CES: Breakthroughs in XR Address Adaption and Accessibility

While entertainment and telepresence are considered the most clear uses for virtual reality (VR), mixed reality (MR) and augmented reality (AR), several developers at CES 2024 demonstrated why in the short term, it may be that counterintuitive uses of extended reality (XR) as assistive technologies for visually impaired people provide the best case for its existence. The show demonstrated impressive ways to address macular degeneration, to assist in outdoor activities and to “read the room.” Two particular companies — Ocutrx and Lumen — showcased interesting headsets that may also point to a variety of entertainment, military, medical and enterprise applications. Continue reading CES: Breakthroughs in XR Address Adaption and Accessibility

CES: Qualcomm Chip Enables Faster Mixed Reality Features

Qualcomm’s Snapdragon XR2+ Gen 2 chip for extended reality platforms is designed to allow those who incorporate it into their gear to give Apple’s ambitious and technologically advanced Vision Pro headset a run for its money. Qualcomm says as part of the second gen Plus launch announcement that Samsung and Google have committed to using its new chip to power gen two XR experiences. Among the noteworthy XR2+ features is its single-chip architecture for 4.3K spatial computing at 90 frames per second. It supports 4.3K per eye resolution and 12 or more concurrent cameras to VR and mixed reality experiences. Continue reading CES: Qualcomm Chip Enables Faster Mixed Reality Features

Meta Platforms Continues Its Pursuit of AI and the Metaverse

Meta Platforms has reportedly been investing billions of dollars each quarter in developing the metaverse, which CEO Mark Zuckerberg has described as the future of the company. Although sales of VR headsets and AR glasses dropped nearly 40 percent in the U.S. (according to research firm Circana), Meta continues to tout the intersection between AI and the metaverse. “The progress we made in 2023 means generative AI is making its way into the heart of the world’s most popular apps, mixed reality is now at the core of a mass market headset, and Ray-Ban Meta smart glasses will let AI see the world from our perspective for the first time,” explained Andrew Bosworth, CTO and head of Meta’s Reality Labs. Continue reading Meta Platforms Continues Its Pursuit of AI and the Metaverse

Looking Glass Readies Launch of Mobile Holographic Display

Looking Glass has since 2014 been working to bring holographic display into regular consumer use. Now the Brooklyn-based company thinks it’s found the killer app to make that happen: Looking Glass Go, a pocket-sized display that has a $300 MSRP for June 2024 delivery and features a six-inch screen and built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth to enable receipt of “holograms from the cloud.” The Looking Glass Go allows you to “shoot instant spatial photos with your phone” and view them as holograms — “including holographic AIs you can customize, powered by ChatGPT,” the company says. Continue reading Looking Glass Readies Launch of Mobile Holographic Display

Meta Shows Off Quest 3 and Smart Glasses at Connect 2023

Key highlights from this week’s two-day Meta Connect virtual event include details about the Quest 3 mixed reality headset, the latest smart glasses from its Ray-Ban collaboration, and an announcement that AI stickers are rolling out across the Meta Platforms apps. Starting at $500, the Meta Quest 3 will add Microsoft 365 apps integration by the end of the year, for those who want to use the gaming headset for productivity. Available for preorder now, the Quest 3 ships October 10. The Ray-Ban Meta smart glasses start at $299 and ship October 17. Continue reading Meta Shows Off Quest 3 and Smart Glasses at Connect 2023

Meta’s ‘Horizon Worlds’ Offers Metaverse on Mobile, the Web

Meta Platforms will offer its “Horizon Worlds” virtual reality experience to the world at large, making it available in 2D via mobile and browsers on the Web, starting with early access. Initially, a “small number of people” will be able to  tap into the FPS game “Super Rumble” via the Meta Quest app on Android, with iOS availability over the next few weeks and “more experiences to come.” Early access can also be requested by those who prefer to use computer browsers at horizon.meta.com. “The metaverse should be available to everyone — no matter what device they’re on,” Meta suggests. Continue reading Meta’s ‘Horizon Worlds’ Offers Metaverse on Mobile, the Web

Roblox Adds Facial-Tracking Vid Chat, Expands to PlayStation

Roblox is adding an expressive, avatar-based video chat called Roblox Connect to its virtual world in an effort to keep its young user base engaged as it grows up while also potentially expanding its audience. “We’re essentially packaging a Hollywood-style motion capture studio into something that runs on a mobile phone or laptop — without the need for equipment or motion-tracking dots,” Roblox explains, pointing out that the device’s on-board camera is all that’s needed to capture facial motion and convey it in real time. Also, Roblox is is coming to PS4 and PS5 next month, while the company will allow game creators to sell 3D virtual goods. Continue reading Roblox Adds Facial-Tracking Vid Chat, Expands to PlayStation

Meta Announces Quest+ Subscription Service for VR Games

Meta Platforms is marketing its Quest catalog with the new monthly VR subscription game service Meta Quest+. For a monthly fee of $7.99 or $59.99 annually, Quest 2 and Quest Pro enthusiasts will gain access to two hand-picked VR titles per month that they can download and play through the life of their subscription. The “browse less and play more” approach aims to provide users an easy point of entry to explore the Meta Quest catalog. Available as of this week, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced the Quest+ pass Monday on Meta’s Instagram channel. Those who sign up through July 31 get their first month for $1. Continue reading Meta Announces Quest+ Subscription Service for VR Games

Meta Quest 3 Is Unveiled Just Ahead of Apple’s WWDC 2023

The Meta Quest 3 is a thinner, wireless AR/VR headset that will sell for $499 beginning this fall. Meta Platforms CEO Mark Zuckerberg revealed the device last week ahead of Apple’s WWDC, taking place today through Friday (during today’s WWDC keynote, Apple announced its visionOS software platform for the company’s much anticipated Vision Pro headset). Powered by a new Qualcomm Snapdragon chipset developed in conjunction with Meta, Zuckerberg describes the Quest 3 as “the first mainstream headset with high-res color mixed reality” and promises more details at Meta Connect, September 27-28. Continue reading Meta Quest 3 Is Unveiled Just Ahead of Apple’s WWDC 2023

Peacock Now Streaming VR Content on Meta Quest Headsets

Peacock struck a deal with Meta Platforms that will allow its subscribers to view movies, TV shows and sports in virtual reality on Meta Quest 2 and Meta Quest Pro headsets. That includes MLB and NFL games, “all in VR on your own giant, personal screen.” VR will be available to all Peacock subscribers, starting with the ad-subsidized $4.99 per month Premium tier, but those who sign-up with a qualifying Quest 2 or Quest Pro before April 11, 2024 will be eligible to receive Peacock Premium for 12 months at no additional cost. Those who had qualifying Meta headsets registered on or before April 11, 2023 will be eligible for three free months of Peacock Premium. Continue reading Peacock Now Streaming VR Content on Meta Quest Headsets

Ring Founder Announces His Shift from CEO to Chief Inventor

Ring founder Jamie Siminoff announced that he is stepping down as CEO of the company five years after it was picked up by Amazon. The inventor of the popular video doorbell says that invention is his true passion so he plans on creating new products for Ring as its chief inventor. Discord COO Liz Hamren has been named the new chief exec at Ring. “Liz has a long history in consumer devices and subscription services, building and launching some of the most innovative and beloved consumer products from Oculus to Xbox and more,” wrote Siminoff in a company blog post. Continue reading Ring Founder Announces His Shift from CEO to Chief Inventor

Meta Has a Four-Year Plan Including Full-Fledged AR Glasses

Despite cost-cutting, Meta Platforms is continuing to spend on R&D. Coming in 2025: smart glasses paired with a neural interface watch to control them, according to The Verge, which got to view a presentation the company delivered to thousands of its Reality Labs staffers this week. Among the disclosures: for 2027, full-fledged AR glasses, a format Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg says will eventually be as ubiquitous as mobile phones. Coming later this year is a thinner, more powerful Quest 3 VR headset priced only slightly higher than the $400 Quest 2. Continue reading Meta Has a Four-Year Plan Including Full-Fledged AR Glasses

Bigscreen’s First VR Headset Is Now Available for Pre-Order

Social VR firm Bigscreen has opened pre-orders for Beyond, its first virtual reality headset. The $999 model, which the company says is the “world’s smallest,” offers a custom-fit from a 3D scan of each purchaser’s face. The PC-only wearable is also lightweight, at just under 6 ounces, including the strap. Delivery int eh U.S. is slated for Q3. The slight packaging doesn’t come at the expense of resolution, with dual 5K (5,120 x 2,560) micro OLED displays. However, some say the 93- degree horizontal field of view (90 degrees vertical) is a drawback. Continue reading Bigscreen’s First VR Headset Is Now Available for Pre-Order

Zuckerberg Reveals 2023 ‘Year of Efficiency’ Mantra for Meta

Belt-tightening has paid off in a big way at Meta Platforms, whose stock rocketed by as much as 19 percent due to a combination of “improving conditions” and news of a $40 billion buyback plan. The company forecast Q1 revenue of as much as $28.5 billion — which is more than first quarter earnings in 2021, right before a change in Apple’s privacy rules detrimentally impacted ad-reliant social platforms. In Q4, Meta reported its third consecutive quarter of declining sales but still amassed a net profit of $4.7 billion on revenue of $32.2 billion, down 4.5 percent year-over-year. Continue reading Zuckerberg Reveals 2023 ‘Year of Efficiency’ Mantra for Meta

NBA Arena and Avatar Apparel Debut in Meta Horizon Worlds

The National Basketball Association is extending its partnership with Meta Platforms in a multiyear deal that will include virtual reality experiences via the Horizon Worlds online platform and Meta Quest, “the official VR headset of the NBA and WNBA.” The NBA Arena in Meta Horizon Worlds will feature live NBA League Pass games in VR throughout the season. NBA-licensed apparel will launch in the Meta Avatars Store. Authenticated NBA accounts will also be able to experience shared watching in HD using Quest with VR sports hub Xtadium. Continue reading NBA Arena and Avatar Apparel Debut in Meta Horizon Worlds