Apple’s AR is closer to reality than Google’s, by Vlad Savov

Apple has often been accused of acting like it invented things that others have been doing for years. That complaint is not without merit, however Apple can lay claim to transformingexisting things into mainstream successes, which takes no small amount of invention in its own right. Fingerprint authentication and contactless payments are just two recent examples, having both existed in Japan and on niche devices for over a decade before Apple raised them to global prominence with the iPhone.

Next up on Apple’s agenda is augmented reality, the act of superimposing digital data and visuals atop a live video feed of your surroundings — something that Google, Microsoft, and many others have been experimenting with for a long time. Apple is far from being able to claim it invented AR, but its new ARKit in iOS 11 is already showing signs to suggest that Apple will help bring AR into the mainstream faster and better than anyone else.

 

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LucidCam VR camera lets you see the world through other people’s eyes, by Dean Takahashi

LucidVR‘s mission is to let you see the world through other people’s eyes. It’s a lofty goal, and the Santa Clara, Calif.-based company is getting the ball rolling with preorders for its LucidCam virtual reality camera, starting today.

LucidCam has two lenses that capture 3D space in true stereoscopic fashion. It has a 180-degree viewing angle, which means it can take images that appear to be in 3D based on your own field of vision. The LucidCam can basically see what you see. (A later version will capture 360-degree images, stitched together from three LucidCams).

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Tate Modern Uses Virtual Reality to Recreate Modigliani’s Early 20th Century Paris, by Jonathan Vanian

A visiter tries a pair of HTC’s Vive Virtual Reality (VR) goggles, during the annual Computex computer exhibition in Taipei, Taiwan June 1, 2016. Tyrone Siu — Reuters

A new exhibit at the Tate Modern gallery in London is getting some virtual reality love.

HTC, the Taiwanese smartphone manufacturer and maker of the Vive VR headset, said Monday that it has partnered with Tate Modern on an upcoming exhibit featuring the works of painter and sculptor Amedeo Clemente Modigliani that will be accompanied by a new VR project.

The company said the VR exhibit is based on “elements of early twentieth century Paris” and incorporates “archival material and new research to bring [Modigliani’s] historical context to life.”

The smartphone company didn’t elaborate on the specifics of the new VR exhibit, only to say that museum visitors will be able to see a “fresh perspective into Modigliani’s life and influences” and parts of Paris that inspired the contemporary of Pablo Picasso and Juan Gris.

The BBC reports that the new exhibit will be the first time Tate Modern has used virtual reality technology. A museum curator told the BBC, “By using VR we want to feel closer to Paris as a city, the exhibition is about feeling connected with a particular place.”

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A new startup from Nokia employees is trying to fix VR’s biggest technical problem, by Sean O’Kane

One of the biggest limitations of current virtual reality technology — whether you’re talking about Samsung’s mobile Gear VR or a full home system like the Oculus Rift — is resolution. And progress toward solving this problem is slow, because companies making VR headsets are at the mercy of advances in display technology.

A new company led by former Nokia and Microsoft product managers aims to slash that wait by using a clever crossing of existing hardware and carefully executed software. Today, they’re opening up for the first time about the company they’re building, called Varjo.

Urho Konttori, the CEO and co-founder of Varjo, used to work on flagship products like the Nokia N9, and Microsoft’s Lumia phones. Varjo’s imaging lead used to worked on camera technology for both Nokia and Intel. Another co-founder was once Nokia’s head of imaging. So it’s no surprise the first goal for Varjo is to make a physical product: a high-end headset capable of both virtual and augmented reality.

That might not sound unique when Facebook, Samsung, Google, and other giant technology companies are already working on VR and / or AR headsets. What will set Varjo’s version apart is how it will enable what the company is referring to as “human eye resolution” — what they say is some 70 times the clarity of current VR headsets.

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This is the GoPro Fusion: the company’s all-in-one VR camera, by James Trew

Image Credit: AOL
GoPro surprised everybody when it teased its “Fusion” 360-degree action camera back in April. Mostly because GoPro rarely teases anything (Karma, perhaps being the exception), preferring to show up out of nowhere with a glossy release video and launch event. The half-reveal didn’t tell us much, just that there was a camera coming in the fall, it had a resolution of 5.2K, a feature called “OverCapture” that would allow you to “punch out” a regular video from the spherical capture and well, that was kinda it.

Today the company is willing to show a lot more leg, as it were. In fact, GoPro is using the Mountain Games (which it sponsors) as a platform to show it to the world for the first time. We’re here, and we’re getting the chance to check it out for ourselves to see if it really is the “ultimate GoPro.” In the meantime, here’s a first look at the actual device itself.

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Meet SONICAM: The World’s First Affordable 3D Virtual Reality Camera, by Kathleen Villaluz

The world around us is vibrant and exciting simply because it’s dynamic and three-dimensional. Sometimes, capturing 2D images and videos with your smartphone or DSLR camera just doesn’t do the scene any justice. But that’s all about to change as this virtual reality camera called SONICAMenables users to capture both 2D and 3D videos and images in full 360 degrees. It’s the world’s first affordable, high-quality VR camera.

Capture vivid moments

SONICAM is a professional, spherical VR camera with 9 fish-eye cameras, 64 microphones, 4K HD resolution, and 360 degrees field of view. The combination of these features in one single device means that users can film any scenes vividly without any blind spots or image distortion.

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Apple’s new iMacs have better screens, USB-C, and VR support, by Chaim Gartenberg

Apple has announced updates to its iMac line at WWDC, giving its all-in-one desktop more powerful specifications and the latest Intel chips.

Apple is bringing Intel’s 7th generation Kaby Lake processors to the new iMac, along with what Apple calls “the best Mac display ever,” offering 500 nits of brightness, or 43 percent brighter than the previous generation. The 21.5-inch model now can be configured up to 32GB of RAM, while the 27-inch goes up to 64GB, twice what had previously been offered. The new iMacs also are getting two Thunderbolt 3 USB-C ports, making it Apple’s first desktop computer to embrace the port standard.

Graphics cards are getting a spec boost in the updated iMacs, too. The entry level 21.5-inch model will have an Intel Iris Plus 640 GPU, while the 4K 21.5-inch models will get Radeon Pro 555 and 560 graphics cards. Meanwhile, the 27-inch 5K model will have a choice of Radeon Pro 570, 575, and 580 graphics cards, topping out at 8GB of VRAM. (The top model Radeon Pro 580 is roughly equivalent to an Nvidia 1060) Those new GPUs, along with updates in macOS High Sierra, also means that the new iMacs will support VR.

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