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In The News

Always linked back to the source, these are lead-in snippets of recommended stories from around the globe about immersive tech. Feel free to comment and weigh in on what you think!

Why A Virtual Reality Web May Never Happen

By PamSwartz In The News

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A leading creator of VR web standards gives a no-nonsense interview on what’s standing in the way of the future.

By Mark Wilson

What if you could browse the web in virtual reality? Just imagine the potential. Hyperlinks could take you not to Wikipedia pages about history, but right to the landscapes of ancient cultures, immersing you in plagues and art and war. Recipe sites could give you smell-o-vision cooking simulations. Message boards could become face-to-face chats. The web as we know it could become tangible, interactive, and more immersive than ever.

In fact, you can browse a VR web today—if you own an Oculus, HTC Vive, or Samsung Gear headset. But there’s a catch. It’s not very good. And it’s not what you’d call a “web.”

Casey Yee, UX design engineer at Mozilla, is the first to admit its shortcomings. His six-person team has created the WebVR Standard, a JavaScript standard that allows normal websites, with the push of a button, to transform into incredible 3-D landscapes that you experience in VR.

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Sony Corp (ADR) PlayStation VR Bundles Sells out Instantly on Amazon.com, Inc. (AMZN)

By PamSwartz In The News

The headset is carrying immense hype since the price announcement

By Jawwad Iqbal

Sony Corp.’s (NYSE:SNE) PlayStation VR headset bundle was finally made available for preorder on Amazon but to the surprise and unfortunate luck of many, the preorder button didn’t even see the light of the day for five minutes. As spotted by Release.com, the headset sold out within four minutes of availability, which is insane.

Even though it was previously announced as to exactly when the preorders would open up and we had assumed as much that the headset would sell out quickly, but four minutes? That’s breaking expectations. PlayStation VR’s launch day shipments also sold pretty quickly at EB Games Australia, soon after preorders opened up.

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FOVE, Inc. Raises $11 Million in Series A Funding

By PamSwartz In The News

Funding led by Colopl VR Fund, with participation of Hon Hai venture capital fund, 2020, and Samsung Venture Investment to Reinforce Mass Production, R&D, and Content Acquisition

FOVE, Inc. (FOVE), the world’s first eye-tracking Virtual Reality headset company, today announced that it has raised US$11 million in a Series A funding led by Colopl VR Fund with the participation of Hon Hai venture capital fund, 2020, and Samsung Venture Investment.

This Smart News Release features multimedia. View the full release here: http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20160322006667/en/

The FOVE head-mounted display (HMD), which features the world’s first eye-tracking technology, orientation sensing, and head position tracking, enables users to experience high precision control and a more immersive and natural interaction with the virtual characters.

The additional funding will enhance FOVE’s strategic collaboration with Investment Companies and support its goal of accelerating mass production of the device in the Fall of 2016. It will also strengthen the company’s mid- to long-term R&D capabilities and reinforce business support in VR content creation featuring eye-tracking technology.

Investors in the Series A round include:

  • The Colopl VR Fund – totaling $50M – was established by COLOPL Inc. and COLOPL NEXT, Inc. (COLOPL, Inc.’s 100% investment business subsidiary), focusing specifically on VR. As recently announced, the FOVE platform will be operating in over 7,500 Internet cafes in Korea and Japan, expanding the VR experience to more users than ever before. In addition, the companies will invest in products that are compatible with FOVE HMDs, such as eye-tracking VR experiences developed by COLOPL, Inc.
  • The support of 2020, a Hon Hai venture capital focused on novel technology, which will facilitate plans for the mass production of FOVE products in the new product category of VR HMDs.

“Taking the VR experience one step further, we are thrilled to have the support of COLOPL, Hon Hai and Samsung. This will help us achieve our goal of creating a more pleasing VR experience that will have a lasting impact on the growing number of users interested in eye-tracking technology.” says Yuka Kojima, FOVE, Inc.’s CEO and co-founder.

What is FOVE?

FOVE is a cutting-edge VR headset, the first in the world to have integrated eye-tracking, in addition to head- and position-tracking. The user’s gaze allows FOVE to offer:

  • Pleasant and long VR experiences with minimal simulation sickness
  • A more natural image by blurring unfocused peripheral areas
  • Lifelike communication through eye-contact with other VR players
  • Entirely new, subconscious UI operations using eyesight
  • Foveated rendering; a technique that reduces the GPU burden in areas where the user is not looking

The VR industry still has many issues to resolve, but FOVE’s improvements on past VR products provides a stepping stone for future VR experiences.

For Press

High resolution pictures and logos can be found here. Please see FOVE’s Facebook, Twitter or Website for further company information.

MULTIMEDIA AVAILABLE:http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20160322006667/en/

Contact:
PR Contacts
FOVE, Inc.
Tomoaki Hirata, +81(70)-2802-7215
info@fove-inc.com

When will virtual reality win an Oscar?

By PamSwartz In The News

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By Cara McGoogan

The Oscars tipped its hat to technological development in 2016 when it awarded Ex Machina the golden statue for Best Visual Effects.

The film’s charm rests on robot Ava, who seduces Caleb, played by Domhnall Gleeson, and the audience with her anthropomorphic charm. The VFX that replaced Alicia Vikander’s, who played Ava, body parts into a mesh of wires and metal helped the film beat tough competition from blockbuster hits Star Wars: The Force Awakens, The Martian and The Revenant.

“Every year the artists and the cinematographers push forward the boundaries of what seems possible,” said Simon Robinson, chief scientist at the Foundry, which makes software that was used in the post-production of all the films nominated in the VFX category this year. “Every year the output is slightly better than the previous year.”

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Virtual reality ‘heroin cave’ aimed at helping addicts kick habit

By PamSwartz In The News

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By Amanda Orr

HOUSTON (Reuters) – Addicts in a new study at the University of Houston will strap on virtual reality headsets and navigate a “heroin cave” to help them try and kick their addictions.

Researchers are looking to see if making their way through a simulated house party crammed with stimuli aimed at evoking cravings for the drug will help better equip those who suffer from addiction to do so in the real world.

The heroin environments, a house party where the drug is snorted and one where it is injected, took nearly a year to complete to ensure realism, its creators said.

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Could the next PlayStation be a glove and a visor?

By PamSwartz In The News

sonyvr

Arjun Kharpal

Sony has been awarded a patent for a glove which can interact with games in virtual reality (VR) and outlined plans for a cloud-based gaming system, which could be a competitor to its own PlayStation consoles.

The Japanese electronics giant was granted the patent by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) on February 25 and it outlines how a “glove interface object” with sensors on it to track the movement of the hand, could connect with a processor and head mounted display. The hand would be rendered in virtual reality with a user able to see it via the headset.

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This Is Why Apple Needs to Embrace VR

By PamSwartz In The News

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If low-cost VR headsets help drive sales of rival smartphones, I can’t see Apple hanging back too long.

By Tim Bajarin

One of the more obvious MWC trends was virtual reality. Samsung made a strong push for its Gear VR headset and LG got into the game with its own 360-degree headset.

My sources believe Samsung now has an edge over Apple and most of the competition because its $99 headset is more powerful than Google Cardboard. Plus, the tie-in with Galaxy devices will help it sell more smartphones, a tactic LG seems to be trying, too.

Early research suggests interest in VR headsets tied to smartphones is very high. Although they’re nowhere near as powerful as Sony’s PlayStation VR or Facebook’s Oculus Rift, they do deliver what I would call a semi-immersive VR experience; training wheels for VR, in a sense. If Samsung and LG can use VR headsets to drive more interest and sales of their smartphones, one has to wonder if Apple should follow suit?

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Gallery: A First Look At Samsung’s Gear 360 Camera

By PamSwartz In The News

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The mobile 360-degree camera is a portable recording orb

By Dave Gershgorn

Samsung rounded out its virtual reality hardware set at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, by announcing the Gear 360, a new mobile 360 degree camera. The orb is meant to be used with Samsung’s Galaxy S7 or S7 Edge and the company’s virtual reality headset, the Gear VR. It has two 15 megapixel cameras, to capture 3840×1920 video, or 30 megapixel still images. Samsung hasn’t announced the pricing, or which other smartphones it will work with, but the company has said that it will be a relatively affordable accessory like the Gear VR, which sits at $99.

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Virtual reality: The difference between a $20 and $1100 VR headset

By PamSwartz In The News

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How Google Cardboard, Samsung Gear VR, HTC Vive and Oculus Rift compare

By Anand Ram

At technology shows like this week’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, there’s a good chance an oddly shaped visor will be strapped to your head and pressed against your eyes in an effort to make your mouth drop wide open.

The virtual reality renaissance is already here. And for the budding VR industry, this year could mean the difference between winning or withering away.

Winning means convincing a lot of people — not just to smile or gasp or laugh, but to walk away with a readiness to spend money — perhaps hundreds of dollars — and bring that experience home.

Facebook, Google and Samsung are just a few of the big companies hoping to do that, at prices ranging from $20 to more than $800. But how do these experiences differ — and are they worth the price?

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Virtual reality gear is turning heads at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona

By PamSwartz In The News, Uncategorized

mwc

By John Everington

BARCELONA // Virtual reality launches are turning heads at this year’s Mobile World Congress, with the market set to be worth up to US$3.6 billion by 2018.

High-profile VR launches by Samsung and LG this year coincide with a growing take-up of the technology in the UAE, with the Samsung Gear VR headset experiencing a steady sales growth.

VR technology was at the heart of Samsung’s press conference on Sunday evening, with attendees donning the Gear VR headset to witness the unveiling of the company’s new flagship Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge handsets.

The Korean giant also unveiled its 360 camera, which can capture 360-degree images and video, also offering live streaming. The camera is expected to hit the shops during the second quarter, at a price “less than a GoPro”, said a Samsung representative.

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