Sprint Vector, dubbed an adrenaline platformer, appears to have solved one of the issues that has been plaguing virtual reality (VR) experiences: movement. Until now, running in VR often produced disorientation and nausea. To combat this issue, many current experiences are designed with the user in a constant sitting position, or possessing limited means to “teleport” around an environment. Sprint Vector takes a different approach:
Industrial Training International (ITI), along with software developer Serious Labs, has created the virtual reality (VR) mobile crane simulator to re-invent industrial training. The companies are working on a hardware-based system that will be available in two versions, desktop and motion-base. Both configurations use an oculus rift headset, a laptop, and two anchored controllers (a total of four joysticks) to recreate the training experience. For example, it can be used to recreate the operation of a massive construction crane.
Conference organizer John Werner and Bob Metcalfe on stage
On January 17 and 18, the inaugural AR in Action conference was held at MIT Media Labs in Cambridge MA. It brought together a wide range of speakers as well as some heavy-hitters in the technical industry to discuss their thoughts on augmented reality (AR) and how it is going to change our lives in the near future. They included Bob Metcalfe, co-inventor of Ethernet, Alan Kay, a pioneer in object oriented programming and the graphical user interface, and Steve Mann, considered the father of wearable computing. The conference included 32 panel discussions (with 127 panelists), 28 stage demos, 42 floor demos, and 2 stage performances.
Many virtual reality (VR) innovations debuted at CES 2017, but HTC’s new Vive accessory, the Vive Tracker, warrants special attention. The HTC Vive Tracker is a tool that will enable motion tracking with virtually any external controller. Currently, the Vive operates through two included wand controllers that come with the headset. The Tracker will expand this. Demos at CES included a rifle, a firehose, and a baseball bat. This wide range showcases the potential of applications that Tracker can unlock in VR.
At CES, InfoTrends noted the large size of the Tracker. It is unknown if HTC plans to shrink down the device in future versions.
Beijing-based technology company, LYRobotix is bringing a new system to mobile virtual reality (VR) called Nolo VR. Nolo VR utilizes position-based tracking to monitor a user’s movement, much in the same way as Lighthouse does for the HTC Vive (or Guardian for Oculus Rift). Nolo VR plans to add motion control to the mobile VR experience, through its two palm-fitting wand-shaped controllers (typical system configuration shown in Figure below). In addition to improving mobile VR, LYRobotix is partnering with Riftcat’s VRidge software to enable remote play of Steam (Valve’s PC software vendor) VR’s library on a mobile headset.
Silicon Valley-based virtual reality (VR) company FOVE, Inc. is set to brings its first headset to the developer market in January 2017. Simply called FOVE (or FOVE 0 for the developer kit), this will be the first computer VR head mounted display (HMD) to feature eye tracking software.
On October 13th, Sony will release the PlayStation VR (PSVR) virtual reality (VR) headset for the PlayStation 4 (PS4). This event will mark the first time that a major video game console company has released an official VR headset for its console system. PSVR will be the first of its kind, and its success could potentially alter the nature of the video game industry.
The cinema industry has been experiencing problems for years, ever since the advent of HD TV technology in the home. This past summer saw a largely disappointing blockbuster season (helped largely through the Chinese movie-going market, rather than national gross). With 3D being increasingly seen as a fad and not the next step forward, movie companies are again looking to the future. IMAX looks to have chosen Starbreeze, Acer, and the StarVR as its future.
Oculus Rift, the most well-known virtual reality (VR) hardware and software developer in the emerging VR industry, has unveiled plans for a boundary software system for its hardware. This joins the company’s previous announcement to release its own motion controller with haptic feedback, the Oculus Touch. Both enhancements are intended to strengthen the Rift, allowing it to better match its competitor – the HTC Vive.
To date, the virtual reality (VR) headset market has been developing along two paths: wired devices that need a computer to run, and wireless devices that run off a smartphone. Intel, however, is looking to enter the market in a bold new way. Its proposed Project Alloy, unveiled August 16th, is a complete wireless VR platform. For the first time, users will be able to enter VR wherever they are, without the aid of further technology.