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OpenXR Might Open The Door To Minecraft On Oculus Quest

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A potential port of Minecraft to Oculus Quest is more likely after announcements related to the OpenXR industry standard this week from Microsoft and Facebook.

This week Oculus started accepting store submissions supporting the OpenXR 1.0 standard. Meanwhile, Microsoft announced its new RenderDragon rendering engine for Minecraft will support the same industry-wide OpenXR specification.

RenderDragon support for OpenXR means that while graphics features such as VR support need to be reimplemented using the standard in Minecraft, it can be done with a single code base and Microsoft is now “building its desktop VR support using OpenXR.” While Microsoft doesn’t have anything to announce about Minecraft for Quest right now, a reliable source told UploadVR in the past that Quest needed to support OpenXR for that conversation to move forward.

”The Oculus PC and Mobile SDKs will include the resources necessary to use the Prototype OpenXR API for native C/C++ development of Oculus Rift Platform apps and Android apps for Oculus Quest respectively,” Facebook wrote in a post to developers this week. “OpenXR offers an alternative development path that allows developers to create portable code that can be used on devices from multiple vendors.”

There are still big differences between the Android-powered Oculus Quest and Windows-powered PCs, but the idea behind OpenXR is that it is a “royalty-free open standard from The Khronos Group created for the development of high-performance VR applications that run on multiple platforms. OpenXR aims to simplify VR development by enabling developers to reach more platforms while reusing the same code.”

The standard is seeing broad support by a wide selection of industry companies and devices including Microsoft’s Mixed Reality headsets, HoloLens 2, Rift, SteamVR, and Quest, as well as Qualcomm, Google, Epic Games, Arm, Tobii, Ultraleap, and Varjo. In addition, Blender integrated OpenXR and Google’s Chromium uses it to support WebXR, allowing Chrome and Edge browsers to interface with compatible headsets.

“OpenXR is designed to enable VR content compatibility on as many devices as possible, giving developers the confidence of knowing they can focus on one build of their VR title and it will ‘just work’ across the entire PC VR ecosystem,” said Joe Ludwig of Valve, in a prepared statement. “This release is a huge step forward toward that goal, bringing support from two different implementations in the PC ecosystem. With these and more on the way, including our ongoing developer preview in SteamVR, now is the time for developers and engine vendors to start looking at OpenXR as the foundation for their upcoming content.”

Bringing Minecraft to Gear VR back in 2016, of course, required more than just John Carmack’s technical work making the port feasible. Carmack also got the game up and running on Oculus Quest, writing on Twitter recently that he “had it running with full position tracking, but we never got the schedules aligned to be able to take it into production.”

For fans of Minecraft and owners of the Oculus Quest, then, there’s a chance OpenXR support might finally be the thing needed to align those schedules.

Source: https://uploadvr.com/openxr-minecraft-carmack/

AR/VR

Digital Catapult’s Augmentor Programme Reveals 10 new XR Startups

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Now in its fourth year, during the summer Digital Catapult’s Augmentor programme announced an open call for UK-based XR startups. They’ve now been chosen, selecting 10 companies working across the immersive industry spectrum, from training platforms to augmented reality (AR) books.

Fracture Reality

They will now begin a 12-week programme to help grow their products and enhance their business model, meeting and learning from leading industry mentors and investors to attract more financing in a bid to scale.

The teams selected for the 2020 Augmentor programme are:

  • Emperia – “Is creating virtual reality experiences that boost sales and customer engagement for businesses in art and luxury fashion.”
  • Evidential – “Has produced EVITA, an incident training platform which provides large scale environments where multiple training scenarios can take place.”
  • Fracture Reality – “Developing an online mixed reality platform called Join specifically for engineering and data-intensive users that includes immersive 3D features like gestural sketching and avatars.”
  • MagicBeans – “It has developed Roundhead, a platform for creating and delivering six degrees of freedom spatial audio experiences at scale, so users can create, share and listen to spatial audio across multiple devices.”
  • MOONHUB – “Has created a high quality, immersive training product which uses virtual reality to convert e-learning solutions into interactive training scenarios to improve engagement in employee training.”
  • Overview Ark – “Created a tool for production designers and event coordinators to build 1:1 replicas of a live show without the need of programming knowledge.”
  • Percept Imagery – “Developed a unique augmented reality platform called Sprie that enables retailers to personalise online shopping experiences by allowing shoppers to try products in the real world before buying them.”
  • Retinize – “An award-winning content studio based in Belfast, Northern Ireland, that specialises in the creation of cutting edge immersive VR content as well as interactive and geolocative AR applications.”
  • Slanted Theory – “Through the power of 3D technology (XR) and immersive analytics, Slanted Theory has created “Alaira”, a cloud data analysis and visualisation platform which provides views of data unparalleled in 2D dashboards.”
  • VIKA Books – “Using augmented reality to promote British Sign Language (BSL) as a language for deaf and hearing children alike.”
Vika Books - Baby BSL
Image Credit: Jo Hounsome

“At a time when access to entertainment venues is restricted, online shopping has soared, and remote collaboration for work is more important than ever before as many of us remain working from home for the foreseeable future, this year’s Augmentor cohort are providing innovative, commercially viable solutions to issues that are important to us all,” said Jessica Driscoll, Head of Technology – Immersive at Digital Catapult in a statement. “What’s more, because Augmentor has always been about bringing investors and industry along for the journey, the teams see tangible results, from business support all the way to investment. We’ll be watching the next three months very closely and look forward to seeing the results.” 

In the past three years, 27 companies have taken part in Digital Catapult’s initiative, helping them raise a combined total of over £6.7 million GBP. These have included Somewhere Else which developed soft skills training platform BodySwaps, so it’s always worth keeping an eye on participants for the next big thing. For further updates, keep reading VRFocus.

Source: https://www.vrfocus.com/2020/10/digital-catapults-augmentor-programme-reveals-10-new-xr-startups/

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Hands-on: Impressive PS5 DualSense Haptics & Tracking Tech Bodes Well for Future PSVR Controllers

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The launch of PlayStation 5 is just a few weeks away and promises to bring PSVR support with it. While we’re excited to give the old headset a try on the new console, PS5’s new DualSense controller may give us an exciting glimpse of things to come.

If you know your game console history, you’ll know that Sony coined the name ‘DualShock’ for its first haptic controllers introduced all the way back in 1997 on the original PlayStation console. With 23 years of DualShock controllers on PlayStation consoles between then and now, you’ll understand why it’s a big deal for Sony to call its PS5 controller by a new name: DualSense.

DualSense isn’t just a name change… it really is a big jump in controller technology from its predecessors. Beyond being arguably the company’s most ergonomic controller yet, the DualSense controller is packed with impressive haptics and motion tracking—the same tech we’d love to see in a future VR controller.

Image courtesy PlayStation

I got to take the controller for a lengthy spin in the ‘Cooling Springs’ level of Astro’s Playroom, a non-VR spin-off from the same studio behind the PSVR masterpiece Astro Bot Rescue Mission (2018). The game was designed to show off everything the controller can do.

More Than Rumble

Image courtesy PlayStation

Let’s talk first about rumble haptics. While the prior DualShock 4 controller was no slouch, the DualSense controller really is next-level. Rather than old-school ERM (eccentric rotating mass) rumble motors, the controller features a pair of powerful LRAs (linear resonant actuators) which are capable of a much wider range of haptic sensations or ‘haptic effects’ like buzzing, rumbling, thumping, pulsing and everywhere in between.

And the LRAs pack a punch. There’s so much power behind them that at times it can feel like the controller is actually filled with something that’s jumbling around within its volume… and this is where I apologize for attempting the impossible task of trying to convey haptic effects through text.

ERM haptics aren’t very flexible, and the typical ‘rumble’ sensation they provide wouldn’t feel right if used to indicate that your character is swimming. With the LRA haptics in DualSense, a ‘thumpy’ effect alternating between the handles feels surprisingly fitting for the task | Image courtesy PlayStation

The bottom line here is that the LRA-based haptics are capable of delivering a far wider range of haptic effects compared to the ERM of yore. You can think of LRA as increasing the ‘haptic resolution’ the controller is capable of; the difference and complexity of the effects is instantly noticeable with the DualSense controller.

Augmenting the LRA is a small speaker on the controller which not only adds an extra channel of ‘close’ audio to the overall feedback, but the speaker’s high frequency micro vibrations actually contribute further still to some of the haptic sensations. In Astro’s Playroom this was used for things happening directly to the character, like the ‘tink tink tink’ sound of their little feet walking on metal or glass, or the sound of rustling through foliage.

Triggers That Communicate

Image courtesy PlayStation

Then there’s the adaptive triggers which offer dynamically-controlled spring strength. While the trigger normally feels no different than your typical controller, the force required to pull the trigger can be adjusted on the fly, ranging from the default strength to something much harder—an effect which makes it feel like the game is ‘resisting’ your intentions. In Astro’s Playroom this is used, for example, to give a sensation of ‘crushing’ an object.

And the triggers can do more complex effects too. Rather than simply being harder to pull, it’s possible for them to be harder to pull up to a point, and then suddenly ‘let go’ after that point. That can make it feel like you’re ‘struggling’ through something until it gives way. The reverse is also possible, where the trigger can feel easy to pull until a certain point and then become harder to pull, as if you’re ‘run into’ something along the way.

Seemingly everything that happens to the character in Astro’s Playroom can be felt through the DualSense controller, right down to a faint skating sound heard emanating from its tiny speaker. | Image courtesy PlayStation

Being able to change the trigger pull force on the fly allows the game to communicate far more information back to the player through one of the most important buttons on the controller. Opening up pathways for communicating additional information to the player is what haptics is all about, and it adds another layer of immersion.

For instance, in another game you could imagine the trigger suddenly becoming very hard to pull once your gun is out of ammo—to intuitively indicate that the current trigger pull is ‘invalid’ without needing to flash text on the screen.

It should be pointed out that, while the adaptive triggers are quite impressive, they don’t support what you’d call ‘force feedback’. That would be where the triggers don’t just resist your pull to a greater or lesser effect, but can actively push back against your finger.

Motion Tracking

Image courtesy PlayStation

And then there’s the DualSense tracking, which has astounded me. To be clear: the tracking in the DualSense controller is only rotational (3DOF) right now, but Sony seems to have found some ultra-precise IMU because, even without any external reference point, the DualSense controller seems almost devoid of drift.

That’s counter to my experience with PSVR devices in the past. Even with external tracking from the PS4 camera, I’ve noticed plenty of drift from the headset, PS Move, and PS Aim in various games.

While playing in ‘Cooling Springs’ in Astro’s Playroom the game allowed me to ‘inspect’ an object I found by rotating my controller in space, which would then rotate the object on screen. This gave me a good chance to test out the DualSense motion tracking.

No matter how violently I tried to shake and twist the controller, the on-screen object never lost its ‘forward’ direction—even without an external camera aiding in the tracking. I even sat the controller down in a random orientation for 30 minutes, and then compared the position of the object before and after, and found hardly any change. This shows that the controller’s IMU has very little internal drift and noise.

Little known fact about VR tracking systems: the IMU does the bulk of the tracking work, even for 6DOF tracking. While an external frame of reference—like a camera for inside or outside tracking—is important for correcting drift over time, it provides comparatively infrequent updates (on the order of 60Hz) compared to the IMU (typically around 1,000Hz).

That means that a good IMU is essential to a highly accurate 6DOF tracking system. And from what I’ve seen with the DualSense controller, Sony has picked a darn good one.

– – — – –

All told, the tech Sony is showing off in its DualSense controller on PS5 is really impressive and would be a perfect fit if realized in a PSVR 2 controller, whether that be a PS Move 2 or something else. Haptics are all about increasing immersion, and it’s not hard to imagine how even the existing PS Move controller would benefit from LRA rumble, adaptive triggers, and a much better IMU for tracking—culminating in a much more immersive VR experience.

The good news is that Sony has already deemed this controller tech good enough, cheap enough, and power efficient enough to stick into its standard controller. That bodes very well for potentially seeing the tech come to a next-gen PSVR controller.

Source: https://www.roadtovr.com/ps5-dualsense-hands-on-haptics-tracking-psvr-controller-future/

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Jorjin Technologies announcing J7EF, the latest of its J-Reality

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🤖Jorjin Technologies announcing J7EF, the latest of its J-Reality™ smartglasses series and world-first AR product built upon Epson’s new high-performance Optical Engine. 👇

🗨 Jorjin Technologies, a 🏢Taiwan company that started working on Augmented Reality (AR) when the technology was still in its infancy, has spent the last 12 months developing J7EF, the latest member of its J-Reality™ smartglasses family. J7EF, the world’s first AR product based on Epson’s new Optical Engine, is now available in sample quantity and will be ready for volume shipment in December 2020.

🔥 Thanks to Epson’s Optical Engine, J7EF smartglasses users will enjoy a full HD resolution (1920×1080 pixels), with a 34 degrees FOV and a typical brightness of 1000cd/m2. They will feel like watching a 120-inch HD display positioned at 5 meters, with the added benefit of a breathtaking rendering of 3D content.

🎯 J7EF smartglasses also feature an 8-Mega pixels front camera, a 9-axis Inertial Measurement Unit for motion detection, and an optional low-power Time-of-Flight sensor. Jorjin has also designed a companion small form-factor Controller Unit powered by Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ XR1, a leading processing platform optimized for AR/MR applications. J7EF can connect to the Controller Unit through a USB Type-C cable or, alternatively, directly to most high-end smartphones supporting Display Port over USB Type-C.  👇

🚀 Jorjin believes that there is no “one-size-fits-all” answer to the smartglasses market and that it is important to introduce products optimized for unique use cases. Jorjin is eager to capitalize on Epson AR Optical Engine and on its J7EF design experience to provide ODM/JDM services to Customers around the world who are interested in developing their own differentiated high-performance smart glasses.

🗨 “Companies willing to market smartglasses fine-tuned for the needs of a specific ecosystem should get many benefits from Jorjin’s capability to provide fast spin-offs of our AR products”, says Tom Liang, Jorjin Technologies Chairman & Founder, “as it will enable them to enter the market they target without the burden of long development cycles. Notably, J7EF, world-first smartglasses leveraging Epson’s new Optical Engine and designed for smooth integration with Qualcomm® XR1 Platform, allows Jorjin to offer its clients a customizable Hardware and Software blueprint for a range of AR products fulfilling end-users requirements.” 👇

🏢 About Jorjin Technologies: ➡ Jorjin Technologies, a Taiwan company founded in 1997, has been at the forefront of the development of AR Smartglasses for the past 6 years. Its diversified product line includes 3 different families, J-Supporter™, J-Reality™, and J-Slim™, each targeting different use cases and being adopted by domestic and international customers. The company is also providing ODM services to worldwide customers looking for a safe supplier of differentiated smartglasses answering specific needs.  🔗  www.jorjin.com

👉 For more information, contact:  ⤵

Curt Riley
310-430-2349
curt@gtventures.io

 

 

 

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