Category Archives: By Daniel Sternklar

Virtueller Spielplatz als Unterstützung bei der Genesung von Kindern in Krankenhäusern

Ein virtueller Spielplatz für Kinder in Krankenhäusern. PlaygroundVR gibt der technischen Entwicklung seiner Virtual-Reality-Umgebung den letzten Schliff. „Im Freien zu spielen ist für die Entwicklung von Kindern von unschätzbarem Wert“, sagt Freek Teunen, Mitbegründer von PlaygroundVR. „Draußen gibt es viel Raum für ihre Fantasie. Sie machen mit nur einem Ball tausend Dinge.“ Ehemalige Studenten der Technischen Universität Eindhoven wollen diese Erfahrung auch jüngeren Krankenhauspatienten anbieten.

Für Kinder kann es große Nachteile haben, wenn sie für längere Zeit im Krankenhaus liegen und dadurch nicht im Freien spielen können. „Durch eine VR-Brille können sich die Kinder vorstellen, auf einem Spielplatz zu sein, wie auf jedem anderen Spielplatz, den sie normalerweise in ihrem täglichen Leben haben. Es gibt auch Fantasie-Elemente wie eine große Spieluhr oder fliegende Reifen“, erklärt Jason van Eunen, Mitbegründer von PlaygroundVR. Es ist alles sehr bunt. „Die Kinder können sich durch virtuelle Avatare gegenseitig sehen. Damit sind sie in der Lage sind, wirklich zusammen zu spielen.“

Wie bist du auf diese Idee gekommen?

Wir sind begeistert von der Technologie. Deshalb wollten wir sehen, wie wir Virtual Reality (VR) so nützlich wie möglich gestalten können. Der Vorteil von VR ist, dass der Benutzer für einen Augenblick vergessen kann, wo er ist und vollständig in eine andere Welt eintauchen kann. Wir entdeckten ziemlich schnell, dass unsere Technologie für Krankenhauspatienten sehr vorteilhaft sein würde. Sie sind nicht in der Lage, so zu spielen, wie sie es zu Hause tun. Die Kinder sagen selbst, dass sie es am meisten vermissen, draußen zu spielen. Deshalb haben wir einen virtuellen Spielplatz entwickelt.“

Bedeutet das nicht, dass ihr Kinder dazu bringt, noch mehr vor einem Bildschirm zu sitzen?

Teunen: „Wir wollen sicher nicht, dass Kinder die ganze Zeit eine VR-Brille tragen. Deshalb arbeiten wir auch mit Spielsessions, einer kurzen Zeit, in der Kinder mit der Brille spielen können. Obwohl wir der Meinung sind, dass sich unser virtueller Spielplatz von den Schießspielen unterscheidet, die Kinder oft auf Bildschirmen spielen. Natürlich würden wir uns freuen, wenn die Kinder im Freien spielen könnten. Aber wenn das nicht möglich ist, sind VR-Brillen eine ziemlich gute Lösung. Die Kinder sind untereinander verbunden und können so das Gefühl haben, draußen zu spielen.“ Van Eunen ergänzt: „Es wäre besser, wenn Kinder auf dem virtuellen Spielplatz neue Spiele lernen und diese schließlich im wirklichen Leben anwenden könnten. Auf diese Weise wollen wir die Phantasie und Kreativität weiter anregen.“

Wie willst du das finanzieren?

„Wir haben diese Woche ein Crowdfunding-Projekt gestartet. Unser Ziel ist es, 55.000 Euro zu sammeln. Dann können drei Krankenhäuser den virtuellen Spielplatz in ihrer Kinderstation nutzen. Etwa die Hälfte davon wird für die neuesten technologischen Entwicklungen verwendet. Den Rest werden wir nutzen, um das Konzept weiter auszubauen“, sagt Teunen.

„Das Ziel des Crowdfunding ist es, Krankenhäusern den pädagogischen Nutzen von virtuellen Spielplätzen aufzuzeigen. Das ist mit VR schwierig, da es sich um eine völlig neuartige Technologie handelt. Wir müssen zuerst beweisen, dass es funktioniert. Das ist es, was wir mit dem Geld machen werden, das wir sammeln. Wir denken, dass sich die Kinder durch den Spielplatz besser fühlen und sich dadurch viel schneller erholen können.“

„Wir finden, dass es nicht richtig ist, dieses Produkt durch Spenden zu finanzieren. Deshalb wollen wir im nächsten Jahr sehen, wie wir den virtuellen Spielplatz im Rahmen einer Behandlung nutzen können. Wir hoffen, dass der Spielplatz zu einer Gesundheitsressource wird, so dass er aus den Krankenkassenbeiträgen bezahlt werden kann.“

Warum habt ihr euch für Crowdfunding entschieden?

„Wir denken, dass Crowdfunding sehr gut zu unserem Ziel passt. PlaygroundVR ist ein Start-up und leistet definitiv einen Beitrag zur Gesellschaft. Wir ermöglichen Kindern in einer Zeit, in der sie extrem verletzlich, sind Momente des Glücks. Crowdfunding ist eine Möglichkeit, Hilfe zu leisten“, sagt Van Eunen.

Wie kann VR Teil einer Behandlung sein?

Van Eunen: „Ablenkung ist für Kinder im Krankenhaus sehr wichtig. Deshalb gibt es auf der Kinderstation pädagogisches Personal und CliniClowns und iPads, um die Kinder zu beschäftigen. PlaygroundVR lenkt auf verschiedene Weise ab, weil es dafür sorgt, dass sich das Kind so fühlt, als wäre es aus dem Zimmer raus. Anstatt einen Film zu sehen, sind die Kinder wirklich in ihn vertieft.“

„Diese Ablenkung kann durch das Tragen einer VR-Brille während einer Behandlung genutzt werden. Zum Beispiel, wenn ein Kind eine Infusionsnadel in der Hand hat. Das ist eine unangenehme Erfahrung, weil es sich nicht richtig anfühlt und es auch nicht schön ist, zuzusehen. Mit der VR-Brille kann ein Kind draußen spielen und es ist sich weniger bewusst, dass eine Nadel in seine Hand gesteckt wird. Das hilft, Schmerzen und eventuell sogar Schmerzmittel zu vermeiden. Es ermöglicht es einem Kind, eine ganze Behandlung zu überstehen, ohne Angst zu haben.“

„Wir haben mit einem Mädchen gesprochen, das buchstäblich sagte, dass es für kurze Zeit vergessen hatte, dass sein Bein gebrochen war. Weil es einfach auf einem Spielplatz rumlaufen konnte. Das sind die wunderbaren Dinge an VR. Das kann man mit einem iPad nicht machen“, sagt Teunen stolz.

Gab es eine Zeit, in der du Angst hattest, dass das Konzept nicht funktionieren würde?

„Ja“, sagt Teunen. „Als wir vor drei Jahren mit der Arbeit daran begannen. Wir nahmen damals an einem Pitch-Wettbewerb teil, wurden aber sofort abgelehnt. Damals hatte sich die VR-Industrie noch nicht sehr weit entwickelt und die Technologie war noch recht unbekannt. Jetzt können wir sehen, dass Mitarbeiter der Gesundheitsberufe und Eltern den Wert dieser Informationen schätzen. Sie mögen PlaygroundVR wirklich lieber als z.B. eine Playstation mit Call of Duty.“

„Die Herausforderung für uns besteht darin, Krankenhäuser zu finden, die es wagen, diese Innovation an Bord zu nehmen. Institutionen finden es oft spannend, diese Art von neuen Technologien umzusetzen. Wir sind bereits in Gesprächen mit einer Reihe von Krankenhäusern, die sich dafür interessieren. Gegen Ende des Jahres werden wir den virtuellen Spielplatz im Wilhelmina Kinderspital einweihen.“

Es klingt nach einem wichtigen Ziel, Kindern zu helfen. Habt ihr ein konkretes Ziel, das ihr erreichen wollt?

„Natürlich ist es cool, wenn wir das Krankenhauserlebnis für ein paar Kinder verbessern können. Aber langfristig wollen wir in der Lage sein, Kinder, die sich in verschiedenen Krankenhäusern befinden, miteinander zu verbinden. Dann können Kinder, die die gleichen Dinge haben, ihre Erfahrungen miteinander teilen. Auf diese Weise wollen wir nicht nur neue Kontakte zwischen Kindern knüpfen, sondern auch Kinder mit ihren Familien und Freunden zusammenbringen. Als Beispiel könnten wir die Kinder im Krankenhaus mit ihren Klassenkameraden verbinden, damit sie gemeinsam auf dem Spielplatz spielen können“, erklärt Van Eunen.

Teunen sagt weiter: „Wir wollen zeigen, dass es mehr Spaß macht, ein Spiel zu erfinden, das wirklich etwas bewirkt. Darüber hinaus wollen wir zur VR-Revolution im Gesundheitswesen beitragen. VR kann im Gesundheitswesen wirklich einen Unterschied machen. Nicht nur für Kinder, sondern zum Beispiel auch für Menschen mit Demenz. Wir hoffen, dass PlaygroundVR andere inspirieren wird, sich auch im Gesundheitswesen zu engagieren.“

 

Quelle:

Start-up of The Day: Virtueller Spielplatz als Unterstützung bei der Genesung von Kindern in Krankenhäusern

Cyberpunk VR LOW-FI Kickstarter Surpasses $65K Unlocking New Wasteland Area

Upcoming open-world cyberpunk VR action adventure game, LOW-FI, just surpassed another Kickstarter (campaign page here) stretch goal milestone to include a brand new Wastelands zone.

After just a few days over 700 people pledged over $45,000 to help LOW-FI reach its initial goal. In the two weeks since then it has gone on to raise an additional $20,000 to surpass its second $64,000 stretch goal: The Wastelands area.

According to a recent update on the Kickstarter campaign, the new area will be much more action-oriented than the rest of the game, which takes place inside the city itself in a perpetually overcast nighttime atmosphere.

wastelands low-fi area

“Far outside the city walls, a desolate land exists. A land where your badge means nothing. A land filled with the wreckage of the old world, where scavengers and protein farmers make their own rules. Only the bravest souls will want to venture out into the wastes. Are you one of those brave souls?

The plan for the wastelands is to allow for more action oriented gameplay. With your weapon at the ready, you’ll be able to barter with locals and plunder alongside the lawless scavengers. It’s a true wild-west out here where anything can happen. A place where our next stretch goal may come in really handy.”

We went hands-on with an extremely early Alpha build of LOW-FI just before the Kickstarter launched and it honestly has a lot of promise. Visually it’s looking excellent already and the atmosphere is palpable. Piloting the flying patrol car felt great and the city feels alive and teeming with seedy bad actors waiting to be exposed. The pitch is for an ambitious cyberpunk simulation with emergent gameplay around every corner as a true sandbox, so time will tell if that comes to fruition. I really enjoyed Technolust, so I’m confident this developer can deliver.

The next stretch goal tier is a Cyberwolf Companion with ominous glowing blue eyes that will take commands and become a powerful force by your side.

Let us know what you think of LOW-FI and whether or not you pledge to VR Kickstarters at all down in the comments below!

The post Cyberpunk VR LOW-FI Kickstarter Surpasses $65K Unlocking New Wasteland Area appeared first on UploadVR.

Pistol Whip Trailer Coming Monday Sept. 23 At 10 AM Pacific

Canada-based Cloudhead Games is planning to premiere the first full trailer for its upcoming VR game Pistol Whip on Monday, Sept. 23 at 10 am Pacific.

Subscribe to our YouTube channel and tune in Monday for an exclusive interview with Cloudhead as the company offers the first detailed look at the game since its reveal during our E3 VR Showcase earlier this year.

Here’s the four-minute segment in case you missed it:

At this point we’ve put quite a few hours into the John Wick-inspired game in recent weeks but we’ve agreed not to share any impressions or gameplay footage until we have a more complete version of the title in our hands. Cloudhead is a groundbreaking VR studio and their previous titles, The Gallery Episode 1 and 2, are multi-hour puzzle and exploration games in the tradition of Myst. The studio’s early VR design work with room-scale and hand controllers helped popularize some techniques, like their  “blink” teleport system.

Earlier this year the team also worked on Valve’s Aperture Hand Labs demo, a short introduction to the new Index controllers.

Pistol Whip is quite the departure, then, from Cloudhead’s earlier work. I decided to visit the studio’s offices on Vancouver Island and interview the creators to better understand how they built the game. We’ll have that for you on our YouTube channel Monday morning and highly recommend subscribing and tuning in. The reveal from Cloudhead should help kick off an enormous week for the emerging VR industry that will see a Sony State Of Play update as well as Facebook’s Oculus Connect 6.

Cloudhead released a 20-second teaser for the game ahead of the reveal.

The post Pistol Whip Trailer Coming Monday Sept. 23 At 10 AM Pacific appeared first on UploadVR.

Oculus Connect 6 Predictions: Our Best Guesses At What To Expect

Facebook’s annual VR/AR conference, Oculus Connect 6, starts on Wednesday. We’re making some guesses of what we expect to see announced.

Oculus Connect has been where Facebook announces most new Oculus hardware, software features, and major content.

At Oculus Connect 2 in late 2015, the consumer Gear VR was announced, as well as Minecraft for Rift and Gear VR.

At Oculus Connect 3 in late 2016, preorders and pricing were announced for the Oculus Touch motion controllers. Additionally, Mark Zuckerberg revealed that Oculus was working on a standalone headset with positional tracking (“Project Santa Cruz”)

At Oculus Connect 4 in late 2017, the Oculus Go $199 standalone headset was announced, with a release window of Spring 2018. The Oculus Rift’s price was permanently cut to $399. Additionally, Project Santa Cruz now had Touch controllers.

At Oculus Connect 5 in late 2018, the result of Project Santa Cruz was announced: Oculus Quest, a $399 room scale standalone headset releasing in Spring 2019.

Most of our editorial team have been following Oculus since before it was owned by Facebook- some even before its Kickstarter. Based on our experience, here are our guesses as to what could be the major announcements this year:

Ian’s Guess: Official PC Tethering For Quest

Last year at Oculus Connect 5 I came away so impressed by Oculus Quest it seemed possible to me Facebook was likely to have such a hit on its hands that it put the future of the PC-based “Rift Platform” in question. Seeing the word “Lenovo” slapped on the side of the Rift S earlier this year only reinforced that impression.

Connecting a USB-C cord to a VR PC from a Quest to bring over the Oculus Rift Platform seems like it could be distinct possibility from Facebook. Enough developers see the value in building or porting work directly to Oculus Quest — and Facebook will pay many more to build software for Quest too — so there should be no threat to Facebook’s fledgling new Quest content ecosystem by allowing some Rift content owners to turn a Quest into a Rift for its physical IPD fitting as well as games with more physics and less fixed foveated rendering in them. The question then? If Facebook embraces such a feature — lets call it “Experimental Rift Platform Support On Quest” in this hypothetical — will they try to keep fans of open competing platforms from trying to bring SteamVR content over that same connection?

David’s Guess: AAA Games & Bundles

For perhaps the first time ever, I think this could be an Oculus Connect that is almost entirely focused on software. There likely won’t be any new hardware announcements at all with the Rift S and Quest both just a few months old. Specifically, I think we will get official release dates for both Stormland and Asgard’s Wrath, which are slated for this year. Lone Echo 2 got delayed to early 2020, so we might get a month established there. Respawn originally announced their game was coming this year, but that was 2 years ago and things change, so like I posted in my predictions earlier this week, I think that will get delayed to 2020. I’m still expecting that to either be a World War II shooter or a modern military shooter that takes place in the Middle East.

Stormland Asgard's Wrath

To further emphasize the focus on software I think both Quest and Rift S will get new bundles announced. Probably an Asgard’s Wrath bundle for Rift S I would assume and probably Beat Saber plus something else for Quest. We’re still waiting on a date for The Climb as well, which Crytek told us was still in development last we spoke to them. We’re also waiting on Echo Arena for Quest and Onward as well.
Finally, my relatively random prediction/guess is that Lone Echo 1 and Lone Echo 2 will have Quest ports announced at OC6.

Jamie’s Guess: Facebook Buys A Game Studio

I was tempted to pick the announcement of Splinter Cell VR but at this point that feels a little too easy. Instead, let’s talk about another element of the rumor that first teased that project’s existence; Oculus acquiring game studios. Not partnering or simply publishing, full on ownership of game development companies. To me, it would make sense that the Oculus looks to its existing stable of Studios partners.

echo vr

Sony just stole Insomniac Games out of that fold; Oculus would be wise to secure a bigger name behind one of its bigger exclusives. I think we’ll see news that someone has been bought up. As for who that is? An optimistic guess points me towards Ready at Dawn, the developer of Lone Echo. But we don’t know the scale of Facebook’s ownership ambitions; a smaller purchase like Hidden Path Entertainment or Twisted Pixel might be a more realistic expectation.

Heaney’s Guess: A Unified Social VR Offering

Facebook’s social VR offering is curently entirely fragmented. If three friends own an Oculus Rift, Oculus Quest, and Oculus Go, there is no first party social app any of them can use to hang out together. Go has Oculus Rooms, Rift has Oculus Home and Facebook Spaces, and Quest has none of the above. Given Facebook’s near-monopoly on social networking and messaging, this is a bizzare situation to be in.

There are multiple paths Facebook could take to rectify this situation, each with its own advantages and tradeoffs. Facebook Spaces never left Early Access, and updates have slowed recently suggesting that it’s no longer under active development. Oculus Rooms would be a great system to allow all three headsets to hang out together, but customization is limited and is designed around the seated experience only.

Oculus Home is by far the company’s most fleshed out offering. Users can use hundreds of objects, or custom 3D models, to fully customize their home for friends to visit. Recent updates have even added the ability to create public homes with custom environment models and name these spaces- making it almost a “VRChat Lite”. These updates suggest to me that Home will become the basis for Facebook’s metaverse.

However, the exact path to bringing Home to mobile seems unclear. It uses a high detail Unreal Engine based rendering system which may be difficult or impossible to bring to mobile headsets, especially given the lighting can’t be baked and users can have hundreds of objects per space.

Kyle’s Guess: An AR Headset Prototype

Facebook’s initial tagline for OC6 included “a new chapter of virtual and augmented reality“. I think this year’s Oculus Connect will give Facebook Reality Labs an opportunity to showcase some of their latest future tech, which will almost definitely include their vision for an augmented reality headset.

With Apple’s highly anticipated foray into AR being tentatively planned for release next year, it would make sense for Facebook to share more details on their own journey into the augmented realm. While I doubt any hardware will make a physical appearance, I do expect plenty of concepts and a prototype video to make their way into the keynote.

The post Oculus Connect 6 Predictions: Our Best Guesses At What To Expect appeared first on UploadVR.

Apple Beta Code Reportedly Reveals AR Headset Field Of View

Code found in iOS 13.1 beta 3 reveals the field of view of three Apple AR devices, according to a Twitter user who posted a video of the device simulation testing mode.

Reports that Apple is working on AR glasses first emerged in late 2017. In 2018, Apple acquired Akonia Holographics, a startup working on novel optics for AR based on holography.

Two weeks ago, MacRumors reportedly found references to iPhone-connected AR glasses called ‘Garta’, and a spatial launcher interface for them called ‘StarBoard’. Last week, the final iOS 13 build was released to developers, and developer Steve Troughton-Smith was able to inspect the code and confirm the report’s claims.

Twitter user xSnow has managed, somehow, to activate the testing mode for this system, StarTester. They posted a video with it running with their own scene. xSnow claims that as well as the previously reported ‘Garta’, the code contains details about two other devices named ‘Franc’ and ‘Luck’.

The way in which StarBoard has been shown to run on iPhone once again backs up the patents suggesting that Apple’s AR glasses will be powered and controlled by the user’s iPhone, rather than a standalone device.

Interestingly, the details in the code also reveal the exact field of view. Franc’s FoV is listed as 47°×40°, Luck’s as 46°×34°, and Garta’s as 49°×47°. This would give Garta a larger field of view than Microsoft’s HoloLens 2.

Apple Garta FoV

There is no direct indication of what form factor ‘Garta’ has, but given Apple’s design philosophies it seems possible the company has managed to achieve this field of view in something resembling glasses. While this is still not a wide field of view compared to virtual reality headsets, it would be a step forward for AR.

Apple Garta FoV

If it can bring an AR device to market, Apple may come into direct competition with Facebook, which also has the goal of developing compact AR glasses. While Apple is almost always secretive about new products, we may see some early preview’s of Facebook’s technology next week at Oculus Connect 6.

The post Apple Beta Code Reportedly Reveals AR Headset Field Of View appeared first on UploadVR.

New PSVR ‘Mega Pack’ Bundle for Europe Coming Soon with 5 Top Titles

Sony today announced it’s putting out a new PSVR Mega Pack this year, the Europe-only hardware bundle that includes five pretty legit games. Although once again they’re still not including PS Move controllers.

Last year’s Mega Pack included Astro Bot Rescue Mission, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, Wipeout: Omega Collection, Doom VFR, and PSVR Worlds.

This year’s will see the return of Astro Bot, Skyrim, and PSVR Worlds, however Wipeout and Doom VFR have been swapped out for Everybody’s Golf VR and Resident Evil 7 Biohazard. All games are said to arrive as voucher codes instead of physical discs.

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Of course, noticeably missing in all of this is the PS Move controllers, which typically retail anywhere from €60 – €100 when purchased separately. Granted, all of the bundled games listed above include support for DualShock 4 gamepads, but only Astro Bot and Resident Evil 7 are gamepad-only games.

Sony says its 2019 VR Mega Pack will be available through select retailers across multiple European countries sometime this fall. Although we haven’t been able to confirm Eurozone pricing, Amazon.co.uk is now taking pre-orders for £300 (~€340).

In Europe, a similarly kitted PSVR (minus PS Move) typically retails for slightly less; on Amazon.de it comes in at €300 (~£265), making the Mega Pack represent well over €100/£100 in savings.

The post New PSVR ‘Mega Pack’ Bundle for Europe Coming Soon with 5 Top Titles appeared first on Road to VR.

HTC is Giving Away 2 Free Months of Viveport Infinity to Samsung Odyssey Owners

Oculus Rift and Valve Index owners got their own promotions recently for a few free months of Viveport Infinity, HTC’s Netflix-style VR game distribution platform. Now it’s Samsung HMD Odyssey’s turn, as Odyssey owners can get in on the deal.

From now until the end of the year, both new and existing Infinity members who own a Samsung Odyssey—and presumably its higher-resolution hardware refresh, Odyssey Plus—will be able to redeem two free months of Viveport Infinity.

Infinity normally costs $13 a month, or $9 per month with a prepaid annual subscription, and includes unlimited downloads from its library of participating games and experiences.

In case you’re wondering, Viveport has improved pretty significantly since its initial launch; its software is a far cry from the buggy mess made available just a few short years ago, Infinity now serves up a healthy backlog of both older VR games and a few newer ones too. Some of the highlights include:

  • Angry Birds VR: Isle of Pigs
  • Apex Construct
  • Fantastic Contraption
  • I Expect You to Die
  • Knockout League
  • Obduction
  • Prison Boss VR
  • Pixel Ripped 1989
  • The Gallery – Episode 1: Call of the Starseed
  • The Gallery – Episode 2: Heart of the Emberstone
  • Tilt Brush
  • Transpose
  • Windlands
  • Windlands 2

In addition to unlimited app downloads, Viveport Infinity also offers its members perks such as premium content on Viveport Video, monthly coupons, weekend deals, and free title giveaways that you get to keep.

Check out this guide to learn how to redeem your two free months (basically just fire up Viveport and plug in your Odyssey).

The post HTC is Giving Away 2 Free Months of Viveport Infinity to Samsung Odyssey Owners appeared first on Road to VR.

VRsenal, Maker of ‘Beat Saber’ Arcade Cabinets, Rebuts Fraud Allegations

VRsenal, maker of out-of-home VR products including an officially licensed Beat Saber arcade cabinet, has pushed back on fraud allegations raised in an indictment filed by a Colorado court last month.

On August 9th, a Larimer County, Colorado grand jury—which functions as a preliminary screening to gauge if there’s probable cause to bring charges to trial—returned an indictment alleging five criminal counts against three co-founders of VRsenal: Benjamin Davenport, Kirk Smith, and Gabriel Halsmer.

The indictment (which is linked in full further below) was published by Larimer & Jackson County District Attorney Clifford Riedel on August 12th, and notes, “the charges in the criminal indictments are only an accusation and all defendants are presumed innocent until, and unless, proven guilty in court.”

The crux of the charges filed is that the VRsenal founders sought to defraud an investor, Juan Rendon, of some $1.15 million by misrepresenting facts about VRsenal and the use of the capital. Rendon had given the company the money in a series of loans which were to eventually become part of a $3 million investment in VRsenal, according to the indictment. The indictment also intertwines with another ongoing legal matter involving VRsenal co-founders Davenport and Smith which alleges the two misappropriated $2.5 million from a prior employer, Blue Point Pellets.

Image courtesy Main Event

VRsenal is best known for creating an automated virtual reality arcade cabinet. Notably, the company holds the exclusive rights to operate the popular VR title Beat Saber in an arcade machine in all regions outside Asia. The company claims their flagship cabinet is available in 100 locations, serving 40,000 plays per week. Beat Saber developer Beat Games declined to comment on the matter.

Upon reaching out to VRsenal for comment on the allegations—expecting a ‘We can’t comment on ongoing legal matters’ (a typical response from any company accused of legal wrongdoing)—Road to VR received a six page statement rebutting the allegations.

Signed by VRsenal co-founder Ben Davenport, the statement (which is linked in full further below) paints the situation as a breakdown of investment negotiations and a civil matter rather than criminal wrongdoing. According to Davenport, following the fizzling of the proposed $3 million investment that was to subsume Rendon’s loans, VRsenal attempted to negotiate repayment. Apparently not happy with the offering, Rendon filed a civil lawsuit over the matter, though the court concurred with VRsenal that agreements made between Rendon and the company specified that such matters would be handled outside of the court system through an arbitration process, according to Davenport.

Davenport’s statement goes on to say that Rendon, “with the aid of some overly zealous prosecutors in Larimer County, Colorado, […] suddenly exaggerated his civil claims into criminal charges through the use and abuse of the grand jury system.”

“It is a lie. Plain and simple. There is no other term for it,” Davenport said in the statement. “We know that there is not one shred of evidence in existence that can prove these allegations, because there can obviously be no evidence where no such thing ever occurred.”

He says that communiqué between VRsenal and Rendon proves there was no conspiracy to defraud Rendon of the money he loaned to the company during the investment negotiations.

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Alongside promoting the company and its product, a large portion of VRsenal’s statement focused on pointing out that an indictment is not a determination of guilt, but rather the filing of charges which will eventually be tried in court; the statement also calls into question the grand jury process itself.

“Not only were we not allowed to present any evidence to the grand jury or tell our side of the story, we didn’t know that we were being accused of anything at all. We found out the details of what the grand jury had concluded about us the same way most other people did—a friend sent us a link, and we read about it online.” Davenport wrote. “Business deals sometimes go bad, just like this one did for us. And when they do it’s no fun for anyone involved. But the criminal justice system should not be used and abused in order to leverage civil business claims and disagreements into criminal charges,”

Indeed, an innocent or guilty verdict will come only after a criminal trial is conducted; Davenport writes, “we expect to be fully vindicated on all counts.”

The complete indictment from the Larimer County grand jury and the statement from VRsenal are available below:

Larimer County Indictment VRsenal Statement

The post VRsenal, Maker of ‘Beat Saber’ Arcade Cabinets, Rebuts Fraud Allegations appeared first on Road to VR.

Ultrahaptics Relaunches as ‘Ultraleap’ After Leap Motion Acquisition

Leap Motion, the optical hand-tracking firm, was acquired by Bristol, UK-based haptics company Ultrahaptics earlier this year. Now, Ultrahaptics is relaunching under a new name created to reflect its shared heritage: Ultraleap.

Before the acquisition of Leap Motion and the subsequent rebranding, Ultrahaptics was best known for its mid-air haptic technology which uses ultrasound to project tactile sensations onto users’ hands.

Leap Motion, known for its eponymous optical hand-tracking module and underlying software, was acquired by the company for a reported $30 million back in May. Prior to its acquisition, Leap Motion created an open-source AR headset, Project North Star.

Image courtesy Leap Motion

 

According to a press statement provided to Road to VR, both the Ultrahaptics and Leap Motion names will continue to be maintained as trademarks for existing products, however all new software and hardware launches will fall under the Ultraleap name.

“Rebranding isn’t a decision we’ve taken lightly. We’re immensely proud of what our companies have achieved,” explains Ultraleap CEO Steve Cliffe. “We’re also very excited for what’s to come. Our new name and brand reflects our ambitions in this new world, now and for the future.”

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The company was, and still is, focused on using its technology across a variety of industries such as automotive, advertising, AR/VR, and simulation & training.

Notably, Ultraleap has licensed its technology to industry pros such as The Void’s Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire at Disney, and has been showcased in concept cars developed by Harman, and Bosch.

The news of the rebranding was first reported by Business Leader.


Thanks to Antony Vitillo of VR/AR blog Skarred Ghost for pointing us to the news.

The post Ultrahaptics Relaunches as ‘Ultraleap’ After Leap Motion Acquisition appeared first on Road to VR.