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With smartwatches becoming more common, LG has just unveiled its latest battery from its battery arm, LG Chem. The company has started shipping hexagonal-shaped batteries that promise 25% more capacity than circular batteries.
These new batteries will provide an additional four hours average use, without having smartwatch owners having to go into low-power mode, or the smartwatch completely running out of juice. LG has said that it's working on more unusually-shaped batteries, something that will continue to add more battery life into the wearables.
Forget about video games, how about virtual reality being used in the medical world as a high-tech method for preventative care? Each sip of a soda or bite of your favorite fast food meal, and you see your waistline begin to expand.
Researchers from the University of Georgia are finding unique ways to show people the long-term danger in excessive sugar intake - which can lead to obesity - and VR seems to help people learn.
"We've found virtual reality to be much more effective than pamphlets or videos at getting the message across and prompting behavior change," said Grace Ahn, assistant professor in advertising and lead of the Georgia VR research efforts, in a statement published by the WSJ.
Nike is embracing virtual reality and recently published a video that allows soccer fans to "experience the Neymar Jr. Effect in virtual reality." To get the full immersive experience, Nike recommends using a Google Android smartphone paired with a Cardboard headset.
Despite being only 23 years old, Brazilian soccer superstar Neymar, who currently plays for Barcelona, is one of the best players in the world. This is a clever marketing effort by Nike, which allows viewers to use the 360-degree video view on mobile devices or a PC, but the virtual reality aspect is the most interesting.
"To view in virtual reality with your Cardboard headset on your Android device, open this link in the YouTube app, then tap the cardboard headset icon in the bottom right to switch into virtual reality viewing mode. Place your phone horizontally in the headset and look inside."
Virtual reality was one of the most popular topics during E3 2015 earlier this month, but Nintendo isn't quite on the VR bandwagon. Although the company is paying attention to VR developments, it's seen as a technology that doesn't fall in line with Nintendo's current game production philosophy: be fun and social.
Microsoft and Sony appear to be fully onboard VR hardware support - and game development - hoping consumers are okay with wearables designed to enhance the gaming experience.
"The current types of virtual reality aren't really a good fit for Nintendo's philosophy of trying to create entertainment that people can play together in the living room," said Shigeru Miyamoto, game design legend behind Mario, told Yahoo Games during E3. "We're constantly looking at different technology and experimenting with different elements of it, but we're not feeling virtual reality is currently in a place where it's ready to be released - as a product that fits with our philosophy of fitting in the living room."
The Apple Watch brought attention to the smartwatch and wearables market, but it looks like initial demand for the watch is dying down.
If you're thinking about purchasing an Apple Watch, you'll be happy to know there are plenty of them available to choose from. Even though some estimate 13 million to 20 million units have sold, the hyped Apple wearable isn't seen as a necessity.
"The initial demand for the Apple Watch looks lackluster," said Brian Blair, managing director at Rosenblatt Securities, in a statement on CNBC's "Power Lunch." "It's not clear what the killer app is. It's nice to get notifications, but it's a nonessential product."
It looks like you can't count game designer Warren Spector interested in developing VR video games, with the man best known for Deus Ex, saying VR won't be anything more than a fad. The Oculus Rift drew major attention during E3 2015 earlier this month, but Spector said he "didn't see much interest in VR or AR." However, he's an overall fan of the technology, but hasn't seen enough to become a "true-believer" in it... yet. Maybe?
"The other VR/AR stuff seemed like a big ho-hum to me. Maybe that's just my prejudice - I think VR's going to be a fad (again) and at best a minor part of gaming's future, not unlike stereoscopic 3D, which I also called out as a fad," Spector recently said in a blog post. However, he clarified his viewpoint in a follow up blog post:
"As an individual, I find VR cool, interesting and compelling. I'm not anti-VR. The content is coming, I have no doubt - I know too many super smart, super creative people working to create the unique content that will make the VR experience desirable if not irresistible."
It's impossible to tell when virtual reality will go mainstream - if it does - but the companies pushing VR hardware hope its sooner rather than later.
Re/code recently caught up with Palmer Luckey, Oculus co-founder, to see what he thought about the future of VR.
"In these early days, probably for at least two years, VR is going to be primarily for gamers and enthusiasts that are willing to invest in high-end machines," Luckey said while speaking with Re/code. "VR is going to become something mainstream, but it's not going to happen right away. You just don't have the horsepower to make it happen on a device, much less a cheap enough and comfortable enough device that a normal consumer is going to want to have."
Ready or not, a wave of virtual reality hardware is right around the corner. As gamers learn more about the choices we have in front of us, trying to figure out how long to wear the VR headsets during each session.
Some people will only be able to use it for a few minutes at a time, while others will be good to go for a few hours.
"We're not recommending 20 straight hours of gameplay in the Rift. We're looking at 30, 60, 90 minutes," said Brendan Iribe, head of the Facebook Oculus VR division, in a statement to GamesBeat. "Maybe an hour or two. Then you should be able to enjoy it every day. When you come out of it, if you don't feel good, you're not going to want to do it the next day. We want you to come out of the experience like you want to get right back in."
Cirque du Soleil Kurios used a custom camera to record its show, providing a 360-degree version for guests wearing virtual reality headsets. If you're wearing the headset, and turn your head, you'll receive an entirely different view of what you're seeing. The Samsung Gear VR headset was chosen in the demo, and allowed for an entirely new perspective of the show.
"So every time you turn around, you realize that someone is really close to you and they're doing something very, very interesting," said Jeronimo Carbi, electronic maintenance coordinator for the Kurios show, in a statement published by CBS4.
As a huge fan of Cirque Soleil, I think there is some appeal to seeing a VR experience with the high-flying acrobatics. Each show is unique and entertaining in their own right, so adding VR into the mix should only make it better.
The wearables market is growing, and while analysts can't agree on what the future holds for the evolving market, Intel isn't going to sit on the sidelines and wait it out. Intel recently announced it purchased Recon Instruments, a company known for creating connected eyewear for athletes.
"Going forward, we'll continue leading the smart eyewear category for sports, and we'll be able to bring our technology and innovation to completely new markets and use cases where activity-specific information, delivered instantly, can change the game," said Dan Eisenhardt, co-founder of Recon, in a blog post.
So far in 2015, Intel introduced the Curie hardware model, a new system-on-chip (SoC) designed for wearable products, while also announcing a partnership with Oakley. The company didn't stop there, as Intel will also work with Google and TAG Heuer in the smartwatch market.