Can the Microsoft Hololens avoid the fate of Google Glass?
Aug17

Can the Microsoft Hololens avoid the fate of Google Glass?

It’s becoming difficult to remember what year it is. There’s a presidential race featuring Bush and Clinton, a new Star Wars movie due out this year, and even a supposedly functional hover-board. Soon we can expect to see some serious tech that will question our sense of reality. Microsoft Hololens, an “untethered, see-through holographic computer,” will debut sometime in 2016 — and many draw comparisons to Google Glass when discussing the forthcoming headset. But it begs the question, will the two devices share the same fate? A breakthrough… almost Google Glass was supposed to be the hallmark for the wearables industry. Back in early 2013, the ground-breaking technology was roughly in the phase that the current Hololens is in today. Journalists wrote with bewilderment as consumers began to grow hungry with anticipation for a final Glass product. However, when you stop to think about it, the hype around Google Glass made sense. It was a mysterious product of the future that only a select group of people could use. The wearable came loaded with incredible features, like a five megapixel camera that also recorded video at 720p. But by May of 2014, the headset went on sale for consumers and we quickly realized the obvious: We didn’t need it. Consumer reaction What we got was a glorified smartphone strapped to your head at a hefty price tag. More importantly, it didn’t solve any problems. Ian Altman published an article on Forbes discussing the major flaws that plagued Glass. The biggest issue was that the product didn’t resolve any sort of problem or inconvenience for consumers that a smartphone couldn’t already do. Consumers were not about to shell out $1,500 bucks for a product that they didn’t understand or necessarily require, and public concern over privacy worked against the device. Plus the whole “glasshole” thing really put a damper on Google’s release. Read More: Oculus, Sony, and Microsoft race to create the best virtual reality experiences at E3 Instead of riding out the initial public reaction to the Glass, Google did something unexpected. Earlier this year, Google pulled the plug on their product and hasn’t been particularly vocal about the future of the device. Rumors suggest that the next iteration of Google Glass will be focused on professionals even though Google has made no announcement. The fate of the Hololens So will the Hololens similarly crumble after it’s released? Probably not. Holistically, the products are completely different, serve different functions, and have been marketed to different target audiences. The Microsoft device implements unparalleled augmented reality technology, unlike Google Glass that simply displayed information from your smartphone. The Hololens creates a completely different experience through deep immersion so that the user can heavily interact...

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Oculus Rift vs. Project Morpheus: Comparing the hot VR headsets
Aug12

Oculus Rift vs. Project Morpheus: Comparing the hot VR headsets

Remember in the ’90s when virtual reality was supposed to be the gaming of the future? Sega had the VR headset and Nintendo came out with the Virtual boy. Then the unexpected happened: The promise of virtual reality crashed and burned. People hated the clunky tech and crappy graphics. Fast forward to 2015, and we are now sitting on the precipice of a VR throwdown between Oculus Rift and Sony’s Project Morpheus — two of the best gaming headsets of the foreseeable future. We scoured the internet to find as much data as we could on both of these devices, and here’s what we found. Oculus Rift vs. Project Morpheus Design It would seem that the early demise of VR was brought about through the implementation of clunky headwear, but Oculus and Sony have managed to avoid that. Both Oculus’ Rift and Sony’s Project Morpheus boast ergonomic headsets that put comfortability first. Oculus uses a series of straps that are adjustable for each unique user. The company describes the process as similar to putting on a baseball hat. Sony recently redesigned Project Morpheus to only use a single strap with a quick release button, which would be wonderful considering that some people get sick from playing too long. But Oculus one-ups Sony by incorporating an adjuster for the lens on the bottom right side of the headset. Display Both of these products cram so much amazing visual technology into their displays that it could be difficult to decide which one you want. If you want clarity and stunning visuals, then the Rift might be what you’ll consider the best headset for gaming. With final specs putting the resolution at 2160 x 1200, the Oculus Rift uses two OLED lights to produce one image working with 233 million pixels per second. It also packs two AMOLED displays with low-persistence technology. The technology enables incredible visual clarity as you explore virtual worlds with the Rift. Finally, the Oculus Rift has a 100 degree display field, which outperforms the 90 degree display field of Project Morpheus. But what if, for you, clarity isn’t the most important aspect of virtual reality? Recent stats seem to show that Project Morpheus creates a more immersive experience. Morpheus features a 1080p resolution and uses OLED lighting. More importantly, the Sony headset uses LED tracking on all sides of the device. The new prototype has nine tracking LEDS, which is three more than the previous model. This kind of technology would allow you the game to encompass you completely, not just in the 100 degree field for the Oculus Rift. Hardware If you don’t already own a high-end PC, you may want to seriously consider the Sony VR headset. The Oculus Rift...

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The best augmented reality and virtual reality headsets for everyone, from developers to latecomers
Aug11

The best augmented reality and virtual reality headsets for everyone, from developers to latecomers

Whether you’re an avid gamer who pre-orders the latest releases months before they hit shelves, or a Baby Boomer who’s still spellbound by the original View-Master, there’s an augmented reality or virtual reality headset just waiting to embrace your face. The following is a condensed guide to all virtual reality devices currently on or entering the market, grouped according to the technological adoption curve. We’ve found the right devices for everyone, from the eager “early adopters” to the reticent “laggards.” And let us assure you, since you’re reading this article on the internet, you have what it takes to enjoy at least one of these VR headsets. The best virtual reality headsets for innovators Oculus Rift DK2 The Oculus Rift Development Kit 2 is a high-powered headset equipped with out-of-the-box engine integrations for the Unreal Development Kit, Unreal Engine 4, and Unity 4. In addition to the OLED display, the Oculus DK2 utilizes real-time microsecond precision measurement of motion-to-photon latency to eliminate simulator sickness and accurately track real-world head movements. The Oculus SDK supports Windows, Mac OS X and Linux, and can be pre-ordered for $350. HTC Vive Developer Edition The HTC Vive Developer Edition combines the HTC Vive headset and Valve’s Steam VR base stations to create a fully-immersive VR experience where users can walk around their room as if they were in whatever game they’re playing. And since it’s a developer edition, gamers will get all kinds of SDKs to test and build their own applications. Although there’s no word on price just yet, you can bet it will be at least as much as the DK2. Fove VR Fove’s biggest differentiator is their eye-tracking sensors, which allow users to interact with their virtual environment through their eyeballs, rather than a handheld controller like most of their competitors. Fove’s SDK also integrates content from Unity, Unreal Engine, and Cryengine, allowing users to port their existing VR content into their ecosystem and make incredible games. Once Fove’s Kickstarter is complete, the headset is projected to retail for somewhere between $400 and $500. Razer OSVR The Razer OSVR headset is strikingly similar to the DK2 in appearance, but what really sets it apart is the Open-Source Virtual Reality (OSVR) ecosystem, “a new standard in VR gaming to push the VR gaming experience forward,” according to their website. Although the hardware behind the Hacker Dev Kit headset is expected to ship sometime in 2016 for $199, the SDKs are now available for developers to start tinkering with on current devices. The best virtual reality headsets for early adopters Oculus Rift The Oculus Rift is like the Arcade Fire of VR headsets — it gained mainstream notoriety...

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First Oculus Rift consumer version coming early 2016
May06

First Oculus Rift consumer version coming early 2016

Oculus Rift posted an announcement to its Facebook and blog page revealing just enough information to whip fans into a frenzy, but not so much that it shared any actual details. In the post, Oculus said the Oculus Rift will be shipping to customers in Q1 of 2016, “with preorders later this year.” It continued, “The Oculus Rift builds on the presence, immersion, and comfort of the Crescent Bay prototype with an improved tracking system that supports both seated and standing experiences, as well as a highly refined industrial design, and updated ergonomics for a more natural fit.” The company promises that it will soon reveal more about hardware, software input, and presently unannounced “made-for-VR games and experiences.” Oculus first got its start by raising $2.5 million on Kickstarter 3 years ago, and it was acquired by Facebook in 2014 for $2 billion. This announcement marks the debut of the long-awaited Oculus Rift consumer version. Hardware specs are to be released next week — so, stay...

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GoPro dives into virtual reality with Kolor acquisition
May05

GoPro dives into virtual reality with Kolor acquisition

GoPro is going “spherical.” The world’s biggest action camera company recently announced that it has acquired a virtual reality software startup called Kolor. Kolor’s software creates immersive virtual reality videos by stitching together images and videos taken from traditional cameras, creating a single high-res panoramic (or spherical) view. Instead of using a virtual reality headset, though, you can watch Kolor videos on phones or computers with Kolor’s 360 Video Player app. Now that GoPro owns Kolor, we’re bound to see more extreme sports footage at 360 degrees. As part of the announcement, GoPro and Kolor released an interactive video called “Land, Air and Sea” which allows viewers to navigate through breathtaking landscapes at 360 degrees. The video was shot entirely with GoPro cameras. CEO Nick Woodman commented on the acquisition during GoPro’s quarterly earnings call: “We see that incredible opportunity for GoPro to be at the forefront of the virtual reality movement. Given that GoPro is already the most widely used capture device for capturing life experiences in an immersive manner, it’s only natural that we have a seat at the table moving forward.” Alexandre Jenny, CEO of Kolor, seems equally excited about the opportunities GoPro will provide them. “When the best spherical media software is combined with the world’s most versatile capture devices, our imagination become our only limitation,” Jenny said in a press release. We’re excited to see what the world captures and shares with GoPro and...

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