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With the Oculus Rift taking most of the VR glory right now, even before we have a consumer edition in our hands, it's hard to get noticed in the world if you're a VR headset. Well, that's not the case for BlackRock VR, which just announced the Horizon V - the "world's first true 4K virtual reality headset".
The 4K Horizon V uses dual 7-inch 4K low-persistance OLED panels, which will take up 96% of your eye's FOV, which according to BlackRock will take "over the brain's neuro-optical system". The dual 4K displays will be pumping out over 8 million pixels of content to your eyes, with a massive 629PPI for crystal clear VR.
Better yet, the Horizon V will feature dual 4K front-mounted pass-thru cameras. These two cameras are activated by pressing the one-click "X-vision" button that is found on the top of the VR HMD, allowing you to see the world in front of you in 4K 3D. The Horizon V has a 17-point motion-tracking system, a proprietary system called V-motion. This will work well with the low-persistance screen, as there will be no ghosting, motion blur or motion sickness according to BlackRock.
Google only just announced it was launching its Glass Explorer program in the UK, but now we have news that the Mountain View-based search giant has refreshed the hardware in its Glass headset.
Glass now features 2GB of RAM, double the RAM from its previous iteration. The company has been pushing out constant software enhancements that have been slowly increasing battery life, but the refreshed Glass headset also sports a slightly larger battery. Google says that with the blend of software enhancements and the increased battery, we should expect an additional 15% charge on Glass.
The extra RAM on the other hand, according to Glass' Product Manager, Steve Lee, "will allow for more Glassware [apps] to run in parallel and for each Glassware to start more quickly. You'll notice the device generally feels a bit faster and more reliable". The new software baked into Glass will pave the way for a voice-activated viewfinder that will help users frame photos better - something that has been needed since Glass was released.
Whithings is the company that has rolled out some interesting health products over the years. Withings is the firm behind the web-connected scale that will share your weight loss via social media. The company is back with a new product that is part fancy Swiss watch and part activity tracker.
Unlike some activity tracking smartwatches, the Withings Activite isn't able to offer you notifications from your smartphone for calls or texts. What it is able to do is track progress towards your daily fitness goals as well as your sleep. Activite connects to iPhones only via Bluetooth and syncs data with an app running on your smartphone.
The watch has a smart alarm clock that vibrates to wake you up at the lightest point in the sleep cycle. All of the tech is packed away inside a round analog watch that looks very nice. The Withings Activite will sell for $390, comes with brown or black leather bands, and was announced this week.
Until now, Google Glass has only been made available to US citizens - starting today however, everything changes. Google has expanded its Explorer program into the UK, with Google Glass being priced at £1,000 (around $1,700 USD).
Future UK-based Glass owners have the option of purchasing prescription frames, too. For those who aren't convinced about Glass yet, Google is planning to publicly showcase its wearable device in London on June 27 and 28. Google will be showing UK residents Glass between 10AM and 8PM on Stable Street, and you can RSVP to this now to test Glass, and chat with the people behind the wearable device.
Technology manufacturers are greatly helping the medical industry by jumping into the smartwatch market, with medical statistics collected in a non-evasive manner. Samsung, Apple, Google, and other companies creating smartwatch technology hope to give customers the chance to track heart rate, calories, blood sugar, and similar data that can be quickly analyzed.
To help make it easier to implement these types of features, medical scientists are being recruited to lend a hand, while they also approach U.S. regulators asking for oversight. There is special interest in glucose monitoring, which could be a market worth more than $12 billion by 2017. There has been a 41 percent increase in diabetes over the past five years, and glucose tracking via smartwatch will help save medical patients the trouble of pricking their fingers.
During a press event to announce the Simband last month in San Francisco, Samsung heavily promoted the ability to actively and accurately track medical data.
One of the biggest Apple rumors that has been going around in the last year or so is the smartwatch rumor. A new rumor about the smartwatch has turned up with a source claiming that Apple will begin mass production of the smartwatch in July.
Taiwanese electronics manufacturer Quanta is said to be the company that will produce the smartwatch for Apple. Smartwatches have proven to be a hot category for many technology fans and so far, we have no official word from Apple on what its watch will feature, but there are plenty of rumors.
E3 2014 - Palmer Luckey, the founder of Oculus VR, has had some absolutely beautiful words to say about the world of 30FPS gaming - which seems to be the center of the console world, even with the next-gen consoles in the Xbox One and PS4.
At E3 2014, Luckey was interviewed by LinusTechTips, where they asked what Luckey what he thought about 30FPS gaming, to which he replied with a very simple, but very precise: "it's not a good artistic decision, it's a failure". Personally, I 100% agree with Luckey, and have been a huge pusher of high refresh rate screens for quite some time. For the last 5 years or more, I have run 120Hz panels for gaming, as I cannot go back to 60Hz - no matter the panel, even at 4K.
It's great to see Luckey taking a huge stab here - but that quote is just glorious. 30FPS gaming does suck, and we're not sitting here laughing at everyone who doesn't have the hardware to run it, but once you do - 60FPS (or higher) and even more, 120FPS+ is where it is at. With the right panel, and a game that can truly handle 120FPS+, it is glorious.
The VR space is definitely heating up, with Oculus VR wanting to get its Rift headset into as many consumers' hands as possible - but what about Sony's PS4-exclusive VR headset, Project Morpheus?
Well, Sony is beginning to tease the specifications inside of its VR headset, something that should arrive with a 5-inch 1920x1080-pixel panel, with 90-degrees field of view. Where it'll get interesting, is that the PS4 game that the VR headset is rendering, will have to be running at 1920x1080 - which nearly half or more of the games on PS4 do not - and at a very high frame rate.
The increased FOV also doesn't help, as there are more things to render because of the higher field of view - so Sony is going to run into a few problems here. Anton Mikhailov, an Engineer from the Magic Lab in PlayStation's R&D group has said: "It is a tricky balance between all of these things. "Essentially, for a given resolution, let's take 1080p. It's a good sweet spot for developers: 1080p/60, it's a target they understand. If you go with 1080p/60, FOV over 100°, the pixel density starts to be quite low. So it starts to be hard to read text, stuff like that. So I feel for 1080p, [FOV of] 90°, 100° is a good sweet spot. If the screen res goes up, you can start to have higher FOVs. So I think there is a balancing game there. We're trying to make the most balanced system we can".
Google I/O kicks off at the end of the month, where we should hear about a slew of new devices and services, with one of those being Google Fit. Google Fit is rumored to be Google's new health and fitness wearable device, which tracks a bunch of data about your body.
What is unknown right now, is what exactly Google Fit will do - but one thing Google could do to stand out from the rest is to introduce a set of APIs that would allow developers to get deep into, expanding the Fit's feature set. It could work like Android Wear does for smartwatches, where Fit could turn into a centralized hub for health and fitness data, trackable by its users.
This could see Fit being the central hub of health and fitness information, available on your wrist. June 25 isn't far away, where we should hopefully hear more on Google Fit.
E3 2014 - VR will be mainstream in the coming years, and with the power of Facebook behind it, Oculus VR are going to be at the center of the VR storm. But during an interview with Ars Technica, Oculus VR's CEO Brendan Iribe had some great things to say about the first consumer Oculus Rift headset, where he hopes to see "just north of 1 million units" sold.
Where will Facebook's influence in the Rift come into play? Well, it will help with the pricing of the Rift, with Iribe saying that Mark Zuckerberg wants to ignore margins wherever possible, pushing the price of the Rift down to get them into the hands of as many consumers as possible. Iribe added: "I do too. But at the same time, we were planning to run a business, hopefully a break-even [or] profitable business off of this, not a money-losing business. Mark is much more in the mindset of 'Let's get this to scale with the best quality product at the lowest cost possible".
When the second consumer Oculus Rift is ready to hit the hands of consumers, Facebook's influence will be felt much more, as "It is going to allow us to deliver a much better consumer V2, that's for sure," according to Iribe. He continued: "There's a lot of rich content being made, but we need a lot more of it. As Mark says, as you start to get to race to scale there are a lot of opportunities to monetize that are really great for consumers, because they get a really low-cost product".