VR is the fastest growing skill for freelancers in Q2 2017

VR skills are becoming an increasingly desirable as more and more companies begin to invest heavily in the technology, according to freelancing website Upwork.

As the money, attention and ideas begin to flow into the VR space, there are still relatively few workers who specialise in the skills needed to produce content and hardware.

The company’s quarterly Upwork Skills Index ranks the 20 fastest growing skills amongst freelancers in the US job market. Tech-related skills make up 65% of...

By Colm Hebblethwaite, 02 August 2017, 0 comments. Categories: Applications, Data & Analytics, Developers.

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.

Decentraland combines VR with blockchain to create a metaverse

There are currently two extremely hyped up technologies that have experts fervently proclaiming how the they are going to change everything from education to international governance.

One is VR and the other is blockchain, or distributed ledger technology.

Blockchains are essentially decentralised networks that are both publicly verifiable and unchangeable. When a transaction is registered on a blockchain, it is registered across all computers in the network and cannot be retroactively altered.

Proponents of...

By Colm Hebblethwaite, 31 July 2017, 0 comments. Categories: Ecosystems, Platforms.

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.

Academic study explores VR’s effectiveness in marketing

Aside from gaming and training, marketing and advertising is perhaps the area where VR’s transformative potential has business tongues wagging.

The technology’s ability to immerse consumers in branded experiences or allow them to explore products more comprehensively before purchase is widely heralded, but at this point still largely theoretical.

Researchers at Milano-Bicocca University have analysed the experience users had while having a VR experience. The users tried Urban Up – Milan...

By Colm Hebblethwaite, 26 July 2017, 0 comments. Categories: Research.

New workflow allows spatial audio mixing in VR

German tech start-up Dear Reality has announced its Spatial Connect, a workflow that allows for the live mixing of spatial audio in VR and AR.

The mixing of spatial audio can be done with any common Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) connected to HTC Vive or Oculus Rift. By allowing developers to position and mix sound objects directly in their created environments using the device’s controllers, Dear Reality claim their system is more intuitive then using a mouse.

“If you want to mix for VR, you...

By Colm Hebblethwaite, 25 July 2017, 0 comments. Categories: Developers.

Pitchfork to launch VR music channel

Online music journalist site Pitchfork has announced a partnership with VR content distributor Inception.

The pair are hoping to use VR to ‘revolutionaries the market for a new generation of music fans’. The partnership wants to add a degree of interactivity and impressiveness to the music video space.  

The new channel will be found on Inception’s VR app, where users will be able to enjoy VR experiences from musicians and artists.

“Inception is a double threat — both a...

By Colm Hebblethwaite, 24 July 2017, 0 comments. Categories: Brands.

AR moves by big players set stage for rapid growth in consumer and enterprise apps

The AR app market for both consumers and enterprises is set for rapid growth as big technology players like Apple begin to make substantial moves, according to The VR Fund.

The Silicon Valley-based venture capital firm thinks that Apples’ and Facebooks recent activity is set to fuel a ‘platform war’. The firm has released its industry landscape for Q2 2017, and is predicting overall growth in the industry, as well as increased investment and international impact.

“Over the past...

By Colm Hebblethwaite, 24 July 2017, 0 comments. Categories: AR, Brands.

Immersive content coming to podcast platform

PodcastOne has announced that it will be launching a new mobile app that will allow fans to access special VR events.

The advertiser-supported podcast network, which boasts over 200 shows and 1.5 billion downloads a year, has partnered with MANDT VR to bring a loyalty program rewards that rewards users with virtual currency.

This virtual currency can then be used to access discounts and premium, such as special events in VR.  

"The launch of our new PodcastOne mobile app is a milestone for our company,...

By Colm Hebblethwaite, 21 July 2017, 0 comments. Categories: Applications.

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.

Disney and Lenovo producing AR headset

Lenovo has announced that it is collaborating with Disney on a new AR headset.

The headset will be released in conjunction with the upcoming AR experience Star Wars: Jedi Challenges.

The product puts fans of the all-conquering space opera the opportunity to relive some of their favourite moments from the films from an entirely new perspective.

 Aside from the fact that the project exists, nothing else is known about the new headset, including whether it will be...

By Colm Hebblethwaite, 17 July 2017, 0 comments. Categories: AR, Hardware.

Facebook rumoured to be planning $200 wireless headset for 2018

Facebook could be heading for an ‘iPhone movement’ if a Bloomberg report claiming the company plans a relatively cheap, wireless VR headset for 2018 are true.

The report claims that Facebook and its VR branch Oculus are betting that the new headset will popularise VR in the mind of consumers, like the iPhone heralded the smartphone age.

The plans are for the headset to retail at around...

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

Samsung announces VR partnership with Major League Baseball

Samsung Canada has announced that it will be partnering with Major League Baseball (MLB) to provide VR experiences for fans.

The two companies will provide immersive access to players, ballparks and key moments that take place during the rest of the 2017 season.

There will be a series of over 20 videos that will be available for viewing on the Samsung VR app.

The videos will focus on the Toronto Blue Jays and their centre fielder Kevin Pillar, who will be the subject of the exclusive behind-the-scenes...

By Colm Hebblethwaite, 13 July 2017, 0 comments. Categories: Samsung.

Intel positions itself at the head of the Blockbuster VR tie-in trend

Intel has emerged as a key player in the growing market for creating VR experiences based around major motion pictures.

The company has teamed up with Warner Bros. for VR experience based on the upcoming Nolan epic, ‘Dunkirk’. The company also worked with Sony Pictures on a VR tie-in for the critically acclaimed ‘Spiderman: Homecoming’, which was released July 7.

 “We believe personal computing is radically evolving to become capable of experiences hardly believable today,...

By Colm Hebblethwaite, 12 July 2017, 0 comments. Categories: Advertising.

Oculus price drop: what the media is saying

The price of Facebook’s flagship VR hardware, the Oculus Rift, has been reduced for the second time this year.

In a sales event dubbed the ‘Summer of Rift’ the price of the hardware and its Touch controller has been dropped to $399. This is half the price that the bundle was being sold for five months and $100 lower then then previous price drop in March.

The announcement has prompted a deluge of reaction from the...

By Colm Hebblethwaite, 11 July 2017, 0 comments. Categories: Brands, Hardware.

Google Blocks lets users create 3D objects in VR

Google has released a new app for HTC Vive and Oculus Rift that allows users to create 3D objects easily and quickly.

The app is designed to remove the need for complex software and a specific skillset with regrads to the creation of VR and AR experiences.

In a blog post, group product manager Jason Toff, wrote:

“It’s designed to feel more like playing with children’s blocks than working with traditional 3D modeling software. Starting with a simple set of shapes, a color palette, and an...

By Colm Hebblethwaite, 07 July 2017, 0 comments. Categories: Applications.

BBC launches VR app

BBC Taster has announced the release of a free mobile VR app for Android and iOS.

The content on the BBC Taster VR app is currently made up of a trailer from the broadcasting company’s online channel, BBC Three, as well as 360 videos from its David Attenborough-led global blockbuster Planet Earth II.

The app aims to put the BBC’s early and experimental ideas regrading immersive content in the hands of its audiences.

The content set to feature on the app will include animations, VR, interactive 360...

By Colm Hebblethwaite, 06 July 2017, 0 comments. Categories: Applications, Brands.

Hand gesture recognition without the need for 3D sensors

The technical aspects of bringing mobile VR have long been frustrating developers. Chief among the challenges of bringing VR to the smartphone-owning masses is how to track the motion of users without the need for bulky hardware add-ons such as sensors.  

Clay VR has launched its solution to this key problem, with its SDK for VR/AR game developers. Users of apps using SDK will be able to see their hands and use them to interact with virtual worlds, using only the phones built-in...

By Colm Hebblethwaite, 05 July 2017, 0 comments. Categories: Developers.

Apps and accessories are biggest barrier to VR/AR

A study of 3,000 consumers across the US, UK and Germany has revealed that the need for additional software, apps and hardware is currently the biggest barrier to consumer adoption of VR/AR.

The study, carried out by marketing agency Vibrant Media, asked people what they thought was preventing them from experiencing VR and AR ads.

The highest ranked barrier was the need to spend money on additional products and services.

“Content providers that require additional hardware to...

By Colm Hebblethwaite, 03 July 2017, 0 comments. Categories: Advertising.