I wish this were me doing the video, but I'll continue to dream for now. The team at Oculus have received their first Rift off the production line, and have done a nice unboxing video for the world.
They've also taken the time to announce through the Oculus blog that developer kits will begin shipping to the earliest Kickstarter backers by March 29. Once the dev kit ships to the backer, they'll receive an e-mail confirmation so that they can track their Rift as it is shipping to their door. Oculus expect to deliver between 1000-1500 units per week until they've fulfilled all of their orders.
The Oculus Rift developer kit comes with a plethora of goodies, including:
- 1x Rift Development Kit + Control Box (6ft cable)
- 1x Hard-Shell Case
- 1x 3ft Mini USB Cable
- 1x 3ft DVI Cable
- 1x 3ft HDMI Cable
- 1x 6ft HDMI Cable
- 1x HDMI / DVI Adapter
- 3x Pairs of Lens Cups (Focal Adjustment)
- 1x Power Cord with Adapter
- 3x International Plug Adapters
It's great to see Oculus taking care of international users, including 3 international plug adapters. It's these little things that show they're listening to users, and helping out in anyway they can to make developing on the Rift as easy as possible.
Samsung has made it no secret that it intends to go head to head with Apple in everything it does. This time we are getting reports that the Korean make-everything giant is planning on entering the Smart Watch game... again.
Samsung's executive VP said in an interview with Bloomberg today that "We are preparing products for the future, and the watch is definitely one of them." He went on to say that between Apple and Samsung the "issue here is who will first commercialize it so consumers can use it meaningfully."
This is not the first time Samsung has taken on the role of Smart Watch builder, just back then we did not call them smart watches. The S9110 "Watchphone" debuted in 2009 and a decade earlier, it released the SPH-WP10 "Watch Phone". Who do you think will win the Smart Watch war? My bet is on Samsung, but in reality all we can do is sit back and watch.
Valve have quite the announcement today, telling the world that Team Fortress 2 will get a new mode this week - "VR Mode" for Oculus Rift, the superstar VR headset. This means that people who own the development kit of Oculus' VR headset can play Team Fortress in virtual reality.
Engadget have an interview with Joe Ludwig, one of the engineers in Valve working with Team Fortress 2's VR Mode. The interview can be seen here. The good news doesn't stop there! What good is a new mode if we don't have a new exclusive had in the game? The Oculus Rift development kit is now a wearable item within the game! Valve has been even more generous, donating Rift hats to the Oculus developer community - so if you backed the Kickstarter campaign at any level at all, or pre-ordered one of the Rift developer kits from Oculus' website before April 1, 2013, you'll receive a code to redeem your own TF2 Oculus dev kit hat.
Now the big question - how long until we see Rift support added to other games? In Engadget's interview with Joe Ludwig, he says that TF2's VR Mode is a big test, to see how the community accepts it. Obviously Oculus' Rift headset won't be available to the consumer market until later in the year, so hopefully we see some Steam Box support, and maybe some Half-Life 3 launch at E3 with Rift support? Or am I asking too much ther
A group from Duke University have unveiled a new app destined for Google Glass called "InSight". InSight is capable of recognizing people without using the normal facial recognition technology, instead it will detect people by learning and identifying the patterns and colors of their clothes.
This means that someone wearing Glass and running InSight could detect friends or co-workers in a crowd of people, without the app having to go crazy with facial recognition, instead just detecting the person through their fashion. The group have pushed out a paper describing how Glass users could use a nametag for each person in a room, or, when names are not suitable, users could tweet for someone else "looking to share a cab."
You can read more on InSight right here.
If there's one bit of technology kit I'm the most excited for, it would be a huge tie between Google Glass, and Oculus' Rift VR headset. News is leaking out now that head of DICE's Frostbite creative team, Frank Vitz, is eager to get his hands on Oculus Rift, and test it out on the powerful graphics engine.
All of this started when an MTBS3D (Meant to be Seen) forum member found an intern job posting by EA's DICE, which was looking for someone to work on next-generation VR technology. The job posting specifically talked about investigating and building support into the Frostbite engine for the Oculus Rift headset. MTBS3D president, Neil Schneider, e-mailed Vitz as he thought he might have something to do with the job posting.
The only thing that is being hyped as much as the PlayStation 4 this week is Google's Project Glass. Earlier this week we heard about a new contest being held to let select individuals get in on the pre-order program, and now we are hearing reports that Apple iPhone users will indeed get compatibility with the wearable technology.
This morning The Verge released an extensive hands on with Google's futuristic eye-ware, but what is more interesting is the fact that Verge writer Joshua Topolsky was able to get a definitive answer on whether or not the exciting new project would be compatible with the iPhone, or if Google planned on keeping it exclusive to Android devices.
The device gets data through Wi-Fi on its own, or it can tether via Bluetooth to an Android device or iPhone and use its 3G or 4G data while out and about. There's no cellular radio in Glass, but it does have a GPS chip.
The article also mentions that Project Glass head Steven Lee has said that we should see project glass hitting the shelves before the end of 2013.
Last summer at Google's annual tech conference, Google I/O, the company opened up the "explorer" edition of its Project Glass headset for pre-order to IO developer and early adopter attendees. At the time you had to fork over $1500 for the early access to the headset.
Google is re-opening the pre-order program for its headsets, with one caveat. You must be a "Creative Individual" and enter the #ifihadglass competition, being held by Google now. If your entry is chosen, Google will allow you to pre-order a pair of Google Glasses.
The competition is open to US residents only who are of the age of 18 or older. Applicants must impress Google in 50 words or less which explain what you would do if you had Glass. Entries must start the essay with the hashtag #ifihadglass, can include up to five photos, and a 15 second video. The pre-order will still cost you $1500 if you are chosen. You can find the competition at the source link below.
Short and sweet to get your early morning, or late night going - with Australian Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, being one of the first people in Australia to test out Google's Project Glass.
There's not much else to go on apart from this coming from her Twitter page, but it's good to see Google venturing the world letting people use this - everyone except me it seems, or at least feels like. Google, while you're in Australia, how about popping into my house and letting me go for a spin on Glass?
I'm sure you've read that Apple are working on some 'watch computer', which I think will materialize into the iWatch, but now it looks like Apple's direct competitor and court room buddy Samsung are joining in.
Reports are suggesting that the South Korean electronics giant are working on the Galaxy Watch, which could be released in a matter of months. Screenshots of the Galaxy Watch's interface have popped up, giving some credit to the rumors of the wearable device. The images appeared on a Korean message board, where they refer to the device as codename "Galaxy Altius".
We have used the RumorTT stamp on this post though, as a writer over at SamMobile has said that the images' possible authenticity is questioned because of the "Altius" name is thought to be the codename for the upcoming Galaxy S IV, as well as the fact that Samsung have never put a codename on a splash screen before. Enjoy the images for what they're worth.
A new rumor has crawled out of the probably dusty and dirty rumor mill, this time coming from Bloomberg. Peter Burrows and Adam Satariano report that Apple have a team of around 100 product designers working on a 'wristwatch-like' device that shares functions from iOS devices.
The report listed managers, members of the marketing group and engineers that worked on both the iPad and iPhone. Two specific Apple employees are named, first, James Foster, who is a Senior Director of Engineering and another manager named Achim Pantfoerder, who are said to be on the - what I'm calling - iWatch team.
Pantfoerder has been credited with multiple patents, one of which is a joint patent with Apple's Tony Fadell for integrated proximity and light sensors that ended up getting baked into the iPod touch, iPhone and iPads, as well as another patent in relation to Apple's stereo headset jacks, and more. We should see this third rumor as solidification of Apple releasing a wearable computing device, and not just some rumor from 'sources within the upstream supply chain'.
Wearable computing is the next logical step for smart devices, and it looks like Apple is also playing around with wearable iOS-based devices according to reports from The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times.
The New York Times is reporting that Apple have been "experimenting" with wrist-wearable devices that would feature curved glass screens, and of course, iOS. Of course we might not even see this outside of Apple's super-secret experimental labs, but with the way we're seeing things pushed into the wearable computing market, I think we should be safe to see we'll see an 'iWatch' sooner rather than later.
Jawbone have just acquired two startup firms, Visere and MassiveHealth. The two companies will help Jawbone going into the future, with Visere currently a digital design firm that works with both hardware and software, and has previously worked with Nike.
MassiveHealth on the other hand, is mostly known for their iOS app 'Eatery'. Eatery encourages users to take pictures of their meals in order to better keep track of what you eat. Jawbone didn't disclose a purchasing price, but they did state that both teams would roll into the Jawbone team.
I think Oculus' Rift VR headset is going to change gaming as we know it, but before it's consumer release sometime at the end of this year, or early 2014, we're already seeing what developers are capable of.
During my usual multiple-times-per-day trawling of Reddit, I came across poster 'Auto_aim1' who posted a video of his Half-Life 2 VR head and gun tracking mod for the Oculus Rift and what a video it is! It looks bloody incredible, and gives freedom between the players point of view and the placement of the gun.
He uses a physical gun, which makes things that much more realistic, but the head tracking through Oculus' Rift VR headset is nothing short of amazing. If this is what one modder can do, imagine what we can expect twelve months from now. Imagine what we can expect 2-3 years from now. Next-gen consoles? They're not needed, Oculus' Rift is here and works on PC games right now.
With Google saying that their "Explorer Edition" of their augmented reality headset would arrive early in 2013, it looks like they're finally here as they're sliding through the FCC.
Now that they're hitting the FCC, we can see some specs - 2.4GHz 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, and the latest Bluetooth 4.0 Low Energy technology. The charging method appears to be a USB charger, but another listing tells a story of a "barrel" connector.
Something else that has been spotted is that Glass looks to feature a "vibrating element" that would provide the wearer audio "via contact with the user's head". We don't know exactly what this is, but it does sound like bone conduction technology, which would suit Glass quite well.
You may remember last July when Google first announced its "Trekker" backpack, the wearable version of the photography rig used in Street View cars. Today we are seeing a result of what these backpacks really excel at.
Google Maps has just seen the addition of over 9,500 panoramic images of the Grand Canyon added to its service. Google sent a number of its employees, armed with the Trekker backpack, out in the sweltering Arizona heat to explore the Bright Angel Trail, Colorado River, and other landmarks within the Grand Canyon.
The Trekker backpack includes 15 camera lenses that capture a full 360 photo every time the shutter is snapped and weighs roughly 40 pounds. Overall the trekkers explored over 45 miles of the breathtaking natural wonder and you can experience their journey as well by heading over to Google Maps and using the Street View option to explore the Grand Canyon.
Hoping to catch a peek inside the Google Glass Developer Conference? Not possible as all attendees had to sign NDAs
Google's Project Glass is the next thing in tech, at least according to most analysts and tech enthusiasts. Google is hosting two Glass Developer Conferences, one in SF and one in NYC. For the rest of us who didn't put down $1,500 for an early pair of glasses, we're stuck scrounging around the web for coverage of the events.
Unfortunately for us, there won't be any as all the attendees of the events had to sign NDAs preventing them from talking about the event. ReadWrite managed to get a look at the NDA that was required to be signed and has paraphrased and reordered them in order to prevent Google from identifying who gave them the peek.
Only one part of the NDA actually gives us hope of actually starting to see more of Glass, and possibly not controlled by Google:
Google warns participants not to use Glass while driving, biking, using sharp objects, or playing sports, and to use caution while walking and crossing streets. If they have any concern about the safety of using Glass, Google asks participants to stop using them and return them immediately.
This indicates that Google may possibly let participants take Glass with them, or at least try them out in the wild. We will probably here more during and after the event, though it will likely be sterilized by Google. If you want to read more of the NDA, you can check it out at the source link below.
Google co-founder Sergey Brin has been spotted on the New York City subway over the weekend wearing the super-awesome-looking Google Glasses. He was on the No. 3 train in casual wear, sporting the pair of Google Glasses.
Noah Zerkin, who is a "wearable computing and augmented reality enthusiast" just happened to sit opposite the co-founder of Google, where he said "Yeeeah... I just had a brief conversation with the most powerful man in the world. On the downtown 3 train. Nice guy".
The last time we saw Brin wearing the glasses was at the Google I/O conference back in June.
Google have found themselves with a new patent that would see a tiny laser attached to a device to project out a virtual keyboard onto a surface, or better yet, on to users' hands. This might not be too surprising, but it would be perfect for one device: Project Glass.
According to the patent, the Mountain View-based search giant would use the system with Project Glass which would help those sporting the wearable computers input text into situations where voice control or voice input can't be done, such as an elevator or bathroom. Google see users projecting out a keyboard, keypad or graphical UI directly onto the palm of your hand - imagine the possibilities!
We're only talking about a patent at the moment, so this could all disappear, or materialize into something incredibly intuitive from Google. It could change, everything, again.
For those super early (and lucky) developers who were able to get their hands on early access to a Google Glass unit - for a cool $1500 - are now invited to two hackathon events which are dedicated to the wearable augmented reality unit.
The events will take place on January 28 and 29, which will be held at Google's San Francisco office, but on February 1 and 2 the Glass Foundry in New York will house the second, and last hackathon. Registration opens on January 18 and I'm sure those seats will be snapped up quite quickly. Developers will learn about the Google Glass Mirror API, but Google engineers will also be there to help out and answer questions.
Gaming really feels like it's about to have a second wind with next-gen consoles, portable solutions from Razer, NVIDIA and countless others, Oculus' Rift VR headset and more. The Game Developers Conference (GDC) 2013 is set to have Valve take the stage where one of their talks will be based on porting Team Fortress 2 to virtual reality goggles - in other words, most gamers' wet dreams.
The TF2 talk will be called "What We Learned Porting Team Fortress 2 to Virtual Reality", and will be lead by Valve programmer Joe Ludwig. The second talk will have Valve's R&D guy Michael Abrash discuss "Why Virtual Reality is Hard (And Where it Might be Going)". Abrash will focus his talk on head-mounted displays.
GDC 2013 is being held at San Francisco's Moscone Center from March 25-29.
Head trauma in sports has always been a major concern in impact sports. In 2012 we saw the NFL take a lot of heat over its current and former players experiencing multiple concussions. Reebok and mc10 have developed a wearable head impact detector that makes it easy for medical staff to see where the impact took place.
Called CheckLight, the device resembles a skull cap and is worn on the head under protective hear such as helmets. The sensor itself is actually an array of flexible force sensors that are connected to a micro controller that illuminates three indicator LEDs. One LED is a battery indicator, one flashes yellow if the impact was mild, and the third flashes red for severe blows.
Verizon, Intel and Ridell all have similar systems in the R&D phase, but CheckLight is the first to hit the market. What sets it apart from the rest is that coaches, training staff and even other players can get somewhat of an indication whether or not a player has suffered a serious hit and needs to be taken out of the game.