Tag Archives: virtual reality

McDonald’s Happy Meals In Sweden Can Fold Into Virtual Reality Goggles

Back in my day, youd be lucky to get a miniatureBeanie Baby with your Happy Meal. Nowadays, you get a kit to make your own virtual reality (VR)headset.

Starting on March 5, McDonalds will be dishing out Happy Goggles at14 of their restaurants in Sweden. The good old-fashioned plastic toys will continue to be part of the Happy Meal.

The VR gogglescan be created by simplyfolding up the limited-edition Happy Meal boxes. After folding it up, you can place a smartphone (not included in the deal, unfortunately) in the goggles.Using specifically designed apps and videos, you can enjoy your own virtual reality experience.

To accompany the foldable Happy Meal boxes, McDonald’s isreleasing a game called Watch Out on the Slopes to use with the headset. The game is endorsed by two leading child psychologists and the Swedish alpine ski teamin the hopes of teaching kids how to stay safe and alert while skiing.

The project also has another interest in promoting technology and digital skills among kids andperhaps more importantly, their parents. In a statement, McDonalds said: New generations are growing up in a world where smartphones and tablets are a part of our ordinary life. The VR goggles open the door to virtual worlds, which of course is very exciting. This step might come more natural for children than for adults. It creates an opportunity for adults to learn from the childrens knowledge and experience.

At the moment, the VR headset will only be available in some restaurants in northern Sweden, although McDonald’s have said theyre interested in rolling it out to other countries soon.

Alternatively, if McDonalds isnt your thing, Google hasreleased a guideon how to make your own cupboard VR headset.

Read more: http://www.iflscience.com/technology/mcdonalds-happy-meals-sweden-can-fold-virtual-reality-goggles

These Glasses Let You Play in 3D Virtual Worlds

Despite the endless gaming and interactive potential of augmented reality, the technology has been moving slow in terms of widespread awareness and adoption. But a new system called castAR aims to push augmented reality into the mainstream, starting with a Kickstarter campaign that launched Monday.

Founded by veteran developers and former Valve employees Jeri Ellsworth and Rick Johnson, Washington-based company Technical Illusions is offering a product that delivers both augmented-reality and virtual-reality experiences.

First introduced in May as a prototype, the castAR system is centered around a pair of glasses that house two micro-projectors over each lens. Each projector receives its video stream via an HDMI connection, and then beams a portion of a 3D image to a flat surface made out of retro-reflective sheeting material.

Situated between two the two lenses is a small camera that scans the surface for infrared markers. This dynamic allows the castAR to accurately track your head movements in relation to the holographic representations on the surface.

The product also comes with a clip-on attachment that allows the wearer to experience private augmented reality, layering virtual objects onto the real world, or virtual reality, during which all the imagery you see is computer-generated. Also included is a device called a Magic Wand that serves as a 3D input device and joystick.

Some of the potential applications for the castAR system include board games, flight simulators and first-person shooters; but the developers believe that it could also be used for interactive presentations in business.

While many companies have promised to deliver impressive augmented-reality experiences, video of the commercial version of the castAR (above) is impressive. “It’s gonna deliver on the dream of the holodeck,” Bre Pettis, CEO of Makerbot, said in the video.

For $355, early adopters can get their hands on the entire package of components, which includes the castAR glasses, the retro-reflective surface, the Magic Wand and the AR and VR clip-on. There are also several other packages offered at lower prices for those only looking to try the basics of the system.

Launched with a goal of $400,000, the team’s Kickstarter campaign has already earned over $210,000 as of this writing. Those who order the device now can expect to get it next September, according to Technical Illusions.

Image: Technical Illusions

Read more: http://mashable.com/2013/10/14/augmented-reality-glasses/

This Device Lets You Feel In Virtual Reality

If you get hitin a video game, you feel it in real life. At least, this is the effect promised by a new technology developed by the Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) lab at Germanys Hasso Plattner Institute.

The device, called Impacto, has a vibration motor combined with electrodes encased in a light plastic box. Impacto delivers both stimulation to the muscle as well aspressure tothe skin. It’s attached to a band that can be worn on the arm, leg or foot.

The device is self-contained, wireless, and small enough for wearable use, thus leaves the user unencumbered and able to walk around freely in a virtual environment,said Pedro Lopes from the Hasso Plattner Institute, who developed the technology, in apaperdescribing Impacto.The device is of generic shape, allowing it to also be worn on legs, so as to enhance the experience of kicking, or merged into props, such as a baseball bat.

The device is combined with a VR experience and the HCI ad hoc software, soitallows the wearer to feel objects and interactions in the virtual world. Impacto can produce a sensation of pushing and pulling, delivering a realistic experience. The team was also able to assemble multiple impacto units into a basic tactile suit. One example sees the users boxing someone in virtual reality, and feeling the punches as their arms are hit.

The key idea that allows the small and light impacto device to simulate a strong hit is that it decomposes the stimulus,added Lopes. It renders the tactile aspect of being hit by tapping the skin using a solenoid; it adds impact to the hit by thrusting the users arm backwards using electrical muscle stimulation.

The device is a proof of concept designed to show a different approach to makingthe virtual feel real. By relying on muscle stimulation, it goes one step further than technologies that usepressure to simulate touch. Although effective, the devicecan only provide stimulation for a very short time (200 milliseconds or less), so can only mimic impulses rather than interactions.

As this is only early research, there’s no news of commercial availability just yet. But for now, you can check out a video of Impacto in action below.

Read more: http://www.iflscience.com/technology/tech-makes-users-feel-virtual-reality

Virtual Reality Remote Controlled Robot Avatar Brushes Cat

After much sweat and toil,  has finally unveiled his complete project. Using a Microsoft Kinect, a Nintendo Wii, a treadmill, and computers, he created a quasi virtual reality remote control robot avatar. To test his project, he successfully brushes a kitty in another room with only virtual reality control.  


Read more: http://www.viralviralvideos.com/2012/01/04/virtual-reality-remote-controlled-robot-avatar-brushes-cat/

Grandmother Tries Oculus Rift Virtual Reality Helmet

Paul Rivot‘s grandma has become a viral video star after footage of her reacting to wearing a virtual reality helmet hit the web. The 90 year old granny was blown way by the impressive visuals by the Oculus Rift 3D gaming VR helmet. 

“Is it my eyes, or are the leaves blowing?” she asks as she views a virtual grassy field. To add to the virtual effects, gyroscopes on the helmet constantly measure her movements to dynamically change the canvas she sees as she ‘looks around.’ 


Read more: http://www.viralviralvideos.com/2013/04/16/grandmother-tries-oculus-rift-virtual-reality-helmet/

Oculus Rift Makers Sued for Allegedly Stealing Virtual Reality Tech


Image: Mashable, Christina Ascani

The makers of the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset are being sued by game publisher ZeniMax, best known for owning id Software and Bethesda, for allegedly infringing on the company’s trademarks and patents for the virtual reality technology.

ZeniMax filed the lawsuit Wednesday in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, a few weeks after it sent a letter to both Oculus VR and parent company Facebook alleging ownership of some of the key technology in the Oculus Rift. Defendants include Oculus VR and founder Palmer Luckey.

In a briefing to press, the company described its basis for the suit:

The suit arises from the defendants’ unlawful exploitation of intellectual property, including trade secrets, copyrighted computer code, and technical know-how relating to virtual reality technology that was developed by ZeniMax after years of research and investment. ZeniMax provided this valuable intellectual property to defendants under a binding Non-Disclosure Agreement that specifies such intellectual property is owned exclusively by ZeniMax and cannot be used, disclosed, or transferred to third parties without ZeniMax’s approval. ZeniMax’s intellectual property has provided the fundamental technology driving the Oculus Rift since its inception. Nevertheless, the defendants refused all requests from ZeniMax for reasonable compensation and continue to use ZeniMax’s intellectual property without authorization.

Oculus VR released a statement in response, saying “The lawsuit filed by ZeniMax has no merit whatsoever. As we have previously said, ZeniMax did not contribute to any Oculus technology. Oculus will defend these claims vigorously.”

On May 5, shortly after the first letters were sent to the company, Oculus VR released a statement that said, “There is not a line of ZeniMax code or any of its technology in any Oculus products.”

The fight centers around game pioneer John Carmack, who joined Oculus VR as its Chief Technology Officer last August. Carmack remained at id Software, which he co-founded, for some time, but then chose to leave and devote all his time to Oculus VR. ZeniMax claims Oculus technology uses some of its code, a fact Carmack disputes.

We’ve reached out to Oculus VR for new comment on the suit, and will update the story as it develops.

window._msla=window.loadScriptAsync||function(src,id){if(document.getElementById(id))return;var js=document.createElement(‘script’);js.id=id;js.src=src;document.getElementsByTagName(‘script’)[0].parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);};

Read more: http://mashable.com/2014/05/21/oculus-vr-sued-by-zenimax-for-intellectual-property-theft/

Senior Citizens Try Oculus Rift Virtual Reality Goggles

Senior Citizens React To Oculus Rift 3D Goggles

In the 90′s, virtual reality was a dream. Today, it is quickly becoming a reality. Oculus Rift is the most well known virtual reality goggles, and was just recently bought by Facebook. With so much capital backing them up now, it seems it will only be a matter of time before we’re all playing silly games and chatting in 3D. 

But how will the older generation react to this virtual reality revolution? Some of them are still struggling with smart phones… To bring them up to pace, The Fine Brothers had a group of senior citizens try out the Rift to help them take their first step into the virtual world. 


Read more: http://www.viralviralvideos.com/2014/08/28/senior-citizens-react-to-oculus-rift-3d-goggles/

This Oculus Rift Game Will Scare the Crap Out of You

You wake up and find yourself in a dark forest in the middle of the night. You walk around looking for someone, with only the light of a few lamp posts to guide your way. You come across a small cabin that’s lit from within. As you walk up to the door, you see a figure standing inside. It’s a little girl, and it looks like she’s been waiting for you.

Creeped out yet? Sure, it’s one thing to read about this chilling scenario, but imagine experiencing it in a virtual world. That’s the premise of the ultra-eerie Oculus Rift game Alone in the Rift.

We sat some people down to try the game, and let’s just say they might have missed a night of sleep after the experience. Check out the video above to watch their horrified reactions, and make sure to subscribe to Mashable on YouTube for more.

Also, in case you’re wondering how virtual reality works, check out our latest Mashable Explains which covers everything from immersion to virtual interactivity.

BONUS: What is Virtual Reality?

Read more: http://mashable.com/2014/04/17/virtual-reality-will-scare-the-crap-out-of-you/

Oculus Rift Leaders Say You’ll Buy Both Their Virtual Reality Headsets


Samsung Gear VR, the virtual reality headset that uses an inserted Galaxy Note 4.
Image: Mashable, Christina Ascani

Oculus Rift creator Palmer Luckey doesn’t think the just-announced Gear VR mobile virtual reality headset he’s building for Samsung is going to compete with his Oculus Rift headset, which is still not available to the public.

In fact, he predicts customers will want to buy both — though no price or release date has been set for either.

“It’s not that these are different devices for different people, they’re different devices for potentially the same person,” Luckey says. “They really aren’t competing with each other; they compliment each other.”

Luckey and Oculus VR Chief Executive Brendan Iribe spoke to Mashable Thursday morning, a day after the company announced a partnership with Samsung to create the Gear VR, a mobile headset powered by the Galaxy Note 4 phablet due out later this fall. The Gear VR is a more portable and affordable virtual reality option than the regular Oculus Rift headset.

“There are a number of advantages mobile gives you when you’re untethered,” Iribe said. “No cable attached to the headset and nothing at your side is really freeing. It’s much easier to carry around and show friends.”

While some fans of the Oculus Rift may worry that the Gear VR is a pivot from the original vision of a headset meant for high-powered PC experiences, Luckey said that isn’t the case.

Luckey’s vision “has always been getting as many people into virtual reality as possible,” Iribe said. “Mobile VR is important in doing that.”

Creating a mobile experience was something Oculus had been working on for a year, even before it was snapped up by Facebook. The effort was spearheaded by Chief Technology Officer John Carmack. (Carmack and Oculus VR are currently named in a lawsuit from his former employer, ZeniMax Software, which claims Carmack brought ideas from id Software to Oculus when he left last August.)

Iribe says Carmack has been instrumental in “getting under the hood” of the mobile virtual reality software and hardware.

Also instrumental was Oculus VR’s partnership with Samsung. The AMOLED screen found on many of the Samsung phones and phablets is critical to getting low-latency images with virtual reality, Iribe explained. That isn’t achievable on a LCD screen.

Too much latency, and you’ll see a motion blur when you move your head inside virtual reality, which can induce motion sickness in some users. It’s the reason the second-generation Oculus Rift development kit contained a Samsung Galaxy Note screen.

Samsung and Qualcomm made a large number of modifications to the Note 4 to make it virtual reality compatible, including tweaks to the phone’s graphical processing unit, sensors and operating system. There are also sensors in the Gear VR headset, to which the Note 4 connects.

“The built-in phone sensors don’t work as well for VR,” Luckey said. “That’s why you can’t just put any phone in a 3D-printed thing or a piece of cardboard [like Google did] and expect the same experience.

“Most of those are pretty terrible experiences just riding the VR hype wave,” he said.

Giving people a virtual reality experience that keeps them coming back — captivating from the first experience — is a must for Oculus VR, the pair said. Iribe believes it’s especially important to manage expectations about what kind of experience you’re going to have. That’s why the Gear VR is being branded as the Innovator Edition and is being targeted more toward enthusiasts and developers than regular users.

“You can kind of think of it as the Google Glass explorer edition, but it’s a little more open than that. It’s not a consumer product, but make it clear to people what they are buying into,” Luckey said. “But I will freely admit we don’t have any control on making sure people have a good experience early on, which is something we are trying to solve. So we are clear with the messaging.”

Why not wait and release Gear VR later, when it’s capable of offering a full consumer version? Oculus VR wants to turn skeptical mobile and console developers into committed ones by showing them the hardware works, Iribe said.

“A lot of these big, triple-A companies have learned a hard lesson of waiting too long before,” Iribe said. “Many big companies wrote off mobile gaming for far too long. It’s easy to remind them, ‘You don’t want to miss the next big industry, do you?'”

“And if we didn’t start this now, there wouldn’t be a market for it later,” Luckey added.

BONUS: Hands On With Samsung’s Gear VR

Read more: http://mashable.com/2014/09/04/oculus-samsung-gear-vr/

How Virtual Reality Can Help Treat Sex Offenders

The quality of virtual reality systems – immersive, computer-generated worlds – has advanced dramatically in recent years, as can be seen by the expansive editorial from journalists testing Oculus Rift headsets.

University of Montreal researcher Massil Benbouriche has used this realism to help understand the impulses of sex offenders in order to find better ways of treating them. Key to using virtual reality as therapy is the degree to which an individual identifies with the world. Benbouriche uses a virtual reality headset and various audio-visual stimuli within a “cave”, or a cube of screens, to provide an immersive experience to the participant.

Sufficiently real

Virtual reality treatments depend on immersion and presence. Immersion refers to the level of awareness of the real world during a virtual session – fully immersive systems, such as the one built in Montreal, carefully control the environment and inundate the participant with all the necessary stimuli, minimising the need to interact with real-world objects in a way that would break the illusion.

If this is achieved, physical presence is established – when the virtual world is sufficiently convincing to be perceived as a functional representation of the real world. Self-presence is the psychological connection the participant feels to the avatar representing them within the virtual world. The greater the level of self-presence, the more likely it is that users will identify with their virtual representation. The degree to which individuals can achieve presence determines the likelihood that the things learned in the virtual world will transfer to real life.

In the University of Montreal study, the researchers recorded the participants’ physiological responses to what they were seeing and hearing. They used headsets that track eye movements and record how long participants spent gazing at images. They also measured participants sexual arousal through penile plethsymography (PPG), which measures the flow of blood to the penis.

Combining PPG and virtual reality to gauge the behaviour of sexual offenders in the past has been criticised because of the possibility that they game the system by simply not looking at the images. The eye-tracking capability of the headset overcomes this problem, recording not just which computer-generated images of adults or children the participants view, but over which areas of the body their gaze lingers.

The differences in the data recorded when showing participants sexual and non-sexual, or nude and non-nude images, are compared. Studies have shown that the combination of these methods used in a virtual environment can effectively measure sexual interest.

Virtual reality, real life benefits

Virtual reality has been used in psychology as a treatment option for many behavioural disorders for more than a decade. Virtual reality therapy, together with psycho-therapeutic approaches such as cognitive behavioural therapy, has been used to treat disorders among the general population, as well as criminal behaviour.

For example, researchers in the US have used virtual reality to treat anxiety disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and substance abuse. Recently, researchers at the University of Cincinnati used a virtual environment to deliver a 10-week cognitive behavioural-based therapy to improve social skills in a group of juvenile offenders. Using virtual environments has been shown to enhance rehabilitation by offering participants a safe, “no loss” environment during treatment.

Not a tool for all situations

There are potential obstacles to consider when using virtual environments to assess and treat sex offenders. The cost of the hardware and software development required to implement it is expensive. There’s also the cost of training clinicians how to use it.

The very realism offered by virtual therapies can also throw up barriers. Potential side effects for participants include what is known as cybersickness, with various symptoms from eye strain, headache and nausea, to sweating, disorientation, and vertigo.

There are also legal and ethical considerations. In some countries, even computer-generated images of nude individuals, especially those of children, can be illegal. In any case, sex offender research suggests there are many risk factors underlying whether an offender will re-offend. Depending purely on the physiological responses recorded through virtual reality simulations may ignore these risk factors. Ultimately this could lead to false assessments of sex offenders, either that they are rehabilitated when they are not or vice versa.

It’s a natural progression to use technology in the criminal justice system to help assess sex offenders and improve the treatments available; as technology has been used in other areas of criminal justice. It offers greater potential to customise treatments to each individual, uses the known beneficial effects of virtual reality-based cognitive behavioural therapy to boost offender rehabilitation, and can be used to gauge how effective a treatment has been.

With prison overcrowding and reducing budgets, this technology has the potential to improve lives and slow the revolving door in and out of the criminal justice system.

The ConversationImage: Researcher Massil Benbouriche and his virtual reality cube. Massil Benbouriche/University of Montreal, Author provided

Bobbie Ticknor does not work for, consult to, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has no relevant affiliations.

Read more: http://www.iflscience.com/health-and-medicine/how-virtual-reality-can-help-treat-sex-offenders