HTC drops US Google VR headset to focus on Chinese market

HTC has announced that it will no longer be releasing a daydream-branded HTC standalone headset in the US. Instead the company will be focusing its energy on a standalone headset for the Chinese market powered by Qualcomm.

The headset, called the VIVE Focus, is designed to appeal to a mass market audience. The all-in-one device will feature inside-out 6-degree-of-freedom ‘world-scale’ tracking, which means that it will not require external base stations or sensors.

The headset will not need to be...

By Colm Hebblethwaite, 14 November 2017, 0 comments. Categories: Hardware.

Camera-free eye tracking could drastically reduce the size of headsets

Current VR/AR headsets all use camera-based eye tracking systems to accurately measure the eye movements of users. Cameras capture hundreds of images and therefore take a lot of computing power, meaning that headsets need to be tethered to a power supply and a high-end supply.

AdHawk Microsystems is looking to change that with the introduction of its camera-less eye tracking system.

AdHawk replaces the camera with ultra-compact micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS), computer chips that are so small they...

By Colm Hebblethwaite, 10 November 2017, 0 comments. Categories: Hardware.

Logitech and HTC Vive solve the VR keyboard problem

The problem of how to use a keyboard in a virtual environment has been a tricky one for developers. The finger-operated keyboard is still the best way we have for user to input information quickly, particularly in productivity-driven or desktop scenarios, but also in games, social applications and content browsing.

You would be forgiven for thinking that the solution would to learn to touch-type so that you can still use a keyboard while wearing a headset. But, this is surprisingly difficult in a virtual...

By Colm Hebblethwaite, 06 November 2017, 0 comments. Categories: Developers, Devices, Hardware.

Leeds university warns of risks to children from VR

While the benefits of VR for the medical and therapeutic industries is being hotly touted, less attention has been given to the effects that immersive experiences could have on the development of children.

Researchers at the University of Leeds have conducted research that points to some potentially troubling conclusions. The team have issued a warning that they believe that continued use of VR headsets could trigger eyesight and balance problems in young children.

The study was performed on a group of...

By Colm Hebblethwaite, 30 October 2017, 0 comments. Categories: Devices, Hardware.

Walmart showcases its vision of VR as the future or retail

Store No 8, the technology incubator of retail giant Walmart, has showcased a number of incoming technologies it feels are set to revolutionise retail in the coming years at its recent innovation gala.

VR took a prominent place among the pioneering tech, highlighting the importance the company thinks immersive experiences are set to have in the retail landscape.

The event showcased experiences produced from five VR developers, all of which are focused on using VR to solve different problems in the...

By Colm Hebblethwaite, 23 October 2017, 0 comments. Categories: Ecosystems, Hardware.

Reality 2.0: welcome to the hyperreal

The concept of hyperreality is rapidly gaining momentum across the film and entertainment world as viewers demand increasingly immersive experiences.

Hyperreality is the inability of consciousness to distinguish reality from a simulation of reality, especially in technologically advanced postmodern societies. A state in which what is real and what is fiction are seamlessly blended together so that there’s no clear distinction between where one ends and the other begins.

More than just an idea

Looking...

By Jon Wadelton, 18 October 2017, 0 comments. Categories: Developers, Devices, Hardware.

Oculus hopes $200 headset will take VR mainstream

Oculus has announced the company’s first standalone VR headset, the Oculus Go. Significantly the new headset is going to be priced at $199 USD.

On its website the company states:

“This all-in-one device makes VR more accessible that ever and represents a huge leap forward in comfort, visual clarity, and ease-of-use.”

The company is joining the race towards creating VR hardware that is affordable enough to hook in the average consumer with a bit of spare cash. Making the headset standalone is...

By Colm Hebblethwaite, 13 October 2017, 0 comments. Categories: Hardware.

Nokia halts VR camera activities citing slow market growth

Nokia has taken the decision to discontinue its OZO VR camera and hardware production line, due to what it perceives as slow market growth.

In a press release, the company stated that:

“In digital media, the slower-than-expected development of the VR market means that Nokia Technologies plans to reduce investments and focus more on technology licensing opportunities. The unit aims to halt development of further versions of the OZO VR camera and hardware, while maintaining commitments to existing...

By Colm Hebblethwaite, 10 October 2017, 0 comments. Categories: Brands, Hardware.

Ericsson: TV is the main focus of consumers as VR takes off

Ericsson, the multinational networking and telecommunications service company, is predicting that VR will go mainstream in just two years’ time.

The company’s eighth annual ConsumerLab TV and Media Report took data from around 20,000 online interviews from across 13 countries. The results show that in the mind of most consumers it is video-on-demand (VOD) that is going to fuel the rise of VR.

The report estimates that by 2020, half of all viewing will be done on a mobile screen and a third of...

By Colm Hebblethwaite, 09 October 2017, 0 comments. Categories: Data & Analytics, Hardware.

VR in healthcare and medicine to grow to $285 million in 2022

VR has opened up a range of new possibilities for services and treatments in the healthcare industry, and the industry is expected to experience significant growth in the next five years.

The immersive experience created by VR is already being used in a variety of ways by healthcare professionals, from pain and stress management therapy to training and simulation.

ABI Research forecasts that VR services in the medical and healthcare segment is about to explode in value from $8.9 million in 2017 to around $285...

By Colm Hebblethwaite, 06 October 2017, 0 comments. Categories: Devices, Hardware, Healthcare.

PlayStation announces new VR headset

Sony has announced a new model of its PSVR headset that, while not big on headline-grabbing innovations, does contain a number on interesting new features.

The aim of the new headset seems to be one of streamlining things and removing some unsuccessful parts of the previous model rather than fully updating the VR headset.

The updated model, called CUH-ZVR2, is set to reach Japan on October 14, with a wider North American release set to follow at a date to be confirmed.

The announcement on the PlayStation site...

By Colm Hebblethwaite, 03 October 2017, 0 comments. Categories: Hardware.

Intel cancels Project Alloy

Intel has announced that it is officially ended its Project Alloy initiative. The project, which aimed to be the first truly wireless VR headset, with no need for cords, controllers or a separate PC, was meant to be shipping a reference design to its partners in the second half of this year.

Although the company has remained tight-lipped on the reasons for cancelling the ‘merged reality’ headset, but there has been speculation that the decision was made due to lack of interest from partners.

In a statement made...

By Colm Hebblethwaite, 25 September 2017, 0 comments. Categories: Hardware.

Pimax launches 8K VR headset

VR hardware developers Pimax has announced of their new 200° FOV 8K VR headset. The headset is set to be the most graphically advanced headset on available on the market.

The company turned heads with the release of the first 4K headset, which was recognised as the best VR product at CES Asia 2016.

The new headset looks to double the field of view to 200°, which almost matches the human view of 220°. It will also offer six time the resolution of other mainstream headsets.

According to the company,...

By Colm Hebblethwaite, 20 September 2017, 0 comments. Categories: Hardware.

VR-controlled robot disarms bombs

The narrative that robots are coming for all of our jobs often fails to mention one important fact: that there some jobs that no human really wants to be doing anyway.

One of those jobs being disarming bombs and explosives.

A robot called Taurus Dexterous, created by SRI International, has begun to remove humans from having to physically disarm and dispose of bombs, and therefore face a very real threat to their lives. While bomb disposal robots have been in use for a while now, Taurus is the first to utilise...

By Colm Hebblethwaite, 14 September 2017, 0 comments. Categories: Case Studies, Hardware.

Why So Many Doubters? Riding the VR Hype Cycle

From the moment Mark Zuckerberg handed over $2billion for Oculus Rift, the starting gun sounded for the latest trip around the VR hype cycle.

VR is not a new technology. The earliest incarnations have been traced all the way back to around 1860 in the form of panoramic paintings. By 1930, the first flight simulator using a version of the technology was sold to the US military to improve pilot skills. The first head mounted display was developed in 1960, first VR goggles hit the shelves in 1987, Lawnmower Man...

By Robert Kendal, 11 September 2017, 0 comments. Categories: Brands, Enterprise, Hardware.

Acer predicts Microsoft’s mixed reality will win the VR race

Acer’s chairman Jason Chen has estimated that Micorsoft’s mixed reality ecosystem will come out on top of the VR pile in the next few years.

Chen thinks that the mixed reality market will reach 10 million units sold a year in the next half a decade, making it easily the most popular VR platform.

The company’s awesomely titled Mixed Reality Head-Mounted Display (HMD) is available for pre-order now. Like other mixed reality headsets, the device is not a full-on VR gaming platform, but it will...

By Colm Hebblethwaite, 05 September 2017, 0 comments. Categories: Hardware.

HP debuts VR backpack at SIGGRAPH 2017

HP has unveiled its HP Z Backpack VR solution at SIGGRAPH 2017. The Backpack looks to provide the user with freedom of movement while in virtual experiences.

The company describes the backpack as a ‘catalyst for more powerful VR experiences across many enterprises and businesses’.

The company specifically pointed out four potential use cases for the technology:

- the deliverance of safe and effective virtual training for dangerous professions or operating...

By Colm Hebblethwaite, 01 August 2017, 0 comments. Categories: Devices, Hardware.

HTC announces premium VR headset for China market

HTC has announced the first Vive Standalone VR headset for the Chinese market, which will have Viveport as its official content platform.

HTC Vive hopes that the new standalone will be the number one premium device for Chinese consumers.

The Vive Standalone will make use of features of the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 mobile VR platform that was designed to support built-in VR functionality. This will allow developers to more rapidly release compelling content.

“China is the leading mobile market in the...

By Colm Hebblethwaite, 27 July 2017, 0 comments. Categories: Enterprise, Hardware.

Mira launches $99 Prism AR headset

Startup Mira is making a bold move into the AR market with its Prism headset. The headset, which is currently open for pre-order at $99, uses the iPhone as its power source.

The small price tag (roughly £75 or AU$125) is well below the $3,000 retail price of the Microsoft HoloLens. This is possible because the headset follows a similar approach to the Google Cardboard, except with the iPhone.

Mira apps run on an iPhone that is placed into the headset and in turn forms part of the...

By Colm Hebblethwaite, 19 July 2017, 0 comments. Categories: AR, Hardware.

Successful demonstration of VR live streaming surgery training tool

A successful demonstration has shown that medical surgery can be live-streamed in VR to help students learn.

The project was led by London-based developer Room One in collaboration with Ericsson, BT, King’s College London (KCL) and OPTO. The demonstration was held at Ericsson’s Innovation Day in Aachen, Germany.

The demonstration follows Mobile World Congress 2017, where a surgeon successfully controlled a robot arm using a connected glove. The

By Colm Hebblethwaite, 18 July 2017, 0 comments. Categories: Hardware.