Angry Birds: Nearly A Decade Of Family Gaming Fun – VR, AR, And Beyond

Mobile gaming’s most beloved franchise is taking over the XR space.

Originally launched in December 2009, Rovio Entertainment’s Angry Birds has since become the most downloaded freemium game of all time. Over 20 Angry Birds games have been developed, including several special edition spin-offs and tie-ins to other entertainment properties.

No matter the number of spin-offs and sequels, however, the core premise tends to remain the same across all titles: Red, Chuck, Bomb, and a variety of other flightless birds must slingshot themselves at an assortment of complex towers built by the nefarious green piggies in order to rescue their precious stolen eggs. Of course, there are several titles, such as Bad Piggies, a vehicle-based puzzle experience, as well as Angry Birds Go!, a kart-based racing game, that deviate from the conventional format.

Recently, Rovio has begun embracing immersive technologies, such as VR and AR, in order to expand the franchise in bold new directions, while still remaining faithful to the core Angry Birds experience.

According to Ville Heijari, CMO, Rovio Entertainment, “Angry Birds has always been a game that has a wide appeal across multiple age groups. From the very beginning, the Angry Birds games have been about a pure and simple kind of fun – the same kind of thrill you get as a child, building a tower from blocks and knocking it over. That kind of fun is universal. No one is immune to that – no one you should trust at least. That’s something we try to harness in all of our games, something that is instantly fun but has a depth under the surface as well.”

Heijari believes the success of Angry Birds is a testament to that universal fun. “Anyone can approach the Angry Birds games and understand what it’s about within seconds. It is something that has endured from the original creators of the first game, and is just as powerful now.” 

Angry Birds: Isle of Pigs / Image Credit: Resolution Games

“Rovio has made a name for themselves through the classic Angry Birds slingshot games spawning their own genre in the process. With those kinds of games, we first focused on giving our players more of what they were already enjoying. More levels, more themes, more games. We were very much focused on big launches when pushing out new games and in-game content,” said Heijari.

“Over time, we saw that we would have huge spikes of active players around launches and then they would taper off after launch or in between big updates. The focus then became how can we provide compelling experiences for our players, even between these big beats?”

Heijari states, “Now our goal is to always have something new happening in our games so players will always have something fresh to get into every time they open the game, whether it’s a new event running in Angry Birds Match, or a new hat set to collect in Angry Birds 2.”

By embracing immersive technology, Rovio has proven that the Angry Birds format has even more potential than previously thought. This year alone we’ve seen the release of Angry Birds VR: Isle of Pigs, a VR rendition of the classic Angry Birds experience, and The Angry Birds Movie 2 VR: Under Pressure, a new experience for the PSVR that deviates from the standard Angry Birds format with multiplayer cooperative elements. Rovio Entertainment and Resolution Games also teamed up to create Angry Birds AR: Isle of Pigs, the first Angry Birds experience playable in augmented reality.

“Angry Birds was an early innovator when Smartphones first became the thing,” added Andy Robertson, Author, Taming Gaming. “Now they are a household name, it’s exciting to see them innovating again with AR and VR technology in their new games. Whatever the technology though, the task is the same: to create simple interactions that players want to repeat over and over.”

This VR and AR gameplay gets kids and families up and moving, allowing players to physically walk around structures in order to identify the best method of attack, gather coins, and uncover hidden surprises.

Image Credit: Resolution Games

We spoke with 10-year old avid gamer, A.J., who has played Angry Birds since he was 5 years old—half of his life—to find out what he thinks about Angry Birds AR: Isle of Pigs.

“I like it because you get coins and you can unlock new worlds, get different birds and pig structures. It’s not like the normal game, it’s in 3-D and makes you want to look around the inside of the structures that the pigs made.”

After experimenting with a variety of formats, from tile-matching to kart racing, Rovio Entertainment appears to have found a new home in immersive entertainment.

Featured Image Credit: Resolution Games

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Discovery Education Commits to XR Learning Through Inspyro Aquisition

The company will now be able to develop in-house VR content.

Immersive education is not only being employed as a novel way for students to engage with subjects but also a useful way of introducing more people to the power of virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) technology. To this end, Discovery Education, a UK-based provider of digital curriculum content and professional learning for primary and secondary schools has announced the acquisition of Inspyro, a British VR/AR content creator.

While terms of the acquisition haven’t been divulged, the deal is part of Discovery Education’s global content and product strategy, delivering immersive content to thousands of UK schools. The company now has an in-house ability to quickly design and deliver new VR/AR content, integrating the technology across its wide-ranging product portfolio.

“For almost 20 years, Discovery Education has provided the educators it serves with the innovative digital resources and best-in-class professional learning they need to create engaging learning experiences for all students,” said Discovery Education Vice President of Corporate Development and Strategy Philip Nanney in a statement. “The purchase of Inspyro and the addition of their talented staff to the Discovery Education team expands our capacity to develop and quickly deploy VR and AR content which educators can use to create captivating lessons that ignite students’ natural curiosity.”

“This is a fantastic opportunity to bring our technology and approach to the most trusted and respected brand in education,” said Phil Birchinall, Managing Director at Inspyro.  “Discovery Education shares our commitment to bringing teachers and learners the immersive technology they need to create modern learning environments, and we look forward working together on that joint mission.”

Inspyro has previously won several prestigious Bett Awards for its VR and AR work, all of which concentrates on education. It’s curriculum-focused learning modules help support science, history, and geography learning, compatible with various VR head-mounted displays (HMDs).

Discovery Education’s services support over 50 million pupils in more than 50 countries around the world, currently available in almost half of US classrooms and 50 percent of all primary schools in the UK. As the company continues to expand and introduce more VR and AR content, VRFocuswill let you know.


Discovery Education Commits to XR Learning Through Inspyro Aquisition

Nomadic Takes Location-based VR Into Asia

Nomadic has reported success with its first virtual reality location-based entertainment center, which is like an arcade for VR. It features Vertigo’s Arizona Sunshine, a VR shooter. And now Nomadic is taking the show on the road to Asia.

The San Rafael, California-based company wants to become a mixed-reality powerhouse. Mixed reality combines the digital entertainment of VR with physical locations that are fun in their own right. Nomadic builds the centers, while Vertigo makes the games.

Nomadic has a U.S. location in Orlando, Florida, and now it will open one in South Korea by installing its technology inside the CGV Gangbyeon multiplex with 4DX support.

The company said it blurs the line between “virtual” and “reality” by creating game-like experiences that guests can feel as they engage with as they step into the action. These incorporate physical props, set design, and environmental effects into story-driven VR content.

“Virtual reality is a global concept and the Asian market, with its advanced gaming culture, is well suited for our company’s growth,” said Nomadic founder Doug Griffin in a statement. “Our partner 4DX CGV has been developing, installing, and supporting novel technology in cinema locations for years, making them the perfect partner as we begin our roll-out to this region. CGV’s top-quality venues demonstrate that they are continually pushing the boundaries of what can be expected at entertainment destinations. We’re very excited to launch our first location in the region with these two partners. ”

The new location will be in the 10th floor of the TechnoMart building, and it will occupy 2,000 square-feet that includes a reception space, gear-up room, and play-space which at launch will showcase Arizona Sunshine: Contagion Z, an experience developed by Vertigo Games in partnership with Nomadic.

“Nomadic, opening in CGV (Gangbyeon) for the first time in Korea, will be a game-changer in VR industry with multi-sensory effects provided by 4DX,” said Jong Ryul-Kim, chief innovation officer at CJ CGV, in a statement. “CGV will continue to lead a movie trend by integrating innovative technologies including 4DX, ScreenX, and VR into cinemas.”

Nomadic is also partnering with Area 15 in Las Vegas to open a new U.S. location in that city in early 2020.

This post by Dean Takahashi originally appeared on VentureBeat. 

The post Nomadic Takes Location-based VR Into Asia appeared first on UploadVR.

Station Preps for New Docking Port During Science and Soyuz Checks

The SpaceX Dragon above the Nile River Delta
The SpaceX Dragon resupply ship is pictured attached to the International Space Station’s Harmony module as the orbital complex flew 260 miles above the Nile River Delta in Egypt.

Three NASA astronauts remain focused on preparations for next week’s spacewalk at the International Space Station. The rest of the Expedition 60 focused on biology research and a pair of docked spaceships.

Flight Engineer Christina Koch has been supporting spacewalkers Nick Hague and Andrew Morgan, as they get ready for the fifth spacewalk of the year on Aug. 21. The pair will install the new International Docking Adapter-3 (IDA-3) to the Harmony module’s space-facing port during the six-and-a-half-hour job.

Koch printed out checklists the spacewalkers will wear on their spacesuit cuffs and verified the spacesuits are the correct size. She also joined Hague and Morgan reviewing next week’s spacewalk procedures. The spacewalking duo also set up the Quest airlock where they will collect their tools and suit up ahead of their excursion.

Robotics controllers will remotely command the Canadarm2 to detach the IDA-3 from the rear portion of the SpaceX Dragon on Monday. They will maneuver the new docking port to a pressurized mating adapter on top of Harmony readying it for Wednesday’s spacewalk. Hague and Morgan in their U.S. spacesuits will then route cables and configure hardware readying the IDA-3 for new SpaceX and Boeing crew ships.

Luca Parmitano, a European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut on his second station mission, worked on a biology experiment today with potential benefits for the medicine industry. He tended to stem cell samples growing in a specialized incubator to help researchers understand cell behavior in space.

Cosmonauts Alexey Ovchinin and Alexander Skvortsov checked out two docked Soyuz crew ships today. The duo tested and recharged communications gear in the vehicles and continued packing gear for return to Earth.

Doghead Simulations CEO Turns VR Social Platform Into His Own Personal Gym

Mat Chacon uses social VR to get back in shape.

Mat Chacon, co-founder and CEO of Doghead Simulations, the company behind the VR tool Rumii, spent most of his life in remarkable shape. On his 30th birthday, he climbed Mt. Baker in Washington State and basked in the glory of his success at the summit. Whether it be biking, running, or walking, Chacon always seemed to be on the move; that is until he shifted his priorities to climbing the virtual mountain of business.

Like many entrepreneurs, Chacon found his healthy balance of work, fun, and exercise taking a back seat to his business. The result was a noticeable change in Chacon’s physique.

Image Credit: Mat Chacon

“I got fat,” said Chacon during an interview with VRScout.

VR is not only a visual experience, but very much a physical one where your movements in the real world are matched in the virtual world. For example, playing Beat Saber on the highest level and frantically slashing colored blocks is going to put some stress on your arms. Going toe-to-toe with Clubber Lang in a few rounds of Creed: Rise to Glory is also guaranteed to get your heart pumping and your muscles flexing.

It’s for these reasons—and many others—that Chacon decided VR was how he was going to get himself back into pre-entrepreneur shape. However, instead of using specific VR experiences, such Beat Saber, Creed Rise to Glory, and other physically-intensive titles, Chacon instead chose to pursue social VR as a way to stay motivated and consistent with his workouts. After all, he is the CEO of the company that created Rumii, a social VR tool that gives users a virtual space in which to collaborate and learn. 

Instead of using Rumii for its intended purpose as a VR co-working space, however, Chacon turn the online VR space into his own personal gym, going so far as to invite other people into his virtual space to workout with him.

Social VR let him escape the drudgery of doing the same old workout routine in a crowded gym by giving him the ability to transport himself to any environment he wanted and virtually interact with meal planners, personal trainers, and fellow exercise enthusiasts. Sessions included practicing ducks and slips in a VR boxing ring, performing yoga with a trainer in Mumbai while immersed in a peaceful Japanese Zen garden, and a variety of other fitness-focused VR activities.

Chacon explains, “Working out in VR is magical and life-changing. Simply put, having the ability to workout in VR gave me discipline and focus.”

Image Credit: Mat Chacon

Depending on the workout, Chacon would use either an Oculus Go, Oculus Quest, or an HTC Vive to pump up his cardio. Some workouts required the tetherless 6DOF VR from headsets like the Quest, such as working out in 3D boxing ring; more simplistic exercises, such as burpees, worked best with the Oculus Go. Other times Chacon would utilize Rumii’s YouTube widget to search for exercise videos and then workout in a virtual world of his choosing.  

Because the Quest and the Go are both standalone VR headsets, Chacon was able to workout while traveling for work, and he didn’t need a lot of space; he could easily workout in cramped, temporary locations, such as his hotel room.

He’d also post his workouts regularly on this Twitter page. Doing this ensured that there was total transparency with himself and the public, and the comments, retweets, and likes helped to keep him motivated with public encouragement.

All together, Chacon lost a whopping 15 pounds in just a short period of time and even gained some muscle weight.

Another part of Chacon’s success was how his VR avatar acted like a “mask” that he could use to hide his insecurities and fears, giving him the ability to open up more about his weight gain than he would have in a conventional face-to-face meeting or video chat.

There are already facilities popping up that combine traditional gyms with VR. Black Box VR in San Francisco, for example, uses a device referred to as the Dynamic Resistance Machine and hands-free controllers to deliver a blended gym experience featuring VR headsets and resistance training. Even location-based entertainment providers like The Void—which recently announced plans for 25 brand new locations—are providing active VR experiences that require players to physically move throughout their immersive environments.

Image Credit: Mat Chacon

When I asked Chacon if he thinks he would have achieved the same results without the help of VR, he responds by explaining how he would have found reasons not to go to the gym because of his weight insecurities.

“If anything, working out in VR has accelerated my fitness and weight loss results.”

You can follow Chacon’s Twitter account for videos and updates on his fitness journey. Interested in joining Chacon for his next workout? Download Rumii today on your VR headset and give him a shout! One thing to note, if you want to download to your Oculus Quest, you’ll have to sideload it. 

Featured Image Credit: Mat Chacon

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Virtual Reality im Kino: Die «Bergluft» verursacht Kopfweh

Das Virtual Reality-Kino macht Spass – ist jedoch auch anstrengend.

Das Virtual-Reality-Kino verspricht viel: Dank einer Spezialbrille und Kopfhörern soll das Seherlebnis den Eindruck erwecken, man sei mitten im Geschehen. Der Filmabend findet im Restaurant Stripped Pizza am Schibenertor statt. Weil es am Dienstag immer wieder regnet, sind die Drehstühle nicht draussen aufgestellt worden. Etwas eingepfercht sitze ich zwischen Tür und Tresen.

Der angekündigte Filmblock «Afrika» ist nicht verfügbar, stattdessen bekomme ich «Bergluft» zu sehen. Fünf Videos, keines länger als acht Minuten. Wider Erwarten macht es Spass, dem Bergsteiger Dani Arnold auf den Eiger zu folgen, und in einem anderen Beitrag mit nepalesischen Bergführern den Mount Everest zu erklimmen. Ich sehe den flirrenden Schnee, staune über das 360-Panorama und spüre Schwindel beim Blick in die Tiefe. Bei allen gezeigten Filme ist das Bild jedoch stellenweise verpixelt. Die Technologie hat noch Potenzial.

In einem weiteren Video spaziert man über die 170 Meter lange Trift-Hängebrücke in Deutschland. Sonst passiert – nichts. Nur der Blick auf den Boden ist amüsant. Statt der eigenen Füsse sieht man unter sich den Kameramann, der eine 360-Grad-Kamera hält. Leise bimmeln Kuhglocken, doch trotz Kopfhörern lassen sich die plaudernden Restaurantgäste nicht ausblenden. Der Übergang zum Film des Roten Kreuzes ist dann sehr abrupt. Man wechselt von idyllischer Bergwelt mit Wanderern zu Syriern im Libanon, die von ihrem neuen Alltag in einem Flüchtlingscamp erzählen. Das ist nichts für schwache Nerven.

Endgültig in die Knie zwingt mich der letzte Beitrag: Nach einem schlimmen Erdbeben in Nepal kämpft ein Dorf um die Wiederherstellung der Wasserversorgung. Beim Erdbeben rüttelt die Kameraeinstellung so stark, das mir richtig schlecht wird. Immerhin habe ich festen Boden unter den Füssen. Und sobald ich Brille und Kopfhörer ausziehe, ist der Spuk vorbei.


Foto: Jeder Gast bekommt eine eigene VR-Brille und Kopfhörer. (Bild: Laura Widmer)

No Man’s Sky VR Review-In-Progress: Fully-Realized Virtual Universe

No Man’s Sky VR support has officially arrived in the Beyond Update and we’ve got our work-in-progress review right here. Expect a full, scored review next week.

Every game of No Man’s Sky begins both exactly the same and completely differently for each person. New players always awake on a strange, unfamiliar planet with nothing but a space suit and displaced space ship awaiting repairs with the guidance to follow the same path of instructions to get up and running — it’s the same, but different.

You see, No Man’s Sky is built entirely on top of Hello Games’ procedural generation system that crafts billions of planets across millions of star systems and simulates plants, animals, terrain, alien species, economies, and more throughout the entire game as a whole. Initially released three years ago, No Man’s Sky has evolved over the years and dramatically improved itself up until now, the Beyond Update, which is officially 2.0. With this update comes a revamped multiplayer experience, tons of new game mechanics like creature taming and expanded base building, and most importantly, complete VR support.

The premise alone for No Man’s Sky is almost too good to be true, especially when you add VR support into the mix, and that’s probably why it’s taken over three years post-launch to get to this point. This is a game in which you can explore a vast, massive planet full of unique flora and fauna, go mining, dig caves, explore underwater, terraform, build bases, and uncover ancient relics — then take off and fly to another planet or solar system and do it all over again without ever hitting a loading screen. It’s remarkable. And seeing it all from the point of view of a VR headset is a rare kind of escapism I haven’t seen executed this well before.

No Man’s Sky is a bit like several games jammed together into one package. While there is a main storyline about aliens, ancient civilizations, and solving mysteries, that’s far from the point of it all. This is basically “it’s not the destination the matters, it’s the journey” boiled down into a video game. The sense of discovery is so ingrained into No Man’s Sky’s DNA that players can rename everything they discover from planets and solar systems to animals and plants.

Hello Games have stopped just short of establishing this as a true MMO, but most of the pieces are here. The whole universe is persistent and players can see your bases on your planets and find things that you’ve named in real-time. You can link up with friends and go exploring together or visit the new Space Anomaly social hub that includes a Nexus full of group multiplayer missions.

No Man's Sky VR New
no man's sky vr ship warp drive
no man's sky planet upload centauri

This is an incredibly dense and complex game. I’ve logged over 24 hours this week, including the two hours I spent outside of VR prior to Beyond launching, and I’ve barely scratched the surface. I’ve still got basic tutorial missions left uncompleted in my log because I keep sidetracked with other activities.

For example, my most recent livestream consisted entirely of myself and some friends spending almost three hours setting up a new base on a home world I dubbed Upload Centauri. We dug holes into the side of a mountain, built the base into the mountain, and snaked it back out the other side so it overhangs like a cliff. You can see it in the image below. We’ve even got a landing pad for ships:

UVR Jaggerbase UploadVR No Man's Sky VR

No Man’s Sky is all about diversions like this. You could do any one of a thousand things that may seem trivial or boring at first, and then realize you spent six hours digging holes and stocking up on resources for your next base building expedition. The Nexus missions in the new Space Anomaly hub offer great replayable variety with good rewards, too. Hunting down a pack of space pirates as a group, for example, can net well over 200,000 units. Some missions even task you with things such as establishing colonies and outposts on planets or taming creatures.

There are just so many things to do and see it’s hard to summarize my thoughts and experiences, let alone articulate the breadth of it all.

As far as VR ports are concerned, No Man’s Sky is head and shoulders above its peers in terms of pure support. Performance issues aside, they’ve done tremendous work to get the game running and feeling right inside a headset. Everything from the inventory interactions, terraforming planets, driving vehicles, flying ships, shooting guns, building bases, and more is completely changed to fully support VR motion controllers.

One of the most intuitive parts of it all is the wrist-based menu system that has you point at your wrist to pull up holograms of components for building or even a tiny hologram of your ship prior to summoning it. Reaching out with your hands and pointing feels extremely natural, albeit a bit clunky for some things. It’d be nice if there was a single gesture or button that opened your inventory since you spend so much time looking at it instead of having to twist your wrist and laser point at the right spot each time first.


Comfort options are pretty standard in No Man’s Sky. You can switch between both smooth and teleport-based locomotion as well as both snap and smooth turning. There’s also a field of view dimmer. On PS4 you can play with either Move controllers or the DualShock 4 gamepad. On PC it’s currently motion controllers only, but hopefully gamepad and/or mouse and keyboard will be added. Technically you can move around the room while playing on PC for roomscale, but if you get too far away from the “center” of the play space it asks you to return or recenter manually. There are plenty of options to keep No Man’s Sky as comfortable as possible while playing, but the real bottleneck so far has been performance.

Speaking of performance issues, there are a lot of them right now. We’ve tested the game out on everything from a 980Ti and 1080 all the way to RTX 2080 cards on Rift S, Valve Index, and other headsets and none of them really perform that well. There are lots of framerate issues and stuttering. It’s still very playable, but pales in comparison to the non-VR experience in terms of stability. Thankfully, most of the crashing issues appear to be resolved already.

If you adjust the settings and take some extra steps to optimize things it runs decently well, but trying to stream at the same time from a single PC introduces more chugging than any other VR game I’ve ever played. But when it does work and it all comes together to offer something smooth and enjoyable — it’s remarkable.

For the sake of this review I played only the PC VR version using a Rift S, but you can see a side-by-side graphics comparison in the video above. It’s the same game at its core, but the controls and visuals are obviously very different.

In terms of performance in and of itself, the PSVR version  seems more consistently stable as of the time of this writing, but that’s to be expected with the wide range of configurations PC gamers could potentially have.

no mans sky photo mode green sky

Verdict: To Be Determined

To understand what makes No Man’s Sky VR so special is to appreciate the underlying appeal of VR as a medium. They’re both about exploring a vast, endless sea of fantastical destinations. They’re both about embodiment and unrivaled immersion. And above all else they’re both about becoming who you want to be by exploring the far corners of seemingly limitless potential.

When No Man’s Sky VR is clicking, and that’s the vast majoroty of the time, it’s unlike anything else out there. Sean Murray called it the “perfect kind of sci-fi dream” and I find it hard to disagree.

No Man’s Sky is available with optional VR support on both PC and PS4. For more on how we arrived at this score, read our review guidelines.

For more on No Man’s Sky VR, read our guides on changing your appearance and getting started with Beginner info from a VR perspective or read our detailed interview with Sean Murray himself.

Editor’s Note: No Man’s Sky is a massive game full of variability, online multiplayer, and tons of layers. In order to give this game the best assessment we can, as it is a brand new title for the VR market, we’re holding off on awarding a score. We will update this review with a final score and more thoughts after we’ve spent some more time with it.

The post No Man’s Sky VR Review-In-Progress: Fully-Realized Virtual Universe appeared first on UploadVR.

Fact Check: Is Cosmos HTC’s ‘Lightest Vive Yet’?

Last week HTC made the claim that its upcoming headset, the Vive Cosmos, was its lightest yet. This caused a little confusion.

In the image below HTC claims Cosmos weighs 645 grams. This makes it HTC’s “lightest Vive yet,” according to the company.

We weighed an original 2016 consumer Vive with its strap attached and no wire and it measured around 566 grams. The original headset also shipped with a lightweight pair of earbuds which we no longer have to measure for a direct 1:1 comparison, since we replaced the strap and earbuds a long time ago with the Vive Deluxe Audio Strap. Most earbuds, though, weigh less than 25 grams.

It would seem, then, the original Vive head-mounted package with earbuds weighs less than Cosmos’ claimed 645 grams. What’s more? In early 2017, HTC confirmed they found ways to decrease the weight of new versions of that headset by about 15 percent.

So we reached out to HTC asking about the accuracy of their claim and received the following explanation back over email:

“We believe it’s accurate, as the total package of functionality is the lightest we’ve ever produced.  We checked this a couple of ways to get to the statement. 1) We took the combined weight of Vive + Deluxe Audio Strap accessory, since Cosmos effectively integrates the functionality and 2) The weight of the Cosmos HMD as a stand-alone over the original Vive is also lower (also lower than Vive Pro). There are variations in the headstrap attachments between the kits obviously, however the package of HMD + Headphones + Strap is the lightest (and most comfortable) we’ve produced.”

After parsing through that statement it essentially reads to us like HTC decided not to count or compare to the original Vive with its earbuds since it didn’t include HTC’s now-standard integrated deluxe audio strap. We weighed the original Vive with Deluxe Audio Strap and it measures 741 grams. We don’t have a Vive Focus to measure against but HTC claims the Vive Focus weight at 680 grams and Vive Focus Plus at 695 grams.

“We are basing the claim on HMD + Deluxe Audio Strap (or like accessory) and also on the HMD as a stand-alone (without strap or earphones of any type). In both cases Cosmos is lighter,” a follow-up email restated.

Still, is Vive Cosmos HTC’s lightest VR headset to ever be assembled and sold in a single package by the company? We pushed one more time for more detail and HTC says it measures Vive Cosmos with just the display unit (plus camera faceplate) at 331 grams. That reveals almost half Cosmos weight is in its strap and included audio solution. An original Vive’s display unit alone is around 500 grams, plus or minus 10 grams or so depending if you include the cushion touching the face. The Vive’s original strap, then, is the remaining 60 or so grams.

So there’s clearly a big shift in balance between the headsets. Still, though, we’re not seeing support for the claim that this is the lightest Vive yet. Maybe it is the most comfortable with better distribution of weight? But mixing that claim with one which pretends the original Vive’s weight can’t be compared 1:1 seems at least a bit misleading.

Vive Cosmos is due for release later this year.

Ian Hamilton contributed to this report.

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VRecap #4: LA Noire PSVR, Mitchell Moves And Win No Man’s Sky!

Hey, you. Yes, you. Tear yourself away from No Man’s Sky for a second; it’s time for the VRecap.

Yes Hello Games’ hugely anticipated VR update hit this week. But, as you’ll likely know, things haven’t gone according to plan so far. Surprisingly, we’re not just talking No Man’s Sky this week; Oculus is saying goodbye to its last co-founder and the cat might be out of the bag on LA Noire for PSVR.

Then, as usual, we’ll round up some of the biggest new releases which, yes, does include No Man’s Sky. It’s also a pretty big week for Quest fans with not one but three new games. Who has the money for that?

Oh and we’re doing another giveaway! Can you guess what might be up for grabs this week? If you said Pinball FX2, you’re wrong. It’s No Man’s Sky. Did you know No Man’s Sky got VR support this week? News to us. We’ve got five SteamVR codes up for grabs for all you Rift, Vive, Index and Windows VR fans.

Anyway, we’re onto recap number 4 now and things seem to be going pretty smoothly. Still, we’re all ears if you have suggestions about how to change the show for the better. We are not all ears for nasty comments, though. In fact, we specifically close our ears for that. Don’t do those.

Have a great weekend! Maybe set an alarm for Sunday night otherwise you might find you jump out of No Man’s Sky midway through Monday.

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Haptic Surgery Platform FundamentalVR Increases Authenticity With Eye-Tracking

FundamentalVR is on a mission to make VR surgery simulation as robust, convincing and efficient as possible. Recently, it made a small but significant step towards that goal with eye-tracking.

Usually when we hear about eye-tracking’s importance to VR, it’s to do with foveated rendering. Eye-tracking as a means of input often feels like an afterthought. But with Fundamental’s platform, which launched commercially earlier this year, it becomes a surprisingly helpful tool.

“The reason we’ve always wanted it is minimizing head movement whilst you’re operating in the real world is really important,” FundamentalVR CEO Richard Vincent tells me. “We track your eye-movement and your surgical sight gaze. Being able to track that with the precision of your eyes as opposed to the movement of your head which is what we’ve been doing so far is just a great step forward.”

When you operate inside FundamentalVR, a virtual window guides you. Interacting with it usually requires you to look up from surgery. Now with HTC’s Vive Pro Eye, though, you can quickly glance at your desired option out of the corner of your eye and then look back. It’s still not as seamless as, say, human interaction in real-life scenarios, but it is indeed a step forward.

It also improves Fundamental’s capabilities as an analytics and assessment platform. Vincent says it allows educators to more clearly identify where users are placing their focus and how to improve on that going forward.

The platform as whole, remains an impressively robust experience. I’ve tried FundamentalVR a few times now. I’m always equally astounded and somewhat grossed-out by how convincing it is. With the pen-shaped controller in hand, which is held by a robotic arm to provide resistance, I trial new features like skin that pushes and bends when I press instruments into it. 3D-printed controllers can be swapped out for specific tasks, too, for enhanced realism.

For Fundamental, though, even this feels preliminary. The team wants to build a versatile platform that works with practically any kind of haptic tech, but it’s at the mercy of those breakthroughs, to some extent. The company’s already integrated support for HaptX gloves, but devices like these are few and far between right now.

“There’s five or six really interesting companies working on haptic technology right now,” Vincent says. “And we’re excited to see them get to robust availability on a global basis at low cost but they’re none of those things right now.”

For now, though, FundamentalVR seems to be expanding in the right areas. This remains one of the best examples of the good VR is doing out there in the world.

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