No Headset Needed to Watch 360-Degree Video via Facebook

Facebook has introduced a new technology that will someday allow Facebook users to explore immersive, 360-degree videos from their News Feeds. The company unveiled the technology at its annual F8 developer conference in San Francisco this week. The content is created with a 24-camera rig, and it can be viewed in a browser or a smartphone screen without a headset. Facebook envisions users will also use an Oculus Rift headset to view the 360-degree video in the future. Continue reading No Headset Needed to Watch 360-Degree Video via Facebook

Facebook Wants Developers to Integrate Apps with Messenger

At this week’s F8 developer conference in San Francisco, Facebook announced that it is opening up its Messenger app with a platform for creating apps. This will allow developers to build apps that can integrate with the social network’s instant-messaging service, which presently touts 600 million users. Nearly 50 integrated apps have been created under the program, including those from Bad Robot, ESPN and The Weather Channel. The service also supports 360-degree video with Facebook’s Oculus VR format. Continue reading Facebook Wants Developers to Integrate Apps with Messenger

LG Introduces Virtual Reality Headset That Works with the G3

LG is the latest company to introduce a portable virtual reality headset. The ‘VR for G3’ is a simple plastic headset, which will be given to new buyers of the LG G3 smartphone for free. The headset’s design models that of Google Cardboard. While powered using LG’s smartphone, the headset uses Google Cardboard software and other readily available VR experiences on the Google Play Store (a VR game will be included as a promo). There has been no mention of whether the headset will be independently sold.   Continue reading LG Introduces Virtual Reality Headset That Works with the G3

Oculus Launches Movie Studio to Make Content for its Headset

Oculus VR is expanding its focus from video games to virtual reality films. The Facebook-owned Oculus has created a new in-house movie studio called Story Studio to create films and find the best practices for VR storytelling. The new content created by Story Studio intends to help attract more users to the Oculus Rift headset, while also encouraging other filmmakers to make similar VR films. Story Studio’s first work is a short film called “Lost,” which debuted at the Sundance Film Festival. Continue reading Oculus Launches Movie Studio to Make Content for its Headset

ARKAMYS Demonstrates 360-Degree Audio-Visual Experience

With the rise of new headsets promising unique augmented and virtual reality experiences, many are anxiously awaiting the first killer product, while others are wondering how we will produce the compelling content — movies, games and other experiences — that will make the technology worthwhile to the public. ARKAMYS is a company that specializes in automotive audio, but at CES this year it is demonstrating how its tech can be used to create a 360-degree experience in which the user steps inside another’s perspective. Continue reading ARKAMYS Demonstrates 360-Degree Audio-Visual Experience

Oculus Acquires Nimble VR for its Hand-Tracking Technology

Oculus, the virtual reality company picked up by Facebook in March, has acquired two startups that may bring hand-tracking and better mapping of 3D interiors to the Oculus Rift headset. Nimble VR (formerly 3Gear Systems) is the startup behind Nimble Sense, a camera that connects to the headset and uses Kinect-like technology to track a user’s hands and sync movements to the user’s VR experience. Oculus also bought 13th Lab, a computer vision and augmented reality firm focused on 3D reconstruction. Continue reading Oculus Acquires Nimble VR for its Hand-Tracking Technology

Instagram Now Bigger Than Twitter, Looks to Brand Advertising

Instagram — the photo- and video-sharing app owned by Facebook — announced yesterday that it presently has 300 million monthly active users, up 50 percent in nine months (more than 70 percent of its users are now outside the United States). The new numbers suggest that the social service is more popular than Twitter today (Twitter recorded 284 million monthly active users for Q3). Instagram is looking to leverage its meteoric popularity to engage users in new ways, and draw advertisers at the same time. Continue reading Instagram Now Bigger Than Twitter, Looks to Brand Advertising

Samsung to Ship Gear VR Headset, Oculus Unveils New SDK

Samsung’s plans for mobile virtual reality are now underway. The company recently released details about its ongoing project with Oculus VR. The Gear VR Innovator Edition is a headset powered by Oculus Mobile built for the Samsung Galaxy Note 4. The headset plans to launch in December, and Oculus has released its Mobile SDK to foster the creation of apps. As part of an open software license, the SDK includes source code for Oculus Cinema, Oculus 360 Photo and Oculus 360 Videos. Continue reading Samsung to Ship Gear VR Headset, Oculus Unveils New SDK

Oculus Rift Virtual Reality Technology Not Just About Gaming

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg imagined that the Oculus virtual reality technology his company acquired would eventually go beyond gaming — and it looks like that trend is already taking shape. Developers from a wide variety of industries are working on new apps for the Oculus Rift that could be used by stock traders, educators, psychiatrists, astronauts, filmmakers and others. The Oculus Rift is making VR more accessible because of its relatively low cost and growing variety of content. Continue reading Oculus Rift Virtual Reality Technology Not Just About Gaming

Oculus Debuts Crescent Bay VR Prototype at LA Conference

Oculus unveiled its latest VR headset, currently named “Crescent Bay,” at a Hollywood event over the weekend. Some 800 developers attended Oculus Connect, the company’s first conference, to check out the new device. While not yet commercially available, the prototype promises a more comfortable, natural experience. Crescent Bay features 360-degree motion tracking, integrated headphones and improved ergonomics. It is not the consumer version, but is “sprinting toward” it, explained chief exec Brendan Iribe. Continue reading Oculus Debuts Crescent Bay VR Prototype at LA Conference

IBC 2014: NextVR Unveils 360-Degree 3D VR Camera System

NextVR, a virtual reality technology and content company, introduced a 360-degree 3D virtual reality rig outfitted with six RED Epic Dragon cameras at IBC in Amsterdam last week. The “NextVR Virtual Reality Digital Cinema Camera System” supports the recording and live streaming of immersive, ultra high definition, stereoscopic content at 60fps and includes spatial audio capture. NextVR also unveiled VR content acquired with the equipment, displaying it on the new Samsung Gear VR headset. Continue reading IBC 2014: NextVR Unveils 360-Degree 3D VR Camera System

Gear VR: Samsung Expected to Unveil New HMD at IFA 2014

It has been confirmed that Samsung, in collaboration with Facebook’s Oculus VR, is developing a virtual reality device called the “Gear VR.” The company is expected to announce the device, along with the Galaxy Note 4, at IFA 2014. The Gear VR will feature a modular design, allowing the user to plug in a Galaxy using USB 3.0. The device uses the smartphone’s accelerometer, gyroscope, and processing power for head tracking, which creates the VR effect. Continue reading Gear VR: Samsung Expected to Unveil New HMD at IFA 2014

The Los Angeles Tech Scene is Making a New Name for Itself

The Los Angeles tech scene — from Santa Monica to Irvine to West Adams — has been booming in recent years. According to open source map Represent.LA, there are now 889 startups in the region. Many LA tech entrepreneurs got started with cheap mobile apps that quickly became profitable. They focus on creativity and aesthetics, tap celebrities when needed, and remain open to products designed just for fun. And the sunny LA weather and cheaper rent attracts talent from around the world. Continue reading The Los Angeles Tech Scene is Making a New Name for Itself

Startup Introduces Chip to Bring Holograms to Smartphones

For the past nine years, Ostendo Technologies has been developing miniature projectors. The Carlsbad, California-based startup is particularly interested in projecting glasses-free 3D images for smartphones. Ostendo’s projectors are about the size of a Tic Tac, and are powered by a computer chip estimated to cost about $30. The startup expects the first 2D projectors to be sold to consumers in the summer of 2015, with the 3D projectors following in the second half of 2015. Continue reading Startup Introduces Chip to Bring Holograms to Smartphones

Samsung and Oculus Collaborate on Virtual Reality Headset

Engadget has an update to the recent reports of Samsung working on an unannounced virtual reality headset. Samsung is reportedly working with Facebook-owned Oculus VR on a media-focused headset. Samsung is working on the hardware side of the product, including next-gen OLED screens, while Oculus is handling the software side. The headset will be navigated via motion and voice, using either a paired game controller or as a standalone device. Continue reading Samsung and Oculus Collaborate on Virtual Reality Headset