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HTC’s Cher Wang Given ‘Accenture VR Lifetime Achievement Award’ by AIXR

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The annual VR Awards created by The Academy of International Extended Reality (AIXR) holds its event every November, highlighting the best companies, products and those working in the XR industry. One of its main awards is the ‘Accenture VR Lifetime Achievement Award’ which HTC founder and CEO Cher Wang has been given this year.

HTC has been involved with the virtual reality (VR) industry for many years, initially with a firm focus towards consumers with the HTC Vive. Whilst still involved with the consumer sector via the Vive Cosmos, over the years the company has shifted more towards enterprise use cases, from hardware such as Vive Focus Plus and Vive Pro Eye to fostering new startups through its Vive X accelerator.

“I am honoured to receive this award, and dedicate it to all of our teams and partners who dared to dream and are working hard to make the vision happen,” said Cher Wang, Chairwoman and CEO of HTC Corp in a statement. “It’s an exciting time to be in the industry. We’re still in the Age of Exploration for VR, discovering new use cases every day, and it’s been fantastic to see so many people, companies, schools, museums, and more recognise the potential for VR, and utilise it for collaboration, training, education, healthcare, art and culture, and even global sustainability. VR truly holds the key to a better world.”

Recently, HTC Vive launched the Vive XR Suite, designed to help businesses collaborate virtually, comprised of Vive Sync, Vive Sessions, Vive Campus, Vive Social, and Vive Museum; all with their own unique features. Whilst its distribution platform Viveport has been an important part of recent festivals such as Venice VR Expanded and LFF Expanded.

“We’re incredibly proud to name Cher as our ‘Accenture VR Lifetime Achievement’ award winner and hope that by showcasing her work, we can inspire the next generation of pioneers to do more, to break new barriers and continue to develop digital technology,” Daniel Colaianni, AIXR Chief Executive commented. “As always, we’re thankful to our partners at Accenture for their support which enables us to recognise achievement and nurture a flourishing industry as it continues to grow.”

This is the second year for the award which was previously by John Carmack. All the other award winners will be announced during the main event on 12th November 2020, held virtually for the first time inside VRChat. For further updates including the winners, keep reading VRFocus.

Source: https://www.vrfocus.com/2020/10/htcs-cher-wang-given-accenture-vr-lifetime-achievement-award-by-aixr/

AR/VR

Solaris Offworld Combat’s Squad Update Allows Friends to Teamup

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Current Oculus exclusive Solaris Offworld Combat launched back in September, offering team-based multiplayer combat. Yet there was no way to define those teams, or more importantly buddy-up with mates. That’s due to change this week with the ‘Squad Update’.

Developer First Contact Entertainment says the feature is its ‘most requested’ since launch, which is no surprise seeing that teaming up with friends is a highlight of online multiplayer. The studio does note the feature is ‘still in its infancy’ but at least it’s a step in the right direction.

The Squad Update will also include a bunch of other additions. There will ‘Fury Major’, a new map which has been “redesigned to focus on more centralized player engagement and close quarters combat” notes the team. Stamina cooldown has been altered so that you can ‘enjoy unlimited sprinting with a cooldown that happens only if you spam slide’.

Players will get new daily XP bonus and weekly challenges to work towards plus there are a couple of tweaks to make the gameplay more immersive. The option to slide by crouching in real life will appear as well as being able to move both arms independently while playing.

At the moment Solaris Offworld Combat only supports Oculus Quest and Rift but First Contact Entertainment has previously confirmed Steam and PlayStation VR versions are on the way. The latter was originally slated for this year, with time quickly running out.

Solaris Offworld Combat is a 4v4 arena battle shooter, offering one gameplay mode called ‘Control Point’, where teams have to hold a specific location. Every player starts a match exactly the same, with a singular pistol, finding better weapons and other bonuses hidden in each arena.

As further update details are released, VRFocus will let you know.

Source: https://www.vrfocus.com/2020/12/solaris-offworld-combats-squad-update-allows-friends-to-teamup/

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CREAL Raises $7.2 Million to Bring its Light-field Display to AR Glasses

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Switzerland-based CREAL is developing a light-field display which it hopes to bring to VR headsets and eventually AR glasses. In November the company raised CHF 6.5 million (~$7.2 million) in a Series A+ investment round to bring on new hires and continue miniaturizing the company’s light-field tech.

Creal says it closed its Series A+ investment round in mid-November, raising CHF 6.5 million (~$7.2 million) led by Swisscom Ventures with participation by existing investors Investiere, DAA Capital Partners, and Ariel Luedi. The new funding marks ~$15.5 million raised by the company thus far.

Over the last few years we’ve seen Creal make progress in shrinking its novel light-field display with the hopes of fitting it into AR glasses. Compared to the displays used in VR and AR headsets today, light-field displays generate an image that accurately represents how we see the real world. Specifically, light-field displays support both vergence and accommodation, the two focus mechanisms of the human visual system. Creal and others say the advantage of such displays is more realistic and more comfortable visuals for VR and AR headsets. For more on light-fields, see our explainer below.

Light-fields are significant to AR and VR because they’re a genuine representation of how light exists in the real world, and how we perceive it. Unfortunately they’re difficult to capture or generate, and arguably even harder to display.

Every AR and VR headset on the market today uses some tricks to try to make our eyes interpret what we’re seeing as if it’s actually there in front of us. Most headsets are using basic stereoscopy and that’s about it—the 3D effect gives a sense of depth to what’s otherwise a scene projected onto a flat plane at a fixed focal length.

Such headsets support vergence (the movement of both eyes to fuse two images into one image with depth), but not accommodation (the dynamic focus of each individual eye). That means that while your eyes are constantly changing their vergence, the accommodation is stuck in one place. Normally these two eye functions work unconsciously in sync, hence the so-called ‘vergence-accommodation conflict’ when they don’t.

On more advanced headsets, ‘varifocal’ approaches dynamically shift the focal length based on where you’re looking (with eye-tracking). Magic Leap, for instance, supports two focal lengths and jumps between them as needed. Oculus’ Half Dome prototype does the same, seems to support a larger number of focal lengths. Even so, these varifocal approaches still have some inherent issues that arise because they aren’t actually displaying light-fields.

Having demonstrated the fundamentals of its light-field tech, Creal’s biggest challenging is miniaturizing it to fit comfortably into AR glasses while maintaining a wide enough field of view to remain useful. We saw progress on that front early this year at CES 2020, the last major conference before the pandemic cancelled the remainder for the year.

Through-the-lens: The accurate blur in the background is not generated, it is ‘real’, owed to the physics of light-fields. | Image courtesy CREAL

Creal co-founder Tomas Sluka tells Road to VR that this Summer the company has succeeded in bringing its prototype technology into a head-mounted form-factor with the creation of preliminary AR and VR headset dev kits.

Beyond ongoing development of the technology, a primary driver for the funding round was to pick up new hires that had entered the job market, Sluka said, after Magic Leap’s precarious funding situation and ousting of CEO Rony Abovitz earlier this year.

Image courtesy CREAL

CREAL doesn’t expect to bring its own headset to market, but is instead positioning itself to work with partners and eventually license its technology for use in their headsets. The company aims to build a “complete technology package for the next-generation Augmented Reality (AR) glasses,” which will likely take the form of a reference design for commercialization.

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Source: https://www.roadtovr.com/creal-light-field-display-series-a-plus-investment/

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Flight Combat Game ‘Project Wingman’ Launches Today with SteamVR Support

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Project Wingman, an aerial combat game for PC, has launched today after beginning life as a successful Kickstarter in mid-2018. In addition to traditional monitor support, the game is fully playable with SteamVR headsets.

Update (December 1st, 2020): Developed by Sector D2 and published by Humble Games, Project Wingman launched on Steam today with support for SteamVR headsets (as well as regular monitors), priced at $25. The original article, which offers an overview of the project, continues below, now including the launch trailer.

Original Article (November 27th, 2020): The game, which was born out of a successful Kickstarter back in mid-2018, lets you fly a number of fighter jets across various missions and game modes, something the game’s Steam page says will range from “intense aerial dogfights to large scale ground assault in an alternate scorched earth setting.”

Now Sector D2 says VR support for Project Wingman is arriving at launch, which will provide a “1:1 experience with traditional players,” which puts you in the cockpit for some high-flying dogfighting against users with regular monitors.

Image courtesy Sector D2

Although you’ll be able to use any traditional controller, be it a HOTAS setup or gamepad, VR motion controllers are unfortunately not supported at this time. The team investigated motion control support during early prototyping, but it sadly never made it past the testing phase.

“If there’s enough demand we can try reinvestigating it, of course, as it was an interesting novelty, and an option for those of us without controllers,” the studio says.

Users playing in VR will likely need a higher than min-spec VR-ready computer to run it without a hitch. Lead developer Abi Rahmani says that, while using his Windows VR headset, he was able to playing at “very playable frame rates cranked all the way up at 150% render scaling.”

Granted, the following components below shouldn’t be considered officially recommended specs, but it should give you an idea of how the game will run on your computer.

  • Processor: AMD Ryzen 5 2600
  • Memory: 16GB DDR4 at 2133MHz
  • GPU: GTX 1070

To see VR support in action, check out full mission ‘Operation Blackout’ played in VR below:

Source: https://www.roadtovr.com/project-wingman-vr-release-date-steamvr/

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Quest 2 Stock Starting to Slip Following Cyber Monday

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Following Black Friday & Cyber Monday 2020, Oculus Quest 2 stock is starting to slip, with estimated deliveries between two and three weeks in most countries for the 64GB model.

Updated – December 1st, 2020

At the launch of the headset, Facebook told Road to VR the company was planning to make “many more” units of Quest 2 than the original Quest headset, which was very difficult to find during the previous holiday shopping season.

Despite additional challenges to manufacturing and logistics due to the Coronavirus pandemic, Quest 2 stock has been relatively easy to find from both Oculus and third-party retailers up to this point, but following Black Friday & Cyber Monday 2020, estimated delivery dates are starting to slip.

Oculus Quest 2 & Rift S Stock Check

We checked stock availability for direct purchases from Oculus.com for Quest 2 (64GB), Quest 2 (256GB), and Rift S across all regions where the headsets are sold. The latest shows shipping delays of two to three weeks for the 64GB model in most regions. The delays are greatest in Canada, Ireland, and United Kingdom, with estimated deliveries just a day or two before Christmas Day.

Meanwhile, the 256GB version of Quest 2 remains largely available with prompt deliveries in most countries.

See chart for: 11/23/20 | 11/25/20 | 11/26/20 | 11/27/20 | 11/29/20 | 11/30/20

Rift S availability is also holding steady so far, though less demand for the headset is expected considering Oculus has announced the Rift product line will be discontinued in 2021 as the company fully shifts focus to standalone VR headsets with optional PC tethering.

Where to Buy Quest 2 and Look for Stock

We expect to see Quest 2 stock becoming increasingly scarce this holiday season. If you’re unable to find it direct from Oculus, here’s a complete list of official third-party retailers in each country, including the local MSRP so that you know you’re getting the right price.

Source: https://www.roadtovr.com/buy-oculus-quest-2-stock-black-friday-cyber-monday/

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