Google Expeditions Bring Augmented Reality to Schools

Google Expeditions Bring Augmented Reality to Schools

School can be boring, as we all know, but many children across the globe are sure to pay a bit more attention with some new technology in the classroom. Enter Google Expeditions, who are bringing augmented reality (AR) tech to classrooms to teach kids about the future of technology in a new way.


Taking to schools in Galesburg, Illinois, Google introduced the kids to Google Expeditions AR, which allowed student to interact with 3D landscapes, such as tornadoes, world landmarks and more. Using smartphones the children were able to interact with and learn about the weather and world history in a new way.

Teacher Laure Weech was with her students during the demos, who is optimistic about the potential for teaching with the new technology; “It’s awesome, it’s fabulous. I think it will certainly enhance our curriculum.”

Google provided the smartphones for the students to use. Navigating the phone in 3D space, the children were able to closely look around and analyse the 3D models. The selection of weather effects included hurricanes, tornadoes and volcanoes, with student able to view every inch of the models in a realistic 3D space, something that simply can’t be done with textbooks.

Jacob Coon was one of the students who experienced the demo for himself, and shares the sentiments of his peers; “Say you’re looking at a notebook, it’s just flat,” Coon said. “With this, you can see everything and move into and around it.”

The school district is already interested in implementing the software into its classrooms, but before they can boldly go into a potential new future of education, Google needs to finish testing the software for a public release.

These trips to schools are a part of Google’s software test, and even when the software is fully tested and ready, it needs to be woven into the curriculum, and implemented into the classrooms, after certain assurances are made, such as strong WiFi signals throughout classrooms.

Technology is always revolutionising the ways we learn and communicate, so using AR in the classroom seems like a natural next step for education.

For the most advanced ways to learn and educate in AR, make sure to keep your eyes on VRFocus.

Published at Sun, 07 Jan 2018 22:00:51 +0000

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Future of Play – Evolving a Kid-Friendly XR Ecosystem

Future of Play – Evolving a Kid-Friendly XR Ecosystem

Do you remember what the future looked like when you were a kid? Did you imagine taking your hoverboard to school, zipping around town in flying cars, having robot friends, playing sports in outer space, calling home on your holographic device, and conducting intergalactic travel in seconds?

What we might have imagined as kids isn’t that far off today, especially with virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) becoming accessible to more people of all ages. With an annualized growth rate of 113% due to reach $215 billion in 2021, VR and AR are here to stay.

MERGE, is one immersive company that is helping shape the future of play by creating and evolving a kid-friendly XR ecosystem that’s affordable and accessible with an abundance of fun quality content.

The MERGE ecosystem includes MERGE Miniverse, the only curated mobile VR/AR content library made for younger VR/AR explorers, the company’s holographic MERGE Cube, and their marshmallow-soft MERGE Goggles.

At CES 2018, MERGE is announcing two more VR/AR product additions to their ecosystem.

The company will unveil the MERGE 6DoF Blaster – a breakthrough product that seamlessly merges the digital space with the real world without using a VR headset, and MERGE Mini – a smaller, lighter, and more accessible version of their original VR/AR goggles.

The MERGE 6DoF (6 Degrees of Freedom) Blaster uses positional tracking technology that allows you to maneuver around virtual worlds by moving, ducking and jumping in the real world – ultimately transforming the world into your own playground. MERGE will open the Blaster SDK to developers and games studios worldwide, and will release specs to enable manufacturers to make their own Blaster-compatible products. MERGE 6DoF Blaster is expected to hit retail shelves in Summer 2018.

“What we’ve created is an intuitive and accessible virtual reality product and platform for the mass market. We can deliver a high-end, positionally tracked VR experience and put it in a form factor that’s easy to use,” says MERGE Founder Franklin Lyons. “MERGE 6DoF Blaster is a breakthrough product that will make virtual reality more practical for users and great for developers to build innovative gaming experiences.”

MERGE Mini is a small and lightweight VR/AR headset designed for kids ages 10 and up. It takes all the features of the original MERGE Goggles and offers the most accessible and affordable way for younger users to explore high quality mobile VR/AR experiences, while still being comfortable for everyone. MERGE Mini will also hit retail shelves in Summer 2018.

MERGE is not only bringing together the physical and digital worlds with their products, they’re also continually evolving and building their platforms through content partnerships, licensing agreements as well as creating new products and immersive experiences through MERGE Labs, the company’s global development community.

The future of play is filled with magical experiences in the physical and digital world that help make kids smarter, more creative, and more collaborative. While we can’t jump in our Delorean or time traveling phone box just yet, we can always go on a journey through imagination, creativity, and fun with companies like MERGE.

If you in Las Vegas for CES this week, you can check out MERGE’s kid-friendly products at LVCC, South Hall 1 booth 21523 and Sands, Halls A-D, booth 43274.

Published at Sun, 07 Jan 2018 15:00:49 +0000

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Eye Witnessing Events 360 Degree Video Part 1

Eye Witnessing Events 360 Degree Video Part 1

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Eye Witness Events 360 Degree Video Part 1 Inside The Life Of A Rohingya Refugee | AJ+ Docs & Contrast VR Himalayas: a Trek to School in 360 video – BBC News Hurricane Irma prompts Miami to remove the homeless against their will Nimrud’s Riches: The Islamic State’s efforts to erase history Rohingya Exodus MEXICO […]

The post Eye Witnessing Events 360 Degree Video Part 1 appeared first on Virtual Reality Reporter by VR Reporter

Published at Sun, 07 Jan 2018 07:40:37 +0000

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2018 to be Record-Breaking Year for AR and VR after Promising CES 2018 Presence

2018 to be Record-Breaking Year for AR and VR after Promising CES 2018 Presence

We’ve already seen virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) make a huge impact on technology markets despite being on the market a surprisingly short period of time, and now the Consumer Technology Association (CTA) predict that 2018 will break records in terms of sales for dedicated AR and VR hardware and software.

Facebook Spaces Rift Vive

It all stems from CES 2018, Las Vegas. The show is kicking off on Monday 9th January, and the CTA are seeing a record-breaking amount of AR and VR technology being displayed at the show, all of which you can read about right here on VRFocus.

Head-mounted displays (HMDs) and smart glasses are expected to sell just shy of 5 million units in 2018, with $1.2 billion USD in revenue, an estimated 10% growth year-on-year. AR smart glasses and HMDs are also expected to pick up steam quickly in the next five years.

You can already see the growth in the market at CES 2018, where the Augmented Reality Marketplace is 10% larger than last year, and the Gaming & Virtual Reality Marketplace will grow by 18%, making it the biggest year for the marketplace ever at CES 2018, Las Vegas, in terms of net square feet.

CES’s senior vice president, Karen Chupka, shares her excitement at having so many promising new AR and VR technologies at the show; “We’re thrilled with the impressive growth of AR/VR, reflecting that the sky is the limit with these emerging technologies. At CES, you’ll discover new ways to sense and experience the virtual world – innovative examples of why the value of AR/VR extends from gaming and entertainment to education and healthcare and beyond.”

The CTA’s Chairman of AR/VR Working Group, Mark Turner, believes the AR, VR and Mixed Reality (MR) markets will only grow as the public understands the technology; “It’s up to us in the industry to help consumers understand all the technology and content available right now in the AR/VR/MR space. The investments we’re seeing in these immersive technologies, coupled with other innovations – like wearables and voice search – point to an exciting future of truly pervasive personal computing. A future where your physical environment can morph between being your digital workplace and your digital fun place.”

Augmented, Virtual and Mixed reality technology is all progressing at an exponential rate, and we can’t wait to see what 2018 has to offer. For all of the latest, make sure to keep reading VRFocus.

Published at Sat, 06 Jan 2018 18:00:01 +0000

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Renault Trucks Integrates Mixed Reality into Production Process

Renault Trucks Integrates Mixed Reality into Production Process

Augmented reality (AR) and mixed reality (MR) have already proven their worth when it comes to productivity in busy environments with complex machinery, small, complicated devices or even the surgery room, and Renault Trucks have been working with virtual reality (VR) technology in its design and production process for years, but now they’re looking to integrate AR and MR technologies into its production process and quality control processes.

A Eureka Magazine report tells us that a team of 20 employees at Renault Trucks’ Lyon engine site in France have been working to make a prototype for using MR to help control engine quality. Using Immersion and supported by the company, the team created a mixed reality application which takes them over the process of designing a car, from inception to prototype.

Bertrand Félix is the Renault Trucks engineer leading the project, and he hopes the new technology will modernise and simplify the jobs employees at the Lyon site do every day; “In practice, quality control operators will wear Microsoft HoloLens smartglasses in which all the digitalised engine parts will be integrated. [Using] the glasses and mixed reality interface, operators will see decision-making instructions that will guide them through the most complex control operations. At the moment, operators working on control points are still using paper instructions.”

The technology is particularly helpful with complicated engines, allowing users to “look through” the engines, identify each part, and navigate their way through the complicated machinery. Each part has a digital user interface (UI) superimposed over it, so they can all be viewable individually in MR, allowing users to identify issues in the quality control stages much more easily.

“In addition to the expertise we have been acquiring in virtual reality since 1994, our added value lies in our multi-disciplinary team that really understands needs and uses in order to offer our customers a global experience”, explained Jean-Baptiste de la Rivière, R&D and innovation director at Immersion. “With Renault Trucks, we have designed and developed a tool that is perfectly suited to the requirements of the factory, which can be integrated into the manufacturer’s industrial processes.”

MR, AR and VR are all finding new ways to automate and simplify complex tasks like this, and for all of the latest of new and interesting ways these technologies are being used, make sure to keep reading VRFocus.

Published at Sat, 06 Jan 2018 21:00:02 +0000

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Meta Partners With Ultrahaptics And ZeroLight For Touch in AR

Meta Partners With Ultrahaptics And ZeroLight For Touch in AR

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Meta Partners With Ultrahaptics And ZeroLight For Touch in AR

Meta is adding another dimension to its augmented reality experiences by incorporating haptic feedback. To that end, it has partnered with Ultrahaptics and ZeroLight, and it will be showing off a demo of the new technology at the upcoming Consumer Electronics Show industry event next week.

“The vision behind Meta is to deliver a machine that acts as an extension of the body, allowing us to intuitively create, communicate and collaborate in a natural way,” said Meta’s head of developer relations David Oh in a press release. “We are working closely with our partners using the Meta 2 Development Kit to deliver such experiences through augmented reality today, while defining what the future of computing will look like in the years to come.”

The CES demo will feature an AR Pagani Huayra Roadster, a sleek luxury automobile that costs $2.4 million. Unless you own one of the 100 vehicles ever made, it’s unlikely you’ve had a chance to touch it, much less take it for a spin. Meta’s AR version of the hypercar recreates the vibrations of the engine, and event-goers will be able to break it down to examine separate parts. It draws on ZeroLight’s expertise for configuring 3D cars and uses Ultrahaptics’s ultrasound technology, which is focused on making AR and VR experiences more immersive.

Market advisor Digi-Capital estimates that the AR market will reach $108 billion by 2021. Right now, mobile AR has a lead with Apple’s ARKit jostling with Google’s ARCore to be the “largest AR platform in the world.” But that doesn’t mean AR headsets are necessarily being left in the dust.

In 2016, Meta raised $50 million in a second round of funding and unveiled its Meta 2 AR headset. And competitor Magic Leap revealed its new AR goggles last month and has so far raised $1.9 billion in funding. The Magic Leap One is a “creator edition” of the headset that’s slated to roll out in early 2018 to developers along with software development kits.

This post by Stephanie Chan originally appeared on VentureBeat.

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Published at Sat, 06 Jan 2018 16:50:14 +0000

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VR Could be Indistinguishable From the Real World With Harvard’s new Metalens

VR Could be Indistinguishable From the Real World With Harvard’s new Metalens

Virtual reality (VR) content doesn’t need to look like real life to be immersive yet ultimately that is one end goal looking to be achieved. There are various factors and problems that need to be solved to get there, one of which are the big and heavy lenses needed in each head-mounted display (HMD). Well those clever folks over at Harvard University’s John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences may have come up with a possible solution, creating a tiny metalens that can focus the entire visible spectrum of light — including white light — in the same spot.

VR Playhouse art

Due to the way metalenses work they are thin, easy and cheap to make, meaning that if they were to be used inside a VR headset, not only would it be lighter and more comfortable to wear, the actual visual experience would be even better.

“Metalenses have advantages over traditional lenses,” says Federico Capasso, the Robert L. Wallace Professor of Applied Physics and Vinton Hayes Senior Research Fellow in Electrical Engineering at SEAS and senior author of the research in a statement. “Metalenses are thin, easy to fabricate and cost effective. This breakthrough extends those advantages across the whole visible range of light. This is the next big step.”

The problem when focusing the entire visible spectrum and white light is that each wavelength moves through materials at different speeds. So with a traditional lens each colour wavelength will hit the eye at different times, causing an issue called chromatic aberration. To get around this conventional lenses have to be stacked, increasing cost and weight.

So the Harvard team has created a metalens that feature arrays of titanium dioxide nanofins to equally focus wavelengths of light and eliminate chromatic aberration.

“One of the biggest challenges in designing an achromatic broadband lens is making sure that the outgoing wavelengths from all the different points of the metalens arrive at the focal point at the same time,” said Wei Ting Chen, a postdoctoral fellow at SEAS and first author of the paper. “By combining two nanofins into one element, we can tune the speed of light in the nanostructured material, to ensure that all wavelengths in the visible are focused in the same spot, using a single metalens. This dramatically reduces thickness and design complexity compared to composite standard achromatic lenses.”

While this is certainly an interesting step towards better looking VR don’t expect anything just yet as the researchers next goal is to scale up the lens, to about 1 cm in diameter for VR and augmented reality (AR) applications. That being said, the intellectual property relating to this project has been protected and licensed to a startup for commercial development. As development continues, VRFocus will keep you updated.

Published at Sat, 06 Jan 2018 19:00:40 +0000

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Sony to Nearly Double the Total Number of PSVR Games by End of 2018

Sony to Nearly Double the Total Number of PSVR Games by End of 2018

According to a report by Silicon EraSony expects to increase the number of PSVR games from 150 to 280 over the course of 2018.

Citing Japanese financial publication Nikkei, the report holds the 80 percent increase in games planned for 2018 is primarily due to the fact that Sony has shipped over 2 million PSVR units worldwide since launch, making the platform ripe for further investment.

PSVR has a little under a tenth of the number of non-VR games currently listed on PSN. However Sony says they’ve sold more than 12.2 million copies of PSVR games across retail stores and PSN since its October 2016 release—a testament to Sony’s aggressive investment and overall success of the fairly inexpensive headset. An ‘all-in’ first generation headset can still be purchased for less than $400, making it an easy buy for anyone already in the PS4 hardware ecosystem.

Because Nikkei’s report is likely referring to the Japanese market, we expect the number to be a rough estimate in terms of Western titles planned for 2018 release—not all Japanese games come to Western-facing PSN stores—although the same goes for Western-developed games in Japan.

While it’s unlikely we’ll see a PSVR 2.0 version in 2018, as the system has already seen a minor hardware refresh a few months ago, this year is shaping up to be a big drive for quality content to keep PSVR players playing.

Published at Sat, 06 Jan 2018 15:28:19 +0000

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This Week in VR Sport: Fox Sports in AR and Yarde Spectates Himself

This Week in VR Sport: Fox Sports in AR and Yarde Spectates Himself

2018 has only just kicked off and we’re already seeing augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) technology move further and further into the mainstream space and, of course, we’ve got more sports news to report on. Sports teams and broadcasters around the world are quickly coming to terms with how VR and AR can enhance the experience for fans, and they’re wasting no time getting started.

2018 has only just begun, but the year is already looking incredibly promising…

Needless to say, if Fox Sports are broadcasting a live sports event, the stadium will be well equipped. Dozens of cameras capable of super slow-mo action, and SkyCams so every angle is recorded for posterity. Fox are now looking towards AR to make their broadcasts more interesting and interactive than ever before.

In collaboration with Sports Media Technologies, SkyCam and Vizrt, Mike Davies has said that they are putting “together a recipe” for AR technology to work with the SkyCam.

“It’s a bit of an orchestration because the pilot of the SkyCam needs to be flying around the object as if it were an object on the field. If you break through it, it’s not going to look real,” says Davies.

As reported by TVTechnology, the set up should allow Fox Sports to put lines down the football fields and have motion graphics and other effects on the 2D field, but with motion tracking so the elements can follow players and locations accurately. We look forward to seeing the tech in action.

Hearing your own voice on a recording is weird. Seeing yourself in videos can be odd, too. Now, seeing yourself in full 3D, punching another man in the face? It’s an experience not many of us will have, but Anthony Yarde seems to enjoy the show.

Watching his previous victory in 360 degrees thanks to BT Sport, Yarde is visibly elated seeing himself move around the boxing ring, and enjoys taking a look at the commentators, too. Well worth watching Yarde get excited about his shining moment.

It won’t be long until you can just point your phone at anything in the world and get a detailed read out of information about it. Augmented reality technology almost guarantees it’ll happen; but before that, we’ll be able to scan sports team logos to buy tickets and get information about our favourite teams.

As reported by Sports Techie, the app will be built by Mandt Media, who have worked with sports teams on VR and AR applications before. CEO Neil Mandt has said; “Location-based augmented reality is something that’s going to go beyond just events, it’s going to become part of our lives. Users can get information quickly using the device in their pocket.”

For all of the latest updates in the world of VR and AR in sport, make sure to keep reading VRFocus.

Published at Sat, 06 Jan 2018 15:00:23 +0000

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SENSEPLAY’s New Device to be Displayed at CES 2018

SENSEPLAY’s New Device to be Displayed at CES 2018

Interacting with worlds we can see and not touch is still one of the stumbling blocks in the way of making immersive digital worlds, but luckily new solutions for helping us develop and interact with the digital world are coming up all the time, and the latest is the SENSEPLAY platform, a device which promises new ways to make interacting with virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) easier than ever.

The SENSEPLAY surf is their new device which they hope will change the future of AR. The SENSEPLAY surf allows you to view things in AR in first person, and has AR gaming features built in. The device looks like a 3DS console, with a clamshell design and a screen on both halves of the unit. Several physical buttons on the device allow users to map buttons and gestures to different commands, giving them true control over the worlds they design.

Luckily, the SENSEPLAY devices will be able to be integrated with a variety of devices, thanks to KeyMap configuration, making it easy to set macro commands for any software or device.

The first-person view (FPV) can be revolutionary too, with speedy HD video transmission which will allow you to see the worlds you craft live, before your eyes, without cables holding you back.

The SENSEPLAY is so adaptable, that you can even use its FPV functions to fly drones up to 15km away, and SENSEPLAY promise that the device will put any FPV device to the test, even those intended to be used by dedicated drones.

The dual OLED screens ensure crisp picture quality with authentic black levels and colour vibrancy. Again, what you wish to display on these screen can be customised in software, allowing users to edit and view their worlds and experiences at the same time, on the fly.

The SENSEPLAY will see its official launch at CES 2018, Las Vegas, on January 9th. Anyone attending CES 2018 will be able to go see the device in person, use the technology, and get demonstrations from SENSEPLAY’s experts so everyone can see the new uses the SENSEPLAY can provide.

It looks incredibly promising, and just might be essential for VR and AR devs in the future. If you’re at CES 2018, Las Vegas, make sure to take a look at the SENSEPLAY, and if you’re at home, stay on VRFocus for all of the latest news.

Published at Sat, 06 Jan 2018 13:00:38 +0000

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