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  • HTC Makes Firefox Reality The Default Browser On Vive VR Headsets
    HTC Makes Firefox Reality The Default Browser On Vive VR Headsets

    Mozilla announced that its Firefox Reality VR browser will be the default browser on all HTC Vive headsets.

    The internet company first unveiled the Firefox Reality VR browser last April, touting it as an easier way for manufacturers to integrate and adapt a browser into their headsets. At its launch in September, Firefox Reality was available for Oculus Go, Daydream, and HTC headsets via the Viveport store. Moving forward, it will be the default system browser for all Vive VR headsets.

    The announcement coincided with a bunch of HTC VR announcements at CES in Las Vegas, including a new native eye-tracking toolset for the Vive Pro platform; a new subscription-based VR app service called Viveport Infinity; and a new standalone headset called Vive Cosmos.

    Today’s news also comes a few months after Mozilla expanded Firefox Reality support beyond English and into seven new languages, including French, Italian, German, Spanish, Chinese (simplified and traditional), Japanese, and Korean.

    While all the main VR headset makers already offer their own browsers, Mozilla is clearly pushing itself as the cross-platform standard in VR web browsing — becoming the default browser on HTC Vive headsets is a notable step in advancing Mozilla’s ambitions for Firefox in the burgeoning VR arena.

    “Virtual reality is one example of how web browsing is evolving beyond our desktop and mobile screens,” noted Mozilla’s chief R&D officer Sean White. “Here at Mozilla, we are working hard to ensure these new platforms can deliver browsing experiences that provide users with the level of privacy, ease-of-use, and control that they have come to expect from Firefox.”

    This post by Paul Sawers originally appeared on VentureBeat.

    Tagged with: firefox, webvr

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  • Tellables Unveils Its Lineup Of Virtual Storytellers At 2019 Alexa Conference

    Could virtual personalities be the future of oral storytelling? Since the introduction of the Amazon Alexa and Google Home, Tellables, an app developer specializing in voice-driven storytelling, has been delivering easily-accessible audio tales through these voice assistant devices via simplistic commands, such as “Alexa, open my box of chocolates” or “Alexa, open Tricky Genie.” Teaming

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  • CES 2019: Meet Addison, A Full-Time Virtual Caregiver

    This conversational speech interface has a face and its own personality. Developed by Electronic Caregiver, a division of SameDay Security Inc, Addison Care converts the home into a full-time healthcare center through its use of Addison Rose, a brand new voice-based virtual assistant that employs a combination of artificial intelligence and augmented reality to provide

    The post CES 2019: Meet Addison, A Full-Time Virtual Caregiver appeared first on VRScout.

  • ThreeKit Raises $10 Million To Turn Static Images Into ‘3D Experiences’
    ThreeKit Raises $10 Million To Turn Static Images Into ‘3D Experiences’

    A picture’s worth a thousand words, but what about a three-dimensional rendering? Ask ThreeKit — it’s in the business of creating 3D renderings for clients such as Crate and Barrel, Steelcase, and CIROC. The Chicago startup’s product configuration and visualization platform enable brands to create interactive three-dimensional “experiences,” such as product tours and comparison tools. And in just a few short months the company has attracted the attention of investors.

    ThreeKit announced that it has raised $10 million in seed capital from serial entrepreneur Godard Abel, who previously cofounded BigMachines (which was acquired by Oracle in 2013) and SteelBrick (which Salesforce snatched up in 2015). CTO Ben Houston, a 15-year Hollywood veteran who created visual effects software that has been used in the Harry Potter franchise, The Avengers, Titanic, and over 100 other films, said the cash would be used to fund talent acquisition and product and business development.

    “Traditionally, visualization technologies have been clunky and difficult to use, but ThreeKit is a holistic platform that allows sellers to create their own interactive product experiences for their web stores,” Houston said. “ originally built for Hollywood, we saw a major opportunity to bring this technology to ecommerce, and are leading a new standard of product experience in the industry.”

    ThreeKit’s platform basically takes the grunt work out of computer modeling. Customers load their products in and tap a dashboard of options to create, edit, and optimize display content for use in product configurators, sales aids, or augmented reality and virtual reality apps. One use case ThreeKit touts pretty heavily is photorealistic images: With no more than a 3D model of a product, it says, brands can add colors, textures, and lighting; set camera angles; and generate images and thumbnails of “all product permutations.”

    To display that and other generated content, ThreeKit makes use of WebGL, a JavaScript API for rendering interactive 2D and 3D graphics within compatible web browsers, without the use of plugins. It hosts assets on its servers and offers access to them through an API and embed code.

    ThreeKit claims that a few of its ecommerce clients have experienced a 40 percent increase in conversions, an 80 percent reduction in returns, and 20 percent higher order value after trading out static product images for 3D visuals.

    “There has been a critical gap in the ability of brands to provide engaging product experiences in their web stores, but ThreeKit is solving for this by fulfilling the touch and feel needs consumers have when shopping online,” Abel said. “It’s clear the company is leading a new generation of immersive and experiential commerce, and I look forward to accelerating its momentum to be a world market leader in 3D visualization technology.”

    This post by Kyle Wiggers originally appeared on VentureBeat. 

    Tagged with: investment, threekit, venturebeat

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  • It’s a Beat Saber vs. Electronauts Mashup in This MR Video DJ Nicky and Skykiwi both showcase their skills.
  • Horror Masters Wolf & Wood Plan to Unleash Chaos in Hotel R’n’R The destructive title will arrive this June on Steam Early Access.
  • CES 2019: New Qualcomm Reference Headset Could Hint At Vive Cosmos Specs
    qualcomm vr headset reference design

    At CES 2019 Qualcomm was showing off a new VR headset reference design with dual 2160×2160 LCD displays. Interestingly, the headset was being powered by a smartphone reference device via a USB-C cable.

    Does that feature remind you of anything? Earlier this week, HTC announced Vive Cosmos at their pre-CES special press event.

    As well as being a PC VR headset, HTC mentioned that Cosmos might connect to “other devices”. Their announcement video showed a silloute of what looks like a HTC smartphone- seemingly hinting that will be the “other device”.

    To be clear, Qualcomm isn’t a consumer facing company- they sell chips and licence technology to consumer OEMs. HTC has utilized Qualcomm’s technology in the past. The Vive Focus standalone is based off Qualcomm’s VR835 reference design and licences Qualcomm’s positional tracking technology.

    HTC’s website claims the Cosmos contains the company’s ‘sharpest screens yet’. It also states they have an RGB subpixel layout. Given that most OLEDs are PenTile rather than RGB, this makes LCD the most likely candidate for the Cosmos’s screens. And if they’re the ‘sharpest yet’, they’d have to be higher resolution than the Vive Pro, right?

    So these 2160×2160 LCD panels in the Qualcomm headset, using the same unique feature as the Cosmos, may not be a coincidence. It’s very possible this headset isn’t just the basis of the Cosmos’ connectivity, but also contains the panels the Cosmos will use.

    HTC has been tight lipped on any details about the Cosmos, but we’ll keep you updated on any further hints or announcements about this interesting headset.

    Tagged with: CES, ces 2019, HTC Vive Cosmos, qualcomm

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  • CES 2019 Vive Pro Eye: Impressions Of Tobii Eye Tracking
    vive pro eye tracking

    At CES 2019, HTC revealed the “Vive Pro Eye” featuring eye tracking from Tobii. Several demos from Vive partner developers showcased potential use cases for the Vive Pro Eye.

    A company called Zero Light, for example, showed how Vive Pro Eye could be used with foveated rendering for increased clarity in the tiny details of a virtual car’s interior. By its nature foveated rendering should be invisible to the eyes, so Zero Light toggled various modes to show the eye tracking and rendering areas in various ways. Areas directly in front of the eyeball were supersampled at a resolution many times that of the panel. It was shown on a Quadro RTX 6000 and the supersampling improvements weren’t readily apparent to my eyes on the Vive Pro panel. One of the modes, though, showed green, yellow and red areas to indicate where the eye is pointed. In VR, this mode appeared to reflect where each eye was pointed very accurately. Members of the team also used it with glasses on and it worked fine.

    A separate demo from Tobii itself in a Vive Pro showed a simple interactive game with creatures coming toward me. The eye tracking hardware could be used to essentially upgrade aim assist just by shooting a box in the game. Once I realized how much targeting these creatures was helped by eye tracking I only lasted 10-15 seconds before turning the feature on and leaving it on for the duration of the demo. This demo also used adjustable lines to show lower and higher resolution regions to my eyes.

    Another demo from HTC’s partners showing at CES 2019 revealed how eye tracking could be used to assist in teaching an aircraft takeoff procedure, with each switch highlighted by the software and then “selecting” it by gazing continuously at the tiny switch for a brief time. This is how some simple interactions in VR are already handled on a headset with no other interactions — with a few smallish buttons and a few seconds of head gaze used to indicate intent. Most often, this is used to play videos.

    Eye tracking, though, like the kind being shipped in Vive Pro Eye Tobii, uses sensors inside the headset to make the area of interest more specific than ever before. When incorporated into game design, this intent of the player could be used to hone the reactivity of characters or the environment. By tracking that gaze over the length of the play period, though, deeper insights can be learned for bigger changes in software design, or player behavior.

    For instance, below is a screenshot I took after the aircraft training demo showing a record of where my eyes were focused throughout my flight. If I was training to become a pilot and spending too much time looking out the windows instead of focused on the controls, this data could let help inform and improve my next trip in the simulator.

    Tobii’s eye tracking requires a very brief training session when putting the headset on. There’s also

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  • CES 2019: DisplayLink Showing Wireless Adapter Reference Design For Oculus Rift
    CES 2019: DisplayLink Showing Wireless Adapter Reference Design For Oculus Rift

    At CES 2019 DisplayLink is showing off a reference design for a wireless adapter for the Oculus Rift.

    The company first showed off wireless VR all the way back at E3 2017. The prototype, in cooperation with Intel, became the official HTC Vive wireless adapter in 2018.

    There already is a wireless adapter on the market for the Rift- the TPCast. But the HTC Vive adapter powered by DisplayLink seems to have less issues and an easier setup, so this could be a welcome addition to the Rift.

    Of course, the main issue with all existing wireless VR adapters is price. Both the TPCast and HTC adapter sell for around $300. This is almost as much as the entire Rift package price- now $349.

    The fact DisplayLink powers the HTC adapter raises the tantalizing possibility that the company could be working with Facebook to make this an official adapter. There’s no indication of this however, and Oculus co-founder Nate Mitchell told multiple journalists at Oculus Connect 5 that they had “no plans” for a wireless adapter.

    Facebook has however patented some interesting techniques for wireless VR, such as a positional tracking guided directional beam. Perhaps the company is waiting for these ideas to become feasible to want to put their name on a wireless solution.

    Hopefully at least one manufacturer takes on DisplayLink’s reference design. Any competition in the wireless VR space is welcome.

    Tagged with: CES, ces 2019, DisplayLink, oculus rift, wireless vr

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  • How To Use Custom Skins And Colors For Your Blades In Beat Saber
    How To Use Custom Skins And Colors For Your Blades In Beat Saber

    Beat Saber is a massive runaway success in the VR community, due in large part to the customization afforded in the PC version.

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  • CES 2019: Qualcomm’s Mystery VR Headset Offers Twice The Pixels Of Vive Pro

    Qualcomm’s new VR headset shares many similarities with the HTC Vive Comsos.  CES 2019 has been chock full of exciting VR and AR announcements, including the unexpected reveal of Qualcomm’s Snapdragon powered VR headset that boasts twice the pixels of the Vive Pro. The VR device doesn’t have an actual name, and there seems to

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  • ‘Meta Company Is Insolvent’ As Founder Returns From Trip
    ‘Meta Company Is Insolvent’ As Founder Returns From Trip

    Since late last year we’ve been trying to get an update from Meta, the AR company, and its founder Meron Gribetz. A letter filed in a patent infringement lawsuit against Meta seems to say more than Gribetz can right now about the status of the business he started.

    As first reported by Next Reality and confirmed with our own court records search, Genedics, LLC, submitted a letter in the case allegedly written by Meta Chief Financial Officer John Sines, which states “Meta Company is insolvent.”

    Both Meta and ODG, founded respectively by Meron Gribetz and Ralph Osterhout, pursued varying AR headset designs but struggled through 2018, with ODG pursuing a sale focused around its patents this month. Next steps for Meta are still unclear. Its website appears stripped down with no purchase button for its Meta 2 headset and a copyright date of 2017 listed on the page. A statement issued today by PR representative Stuart McFaul suggested “the company remains in full operation” and “will be issuing a statement later next week which will address details of the company’s furlough, recent restructuring and subsequent progress.”

    In December, I emailed Meta’s main PR address seeking to get the status of the company and received responses from McFaul’s Spiralgroup.com address in reply. He said that Gribetz was “traveling internationally.” With Next Reality’s report, McFaul followed up yesterday writing that Gribetz “returned from Singapore yesterday.” Bloomberg reported in September that Gribetz said he couldn’t get investment in China and furloughed employees as a result.

    An order issued by the judge on Jan. 10 in the patent infringement suit says Meta has until Jan. 24 to respond or its answer in the case would be stricken and “default” would be entered against the company.

    Tagged with: Meta

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  • The Biggest VR Releases Of The Week 01/06/19
    The Biggest VR Releases Of The Week 01/06/19

    Welcome to the first round-up of new releases for the year (don’t judge me, there wasn’t anything released last week).

    To be fair it’s not that big of a list this week, either. CES has been going on and some developers have got to tackle the January blues before we move onto bigger and better things. There are a handful of releases to look out for, though.

    Still stuck in 2018? Our last list of releases can be found here. More of a futurist? Here’s our roundup of the biggest VR games coming this month.

    Megalith, from Disruptive Games
    Price: $29.99 (PSVR)

    An Overwatch-like hero shooter in which you pick a ‘Titan’ and take to the battlefield. You have a team base to defend and an enemy base to destroy. Megalith is vibrant and inventive, though it remains to be seen if it will build up the kind of community needed to sustain itself.

    Spuds Unearthed, from Gamedust
    Price: $19.99 (Rift, Vive)

    Well here’s something we can truly say we haven’t seen before. Spuds Unearthed has you creating and customizing an army of sentient potatoes which you’ll then pit against enemies in all-out war. It looks like that’s an exhaustive amount of customization options here, which could be the real joy of the game. This is an Early Access release for now.

    Dede Korkut Chronicles, from Bond Digital
    Price: $3.99 (Go)

    This caught our eye. It’s a relatively polished-looking fantasy action game that pits you against werewolves and other nasties. If you’re a Go gamer than keep an eye out for it.

    Tagged with: htc vive, Megalith, oculus rift, PSVR, VR releases

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  • CES 2019: Contact CI Simulates Actual Touch With Motorized Tendons
    contact ci haptic glove vr

    Contact CI brought their impressive glove to CES 2019 with realistic haptics and tension-based feedback using motorized tendons.

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  • Shadow Legend Continues To Look Like A Dream VR RPG In New Trailer
    Shadow Legend VR RPG

    2019’s VR RPG scene is really heating up. SoulKeeper VR‘s upcoming update has us excited, but this new trailer for Shadow Legend VR is promising too.

    Some of the footage here is the same as the reveal trailer. However it’s the new stuff that’s got us excited. There are some fresh combat clips and new environments on display. There’s a good look at some of the game’s crafting mechanics, including mining and more. We’re also intrigued by the new action, which has players deflecting firey orbs with their sword.

    Most importantly, though, there’s a pet dog. Forgive me if I’m wrong, but it seems like you can issue the dog commands using your voice. If that’s the case, let me be the first to say: d’aaaw.

    “In development we spent a lot of time creating densely filled worlds with tons interactions along your quest,” the developer wrote on Reddit. “On your journey throughout the realms you will find things to do like playing fetch with the castle dog, feeding carrots to your horse’s, cooking steaks by the campfire, smelting iron ingots in the furnace, rowing a boat to access new map areas, using a hammer on the anvil to fix your sword, or physically spinning the grinding wheel to sharpen it and much more. ”

    We can’t wait to sink our teeth into Shadow Legend and find out just how deep the rabbit hole goes. While Skyrim has scratched the surface of what we want from a VR RPG, we now want a truly native experience. If Shadow Legend can offer multiple hours of questing complete with visceral melee combat and other RPG staples, it’ll be a hit for sure. Developer VitruviusVR hasn’t yet mentioned just how long the game will last.

    Shadow Legend is aiming to launch on Rift and Vive in February. VirtuviusVR is looking to get a PSVR port out in May, too.

    Tagged with: DOG, rpg, Shadow Legend

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