All posts by Daniel

Carmack Focusing On AI, Apple AR/VR Glasses, And Win Curious Tale | VRecap

Another week of news and new releases means another Friday of our weekly news recap show VRecap. Buckle up — there are some big headlines this week you might have missed!

First up is the big news from Camp Carmack that he is reigning in the amount of time he spends working on VR at Oculus. For now on he is simply consulting with the company and is no longer the CTO. That doesn’t mean he is giving up on VR, but he wants to spend more time working on AGI (Artificial General Intelligence) instead right now — which could have amazing cross-over benefits for VR anyway.

Other than that on VRecap, Oculus is finally letting people customize and update their Oculus Quest home environment a bit, which is nice if you’re getting tired of that old loft apartment window. Apparently Apple is also working on a pair of AR glasses, which we’ve been hearing rumors about for years. Plus you can read our reviews for new releases like Stormland, Dr. Who: The Edge of Time, The Curious Tale of the Stolen Pets, and see why we don’t have a review for Golem just yet.

That’s a lot of big new releases this week for VRecap. Which is your favorite that you’ve played? And if you missed this week’s episode of The VR Download, we interviewed one of the developers at  Fast Travel Games about their latest release, The Curious Tale of the Stolen Pets.

Speaking of…that’s our giveaway for this week as well! Enter in the form down below for a chance to win!

GIVEAWAY: Win A Free Copy Of The Curious Tale of the Forgotten Pets On Oculus Quest!

Thanks for tuning into VRecap and good luck!

The post Carmack Focusing On AI, Apple AR/VR Glasses, And Win Curious Tale | VRecap appeared first on UploadVR.

Lenovo Unveils New AR Headset Prototype Aimed at Business Travelers

At Lenovo’s Tech World conference in Beijing, the Chinese tech giant unveiled a new AR headset prototype that aims to appeal to business travelers on-the-go.

Officially called the Lenovo AR Concept Glasses, the headset features a relatively small and sleek profile, no doubt in part because the headset connects to a PC via cable, meaning it likely doesn’t hold an on-board SoC or built-in battery like Microsoft’s standalone AR headset HoloLens. The news was first reported by German publication MIXED.

The concept AR glasses are said to let users simulate multiple monitors, with the added benefit of user privacy so that you can work in a public space, like on a train, without having to worry about someone looking over your shoulder.

Although it’s uncertain if Lenovo intend to actually produce the AR glasses, the company did say the virtual monitor use case is “just one of the many features coming soon on the new Lenovo AR glasses,” which could imply the company is looking to flesh out its capabilities in effort to launch the device to business-savvy travelers.

As it is now, the glasses appear to feature three sensors and what could be ‘bird bath’ style optics, much like the Nreal headset shown off at CES 2019 in January. This is however conjecture at this point, as the company hasn’t publicly specified any of the headset’s specs.

Image courtesy Lenovo

Most recently, Lenovo launched its ThinkReality A6 HMD back in May, an AR headset, that like HoloLens, is targeting business applications.

A few months later, the company announced a refresh of Lenovo Mirage AR, its consumer-focused AR headset. Originally launched in 2018 alongside its sole title, Star Wars: Jedi Challenges (2018), the headset is now said to arrive with 6DOF controllers and a new AR game, MARVEL Dimension of Heroes.

The post Lenovo Unveils New AR Headset Prototype Aimed at Business Travelers appeared first on Road to VR.

‘Virtual Virtual Reality’ Studio to Launch ‘The Under Presents’ on Quest “very soon”, New Trailer Here

From Tender Claws, the studio behind Virtual Virtual Reality (2017), and the New York-based live theater company Pie Hole comes The Under Presents, something its creators call “part game, part theater, part extravaganza.”

The Under Presents doesn’t have an official launch date yet, although the studios say that it should land on Oculus Quest “very soon.”

First debuted at Sundance earlier this year, The Under Presents presents a bit of a mashup between game and live performance piece.

Here’s how Tender Claws describes it:

Where live immersive theater meets VR to bring live actors into your living room. An intriguing experience set between two worlds: a jaunty vaudeville stage and the harrowing survival narrative. Uncover the story of a ship stranded in time as supplies dwindle and day-by-day an otherworldly mist rolls closer. Follow characters’ interlocking fates as all journeys forward must turn back or become lost.

SEE ALSO
25 Oculus Quest Games Coming in 2019 & 2020

At its Sundance 2019 unveiling, Oculus said that user enters a vaudeville stage that exists in a “special dimension outside time and space, where you are guided by a mysterious proprietor. The Under operates on a loop with different live and recorded acts coming and going — and the main act ‘The Aickman’ is the story within the story.”

If the trailer tells us anything, we’re in for an interesting time to say the least.

The post ‘Virtual Virtual Reality’ Studio to Launch ‘The Under Presents’ on Quest “very soon”, New Trailer Here appeared first on Road to VR.

[Update] ‘Stormland’ Revive Patch Brings Preliminary Support to SteamVR Headsets

Like all Oculus Studios titles, Stormland officially only supports the Oculus platform. Revive, an unofficial mod, has been a reliable way to get Oculus exclusive games to work on SteamVR headsets like Index and Vive, but Stormland didn’t work with Revive at launch. A future update is expected to bring compatibility.

Update (November 15th, 2019): With the blessings of Revive developer CrossVR, YouTuber ‘CircuitLord’ has posted a quick fix that should get you playing Stormland with Revive. Some users are reporting noticeable jitter, so your mileage may vary until CrossVR can develop a more permanent fix.

Before you try to get Stormland up and running, you should have the latest version of Revive installed, as well as CrossVR’s own Stormland-specific files, which can be found linked in the description of CircuitLord’s video tutorial.

The original article follows below:

Original Article (November 14th, 2019): Revive works more-or-less seamlessly for playing games from the Oculus PC library on SteamVR headsets like Index, Vive, and Windows VR. However, when we tested Stormland with the mod, we couldn’t get the game to launch at all. We’ve heard the same thing from other pre-release testers.

This happens occasionally when it comes to just-launched titles; a fix is often issued by Revive’s developers shortly after launch. It may take longer this time around however, as the mod’s core developer said they don’t expect to have access to their workstation for “another month or so.” If the fix is straightforward, other Revive contributors could implement a fix before then.

SEE ALSO
Here’s How ‘Asgard’s Wrath’ Plays on Index and Vive via Revive

Road to VR has confirmed with Insomniac Games that the studio hasn’t done anything to intentionally prevent Stormland from working with Revive.

The issue may be related to the fact that the title uses Insomniac’s own in-house game engine (rather than the widely available Unity or Unreal Engine). Because of the way that Revive works, it’s unlikely that the engine difference would result in any fundamental issues with Stormland’s Revive compatibility, but it seems some work is needed to get the internal piping in order.

We’ll be keeping an eye on any future Revive updates that could bring Stormland compatibility to Index, Vive, WMR, and more.

The post [Update] ‘Stormland’ Revive Patch Brings Preliminary Support to SteamVR Headsets appeared first on Road to VR.

NASA TV Broadcasts Particle Detector Spacewalk Repairs on Friday

ESA (European Space Agency) Commander Luca Parmitano and NASA astronaut Andrew Morgan.
ESA (European Space Agency) Commander Luca Parmitano and NASA astronaut Andrew Morgan.

Expedition 61 Commander Luca Parmitano of ESA (European Space Agency) and NASA Flight Engineer Andrew Morgan will begin a spacewalk outside of the International Space Station at about 7 a.m. EST Friday, Nov. 15. NASA Television coverage of the spacewalk will begin at 5:30 a.m.

Watch the spacewalk on NASA TV and on the agency’s website.

The two astronauts will venture outside the International Space Station for the first in a series of complex spacewalks to replace a cooling system on the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS), a cosmic ray detector. The upgraded cooling system will support AMS through the lifetime of the space station.

Parmitano and Morgan have spent dozens of hours training specifically for the AMS repair spacewalks. NASA astronauts Christina Koch and Jessica Meir will help Parmitano and Morgan suit up for the spacewalks and will maneuver the Canadarm2 robotic arm to help position the spacewalkers around the AMS repair worksite.

These spacewalks are considered the most complex of their kind since the Hubble Space Telescope servicing missions. The AMS originally was designed for a three-year mission and, unlike Hubble, was not designed to be serviced once in space. More than 20 unique tools were designed for the intricate repair work, which will include the cutting and splicing of eight cooling tubes to be connected to the new system, and reconnection of a myriad of power and data cables. In addition to the overall complexity, astronauts have never before cut and reconnected fluid lines, like those that are part of the cooling system, during a spacewalk.

Watch the briefings from this Tuesday for more detail:

Follow @space_station on Twitter for updates online. For more information about the International Space Station, visit www.nasa.gov/station.

Final Spacewalk Preps During Biology, Physics Studies

The six-member Expedition 61 crew
The six-member Expedition 61 crew, wearing t-shirts printed with their crew insignia, gathers for a playful portrait inside the International Space Station’s Zvezda service module. From left are, Flight Engineers Andrew Morgan, Oleg Skripochka, Jessica Meir, Christina Koch and Alexander Skvortsov and Commander Luca Parmitano.

The Expedition 61 crew is about to kick off a series of complex spacewalks on Friday to repair the International Space Station’s cosmic particle detector. They will have one more spacewalk review today while continuing advanced biology research.

Spacewalkers Luca Parmitano and Andrew Morgan readied the Quest airlock, their U.S. spacesuits and tools for Friday’s excursion set to begin at 7:05 a.m. EST. The duo then joined Flight Engineers Jessica Meir and Christina Koch for a final procedures review. All four astronauts called down to Mission Control to discuss their readiness with spacewalk experts on the ground. Live NASA TV coverage begins at 5:30 a.m.

Meir and Koch spent the rest of Thursday on space research and lab upkeep. Meir conducted a test run of a 3-D bioprinter before the device will manufacture complex human organ tissue shapes. Koch measured airflow in the station then serviced microbe samples to extract and sequence their DNA.

Cosmonauts Alexander Skvortsov and Oleg Skripochka focused on their complement of science and maintenance in the station’s Russian segment. Skvortsov updated cargo inventory and explored plasma physics for insights into advanced spacecraft designs. Skripochka collected radiation readings and studied how a crew adapts to piloting in space.

World Bank Turns To VR Filmmaking To Fight Global Poverty

Sparking action against global poverty using the power of VR filmmaking.

The numbers are horrific. 3 billion people around the globe are living on less than $2.50 per day, including the 1.2 billion living in extreme poverty, existing on less than $1.25 per day. 

Efforts to combat world poverty are met with fragility, conflict, and violence (FCV), affecting both low and middle-income countries. It is estimated that by 2030, FCV countries will be home to 46% of the world’s most extreme poor.

To bring these painful statistics to the forefront of a global audience, The World Bank has released Preventing Conflict, Promoting Peace, a 360 VR film that lets you experience these issues first hand. It is one of the most impactful pieces made by the World Bank and its purpose is to spark action.

Once you put on a VR headset, you are transported to the country of Niger, where violence, terrorism, and armed conflict in neighboring countries are threatening the countries peace and stability. Meanwhile, extreme poverty runs rampant, posing a significant risk to many of the Nigerian people.

You can view the 360 film online in standard 2D and look around using the trackpad or by moving your finger across the screen, but the real impact comes from viewing it in 3D as a webVR experience. 

Image Credit: The World Bank Group

“Fragility, conflict, and violence threaten development progress and can drive communities further into poverty. Niger is a country where 80% of workers are farmers and climate change is severely impacting agriculture. With the 3rd lowest GDP per capita in the world, it’s also bordered by countries in conflict. The World Bank’s community-based investments through the International Development Association (IDA), its fund for low-income countries, is supporting social protection, safety nets, education and agriculture in Niger– preventing conflict by improving the lives of marginalized youth. Through jobs and skills training, along with psychological and social counseling, people like Kaltoum and Ramatou are now improving their own lives and contributing to the development and stability of Niger,” states The World Bank Group in an official statement.

The moment you put on a VR headset, you meet Alassane. He is constantly worrying about the amount of work available in his community. They are usually afforded roughly 3 months of work; the remaining 9 months, however, become incredibly hard due to the lack of work. When there is a conflict in neighboring countries, the impact it can have on his community is significant. It can cut off markets and roads, often preventing work opportunities during those crucial three months of work.

Image Credit: The World Bank Group

Violent conflicts in FCV countries have seen a dramatic spike since the beginning of 2010 with the already fragile landscape becoming more complex. Things such as climate change, rising inequality, demographic change, new technologies, illicit financial flows, and other global trends are adding to those risks, making for an even more unstable environment.

The impact is so extreme that even low and middle-income countries are affected by fragility risks. The World Bank is focused on addressing FCV, emphasizing prevention and acting early. We’re also remaining engaged during active conflict, and in countries going through transitions to peace. Stronger collaboration with humanitarian, development, peace and security partners is critical for delivery in challenging environments, such as in the Bank’s response to famine

“Preventing Conflict, Promoting Peace” looks to address the hardships of these FCV countries where 70.8 million refugees, internally displaced people, and asylum-seekers are looking for relief.

The World Bank consists of 189 member countries with offices in over 130 locations around the world. Their mission is to end global poverty and promote shared prosperity and sustainable development by increasing the income of the poorest 40% of people in every country.

Feature Image Credit: The World Bank Group

The post World Bank Turns To VR Filmmaking To Fight Global Poverty appeared first on VRScout.

John Carmack Stepping Down As Oculus CTO To Develop ‘Strong AI’

The celebrated industry veteran will remain a “consulting CTO” at the company.

Facebook has its company flag flying at half-mast this week after it was announced that video game legend John Carmack would be stepping down from his position as Oculus CTO and migrating to a “Consulting CTO role” beginning this week. 

In a post made to his personal Facebook page, Carmack stated he would still have a say in development work, but would be scaling back his contributions significantly in order to dedicate more time towards pursuing his passion project of becoming a “Victorian Gentlemen Scientist,” as the industry veteran describes it. 

“As for what I am going to be doing with the rest of my time: When I think back over everything I have done across games, aerospace, and VR, I have always felt that I had at least a vague “line of sight” to the solutions, even if they were unconventional or unproven,” states Carmack in his post.

“I’m going to work on artificial general intelligence (AGI). I think it is possible, enormously valuable, and that I have a non-negligible chance of making a difference there, so by a Pascal’s Mugging sort of logic, I should be working on it. For the time being at least, I am going to be going about it “Victorian Gentleman Scientist” style, pursuing my inquiries from home, and drafting my son into the work.”

Carmack joined Oculus in 2013 and worked alongside Palmer Luckey to develop the original Oculus Rift models. Since then the legendary developer/engineer — responsible for classic video game titles such as DOOM, Quake, and Wolfenstein 3D —  has been a major driving force for the company, earning them a certain level of respect from longtime industry professionals and hardcore fans alike. 

Just this past week, Carmack took home the Accenture VR Lifetime Achievement Award at this year’s VR Awards, for which he offered a humble speech, albeit slightly uneasy speech.

Image Credit: John Carmack

“When I think back over everything I have done across games, aerospace, and VR, I have always felt that I had at least a vague “line of sight” to the solutions, even if they were unconventional or unproven,” stated Carmack during his video acceptance speech. “I have sometimes wondered how I would fare with a problem where the solution really isn’t in sight. I decided that I should give it a try before I get too old.”

As for what’s next for the tireless programmer/developer/engineer, Carmack states he’s looking to expand his already impressive resume to include artificial general intelligence. Sometimes referred to as “Strong AI,” AGI is an advanced form of artificial intelligence capable of learning and understanding intelligent tasks at a human level. It’s the kind of technology that keeps people like Elon Musk up at night. 

So, on behalf of everyone who bought an Oculus Quest because you were on board — thank you, John Carmack. We wish you the best of luck in creating the AI apocalypse. 

Feature Image Credit: Nancy Newberry, Fortune

The post John Carmack Stepping Down As Oculus CTO To Develop ‘Strong AI’ appeared first on VRScout.

Could VR Make Us Care More About Climate Change?

A new equation showing that the world is in a “deep state of climate emergency” was unveiled on 24 September by Professor Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, one of the world’s leading authorities on climate change. Talking to Horizon he said, “we don’t want to see the truth” and “I would like people to panic and take action according to the state of emergency we are in.”

Like Professor Han Joachim Schellnhuber, Extinction Rebellion believes the time for denial is over, it’s time to act. The movement also believes the world’s leaders are failing in their duty to act on our behalf. Therefore, Extinction Rebellion promotes mass above the ground, nonviolent, civil disobedience to shake the current political system and raise awareness.

On the other side of the coin, some are less concerned and don’t view climate change as such a serious threat. Across the countries surveyed by Pew Research, a median of 20% consider global warming only a minor threat.

There may be divided opinion on the extent of the threat, but no one can argue with the fact that we need to do something. Many different approaches are being used. Virtual reality is just one of these.

Why Virtual Reality?

The immersive and engaging nature of virtual reality has been used to help tackle the impact of climate change and motivate and inspire us to solve the climate crisis. Filmmakers and advocacy groups have turned to the medium as a tool for building empathy and driving action.

Research has shown that using virtual reality to engage and change behavior works. Stanford University’s Virtual Human Interaction Lab found that if a person has a VR experience of cutting down a tree—during which they feel the vibration and sound of the chainsaw and the crash of the tree—that person is more likely to conserve paper.

I’ve taken a look at some of the immersive projects that are trying to make a difference.

Tree

This project transforms you into a rainforest tree, with arms as big as branches and your body as the trunk. You experience the tree’s growth from a seedling into its fullest form and learn firsthand the challenges that it faces throughout its lifecycle.  Since humans started cutting down forests, a staggering 46% of the world’s trees have been felled, and around 17% of the Amazon rainforest has been destroyed over the last 50 years. Trees are vital for human existence, absorbing the carbon dioxide we exhale and the greenhouse gases we emit. These huge numbers can often be overwhelming and it is hard to see just how devastating the effects of deforestation are—which is where Tree comes in. It aims to educate people in a hauntingly entertaining way, showing equally the beauty of nature and its fragility.

This is Climate Change

In this virtual reality docu-series from Participant Media and Condition One, you go on four journeys across the globe to be fully immersed in the direct impact of climate change: Famine, Feast, Melting Ice and Fire. Each short film takes a look at a key topic—deforestation, global warming, wildfires and famine—and shows you the people that suffer as a consequence of these changes. Al Gore, American politician and environmentalist, provides the voiceover for the “Melting Ice” film as you observe the melting glaciers and the impact this has on the environment all over the globe.  It is a raw and harrowing set of films that educate and shock in equal measure.

We Live in an Ocean of Air

We Live in an Ocean of Air uses awe and wonder to instil a curiosity in the user about other living things on the planet. The project is about how something as simple as breathing, connects humans and plants to each other to create a whole ecosystem of life.

Throughout the 20 minute experience, the cutting edge technology sheds light on the connection between the human and natural world. Breath and heart sensors track your breathing and encourage you to reflect on our impact on the organisms we share our planet with.

While this experience isn’t as hard-hitting and haunting as the others in this list, it’s a beautiful way to visualize our relationship with the world around us. In understanding this connection, the hope is that those who have been through the experience are more aware of our planet and its individual parts, and more willing to protect it.

Greenland Melting

This experience was inspired by the calls for the withdrawal of the United States from the Paris Climate Agreement, which was met with strong emotions from US citizens. Created in collaboration with FRONTLINE and NOVA, Greenland Melting from Emblematic provides a “rare, up-close view of icy Arctic scenery” that is quickly disappearing. Utilizing 360-degree video, CG models, 3D data visualizations and holograms of NASA researchers, Greenland Melting gives you a unique perspective on the impact of global warming, showing just how devastating the effects will be.

IMMERSE

Developed by The Hydrous, IMMERSE is a 360-degree film aimed to generate awareness and scientific understanding of coral reefs and the threat they face due to rising ocean temperatures. In the experience, you become a diver and follow Dr Erika Woolsey, marine biologist and CEO of Hydrous, as you swim next to sharks, sea turtles and manta rays. The Hydrous believes that VR is the best medium for education about this topic as it allows people to visit places they may never go to in their normal lives. The immersive nature of VR connects the user to the underwater world and encourages them to understand life below the surface. As Woolsey puts it—“How can we protect what we don’t see or think about?”.

The Reality of Global Climate Change: A Mixed-Reality Hackathon 

This annual event challenges the brightest minds from Yale University to create applications that gamify real-world data with mixed reality to better understand themes of global climate change by looking at them in a new way. At last year’s event, students created virtual worlds where carbon emissions formed towering columns, life-size graphs reacted to policy decisions, and a game-world where players plugged holes with carbon dioxide pouring through them.

This hackathon is intended to challenge students to not only stretch their technological skills, but also think about how the issue of climate change can be made accessible through the medium of XR.

 

Quelle:

Image: GETTY IMAGES

https://vrroom.buzz/vr-news/trends/could-vr-make-us-care-more-about-climate-change

USAF Slashes Helicopter Training Time With VR

By using virtual reality (VR) devices, the U.S. Air Force’s 23rd Flying Training Squadron (FTS) at Fort Rucker, Alabama, has slashed flying time by 35 percent, given students 15 hours of additional practice time with aircraft controls, and cut the time needed to complete undergraduate pilot training by six weeks for the first six students using the experimental program.

The 23d FTS is responsible for all Air Force undergraduate rotary-wing pilot training and is a geographically separated unit under the 58th Special Operations Wing (SOW) at Kirtland (New Mexico) AFB. It is the sole entry point for Air Force careers in the Bell UH-1N, Sikorsky HH-60G, and Bell-Boeing CV-22 tiltrotor.

The experimental training program began in 2017 when the squadron found internal training efficiencies that led to a 25 percent increase in overall student pilot production. They decided to take their innovation efforts further by combining technology and innovation.

The squadron initially stood up the program with six VR systems loaded with software for a Bell 412, paid for with $350,000 in 58th SOW innovation funds. Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training-Helicopter (SUPT-H) class 20-02 was the first class to use the VR training systems starting in May 2019. The students’ introduction to VR took place during the initial 19-day academics portion of the curriculum. “After 23.5 hours of VR instruction, students were able to hover, taxi, and perform various other helicopter maneuvers unassisted by their instructor pilots on their very first flight [in an actual aircraft],” said Capt. Matt Strick, 23rd FTS innovation flight lead. “We assessed the students to be at least seven days ahead of schedule at that point.”

The initial goal of the project, called “Project da Vinci” or „Rotary-Wing Next,“ was reducing the time needed to teach the syllabus from 28 weeks to 14 weeks and to increase student production from 60 to 120 students a year without needing additional aircraft or flying hours. “We’re seeing the vast potential of this program unfold right in front of us,” said Lt. Col. Jake Brittingham, 23rd FTS commander. “This is just the start,” he said. “We are focused on ensuring we continue to get even more efficient with our training, while at the same time maintaining the quality of our graduates the Air Force needs and expects.”

The program’s VR software is being updated to reflect the unit’s Bell TH-1H primary trainer. “The [VR] acquisition proved challenging because of federal computer purchasing laws and limitations and took some time and effort between us, the 42nd Contracting Squadron at Maxwell AFB, 19th AF, and the 338th Specialized Contracting Squadron at Randolph AFB to make the initial purchase,” Brittingham said. “We really couldn’t have done this in eight months without the help of the contracting team enabling us to make these purchases smarter and faster.”

Quelle:

https://vrroom.buzz/vr-news/trends/usaf-slashes-helicopter-training-time-vr