Augmented Reality & Virtual Reality News



UI researchers to demonstrate virtual-reality headsets to Congress

UI researchers to demonstrate virtual-reality headsets to Congress

Researchers with UI Health Care and the Veterans Administration will demonstrate their virtual-reality headset to Congress today. Michael Wall, a University of Iowa professor of neuro-ophthalmology, will demonstrate to Congress the creation of a virtual-reality headset that will allow access to testing for people with degenerative eye conditions. The Veteran’s Administration gave a grant to the research project four years ago, Wall said. The device will improve veterans’ lives by making visual testing and monitoring available in many different venues, such as waiting rooms, outreach clinics, and in patient’s homes, according to a press release from the VA.
Virtual Vikings: how volumetric capture is making VR feel real

Virtual Vikings: how volumetric capture is making VR feel real

There's never been a better time to be a VR enthusiast. With the increased presence of standalone, wireless headsets, plus the advanced motion tracking and screen resolutions to make VR experiences vaguely in sync with our body’s own senses, we’re now reaching a point where VR simulations are starting to feel, if not real, certainly more realistic than they used to be. We’re still far from the Matrix, however. Developers are still trying to get around basic physical issues like motion sickness and eye strain, while the kinds of human character models generated for VR game engines – or any game engine, for that matter – are anything but lifelike.
Bitmain Revives IPO Plan as Bitcoin Hits One-Year High

Bitmain Revives IPO Plan as Bitcoin Hits One-Year High

Bitmain Technologies Ltd., the world’s biggest producer of cryptocurrency mining chips, is reviving plans for an initial public offering as Bitcoin climbs to a one-year high, people with knowledge of the matter said. The company is working with advisers on preparations for a U.S. share sale that could take place as soon as the second half of this year, the people said. Bitmain aims to file listing documents with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission as soon as next month, the people said, asking not to be identified because the information is private.
Unity makes it easier to insert augmented reality into native mobile apps

Unity makes it easier to insert augmented reality into native mobile apps

Unity Technologies has launched an update that makes it easier to insert augmented reality features into native mobile apps and games. The update for Unity 2019.3 comes after Unity announced its AR Foundation tool that enables game developers to quickly create AR software that can run on both Android and iOS devices. Unity 2019.3 has added support for using Unity as a library controlled by native Android/Java and iOS/Objective C apps so developers can easily insert AR and other Unity features. “We know there are times when developers using native platform technologies (like Android/Java and iOS/Objective C) want to include features powered by Unity in their apps and games,”
ARTISTS ARE USING VIRTUAL REALITY TO CONVEY THE PERILS OF CLIMATE CHANGE

ARTISTS ARE USING VIRTUAL REALITY TO CONVEY THE PERILS OF CLIMATE CHANGE

Climate change is here but not everyone can feel the impact yet. Some artists are turning to virtual reality to help audiences better “experience” it. While climate scientists have warned about the effects of specific increases in the average global temperature, translating such numbers into something that people feel more viscerally has been a challenge, notes Nadine Kuhla von Bergmann, managing director of Creative Climate Cities, a Berlin-based consultancy that promotes climate change awareness and sustainable urban development. “Mobilizing people to fight the climate crisis is only successful if the impact on their daily lives is well-explained and illustrated,” she says. “Art triggers emotions which numbers usually don’t… and VR art is powerful.”
Against Gravity is building a VR world that won’t stop growing

Against Gravity is building a VR world that won’t stop growing

The quest to create a social auditorium in virtual reality has eaten many VC dollars over the years. While plenty of contenders have emerged, it’s likely Against Gravity’s Rec Room has been the most creative in its approach to capturing a niche market while plotting how to build a sustainable business based on users in VR headsets talking to one another. The Seattle startup has told TechCrunch exclusively that it has bagged $24 million over two rounds of funding. The studio’s Series A was led by Sequoia and their Series B, which just recently closed, was led by Index Ventures . Against Gravity has a bevy of top investors that also participated in the rounds, including First Round Capital, Maveron, Anorak Ventures, Acequia Capital, Betaworks and DAG Ventures.
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos Checks Out HaptX And Their VR Gloves

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos Checks Out HaptX And Their VR Gloves

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos literally went “hands-on” with the future of robotics  this past week during Amazon’s inaugural re:MARS conference in Las Vegas, NV. During a quick pop-in at the HaptX booth, the billionaire tech entrepreneur tried out the company’s new two-handed robotic system that uses a combination of VR gloves, haptics, and sensors to give you the ability to feel objects in VR anywhere in the world. The bimanual (performed with both hands) system is the first major advancement to the companies original HaptX VR glove, which—at the time—was capable of supporting only a single hand.
HTC’s launches Vive Pro Eye in North America at a massive discount

HTC’s launches Vive Pro Eye in North America at a massive discount

HTC today launched its latest and greatest virtual reality headset, the Vive Pro Eye, to the North American market. The new device features Tobii eye-tracking, which gives the headset two keen features: users can navigate menus just by looking at things, and foveated rendering. Navigating menus, selecting items, or even triggering animations by making eye contact with on-screen characters sounds pretty cool, but foveated rendering is a game-changer.
Qualcomm enables ‘XR smart viewer’ augmented reality smartphone apps

Qualcomm enables ‘XR smart viewer’ augmented reality smartphone apps

Qualcomm has unveiled a new Qualcomm Snapdragon XR Smart Viewer reference design that makes it easier for hardware companies to create lightweight augmented reality glasses. Qualcomm made the announcement ahead of the Augmented World Expo (AWE) event in Santa Clara, California. With this design, AR glasses can become smart viewers for AR content that is stored on a smartphone. Inside these glasses, very little to no processing is happening. The lightweight glasses have high-resolution displays, as well as sensors that can track movement, hands, and eyes. But the glasses are connected via a wire to a smartphone or a computing puck. The processing happens in a device that is connected to the glasses, said Hugo Swart, head of XR at Qualcomm, in an interview with GamesBeat.
Oculus Venues Gives You Courtside Seats in Virtual Reality—and Forces You to Put Down Your Phone

Oculus Venues Gives You Courtside Seats in Virtual Reality—and Forces You to Put Down Your Phone

elt like some character from a canned Black Mirror episode: alone in my boxers on a Sunday night, with a bulky silver headset strapped to my face, a joystick in one hand and a Bud Light in the other. But inside the goggles, I was courtside at a Magic–Cavs game, next to a 16-year-old grocery bagger with virtual blue sunglasses and a virtual blond Afro. His online alias: Slim Shady. Last year, the NBA and Oculus ran a commercial featuring Adam Levine and Jonah Hill watching the Warriors in their respective homes while their look-alike avatars sat beside each other in VR, nodding, moving their mouths, and waving their hands.
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