New Meta Headset Offers Promising Tech for AR Developers

The Meta 2 AR headset, priced at $1,495, is still a developer kit, but even in this form, company employees and one lucky reporter are enthused about its chances to succeed at replacing the desktop monitor in the workplace. The Meta 2’s field of view is much larger than that of the HoloLens, and it sports two LCD panels that reflect off the inside of the visors, which results in sharp images and text at close range. The headset uses numerous outward-facing sensors and cameras to map the physical environment. Continue reading New Meta Headset Offers Promising Tech for AR Developers

Razer Reveals 4K Projector for Gamers Who Want to Go Big

While CES saw an array of gaming laptops, mice, monitors and streaming services this past week, Razer debuted a compelling alternative for gamers looking to seriously ramp up their home setups. An extension of Razer’s Chroma full-spectrum lighting system — which brightens keyboards, headphones, mice and more — the new concept 4K projector, dubbed Project Ariana for now, lets gamers compete beyond their monitor by essentially taking over an entire room. Razer also announced that other manufacturers, including Antec, Lenovo, Lian Li, NZXT, Philips, Nanoleaf and Wicked Lasers would be using the 16.8-million-color platform. Continue reading Razer Reveals 4K Projector for Gamers Who Want to Go Big

Microsoft Debuts its First Desktop PC, Designed for ‘Creators’

Microsoft has debuted Surface Studio, a desktop personal computer that transforms into a digital drafting table — and the company’s first desktop PC. Surface Studio is an all-in-one-PC that sports an aluminum body with a 28-inch screen on top of a stand. An accessory device, dubbed Surface Dial, is an add-on to the mouse, for a more precise way to zoom into images. The company also revealed that an upcoming update to its Windows 10 operating system will make it easier to create, manipulate and view 3D objects. Continue reading Microsoft Debuts its First Desktop PC, Designed for ‘Creators’

HTC Vive Gets Enthusiastic Reception, Ideas for Improvement

The HTC Vive virtual reality headset, priced at $799, just released and at least one review gives it a thumbs-up. Although the Vive didn’t get the high-profile attention afforded the Oculus Rift, which was released a week ago, consumers who try it are impressed, says one critic, who avers that it “certainly beats the Rift in terms of immersion.” A VR system is made up of numerous components and the Vive doesn’t compare favorably in every single one, but one reviewer says it’s on track to create an ecosystem beyond gaming. Continue reading HTC Vive Gets Enthusiastic Reception, Ideas for Improvement

Valve to Launch New PC-Based Console for the Living Room

Valve plans to release the first of its Steam Machines, a hybrid between PC-based and console gaming, to consumers on November 10th. The Linux-based device will be produced by Alienware, and combines the graphical capabilities of a traditional desktop PC with the usability of a home console. Coupled with the Steam Machine will be a new gamepad featuring two haptic touchpads that Valve claims will offer the precision of a mouse and keyboard control scheme. It will launch in three models ranging from $499 to $749. Continue reading Valve to Launch New PC-Based Console for the Living Room

Apple Goes All Retina with iMac Displays, Updates Peripherals

Apple is introducing 4K Retina screens for its 21.5-inch iMacs and 5K resolution for its 27-inch iMacs. Displays also tout a 25 percent increase in color gamut. Larger iMacs will feature enhanced graphics capabilities and Intel’s new Skylake processor. And now that the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus offerings include the ability to record 4K video, an updated iMovie supports 4K footage and 1080p HD video at 60 fps. The company has also redesigned its Magic line of keyboards, mice and trackpads to include new features, including the ability to recharge batteries with the same Lightning plug used by the iPhone. Continue reading Apple Goes All Retina with iMac Displays, Updates Peripherals

Israeli Startup Debuts Index-Finger Device to Replace Mouse

Israeli startup MUV Interactive unveiled Bird, a device the user wears on an index finger, to replace the mouse. The small plastic shell, covered with sensors, is on sale to the public for $150 for the first 15,000 units; the regular price is $250. With Bird, the user can move his or her hand as if controlling a touchscreen — but without any touch — for any TV or projector up to 300 inches. The device weighs about 20 grams (7/10th of an ounce). With plug-ins, Bird can control other devices, including a drone. Continue reading Israeli Startup Debuts Index-Finger Device to Replace Mouse

Facebook Betting On VR with New 360-Degree Video Feature

Facebook introduced a new 360-degree spherical video feature this week for the social platform’s newsfeed. At launch, users can roam an immersive trailer for “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” by dragging their mouse over the video in order to access different vantage points. Mobile users can change their angle within clips featuring NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” and workouts by NBA star LeBron James by simply tilting their smartphone or swiping their finger across the screen. Continue reading Facebook Betting On VR with New 360-Degree Video Feature

Microsoft Opens The Garage, Unveils Wild Ideas of Employees

Microsoft recently launched a new section on its website to provide the public with access to various projects in development. Microsoft Garage started in 2009 within the Office Labs group as a place for employees to work on innovative new ideas. Until last week, The Garage was largely an internal effort that supported side projects, hackathons and science fairs. The Garage is now offering public access to 16 free consumer-facing apps across Android, Android Wear, iOS, Windows Phone and Xbox One. Continue reading Microsoft Opens The Garage, Unveils Wild Ideas of Employees

Disney Returns to 1928 for Animated Short Featuring Mickey

Fresh from last year’s win for “Paperman,” Disney is nominated for an Academy Award in the Animated Short Film category. Animators for “Get A Horse!,” which is partly done in a 1920s style, drew inspiration from early Disney holiday cards. The animation blends computer-generated imagery with traditional hand-drawn work, and the story involves Mickey Mouse on a mission to save Minnie Mouse from her lascivious kidnapper Peg-Leg Pete. A win for Disney would mark a first for an animated short starring Mickey.

Continue reading Disney Returns to 1928 for Animated Short Featuring Mickey

Intel Exec Says Gestures and Voice Commands are the Future

Intel showed off some ideas for what it calls better computer commands at CES this week, as demonstrated by SVP Mooly Eden. The exec said that touch commands are not the end-all be-all and that gesture and voice commands are more natural ways of accomplishing tasks. Eden introduced a couple of Intel’s newest efforts toward “perceptual computing,” including camera modules for gesture recognition as well as similar software for speech recognition. Continue reading Intel Exec Says Gestures and Voice Commands are the Future

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

Motorola Plans Interactive Short Film with Disney Animator

Motorola Mobility has announced that animation veteran Glen Keane will work on the third installment of Motorola’s “Spotlight Stories” series, which features short, interactive projects designed specifically for smartphones. The longtime Disney animator’s credits include “Aladdin,” “The Little Mermaid,” “Pocahontas,” “Tarzan” and the Oscar-winning short “Paperman,” among others. The Motorola projects are being made available via the built-in Spotlight app on Moto X phones. Continue reading Motorola Plans Interactive Short Film with Disney Animator

CES 2014: Gaming Trends to Expect in Las Vegas Next Month

Once an afterthought at the International CES, gaming stole the show at last year’s confab, due in part to strong offerings from NVIDIA and Valve’s hotly-anticipated foray into hardware. With the release of Microsoft’s Xbox One and Sony’s PlayStation 4 still fresh, Kickstarter supercharging virtual reality and more independent developers than ever before, we are expecting even bigger gaming news to be announced during January’s show. Continue reading CES 2014: Gaming Trends to Expect in Las Vegas Next Month

Capture and Share 3D Images with the Seene App for iPhone

A new app from London-based Obvious Engineering allows iPhone users to easily capture and share 3D images. Seene is compatible with Apple’s iPhone 4S and higher, and browsers such as Chrome, Firefox and Safari that support WebGL for 3D. It works by aiming your phone at a subject and moving around to record different angles. The progress is then overlaid on top of a video feed, resulting in a “seene” that builds automatically, which can be shared via social tools. Continue reading Capture and Share 3D Images with the Seene App for iPhone