Google ends Tango AR platform

Google has announced that it is officially calling time on its high-end smartphone AR platform Tango, in order to focus on its mass-market focused younger sibling ARCore.

Support for Tango will officially end on 1 March 2018.

In a tweet on 15 December, the Project Tango account said:

“Thank you to our incredible community of developers who made such progress with Tango over the last three years. We look forward to continuing the journey with you on ARCore.”

Tango was introduced in 2014, and was an...

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

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.

$2.5 billion invested in AR/VR in 2017

2017 has been a bumper year in terms of investment for the AR/VR sector, and the pace of money coming in has picked up substantially in the last quarter.

According to the latest figures in Digi-Capital’s Augmented/Virtual Reality Report and Deals Database, startup leaders across 27 AR/VR sectors raised $1 billion in capital in Q4 2017. This brings total investment in 2017 to $2.5 billion in 2017, meaning that a whopping two-fifths of the total investment in the sector has come in October and...

By Colm Hebblethwaite, 14 December 2017, 0 comments. Categories: AR, Research.

Airbnb developing a VR property viewing solution

Airbnb is in the process of developing a VR/AR feature that will let users get a feel for rental properties.

The company wrote in a recent blog post that it wants to add 3D scans and 360 photos to its website, in order to allow people to get a better sense of the actual scale and layout of a property. VR has been on the company’s radar for at least year, with VP of engineering Mike Curtis saying in 2016 that the technology could be used to forge a closer connection between the company and its...

By Colm Hebblethwaite, 13 December 2017, 0 comments. Categories: AR, Brands.

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.

VR industry leaders launch world’s first ‘Academic Purpose’ bundle

VR First is a global initiative that aims to enable global innovation in VR/AR by providing creators, companies and governments with state-of-the-art facilities.

Now the group, along with a team of industry leaders, have announced the launch of the world’s first VR Academic Purpose bundle. This bundle consists of hardware, services and support from key players in the industry, and is designed specifically for academic research, development and innovation purposes.

The bundle will be made available to...

By Colm Hebblethwaite, 08 December 2017, 0 comments. Categories: Developers, Research.

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.