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Project Aria is Facebook’s Prototype AR Glasses Which Start Real-world Testing This Month

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Facebook is continuing its push toward delivering AR glasses and it’s showing some of its development out in the open; Project Aria is a sensor-rich pair of glasses which the company will use to train its AR perception systems and asses public perception of the technology.

Facebook is keenly aware of the backlash that faced Glass—Google’s early attempt at consumer smart glasses. The privacy implications that came with people walking around wearing a camera on their head were not lost on the public, some of which took to calling Glass users ‘Glassholes’.

By its nature, AR requires heaps of sensors to work. Cameras facing out to see the world, cameras facing in to see where your eyes are pointed, accelerometers to determine orientation, microphones to hear you speak, and plenty more. It’s like Google Glass times ten.

Project Aria is an AR headset prototype that Facebook is using for two things: gathering data for AI training and assessing the public’s perception & concerns of the technology.

As far as we know, Aria doesn’t have any displays, but it does have a full suite of the kind of sensors that will be used in a complete AR headset. It’s basically a pair of sensor-rich glasses that’s designed to soak up everything that it can see and hear. The data collected will be used to train AR perception systems that will allow AR glasses to understand the world around them in order to provide useful information to the user.

Another goal of Aria is to test the waters with public perception and uncover privacy and ethical obstacles.

“Ultimately, Project Aria is going to help us develop the safeguards, policies and even social norms necessary to govern the use of AR glasses and other future wearable devices,” Facebook says.

Starting this month, the company says, 100 or so employees will begin wearing the Aria glasses in their day-to-day lives, including in public. Facebook wants to be so ‘out in the open’ about its AR work that this first small batch of testers will be required to wear an identifying shirt and a lanyard to alert the public that the person is wearing the glasses and may be recording video and other data.

Image courtesy Facebook

Facebook claims they’re building privacy into Aria, and their future AR devices, from the start. The company is trying to assure people that it’s taking privacy concerns seriously, and even at this early stage is taking steps to protect data:

  • As with any mapping data, security of recorded data is paramount. Facebook will keep Project Aria data secure by using encryption and a secure ingestion system to upload the data from the device to Facebook back-end storage systems.
  • Facebook will securely store data and the maps that are derived from that data in a separate, designated storage space, accessible only to researchers with approved access.
    Once uploaded, captured data is kept under quarantine for three days, meaning it is not made available to researchers. During the quarantine period, participants can again choose to delete segments of captured data from the system by looking at low-resolution thumbnails.
  • Before any data gathered in a public place is made available to our researchers, it will be automatically scrubbed to blur faces and vehicle license plates.
  • The research glasses do not use facial recognition identification technology, and we don’t use this data to inform the ads people see across Facebook products.

Facebook says Aria is purely a research tool at this point and not a product that it will release to the public. Granted, it gives us a very firm idea of the form-factor the company is likely targeting for its AR glasses. Aria will help the company understand if the headset’s sensors are sufficient for tracking the headset and understanding the world around the user. Provided that all works out, the next step for the company would be fitting a display system inside.

Source: https://www.roadtovr.com/project-aria-facebook-ar-glasses-real-world-testing/

AR/VR

Warhammer Age of Sigmar: Tempestfall Announced for PC VR & Oculus Quest, Arrives 2021

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More and more franchises are making their way in the virtual reality (VR) space like Star Wars, The Walking Dead and Game Workshop’s Warhammer. The latter entered the field with Warhammer: Vermintide VR and The Horus Heresy: Betrayal at Calth, and now Carbon Studio has announced Warhammer Age of Sigmar: Tempestfall for next year.

Warhammer Age of Sigmar: Tempestfall

The Warhammer universe has a rich lore for Carbon Studio to take from with the synopsis detailing: “Set in the Age of Sigmar universe, Tempestfall begins following the Necroquake. From the domain of Nagash and across all the Realms, Nighthaunt forces are rising. A specially assembled retinue of Stormcast Eternals embarks on a quest to investigate a new threat to the Mortal Realms. Side by side with these elite soldiers, you must explore the dread-filled realm of Shyish and battle your way through the Nighthaunt in a quest to protect the Forces of Order from a sinister plot.”

With a brief teaser trailer showcasing a couple of locales and one enemy, the studio has said Warhammer Age of Sigmar: Tempestfall will mix melee combat with powerful, motion-based spellcasting, utilising the team’s experience developing The Wizards, which had gesture-based speels.

The world of Tempestfall will take players through cities, prisons, swamps and catacombs, an adventure full of Warhammer lore and secrets, reportedly over seven hours in length. Players will be faced with wraiths, revenants and other dangers in what could be Carbon Studio’s biggest project to date.

Warhammer Age of Sigmar: Tempestfall

You can wishlist Warhammer Age of Sigmar: Tempestfall over on Steam where there’s also a chance to win a T-shirt and poster, with 10 winners being selected.

This isn’t the only Warhammer videogame on the way as Pixel Toys previously unveiled Warhammer 40,000: Battle Sister for Oculus Quest, due before the end of the year.

Warhammer Age of Sigmar: Tempestfall is currently slated for a 2021 launch across PC VR headsets and the Oculus Quest platform. As further details including gameplay, visuals and launch date are released, VRFocus will let you know.

Source: https://www.vrfocus.com/2020/10/warhammer-age-of-sigmar-tempestfall-announced-for-pc-vr-oculus-quest-arrives-2021/

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Star Wars: Tales from the Galaxy’s Edge to Include VR Short ‘Temple of Darkness’

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Star Wars: Tales from the Galaxy’s Edge is gearing up to be an exciting part of the series for fans of the franchise, dropping in new canonical adventures. As part of the experience, ILMxLAB has announced Temple of Darkness, a short sub-story featuring Master Yoda.

Star Wars: Tales from the Galaxy's Edge

Temple of Darkness will take place during Star Wars’ The High Republic era, hundreds of years before the events of Star Wars: The Phantom Menace. One of the stories Azumel bartender Seezelslak tells, you’re placed in the shoes of Jedi Padawan Ady Sun’Zee, who is studying at a remote Jedi research facility on Batuu.

A sudden surge of evil is released from a mysterious relic, poisoning the temple with Ady the sole survivor. Urgently contacting the Jedi Council the Padawan teams up with Jedi Master Yoda (voiced by Frank Oz) to confront the darkness lurking within.

Temple of Darkness in Tales from the Galaxy’s Edge will give Star Wars fans an opportunity to step into a story set during The High Republic era on an incredibly transportive platform,” said James Waugh, Vice President, Franchise Content & Strategy at Lucasfilm in a statement. “It will be one of the first tales released taking place in this bold, adventurous new era for Star Wars storytelling which we intend to see traverse multiple mediums over many years. We’re so proud of what so many incredibly talented authors, developers, licensing partners, and Lucasfilm colleagues, have crafted together — it has been a labour of love.”

Star Wars: Tales from the Galaxy's Edge

“This powerful short story will transport fans back in time, hundreds of years before the Clone Wars. Through the power of virtual reality, they’ll get their first glimpse of Jedi life during The High Republic,” adds director Jose Perez III. “Everyone at ILMxLAB is thrilled to help usher in this new era of Star Wars storytelling, and I can’t wait for fans to encounter Jedi Master Yoda and Padawan Ady Sun’Zee on November 19th.”

Coming to the Oculus Quest platform on 19th November 2020 retailing for $24.99 USD, Star Wars: Tales from the Galaxy’s Edge will be a two-parter with the second scheduled for release in 2021. For further updates on the titles ahead of launch, keep reading VRFocus.

Source: https://www.vrfocus.com/2020/10/star-wars-tales-from-the-galaxys-edge-to-include-vr-short-temple-of-darkness/

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You can now Request the PlayStation VR Camera Adaptor for PS5

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The PlayStation 5 is only a few weeks away from launch and virtual reality (VR) fans who’ve got their pre-orders in can now rest a little easier. Sony Interactive Entertainment (SIE) has released details as to how you can request the PlayStation Camera Adaptor so you can use PlayStation VR on the new console.

PlayStation VR

The process is straight forward enough. Simply go to the Camera Adaptor support website to put your request in. You’ll need the PlayStation VR serial number, which is found on the rear of the Processor Unit (seen above) and once that’s been entered you’ll need to give SIE address and contact details for shipping.

An FAQ page goes into greater detail, saying: “Anyone who owns a PS VR headset qualifies to receive a PlayStation Camera adaptor with a limit of one per household,” so make sure you don’t lose it. As for when they’ll be delivered it can take up to two weeks so get those requests in early.

Timing will vary depending on your region, here’s what SIE has listed currently:

  • Japan: End of October.
  • Americas: Mid-November.
  • Europe, Middle East, Africa, Australia, and New Zealand: Mid-November.
  • Asia: Early December. 

As VRFocus previously reported, if you happen to be in Japan then new PlayStation VR bundles will automatically come with the adaptor. At the time of writing, there’s been no mention of this option being deployed on a worldwide scale.

The PlayStation Camera Adaptor is an essential component if you want to use PlayStation VR with the PlayStation 5. The new HD Camera doesn’t support VR tracking so you have to use the current camera model. And as there’s no native connection on the new console, you’ll need the adaptor, now a crucial piece of kit for those looking to upgrade their gaming hardware.

SIE has already confirmed that thanks to backwards compatibility most PlayStation VR games will work on PlayStation 5. There’s only two that won’t, Crytek’s Robinson: The Journey and DWVR by Mad Triangles.

As for PlayStation VR 2, there have been a few patents hinting at what a new headset might be like but there’s been no official confirmation. Only that a new headset might appear once the new console has launched. For further updates, keep reading VRFocus.

Source: https://www.vrfocus.com/2020/10/you-can-now-request-the-playstation-vr-camera-adaptor-for-ps5/

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