Google launches Chrome browser on VR Daydream headsets

Google has announced that Chrome, the world’s most popular browser used by 44.5% of users, is now available on its VR (virtual reality) Daydream headsets.

Announced on its blog yesterday, the search and tech giant said users of Google Daydream View and Lenovo Mirage Solo with Daydream can now launch Chrome directly from their homepage and interact with any webpage while in VR.

Google promises that “all the features you...

By Mark Jones, 31 July 2018, 0 comments. Categories: Developers, Devices, Platforms.

Mall & theme park VR experience startup gears up for £5m IPO

A virtual reality (VR) experience company that supplies virtual experiences to theme parks and shopping malls is ready to go public on the AIM market, with aims to raise £5m from the listing.

The UK-headquartered Immotion uses a combination of graphics, motion and sound to create immersive experiences for consumers at venues including Legoland Boston and multiple shopping centres across the UK.

Raising the cash would see Immotion valued at roughly £20m, which would be used to fund its further...

By Mark Jones, 18 June 2018, 0 comments. Categories: Gaming, Hardware, Platforms.

ARKit app downloads hit 13 million in six months, says new analysis

More than 13 million augmented reality (AR) apps have been installed using Apple’s ARKit framework in its first six months according to data from Sensor Tower – with almost half of these coming from gaming.

The figures suggest a steady upward trend since the platform debuted in September last year. Previous analysis from one month after iOS 11 launched saw the number at around three million. Back then, ARKit-only gaming apps represented just over one third (35%) of all installs. Today, the number...

By James Bourne, 03 April 2018, 0 comments. Categories: AR, iOS, Platforms.

First platform for volumetric videos launched

A new battlefield has opened up in the VR/AR space: the race towards creating viewing experiences that centre around livestreamed, interactive holographic visuals.

The technical name for this kind of video is volumetric. This technique captures film footage in 3D in order to essentially create a fully scanned and reproduced digital copy of whatever is being filmed, which can then be sent to AR glasses or VR headsets.

The term shot back into the headlines this week when the CEO of secretive and much-hyped AR...

By Colm Hebblethwaite, 15 February 2018, 0 comments. Categories: Platforms.

VR hits the slopes in the Winter Olympics

The Winter Olympics currently taking place in South Korea marks a big step forward for live broadcast VR content.

Intel is working in partnership with the International Olympic Committee to provide the technology needed for broadcasting VR and 360 video content. The partnership is extended up until 2024, so the Korean games are just the beginning.

The company will be streaming 30 events, both live and on-demand, throughout the games. Events being streamed include Women’s Skeleton, Men’s Downhill and...

By Colm Hebblethwaite, 12 February 2018, 0 comments. Categories: Devices, Platforms.

Vreal raises $11.7M to create the VR Twitch

Vreal Inc., the VR livestreaming and broadcast platform, has announced that it has raised $11.7 million in a Series A funding round led by Axioma Ventures.

The company is in the process of building a platform that is similar to game streaming sites like Amazon’s Twitch or YouTube, but utilising VR. Users will be able to use their headsets (although the company is primarily working with HTC Vive and Oculus Rift at the moment), and be able to stand next to their favourite streamers while they...

By Colm Hebblethwaite, 08 February 2018, 0 comments. Categories: Platforms.

ABI Research: Hardware differentiation to become increasingly difficult

Differentiation between VR/AR headsets will begin to become more challenging for hardware developers as standards mature, according to ABI Research.

While early VR leaders like Google, Samsung, Oculus and HTC will continue to drive innovation over the coming years, but innovation between untethered or mobile-based headsets will begin to slow down.  

Standards (such as cross-platform support) are already beginning to emerge with organisations like the Khronos group and IEEE lending their support to a more...

By Colm Hebblethwaite, 25 January 2018, 0 comments. Categories: Brands, Ecosystems, Hardware, Platforms.

AR app offers assistance to paramedics

Being a paramedic of an EMT is the definition of a high pressure, stressful job. Not only are you thrown into a myriad of complex situations, you also have to come up with a diagnosis of the particular patient’s problem and come up with a viable course of action. All in an environment where a wasted few seconds could make all the difference.

A new AR application for the Microsoft HoloLens is looking to ease this burden by providing paramedics with a range of diagnostic tools to help better treat...

By Colm Hebblethwaite, 05 January 2018, 0 comments. Categories: Microsoft, Platforms.

Facebook opens up Spaces for HTC Vive

Facebook has implemented a major change of strategy with regard to its VR Spaces app. The social media giant has surprised many by announcing that its VR chat app, which is still in beta and free, will support its biggest rivals: HTC Vive and SteamVR.

The announcement, made by a Facebook VR exec on 19 December, is a reverse of the message that Oculus has been giving out for over a year. The company had solidly maintained that all of its major games and apps would remain as exclusives to Oculus hardware.

There...

By Colm Hebblethwaite, 20 December 2017, 0 comments. Categories: Brands, Platforms.

Google makes YouTube VR available on Steam

Already one of the main selling points of Google’s Daydream VR platform, Google has now YouTube VR available to HTC Vive users.

Steam users can now download YouTube VR right now. The company has also released a trailer for the release.   

Users will be able to browse and watch content from every channel or creator in VR, without being limited to 180 or 360 videos. The experience is similar to that of VR theatres, where users are presented with a floating screen insider of...

By Colm Hebblethwaite, 15 December 2017, 0 comments. Categories: Applications, Platforms.

Jaunt launches VR distribution solution

Jaunt Inc has launched a white label distribution solution that allows media companies, brands, content aggregators and businesses through a range of VR, AR and mixed reality channels.

The Jaunt XR Platform is designed to provide a scalable way for organisations to distribute their immersive content to the widest possible audience as quickly as possible. Users will be able to publish their VR. AR or mixed reality content simultaneously across all 360 social platforms such as Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, native...

By Colm Hebblethwaite, 12 December 2017, 0 comments. Categories: Platforms.

Facebook introduces new 360-creation tools

Facebook has released a new set of resources and tools for 360-degree video creation.

The 360 Director page will offer a range of creative tools for creating and editing 360 videos on Facebook itself. 360 Director is now available for both pages and profiles.

The new tools include:

Annotations

Users will have the ability to add text, symbols and graphic annotations to their content from Facebook, without the need for another video editor.

Guide

This feature was previously only available on pages, the Guide...

By Colm Hebblethwaite, 11 December 2017, 0 comments. Categories: Platforms.

BBC launches VR Hub

The BBC has announced the launch of a VR department, called VR Hub, that is going to invest in the creation of virtual content.

The BBC has been experimenting with the medium for a number of years. Among the experiences already released include putting users in the shoes of refuges in We Wait, and taking them back to the Easter Rising of 1916. These experiences have all been made available on Oculus Rift, Google Daydream and Samsung Gear VR.

The BBC’s first experience on HTC Vive,

By Colm Hebblethwaite, 04 December 2017, 0 comments. Categories: Brands, Platforms.

Facebook debuts web-based VR news feed content

Facebook has launched a new feature that will allow people to access VR experiences through their normal news feeds.

Promotional experiences for the forthcoming Jumanji film and the British Museum were among the first to be posted.

The announcement follows on from the April 2017 release of React VR, a library and JavaScript framework for developers to help them build multi-channel VR experiences. React VR was used to build the initial experiences that appeared in user news feeds under the category of ‘360...

By Colm Hebblethwaite, 20 November 2017, 0 comments. Categories: Ecosystems, Platforms.

Record broken for largest wireless synced VR screening

WeLens has set a new record for the largest number of people wirelessly synched into a single VR viewing in one location.

The tech startup managed to allow 425 viewers at a Conversation International event to watch the VR film Under the Canopy together. The film, which was directed by filmmaker Patrick Meegan, was made in co-production with Jaunt and Conversation International transports viewers into the Amazon rainforest.

The company was founded in 2016 with the aim of making immersive technologies like VR more communal....

By Colm Hebblethwaite, 13 November 2017, 0 comments. Categories: Platforms.

Mirra sees itself as the Squarespace of VR

 

One thing that can put people off trying their hand at VR and AR is the mountains of coding that needs to be done. For many people, the technical skills needed to make their ideas a reality is impediment enough.

But what if you could create virtual environments without having to input a single line of code? Well, that is what Mirra is aiming to do.

Availible as a public beta, Mirra is a 3D design tool and platform as a service that wants to help people create and distribute immersive environments in a...

By Colm Hebblethwaite, 07 November 2017, 0 comments. Categories: AR, Developers, Platforms.

Mastercard unveils AR retail experience

Global payments giant Mastercard has teamed up with ODG and Qualcomm to create new “AR experience” that will give shoppers more information about potential purchases, as well as facilitating mobile payments.

The experience will be the first time that the company’s Masterpass digital wallet and identity check mobile will be mixed with iris authentication to provide safe payments.

“We are seeing major shifts in how commerce is conducted, as people lead increasingly connected, digital...

By Colm Hebblethwaite, 27 October 2017, 0 comments. Categories: Enterprise, Platforms.

Google Chrome VR lets users browse the internet in virtual reality

You can now browse the web in VR using Google Chrome.

The release of Chrome 61 means that Daydream VR users can browse websites using their headsets and experience VR through WebVR. The new chrome is the latest stable build of the company’s Google browser.

Chrome team member François Beaufort announced the news in a post on Google+:

“…this allows users to view and interact with any website in VR, follow links between pages, and move between 2D and immersive viewing for sites that support WebVR. “Users...

By Colm Hebblethwaite, 26 September 2017, 0 comments. Categories: Applications, Platforms.

UNICEF look to make VR/AR work for everyone

The UNICEF Innovation Fund has announced that it is seeking applications from AR/VR startups to submit their ideas for harness the technology for the greater good.

The organisation wants to focus on ‘good technology’ – that which allows people around the world better access to information, opportunities and choice, preferably in an equitable way.

Solutions that fulfil these criteria will be rewarded with seed funding and access to UNICEF’s country offices for use-case knowledge and...

By Colm Hebblethwaite, 08 September 2017, 0 comments. Categories: Applications, Developers, Platforms.

Firefox's new browser features VR support

Mozilla has released a new version of its Firefox browser that features WebVR support.

The concept of WebVR was first put together in 2014 by a group of Mozilla developers. The idea was to allow web users to explore virtual spaces and make it easier to create VR experiences that work across a range of devices.

The browser’s release calendar update states that: “WebVR is the big platform feature shipping in Firefox 55. Firefox users with an HTC VIVE or Oculus Rift can...

By Colm Hebblethwaite, 16 August 2017, 0 comments. Categories: Platforms.