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.

Vive Studios and Immersion launch VR interior design app

Vivie Studios, the content development arm of HTC Vive, has partnered with Immersion to launch interior design app, TrueScale.

The app is able to simultaneously create 2D floor plans, 3D mockups and room-scale VR environments. Users can design their apartments or offices and then experience and explore their design in VR to make sure that it is exactly what they are looking for before committing to actually creating it.

Interestingly, the app makes use of US-based ecommerce site Wayfair’s 3D model API,...

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

Microsoft and University of Washington bring Minority Report to reality

In case you don’t remember Minority Report, the 2002 film starring Tom Cruise and directed by Steven Spielberg, the film featured a police officers using immersive interfaces to record and manipulate crime scene data.

At the time, the idea seemed to the far future of sci-fi. But 15 years later, it looks like the technology could be with us sooner then we think.

Entered into Micorsoft’s Design Expo 2017, students from the University of Washington Interactive Design Program are envisioning the...

By Colm Hebblethwaite, 24 October 2017, 0 comments. Categories: Microsoft.

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.

Adobe launches immersive tool to edit sound in VR

Adobe has announced Project SonicScape, a prototype tool that allows VR/AR editors and developers to better edit sound within 3D environments.

Demoed at the company’s Adobe Max conference, the tool allows developers and editors to visualise ambisonic audio within a spherical VR video using coloured bubbles. This way of visualising sound data in this way makes it easy to align sound with specific parts of the video.

An Adobe spokesperson told TechCrunch:

“Project SonicScape takes the...

By Colm Hebblethwaite, 20 October 2017, 0 comments. Categories: Applications, Developers.

Magic Leap has now raised $1.8 billion – but still hasn’t revealed what it’s working on

Magic Leap, the mysterious still-in-stealth company that is developing an AR headset, has announced that it has raised $502 million in Series D equity funding.

This means that the company, which was founded in 2011, has now secured over a gargantuan $1.8 billion in funding. What makes all of this so interesting is that the company has yet to give any public indication of what it is doing or what the end product might be like.

The latest round of funding was led by the Singapore investment firm Tamesek...

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

VR to usher in the age of ‘empathy training’

Businesses are built on relationships between employees and customers, but it is the quality of those relationships that can be the difference between growth and stagnation.

A business that cannot create and sustain positive relationships with the people it relies on to give it money is not likely to last long. This has led a lot of companies to try and give their employees the tools they need to build fruitful relationships.

Now, it looks like VR could be a crucial tool in empathy-building game.

Empathy...

By Colm Hebblethwaite, 16 October 2017, 0 comments. Categories: Enterprise.

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.

Oculus partner with Immerse to provide training for world’s largest logistics company

VR’s potential for enterprise training has been well-touted. The technology is about to take a big step into actual real-world use cases with a big new partnership with DHL.

The world’s largest logistics company has announced that it will working with Oculus and British VR startup Immerse to build what it hopes will be a pioneering ‘virtual learning world’.

The global initiative was announced by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and VR leader Hugo Barra at the Oculus Connect 4 conference...

By Colm Hebblethwaite, 12 October 2017, 0 comments. Categories: Enterprise.

VR brings our 30,000-year old Homo sapiens ancestors back in 3D for the first time

VR animation by Visual Science

Technology continues to bring the history of our planet and our species into dazzlingly sharp relief. What before was a murky and often hard to conceptualise swamp is fast becoming a beautiful and detailed panorama.

Now, Visual Science is using VR to bring us face to face to with our distant ancestors. Partnering with the RAS Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology, the company has reconstructed the faces of the Sungir...

By Colm Hebblethwaite, 11 October 2017, 0 comments. Categories: Research.

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.

VR heat maps offer detailed insights for architects, designers and retailers

For those that are in charge of designing spaces that are going to be used for commercial and public activities, VR looks set to greatly enhance the design process. Utilising the technology, designers and retailers can tailor their designs by virtually walking through them, changing colour schemes and materials as they go.

Now, Yulio technologies, has given architects, designers and retailers another VR tool to help them optimise their designs for the people that are actually going to use the spaces they...

By Colm Hebblethwaite, 05 October 2017, 0 comments. Categories: Applications, Enterprise.