VR

Toyota’s New Experimental Humanoid Robot Uses HTC Vive for Remote Operation

Toyota’s New Experimental Humanoid Robot Uses HTC Vive for Remote Operation

Toyota recently revealed T-HR3, the company’s third-generation humanoid robot. Designed primarily as an experiment to explore new technologies to make robots more physically capable, T-HR3 demonstrates a new “remote maneuvering system” that not only mirrors a user’s movements to the robot, but lets them see and interact with the world through the ‘eyes’ and arms of the robot using a robotic exoskeleton, an HTC Vive headset, and a pair of Vive Trackers.

Controlled via what Toyota calls a “Master Maneuvering System,” T-HR3 allows the entire body of the robot to be operated by a person thanks to wearable controls that the company says mirrors the user’s head, hand, arm and foot movements.

Both the robot itself and the Master Maneuvering System contain  a series of motors, reduction gears and torque sensors connected to each joint. A total of 16 controls command 29 individual robot body parts, making for what the company calls “a smooth, synchronized user experience.”

Toyota is positioning the robot as the next logical step in the ultimate goal of creating a friendly assistant capable of helping people in a variety of settings, including the home and medical facilities, and more dangerous places like construction sites, disaster-stricken areas and outer space. As investment in telepresence-controlled humanoid robot grows though, there’s bound to be a number of happy side effects for VR users like better force-feedback haptics and full immersion rigs that could equally be used to control VR avatars. Because projects like these are still in prototyping, we’ll just have to wait and see what happens during the inevitable rise of our robotic companions. In any case, we’ll be here reporting (until the journo-bots take our jobs, that is).

If you want to see T-HR3 in action, it will be featured at the upcoming International Robot Exhibition 2017 from November 29th through December 2nd at Tokyo Big Sight.

Published at Tue, 21 Nov 2017 12:24:46 +0000

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Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire is Coming to London, Tickets on Sale Now

Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire is Coming to London, Tickets on Sale Now

During October, right in the middle of the Oculus Connect 4 (OC4) announcements, The VOID, ILMxLAB and Lucasfilm decided to reveal that tickets were available for virtual reality (VR) experience Star Wars: Secrets of the EmpireWhilst the timing may not have been great, the announcement would certainly have peaked the interest of Star Wars fans the world over, especially those in the US as it would be featuring at just two Disney resorts. For those fans based in Europe – and certainly the UK – they’ll be pleased to hear that there will be a limited time chance to head to a galaxy, far, far, away starting this December.

The VOID will be running one of its ‘hyper-reality’ experience locations at the Westfield London (Shepherd’s Bush) shopping centre for 12 weeks, starting from 16th December 2017.

Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire

Just like Ghostbusters: Dimensions, attendees will use The VOID’s own custom built, untethered VR system to freely move about the multi-sensory experience. As for what to expect in Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire, The VOID has detailed some of the story: “Under the orders of the budding rebellion, your team will travel to the molten planet of Mustafar. Your mission is to recover Imperial intelligence vital to the rebellion’s survival. Alongside the pragmatic droid K-2S0, your team must navigate through an enemy facility walking into danger at every turn. Disguised as stormtroopers, grab your blaster, solve puzzles, and fight giant lava monsters in an effort to fulfill your team’s orders.”

What you really want to know is how to book and how much. Well from 16th December you can just walk down to the location and try to buy a ticket, with the likelihood that they’ve already been purchased. The best way to secure yourself a spot is to book online through The VOID’s website. The experience puts you in teams of four, so if there are more of you then you’ll be split. Tickets are priced at £32.50 GBP and there doesn’t seem to be any concessions online.

With the short three month run – and especially over Christmas – tickets will probably go quite quickly. For any fruther updates on The VOID, keep reading VRFocus.

Published at Tue, 21 Nov 2017 12:00:59 +0000

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Rez Infinite Goes Mobile, now Available on Google Daydream

Rez Infinite Goes Mobile, now Available on Google Daydream

It’s not often that a virtual reality (VR) title originally released for one of the higher-end head-mounted displays (HMDs) gets ported to a mobile headset but that’s exactly what’s happened today. Enhance Games has announced that its highly popular psychedelic shooter Rez Infinite is now available on Google Daydream.

Originally released for PlayStation VR during its launch window then ported to Oculus Rift and HTC Vive this year, Rez Infinite has collected numerous awards and nominations globally, including Winner, Best VR Game at The Game Awards 2016.

Rez Infinite AreaX 07

For those that have managed to miss out on Enhance Games’ seminal experience, Rez Infinite is a visceral mix of lighting, neon colours, sound and music, requiring players to shoot a myriad of enemies which are synced in time with the audio. Featuring the five original areas from Rez, the release features enhanced visuals and full 3D audio for a complete immersive experience.

Additionally, the studio also created a brand new level specifically for VR, Area X. Unlike the original five levels which are on-rails, Area X is completely free-roaming, so that players can move around and shoot targets however they like just by moving their head. While the aiming reticule is controlled the the Daydream controller.

Daydream owners can download a free trial to see what the videogame is all about, then purchase the full title to unlock the rest of the experience.

VRFocusreviewed the PC version of Rez Infinite a few months ago, giving it a full 5 star rating, saying: “Yes, Rez Infinite is somewhat short, with an initial playthough possibly taking around a couple of hours, but you’ll enjoy (or should enjoy) every minute of it. So much so you’ll probably keep replaying it, improving your score, evolving your character and just taking in the whole spectacle. In answer to the first paragraph’s question about whether Oculus Rift and HTC Vive owners should be excited about Rez Infinite’s release, this is one VR videogame that should be in your library.”

VRFocus will continue its coverage of Enhance Games, reporting back with the studio’s latest VR announcements.

Published at Tue, 21 Nov 2017 11:00:30 +0000

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Bait! Arctic Open Introduces Multiplayer Fishing To Facebook Spaces

Bait! Arctic Open Introduces Multiplayer Fishing To Facebook Spaces

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Bait! Arctic Open Introduces Multiplayer Fishing To Facebook Spaces

When Bait! from Resolution Games first launched on Gear VR it introduced several visually pleasing vistas at which players could cast their line for some recreational fishing. With a mixture of free-to-play design and some light microtransactions, it quickly soared on the platform and became one of the most-downloaded mobile VR experiences available.

Now today Bait! is coming to Facebook Spaces through a new iteration dubbed Bait! Arctic Open. This time around it’s exclusive to the Facebook Spaces social space on Oculus Rift and is freely available to anyone in Facebook Spaces. And unlike the previous game, Bait! Arctic Open has a heavy focus on multiplayer.

CEO of Resolution Games, Tommy Palm, had the following to say in an official Oculus blog post:

“We founded Resolution Games on the premise that social gameplay would be one of the most core elements of VR. This was such a great opportunity to fully utilize the social infrastructure of Facebook Spaces, which let us focus our efforts on the actual game building—and fishing is one of those activities that allows you to be socially active and doesn’t require 100% of your mental bandwidth. With this mix, you can engage in a really fun way, while also having conversations with your friends…We hope [players] have a great time fishing with their friends and finding all the different species of fantastic creatures. I hope that players also see the potential future of social VR. This is a new world, a new frontier waiting to be explored. There are so many fascinating experiences waiting to be made that will bring joy to people all over the world.”

Let us know what you think of the game and trailer embedded above down in the comments below!

Tagged with: Arctic Open, bait!, Facebook Spaces, fishing

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Published at Mon, 20 Nov 2017 22:00:12 +0000

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Vegas: Alter Your Reality VR Art Collection Debuting at Miami Art Week

Vegas: Alter Your Reality VR Art Collection Debuting at Miami Art Week

The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) has announced a new marketing program, Vegas: Alter Your Reality (VAYR), which will debut at a modern and contemporary art event during Miami Art Week in December.

VAYR is a creative interpretation of the Las Vegas experience, featuring personal narratives by five international artists:   Adhemas Batista, Brazil; Beeple, U.S.; FAFI, France; INSA, U.K.; and Signalnoise, Canada. From strolling the streets to flying in a helicopter over the Strip, the artists took part in a variety of only-in-Vegas moments and explored the city on their own terms, creating two to three-minute immersive videos that are unique to each artist’s personal style.

Las Vegas

“We are committed to constantly exploring new and innovative avenues through which we can reach potential visitors,” said Cathy Tull, senior vice president of marketing at the LVCVA in a statement. “By uniting art and virtual technology to reflect the vibrancy of the destination, Vegas: Alter Your Reality will inspire travelers to create their own Las Vegas journey.”

The collection is open to the public, where guests adorn Samsung Gear VR headsets and observe the exclusive artwork during Las Vegas’ three-day, multi-sensory event, taking place at Zadok Art Gallery, from 7th – 9th December 2017, between 1 – 9pm. On 6th Dec., the brand will host VIP media and guests for an exclusive viewing, featuring world-class desserts by The Venetian Las Vegas’ Mercato della Pescheria and a variety of craft cocktails.

For those that can’t attend, content will be shared on the Vegas VR app, which is free and available for download on iOS and Android platforms.

Las Vegas is all about adult freedom, meaning you can be and do things here you can’t be and do at home,” said Arnie DiGeorge, executive creative director at R&R Partners, the agency of record for the LVCVA. “Art is a similar experience; it can take you to new places and on flights of fantasy. Vegas: Alter Your Reality puts the two together. It is ultimate freedom.”

For the latest uses of VR from around the world, keep reading VRFocus.

Published at Mon, 20 Nov 2017 20:00:39 +0000

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Immersive Tech Startup Pixvana Completes $14m Series A Funding Round

Immersive Tech Startup Pixvana Completes $14m Series A Funding Round

Pixvana, the tech startup that specialises in cloud-based video content creation and distribution has announced the completion of a Series A funding round of $14 million USD.

The round was led by Vulcan Capital with participation from new investors Raine Ventures, Microsoft Ventures, Cisco Investments and Hearst Ventures, and existing investor Madrona Venture Group.  

Pixvana FOVAS demo Sofia experience

The funding will be used to help bolster SPIN Studio, Pixvana’s cloud-based storytelling platform which handles everything from stitching, editing, publishing, and playback in one workflow. The platform offers creative tools for virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR) and mixed reality (MR) storytelling, including customized templates and interactive hyperports.

“We are thrilled to work with this amazing group of investors backing us, to realize our vision of XR storytelling,” said Forest Key, Pixvana CEO in a statement. “Faster iteration and blending of video and 3D content will allow creatives, brands and media companies to create amazing XR experiences. More announcements like the recent devices for Windows MR and Oculus Go will create a rapidly expanding market for XR video experiences.”

SPIN Studio users can access Pixvana’s encoding system that renders up to 8K stereo content using its patented FOVAS (field of view adaptive streaming) technology, enabling high-quality experiences on head-mounted displays (HMDs) like Microsoft’s Windows Mixed Reality, Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, Samsung Gear VR, Google Daydream, and more.

“There is tremendous opportunity in the XR video space and it is clear that outstanding content and storytelling tools will define this new medium,” said Stuart Nagae, General Partner, Vulcan Capital. “We think that Pixvana has an extraordinary team that really understands how to deliver cinematic, immersive experiences in XR and can build a SaaS business at scale.”

For the funding pitch Pixvana created a 360-degree video using SPIN Studio called Sofia – in homage to Sofia Coppola. The video (seen below) is a cut down version of the full 15-minute pitch. As with any 360 video it’s best to watch using a headset. Whilst most headsets will be able to play the YouTube video, for the best experience – and to see FOVAS in action – you’ll need to download the SPIN Play app. Currently this is available on Steam for Oculus Rift and HTC Vive, with a mobile version due next month.

For any further Pixvana updates, keep reading VRFocus.

Published at Mon, 20 Nov 2017 22:00:38 +0000

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Monster of the Deep: Final Fantasy XV Livestream – Fishing With Noctis

Monster of the Deep: Final Fantasy XV Livestream – Fishing With Noctis

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Monster of the Deep: Final Fantasy XV Livestream – Fishing With Noctis

Monster of the Deep: Final Fantasy XV launches tomorrow on PSVR. We’ve got our review live on the site right now, so you can check that for our full opinion, but suffice it to say that we were pleasantly surprised. Square Enix have done a surprisingly effective job of combining the world of Eos from Final Fantasy XV, in all of its bombastic glory, with the seemingly mundane task of fishing.

Since the game won’t be out until tomorrow we’ve decided to stream it for a little while today to give you an idea of what it’s like to help get you ready to go. The stream will be live over on our YouTube channel this afternoon starting at approximately 1:00 PM PT and running for about an hour or so. Once live you can find it embedded below:

Stream coming soon at 1:00PM PT

Are you intersted in checking out Monster of the Deep: Final Fantasy XV? Are there any specific new or upcoming VR games you want to see us stream? Let us know down in the comments below! If you missed last week we streamed From Other Suns and Skyrim VR.

Now just let me go get my gear and tackle box ready…

Tagged with: final fantasy XV, livestream, Monster of the Deep, square enix

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Published at Mon, 20 Nov 2017 20:00:23 +0000

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Airbus Launches HoloLens App to Train Future Airline Crews

Airbus Launches HoloLens App to Train Future Airline Crews

Jet engineering is going holographic.

Passenger jet maker Airbus has created a Microsoft HoloLens app to train engineers and cabin crews.

The app lets you train from anywhere while wearing the standalone headset “via a holographic coach or an interactive, shared 3D virtual system,” according to a press release.

The app is part of Airbus’s greater plan to use mixed reality for training, an Airbus spokesperson told VRScout.

“The result of the prototype is very positive and we are studying the roadmap for future development and implementation,” the spokesperson said.

Airbus, a Microsoft HoloLens partner, developed the software for its A350 XWB line of planes, which first took to the skies in 2013.

The company worked with Japan Airlines (JAL) to build the app over the course of 12 weeks, the spokesperson said.

JAL, who is also a Microsoft HoloLens partner, already had experience using the headset to train its own jet engineers. Microsoft demonstrated  JAL’s app last year.

The Japanese airliner purchased 31 A350s in 2013 and will be the first to take advantage of the software. The future engineers and crews of the 18 A350s they launch in 2019 will get to use the app.

But training might not be the only thing Airbus uses the HoloLens for.

Airbus has also “collected more than 250 different use cases for the HoloLens” ranging from in-flight entertainment to communication, the spokesperson said.

Image Credit: Airbus

Published at Mon, 20 Nov 2017 17:47:20 +0000

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Pixvana Raises $14M Series A Investment for Cloud-based VR Video Platform

Pixvana Raises $14M Series A Investment for Cloud-based VR Video Platform

Pixvana, a Seattle-based startup creating a cloud-based processing and delivery platform for VR video, today announced a $14 million Series A funding round led by Vulcan Capital with participation from Raine Ventures, Microsoft Ventures, Cisco Investments and Hearst Ventures, and existing investor Madrona Venture Group.

The company exited stealth when they announced their initial seed round back in December 2015. The Series A brings their overall investment to $20 million. Now, Pixvana hopes to “enable anyone to create and distribute next-generation video experiences” using its main service SPIN Studio.

SPIN Studio is an end-to-end solution for authoring and delivering virtual, augmented, and mixed reality video content, otherwise encapsulated in the term ‘XR video’ by the company. Both playback and direct-to-store publishing functions are already available to beta testers looking to deliver up to 8K video without the supposed caveat of questionable streaming quality and stuttery playback for their users—a feat accomplished in part by the company’s Field of View Adaptive Streaming (FOVAS) technology that optimizes playback resolution by delivering video in discrete sections and rendering that video only where you’re actively looking. FOVAS is supported on Gear VR, HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, Windows VR headsets and Daydream currently.

According to a company blog post announcing the investment, SPIN Studio takes care stitching, editing, publishing, and playback for a single “seamless workflow.”

Pixvana Spin Play. image courtesy Pixvana

“We are thrilled to work with this amazing group of investors backing us, to realize our vision of XR storytelling,” said Forest Key, Pixvana CEO. “Faster iteration and blending of video and 3D content will allow creatives, brands and media companies to create amazing XR experiences. More announcements like the recent devices for Windows MR and Oculus Go will create a rapidly expanding market for XR video experiences.”

To seal the investment, Key and his team created a 360 pitch video entitled Sofia, named after the famous director Sofia Coppola. Below you can get a taste of the 15 minute video, albeit edited for public viewing. While the video is available on YouTube, you won’t get the benefits of FOVAS unless you view through the Spin Play app on Steam, the company’s own showcase of videos possible with its cloud-streaming and adaptive playback capabilities.

Published at Mon, 20 Nov 2017 17:59:50 +0000

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Ubisoft and Triotech Working on Assassin’s Creed VR Experience

Ubisoft and Triotech Working on Assassin’s Creed VR Experience

Ubisoft has previously revealed its work in virtual reality (VR) with the demonstration of its Rabbids Virtual Reality Ride, now the company has teamed up with interactive entertainment company Triotech to create a VR experience based on the Assassin’s Creed franchise.

Assassin’s Creed is one of Ubisoft’s biggest and most popular franchises, with ten games in the main series, numerous spin-offs and a movie adaptation. The series focusses on exploration and adventure in highly detailed historical settings. Triotech, a company known for creating immersive digital attractions, will be incorporating content supplied by Ubisoft into a VR experience.

The Assassin’s Creed experience will be installed at the Ubisoft Center in Pointe-Claire, Montreal, Canada. Visitors to the Center will use VR to immerse themselves in the world of Assassin’s Creed in a set up that uses the vast settings Ubisoft is famous for, while taking up a small footprint of as little at 10 square feet.

“We have watched the evolution of Virtual Reality technology closely over the last few years,” said Ernest Yale, founder, President & CEO of Triotech. “We feel that with this solution we have a strong offering to the market when considering both the content and the technology but most importantly, the guest experience.”

“This partnership is part of Ubisoft’s strategy to open new doors to our rich video game worlds such as Rabbids and Assassin’s Creed, enabling us to create immersive experiences for our fans while reaching out to new audiences”, said Deborah Papiernik, Senior Vice President, New Business of Ubisoft.

Ubisoft’s ventures into the world of location-based entertainment is part of a wider strategy to diversify into other areas of entertainment and take advantage of new emerging technologies.

“Ubisoft has been looking closely at opportunities specific to the location-based entertainment market,” says Jean de Rivières, Ubisoft’s Senior Vice President, “The company realized that VRcades consumers were eager for an arcade twist to their experience. That could be a simulator, mixed reality, or multiplayer features. Therefore, our teams developed the Rabbids VR Ride. This has a motion simulator that creates real sensations of acceleration, flight, fear of heights, etc. Of course, this has brought plenty of exciting challenges to our in-house developers – and, equally, opportunities to learn. How to handle 360° perspectives or craft VR narratives are among them.”

VRFocus will bring you further news on the Assassin’s Creed VR Experience as it becomes available.

Published at Mon, 20 Nov 2017 17:00:41 +0000

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