Virtual & Augmented Reality and 3D News - Page 141
Oculus VR has just secured itself $75 million in Series B funding, with a new lead investor: Andreessen Horowitz. Marc Andreessen is now stepping up to the Oculus board, as well as his partner, Chris Dixon.
What coerced them into investing into virtual reality? Well, Oculus has shown off a new Rift headset, which is said to have solved a lot of the problems that the original Rift headset included. What Andreeseen and Dixon saw, is what the world will see at CES 2014 in just a few weeks time: a brand-new Rift headset, which has a higher resolution, lower latency, and takes away the motion blue of the original Developer Kit.
Over the past year, Oculus has seen John Carmack of id Software, Doom and Quake fame join the team as its Chief Technology Officer, and now this additional funding, virtual reality is ready to be propelled into the hands of consumers across the world in 2014.
One of the more interesting companies working with Oculus VR's Rift headset, is Autodesk. The developer has held its Autodesk University in Vegas, where it showed off some impressive Rift projects to the crowd.
Autodesk noticed one thing about Rift: it "generates buzz, draws crowds around your booth, with people waiting in line just for the chance to look at your product or service. If your business does trade shows, Arch Virtual can definitely help build a Rift app for your next show." Better yet, when you actually want to show someone your product within Rift, it gets even better.
Autodesk teases: "We could even place the viewer on an animated path that shrinks them down to travel directly inside a massive version of your product. The opportunity to tell a story and show off the best features your product or service has to offer is a tremendous, unprecedented opportunity." This is a big selling point of the Rift, is that it creates the world for you - something you simply cannot do on a computer screen, or a TV.
Over the last year, I have been reporting on Comet ISON, and its impending extremely close encounter with the sun. Yesterday, while many of us were sitting down to dinner tables, and enjoying a nice meal with friends and family, ISON skirted through the very upper region of the sun.
ISON reached perihelion, its closest point to the sun, around 1:30pm EDT yesterday afternoon. Initial reports were that the icy traveler had succumbed to the intense heat and gravity that is present just 750,000 miles from the sun. In fact, all of the images coming out of NASA's SOHO observatory indicated that ISON took a sharp turn into the sun just before perihelion and vaporized.
Fortunately this morning new data has been released that shows that ISON's nucleus or partial chunk of its nucleus managed to survive. In the video above, you can see what appears to be a jet of debris getting flung away from the Sun just a few degrees above the comets entry point. It is still unclear whether or not any of this debris will become visible to the naked eye from earths surface in the next few weeks, but all is not lost. The data that ISON has provided the scientific community is simply massive and will allow scientist to study not only comets, but the suns magnetosphere for decades to come.
Looks like the Oculus Rift won't be coming to consoles anytime soon. Palmer Luckey, inventor of Oculus Rift says the next-gen consoles won't be able to keep up. He mentions the Oculus Rift needs 60 frames per second in 3D and that he sees games are being pushed out at 720p at 60 frames a second.
Palmer Luckey told TechRadar: "Consoles are too limited for what we want to do. We're trying to make the best virtual reality device in the world and we want to continue to innovate and upgrade every year - continue making progress internally - and whenever we make big jumps we want to push that to the public".
He continued: "The problem with consoles in general is that once they come out they're locked to a certain spec for a long, long time. Look at the PCs that existed eight years ago. There have been so many huge advances since then. Now look at the VR hardware of today. I think the jump we're going to see in the next four or five years is going to be massive".
The Oculus Rift is in my opinion, one of the biggest game changing pieces of technology to hit the PC gaming world since the introduction of the discrete GPU. Until now though, the Rift has officially been slated for the PC, but this morning a new report has surfaced that suggest we will be seeing a mobile friendly version quite soon.
Oculus VR CEO Brendan Iribe spoke earlier this week at the GamesBeat conference held by VentureBeat, and during his speech, Iribe said that his company has plans to launch a production version of the Oculus Rift that is both PC and Mobile compatible. He went on to say that the this version would be lighter and smaller in size than the existing developer units, and that it would be compatible with any device running the Android OS.
Iribe says that Id Software founder and Oculus CTO John Carmack has been working on the mobile side of things and that development is coming along quite nicely. "We have some exciting plans on the mobile VR side as [well as] the PC VR side,' Iribe said. 'We're really looking at hitting the consumer market. We're very excited about what we're seeing," Iribe said. "We were sceptical about how good mobile VR could be on such a small platform, but it's pretty incredible what Carmack has been able to do."
I might be showing my age here, but Myst was one of the most amazing games I ever had the chance of playing when I was young. When I first got the chance to test out the Oculus Rift, one of the first games that I thought would be amazing to play in the VR world was, Myst.
Well, the award-winning creators of Myst and Riven are on Kickstarter right now trying to fund their latest title: Obduction. Obduction is an "all-new, real-time, first-person adventure that harkens back to the spirit of Cyan's earlier games Myst and Riven. Obduction resurrects that incredible feeling of suddenly finding yourself in the middle of a new world to explore, discover, solve, and become part of."
One of the most interesting parts of the Obduction Kickstarter page, is in its FAQ, where the question "What about Oculus Rift support" to which the answer is: "We are excited about Oculus Rift (we have a dev kit) and VR in general, and we'd love to have a stretch goal that heads that direction."
Today Jeri Ellsworth released a new video on her YouTube channel that gave us a look into what has been going on in her world since she was let go from Valve. Jeri says she has been working on a project that was started about two years ago when she was recruited by Valve to develop an all new way to play video games using augmented reality and virtual reality.
To summarize a long story, Jeri stumbled across a neat effect using special image projection glasses and a sheet of retro reflective material. When combined, the two pieces of technology created a beautiful holographic gaming experience that does not cause headaches from eye strain. Jeri said that she had a hard time selling the new discovery to Valve as they did not see how this could fit into the types of games they were developing.
Jeri teamed up with a developer at Valve named Rick Johnson who began developing games for the system in his spare time after hours at Valve. Jeri continued working on the headset and managed to shrink it down drastically and at the same time, she developed a "magic wand" that was used to control characters on the gaming surface. The gaming system became popular and Jeri says that Valve employees would stop by her office at the end of the day and spend hours playing games on the system.
Fractal Design has launched a new website and corresponding mobile app that is unlike any other hardware manufacturer's website that I have seen. The new website is clean and minimalistic, which obviously reflects the company's design ethics. The front page features a large slider that is very informative and quite pleasing to the eye, but the refresh really shines when you download the company's app for Android or iOS.
The app is laid out in such a way that users can quickly find information on the product of their choosing, while at the same time managing to provide a rich and minimal user interface. Things really take a turn towards awesome when you check out the Augmented Reality features that the app offerers. By simply downloading and printing out a "trigger"--a small image that helps the app place the AR image--users can use the app to visualize what a particular Fractal Design product may look like in their home, office, or anywhere the trigger is placed.
Until today, I have not put much stock into Augmented Reality, but the concept that Fractal Design has implemented here really gets me excited. I can see this technology being used for all sorts of things such as when buying wheels for your vehicle or even when shopping for a new water cooling system for your PC. This is definitely the future and I hope that we see more tech companies using this in their apps in the future.
Oculus Rift is incredibly awesome, but it is quite limited when it comes to fully supported games. VorpX has stepped in, unleashing its software which is still in beta, which opens up the world of virtual reality to countless new games.
VorpX works with huge games like BioShock Infinite and Mirror's Edge, but best of all, it works with Battlefield 3. None of these games are built to work with the Rift headset, so there are some workarounds that the team of VorpX has used. This includes clicking in and holding down your middle mouse wheel which will let you "edge peak."
Edge peak allows you to look freely at the edges of your field of view, instead of moving within the game world by moving your head, and the Rift. The list of compatible games with Rift thanks to VorpX is huge, and I'm quite excited to test out a bunch of them this week.
I think that 2014 is going to be the breakout year for virtual reality, with kick-ass products like the Oculus Rift which isn't even close to a consumer launch yet. But, now we have Vision Sensor hitting IndieGogo, which the team give a description of "creates new seeing capabilities for the Oculus Rift."
Vision Sensor is basically augmented reality for the Oculus Rift, which sees two sensors and a sensor attachment cover strapped to the front of an Oculus Rift Developer Kit. It features a resolution of 1280x480 at 60FPS, and weighs just 75g so that it doesn't feel too heavy with the Rift, and Vision Sensor on your head.
The team at Vision Sensor say that there are 3 new possibilities to add to the user experience, with the first being an Immersive AR Experience. The second is Intuitive Operation (Mixed Reality) and the final possibility is Regaining Lost Vision. The first, lets you be in the world of Oculus Rift, but still stay in the real-world through augmented reality.