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6 Companies Aiming to Cut the Cord on High-end VR Headsets

Today’s most immersive virtual reality systems, like the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive, rely on a bothersome tether to send power and high fidelity imagery to the headset at low latency. But everyone agrees a dangling cable is not only annoying, it’s an immersion detractor. The demand for a solution to this issue has spurred the creation of no less than seven solutions (and counting) hoping to make a wireless link between the high-end host PC and the headset. Update (4/28/17, 1:31PM PT): When this article was originally published we hadn’t heard back from TPCAST. The company has since reached out to tell us more about their approach to wireless VR in their own words, and we’ve added that information…

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Adobe Shows Method to Create Volumetric VR Video From Flat 360 Captures

With a new technique, Adobe wants to turn normal monoscopic 360-degree video into a more immersive 3D experience, complete with a level of depth information that promises to give the user the ability to shift their physical vantage point in a way currently only possible with special volumetric cameras—and all with your off-the-shelf 360 camera rig. Announced by Adobe’s head of research Gavin Miller at National Association of Broadcasters Show (NAB) in Las Vegas this week and originally reported as a Variety exclusive, the new software technique aims to bring six degree of freedom (6-DoF) to your bog standard monoscopic 360-degree video, meaning you’ll not only be able to look left, right, up and down, but also be able to move your head naturally…

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‘Gears of War’ Creator Cliff Bleszinski Wants to Make a Big Budget VR Game

If you don’t already know Cliff Bleszinski from his involvement with the Unreal Tournament and Gears of War franchises, you may remember him from Oculus’ 2012 Kickstarter video. Now under the banner of his own studio, Boss Key Productions, Bleszinski says he’s been seeking funding to develop a big budget VR title. According to Gamasutra, who watched long time game designer address attendees of the Reboot Develop conference in Dubrovnik, Croatia, Bleszinski says he’s been into VR since the ’80s and hopes that this latest resurgence of the tech will be the time that it succeeds. Bleszinski indeed believes in the technology. In fact, he personally invested in Oculus, and was among a number of high-profile gaming industry vets to…

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‘Batman: Arkham VR’ Launches on Vive and Rift

Batman: Arkham VR (2016) is one of PlayStation VR’s top games, and an exclusive too. Now, developer Rocksteady has announced that it will soon launch the game on the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift. Update (4/25/17, 2:53PM PT): Batman: Arkham VR has launched on both SteamVR and Oculus Home. The SteamVR version supports both the Vive and Rift, while the Home version (of course) supports the Rift. Initial customer ratings on SteamVR indicates much the same as we found in our review of the PSVR version: very good content but much shorter than we’d have liked, with a number of buyers unhappy with the length:price ratio. On Steam, the game presently holds a 79% positive rating, while on Oculus it…

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Google Nominates Top AR/VR Apps for 2017 Play Awards

This year’s 2017 Google Play Awards include new categories for top VR and AR apps, to which Google has nominated five apps each. The award ceremony will take place on Thursday, May 18th at 6:30PM PT during Google I/O, the company’s annual developer festival. Ever since the reveal of Google Daydream at last year’s I/O event, and the launch of the first Daydream phone and headset late last year, Google has been making a big push for VR on Android. Among 12 categories, the company had added two new ‘Best Experience’ categories for AR and VR to the Google Play Awards 2017. Nominees were selected much like last year by cross-functional teams throughout Google who work hand-in-hand with the relevant…

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Shot on Lytro’s Light-field Camera, ‘Hallelujah’ Is a Stunning Mix of Volumetric Film and Audio

Hallelujah is a new experience by VR film studio Within that’s captured using Lytro’s latest Immerge light-field camera which captures volumetric footage that makes for a much more immersive experience than traditional 360 video. Hallelujah is a performance of Leonard Cohen’s 1984 song of the same name, and mixes the latest in VR film capture technology with superb spatial audio to form a stunning experience. Photo courtesy Lytro Lytro’s Immerge camera is unlike any 360 camera you’ve seen before. Instead of shooting individual ‘flat’ frames, the Immerge camera has a huge array of cameras which gather many views of the same scene, data which is crunched by special software to recreate the actual shape of the environment around the camera. The…

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Oculus Teases Unreleased ‘Quill’ Animation Tools

Oculus Story Studio Art Director Goro Fujita has teased an unreleased build of the Quill VR paint app with experimental animation features. Released earlier this year, Quill allows users to create still 3D drawings in VR. Using the new animation tools Fujita shows what the app’s animation tools can do. Update (4/22/17, 12:37PM PT): Oculus has reached out to clarify that artist Goro Fujita is actually Art Director at Oculus Story Studio. The original version of this article (now updated) stated that Fujita was still with his former employer, Dreamworks Animation. Original Article (4/21/17): Oculus Story Studio, the company’s VR film division, built Quill initially as an internal tool for creating the VR film Dear Angelica. The film surrounds viewers in a hand-painted world…

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Oculus ‘Medium’ 1.1 Update Brings Major Improvements

On April 12th, Oculus Medium received the 1.1 ‘Large’ update, which added several highly-requested features, including the ability to import reference images. Medium is Oculus’ flagship creative tool for the Touch motion controllers, recognised for its intuitive sculpting and modelling features. Debuted at Oculus Connect 2 in September 2015, and bundled free with Oculus Touch controllers at the hardware launch in December 2016, Medium achieved its goal of delivering an accessible 3D modelling tool for the masses by emulating real-world clay sculpting, being more intuitive and approachable than professional software like ZBrush. But Medium also appealed to the pros, keen to integrate the tool with their workflow, resulting in a long list of feature requests. (function(d, s, id) { var…

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Watch the First 10 Minutes of ‘Rick and Morty: Virtual Rick-ality’

Rick and Morty: Virtual Rick-ality (2017) is finally here, launching today on HTC Vive and Oculus Rift. And yes, it’s all the wonderful weirdness of the show mixed in with some seriously fun object interaction courtesy of the game’s spiritual predecessor, Job Simulator (2016). Rick and Morty: Virtual Rick-ality was created by Owlchemy Labs and Adult Swim Games. Voiced by show creator Justin Roiland, the VR game is everything Rick and Morty fans need to calm their nerves before the rest of season 3 comes out later this summer. *insert ‘blaze 4/20’ joke here* If you’re looking for an extended look at the game or more information, check out our full review here to find out why we gave it a 9/10. The…

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Facebook is Researching Brain-Computer Interfaces, “Just the Kind of Interface AR Needs”

Regina Dugan, VP of Engineering at Facebook’s Building 8 skunkworks and former head of DARPA, took the stage today at F8, the company’s annual developer conference, to highlight some of the research into brain-computer interfaces going on at the world’s most far-reaching social network. While it’s still early days, Facebook wants to start solving some of the AR input problem today by using tech that will essentially read your mind. 6 months in the making, Facebook has assembled a team of more than 60 scientists, engineers and system integrators specialized in machine learning methods for decoding speech and language, in optical neuroimaging systems, and “the most advanced neural prosthesis in the world,” all in effort to crack the question: How do people…