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Oculus VR is ramping up its Rift DK2 unit, which features a 1920x1080 display inside of the VR headset. GameFace Labs is a company you may not have heard of, but it has just announced that it is the first company to show off a prototype VR headset with a 2.5K display.
2.5K is just a fancy way of saying 2560x1440, where at this resolution, it is pushing out 78% more pixels than a 1080p-based display, such as the Oculus Rift DK2. Ed Mason, CEO of GameFace Labs explains: "The upgrade to 1280 x 1440 per eye is monumental. Individual pixels are hard to detect at first glance, making it a more immersive and comfortable experience in every single game and experience that we've tried. A lot of the 'presence' described by devs at the Valve [prototype VR headset] demonstration can be attributed to their use of higher resolution (and lower persistence) panels, which has a noticeable impact in suspending disbelief and tricking the brain".
Better yet, the company is just stopping at 2.5K, as it wants to get one of the most powerful mobile solutions into its VR headset, making mobile VR a reality. This is actually something I talked about Oculus VR doing, but it seems that GameFace Labs is the one we should be watching. The company is rubbing up against NVIDIA's very impressive Tegra K1 aka Jetson, which is a super powerful system-on-a-chip (SoC) solution that has a quad-core processor running at 2.3GHz with a 192-core GPU.
The rumors about the Apple iWatch will never end until the product launches. Even then, the rumors will only transition to what the next version of the device will have. A new iWatch rumor is making the rounds that claims the iWatch might have a UV light exposure sensor. That would allow the iWatch to monitor for risk of sunburn.
The rumor suggests that the sensor would come from Silicon Labs. That company announced an interesting sensor with a host of functions earlier this year. Other than monitoring UV light exposure the chip can also track heart rate, pulse, blood oximetry, and supports proximity and gesture control with infrared and ambient light methods.
Despite being packed with features this chip is surprisingly small at 2mm square. Rumors continue to suggest that the iWatch will ship later this year with as many as 10 million units selling in 2014. A rumor in February suggested that the iWatch would feature solar, induction, and motion charging.
Any Google Glass owner will tell you that their favorite feature of the wearable glasses is the ability to record first-person videos without having to hold a heavy camera that obstructs their normal view. Today Glass owners got a new feature thanks to Livestream that allows them not only to record the world around them in first person view, but allows them to stream that live feed straight to the internet.
While Android and iOS users of the Livestream app for some time now, this is the first time we have seen a live broadcasting app for Google Glass from Livestrteam. The glass app is much more simple than its mobile device counterparts, and but it does retain the ability to let users view the active chat, and watch their own video in real-time. Getting up and broadcasting is easy as well, and users simply have to say, OK Glass, Livestream," and the app will pair with an event and begin broadcasting your feed live to the internet.
Modern virtual reality is still in its infancy, and social networking company Facebook hopes its $2 billion acquisition of Oculus VR will help usher VR technology into the future. The buyout initially raised alarm, but news also excited virtual reality supporters, anxious for large companies and mainstream users to pay attention to the budding technology.
The Facebook team has been left intact and the social media company doesn't plan to rebrand Oculus VR - or the company's Oculus Rift - which could be made available to consumers before the end of the year.
Facebook's acquisition of Oculus immediately raised concern, though company founder Palmer Luckey previously addressed the issue. Keeping the company at its Irvine office in southern California allows Facebook-owned Oculus to remain close both to video game studios and Hollywood.
The United States Patent and Trademark office has raised two objections over Google's request to allow the trademark of the word 'Glass'. Google's application to trademark 'Google Glass' was already accepted and registered. But in the case of registering a common word 'glass', the one year old application raised objections by the application examiner.
The first objection was that the word 'glass' is too similar to other trademarks containing the same word, which would create confusion with the consumers. One of the companies with such trademark name 'Write on Glass' has filed a notice of opposition against Google in December.
But the main objection was that the US federal law does not allow the trademark of generic terms.
If you are excited at the thought of getting a new smartwatch onto your wrist and use a Samsung smartphone, you may have an eye on one of the new offerings unveiled this year. The Samsung Gear 2, Gear 2 Neo, and Gear Fit are smartwatches that we have talked about before. One of the most notable things about those devices is that they have stepped away from Android.
All of those devices run the Tizen operating system. All of the watches are compatible only with select Samsung smartphones. This is one of the biggest drawbacks to the Gear line, limited compatibility. If they would work with any device, sales would be better.
All three of the devices are up for pre-order on Amazon right now. The Gear 2 sells for $299.99, the Gear 2 Neo sells for $199.99, and the Gear Fit sells for $199.99. All of them are set to launch on April 11. If you order form Amazon you may get the watch by launch date.
TomTom has launched its latest GPS watch aimed at the athlete and fitness buff. The new watch is called the Runner Cardio GPS watch and it has a built-in heart rate monitor. There are plenty of watches out there that can show you your heart rate, but those have to be paired with a chest strap.
TomTom's watch needs no chest strap for the monitor to work. Runners can look at the watch to be sure that their heart rate is in the ideal zone. Five different intensity zones can be chosen to match training goals with alerts to speed up or slow down given to keep the runner in the zone.
The Runner Cardio watch uses a Mio optical sensor to monitor the pulse rate by shining a light through the skin. The watch is available to order right now for $269. A multi-sport version of the watch is offered for $299.
Virtual Reality gaming is one of the hottest topics in the tech world right now, and with both Sony and Oculus VR making massive announcements recently, it seems that the buzz is only getting louder. Today I ran across what could be the next VR company to to hit the big times and could give Oculus VR and Sony a run for their money.
True Player Gear is a six-year old company that is based out of Montreal, Canada, and has made some very stout claims about its VR Headset. The five-employee company has posted an image of its device on Reddit, and I have to admit that it looks very similar to an Oculus Rift DK1, but its hardware and features are said to be much greater. The True Player Gear Totem is said to feature a full 1080p OLED screen, two high-resolution cameras for position tracking and Augmented Reality, and a 3 axis 1kHz gyro, 3 axis 4kHz accel, 3 axis magnetometer to also aid in position tracking.
There is not much information on the company's website, but the device is said to be compatible with PlayStation, Xbox and PC, and can handle all 3D video formats. The list of supported engines is also quite nice, but Oculus also supports most of them. The company did mention on Reddit, that it will feature expansion ports for Makers to hack into, surround sound, and individual eye focusing. The company also said that it would be launching a Kickstarter later this year, so hopefully we will get clued in a little more on the project and product before then.
With all of the backlash that has cropped up against the Facebook / Oculus VR acquisition deal, the social networking giant has came out today and publicly stated that it has no intentions of re-branding Oculus VR, the Oculuc Rift or integrating its social networking platform to the Oculus Rift.
What this means is that Facebook will not rename neither the company nor its virtual reality headset, and that despite rumors, Facebook will not integrate its login or authentication features into the device as a method of logging in to play games or use the device in general. While this is definitely a good thing, I feel that it will do little to change the minds of those who are convinced that Facebook will ruin the technology. Personally, I do not think that Facebook will screw things up, but I have chosen to withhold judgement on weather the deal was the right one to make until I see the Oculus Rift retail version launched.
You might remember the name 'CliffyB' as one of the brains (now ex-brain) of Epic Games. Cliff Bleszinski took to his Tumblr to talk about the recent acquisition of Oculus VR by Facebook: "The brain droppings of a formerly employed videogame ninja". CliffyB seemed to think it was going to happen, where he said: "this is exactly what was going to happen". He explained in much more detail:
When a company raises money from venture capitalists the end game IS acquisition. While it might have been interesting for a dedicated gaming company to purchase Oculus it might have ultimately limited their potential in regards to the myriad of things that the Rift is capable of. I want games, but I also want virtual tourism. PTSD treatment. End of life quality comfort care improvements. Treatment for a variety of fears. Architectural visualisation. Pilot training. Scuba training. The list simply goes on, and on, and on. Start to imagine a VR experience that's more social where you can sit, say, in a virtual IMAX with your best friends who all live in different cities and things start getting incredibly intriguing.
It gets better, as the founder of Epic Games took a swipe at Oculus VR's Kickstarter backers - who are after Oculus VR's blood - saying that investing in a Kickstarter project guarantees you a reward, and now equity and that "crowdfunding can only take you so far, especially when you're doing something this ambitious". He also took a big swipe at Minecraft creator Notch, where he said: "Notch, your cancelling Minecraft makes you look like a pouty kid who is taking his ball and going home. It's a bratty and petty move and it saddens me greatly".