3dRudder to showcase foot motion controller at CES 2018

Tech company 3dRudder will be showcasing a VR accessory at CES 2018 in January. The company will be unveiling the latest version of its foot motion controller.

The foot-powered controller solves one of the key problems of creating truly immersive room-scale VR experience: the limitations of space. By allowing users to control their movement with their feet while they are sitting down is not only likely to be much more intuitive then current systems, but it will also free up hand controller functionality for...

By Colm Hebblethwaite, 06 December 2017, 0 comments. Categories: Gaming, Hardware.

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.

Pioneering VR hopes to help Cystic Fibrosis patients

Patients at the All Wales Adult Cystic Fibrosis Centre have had access to potentially revolutionary VR treatment, and the initial results seem to be positive.

The centre has partnered with Cardiff-based Orchard Media and Events Group to try and change the way that patients are treated. Currently, due to the threat of infection, patients have to be treated in isolation. This can cause additional anxiety and pain for people who are already under a heavy burden.

The new solution allows patients to don VR...

By Colm Hebblethwaite, 01 December 2017, 0 comments. Categories: Research.

VIVE announces investments in 26 new VR/AR startups

HTC VIVE has announced the latest round of VR/AR tech startups to be added to its VIVE X accelerator programme. The companies that will be receiving investment and support from VIVE as part of the programme include a company building a brain control system and those developing content tools and behaviourial engines.

Through their selection into the VIVE X programme, the startups gain unparalleled access to expertise, resources, planning and network resources. The aim is to get these companies mature enough to...

By Colm Hebblethwaite, 30 November 2017, 0 comments. Categories: Brands, Developers.

WayRay uses AR to transform your windscreen

WayRay, a swiss-based tech company, is looking to use AR technology to turn the windscreen of your car into a holographic navigation system that works as part of a connected car system.

The company was founded in 2012 by Vitaly Ponomarev was involved in a traffic accident while he was distracted trying to adjust his GPS system. The subsequent four years of development have led to the company being awarded the grand prize at the Los Angeles Auto Show start-up competition.

The company uses a device named...

By Colm Hebblethwaite, 29 November 2017, 0 comments. Categories: AR, Hardware.

VR headset shipments top 1 million per quarter for the first time

It seems that VR sales are not showing the signs of slowing that were predicted, as headset sales for Q3 2017 broke 1 million for the first time.

According to independent analysts Canalys, Sony took the lead with Playstation VR shipping over 490,000 sets. Oculus followed behind in second place with 210,000 Rift headsets shipped, and HTC took third with 160,000 Vive units sold.

Together, Sony, Oculus and HTC dominate the VR hardware market, taking a up 86% of the total market in Q3 2017.

The widely reported...

By Colm Hebblethwaite, 28 November 2017, 0 comments. Categories: Devices, Hardware.

Amazon moves into VR with Sumerian

The VR market just got a lot more crowded with the entry of one of the largest companies in the world.

Amazon Web Services (AWS), the cloud platform of the ubiquitous ecommerce giant, has launched a new service called Sumerian. The new service aims to provide a platform that makes the process of developing VR, AR and 3D applications easier.

Sumerian gives developers an editor that they can use to build virtual environments and populate them with 3D objects and characters. Developers can also script how these...

By Colm Hebblethwaite, 27 November 2017, 0 comments. Categories: Brands, Developers.

Apple pays $30 million for AR startup Vrvana

Rumours are circulating, based on a recent article by Bloomberg, that Apple is really beginning to devote resources towards launching an AR headset in 2020. The company’s latest acquisition, an AR hardware company from Canada, would seem to putting them one step closer to that goal.

Apple have purchased Vrvana for $30 million. The Canadian company already have an AR headset, called Totem, although it is currently unreleased.

Vrvana describe the Totem headset as an ‘extended reality’ device...

By Colm Hebblethwaite, 23 November 2017, 0 comments. Categories: AR.

Enterprise VR training to generate $216 million in 2018

The use of VR for enterprise training is really starting to gain traction, with ABI Research predicting that the market will generate a massive $6.3 billion in 2022.

The technology intelligence company says that companies around the world are increasingly turning to VR to provide immersive training environments that accurately simulate dangerous situations will keeping travel and equipment-related expenses down.

The company predicts that the VR training market will hit $216 million in 2018.

Take up will be...

By Colm Hebblethwaite, 22 November 2017, 0 comments. Categories: Enterprise.

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.

Forrester: AR will begin to eclipse VR in 2018

2018 will see AR begin to overtake VR as a marketing tool, according to influential research firm Forrester.

The company have released their predictions on a range of marketing and technology related topics for 2018. Analyst Thomas Husson thinks that AR’s main strength is that it is a more natural extension to existing mobile behaviors and does not require the use of new and expensive equipment.

These key features offer more marketing use cases and a broader reach to a wider slice of consumers.

VR, on...

By Colm Hebblethwaite, 16 November 2017, 0 comments. Categories: AR.

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.

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.

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.

AR surgery company raises £15 million in funding

London-based startup Touch Surgery has raised £15 million ($20 million) in funding for its AR surgery headsets.

The funding came from US venture capital firm 8VC, the company that invested in Oculus VR before it was later acquired by Facebook.

The headset, called Go Surgery, utilises the Microsoft HoloLens to give medical trainees a live video feed of a professional surgeon, which is overlaid with virtual guides and step by step instructions.

The latest round of funding brings Touch Surgery’s...

By Colm Hebblethwaite, 08 November 2017, 0 comments. Categories: AR, Microsoft.

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.

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.

New research could put an end to queasy VR experiences

New research from the UK and Germany that was looking for a way to provide quicker and visually sharper experiences, may have uncovered something even more desirable: a path towards eliminating nausea-inducing VR experiences.

Conducted by researchers at Brunel University London and Bonn-Rhein-Sieg University of Applied Sciences and Saarland University in Germany, the project seems to have unearthed the “sweet spot” of image quality.

VR can make users sick, mainly due to latency between eye...

By Colm Hebblethwaite, 01 November 2017, 0 comments. Categories: Research.

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.

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.