Oculus acquires Pebbles Interface for potential controller free gaming
Jul17

Oculus acquires Pebbles Interface for potential controller free gaming

Virtual Reality company Oculus has acquired tech company Pebbles Interface for a reported $60 million. Both tech companies made the announcement earlier this week as Oculus becomes more vocal over the future of VR. Israel-based startup Pebbles Interface specializes in developing advanced motion sensors that recreate physical objects in VR. According to a blog post by Oculus, Pebbles Interface technology uses micro-optics and computer vision to improve the information that can be extracted from optical sensors. The Pebbles Interface website has been taken down and replaced by comment by CTO of Pebbles Interfaces, Nadav Grossinger. “We’ve always believed visual computing will be the next major platform in our lifetime, and we’re excited to join the Oculus team to achieve that vision for the future,” he wrote. The startup company received $45,000 in 2011 from initial seeding funding by iNetworks, but by 2013 it had raised over $11 million in funding from major tech companies like SanDisk. Going down the rabbit hole of acquisition by Oculus can help show consumers the type of VR that the company aims to create. Oculus acquired Carbon Design in 2014, the company that designed the Xbox controller, a gaming engine two weeks later, two VR companies in December 2014, and Surreal Engine, a computer vision startup, in May. Oculus was bought by Facebook in 2014 for $2 billion and the company has been using that money to become the leader in VR technology. Based on the tech companies that Oculus have acquired, it would be reasonable to conclude that they are planning to introduce a controllerless experience. The release of the Oculus Touch, a sensor-based dual controller for the Rift, will be coming out in the second half of 2016. Presumably, any kind of controller update for the Rift won’t be released until after this launch. Those dreamers that want a controller-free VR may have to wait till the first part of...

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This week in wearables: Misfit Flash, extended battery life, and a delay for HTC
Jul17

This week in wearables: Misfit Flash, extended battery life, and a delay for HTC

Before you head out for the weekend, catch up on the many rumors and announcements that you may have missed this week. 1. With the recent success of the budget-conscious Xiaomi Mi Band, Misfit Wearables took the challenge of an affordable wearable into their own hands by releasing the Misfit Flash Link. With functions from fitness tracking to acting as a remote control for music, this $20 device just might currently be the most functional and most reasonably priced device on the market. 2. Despite the slowdown in Apple Watch success these days, rumors of the Apple Watch 2 updates have been spreading quickly. Tech reports are revealing that a bigger battery and an OLED screen are in the works for the watch design, as well as more capabilities such as mobile payment that are independent from Bluetooth. The likelihood of a FaceTime camera has quickly become less likely for this next generation, but that doesn’t mean we won’t be seeing that capability in the next couple years. 3. The geniuses at Microsoft have created a new way to extend the battery life of your wearable. WearDrive is intended to move the most energy performing operations off the actual device and over to your smart phone using bluetooth. This way your wearable will only be responsible for the most basic functions, batteries won’t need to get any bigger, and maybe we can finally stop writing reviews for poor battery life. 4. Oculus VR made a huge play this week with the purchase of the Israel-based, gesture-control company, Pebbles Ltd. This acquisition was a smart, yet expensive (nearly a $60 million) buy for Oculus. While most gesture-control technologies use digitally-generated images of a user’s body, Pebbles allows users to actually see real images of their own hands and arms in their VR display. Hopefully we’ll be getting to see some cool tech updates to the virtual reality world soon. 5. Also fresh from the rumor mill is the news that Google is getting ready for the release of their own watch-to-watch messaging service for Android smartwatches. While the Apple Watch already has a messenger for users to send doodles to one another, it seems as though Google is trying to get a leg up in the smartwatch competition. 6. HTC is taking a couple steps back from the wearables game by delaying the release of their first fitness band, the HTC Grip. The delay is not due to production issues, but instead was a decision made so that HTC will be able to offer a complete line of fitness products later in the year, according to the company’s statement. Considering all of...

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Dior Eyes offers fashion voyeurs a virtual backstage pass
Jun08

Dior Eyes offers fashion voyeurs a virtual backstage pass

Fashion stalwart Dior is joining the virtual reality bandwagon with the launch of Dior Eyes, a VR headset designed to give users an exclusive back-stage pass to the inner workings of the house and its latest Ready-to-Wear shows. Available to “selected boutiques” at an undisclosed price sometime in the near future, the headset is meant to provide the voyeuristic fashion lover a feel for the high energy, professional lives of the players behind the runway. Its sleek black 3D printed body and backlit logo are representative of the style with which the fashion house has carried itself over the past half-century. The move is reminiscent of YSL’s foray into Google Glass makeup tutorials last year, which were filmed from the artists POV to allow for an easy recreation of any given look. And while that venture has sort of fallen off (due in large part to the failure of Google Glass), it provided a service and not mere participation. While at the forefront of fashion VR, Dior’s exclusivity on where and who will have access to the experience may be damaging if what they seek is communicative integration with their fan base. Why not offer all who walk into any Dior store the same backstage involvement? At the same time, Dior is a name that has built its fortune on the foundation of exclusivity, so the move may actually be brilliant indeed. The headset drops in the spring of...

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The Crowdfunding Charts: A sex toy, a smart water bottle, hearbuds, and more
Jun06

The Crowdfunding Charts: A sex toy, a smart water bottle, hearbuds, and more

This week’s crowdfunding charts saw quite an array of new projects take off, from massaging head bands to… sex toys. In our third installation of the Crowdfunding Charts, we’ve gathered the best Indiegogo and Kickstarter had to offer. What hit crowdfunding this week Lovely on Indiegogo Started: June 2 Goal: $95,000 Raised as of June 5: $4,577 Well. There really is a wearable for everything. Lovely is a wearable sex toy that functions as a sexual activity tracker, vibrator, and sex coach. If you’re looking to improve your sex life and see real, quantifiable results, this crowdfunding campaign is just for you. Lovely’s smartphone app shows you different sex positions to try out, kind of like a personalized Cosmo sex tips column. It’s definitely the most unique crowdfunding find of the week, and the San Francisco startup has been grabbing attention from the likes of Engadget, Glamour, and more. Gloveone on Kickstarter https://d2pq0u4uni88oo.cloudfront.net/projects/1869031/video-545282-h264_high.mp4 Started: June 1 Goal: $150,000 Raised as of June 5: $45,040 It’s time to take virtual reality gaming a step further. VR company NeuroDigital Technologies, based in Miami and Almeria, Spain, launched a Kickstarter campaign for virtual reality gloves. Gloveone aims to add to the existing VR experience the sense of touch, making VR more realistic than ever. NeuroDigital Technologies is using the money raised to fund its prototype manufacturing, and backers can test out the prototypes themselves. Gloveone is now a Kickstarter Staff Pick after only being on the platform for four days. It’s fundraising goal is high at $150,000, but we think it has a solid chance of reaching its goal before the deadline. What’s hot this week HidrateMe Smart Water Bottle on Kickstarter https://d2pq0u4uni88oo.cloudfront.net/projects/1845469/video-543231-h264_high.mp4 Started: June 1 Goal: $35,000 Raised as of June 5: $134,177 (goal reached!) Fitness and health wearables are among the most popular, but HidrateMe is among the first to track not your activity, but your water intake. Sure, there are smartphone apps where you can enter how many ounces of water you’ve had that day — or you can just use your brain. But why do that when this smart water bottle can do it for you? HidrateMe is a highly stylized water bottle that connects to your phone using Bluetooth. Its app can adjust how much water you need to drink based on your fitness levels, weight, and location. It comes in a variety of colors and has a battery life of over a year, so charging isn’t necessary. In just four days, HidrateMe raised well over its crowdfunding goal. Plate Your Apple Watch with 24k Gold on Kickstarter https://d2pq0u4uni88oo.cloudfront.net/projects/1797740/video-536514-h264_high.mp4 Started: May 11 Goal: $1,500 Raised as of June 5: $30,620 (goal reached!) Let’s be real:...

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