The Vive Seems To Be Taking The Cake

From the numerous reactions of floored amazement, HTC/Valve’s Vive seems to have surpassed the other contenders.

The key features that enable a more complete VR experience:

Lighthouse: extremely precise body and head-gear position-tracking via two wall-mounted sensors.

SteamVR Controllers: dual controllers for touch and motion, the positions of which are also precisely tracked.

Valve/HTC Vive
Source: HTC Vive: Virtual Reality That’s So Damn Real I Can’t Even Handle It

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To Understand Virtual Reality, First Try To Understand Reality

Looking through the content available to VR as well as what has been available in earlier forms, much of it can only be described as tropes. A flying person above a landscape or walking near natural wonders. Users in weird costumes interacting in a wide, open street, perhaps watching something happen together. Weirdly beautiful architecture.

Where did this come from? And will it succeed in captivating people day-to-day? Will it go beyond spectacle?

Instead of reading Howard Rheingold perhaps we ought to have been reading Jane Jacobs. Cathedrals and natural wonders are truly uplifting places, but most human activity occurs in the bazaar and all other areas more directly reflecting the daily needs of people.

And yes, those places are messy.

The street is a highly evolved environment and put to the test every day. Even the numerous (but less useful) “grand projects” built by powerful individuals will, given enough time, be modified to be more immediately useful. The most controlled, austere spaces will all come to allow a guy to set up a hot dog stand.

So why not accommodate normal human activity from the get-go?

The more I think about it, the more I see that narrow streets for shops, cafes, galleries, and street stands will be key components of the VR future.

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Alex Kipman Does It Again: The HoloLens

Minecraft in your living room.

Minecraft in your living room.

Microsoft unveiled the HoloLens, an AR headset with a built-in computer. You’ll have to wait until Win10 is out before purchasing one.

In the demo video, Skype and Minecraft are used, as well as various utilities and 3D creative tools. As it has in the past, Microsoft leverages their software offerings and overall platform in order to strengthen the market position of their hardware.

Yet even with this latest device, MS continues to strongly encourage and incentivize other hardware vendors to participate.

“We’ve worked on this program for years …Oculus, Magic Leap, Google Glass developers, we humbly invite you, come develop software with us.”
- Alex Kipman
Source: Polygon article by Megan Farokhmanesh.

The info-tech industry rocks our world yet again, bringing to fruition ideas that have been in the primordial soup of academia and R&D labs for decades.

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Near-Eye Light Field Display

This 2013 technology demo from Nvidia Research shows how true depth perception can be generated within the confines of a head-mounted display.

This light-field-based approach to near-eye display allows for dramatically thinner and lighter head-mounted displays capable of depicting accurate accommodation, convergence, and binocular-disparity depth cues. The near-eye light-field displays depict sharp images from out-of-focus display elements by synthesizing light fields that correspond to virtual scenes located within the viewer’s natural accommodation range.

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