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We've learnt quite a lot from Valve's developer-only Steam Dev Days conference, with VR being the focus of the second, and last day of the event. Oculus VR's founder, Palmer Luckey, was a key guest for its VR discussions, where he teased the future of VR.
Luckey said: "Valve's VR tech is the best virtual reality demo in the world right now". This is quite a statement from Luckey, considering his company just received $75 million in Series B funding for Oculus Rift. The specifications of what Valve and Oculus expect from a consumer VR headset for 2015 are very, very promising:
Feasible 2015 consumer HDM
- 20ms motion-to-last-photon latency
- 3ms pixel persistence
- 95 Hz refresh
- 110-degree FOV
- 1K x 1K resolution per eye
- High-quality, well-calibrated optics
- millimeter-accurate resolution translation
- quarter-degree-accurate rotation
- volume of roughly 2 meters cubed
Valve is holding its Steam Dev Days event, where it has invited developers to talk all-things Steam, but this includes virtual reality (VR), too. Valve showed off a VR prototype headset, to demonstrate where it wants to push VR which left people who used it blown away.
A few developers used it, and were blown away with the results. We have two tweets from David Hensley, who went to the Steam Dev Days, and their impressions should excite you. Hensley teases "It's going to be hard to go back to my #oculus dev kit after experiencing #valve's #vr demo. Kinda like playing an xbox then 8bit Nintendo".
Google hasn't released its wearable device, Glass, just yet, but the Mountain View-based search giant is already teasing another wearable project: a smart contact lens with metal uses.
There's a very tiny wireless chip and glucose sensor, which are pegged between two layers of contact lens material. Google is reportedly also already working on embedding tiny LED lights for notifications, too. Before Google moves further with this new wearable project, it is in talks with the FDA and other partners - so this is a while off yet, folks.
Steam Dev Days 2014 - Developers are at Steam Dev Days for day two of festivities, with VR being the discussion point today. El Oshcuro, or @DaveOshry, posted the following image from Steam Dev Days.
@DaFox posted the below image, showing off a VR demo from Valve.
Valve is pushing VR at Steam Dev Days, where it said "VR will have a big impact sooner than you think", something I definitely agree with. The company is working closely with Oculus VR, who make the Rift headset, which is exciting news. Valve even worked with Oculus VR on its Crystal Cove prototype, which is an interesting tidbit.
The above above is also from @DaFox, which displays all of the things Valve says are required with VR.
The wearable devices market isn't even lukewarm yet, and if we listen to what Cantor Fitzgerald analyst, Brian White, has to say - then it won't get hot until Apple launches its rumored iWatch.
The analyst wrote in a note to investors on Monday morning: "In our view, the unveiling of useful wearable technology products that focused on the wrist (i.e., fitness bands, smartwatches) at this year's [CES] show brought legitimacy to the wearable space. That said, we believe it will take Apple's launch of the anticipated 'iWatch' to drive a more meaningful adoption rate."
Before Apple even hits the market with its wearable device, countless other companies are getting strapped onto consumers' wrists. Is Apple too late to the game? Or will it truly spark up when the iPhone maker enters the room with a wearable device?
CES 2014 - We are moving into a world dominated by wearable computing as the days continue, with wearable devices being a massive bullet point for this year's Consumer Electronics Show, but what about traditional watches, and their watchmakers?
Swatch, an uber famous Swiss watchmaker isn't concerned one bit. Swatch Chief Executive, Nick Hayek, talked with Reuters, where he said: "If people who never used to wear anything on their wrist start wearing a so-called smartwatch, then we certainly can convince them quickly to try wearing a beautiful watch instead."
But, does Swatch plan on making smartwatches? Not anytime soon, with Hayek adding: "We have all the know-how but we do not want to build up stock of technology bombs people won't want to buy." Smartwatches haven't hit the big time yet, but could we see a big change moving into the New Year?
CES 2014 - Oculus VR walked away with the Best in Show for CES 2014 with its new Crystal Cove codenamed Rift headset, but Sony is looking to run in second place with its HMZ-T3 head-mounted display.
Sony was showing off the headset at CES 2014, which had an important new feature: head tracking. Sony had a sign at its booth at the trade show, calling it a "technical prototype" and had representatives on-hand to help people in and out of the headset. The model without head-tracking already costs $999, and the experience on Sony's device is said to be far less than that on the Oculus Rift.
CES 2014 - Oculus VR unveiled its latest prototype Rift headset at the Consumer Electronics Show 2014 a few days ago, with a new 1920x1080-resolution, AMOLED-based display on-board. Not only that, but it had positional tracking abilities, which lifts it to an entire new category.
The new codenamed Crystal Cove headset took out the 2014 Best of CES prize, and rightly so, it sounds like a kick-ass upgrade to the already awesome product. It should only be success for Oculus from here on out, which has secured Doom and Quake god John Carmack, nearly $100 million in funding, with its latest funding round securing $75 million.
Video eye company Vuzix will beef up its M100 smart glasses by including the company's proprietary Nuance Communications voice recognition software. The M100 Google Android-powered wearable display glasses won't need a data connection or software update for the new embedded voice software. Simple voice commands can be used to control and navigate the M100 menu system, opening the door to better user interaction. The software will be available with the Vuzix M100 2.0 OS release set for later this year.
"Vuzix is focused on delivering powerful wearable technologies to the industrial, medical and prosumer markets," said Paul Travers, Vuzix CEO, in a statement. "By integrating Nuance's voice technology into our M100 platform, we've given our customers even greater flexibility in the way they can use our smart glasses to solve issues that challenge their business."
The consumer market is seeing tremendous interest in wearable electronics, such as smart glasses, but it's the enterprise that could lead to wider adoption. Companies now realize the importance of staying on the technology forefront, so don't be surprised to see wearable electronics everywhere.
CES 2014 - Oculus VR has just unveiled its new Oculus Rift prototype, which has been codenamed 'Crystal Cove'. The new virtual reality headset features positional tracking, and a brand new AMOLED-based display.
The new Crystal Cove prototype features positional tracking, where it uses multiple LEDs and an IR tracking camera which works out the position of the headset, in 3D space. One of the major downsides to the current two prototypes (the 720p and 1080p models - both of which I've used) is that there is motion sickness for some people, but this new positional tracking addition should help those who get sick, not feel nauseous.
The positional tracking will also push some new features into games, such as leaning around corners, or over cover to shoot enemies. But the biggest addition here is the new AMOLED display, which is a low-latency panel, versus the LCD-based tech which had motion blur galore. With the new headset, you should be able to turn your head in a game or demo now, without the blurring associated with the previous development kits.