Archive for the ‘News and Announcements’ Category

Opinions on the ideal VR, AR and MR headsets for the near future

I am a co-founder of two companies (Phosphor Games and TRIXI studios) that in 2016 shipped games on HTC Vive, Oculus, PSVR, Lenovo Tango, and are wrapping up applications on Google Daydream, GearVR, and HoloLens. Making applications for these systems means spending thousands of hours with the devices; experimenting and prototyping uses that will never go public.


Fashion meets virtual reality

Ace Indian fashion designer Manish Malhotra launched his virtual reality fashion show at the Innovation Centre and Training Academy of Etihad Airways airlines.


VR startups are about to die. Investors should relax.

One of the earliest VR startups, Envelop launched in 2014 as an effort to bring the traditional Windows desktop experience into VR, and drew the interest of high-profile VCs including Madrona and GV. It would have allowed users to create immersive 3D computing environments, effectively rendering screens obsolete.


Academics, researchers ponder how quickly VR and AR will impact education

Academics and researchers will gather at Harvard Friday to explore how virtual and augmented reality will be used for education. About 10 researchers will present research papers that will be compiled into a book “Virtual, Augmented, and Mixed Realities in Education” that will launch in the summer. The conference is hosted by the Harvard Graduate School of Education, The Smart Learning Institute of Beijing Normal University, a joint venture between the University and NetDragon, and The Fujian Virtual Reality Industrial Base, an incubator for virtual reality companies.


VR as the Most Powerful Surveillance Technology or Last Bastion of Privacy? It’s up to Us.

Virtual reality has the potential to enable so many amazing utopian futures, but it also has the potential to become one of the most intimate surveillance technologies that could create a Big Brother dystopia of political and economic control. But if privacy considerations are built into virtual reality technologies from the beginning, then Accomplice investor Sarah Downey argues that the metaverse could actually be one of the last bastions of privacy that we have in our lives.


GE Just Launched a Branded Virtual Reality Series About Science

 GE hoping to bridge a storyline between science and art, has just debuted a new documentary miniseries in virtual reality. This week, the tech company released the first of five films that aim to show a different side of innovation beyond just labs. Shot by Here Be Dragons, the series—”The Possible”—aims to let people see the possibilities of science and tech within real-world settings. The films let viewers cruise across salt atop land speeders, fly high in the air on hoverboards and walk through the woods and in the lab with robots built by Boston Dynamics. (The first film,” Hello Robot,” debuted today on Within, an app that houses VR content from Here Be Dragons, The New York Times, United Nations, Vice and others.)


The Royal Shakespeare Company Paves Way For Virtual Reality Theater

Arthur C. Clarke once said: “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” 
If that’s true, then the Royal Shakespeare Company is well on its way to casting actual spells over its audiences.


Oculus founder headed to court over allegations of stolen tech and bogus origin story

After purchasing Oculus just over two years ago, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is just beginning to reap the benefit. Oculus finds itself in the fortunate position of being an industry leader in a market that’s just beginning its ascent. It’s also about to appear in court over allegations of stolen technology and a false origin story.


Believe the Hype: HypeVR’s Volumetric Video Capture is a Glimpse at the Future of VR Video

Today’s most immersive VR video productions are shot in 360 degree video and 3D. Properly executed 360 3D video content can look quite good in VR (just take a look at some of the work from Felix & Paul Studios). But—assuming we can one day achieve retina-quality resolution and geometrically perfect stereoscopy—there’s a hurdle that 360 3D video content simply can’t surmount: movement inside of the video experience.


Three VR Firms Merge to Form Virtual Content Group

In the tech industry its fairly common place for mergers to happen, companies want to use each others expertise to advance their own projects. What’s slightly more unusual is when three businesses decide to do just that, but this week the Virtual Content Group (VCG) officially announced its launch.


 

Unlocking the treasure chest: The emerging language of VR storytelling, by Eric Darnell of Baobab Studios (Part 1 of 2)

I was a Journalism major at the University of Colorado as an undergrad student. I started taking film classes just to learn how to cut a news story together and got really interested in film. Then in 1983, when I was flipping through the channels and saw a PBS documentary on computer animation, which I’d never seen before, I was blown away. I knew what I wanted to do with my life.


15 Virtual Reality Trends We’re Predicting for 2017

2016 is fast drawing to a close. And while many will be glad to see the back of it, for those of us who work and play with Virtual Reality, it has been a most exciting year. By the time the bells ring out signalling the start of a new year, the total number of VR users will exceed 43 million. This is a market on the move, projected to be worth $30bn by 2020. If it’s to meet that valuation, then we believe 2017 will be an incredibly important year in the lifecycle of VR hardware and software development.


The female perspective: Takeaways from my experience watching VR porn made for dudes

Last week, I got to experience something I never thought possible as a woman: sex from the male perspective. The future is here, my friends. And though it was an interesting anthropological experiment, it was not particularly sexy to look down and see … that.  But that’s what I saw, courtesy of Naughty America at CES in Las Vegas. The company was tucked away in a sad meeting room off the show floor, reminiscent of a glass smoking room at the airport, as if to send a message. Keep the animals in their cage.


The first Virtual Reality X-ray training with Virtual Medical Coaching

The Writer had the opportunity to put on the VR googles and what was a vacant booth suddenly became a full Hospital Radiology suite. I was able to walk from the Consul room into the examination room. I was able to interact with the X ray tube, manipulate the patient, raise or lower the table and put left or right markers on. After placing the X Ray tube, manipulating the patient’s knee, collimating the beam and even placing the correct “R” side maker onto the X Ray image receptor I walked back to the consul room, and took the radiograph.


This is how Sony plans to make virtual reality films a long-term business

Virtual reality (VR) is a long way off from becoming a money maker for movie bosses and for Sony the challenge to date has been resisting the urge to fuel hype for the medium and instead understand the value it could bring.


Virtually boring: VR really disappoints at CES this year

Call it a virtual disappointment. Or virtually unsurprising. I’ll just say I was virtually underwhelmed. Whatever pun you choose, the virtual reality industry has some explaining to do after this year’s Consumer Electronics Show, during which the biggest product announcements can largely be categorized as “more of the same.”


Virtual Reality Devices: What to Expect In 2017

Virtual reality is actually becoming the biggest market after the smartphone revolution. As we enter in 2017, the Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality would be cheaper and better for consumers, handy for Enterprises. All in all, 2017 will mark the start of a new era for the next big thing, the later half of 2016 manifested the beginning of an ever-growing market with Sony introducing PlayStation 4 VR, Facebook buying Oculus Rift for $2 Billion and launching of HTC Vive VR Edition.


Virtual Reality Takes Fans Inside the World of Watches

Swiss watchmakers are nostalgic by nature. How else to explain their constant reference to a golden era of timekeeping, more than 200 years ago, when masters such as Abraham-Louis Breguet devised the world’s first complicated timepieces?


I tried to work all day in a VR headset and it was horrible

Virtual reality is here. You can pilot a starfighter, make sculptures out of virtual clay and experience award-winning journalism … but can you use it to get some work done?


Cirque Du Soleil Gets New Virtual Reality Experience ‘Dreams of O’

Award-winning virtual reality studio Felix & Paul released a new virtual reality experience in cooperation with Cirque Du Soleil at CES in Las Vegas Thursday. “Dreams of O” takes the viewer on a 12-minute journey into the underwater world of “O,” the Cirque show that’s been playing in Vegas for close to 20 years.


 

VR headsets will soon lose the cords. Why that’s a problem

On the eve of CES, where virtual reality is set to dominate, the loudest chatter around VR seems to be focused on the dawn of tetherless, high-end VR headsets. The basic idea: to bring the kind of mobility you enjoy with something like the mobile phone-based Samsung Gear VR to premium VR devices like the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive. Some feel that once these higher-end headsets are untethered, VR will truly take off, as we’ll be able to fully immerse ourselves by walking around freely in the real world while jacked into the virtual world. 


Facebook pop-up stores offer taste of VR

No, your eyes are not deceiving you. The Facebook store is real. Consumers and travelers may have bumped into these pop-up Facebook “stores” over the holidays at airports and malls. What the stores are trying to sell is one of the tech sector’s hottest trends — virtual reality.


Not Just For Gaming: Virtual Reality Meditation Helps Women Through Labor Pains

It’s widely acknowledged that the pain experienced during childbirth is pretty rough. Even if you haven’t experienced having a child yourself, seeing women scream in television and films while they give birth to a new baby would make anyone cringe. That’s why doctors have been trying to find ways to help manage, if not completely avoid the pain.


Virtual Reality Is A Renegade Technology That’s Disrupting The Creative Process

I’m far from the first person to suggest that creative companies are currently at a crossroads. Everything around us is shifting, from the media and platforms we’re expected to navigate, to the kinds of ideas our clients expect from us. And it seems that increasingly, we’re falling short of those expectations. Why? A failure on our part for not changing the creative ways we work with technologists and partners to come up with fresh ideas.


Virtual Reality’s Quest for Real Money

Audi is giving customers superpowers at several of its dealerships. People can strap on virtual-reality headsets that give them X-ray vision to peek under car hoods and, just for fun, see what their dream drive would look like parked on the moon, next to asteroid craters.


A NEW FRONTIER IN VIRTUAL REALITY? MICROSOFT PATENTS HINTS AT STAR TREK-LIKE HOLODECK

Science fiction quite often predicts future technology. The very first science fiction movie, 1902’s A Trip to the Moon, predicted the moon landing 67 years later, and it’s also true of Star Trek, the best-known science fiction TV show. Star Trek has augured a host of gadgets that have already seen the light of day, like cell phones and “tricorder”-like devices .


We can’t expect virtual reality to make us better people online

Last week, I got to chat with Epic CEO Tim Sweeney, one of the virtual reality gaming industry’s most prominent figures. Like many others, Sweeney believes that VR has the potential to transform how we interact online, especially as more sophisticated tracking systems translate body language, facial expressions, and other details into digital worlds. More specifically, he thinks virtual reality could make us treat each other better there. Unfortunately, this is almost certainly wrong — and if we wait for it to happen, I fear we’ll ruin social VR in the process.


The troubled history of VR and why next year will make it or break it

Like every child growing up in the Nineties, I spent a good chunk of my time watching the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. But in laying the foundation for being an adult geek, there was another show I liked much better.


VR may not have made much money, but it’s already revitalising games

2016 has been the kind of year that’s probably best spent with your head in a bucket. Luckily for me, that bucket had two little screens wired into it and all sorts of motion-sensing gadgetry stuck on top. I have no idea how VR works – and from a business sense, I gather that it doesn’t really work all that well at the moment. Yet, despite the fact that I couldn’t afford the hardware myself, and despite the fact that VR games aren’t going to be troubling the charts any time soon, VR’s provided me with my favourite gaming moments of this year – and probably my favourite gaming moments of the last few years.


HoloLens, Magic Leap & SmartGlasses—Lots of Mixed and Augmented Reality Coming to CES 2017

The coming year promises to be a good one for those of us watching the augmented and mixed reality world. And the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), starting Jan. 5 in Las Vegas, Nevada, for its 50th year, is bringing 2017 in with a bang—we’re expecting a ton of great announcements on the horizon.


VFX for 360 VR, and why you are not prepared for it (Part 2)

In part one of this post I explored workflow challenges resulting from how conceptually different 360-video VR is from everything I’ve worked on before in my career as a VFX supervisor. In this part I’ll be diving into technical challenges resulting from requirements and limitations unique to 360-video VR, which I’ve experienced while working on a 360-video web-series for YouTube.


Toymakers are the early adopters pushing AR into the mainstream

In the race to greater consumer adoption, augmented reality is emerging as the early leader, thanks to its adoption by a key consumer market.


 

 

Will VR Technology Change Marketing Forever?

Virtual reality (VR) technology has been discussed and hinted at for years, but we’ve finally seen some significant progress made this year. And while there’s still a lot of ground to be made before it can be considered a mainstream technology, now’s the perfect time to take a look at the role of VR in business and how it will impact marketing, specifically.


Top AR And VR Devices You Must Know in 2016

It is safe to say that the era of Virtual reality (VR) is upon us all over again. The concept of VR is not new. Every other day torrent of devices and content are being launched. The tech space is circulating and continuously being changed.


Virtual Reality Changes the Game for Online Casinos

Forget what you know about online casinos, the game is about to change. The power of virtual reality technology is transforming online casinos into immersive, interactive experiences that are the next best thing to being there. Although social gaming and online gambling platforms have grown loyal customer bases over the last decade, VR casinos will soon begin to siphon off gamers and gamblers, alike, from 2D and 3D gambling platforms.


THE DARK SIDE OF VR

WHY DO I look like Justin Timberlake?” Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg was on stage wearing a virtual reality headset, feigning surprise at an expressive cartoon simulacrum that seemed to perfectly follow his every gesture.


Fove cofounder talking about VR in 2017

Lochlainn Wilson, CTO and cofounder of Fove has spoken about Head Mounted Displays (HMDs) during the interview to VRstatus. He hardly believes that from a hardware perspectives the upcoming 2017 won’t be a year of major new HDMs.


VR and AR dev spaces are starting to pop up everywhere

We’ve seen a steady stream of physical spaces devoted to VR and AR popping up recently — hubs where VR and AR developers can share resources, experiment, and network.


UNITY BOSS: VR WILL BE MAINSTREAM BY 2020

2016 was the year when a new wave of virtual reality peripherals launched. Despite this, the costs have been high, with few games being made, and the sales haven’t really stunned anyone. The technology just isn’t there yet, in many people’s opinions.


The Best VR Headset for Your Phone So Far

Smartphone VR headsets are a great way to try virtual reality without spending a fortune. They’re the only midrange options between cheap cardboard and expensive, complicated desktop VR devices. In our testing, Google Daydream View narrowly beat out Samsung Gear VR as the best mobile virtual reality headset. It’s comfier to wear and comes with a hand-tracking controller that makes gameplay easier and more immersive. However, the competition is so close, and the tech so new, that you can’t go wrong picking whichever headset works with your phone. (Our main picks only support a handful of Android phones each; iPhone users don’t have good VR options yet.) If you don’t have a phone that works with either, VR isn’t enough reason to buy one, but it could be a factor next time you buy a phone.


Virtual Reality Can Leave You With an Existential Hangover

When Tobias van Schneider slips on a virtual reality headset to play Google’s Tilt Brush, he becomes a god. His fingertips become a fiery paintbrush in the sky. A flick of the wrist rotates the clouds. He can jump effortlessly from one world that he created to another.


Second Life’s creator is building a ‘WordPress for social VR’

None of this is real. The rocks, the stars, the enormous transmitter standing upright like a needle. It’s all a mixture of pixels presented by the Oculus Rift. As I stand on Mars, I urge my senses to surrender to the illusion. I long to be Matt Damon, growing potatoes in a makeshift greenhouse. In reality, I’m standing in a “scene” created by Linden Lab for Sansar, a new virtual-reality platform. A few feet to my left is chief executive Ebbe Altberg, standing in a dinosaur outfit. His avatar waves goofily, breaking my dream within a dream. I can’t help but sigh, accepting once more that I’m just a virtual sightseer.


 

 

We wish a happy and healthy holiday season to all and lots of happiness, health, 

and success in 2017 as well.

 

Thank you for your support, feedback, and wonderful panoramas and 360º videos.

 

We hope 2017 brings lots of wonderful panoramas, stereoscopic 360º images, 360º videos,

virtual reality experiences and fast Internet connection for all of us.

 

The Oculus Touch Controllers are a Modern Miracle

The controllers come in a package as sturdy and stylish (but bulky) as the headset itself. Each controller takes 2 AA batteries, and allegedly lasts for about 9 hours on a single charge. There is no on/off switch – the buttons are capacitive (more on that later), so even with vibration and constant use, they can last a while. It has been over a week of frequent use now, and they are both still in the green – so it’s far, far more than 9 hours.


Sensics is Building a VR Headset Specially Made for Arcades and Theme Parks

OSVR co-founder and long-time HMD maker Sensics is building a new ‘Goggles for Public VR’ headset which is designed for the unique needs of the Out-of-Home market.


Now you can talk to customer support in virtual reality

PNB MetLife India Insurance Company has announced an on-demand virtual reality customer service platform called “conVRse”.

The platform will enable insurance experts to interact with their customers through a virtual reality headset, in a 3D simulated environment.


AR & VR at The Museum

We love that museums ignite the human imagination. So naturally, we’re excited that virtual technology has two major roles in the cultural education of today’s museums. Augmented Reality can enhance the experience of interacting with museum exhibits. Virtual Reality can bring the museum to you, be it a trip downtown or around the world


AR Assisted Surgery & Medical Training with Matt Witkamp of Citizen, Inc. – Show 5

Matt Witkamp has seen the future of AR-assisted surgery and medical training. In fact his team at Citizen Inc., in partnership with Stanford Medicine and Microsoft, have literally invented it.


Virtual reality doesn’t mean what you think it means

Blame the media. Blame Google search. Blame lazy marketing. But just like hoverboards that don’t actually hover, everything you view in Google Cardboard or Samsung Gear VR or any number of other VR headsets is not necessarily “virtual reality.”


Best VR Headset: Which headset is worth your money?

Now that the Oculus Rift, HTC Vive and PlayStation VR are all finally here, it’s time to decide which headset to put your money on this Christmas or if you’re thinking about taking the plunge in 2017.

PC owners can choose between Oculus Rift and the HTC Vive – the most advanced headsets on the market. Both are seriously powerful devices, but they need equally powerful PCs to run.


7 REASONS WHY SOCIAL VIRTUAL REALITY WILL DISAPPOINT MARKETING PROFESSIONALS

SOCIAL VIRTUAL REALITY HAS GOT MARKETING PROFESSIONAL’S HOT UNDER THE COLLAR.  IT IS THE FUNCTIONAL COMBINATION OF TRADITIONAL SOCIAL NETWORKING AND VIRTUAL REALITY ENVIRONMENTS.  IT WILL ALSO BE THE SOURCE OF FRUSTRATION AND ALCOHOLISM FOR MANY CREATIVE AGENCIES AND CHIEF MARKETING OFFICERS IN COMING YEARS.


Personalized PBL and Virtual Reality Bring History To Life

Because we believe in the potential of personalized, project-based learning, we’re big fans of New Tech Network (NTN)–a national nonprofit design partner for comprehensive school change. Through its proven school model, a project-based learning platform and powerful professional development, they coach schools toward lasting change and ongoing improvement. There are nearly 200 schools in 28 states and Australia in the New Tech Network.


Six steps to successful virtual reality marketing

The number of people owning virtual reality headsets is predicted to grow to over 200 million by 2020. With all this in mind I expect a surge in brands looking to introduce VR tech into their campaigns. Now we are looking at a bright new future for marketing thanks to this amazing creative tool. But, the marketing community always has the ability to foul up with its propensity to over-hype and under-deliver.


VR Post: Hybrid workflows are key

Shooting immersive content is one thing, but posting it for an ever-changing set of players and headsets is whole other multidimensional can of beans. With early help from software companies that have developed off-the-shelf ways to tackle VR post — and global improvements to their storage and networking infrastructures — some facilities are diving into immersive content by adapting their existing post suites with a hybrid set of new tools. As with everything else in this business, it’s an ongoing challenge to stay one step ahead.


 

The Costs of Making a VR Game

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There’s been a little bit of talk recently about VR game funding, where money comes from, how much games cost and all that. Mostly this discussion comes up around money being received from companies like Oculus, and the exclusivity rights that are a result of accepting the money. There’s been a lot of posts about how working in VR is expensive, and we developers need money to live. And since there isn’t a lot of money in VR right now, we have to go where the money is. I even wrote about the difficulties of VR game


 

Headset adds what VR on iPhone was missing

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This was supposed to be the year of virtual reality. It kinda was, but it mostly wasn’t, if you judge by how much it actually penetrated the mainstream.

Why Digital Agencies Should Invest in Virtual Reality

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Digital marketing agencies tend to be early adopters of technology. Agencies blend technical and creative expertise, which makes them particularly adept at identifying and taking advantage of marketing trends. As Virtual Reality becomes more widespread, digital marketers that don’t incorporate VR into their offering mix are going to be at serious disadvantage.


 

Chris Hardwick: VR Addiction Is ‘Going To Be A Problem’

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Chris Hardwick made it his life’s business to talk about the nerdy things he loves most when he co-founded Nerdist Industries over four years ago. Now, Hardwick is seen across a variety of TV shows, most notably Talking Dead, the recap talk show that follows each new episode of The Walking Dead on AMC. It should come as no surprise then given his background that he is an avid gamer, lover of D&D, and consumer of virtual reality content. That last bit, the VR love, also comes with a certain degree of trepidation.


 

What VR Headset Makers (not analysts) Have Actually Said About Sales Expectations

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If you’re at all involved in the VR space, you likely recently saw a flurry of downtrodden headlines describing “slow,” and “modest,” holiday VR headset sales, with some even calling VR “the biggest loser this holiday.”


 

Why Qualcomm believes that the future of VR and AR is mobile

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Qualcomm Technologies is bullish on virtual reality and augmented reality, but it isn’t satisfied with the technology yet.

The company is crafting its latest mobile processors and other technology so that VR and AR can become untethered, show imagery with higher resolution, use better displays, and be lightweight and energy efficient enough so that we’ll be able to wear headsets for a long time. Over time, Qualcomm wants to bundle all of the tech necessary for VR in smaller and more comfortable packages.


 

Interview: Merge VR Co-Founder Andrew Trickett

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It’s comfortable, it’s fashionable, it’s purple. It’s the Merge VR Goggles by, you guessed it, Merge VR. Many of our readers may already be familiar with this great Google Cardboard compatible headset which stands, in this writer’s opinion, as one of the better mobile headsets out there for viewing Cardboard experiences. Kelly Rada of Andoscia Communications contacted me recently with an opportunity to cover a new press release from Merge VR concerning their upcoming hand controller currently being called Moonshot.


 

Building a Business Model in Virtual and Augmented Realitystar-wars-darth-vader-vr-teaser-1000x520 vr-business-model-top

Virtual and augmented reality is oftentimes referred to as the new wild west of production and modern entertainment. With major media moguls like Sony, Facebook and Google playing in the arena, each armed with their own VR and AR platforms, how can businesses prepare to lay out a foundation for the most successful business model?


 

VR enthusiasts are furious people are funding great VR games, and I don’t get it

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There’s next to no money to be made in virtual reality.

That’s the reality of the situation. There hasn’t been enough hardware sold yet to create an ecosystem where large teams can spend large amounts of time creating large games and then expect to turn a profit — or even break even — just by software sales.


 

Microsoft thinks virtual reality is the digital LSD of the future

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Virtual reality technology will soon be so powerful that it will cause drug-like hallucinations, Microsoft has predicted.

One of the tech firm’s top researchers said VR would be able to warp reality and catapult users into a new world.


 

 

Holiday Discount

 

We’re happy to tell you as our licensing customer that as of today, all purchases of panoramic photo licenses are 50% off through midnight (GMT), December 31st, 2016. Just use discount code HOLIDAY when checking out.

Come and enjoy our immersive 360-degree world at 360cities.net: search our massive database, roam over our world map, or enjoy the eye candy in our editors picks gallery.

Research help is free, so if you’d like us to assist in finding what you need, contact us at info@360cities.net.

The sale continues through midnight (GMT), December 31st, so be sure and take advantage!

 

holiday discount

Happy Holidays,

The 360Cities Team

5 Best 360° Cameras for Making Virtual Reality Videos

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One of the futuristic things that’s getting insanely popular all over the world, are the Virtual Reality (VR) videos. In case you’ve been living under a rock, a VR video is a kind of video that gives you a first-person visual experience giving you the impression that you are actually there at the scene.

How We Built the Jaunt ONE

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The first two posts in this series followed Jaunt from its early experiments in designing a VR camera to the first models we used in the field, capturing everything from a Paul McCartney concert to mountain climbers in Moab, Utah. At this point, we and the burgeoning VR industry had discovered that the power of immersive VR filmmaking was real and we set out to build the first professional-grade VR camera system.


 

Pilot projects show how VR will revolutionize education

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A research report recently published in China entitled “The Impact of VR on Academic Performance,” asserts that virtual reality improves student test scores and knowledge retention. VR-based learning also tends to leave no student behind since it is able to appeal to even the least responsive of users, the report states.


 

VR & Memory, and Fate vs Free Will in Simulation Theory

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Hassan Karaouni is one of the 11 winners of an Oculus Launch Pad scholarship for his project My: home, which allows people to share 360 videos of locations that are meaningful to them. In my Voices of VR episode about Google Earth VR, I talked about how the principle of embodied cognition explains how our memories are tied to geographic locations. But right now Google Earth’s resolution at the human scale is really uncanny, and you can’t go inside.


 

How construction companies are using virtual reality to plan, build and manage complicated projects

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Construction can be a tricky business.

There are a lot of moving parts in any big project, whether it be a high-rise apartment tower, a heavily mechanical industrial building or a hospital. As they go, builders have to document everything and update stakeholders and regulatory agencies on their progress. These updates have traditionally come in the form of photographs and on-site tours. But the proliferation of virtual and augmented reality is changing that.


 

Why you should be starting VR/AR/MR design & development right now

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If you haven’t noticed, things are about to change. I’m not talking smallchange. I’m talking big time, a fundamental shift in the way we interact with technology on-a-daily-basis kind of change. And it will all happen within the next two years…


 

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The highly-anticipated Oculus Touch controllers are nearly here. The first customers will receive their motion controllers on December 6, which will bring the wonders of VR hand presence to thousands of eager Oculus Rift owners. Most people will likely settle for the default tracking configuration, but a few adventurous souls will take on one of two experimental Touch configurations: 360-degree tracking and room-scale tracking.


 

VR-capable Frostbite Engine Suggests More AAA VR to Come from EA

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It’s been confirmed that the soon to launch Star Wars Battlefront X-Wing VR Mission on PlayStation VR is powered by DICE’s coveted Frostbite Engine, a strong hint that more AAA VR development is on the way from the company.


 

The Way We Walk in Virtual Reality

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Virtual reality allows us to enjoy new, immersive experiences – we could be world-class runners, footballers or even soldiers serving in a special military unit. To fully become immersed in these experiences, the VR equipment should cover our entire body and all of our senses. There have been many advances in these fields; in this article, we will focus on walking in VR, and the upcoming gadgets which enable us to transmit our real-world leg movements into the virtual world.


 

ILMxLab’s Rob Bredow Explains What VR Opens Up For ‘Star Wars’

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Disney’s ILMxLab has been busy of late. In addition to the free Trials on Tatooine virtual reality experience for HTC Vive, the studio released a 360-degree video that serves as a prequel to the upcoming Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. The POV experience, available through Verizon, chronicles the first discovery of the Death Star and puts viewers inside the cockpit of an X-Wing pilot. ILMxLab also worked with Electronic Arts and developer DICE to allow PlayStation VR users to pilot those rebel ships in the upcoming Dec. 6 Star Wars Battlefront Rogue One: X-Wing VR Mission.


 

How VR will make astronauts out of all of us

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VR is set to shake up many different aspects of our lives, from entertainment and education to on-the-job training and sex. But arguably it has the most potential to really capture our collective imagination – to keep us coming back for more and provide the most educational value – when the experience feels like something you couldn’t ever go and try out for yourself in the real world.


 

Thomas K Sharpless is well known in the panoramic world as one of the true pioneers of panoramic and VR photography. Thomas has an extensive background in computer programming and he has contributed  a number of techniques and ideas to the panoramic photography community, most notably the “Panini” projection.

Thomas has been a stereoscopic panoramas evangelist since 2014 and he has evangelized us too. 360Cities, with Thomas’ support, is pleased to launch stereoscopic panoramas – you can read more about stereoscopic panoramas on 360Cities here (link to help guide)

-Please can you briefly describe what 3D or stereoscopic panoramas are and how they are created?

Thomas K Sharpless

The right word for this type of photo is “stereoscopic”.  “3D” should be reserved for objects or spaces that really have 3 dimensions, not for images (though that misuse is very common).

A stereo photo is a pair of images, taken simultaneously with two lenses placed like our eyes, about 65 mm apart and looking in the same direction.  When presented to the two eyes by a stereoscope, these images give most people the impression of seeing a 3D space.  A stereo panorama is a pair of 360 degree images, which when viewed with synchronized pano viewers presents a stereo pair.  The most popular stereoscope for viewing stereo panoramas is a virtual reality headset.

Stereoscopic depth perception results from the brain comparing small shifts of position, called discrepancies, between the left and right images.  It is important to know that this process depends very strongly on the discrepancies of fine details and textures, as well as of the perceived outlines of objects.  And that about one person in 6 has little or no stereo depth perception.

The most obvious way to make a stereo panorama is to stitch together a series of stereo photos, taken by turning a pair of cameras.  But such photos will not easily stitch to two seamless spheres, because each series was taken from a moving viewpoint, not from a single fixed point as assumed by standard stitching software.

There are two basic ways to handle this problem:

  1. Take a large number of closely spaced stereo views.  Then the panorama contains just a narrow vertical strip from each photo.  If they are narrow enough, the errors between adjacent strips will be too small to see.  This method is very reliable but has problems with moving subjects.
  2.  Take a small number of stereo views, as for a regular panorama, and hide the errors by careful composition and masking.  Moving subjects can be handled by masking, as in normal panography.

Both of these methods have single-camera variants, that need a really static subject because the left and right views are taken at different times.

In any case, the stitching process must faithfully preserve the stereo discrepancies captured by the cameras.  That means the left and right images of each stereo pair must be aligned and warped the same; any variation will lead to “muddy” stereo views.  This matching requires special stitching techniques.  My PT3D software makes it easier to achieve.

-When and why did you begin to create stereoscopic panoramas?

I have long wanted to make stereo panoramas in forests, because it is so hard to see the space between the trees in 2D photos.  That is still a largely unrealized project.

I made my first stereo panoramas in late 2014, with the single-camera, many-views method.  At that time I was involved in a project using photogrammetry to build 3D models from sweep panoramas taken with iPhones, and I also experimented with rendering those as stereo panoramas.

By mid-2015, like several other panographers, I was using a stereo pair of small mirrorless cameras and the few-views, clever-stitching approach, which suited my preference for shooting ‘live’ scenes from a monopod.  The great difficulty of that method has led me to develop software that helps PTGui align and warp such panoramas much better than it can do on its own.

-Why do you think stereoscopic panoramas are so compelling? (this might be addressed in the question above)

Much more than conventional photos, 360 panoramas are about space.  So it is really satisfying to be able to ‘see’ the space in a stereo panorama.  This greatly enhances the sense of presence in a VR viewing situation, even without the full motion-parallax provided by a 3D model.  I have seen two people, when putting on a headset showing a stereo view of a big church, start walking forward — a sure sign of “presence”.  That never happened with a 2D version of the same image.

-How many photographers do you believe are currently creating stereoscopic panoramas and how large do you expect the community can become as VR adoption increases?

I know of about a dozen commercial panographers who produce stereo panoramas, and would guess that there are at least as many more unknown to me.  The facebook group “3D Stereo Panoramas” currently has 1,408 members.  More than 30 people have asked to be beta testers of PT3D, which will go commercial next month.  Its sales figures may tell the story better.  But in any case it is clear that interest in stereo panography is growing quite fast.

A big thanks to Thomas for this interview and his support.