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There's not much time until IFA 2014 kicks off, with two weeks until the event left. Some photos have popped up on Naver, showing off the new Gear VR headset from Samsung, a new VR headset that will connect up to your compatible Galaxy smartphone for some VR goodness.
We now, possibly, know the model number of the new headset: SM-R320, but other than that, we only have a few pictures to share with you today. We should see Samsung unveil, and launch the new Gear VR hardware next month, which will be compatible with the company's Galaxy S5 smartphone. Samsung's Gear VR should feature an OLED display, which should be similar, if not identical to the one found inside of the Oculus Rift DK2 unit - which is a Samsung Galaxy Note 3 panel.
The future of entertainment isn't just sitting in front of your TV watching a flat image, but it is going to be a world that wraps around you in virtual reality. This is where Jaunt steps in, a cinematic VR technology company, which just took in a new round of funding.
Jaunt received $27.8 million of new funding, which will help it pump more money into its omnidirectional camera shooting 360-degree experiences, perfect for VR technologies like the Oculus Rift. Jaunt had its funding come in from many different companies, who hope to see the company lead the future of cinematic VR.
Jaunt's technology was recently spotted at the premiere of Guardians of the Galaxy, where it was shooting 360-degree footage which can be played back through the Oculus Rift. Jens Christensen, CEO of Jaunt, says: "The enthusiasm we have seen for our technology has been tremendous and we are working tirelessly to make VR experiences available to mass audiences".
The fatal shooting of Michael Brown, and subsequent riots and unrest in Ferguson, Missouri, led to greater interest in video camera wearables for police officers.
Taser, better known for its stun gun technology, also has several wearable cameras for law enforcement officials. The company has seen a rise in sales and a 30 percent surge in its stock since the Brown incident.
"We believe the concept of using wearable cameras to provide a foundation of transparency has a tipping point," said Rick Smith, Taser CEO, in a statement to the Washington Post. "The intense emotions that arise from uncertainty and diametrically opposed conjecture about what did or did not happen in life and death encounters can tear communities apart. We believe wearable technology, like body-worn cameras, is the future for communities to relate to those entrusted to protect them."
Google has just pushed out a new firmware update to Glass, which improves the Hangouts abilities on Google's wearable device. Glass users now have the option of starting a new Hangouts session with a contact, send them an email, or message them through SMS.
Android-powered users should be receiving the update any minute now, if not already, while iOS users will have to wait until next week to update through the MyGlass app. In order to get the new functionality, users will need to update their MyGlass app, with the Android version sitting at 3.2, and the iOS version at 0.7.0.
After that, Glass users will need to update their Glass firmware, bringing it to XE20.1. Google explains its new update: "Now when you tap on one of your contacts, you can swipe between Hangouts, email or SMS - whichever strikes your fancy at that moment".
Netflix engineers have created a custom interface, where users with the Oculus Rift can browse the service through VR. The engineers created the custom interface during a recent hack day, which also supports the Leap Motion controller for gesture control - allowing you to wave your hand to scroll through movies.
Unfortunately, there's no guarantee that Netflix will ever release Oculus Rift support for Netflix, with the company saying: "[These] are some examples of some of the hacks to give you a taste of what we saw this time around. We should note that, while we think these hacks are very cool and fun, they may never become part of the Netflix product, internal infrastructure, or otherwise be used beyond Hack Day. We are surfacing them here publicly to share the spirit of the Netflix Hack Day."
Facebook is now offering people money to find bugs within the Oculus Rift, as part of the social networks bug bounty program. As the program stands, individual security researchers are paid a minimum reward of $500 for finding a bug. Last year alone, Facebook paid out $1.5 million in bug bounties.
Most of the bugs that are being found are in the messaging system for Oculus developers, and parts of the website. Facebook seems to be trying harder to squish the bugs before the launch of CV1 (Consumer Version 1) of the Oculus Rift, as it is their first hardware product. The fact that someone could hack into the software, or the Rift itself while you're on it, could spell trouble - a big reason why the social network is pumping funds into having bugs destroyed before the Rift goes retail.
Facebook security engineer Neal Poole explains: "A lot of the issues that come up with Oculus are not necessarily in the hardware yet. Potentially in the future, if people were to go explore and find issues in the SDK or the hardware, that is definitely of interest to us".
Startups and established companies are developing new technologies to better monitor health and create gadgets that can improve the lives of seniors. As the wearables market expands further, helping those with the most significant medical needs has become important for software developers and hardware manufacturers.
One such technology is a pendant being used at the Edgemere retirement community in Dallas, Texas, which sends an alert if a resident falls. The custom pendant can track the fall and will immediately notify staff members, so they can be quickly dispatched to address the situation.
"The pendant will pick up the arc of that fall," said John Falldine, Edgemere managing director, in a statement to the media. "It sends the same signal to us as though the resident had hit the button."
Now that the Oculus Rift DK2 is here, Valve has announced that the SteamVR beta now supports Oculus' latest VR headset. Thanks to the increased resolution and added features in the DK2 headset, the latest SteamVR beta has been updated to better support the Oculus Rift DK2 unit.
Valve's official change log for the updated SteamVR beta sees that it is still a beta of course, but it has full support for the Oculus Rift DK2, with positional tracking also being supported on both Windows and OS X. The latest SteamVR beta also includes a fix for an issue that saw the middleware application itself, vrserver.exe, to run even if there is no HMD detected, slowly increasing its load on the CPU time until the entire system was under pressure.
Linux and SteamOS don't have positional tracking support just yet, something that should arrive in a future update. The current SteamVR beta also requires Oculus Rift DK2 owners to have their DK2s in 'Extend Desktop to the HMD' option enabled, and not the 'Direct HMD Access from Apps' option.
Palmer Luckey, the 21-year-old founder of one of the most exciting companies in the world, Oculus VR, has high hopes for the future of technology. With Oculus VR shipping its Development Kit 2, or DK2, Rift headset to consumers and developers over the last month, Palmer has had some interesting things to say in a recent interview with Kotaku UK.
Palmer said: "We see one in every home. [But], just at launch we need to be realistic. The people who are going to be buying this initially are going to be gamers, probably hardcore gamers, and they're going to be the ones with PCs most capable of running it". Palmer wants to see VR become something that expands past just pure gaming, with the Rift and VR in general becoming something for everyone. He continued: "As time goes on it'll become more and more mainstream, but at launch we're going to be targeting that core. Basically let's target it to the people whom we know are going to be buying and then let's go for the people who are going to take some convincing".
After testing out the Rift DK2 myself, I'd have to agree - I think VR will take off like smartphones did, selling tens of millions within the next five years. One in every home is a big statement, but there's a TV in most homes, isn't there? The Oculus Rift is cheaper than a cheap TV, so that statement, while it might sound prosperous to most, could happen - especially with the financial backing of Facebook.
Oculus VR had a strong presence at Gamescom in Cologne, Germany this year - but they walked away with a massive win from the gaming event. With over 140 submissions for the awards at Gamescom 2014, 54 of them made it to the group of nominees, Oculus VR was one of these.
Oculus took out the Best Hardware of Gamescom with its Oculus Rift DK2 unit, with four other devices against it: the Cyberith Virtualizer, Sony's VR headset Project Morpheus, Nintendo's Amiibo, and NVIDIA's latest Shield Tablet and Shield Wireless Controller. We've only just received our Oculus Rift DK2 and we are in love with it, so it comes as no surprise for Oculus to be awarded Best Hardware of a gaming show like Gamescom.