Virtual & Augmented Reality News - Page 1
HTC released the Vive Focus 3 over the summer. It is one of the most advanced standalone headsets on the market today, and it just got even better. HTC has finally enabled native hand tracking and made it available for developers to experiment with the feature.
The Vive Focus 3 is a Qualcomm Snapdragon XR-2-powered standalone VR headset with high-resolution displays and 6-DoF inside-out tracking with motion controllers. The Focus 3 is a lot like the Oculus Quest 2, but more bells and whistles, including an active cooling system, fully adjustable IPD, and a MicroSD slot for memory expansion.
At launch, HTC said the Focus 3 would support hand tracking, but the feature wasn't quite ready yet. The next version of the Focus 3's operating system will have hand tracking enabled and offer full finger tracking support. According to Alvin Graylin, China President HTC Vive, the feature will automatically engage when you put the controllers down.
The cat was out of the bag on Tuesday, but today is the official reveal of HTC's latest VR device, Vive Flow. HTC designed this compact, lightweight, portable headset for wellbeing, not entertainment.
The HTC Vive Flow is a new type of VR device that targets a whole new segment of customers. Most VR headsets are either designed for gamers or intended for business use. Vive Flow is meant for casual users who want to escape reality for a little while.
"With VIVE Flow, HTC is taking technology in a new direction, focusing not on what we do but on how we feel. Maintaining our wellness has come to the forefront in the last few years, with so many millions feeling stressed every day, so it has never been more important to take time out to calm our minds, and VIVE Flow provides the perfect opportunity to escape our four walls and immerse ourselves in our ideal ambience," said Cher Wang, Chairwoman, and CEO of HTC. "Meditation, gentle stretches, brain training, streaming our favorite shows, or even meeting friends or coworkers in VR with VIVE Sync can all be enhanced by a device light and compact enough to fit in our pocket. VIVE Flow represents the next evolution of technology, as we take a more holistic view of how we can make life better."
The Oculus Quest 2 has been on the market for one full year now, and to celebrate, Oculus is offering deep discounts on nearly 30 of the most popular titles. You can save upwards of 40%.
Facebook released the Oculus Quest 2 on October 13, 2020. Since then, it has become the most popular VR headset on the SteamVR platform and probably the most widely owned VR device ever released. As a token of appreciation to all the early adopters of the Quest platform, Facebook is having a big sale to give you a chance to pick up a few more games.
Some of the best titles on the Quest platform are heavily discounted. You can save 27% off The Climb and 20% off The Climb 2. Until You Fall and Zero Caliber: Reloaded are 12% off right now. Many titles, including Arizona Sunshine, Real VR Fishing, and Contractors, are more than 30% off. And if you really want to save some money, Red Matter, Death Horizon: Reloaded, and Journey of the Gods are all carrying discounts of at least 40%.
It's hard to believe that Sony's PlayStation VR is five years old, but it is. That makes Sony's headset the longest-running VR headset on the market. The original Rift and the original Vive have long since been deprecated. In fact, Oculus discontinued four headsets in that timeframe.
In the world of VR headsets, if your device stays on the market for two years or more, you've got a winner on your hands. That must make Sony's headset the ultimate champion in this market.
To be fair, Sony has the VR console market cornered, with Xbox completely ignoring this space right now. You could make an argument that Oculus is competing in the VR console market with its Quest 2 standalone headset, but it's a little bit different and Quest has only been around for two years, and the Quest 2 dropped one year ago. We're still probably a year away from the PlayStation VR 2, so PSVR owners should look forward to continued support.
Mark Zuckerberg and Andrew Bosworth sure know how to make a VR fan jealous. The company founder and Facebook Reality Labs leader both posted images of themselves playing with prototype Oculus VR headsets. The enthusiast in me is crying a little bit today.
Zuckerberg announced on his Facebook profile that he spent that day with the Facebook Reality Labs research team testing out next-generation hardware. The picture that he shared is of himself trying a prototype headset with "retina resolution." It's hard to tell from the image, but it looks like this is in a standalone headset like the Oculus Quest. This could be the Quest prototype with 2784 x 3000 per eye OLED microdisplays that Brad Lynch uncovered in a recent kernel analysis.
Bosworth shared two images. One of a futuristic headset that looks more compact than anything Oculus has ever produced before. The visor resembles a pair of ski goggles, and it seems an awful lot like the leaked images of HTC's new Vive Flow. Amusingly, Alvin Graylin, the President of HTC Vive China, offered to trade one of his company's new "production quality devices" for the prototype. You can probably guess what Boz said.
October is turning into a spicy month for VR fans. No less than four major VR events are happening in the next two weeks from some of the most prominent players in the XR space. Pimax is the latest VR company to announce an event.
As the anticipation for Facebook Connect heats up, more and more VR companies have jumped in on the October announcement bandwagon. Thursday, we have an HTC event with the official reveal of the Vive Flow, and next week, Varjo has a big announcement planned. It seems that Pimax didn't want to be left behind in this exciting news cycle. The company is preparing its own announcement on October 25.
In an invite email sent to press, Pimax said the Pimax Frontier 2021 event would showcase a new device referred to as "code name 'Reality.'" For the full reveal, we'll have to wait until January at CES 2022. For now, Pimax intends to give us a glimpse of its "vision for VR3.0," a device it says is "several generations ahead of anything on the market."
Magic Leap's CEO, Peggy Johnson, announced on her LinkedIn account that she would be a guest on CNBC's PowerLunch today. Along with the post, she shared a screenshot of the company's next-gen AR headset, Magic Leap 2.
Magic Leap has not shared details about its next headset. The company has said that it will be an enterprise-focused device and plans to launch an early-access program in Q4 2021. The company also said the new headset would be smaller, lighter, faster, and cheaper. Now that we're well into October, we expect that details about Magic Leap 2 to come soon.
In the meantime, we can learn a bit of Magic Leap's new design language from the screenshot that Johnson shared today. The new headset appears to be a much sleeker device than the original Magic Leap headset. The first one had a bizarre shape that was sort of bulbous and goofy looking. The new design is much more modern, with sharp edges and sleek features.
Magic Leap 2 also appears to be a much smaller device than the previous model. The new design is much more akin to a traditional pair of glasses than the old version.
Facebook revealed a new name for Horizons. The as-yet-unreleased virtual world-building platform will now be known as Horizon Worlds. Along with the rebrand, the company is dumping more financial support into developing Horizon Worlds' content, with $10 million earmarked for creators and developers over the next year.
Facebook launched the invite-only closed beta of Horizon last summer, and to this day, it remains closed to the public. Over the last year, Facebook has added more features and included more content creators and developers. Now the company is ready to pour some gas on the fire to inspire creators and developers to bring more rich content to the Horizon Worlds platform.
Facebook plans to distribute the $10 million Creator Fund through a variety of opportunities. There will be competitions for world creators with prizes of up to $10,000 for the top three entries for each category.
Varjo just revealed that it would be announcing a new product later this month. The company hasn't revealed any details at all, but it is making it seem like this will be a big deal.
Varjo is a long-time player in the enterprise XR space. The company is best known for making headsets with some of the most advanced technology available. They're also known for making headsets that cost as much as $10,000 per unit. Varjo's claim to fame is its bionic display technology, which embeds a micro OLED screen inside a larger LCD for incredible image clarity in your central focus area.
Varjo's most advanced device is the XR-3 headset, which includes dual Lidar cameras for stereoscopic passthrough and depth scanning. We have no idea what Varjo's upcoming announcement is, but the event signup page makes it seem like we're looking at a forthcoming headset announcement.
Varjo is building mixed reality tools that can bring physical objects into view in virtual experiences through its flagship XR-3 headset. The blending of reality with the virtual unlocks new possibilities for training and entertainment.
Varjo this week showed off a new real-time masking feature for its XR-3 headset, which will be part of the company's upcoming Varjo Lab Tools update. Varjo's real-time masking feature makes it possible to blend any physical object with a virtual experience to create new immersive interactions.
The next Varjo Lab Tools update will give developers the ability to map 3D vertices to physical objects to create a passthrough mask for the lidar cameras on the headset. The company's Varjo Marker tool enables you to anchor the traced mask to the object's physical shape, which allows you to move it around and have the passthrough camera track the changes.