD. Jared Finder provided an update on the core tech components of Google’s Project Tango. Baobab Studios CEO Maureen Fan discussed the importance of image composition and story beats in VR. Highlights from the show floor included the latest ODG AR glasses and waveguide AR displays from Epson and Lumus. Continue reading AWE 2016 Addresses Rapidly Evolving VR and AR Ecosystem

Pre-Orders for HTC Vive Headsets Top 15,000 in 10 Minutes

Within 10 minutes of accepting pre-orders from the U.S. and 23 other countries, HTC sold more than 15,000 HTC Vive VR kits, which will ship beginning April 5. The $799 Vive virtual reality package includes the headset, two controllers and two Lighthouse laser-tracking sensors, as well as three games that show off the technology of room-scale tracking and motion tracking. Those games are “Job Simulator,” an office destruction physics game; “Fantastic Contraption,” a puzzle game; and Google’s 3D painting tool “Tilt Brush.” Continue reading Pre-Orders for HTC Vive Headsets Top 15,000 in 10 Minutes

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