Tag Archives: oculus

Facebook teases major VR display upgrades with Oculus ‘Half Dome’ prototype

For the last couple of years the hardware upgrades that VR headsets have been getting have been pretty stale; there might be a resolution bump or the addition of eye-tracking or new controllers, but most of the advances have seemed to be on the software side. Facebook is focusing on some more fundamental display issues in their latest internal VR headset prototype, which they showed off at day 2 of F8. Oculus “Half Dome” will focus on allowing users to see more of their environment at once inside the headset, while also making some sophisticated changes that will allow them to shift focus between objects. The prototype will bring the field-of-view from 100 degrees to 140 degrees, allowing users to see more of the visual world in their periphery. What’s even more impressive is that Facebook has achieved this without creating an even bulkier design — the prototype maintains the size of the existing Rift headset thanks to their “continued advances in lenses.”  It seems that there are some fundamental display issues the company is aiming to tackle before it shifts the focus to making the headset smaller.  In terms of depth-of-field, existing headsets don’t give users multiple focal lengths. What that means is that if someone gives you something to read or another object you need to see clearly, they stick the focus around two meters from the user. This was one of the major issues that Magic Leap was claiming they had solved with their display technology, though it’s unclear what of their research is actually making it into the end product. Oculus says they have been able to achieve variable focus in one of their newest prototypes by physically moving the screens inside the headset to accommodate the different depths of field. It works similarly to the auto-focus function in cameras, but won’t cause any noise or vibrations for users, the company says. Oculus has talked about a lot of advances toward displays like this on the research side, but this shows how close to the real-deal they are with a headset that integrates the technology without increasing the bulk of current Oculus hardware. While Oculus has devoted much of its public attention on prototypes to standalone headsets, “Half Dome” showcases some big changes that will move the dial on the highest-end VR headset displays.

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Facebook animates photo-realistic avatars to mimic VR users’ faces

Facebook wants you to look and move like you in VR, even if you’ve got a headset strapped to your face in the real world. That’s why it’s building a new technology that uses a photo to map someone’s face into VR, and sensors to detect facial expressions and movements to animate that avatar so it looks like you without an Oculus on your head. CTO Mike Schroepfer previewed the technology during his day 2 keynote at Facebook’s F8 conference. Eventually, this technology could let you bring your real-world identity into VR so you’re recognizable by friends. That’s critical to VR’s potential to let us eradicate the barriers of distance and spend time in the same “room” with someone on the other side of the world. These social VR experiences will fall flat without emotion that’s obscured by headsets or left out of static avatars. But if Facebook can port your facial expressions alongside your mug, VR could elicit similar emotions to being with someone in person. Facebook has been making steady progress on the avatar front over the years. What began as a generic blue face eventually got personalized features, skin tones and life-like features, and became a polished and evocative digital representation of a real person. Still, they’re not quite photo-realistic. Facebook is inching closer, though, by using hand-labeled characteristics on portraits of people’s faces to train its artificial intelligence how to turn a photo into an accurate avatar. Meanwhile, Facebook has tried to come up with new ways to translate emotion into avatars. Back in late 2016, Facebook showed off its “VR emoji gestures,” which let users shake their fists to turn their avatar’s face mad, or shrug their shoulders to adopt a confused expression. Still, the biggest problem with Facebook’s avatars is that they’re trapped in its worlds of Oculus and social VR. In October, I called on Facebook to build a competitor to Snapchat’s wildly popular Bitmoji avatars , and we’re still waiting.

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New Bigscreen update streams your desktop to the Oculus Go

Oculus says that its new Go headset already boasts support for more than 1,000 titles out of the gate as of today. One of the most interesting of the small subset of those that I’ve taken a look at today has been the latest update for Bigscreen , which brings the previously PC-only VR desktop streaming platform to mobile with Oculus Go (Gear VR too). The free app is launching in beta and there are still some performance issues to be sorted out, but the app ultimately does what it claims, streaming your PC’s display to the $200 Oculus headset, effectively bringing a much more capable machine into the small standalone headset. Bigscreen is still driving plenty of updates but today the experience supports 1080p desktop streaming at 30 frames, a resolution and latency that is definitely best suited for streaming movies and videos from YouTube, not firing up a game of Fortnite. That functionality will be coming, however, as the team looks to bring 60fps desktop streaming to the Go. That being said, there is full cross-compatibility between the desktop and mobile versions of Bigscreen with this release. The experience will definitely feel a little different without a tracked headset and controllers, but Oculus Go users will be able to dive in and chat with Vive, Rift and Windows MR users just the same. Getting the remote desktop streaming feature on Go will require a little finagling for PC users who will also have to download the Bigscreen app in the Steam or the Oculus Store on desktop in order to fire up the app. From there they just need to open Bigscreen “in desktop mode” and punch the code that pops up into their Go headset. For now, remote desktop streaming is only open to PC users, Shankar says the startup is hoping to work on Mac support for the app later this year. While Oculus launched a number of apps today at F8 focused on bringing users together in a social experience, none of them can do quite what Bigscreen does. “The focus is just different,” founder Darshan Shankar tells TechCrunch. “We’ve been so much more focused on utilitarian value and providing something for people to do that they already love doing as opposed to just social for the sake of doing social.” Bigscreen has raised $14 million in funding from Andreessen Horowitz, True Venture, Presence Capital and others for this mission of delivering the VR use cases that it sees users asking for. Though the company started four years ago, this is the startup’s first foray into mobile VR which has constituted the bulk of headset sales over the past few years. The update is available now for Oculus Go and Gear VR users, support for Google Daydream is coming soon

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New Oculus Venues app organizes live VR events under one roof

Oculus made good on a lot of their promises from last year at today’s F8 keynote, one of the big ones that we heard a lot more about was Oculus Venues, an app the company has developed to house live sporting events, comedy shows and concerts shot in VR. The unified app will feature content from a bunch of different partners including stuff from startups like NextVR, which has been among the most prolific in terms of streaming sporting events from its own partnerships with the NBA, NFL, NHL and WWE. They have also streamed concerts via a partnership with Live Nation. “Oculus Venues is a bold move to provide profound social VR engagement and we are honored to deliver such an important part of this new product release from Oculus,” NextVR CEO David Cole said in a statement. “NextVR has built a passionate fan base around leading VR content experiences. Venues will satisfy our fans who want to enjoy this type of content on a massively social scale.” The app is launching May 30 on Oculus Go and the Gear VR.

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New Oculus Venues app organizes live VR events under one roof

Oculus made good on a lot of their promises from last year at today’s F8 keynote, one of the big ones that we heard a lot more about was Oculus Venues, an app the company has developed to house live sporting events, comedy shows and concerts shot in VR. The unified app will feature content from a bunch of different partners including stuff from startups like NextVR, which has been among the most prolific in terms of streaming sporting events from its own partnerships with the NBA, NFL, NHL and WWE. They have also streamed concerts via a partnership with Live Nation. “Oculus Venues is a bold move to provide profound social VR engagement and we are honored to deliver such an important part of this new product release from Oculus,” NextVR CEO David Cole said in a statement. “NextVR has built a passionate fan base around leading VR content experiences. Venues will satisfy our fans who want to enjoy this type of content on a massively social scale.” The app is launching May 30 on Oculus Go and the Gear VR.

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Oculus Go Standalone Headset Now Available For $199 – Ubergizmo

Ubergizmo Oculus Go Standalone Headset Now Available For $199 Ubergizmo Subscribe to Ubergizmo on Youtube. The first standalone virtual reality headset from Facebook-owned Oculus is finally available for purchase today. The Oculus Go headset has been officially launched today and it's now available for purchase in 23 ... and more »

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Oculus is bringing live VR theater to your face

When you think about it, VR is ideal for the theatrical world: you'll always have the best seats in the house, and you can interact with the play without stepping on a stage. And now, Oculus wants to take advantage of that creative freedom. In an i...

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