Report: Facebook to Launch Oculus Go Standalone Headset at F8 Developer Conference, by Scott Hayden

Oculus Go, the company’s upcoming $200 standalone VR headset, doesn’t have an official release date yet, but a recent report from Variety contends Oculus will be launching Go at Facebook’s f8 developer conference this May.

Variety cites “multiple sources familiar with the company’s plans,” although a Facebook spokesperson declined to comment when asked to confirm.

In short, Oculus Go is essentially a standalone version of Samsung Gear VR, a mobile VR headset featuring rotational-only tracking (3DOF) for both the headset and the controller. Starting at $200, Oculus Go is however much cheaper than Gear VR‘s total price, which requires not only a $130 headset/controller, but also a compatible Samsung smartphone to drive it.

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Walking in another’s virtual shoes: Do 360-degree video news stories generate empathy in viewers? by Dan Archer and Katharina Finger

Does immersion yield empathy? The aim of this report is to address the question of whether news media—in this instance, short-form journalistic stories—presented in a 360-degree video format affects a user’s empathetic response to the material. If so, what might the advantage of such a response be, and could it include improvement in a viewer’s ability to recall the content over time or a resulting behavioral change? Naturally, part of the study will deconstruct what we mean by such a nebulous term as “empathetic” and how exactly it can be measured.

The study both investigates if particular audiences are likely to respond empathetically to certain narratives and analyzes the component parts of immersive experiences—comfort level, interactivity, and perceived amount of user agency—that contribute to producing an empathetic response. It also aims to answer whether the virtual reality (VR) format is better suited to particular stories or audiences, as well as the potential for unintended, antithetical effects in this embryonic medium such as a user’s perception of personal space invasion or the feeling that they are not looking in the right direction.1

Results from our study of 180 people viewing five-minute treatments comprised of either 360-degree video or text articles monitored user reactions and their sense of immersion on the day of their first exposure to the narrative treatment, as well as two and five weeks later.

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MK2 to Equip VR Venues Around the World… by Elsa Keslassy


One year after launching Europe’s first and biggest VR space, MK2 is set to start commercializing VR plug-and-play equipment for global exhibitors who are looking to launch VR venues in theaters, museums, and institutions, among other places

Called the MK2 VR Pod, the equipment which MK2 will be distributing worldwide is considered to be an “end-to-end premium and white-labeled product line,” the company said.

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VR is still a novelty, but Google’s light-field technology could make it serious art, by Rachel Metz

Google’s light-field camera includes 16 GoPro cameras arranged in an arc on top of a tripod; the whole thing can spin in a circle. GOOGLE

I recently got a private tour of a NASA space shuttle’s cockpit, a quirky mosaic-covered LA home, and a peaceful chapel with light streaming through ornate stained-glass windows—all without leaving my chair.

That chair was in an office at Google’s Silicon Valley headquarters, and I was wearing an HTC Vive virtual-reality headset on my face. But because these places were filmed with a high-resolution prototype camera that reproduces some of the key cues we use to understand depth in the real world, it felt more like actually being there than anything I’ve experienced with any other live-action VR. Which is to say it was pretty damn cool.

I could peer around the seats in the space shuttle Discovery, revealing buttons and switches on the walls of the cockpit that were previously obscured. As I looked closely at mirrored bits of tile on the outside of the mosaic house, I glimpsed reflections of other tiles in the background and saw a dizzying display of shapes and patterns. In the chapel, I gazed at the floor, and the colorful sunbeams moved as I did.

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How Travis Cloyd became a VR film visionary, by Dean Takahashi

Travis Cloyd started making virtual reality films three years ago, and he has made four of them so far. That record was enough to earn him the award for VR Visionary at the Cinequest film festival in San Jose, California. That’s because VR is such a young medium, and Hollywood storytellers like Cloyd are still experimenting with how to do these films.

At Cinequest, Cloyd showed off his VR film that promotes the new Nicholas Cage movie, The Humanity Bureau. It’s a dystopian science fiction thriller set in the year 2030, when a massive recession and global warming catastrophe forces society to get rid of its unproductive members. The 2D film debuts on April 6.

Cloyd has also created VR promo films for John Travolta’s upcoming Speed Kills and the Wesley Snipes film The Recall. At Cinequest, Cloyd won Best VR Feature Film for Speed Kills and Best Sci-Fi VR Film for The Humanity Bureau.

With those VR films, Cloyd had to work around the schedule and production for the 2D films, and he also had to figure out how to place the cameras so they captured 360-degree action — without making viewers seasick.

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Bose is carving out $50 million for startups using its new audio-focused AR tech, by Jonathan Shieber

The high-end audio technology company Bose is getting into the augmented reality game with a new product and a $50 million fund devoted to startups that will develop services for its new platform.

While most of the industry is focused on a visually augmented experience, Bose is most concerned with the intersection of sound and vision.

The Bose AR prototype, which was unveiled at South by Southwest in Austin this year, will use visual information captured by the glasses and add contextually relevant audio information to its wearer.

Bose’s AR kit is a “wafer-thin” acoustics package that the company hopes can be added to headphones, eyewear, helmets and other wearables to give a new spin on reality “augmentation”. The company said the new technology can be controlled with voice commands, head gestures, and simple touch gestures.

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Ethereum Cryptocurrency VR/AR Connection: WHAT IS ETHEREUM?

As cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology become more mainstream, I am noticing a connection to virtual reality and augmented reality ventures. I am becoming more fascinated with how this trend is developing. If you are also interested in the subject, here is an intriguing article about Ethereum:

At its most basic, Ethereum is an open-source software platform based on blockchain technology. This platform enables developers to build and deploy decentralized applications (dapps) like Status or Metamask on it. All of this is possible because of a breakthrough in blockchain technology (as popularized by Bitcoin), and then Ethereum came along with some new ideas.

As the two biggest cryptocurrencies (by market cap), Bitcoin and Ethereum often get mentioned in the same sentence. For the uninitiated, understanding what Ethereum is and how it differs from Bitcoin can be difficult.

On the official website under the tagline “build unstoppable applications”, you will find the following description of Ethereum:

A decentralized platform that runs smart contracts: applications that run exactly as programmed without any possibility of downtime, censorship, fraud or third-party interference.

Another common description of Ethereum is that it’s intended to become a “world computer”.

If none of the above makes complete sense to you, don’t worry, that’s the purpose of this article. Think of this as Ethereum 101, wherein we answer all the most important Ethereum-related questions, chart its history, provide some technical explanations, discuss pros & cons, and lay out what the future might look like.

If you’re completely new to cryptocurrency, it may be useful to get acquainted with some essential cryptocurrency terms first.

As a starting point, let’s think of Ethereum as Bitcoin’s multi-talented, more versatile younger sibling. Let’s go!

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Lucyd Aims to Capture Budding Augmented Reality Market and Take it to the Next Level

Lucyd has kicked off its LCD token sale in pursuit of its goal to decentralize augmented reality (AR) development. The project aims to design the next generation of smart glasses, which will be lightweight, ergonomic, wire-free, and comfortable.

Do you remember the craze Pokémon Go sparked a year ago? Mobile games like this are the perfect example of how augmented reality (AR) applications enter our life. The speed of AR development in the next few years may become dizzying and research company Greenlight Insights forecasts that the AR market will reach around $36.4 billion by 2023.

Any company that catches the hype will grow along with the market.

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Animatrik Partners With Lifelike & Believable To Create Immersive Real-Time VR Experiences, by Peter Graham

To make in game characters more lifelike virtual reality (VR) developers use motion capture technology from the likes of IKinema or Vicon. Today, independent motion capture studio Animatrik has announced a new partnership with Lifelike & Believable to enhance its digital character pipeline and create immersive real-time VR experiences.

Having delivered high-end motion capture for both feature films and video games; such as Spider-Man: Homecoming, Gears of War, Justice League, and Oscar-winning immersive VR experience Carne y Arena, Animatrik will bolster its existing virtual production pipeline with the VR processes usually outsourced to videogame development studios.

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Turning David Attenborough into a hologram requires a lot of cameras, by Matt Burgess

Credit: Hold the World

David Attenborough is no stranger to innovation in the media. “I remember when I was only one of three people who could see colour TV,” the 91-year-old says. So when he was placed inside a 106-camera rig at Microsoft’s Seattle headquarters, it was nothing out of the ordinary. The purpose? To create a hologram version of Attenborough.

Using volumetric scanning – where multiple video feeds are compressed to create a 3D object – the presenter has been ported into virtual reality. Before Attenborough was flown out to the US, members of the production team collected some of his familiar blue shirts and wore them in front of the cameras to test the light setup. “It’s quite weird,” he says.

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