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The US Air Force's 363rd Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Group (ISRG) is testing 3D glasses paired with the Common Geospacial System to provide an enhanced view of environments. Each person wearing the headset can view ground elevations, building heights and other geographical data used for more precise missile strikes.
To provide this view, two overlapping images, captured from different viewpoints is used - as part of a custom $17,000 bundle that provides software, monitors, and goggles. Unfortunately, the 3D images cannot be created in real-time, so it takes time and patience to create superimposed data used by the ISRG team.
"The glasses used to bigger and have batteries," said Tech Sgt. Tiffany, who has tested the system at Langley, in a statement published by The Daily Press. "They are much smaller and easier to use now. They look like regular sunglasses."
Facebook decided to purchase Oculus VR and has shown a serious amount of dedication towards developing the virtual reality market. The company expects great things from VR, including its Oculus Rift headset, while promoting what users can expect from the surging market.
"It will be pretty wild," Zuckerberg recently said when asked by Facebook members. "Just like we capture photos and videos today and then share them on the Internet to let others experience them too, we'll be able to capture whole 3D scenes and create new environments and then share those with people as well."
VR was described as "potentially world-changing and incredibly cool" by Oculus chief scientist Michael Abrash during the F8 Facebook Developer Conference last month.
3D printing is helping push the boundaries of modern surgery, allowing surgeons and other medical practitioners to work on more accurate models before live operations. Violet Pietrok, a two-year-old born with a rare cleft deformity, is undergoing a series of operations in large part because of 3D printing.
Trying to make precision cuts in the skull, which would be extremely close to the optic nerve, has serious consequences - but doctors were able to practice on a 3D model first. The firsthand experience gave them a better idea of sawblade trajectory - and to better understand how they would be able to make the cuts.
"We were actually able to do the procedure before going into the operating room," said Dr. John Meara, plastic surgeon-in-chief at Boston Children's Hospital, in a statement to CBC. "So we made the cuts in the model, made the bony movements that we would be making in Violet's case and we identified some issues that we modified prior to going into the operating room, which saves time and means that you're not making some of these critical decisions in the operating room."
The Texas A&M University Viz Lab, focused on visualization, wants to find ways to bring virtual reality to mainstream consumers in a number of different ways. It hopes recent graduates of the program will create new solutions so casual consumers can begin enjoying - and embracing - VR on a larger scale.
Specifically, a post-grad from the program has taken VR a step further after founding a startup in San Francisco focused on creating a mobile app that allows for VR movie captures using their devices. The content can then be shared so others are able to use a virtual reality head-mounted display or smartphone.
"It's the first medium we're attacking because I want us to be the Instagram of virtual reality," said Chris Wheeler, co-founder of Emergent VR, in a statement published by The Eagle. "It's enabling anyone to capture moments from their lives... and share that with your social network."
Hardware powering virtual reality head-mounted displays (HMDs) is accelerating, but consumers are looking for an enjoyable VR experience to embrace. That "killer experience" is more than just a series of apps that draw attention, according to a specialist from the Sony PlayStation Magic Lab.
"It could be anywhere. It could be a virtual space, or a real place that's here on Earth," said Richard Marks, director of the Project Morpheus for Sony, in a statement to CNBC's "Squawk Alley." "Everyone would like to visit somewhere else, whether it be Mars or Hogwarts, and just feeling like you're standing in a place like that is really the killer experience."
VR hardware is improving with better presence - and latency times are getting better - with huge potential for gaming and other markets. It may not just be gaming and movies, as VR provides more realistic simulators and training experiences for the workplace. Once software development matures, there is huge potential in the consumer and business industries.
Virtual reality (VR) has great potential for consumers, especially those interested in gaming and watching movies, but there are still numerous problems. VR is poised to continue getting better due to increased investment, growing interest among developers and consumers, and because of improving processors.
Hardware manufacturers are getting better at reducing physical sickness - and software is developing. However, many wonder how often they will use their VR headsets if there is a shortage of apps. Hardware is largely designed for PCs with higher-end GPUs, so console gamers are waiting for a wider selection of products to drool over.
Facebook plans to begin implementing VR functionality into its social networking site, so viewers will be able to interact with videos. Designers want to make VR even more immersive, and will try to make sure viewers are able to utilize their hands and bodies in virtual environments.
Although this video is currently sitting at 10.6 million views, many technology and 3D-printing enthusiasts still haven't discovered or thought about the possibilities ranging around developing weapons out of their newly-found printing machines.
VICE talked to Cody R Wilson two years ago and looked at his life surrounding 3D-printing of weapons conducted out of his own home. This 25 year old Texas law student lists himself as an advocate for 3D-printed weapons with this documentary covering the making and firing of a real-life 3d-printed rifle.
Are you against 3D-printed weaponry of some or all kinds, or is it something you encourage and support? Let us know in the comments below or on our Facebook page.
Smartphone company HTC wants to continue its expansion away from just smartphone hardware, and the Vive head-mounted display (HMD) is an important next step. Partnering with Valve gives HTC the chance to build trust among hardcore gamers, and the experiment will begin soon. Vive is expected to be released before the end of 2015.
The room scale experience, full-room virtual reality, is something that HTC and Valve hope is great for gamers.
"We look at it similar to the way we looked at smartphones in the late 90s - as really, the future," said Jason Mackenzie, president of HTC America, when speaking of the HTC Vive. "Gaming is where it will start. Plenty of application for that right away. As soon as you experience it, you will see how it can change the world of education, travel, real estate. There are so many different vehicles."
The Open Source Virtual Reality (OSVR) platform has partnered with more than 20 research institutions and universities for its OSVR Academia program. As part of the initiative, OSVR Academia provides hardware development kits and support to universities, so they are able to develop VR-based software.
Universities and research institutions include facilities in the United States, UK, Canada, Italy, Poland, Spain, Germany and Austria - with US institutions including Johns Hopkins University, University of North Carolina, and Virginia Tech.
"OSVR is an important piece of the emerging consumer VR ecosystem," said Eric Hodgson, director of the Smale Interactive Visualization Center at Miami University. "The ability to make so many devices and software interfaces standardized, interoperable, compatible, and interchangeable has the potential to change the way people interact with their hardware and software."
Former Epic Games president Mike Capps is hesitant to believe virtual reality is going to find its way to a widespread audience, as the technology must overcome numerous hurdles. The first issue is price of VR headsets, as there are only a few different models currently available for consumers to choose from.
"There's so little tolerance at the consumer level for that kind of an investment," Capps said during the GamesIndustry International. "And I like one of the things I'm most curious about - you look at 3DTV as a super easy-to-use technology that is really unfettered. Just a pair of polarized glasses and people didn't use it because it wasn't worth the trouble."
Another issue is that the headsets might provide an environment that is too immersive, distracting users from other activities.