Pimax “8K” Surpasses Oculus Rift as Top VR Headset Kickstarter Project, $2.45M Raised So Far, by Scott Hayden

Pimax, the company aiming to deliver three flavors of its high field of view (FOV) headset via their Kickstarter, have recently blasted past the $2 million funding mark. With only a week left in the crowdfunding campaign and now more than $2.45 million to their name, the company has reached arguably a more important milestone: they’ve surpassed the original Oculus Rift Kickstarter, becoming the top funded VR headset campaign in existence.

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With Tiny Stereoscopic 360-Degree Camera, Live Planet Aims To Succeed Where Others Failed, by Ian Hamilton

Startup Live Planet plans to deliver its first cameras in December as part of an end-to-end stereoscopic 360-degree video platform aimed at making it easier for creators to stream live high-quality content.

Live Planet is led by serial entrepreneur Halsey Minor, who largely self-funded this company after a long track record at the start of businesses like CNET,  Salesforce and GrandCentral (which later became Google Voice). With 360-degree video, he’s intimately aware of the failures of other products on the market, including Nokia’s OZO, and aims to succeed through a combination of high-quality hardware and easy-to-use software.

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Kandao Obsidian VR Camera Triumphs in Excellent Product Design at the German Design Award 2018

SHENZHEN, China, Oct. 23, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — Kandao Technology, a Shenzhen-based leading VR camera manufacturer and solution provider, announced today that its flagship Obsidian 3D VR camera has been selected as a winner as the German Design Award 2018 in the Excellent Product Design category.

The German Design Award is one of the most prestigious design competitions in the world. Every year, only a select few products who are already recognized  worldwide with high design and quality standard are eligible for nomination by the German Design Council. The “winner” title is an award of excellence bestowed only on entries chosen by the jury from within each category.

From over 5,000 entries among various international participants, a judging panel of experts chose the Kandao Obsidian 3D VR camera as this year’s winner in the Excellent Product Design category. The panel described Obsidian as “surprisingly user-friendly” as users can operate it purely by instinct no matter how complicated the hardware and software inside are, it is truly a camera designed for VR content creators. This achievement marked Kandao Obsidian’s first nomination in this award. It is also the second international award received by Obsidian, following a previous award of “Best of Innovation Honoree” at CES 2017.

The Obsidian 3D VR camera was developed to enable innovative storytellers to create high-quality stereoscopic 360-degree videos for immersive virtual reality experience. It comes equipped with a deep learning based post-production software solution for stitching and depth map generation and offers up to 8K resolution 3D spherical videos, still image capturing capability and the addition of 3D 4K VR live streaming functionality.

With the product and technology, Kandao Technology makes every effort to explore new ways to apply VR in various industries, for example, VR in education, travel, live events, and the furniture, wedding, and real estate industries, to change the way how people feel and connect to the world.

Now, the Obsidian 3D VR camera is available for purchase worldwide at an official price of $6999.

Why the Pimax 8K headset could be a future game changer, by Sarah Redohl

Pimax

Successful kickstarter projects may be a rarity. But it would seem that the Pimax 8K VR headset is one project that is bucking the trend could offer real competition and innovation to boot.

The old adage “underpromise and overdeliver” doesn’t often apply to the tech industry, where impressive-sounding specs often outshine actual performance in headlines and companies raise millions in Kickstarter campaigns that don’t come to fruition.

But, every once in a while, an absurd sounding promise from an unknown manufacturer actually seems to pan out. Enter the Pimax 8K VR headset.

The new Pimax 8K headset makes a lot of promises. Among them, the headset promises to eliminate the screen door effect of existing headsets while nearly doubling the user’s field of view and reducing motion sickness.

On September 19, Pimax launched a Kickstarter campaign with a goal of $200,000, which it was able to reach within the campaign’s first few hours. At the time of this post, the campaign had raised more than $1.7 million from around 2,700 backers.

Although that’s certainly impressive, what’s more impressive is that, since CES 2017, Pimax has been showing off and shipping out its 8K headset to reviewers and what we’re hearing back is overwhelmingly positive: the Pimax 8K HMD truly feels like a next-gen headset.

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Lytro Launches Light-Field Tool Aimed at Animated Virtual Reality, by Carolyn Giardina

Its first demonstration short will be presented this week at the On the Lot confab.

 

Lytro, the Silicon Valley-based company that’s developing light-field based technology for Hollywood, is launching a new tool for the animation community to use to create virtual reality and other immersive experiences.

Describing it as a “virtual version of our physical cameras,” Lytro Cinema general manager Buzz Hays said the new Lytro Volume Tracer is light-field technology-based software designed to help animators get a quality level and realism closer to that of high-end animated features, but with near real-time rendering, bringing it more in line with the capabilities offered in a game engine.

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Nokia is halting development of the Ozo virtual reality camera

In a surprising statement, Nokia has halted development of the Ozo VR camera, laying off 310 employees, due to slower than expected development of the VR market.

Translation, “Sales are way down, mainly due to competitive pressure and the high price of the Ozo.”

Here’s the official word:

“In digital media, the slower-than-expected development of the VR market means that Nokia Technologies plans to reduce investments and focus more on technology licensing opportunities. The unit aims to halt development of further versions of the OZO VR camera and hardware, while maintaining commitments to existing customers.

The potential reductions are expected to affect up to 310 of the roughly 1090 employees in Nokia Technologies, mainly in Finland, the US and the UK. To start the process, Nokia today has invited employee representatives of Nokia Technologies in Finland to cooperation negotiations.

“Nokia Technologies is at a point where, with the right focus and investments, we can meaningfully grow our footprint in the digital health market, and we must seize that opportunity,” said Gregory Lee, president of Nokia Technologies. “While necessary, the changes will also affect our employees, and as a responsible company we are committed to providing the needed support to those affected.”

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Pimax VR Headsets Pass $1M in Funding After 5 Days on Kickstarter, by Scott Hayden

Pimax, the China-based VR headset manufacturer known for their 4K headset, have recently hit Kickstarter with their newest devices, the Pimax 8K and 5K VR headsets. Surpassing their initial goal of $200,000 within the first few hours, Pimax went on to gather a staggering $1 million in funding after only 5 days on the crowdfunding platform.

Despite the namesake, Pimax headsets aren’t actually 8K or 5K resolution, as they respectively feature dual 3840×2160 LCD panels and dual 2560×1440 OLED panels. These display resolutions are however higher than your standard Oculus Rift or HTC Vive, which is where some of the fanfare is coming from.

Arguably the biggest attraction is the headsets’ 200 degree field of view (FOV), which proved to be both impressive and helpful for peripheral awareness in our hands-on with an early prototype.

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Dreamscape Immersive Secures $20M AMC-Led Series B For Movie Theater VR, by David Jagneaux

Today VR startup Dreamscape Immersive announced via TechCrunch that they’d secured a Series B funding round of $20 million, led by AMC. The company previously gained funding from the likes of Steven Spielberg, Warner Bros., MGM, IMAX, and 21st Century Fox.

Most people that take the time and energy to really try VR and give it a chance see the potential, but getting headsets onto the faces of users is the biggest hurdle still. VR devices are bulky, expensive, and hard to come by, but millions of people go to the movies, even if that industry is struggling.

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France, Britain Lead Europe’s Foray Into VR Content Creation, by Elsa Keslassy

COURTESY OF REWIND/BBC

They’re already home to two of Europe’s most vibrant film industries. Now France and Britain are leading the way in the region in creating VR content.

Between them, the two countries have eight of the 22 titles competing in the upcoming Venice Film Festival’s new virtual-reality section — the world’s first competitive VR strand at a film festival. Add in an entrant apiece from Italy and Denmark, and the number of European titles in the competition exceeds that of the U.S.

“The VR industry is booming in Europe, which is great for all of us,” said Sol Rogers, CEO and founder of Rewind, the British creator of “Ghost in the Shell VR,” with U.S. banner Here Be Dragons, and “Home: A VR Spacewalk,” which just picked up an award at Cannes Lions.

A report in August identified 487 virtual-reality companies operating in Europe, up from the 300 recorded in February.

But in contrast with the U.S., where virtual-reality creation is mainly being funded by deep-pocketed corporations and private investors, the VR industry in France and Britain is being driven in large part by public broadcasters, TV channels, government institutions, independent producers and tech studios.

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The Keepers of VR, by Devar Ardalan

COURTESY OF WORLD OCEANS FESTIVAL

When I first met Jeff Olm, he told me about Under the Canopy, a VR film that was shot using moving cameras and drones in the Amazon. It felt surreal to mount the VR headset and descend into the rainforest, in full stereo might I add. I asked to learn more about the production and Olm sent me a series of links. I especially loved going behind-the-scenes with a sloth in VR.

Jeff Olm is a VR/AR creative director and also co-chair of the VR/AR Association’s Stories and Audiences Committee. Together with several other industry thought leaders, we recently published the Top 10 Virtual Reality Best Practices in an effort to capture into one source the rapidly evolving knowledge about VR.

The radically new experiences that the medium provides today have been decades in the making. As part of this living document, we seek to present not only our experiences with the hardware and software, but also to dig into the specifics of development and content production. This work is especially timely given that analysts are projecting VR will transform into a multi-billion dollar industry in the next decade.

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