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News About Virtual Reality and Immersive Media Technology

HoloLens Doesn't Mean Microsoft Won't Also Do VR

"The games industry is always a place for innovation."

Source: GameSpot | March 2015

Minecraft on HoloLensIn January, Microsoft revealed HoloLens, an augmented reality headset that blends your digital life with the real world. The reveal video even showed off how it might be used to play Minecraft, which Microsoft acquired last year for $2.5 billion. It's a different type of technology with a different focus compared to the virtual reality headset we've seen from Oculus, Sony's Morpheus, and the recently revealed Vive from Valve and HTC. However, Head of Xbox Phil Spencer said that HoloLens doesn't prevent Microsoft from getting into virtual reality in the future.

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Sony Targets 2016 For ‘Project Morpheus’ VR on PS4

Source: Wired | March 2015

Project MorpheusSony unveiled a new, much-enhanced prototype of its Project Morpheus virtual reality hardware for PlayStation 4 at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco on Tuesday, saying that it intended to release the peripheral in the first half of 2016.

The new Morpheus prototype features a number of improvements over the original version that Sony demonstrated at last year’s GDC...

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With virtual reality blowing up, first VR accelerator unveils initial 13 startups

Source: VentureBeat | January 2015

VR StartupIt seems everyone’s got an accelerator these days. You’ve got the blue-chip models, like Y Combinator, and the big-money backed efforts, like Disney’s. Now, the initial batch of companies in what could be the first virtual reality accelerator have been announced.

With virtual reality systems like Oculus Rift as well as Microsoft’s new HoloLens, and Magic Leap getting so much attention these days, developers are swarming to the new technology. And now, some of them are getting the kind of early-stage help that could, they hope, make them successful.

With projects such as a system that creates 360-degree VR imagery, a headset that uses eye-tracking to build immersive experiences, and an embedded-in-VR journalism project, the 13 startups were the first group that Rothenberg Ventures’ River selected for its accelerator.

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A Quick Peek at the Future of Wearable Displays and Inputs

Source: Leap Motion Blog | January 2015

Gen 3 HMDWhat does the future of VR technology actually look like? No one knows, but one thing is clear – today’s devices are merely stepping stones along the way to experiences more wonderful and surreal than we can possibly imagine.

Last week at SFHTML5, Leap Motion CTO David Holz shared his educated guess on what we’ll see with upcoming generations of virtual reality headsets and sensors. Along the way, he talks about what Leap Motion needs to achieve for truly seamless VR hand controls.

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Hands-on: Microsoft’s HoloLens is flat-out magical

2015: The year that sci-fi becomes real

Source: Ars Technica | January 2015

The HoloLens headsetFor the second time in as many months, I feel like I've taken a step into the world of science fiction—and for the second time in as many months, it's Microsoft who put me there.

I had a tantalizingly brief experience of Microsoft's HoloLens system, a headset that creates a fusion of virtual images and the real world. While production HoloLens systems will be self-contained and cord-free, the developer units we used had a large compute unit worn on a neck strap and an umbilical cord for power. The dev kits were heavy, unwieldy, fragile, and didn't really fit on or around my glasses.

But even with this clumsy hardware, the experience was nothing short of magical.

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Razer Reveals Open-Source VR Headset, the OSVR

$200 device to ship in June; Open software platform supports numerous engines and middleware

Source: GameSpot | January 2015

Razer OSVR headsetGaming tech firm Razer has revealed its answer to the Oculus Rift--a $200 virtual reality headset with head-tracking capabilities and a 1080x1920 display. Known as the OSVR headset, the open-source dev kit can work with "all VR devices, including the Oculus DK 2," meaning that engines and software built with Oculus in mind are theoretically supported.

Razer says the OSVR will be released, at least as a dev kit, in June 2015. It carries two 5.5-inch displays, as well as a 100-degree field-of-view, and internal sensors for head tracking (accelerometer, gyroscope, and compass).

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Hands-on time with the Oculus Crescent Bay headset

Source: Ars Technica | January 2015

Oculus Crescent BayVisually Crescent Bay looks miles ahead of the Development Kit 2. The “screen door effect”—the visible grid pattern of pixels that show up in front of the wearer’s eyes—is drastically reduced (though it’s not altogether absent). Oculus hasn't announced the resolution or refresh rate of Crescent Bay, but the display is at least 1440p (likely a 2650x1440 pixel panel, providing 1280x1440 pixels per eye). The extra resolution was hugely noticeable—as was the vastly decreased weight of the Crescent Bay headset versus the draggy, heavy DK2.

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Microsoft Plans A Virtual Reality Headset For Xbox One To Compete With The Oculus Rift

Source: Business Insider | December 2014

Xbox OneWe've known for some time now that Microsoft has been at least exploring virtual reality. But it looks like Microsoft has moved forward and has actually created an Xbox One virtual reality headset like the Oculus Rift.

Microsoft has even given the mysterious Xbox One VR headset to some game developers, according to VRFocus.

While there's no information on the design of the headset or the type of games being developed, Microsoft is rumored to officially announce the VR headset at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in June.

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Samsung doesn't know where virtual reality is headed, but it has a plan

The company wants to get an army of developers behind its Gear VR platform as fast as possible

Source: The Verge | November 2014

SamsungPerhaps by the sheer force of its market power alone, Samsung immediately became one of the top contenders in the virtual reality space earlier this year when it announced Gear VR — a headset powered by Samsung’s Note 4 smartphone, built in conjunction with Oculus. Samsung appears poised to break its silence at its second annual developers conference, which kicks off today in San Francisco. VR will be a major topic of conversation, and the company is counting on developers to help build the case for the Gear VR — and virtual reality in general.

"For virtual reality to really cross into the mainstream, it's gotta be more than just really awesome, killer games," Samsung’s VR vice president Nick DiCarlo says. "What is the most important use case in VR? We haven't figured it out yet, but there are lots of ideas."

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Why Virtual Reality Will Break Out in 2015

Source: Cantech Letter | November 2014

Samsung Gear VRVirtual Reality (VR) is about to become mainstream and could be a $7 billion market by 2018.

Numerous head-mounted displays are in development (but not commercially available) with Facebook’s Oculus, Samsung, and Sony leading the pack, and Nintendo not far behind.

If Samsung’s Gear VR remains wireless, it could dominate the mobile gaming space since 78% of the world’s 1.2 billion gamers are mobile. Oculus could evolve into Facebook’s next generation social networking platform in addition to providing interactive immersive play for Facebook’s 1.3 billion subscribers

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Avegant Raises More Than $9 Million to Beam Video Directly to Eyeballs

Source: Wall Street Journal | November 2014

Avegant GlyphThe funding was led by Intel Capital and NHN Investment, which is based in Seoul, South Korea. The deal will be announced at the Intel Capital Summit on Tuesday.

Avegant is in some ways similar to Oculus VR Inc., which Facebook Inc.FB +0.45% acquired earlier this year for about $2 billion because of its virtual reality goggles, which had a following among gamers.

But the technology is quite different...

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Magic Leap Could Be Oculus Rift Killer

Source: Tom's Guide | October 2014

Magic Leap elephantOculus Rift might want to be looking over its virtual (and real) shoulder. Magic Leap, a new startup backed by Google, plans to put augmented reality projections into the physical world. The company has announced that it has raised a staggering $542 million in second-round financing.

The Fort Lauderdale, Florida-based company has landed some fairly big names in the world of tech investors, including Google. And it's little wonder, considering some of the claims the company makes. CEO Rony Abovitz characterized the hardware as a lightweight wearable that will project artificial, but realistic images onto your retina, changing your perception of your actual environment.

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Inside Seattle's invitation-only VR summit

Source: Engadget | October 2014

Seattle's VR summitTech aficionados have been flocking to Seattle's Living Computer Museum for the past few years to get up close and personal with relics from computer technology's past. For one night earlier this month, nearly two dozen exhibitors filled the museum's first floor for SEA VR, an invite-only event meant to highlight some of the field's biggest names and showcase the VR community.

Envelop VR played host for the evening, in part, to introduce itself. The new company is looking to both develop its own VR software and help other companies come to grips with what CEO Bob Berry called the next great wave of computing. In gathering some of the VR community's brightest stars to the Pacific Northwest, the hope, he said, is to establish the Seattle area as a VR hub.

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Inside The Galaxy Note 4's Virtual Reality Ambitions

Source: Gizmodo | October 2014

Samsung Gear VR and Galaxy Note 4The Samsung Galaxy Note 4 is now the best big phone you can buy, but it's also something more. It's the first smartphone designed with virtual reality in mind — just slot it into the Gear VR headset and a whole new world opens up. I say "the first" because I learned something intriguing at Oculus Connect last month: Samsung is planning to build more.

That's right: the Gear VR isn't a stunt to garner publicity and sell a few more Notes. Samsung is serious about virtual reality. That headset, and the Note 4, are just the beginning.

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Virtual reality and the silver screen: A match made in heaven

Oculus is developing software for watching movies, and it's one of the best VR experiences out there.

Source: CNET | October 2014

Oculus CinemaVirtual reality can transport you to distant space to participate in an epic starship battle, or it can drop you in the ocean, with sharks swimming all around.

For the past two years, developers large and small have been toiling away hoping to create the app that becomes synonymous with VR and helps the technology really take off -- its "killer app".

That may have already happened, and it isn't a game, a panoramic photo application or a calming simulation of a beach scene; it's movies. As VR technology begins its march to store shelves, manufacturers like Oculus are recognizing the potential for their immersive technologies to deliver the works of Hollywood.

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Carl Zeiss Showcases VR ONE headset, Under $100, Due By Christmas

Just add one smartphone. Oh, and write your own apps.

Source: AndroidHeadlines | October 2014

VR ONE headsetDo you have a brilliant virtual reality application that simply needs the right platform? Perhaps as a developer you have a few modern smartphones and don’t want to drop $1,000 on the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 and the Samsung Gear VR for one or two applications? Then perhaps Carl Zeiss have the answer with their recently announced VR ONE “viewfinder” virtual reality headset. It’s now on preorder at $99 and should ship by Christmas.

For applications, Carl Zeiss is leaving this open to the community.

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Move over fanboys: Samsung pushing virtual reality to enterprise

Corporate potential for Oculus headsets and smartwatches.

Source: CRN Australia | September 2014

Gear VRSouth Korean electronics giant Samsung launched four devices at an event at the Sydney Opera House last week. The biggest talking point at the function was the Samsung Gear VR, a virtual reality headset based on Oculus Rift technology. The goggles – essentially a housing into which the user can slot into their Galaxy Note 4.

Craig Gledhill, Samsung's vice president, regional enterprise business, told CRN that the vendor was already speaking to corporate end users about real-world applications.

"We see some sectors, especially education and health, have a strong interest in this virtual reality tech. We are exploring building software for education purposes, health, engineering, architecture – they all think they could use VR."

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5 Roadblocks to Virtual Reality Becoming Mainstream

Source: Mashable | September 2014

Oculus Rift in actionFor more than 25 years, one iteration or the next of virtual reality has been touted as a life-altering technological breakthrough. At the first Oculus Rift developers conference, attendees saw how far its creators have come in pursuit of an outstanding virtual reality platform.

But virtual reality still has a long way to go before it's ready for consumers, and its biggest proponents know it, too. During Oculus Connect, the company's top brass talked about the issues virtual reality still struggles with, and how they might be solvable. While there could potentially be solutions for each problem, they won't be tackled overnight.

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The story behind Gear VR, and why Oculus wants to go mobile

Gear VR is a surprisingly compelling experience

Source: Gamasutra | September 2014

Gear VR demos at Oculus Connect"Mobile VR is not a joke."

These are the words of 20-year VR veteran Jesse Schell after trying Samsung Gear VR, the headset the Korean electronics giant has created in partnership with Oculus VR. Before trying the Gear VR, his estimation, well... it was lower: "I suspect that for most people the novelty factor is going to wear off pretty quick."

It's true; hands-on with the Gear VR is a surprisingly compelling experience -- and much closer in capability to what you get when using a "real" Oculus headset than you might expect.

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Qualcomm sets sights on smart glasses

Vurforia augmented reality platform expanding into wearables market

Source: U-T San Diego | September 2014

Epson Moverio BT-200 smartglassesWhile Google Glass has garnered most of the headlines in the computer eyewear market for its mostly consumer-focused device, other companies are pursuing the technology for business uses like worker training, equipment repair and aiding general aviation pilots.

At Qualcomm’s Uplinq conference this week, Michael Leyva handed a pair of Epson Moverio BT-200 smartglasses to a visitor and directed him to look at an industrial water pump about 4 feet way.

After a couple of seconds, the glasses recognized the pump. That triggered a 3-D virtual image overlaid on the actual pump. The virtual image gave step-by-step instructions for how to take the pump apart — beginning with an animated wrench loosening bolts.

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How do you make a good virtual reality game? Oculus developers meet to find out

Source: CNET | September 2014

Project Morpheus controllersJames Iliff's team had hit a wall.

He and his team at Survios, a startup Iliff co-founded devoted to virtual reality, were trying to find a way to create a VR game where the movements of a player's hands, feet and body in the real world were mirrored in a digital playground.

The technology already worked in a space about the size of an area rug, called the play space, allowing gamers to move around, grab various items off a digital table and duck behind boxes they saw on the screens attached to their faces.

But there was a hitch. Survios needed to figure out how to help players walk from place to place, but without moving too much in the real world...

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You can now attach your iPad directly to your face to experience virtual reality

AirVR wants to turn your iPad Mini and iPhone 6 Plus into portable virtual reality goggles

Source: The Verge | September 2014

AirVRIt was only a matter of time. The iPad has been adapted for all sorts of intriguing and surprising purposes over the years. Meanwhile, a number of enterprising organizations and individuals have sought to create makeshift virtual reality goggles out of people's readily available mobile devices (e.g. Google Cardboard). Now the two trends have converged: AirVR is a Kickstarter project from Toronto design firm Metatecture that seeks $20,000 in funding from backers to create an inexpensive headset for converting your iPad Mini (Retina) or soon-to-be-delivered iPhone 6 Plus into a portable virtual reality viewer...

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Seeing is Believing: The State of Virtual Reality

Source: The Verge | September 2014

VR userThe promise of virtual reality has always been enormous. Put on these goggles, go nowhere, and be transported anywhere. It’s the same escapism peddled by drugs, alcohol, sex, and art — throw off the shackles of the mundane through a metaphysical transportation to an altered state. It’s man meets machine, but what happens is strictly within the mind.

The concept of an alternative existence has been pawed at for centuries — but the closest modern ancestor came to life in the fifties, when a handful of visionaries saw the possibility for watching things on a screen that never ends, but the technology wasn’t yet good enough to justify the idea. Then, two years ago, Palmer Luckey, a kid born during the waning days of VR’s late-20th-century golden era, put the pieces together using improved technology ...

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AltspaceVR Wants to Bring the 2-D Social Web Into 3-D Virtual Reality

Source: re/code | September 2014

Oculus Rift usersAt a gathering of virtual reality developers in Mountain View, Calif., last night, AltSpaceVR CEO Eric Romo couldn’t help but comment on the irony: The group organizing the event, Silicon Valley Virtual Reality, was doing something virtual reality could not.

People come to physical meetups, Romo told the crowd, because “we want to feel connected to other people.”

The technology is still a ways off, but AltSpaceVR is one of a slew of companies trying to make socializing in VR more like real reality, and said Thursday that it had raised $5.2 million in seed funding to do so.

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FOVE Uses Eye Tracking To Make Virtual Reality More Immersive

Source: TechCrunch | September 2014

FOVE launchFOVE wants to ramp up the virtual reality experience by creating the world’s first consumer-oriented headmount display to use eye tracking.

Fove’s name comes from the words “field of view” and “fovea,” or the part of the eye that is responsible for sharp central vision. FOVE’s virtual world looks different from other virtual reality systems, which have entire scenes in sharp focus, by replicating the depth of field you see in the real world. It does this by tracking the users’ gaze and determining where in 3D space he or she is looking. Then its graphics engine adjusts focus.

FOVE makes it possible for users to do things like make eye contact with characters in games or aim weapons much more quickly than with a mouse or keyboard. By the time a FOVE user has reacted to another character, they are already aiming at it.

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Trading 'presence' for untethered virtual reality: Gear VR versus Oculus Rift

Source: Engadget | September 2014

Samsung Gear VR vs. Oculus RiftStanding up and moving around with a virtual reality headset is risky. What if you walk into a table? Or step on your dog? Or bash your face into the wall? Standing up and moving around while wearing Samsung and Oculus VR's Gear VR headset isn't suggested. But when you put it on, seated, and turn your whole body around to look behind your virtual self, and no cords get in the way, that's a magical experience ...

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Q&A: Carmack reveals the challenges of mobile VR game development

Brace yourself: Android setup and development really does suck

Source: Gamasutra | September 2014

Samsung Gear VRLast week Samsung formally revealed its Gear VR headset, which was developed in close partnership with the folks at Oculus VR. When it debuts later this year, it will be the first of the new crop of VR headsets sold explicitly to consumers -- and the first opportunity for developers to sell their VR games on a mobile app store.

Gamasutra spoke to Oculus CTO John Carmack to better understand Oculus' plans for mobile VR ...

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Samsung Gear VR first look

Samsung's first shot at virtual reality, with some help from Oculus, is off to an interesting start

Source: AndroidCentral | September 2014

Samsung Gear VRSome say that virtual reality is the next frontier in gaming, and Samsung is getting in on the ground floor with its just-announced Gear VR headset. Powered by Samsung's latest big flagship device, the Galaxy Note 4, the Gear VR provides a more immersive (albeit low-resolution) experience than you typical game on a big screen TV or even a theater by strapping a screen mere inches from your eyes.

There's no doubt at this point that Samsung's getting serious about consumer-facing virtual reality with the introduction of the Gear VR. How this gets positioned, how much it costs and how quickly the content choices expand may make or break its initial release ...

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Making Sense of Big Data With Virtual Reality And The Unconscious Mind

Source: Forbes | August 2014

Oculus Rift DK2 - now for the MacWhen numbers are too large, the mind struggles to make sense of them. If, instead of a single number, you deal with large datasets, it’s difficult to find meaningful patterns that characterize them. It’s what’s happening now, in all kind of disciplines, from astronomy to neuroscience, archaeology, history or economics: every single minute, the world generates 1.7 million billion bytes of data, equal to 360,000 DVDs. How can we make sense of it? In fact, we largely don’t. Our mind alone, even with the help of computers, is simply not equipped to take on this challenge.

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You can now build Oculus Rift VR apps for the Mac

Source: Engadget | August 2014

Oculus Rift DK2 - now for the MacNow that the new Oculus Rift is in customers' hands, the Facebook-owned VR company has been working even harder on things like its SDK. With the latest release, version 0.4.1, the SDK now officially supports OS X computers. In other words, this means Oculus Rift owners can start using their Mac desktop or laptop to take a trip down virtual reality lane -- aka build/test applications."

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Why Oculus sees virtual reality as the “final compute platform”

Source: Ars Technica | August 2014

Virtual Reality controlsIn announcing its $2 billion acquisition of Oculus back in March, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg made it clear that he felt virtual reality was computing's "platform of tomorrow," which would soon supplant the handheld mobile devices dominating the tech space today. In a recent interview with Ars, though, Oculus CEO Brendan Iribe suggested that Zuckerberg might not have gone far enough, saying that virtual reality "actually may be the final compute platform."

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Oculus Rift DK2 Gets Torn Apart, Revealing Its Samsung Innards

Source: TechCrunch | July 2014

Inside Oculus RiftYou may not be able to get your hands on the very-much-backordered second generation Oculus Rift, but you know who did? iFixit — the guys who tear apart pretty much every device they can get their hands on to get a better look at the hamster wheels inside.

So what’d they find?

It’s pretty much all good news — especially for people who like to repair things on their own.

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NEXT GALAXY Corp. Teams up with EON REALITY to Create Social Virtual Reality Platform for Facebook's Oculus Rift

Source: Wall Street Journal | July 2014

Oculus RiftNext Galaxy Corp., a technology and content solutions company, announced that it has entered into an agreement with EON Reality to create CEEK – a fully immersive and interactive social virtual reality platform that simulates the communal experience of being at a movie, music concert, sports game, museum, business conference or meeting, spectator event or travel destination. The CEEK platform is being developed for the Oculus Rift with support for other head mounted displays such as the ZEISS Cinemizer and Sony's Project Morpheus.

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The battle for virtual reality: Google, Samsung, Sony and Oculus VR

Source: Engadget | July 2014

Sony MorpheusBack in June, Google revealed Cardboard: an open-source attempt at mobile virtual reality. Heck, even the "hardware" is open source -- make your own, right now!

But the concept is more than a low-tech solution to mobile VR. It's emblematic of Google's approach to virtual reality: use the phone that's already in your pocket. Samsung's taking the same approach later this year with Gear VR, only it's also partnering with Oculus VR on the software side.

This stands in stark contrast to the PC-dependent, ultra-high-res experience Oculus VR and Facebook are aiming to achieve. The Oculus Rift headset both literally and figuratively kickstarted the re-birth of virtual reality in modern technology. It remains the peak of technological achievement in virtual reality. And now, the medium is splintering into two distinct futures: one of entertainment, the other of immersion.

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Scientists use wireless Oculus Rift to create real life holodeck

Source: Sploid | July 2014

HolodeckScientists at the Max-Planck-Institut in Germany have created the closest thing we have to a real life holodeck using a wireless Oculus Rift and multiple cameras distributed inside a 32-foot by 32-foot room. Of course, it's still far away from Star Trek, but it works.

Subjects in the lab wear markers and are tracked down to the nearest millimeter using infra-red cameras and markers with the same technology used in cinema for motion capture. The system knows exactly where they are, where they are headed and where they are looking. This takes it well beyond the capabilities of the current Oculus Rift.

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How the makers of Second Life are using VR to build the next generation of virtual worlds

Source: PCWorld | July 2014

Second Life scene"We're not really here to talk about the future too much, but I'm going to tell you that our biggest investment by far will be a next-generation virtual world. Something in the spirit of Second Life."

I'm sitting at Linden Lab ready to see Second Life running on an Oculus Rift and suddenly I'm being thrown into something totally different by company CEO Ebbe Altberg—something far crazier.

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The Oculus Rift meat puppets are here

How would it feel to control a real person in virtual reality? The Pretender Project is a rough sketch

Source: The Verge | July 2014

The Pretender ProjectBody swapping is a dream of both science fiction and present-day virtual reality. What would it be like to spend a day as a model, or a rock star, or a child? Designer Yifei Chai wants his Pretender Project to answer that very question. But in the process, he's learning how hard it can be to condense a collective cultural dream into a real project.

Visit the Royal College of Art to see Chai's project, and you might be asked to don a pair of Oculus Rift virtual reality goggles and stand in front of a Kinect. Suddenly, you'll be seeing out of someone else's eyes — the eyes of your "avatar," probably Chai. Put your hand up, and an electric current will lift his too. Bend your elbow, and his will follow, clumsily. It's not just imitation. It's a reflex, like a dead frog's legs twitching when you shock it.

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Misled Memories

Virtual reality is ready to manipulate your emotions.

Source: Mashable | June 2014

Use of forceI'm standing on the roof of a building in the middle of the night. Below me, framed in bright lights, a man is being beaten to death. The sounds are hard to make out, but he screams as officers surround him, kick his body, tase him.

The woman next to me jumps up and down, crying, imploring the officers to stop attacking the man. "He's not resisting!"

I'm watching Anastasio Hernandez Rojas die, after he illegally crossed the U.S.-Mexico border in 2010.

Except the scene isn't live. Nor is it a video recording. It's somewhere, eerily, in between. It's a virtual reality representation, based on real events.

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Oculus Rift announces its first VR development conference

Oculus Connect will run September 19-20, hosting keynotes from John Carmack and more.

Source: Ars Technica | July 2014

Oculus ConnectHot on a hiring and spending spree, Oculus VR, the creators of the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset, announced its first-ever development conference on Monday. Dubbed Oculus Connect, the September 19-20 conference will overtake Los Angeles' Loews Hotel to "bring together engineers, designers, and creatives from around the world to share and collaborate in the interest of creating the best virtual reality experiences possible."

Staffers such as CTO (and id Software pioneer) John Carmack, founder Palmer Luckey, CEO Brendan Iribe, and Chief Scientist Michael Abrash will deliver keynotes over the conference's two-day span. Oculus Connect's announcement hinted at a slew of sessions and panels, along with "upcoming Oculus technology." Since the device's second development kit will have been released by then, we think this tease may hint to an Oculus Rift-compatible controller.

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Beyond Oculus: The future of Virtual Reality gaming

Forget next-gen, VR is the most exciting and innovative arena in gaming

Source: TechRadar | July 2014

Beyond Oculus RiftThere are few tech sectors prompting as much excitement and intense chatter as the dawn of virtual reality gaming.

The Kickstarter-funded Oculus Rift headset gets most of the credit for the groundswell of interest, but the company Facebook recently purchased for over $2 billion, has become the poster child for a much larger movement. A movement that promises to inflict the single most important shift in the way we experience videogames, since they moved from the arcade to the home.

Virtual Reality is about to get a whole lot more awesome...

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Will Virtual Reality Reshape Documentary Journalism?

One documentary filmmaker believes an immersive experience will make a more lasting impression on audiences.

Source: MIT Technolgy Review | July 2014

Making a VR documentaryFacebook’s acquisition of Oculus VR in March 2014 brought a resurgence of interest in virtual reality to the mainstream, almost 30 years after the technology first entered the public consciousness. And while Oculus VR’s initial focus has been on video games, Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s CEO, has described the hardware as “the next major computing platform that will come after mobile.”

Nonny de la Peña agrees with that assertion. The veteran journalist, a former correspondent for Newsweek and regular contributor to the New York Times, has spent the past seven years trying to prove that VR will change journalism.

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Clever Oculus Project Lets You Live Your Life In Third Person

Source: TechCrunch | July 2014

Third person VR viewEver wished you could tap the “Change Camera View” button in real life to switch to a third-person view?

These guys made it happen. Sure, it requires the user to wear an Oculus Rift and a big ol’ dual camera rig built into a backpack — and sure, it’s probably only fun (and not nauseating) for about a minute. But it works!

Built by a Polish team of tinkerers called mepi, the rig uses a custom-built, 3D-printed mount to hold two GoPros just above and behind the wearer’s head. With a joystick wired up to an Arduino and a few servos, the wearer is able to control where the camera is looking.

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Hands-On with Google Cardboard Virtual Reality Kit (Video)

Source: Tested | June 2014

Google Cardboard testGoogle surprised everyone at its I/O conference by giving out Cardboard, a papercraft kit to make virtual reality goggles when paired with a Nexus 5 smartphone. We got our hands on a this experimental kit, assemble it, and test out Google's vision for low-cost VR.

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Stringer uses Virtual Reality with Oculus for battlefield safety

Source: SlashGear | June 2014

StringerWhile the virtual reality gaming universe appears to be taking off, the Oculus Rift VR headset is being used for a wide variety of purposes - like personal safety in a war zone. What the creators behind "Stringer" have done is to make a VR environment in which journalists - or the interested onlooker - can get as close as possible to a battlefield situation without actually being there. Once inside, the user sees what it’s like attempting to cover a war.

Inside the virtual reality headset Oculus Rift, the user looks through two eye-holes with technology that tricks the brain into thinking they’re in the situation presented. While Oculus Rift is still in a development phase aimed at software creators, the full-fledged consumer version is closer than it's ever been before to market.

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Coming Soon To Wall Street: Oculus Rift Headsets Hooked To Bloomberg Terminals

Is this the future of trading?

Source: Fast Company | June 2014

Oculus Rift on Wall StreetImmersing yourself in an Oculus Rift can transport you to majestic fantasy worlds you otherwise might never get to experience, but virtual reality could soon be used to help facilitate more quotidian tasks, too -- like staring out at a cascade of financial data flying at you from all angles.

Bloomberg's vaunted terminals can cost as much as $24,000 per user, and now, the company has found a way to conjoin all that real-time information with Facebook's new $2 billion financial headset.

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Why eye tracking could make VR displays like the Oculus Rift consumer-ready

Having a game react to your gaze can minimize sickness and create new play mechanics.

Source: Ars Technica | June 2014

Oculus Rift eye-tracking modOver the last two years, the Oculus Rift has won the attention of virtual reality (VR) geeks, gamers, futurists, and Facebook. While you can currently buy Dev Kit 2 (DK2, shipping later this year), a consumer-ready product is expected for late 2014 or early 2015. To that end, Oculus VR has had to make a number of improvements to its head-mounted display (HMD) to ameliorate one very powerful side effect of wearing the Oculus Rift: nausea. As it turns out, putting a tiny screen very close to each eye and feeding it 3D-adjusted images is really tough on the brain. But in the DK2, Oculus has tried to address some of those issues, putting higher resolution screens in front of either eye, making adjustments to minimize latency, and adding an external camera to track head position.

Oculus Rift creators also talk about perfecting latency and positional tracking. But there's one feature that Oculus VR has left out of its developer models that many experts say desperately needs to be in a consumer-facing model: eye-tracking.

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DARPA Using Oculus in Plan X Cyberwar

Source: FileHippo | May 2014

Plan XThis week, things got interesting at the Pentagon. The military research branch, DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) showcased its latest demonstrations for Plan X. Plan X is a software platform, which is designed to unify digital attack and defence tools and transform them into a single and easy-to-use interface for hackers with the American military.

DARPA has been experimenting with using the Oculus Rift virtual-reality headset to give their cyber warriors a new perspective in visualizing three-dimensional network simulations. Over the last two years, DARPA has been working to make counteracting a cyber attack as easy as playing video games.

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Hands On With The Avegant Glyph, A Head-Mounted Display For The Average Commuter

Source: TechCrunch | May 2014

Testing the Avegant GlyphEvery day, I see commuters hunched over their iPhones and other smartphones watching videos on their devices, and it looks uncomfortable and full of compromises. Michigan-based Avegant ran a Kickstarter earlier this year to address this issue, with Glyph, a head-mounted display that’s designed to both blend into your surroundings with a headphone-style design and also offer up a big-screen experience projected onto your retinas.

You’ll still probably garner a few sidelong glances when you slide the band of your over-ear headphones down over your eyes. I got to try it out for myself at the We Are Wearables monthly meetup in Toronto, and came away impressed with the experience of a pre-production prototype that feels surprisingly far along.

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Samsung is making a VR headset for its phones and tablets

Source: Engadget | May 2014

Samsung futureSamsung is known for its ubiquitous Galaxy smartphones and tablets, popular smart televisions and, most recently, smartwatches. The Korean consumer electronics giant is about to enter another major new category: virtual reality headsets. We're told by sources close to Samsung that a virtual reality headset is not only in the works at the company's mobile division, but it's set to be announced this year. The urgency is said to be a measure of beating Facebook's Oculus Rift and Sony's Project Morpheus to market. Some developers already have early versions of the headset, which -- at least in the development stages -- is powered by flagship Galaxy devices (think: Note 3, Galaxy S5). The consumer model, however, is said to require the power of next-gen, unannounced Galaxy phones and tablets.

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The Inside Story of Oculus Rift and How Virtual Reality Became Reality

Source: Wired | May 2014

Oculus VR teamAs he flew from Orange County to Seattle in September 2013, Brendan Iribe, the CEO of Oculus, couldn’t envision what the next six months would bring. The rhapsodic crowds at the Consumer Electronics Show. The around-the-block lines at South by Southwest. Most of all, the $2 billion purchase by Facebook. That fall Oculus was still just an ambitious startup chasing virtual reality, a dream that had foiled countless entrepreneurs and technologists for two decades. Oculus’ flagship product, the Rift, was widely seen as the most promising VR device in years, enveloping users in an all-encompassing simulacrum that felt like something out of Snow Crash or Star Trek. But it faced the same problem that had bedeviled would-be pioneers like eMagin, Vuzix, even Nintendo: It made people want to throw up.

This was the problem with virtual reality. It couldn’t just be really good. It had to be perfect.

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Chinese Developed Oculus Rift Competitor Hits Kickstarter

Source: Kotaku | May 2014

ANTVR kit in useIt's called the ANTVR Kit. It looks to be an Oculus Rift challenger. That is, should it get funded and, more importantly, live up to its promises.

This VR system is from a small Beijing-based team called, wait for it, ANTVR. What makes this project different from Oculus Rift and Sony Morpheus is how it claims to be an all-in-one kit with a unique foldable controller.

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Oculus Rift, three Kinects effectively bring an entire human body into a virtual world

Source: Extreme Tech | May 2014

Human body in virtual worldEver want to put yourself inside of a video game? It's now possible to dynamically represent your entire body inside of a virtual world, and this monumental task can be accomplished with off-the-shelf hardware. With three first-gen Kinects and an Oculus Rift dev kit, developer Oliver Kreylos has hacked together a true VR prototype that actually makes you feel like you're in a computer-generated world.

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Norwegian army trials Oculus Rift to drive tanks

The Norwegian army is trying out virtual-reality gaming headset Oculus Rift in an attempt to improve safety while driving tanks.

Source: CNET | May 2014

Norwegian tank driverVideo games and warfare have had a long relationship, so it was only a matter of time before a military operation got its fingers in the Oculus Rift pie. The virtual-reality headset designed for gaming applications is now being used by the Norwegian army to help them drive tanks by providing a 360-degree view outside the vehicle.

The video game connection is not lost on the team.

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The truth about Facebook’s plan to literally alter reality

Source: Salon | April 2014

Mark ZuckerbergOculus Rift was created by 21-year-old Palmer Luckey, founder of Oculus VR. Luckey’s desire to experience video games in an immersive 3-D world led him to build his first virtual reality prototype at age 16. He then went on to launch a Kickstarter to fund his virtual reality company and headset. Oculus VR aimed to raise $250,000 — and actually raised $2,437,429, sparking a craze for virtual reality headsets and even prompting Facebook to purchase the company for $2 billion earlier this spring.

“This is really a new communication platform,” Mark Zuckerberg stated in a press release at the time. “By feeling truly present, you can share unbounded spaces and experiences with the people in your life. Imagine sharing not just moments with your friends online, but entire experiences and adventures.”

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Attenborough's Next Amazing Nature Documentary Will Play on Oculus Rift

Source: Gizmodo | April 2014

Wildlife film on Oculus RiftSir David Attenborough is the grand master behind epic nature documentaries like Planet Earth and Blue Planet. His productions take us deep into entirely new worlds that few humans have ever visited. His next project will do that even more convincingly, powered by the amazing virtual reality powers of Oculus Rift.

Attenborough's upcoming feature, Conquest of the Skies, is currently filming in Borneo. John Morris, commercial director for Atlantic Productions, told Reelscreen that Conquest of the Skies will be the first major wildlife documentary filmed for virtual reality. "We're now filming for the Oculus Rift," Morris said, "so when we filmed our recent flight in Borneo, we filmed with an eight-camera rig, so you got the full 360° experience."

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This is what Facebook could look like on Oculus Rift (video)

Source: Engadget | March 2014

Imagined VR Facebook MarketplaceThis week, much of the world met Oculus Rift for the very first time. And now that millions of consumers are at least somewhat familiar with the VR gadget, it's not unreasonable to assume the device will eventually become mainstream, serving to create a much more immersive internet experience. That's at least one theory, demonstrated today by Chaotic Moon, the Austin-based firm behind the stun copter and SharkPunch. That latter concept employs the same gear Chaotic's using for today's demo: the Oculus Rift Dev Kit 1, with Leap Motion mounted front and center.

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Totem to take on the Oculus Rift as True Player Gear reveals VR hardware

Source: incgamers.com | March 2014

Totem headsetIf there was a perfect time to reveal what you’ve been working on for the past nine years it would probably when your major competitor is taking some flack. This is exactly what Canadian company True Player Gear has done.

The company has been working on a VR headset for years and has created five prototypes of the the hardware in that time. They’ve kept quiet about it until now.

This summer a Kickstarter will launch for their VR headset which they call Totem and they also mention that it is likely to be available by the end of this year. The headset is not quite ready, but following the backlash against the Rift, True Player Gear has sprung to life on social media.

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The Reality Is That Facebook’s $2 Billion Deal Is a Long-Term Investment

Source: Wall Street Journal | March 2014

Facebook buys Oculus VRFacebook has agreed to buy Oculus VR Inc., a 20-month-old maker of virtual-reality goggles, for $2 billion in cash and stock. The deal, the social network’s second blockbuster acquisition this year, is part of the company’s ambition to connect people across all kinds of devices and modes of communication.

However, it’s a hefty price tag for a company that has little sales.

Oculus’s headset, called Rift, today is a visual device for playing videogames. But Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg said on Tuesday that the social network has bigger plans for it.

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PS4 Gets A Virtual Reality Headset

Source: Kotaku | March 2014

Project MorpheusFirst rumoured last year, the Sony headset puts the PlayStation 4 in a strange place in the gaming landscape, setting it apart from the Xbox One while offering a similar experience to the PC's Oculus Rift.

Part of the announcement involved footage of a VR God of War, PlayStation boss Shuhei Yoshida saying "When I looked down, I saw my body was that of Kratos. That was an empowering experience."

Yoshida directly referenced the Oculus Rift in his presentation, saying "I have an enormous amount of respect for them, and we were inspired and encouraged by the enthusiastic reactions of developers and journalists who tried [the Oculus Rift]".

Note that the headset, pictured above, is not the unit's final design, as Sony is still working on it.

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How The Oculus Rift Can Help NASA Find Life On Other Planets

The Oculus Rift virtual reality headset won't just revolutionize gaming. Think way, way bigger.

Source: ReadWrite | March 2014

James Webb Space TelescopeEven by NASA standards, the newest mission in search of life on other planets is really, really complicated. Loaded with literal moving parts, NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope—“JWST” for short—is as ambitious as it is technically challenging. As anyone who watched the Mars Rover landing (or the movie Gravity) with bated breath can attest, a lot can go wrong in outer space.

That’s why virtual reality hardware—with the Oculus Rift VR headset leading the charge—provides a perfect testing ground for feats of engineering like the Webb spacecraft. And, believe it or not, the Webb team is already putting the Rift to the test.

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Why Is Virtual Reality Becoming So Popular Now?

Source: Kotaku | March 2014

Oculus Rift Kickstarter illustrationIt’s a common question, particularly for folks like me who are old enough to remember the first wave of virtual reality machines and how quickly they went from fad to bad. Some smart person put this question to Palmer Luckey, one of the co-founders of Oculus Rift, and he had to interesting things to say in response.

The answer? Well mostly technology really. Virtual reality in the 90s was an idea that was ahead of the technology in a very big way. Motion tracking wasn’t sophisticated enough, the headsets themselves were ludicrously expensive to research and produce, meaning that mass market penetration was next to impossible.

But another issue, says Luckey, is the power of PCs themselves.

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Electronic Arts is exploring virtual reality

Source: Engadget | March 2014

Oculus Rift Crystal Cove prototypeWhen you're the CEO of the second largest video game publisher in the world, people have a tendency to take what you say seriously. Case in point, Electronic Arts' Andrew Wilson recently revealed his company's plans for virtual reality. At a South by Southwest panel, Wilson said that his company is less focused on the technology of VR, and more interested in exactly how people consume it. As he sees it, we interact with games in three different ways: leaning back, leaning in and looking over -- relating to console, PC and mobile gaming, respectively. With VR, he thinks there will be a fourth: getting in. He says that this could happen either via a headset or even a hologram popping up from your living room floor, and he's pushing his team to explore it.

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Virtual Reality Startups Look Back to the Future

Thirty years after the first wave of virtual reality, new startups are determined to take it mainstream.

Source: MIT Technology Review | March 2014

Early VR gearIt’s been almost 30 years since the computer scientist Jaron Lanier formed VPL Research, the first company to sell the high-tech goggles and gloves that once defined humanity’s concept of where technology might soon take our species. In the late 1980s, a person could pull on a $100,000 head-mounted display and electronic gauntlet and fool their brain into thinking they had stepped inside the simulated space rendered on the screen.

The well-worn narrative is that the VR pipe dream quickly faded, largely due to the exorbitant costs involved or the motion sickness that many users complained of when playing early consumer examples of the technology.

Now, after many years on the periphery, VR is heading back to the mainstream.

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Watch What Happens When You Become Part of the Movie You're Viewing

Source: Fast Company | February 2014

Being part of the movieZero Point, the first virtual reality film from a company called Condition One, is half documentary, half Matrix, and utilizes Oculus Rift's VR tech. It could change the way we look at movies — and the world.

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Oculus Primed: Meet the Geniuses Who Finally Mastered Virtual Reality

Source: Wired | December 2013

Oculus rift userIn May 2012, a programmer named John Carmack — who, as a cofounder of id Software and the man behind games like Doom and Wolfenstein 3D, is widely seen as the father of 3D gaming — tweeted a picture of what looked like steampunk bifocals made out of a black shoebox. “This is a lot cooler than it looks,” read the caption.

He was right.

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