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Magic Leap 2 Rollout Begins Late 2021, General Availability Early 2022

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Mixed Reality (MR) headset manufacturer Magic Leap didn’t have a particularly great 2020, even though it raised $350 million USD, as there were layoffs and CEO Rony Abovitz stepped down. Now with ex-Microsoft and Qualcomm veteran, Peggy Johnson at the helm the company is looking towards a brighter future, confirming Magic Leap 2 is on the way with the initial launch beginning later this year.

Magic Leap enterprise
Magic Leap One. Image credit: Magic Leap

Talking to Protocol this week, Johnson said the Magic Leap 2 will be focused on enterprise customers with those part of the early adopter programme gaining access to the new headset in Q4 2021. This will then be followed up by a general release in Q1 2022.

While no images or detailed specifications have been released just yet for Magic Leap 2 Johnson did have this to say: “For frontline workers, the product has to be something comfortable that they can wear all day long. So we’ve made the product half the size, about 20% lighter. But most importantly, we’ve doubled the field of view.” She went onto comment: “That’s a hard thing to do. The optics around that are complex, but we have a very talented engineering team.”

Making the product lighter and more convenient will be an important step when it comes to offering a product that can offer a better experience than Magic Leap’s competitors. The main one is Microsoft’s HoloLens 2 which recently secured a $22 billion deal with the US Department of Defense to supply soldiers with augmented reality (AR) headsets based on HoloLens technology. Even though Magic Leap lost that deal it will continue to look at the military sector. “I think our next-generation product hits all the right feature sets that are needed for soldiers to wear the device for longer periods of time. It needs to be comfortable indoors, outdoors and [in] all types of environments,” she mentions.

Magic Leap enterprise
Magic Leap One. Image credit: Magic Leap

It’s certainly a focused shift away from the gaming apps that Magic Leap One has seen appear. Studios like Resolution Games have released titles such as Glimt: The Vanishing at the Grand Starlight Hotel and Angry Birds FPS: First Person Slingshot whilst BBC Studios and Preloaded have taken a more educational route with BBC Earth – Micro Kingdoms: Senses.

Hopefully, the new Magic Leap 2 will offer a lower price point allowing more companies to get involved in AR and the possibilities it brings. For further updates from Magic Leap, keep reading VRFocus.

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Source: https://www.vrfocus.com/2021/04/magic-leap-2-rollout-begins-late-2021-general-availability-early-2022/

AR/VR

Zuckerberg Envisions Oculus Quest Pro With Multiple Sensors for Gaming, Fitness & More

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Facebook may not have released any sales figures for Oculus Quest 2, but from company remarks including that of CEO Mark Zuckerberg, the virtual reality (VR) headset is doing very well. And while the headset looks to be around for a while, previous AMA’s featuring Head of Facebook Reality Labs’ Andrew Bosworth have revealed that a Quest Pro is in the works. Zuckerberg recently confirmed that it’s “something that we’re working on,” going into further detail about where its capabilities may lay.

Mark Zuckerberg (OC5)

The Oculus Quest 2 packs a lot of tech into its diminutive frame and for a consumer-friendly £299. Yet there’s a lot more which could be fitted inside to increase that sense of presence, especially for those high-end consumers or companies willing to pay. In an interview with CNET, when asked about the Oculus Quest Pro Zuckerberg said: “there are other aspects that make virtual reality a higher-end experience as well, including putting more power in it in terms of different types of sensors and capabilities on the device. We do want to be able to support a wider range of use cases.” 

So that could very well mean an Oculus Quest Pro with abilities such as eye-tracking or facial tracking sensors so that your gestures in VR are more expressive, a feature Facebook is already pushing with its new avatars. These kinds of features are already appearing in high-end, enterprise-focused headsets like the Pico Neo 3 Eye or as additional upgrades such as the Vive Facial Tracker. That would mean a more expensive headset but it would help to expand the Oculus platform.

One area Zuckerberg seems very keen on is fitness. He’s a big Beat Saber fans and apps like FitXR and Supernatural are pushing the subscription model. So a future Quest Pro could also have health sensors to monitor heart rate and other variables, useful for those at home as well as healthcare professionals using VR.

Oculus Quest 2

“From my perspective, it’s filling out the initial vision and hope that we had for VR about how there are going to be all these different use cases,” Zuckerberg said. “It’s amazing for gaming, but it’s not only for gaming. Part of the question is if you were focused on building a higher-end device that could really max out further on some of those other use cases, in addition to doing the gaming pieces, there are some interesting questions about how you design.”

With the demise of Oculus Rift S, the Oculus Quest 2 is the only VR product Facebook currently offers, in stark contrast to others in the industry who have a range of models. While you can enhance your Quest 2 experience by either cabling or using Air Link to connect to a PC, an Oculus Quest Pro could remove those requirements – especially handy if you don’t have a VR-capable PC – as well as moving beyond the entry-level, mainstream market Quest 2 is building.

As for when an Oculus Quest Pro might appear he notes: “Now it’s not coming out anytime soon, but that’s certainly something that we’re excited about.” As further details regarding the upgraded headset appear, VRFocus will let you know.

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Source: https://www.vrfocus.com/2021/05/zuckerberg-envisions-oculus-quest-pro-with-multiple-sensors-for-gaming-fitness-more/

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Latest Sony Patent Outlines Shadow Banning on PlayStation VR

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Over the last year or so patents filed by Sony Interactive Entertainment (SIE) have generally focused on hardware, showcasing some interesting ideas for the company’s next headset. The latest patent to be published is very different, looking at a social system to shadow ban PlayStation VR players if they behave inappropriately online.

Originally filed back in 2017 only a few months after the launch of PlayStation VR, the patent was published earlier this month by the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Shadowbanning is generally used by developers to discreetly remove players from an online community, usually without any warning, so players only become aware after the fact.

In the patent, SIE talks about “tracking inappropriate behaviors including inappropriate language and comments; inappropriate gestures and inappropriate movements.” The last two could be highly useful where virtual reality (VR) interactions are concerned due to the amount of motion control afforded to players to make the gameplay more immersive. The idea is to remove players known as “griefers” by generating a safety rating from a series of variables.

The patent proposes a range of inputs such as voice recognition, gaze tracking, motion tracking, and behaviour tracking, identifying foul language or inappropriate touching which would add to a users rating. Once they manage to reach a particular threshold they receive a shadowban.

Sony Shadowban patent

While it’s important that SIE tackles this subject due to VR’s unique immersive qualities, there’s no indication that the system has been implemented. This could very well be the groundwork for PlayStation 5’s unnamed VR headset which has more tactile controllers “Orb” controllers.

Social interaction in VR is viewed by companies such as Facebook as a highly important part of the tech’s future, with avatars becoming even more expressive thanks to eye-tracking and facial tracking. If shadowbanning becomes part of SIE’s VR plans, VRFocus will keep you updated.

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Source: https://www.vrfocus.com/2021/05/latest-sony-patent-outlines-shadow-banning-on-playstation-vr/

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Pre-order Enterprise-Ready Pico Neo 3 Starting from $699

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Excitement might be building for HTC Vive’s upcoming headset announcements tomorrow but before then Pico Interactive has just officially announced its new headsets for the western market, the Neo 3 Pro and Neo 3 Pro Eye. Both designed for business customers, they’re now available for pre-ordering with a launch taking place later in 2021.

Pico Neo 3 Pro Eye
Pico Neo 3 Pro Eye. Image credit: Pico Interactive

While the standard Pico Neo 3 is a consumer-only headset exclusively available in China, the Neo 3 Pro and Neo 3 Pro Eye are very much enterprise solutions. They both feature 6 degrees of tracking (6DoF) and have the Snapdragon XR2 platform under the hood with 256GB of internal storage. There’s a single 5.5″ display with 3664×1920 resolution (boasting 773PPI) and a 90Hz refresh rate. Due to the assumption they’ll be used by multiple people in an office both headsets also have a replaceable PU face cushion that’s hygienic and easily washable.

As the Pico Neo 3 line now features four cameras the tracking and guardian system have been improved so they’re more robust for commercial use cases. In turn, the controllers have received a major overhaul to make use of the 6DoF tracking. Just like the Neo 2, the Neo 3 products retain the rear-mounted battery to help counterbalance the headset. It’s a 5300mAh battery which should be good for 3-3.5 hours of use.

Of course, the Pico Neo 3 Eye also has built-in Tobii eye-tracking which is ideal for companies looking to bolster analytics. That can be for understanding customer behaviour, enhancing training efficiency, or improving productivity for example.

Pico Neo 3 Pro Back
Pico Neo 3 Pro. Image credit: Pico Interactive

The Pico Neo 3 Pro and Neo 3 Eye are standalone devices but they do support NVIDIA’s Direct Mode via DisplayPort and come supplied DisplayPort connectors and cables. Using this mode the headsets are able to provide native 4K at 90Hz using Pico VR Streaming. Additionally, they support NVIDIA CloudXR to stream VR wirelessly across 5G and WiFi networks.

“Business needs are constantly evolving due to the changing landscape all industries are finding themselves in due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Henry Zhou, CEO of Pico Interactive in a statement. “For the Neo 3 line, we implemented the latest technologies to meet the ever-changing demands of the enterprise. For instance, as hybrid and remote work continues, more companies are seeking remote collaboration solutions, like Pico Interactive’s VR headsets with tools and applications available through our software partners, to allow employees to increase productivity and sales to boost revenue. From training firefighters to decreasing the impact of social isolation on seniors to measuring brain health, Pico’s headsets are now being used in a wide range of industries.

The Pico Neo 3 Pro and Neo 3 Eye are available for enterprise customers to pre-order now, retailing for $699 USD and $899 respectively. Both will then be made available in Q3 2021. For further updates from Pico Interactive, keep reading VRFocus.

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Source: https://www.vrfocus.com/2021/05/pre-order-enterprise-ready-pico-neo-3-starting-from-699/

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The VR Job Hub: HTC Vive, Zen Studios, Wooorld & Vertigo Games

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Every weekend VRFocus gathers together vacancies from across the virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR) and mixed reality (MR) industry, in locations around the globe to help make finding that ideal job easier. Below is a selection of roles that are currently accepting applications across a number of disciplines, all within departments and companies that focus on immersive entertainment.

Location Company Role Link
Budapest, Hungary Zen Studios Data Analyst Click Here to Apply
Budapest, Hungary Zen Studios Network Programmer Click Here to Apply
Budapest, Hungary Zen Studios Game Programmer Click Here to Apply
Budapest, Hungary Zen Studios 3D Character Animator Click Here to Apply
Remote Wooorld Unity Engineer – VR/AR Click Here to Apply
Remote Wooorld Full Stack Engineer Click Here to Apply
Rotterdam, The Netherlands Vertigo Games Analytics Engineer Click Here to Apply
Rotterdam, The Netherlands Vertigo Games Senior Full Stack Developer Click Here to Apply
Rotterdam, The Netherlands Vertigo Games UI Engineer Click Here to Apply
Rotterdam, The Netherlands Vertigo Games QA Lead Click Here to Apply
Rotterdam, The Netherlands Vertigo Games QA Specialist Click Here to Apply
Rotterdam, The Netherlands Vertigo Games Technical Level Designer Click Here to Apply
London, UK HTC Vive (Vive Arts) Sales Assistant & Art Liaison Click Here to Apply
London, UK HTC Vive (Vive Arts) Executive Assistant of Director (French Speaking) Click Here to Apply
London, UK HTC Vive (Vive Arts) Curator, Vive Arts Click Here to Apply

Don’t forget, if there wasn’t anything that took your fancy this week there’s always last week’s listings on The VR Job Hub to check as well.

If you are an employer looking for someone to fill an immersive technology related role – regardless of the industry – don’t forget you can send us the lowdown on the position and we’ll be sure to feature it in that following week’s feature. Details should be sent to Peter Graham (pgraham@vrfocus.com).

We’ll see you next week on VRFocus at the usual time of 3PM (UK) for another selection of jobs from around the world.

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Source: https://www.vrfocus.com/2021/05/the-vr-job-hub-htc-vive-zen-studios-wooorld-vertigo-games/

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