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Looking for a Paperweight? Buy an Oculus Quest 2 and Get Your Facebook Account Locked

We've all been there - we've all looked longingly at someone elses' flashy paperweight - an Escher puzzle, a coffee mug, a smartphone, a badly flashed GPU or even a face mask are all worthy contenders vying for our attention. Facebook, however, has been turning the paperweight game on its head, and in the real world too - some users who bought the most recent Quest 2 headset (which is apparently selling pretty well) are being given the opportunity to adorn their desks with this high-tech, low-key paperweight due to its Facebook-required integration. Essentially, users who have their Facebook accounts banned (or, more specifically, with pending verification) have been met with difficulties in actually using their Quest 2 (which, by all accounts, is a huge step forward for the VR space).

Oculus Quest 2 Exceeding Sales Expectations

In a recent interview with Chris Pruett, Facebook's Director of Content Ecosystem at Oculus it was revealed that the Oculus Quest 2 launch had been a huge success exceeding the companies expectations. Chris Pruett commented that the Oculus team "really couldn't be happier" with the launch and noted the headset was selling "faster than Quest did" and "maybe a little bit beyond what we expected". VR developers have been echoing these comments with Rec Room noting a 250% larger launch over the original Quest and a 10x increase in sales.

The data from Rec Room also shows that the majority of Oculus Quest 2 purchases are from people trying VR for the first time which is great news for the VR industry in general. Facebook has been able to keep up with the demand for the new headset which has evidently proven to be a great success even with controversy surrounding the Facebook account requirements.

Arm Highlights its Next Two Generations of CPUs, codenamed Matterhorn and Makalu, with up to a 30% Performance Uplift

Editor's Note: This is written by Arm vice president and general manager Paul Williamson.

Over the last year, I have been inspired by the innovators who are dreaming up solutions to improve and enrich our daily lives. Tomorrow's mobile applications will be even more imaginative, immersive, and intelligent. To that point, the industry has come such a long way in making this happen. Take app stores for instance - we had the choice of roughly 500 apps when smartphones first began shipping in volume in 2007 and today there are 8.9 million apps available to choose from.

Mobile has transformed from a simple utility to the most powerful, pervasive device we engage with daily, much like Arm-based chips have progressed to more powerful but still energy-efficient SoCs. Although the chip-level innovation has already evolved significantly, more is still required as use cases become more complex, with more AI and ML workloads being processed locally on our devices.

HTC VIVE Partners With PNY Technologies To Offer New Secure, Professional-Grade VR Solution

HTC VIVE, the leader in premium virtual reality (VR), today announced an exclusive partnership with PNY Technologies to distribute the new VIVE Pro Secure headset in North America. The new VIVE Pro Secure is designed to meet the specific privacy and security requirements of secure environments that require Authority to Operate (ATO)—such as government agencies and organizations—in addition to education, medical, and financial institutions. This professional-grade VR system provides all the benefits and features of the award-winning VIVE Pro, including top-tier graphics, premium audio, and SteamVR room-scale tracking, with hardware modifications that restrict all radios, cameras, and wireless communication functions for secure performance.

Use-cases for VR in government organizations have multiplied over the years and continue to grow as agencies adapt many of the best practices deployed in the private sector for use in training, data visualization, and manufacturing, among other applications. However, one of the major barriers to any technology adoption for organizations that require ATO is access to hardware that meets specific security and privacy requirements. The new Vive Pro Secure is a first-of-its-kind system offering hardware modifications to ensure optimal performance in the most demanding secure environments.

NVIDIA Delivers Streaming AR and VR from the Cloud with AWS

Announced today, the NVIDIA CloudXR platform will be available on Amazon EC2 P3 and G4 instances, which support NVIDIA V100 and T4 GPUs, allowing cloud users to stream high-quality immersive experiences to remote VR and AR devices. The CloudXR platform includes the NVIDIA CloudXR software development kit, NVIDIA Virtual Workstation software and NVIDIA AI SDKs to deliver photorealistic graphics, with the mobile convenience of all-in-one XR headsets. XR is a collective term for VR, AR and mixed reality.

With the ability to stream from the cloud, professionals can now easily set up, scale and access immersive experiences from anywhere — they no longer need to be tethered to expensive workstations or external VR tracking systems. The growing availability of advanced tools like CloudXR is paving the way for enhanced collaboration, streamlined workflows and high fidelity virtual environments. XR solutions are also introducing new possibilities for adding AI features and functionality.

HP Announces Reverb G2 Omnicept Edition

HP has today announced the Reverb G2 Omnicept Edition VR headset with advanced tracking technology to create "human centric" experiences. The HP Reverb G2 Omnicept Edition VR headset is an upgraded version of the recently released HP Reverb G2 headset with added cameras and sensors to track eye movement, pupillometry, heart rate, and facial expressions. This data can be used with the advanced machine learning algorithms of the Omnicept SDK to capture physiological responses. The headset's firmware safeguards the sensor data at every moment of capture and no data is stored in the headset.

The HP Reverb G2 Omnicept Edition VR headset maintains the impressive resolution, inside-out tracking, and 3D audio of the HP Reverb G2 while adding a suite of new sensors and cameras to deliver enhanced monitoring. These new sensors enable eye tracking and gaze to determine focus and engagement levels while also enabling foveated rendering for reduced GPU and higher image quality. They also allow for heart rate monitoring which can be used in wellness treatments along with facial expression monitoring capabilities for more natural and engaging conversations. The HP Reverb G2 Omnicept Edition is expected to be available in Spring 2021. Pricing will be shared closer to product availability. HP Omnicept SDK is expected to be available in Spring 2021 and will include a flexible business model.

Qualcomm Snapdragon XR2 Platform Commercially Debuts in Oculus Quest 2

Qualcomm Technologies, Inc., a subsidiary of Qualcomm Incorporated, is powering better-than-ever virtual reality (VR) gameplay and experiences with the launch of Oculus Quest 2, the first-to-launch VR device powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon XR2 Platform. Oculus Quest 2 is a culmination of years of collaboration between Qualcomm Technologies and Facebook to create the most advanced and immersive gaming VR experiences for consumers to-date.

Purpose-built for extended reality (XR), the Snapdragon XR2 Platform unlocks staggering improvements including twice the CPU and GPU performance compared to its predecessor which powers the original Oculus Quest headset. The Snapdragon XR2 Platform delivers significant performance enhancements in Oculus Quest 2 including:

EA Announces Medal of Honor: Above and Beyond, a VR Experience

Respawn Entertainment, a studio of Electronic Arts Inc. (NASDAQ:EA), and Oculus from Facebook today announced during Facebook Connect that the highly-anticipated upcoming Virtual Reality (VR) title, Medal of Honor : Above and Beyond will release on December 11, 2020, worldwide. This new innovative and immersive title blends films and games into one, and will be available on the Oculus Store for Oculus Rift and Steam with OpenVR support and cross-platform play.

"The Medal of Honor franchise has always been a powerful series that tells the untold stories of war heroes, and from the beginning of this series in 1999, our goal has been to create grounded and emotionally authentic games that are true to the experiences of people that fought and lived through it," said Peter Hirschmann, Director, Respawn Entertainment. "We're honored to share these moving first-hand stories from survivors and veterans of WWII and deliver an immersive VR gameplay experience that provides high-flying action and emotional, intimate storytelling in equal measure."

Oculus Quest 2 Set To Feature Snapdragon XR2 Processor

In a recent video accidentally published on the Facebook Blueprint developer site and officially confirmed by the vice president of Facebook Labs details all the new features and changes found on the Oculus Quest 2. The leak confirms many of the existing rumors about the upcoming headset which is set to be announced later this week at Facebook Connect. The Oculus Quest 2 will feature the Snapdragon XR2 processor which has been specifically designed for AR/VR devices and should provide a significant performance increase over the Snapdragon 835 found in the original quest.

The Oculus Quest 2 will feature "nearly 2K Resolution per eye" which would put the total resolution at just under 4K possibly 3,840 x 2,160. The video did not mention if the display refresh rate would be increased from the 72Hz found on the original Quest but the XR2 platform can support up to 90Hz screens. The ram has been increased to 6 GB from the 4 GB found on the original and max storage has been expanded to 256 GB.

NVIDIA DLSS 2.1 Supersampling Brings VR Support

NVIDIA Deep Learning Super Sampling is a deep learning technique developed by NVIDIA that uses AI to intelligently upscale rendered frames. This technology which must be individually added game by game allows for significant performance boosts by running the game at a lower resolution and upscaling the output to a nearly identical level of detail. This technology relies on the Tensor Cores found in RTX 20/30 series GPUs and allows for a performance boost of up to 70%.

In a recent Q&A thread, NVIDIA announced that the new DLSS 2.1 will bring VR compatibility along with 8K, and dynamic resolution support. The introduction of DLSS 2.1 will help enable more immersive VR titles on next generation headsets. VR headsets typically expect a consistent frame rate of 90 FPS at resolutions up to 2880x1600 with some headsets such as the Valve Index taking that up to 144hz. DLSS technology will allow VR games to be natively rendered at half resolution and intelligently upscaled to ensure high frame rates and quality.

The VirtualLink USB-C VR Headset Connection Standard is Dead

The VirtualLink Consortium which included the likes of NVIDIA, AMD, HTC Vive, Oculus VR, Valve, and Microsoft introduced the USB-C VirtualLink standard in 2018 and was debuted by NVIDIA on the RTX 20 series founders cards. The goal was to simplify VR headset connections by combining power, video, and data over a single USB-C cable. A few niche VR headsets such as the StarVR and XTAL integrated the VirtualLink connector but the standard struggled to receive major adoption.

Valve had planned to introduce a VirtualLink connector for the Valve Index but was canceled due to technical issues. The only major headset to utilize the port is the Oculus Quest however it only uses the USB-C connector and not the VirtualLink standard. NVIDIA excluded the port from their RTX 20 series Super cards and AMD never released a card with the connector. The official VirtualLink website currently redirects to the Wikipedia page for the standard and with NVIDIA excluding the standard from all of their RTX 30 series cards it's safe to say the standard is officially dead.

Facebook Technologies Stops Sales of Oculus VR Headset in Germany

Facebook Technologies, a subsidiary of Facebook Inc. and owner of Oculus, has today "temporarily" suspended sales of Oculus VR headsets in Germany. The news is coming today after Oculus announced that all of the new Oculus accounts have to move to the Facebook login system before January 1, 2023, when all of the current Oculus accounts will be suspended. The German data protection law is extremely suspicious of Facebook's behavior and how they handle user data in general, so Oculus has potentially decided to stop the sales to avoid any possible antitrust regulations from the German government. The exact reason is unknown, and it is yet to be revealed, however, the suspicions laid out here may be part of the reason.

Have Some Facebook With Your VR: Facebook and Oculus Integration to Become Mandatory

Back in 2014 when Facebook acquired Oculus for $2 billion, then Oculus CEO Palmer Luckey said that the acquisition was made with respect for the Oculus ecosystem as a whole, and that its management would be akin to that of a private entity that just so happened to be under Facebook's umbrella. Fast forward to 2020, though, and that seems to no longer be the case. Facebook has announced that Oculus accounts will be phased out; come this fall, all new Oculus accounts will have to go through a Facebook one - if you are one of the holdouts from that particular social network, you'll just have to bit the bullet.

The transition will be gradual; starting this October, new accounts will have to be linked through Facebook. Existing standalone Oculus accounts will still be supported; however, they will only be grandfathered until 2023. According to Facebook, they'll still allow users to run their content on these accounts; but any new apps and content that's acquired for the system after then will not be available for usage in such scenarios. Facebook further said that some content might stop working by then, due to integration of some applications' backends with Facebook-bound accounts, capabilities and servers. And thus, Facebook will finally be fully integrated with Oculus, ensuring a new ecosystem of users, and thus, new data on which to base their publicity and marketing efforts. It's all about the value a user brings; and perhaps some social network integration with your VR environments. Because nothing makes more sense than creating Facebook-bound communities in the VR space, and seeing a Like emote pop up on your most recent spaceflight maneuver.

Lenovo Enhances Portfolio of Education Solutions

Today, Lenovo, is announcing updates to its portfolio of education solutions to support schools adopting new curriculums and pedagogy as they head back to class in the Fall during the global health crisis. More than 1 billion students, over 90 percent of the world's learners, have been impacted by school closures in 2020i. In response to disrupted school calendars, educators are implementing distancing learning programs and hybrid learning scenarios - a combination of distance and in-classroom learning. Schools and districts require education-ready devices, more secure platforms, as well as compelling and effective digital content to engage students under changing learning conditions. From purpose-built laptops and tablets, software and content for education to immersive learning with virtual reality (VR) solutions, Lenovo is providing teachers and students the tools needed for schools' expanding digital ecosystems.

Microsoft Confirms VR Support Coming to Microsoft Flight Simulator In Future Update

Microsoft has recently confirmed plans to bring VR support to their upcoming Microsoft Flight Simulator which is set to launch August 18th. VR support won't be available at launch and will instead be releasing as a free update beginning fall 2020. This update will bring VR support to all Windows Mixed Reality (WMR) headsets and coincides with the launch of the HP Reverb G2. Microsoft plans to support additional platforms/headsets in the future. Microsoft also announced that the popular optical motion tracking TrackIR system will be supported at launch.

Lynx Introduces Lynx-R1 Mixed Reality Headset Redesign

Lynx the enterprise Mixed Reality headset startup has recently revealed the redesign of their first headset the Lynx-R1. The Lynx-R1 is an enterprise-focused headset with a planned retail price of 1499 USD which claims to be the world's first AR + VR standalone headset. This means the headset can be used both as a traditional VR headset and as a AR headset with video pass-through. This new redesign reduces the overall size of the headset with new "light folding" optics which reduce the distance between the lenses and the display while hiding the eye-tracking camera in the center of the lens. The headset is expected to ship late September.

Pico Releases Two New Versions of its G2 4K 3DoF VR Headset

Pico Interactive has recently announced two new versions of its G2 4K headset. The original Pico G2 4K was released in May 2019 as a competitor to the recently discontinued Oculus Go, the two headsets were quite similar both featuring only three degree of freedom (3DoF) head tracking and a single 3DoF controller however the Pico G2 4K did feature a slightly higher resolution screen.

The two new headsets the Pico G2 4K S and Pico G2 4K Enterprise offer incremental upgrades to the original headset, the Pico G2 4K S ups the internal storage to 128 GB from 32 GB and boosts the battery capacity by 20% which should equate to roughly 2 to 5 hours more battery life according to Pico. The Pico G2 4K Enterprise also features the aforementioned storage increase and battery boost but also includes a front 16 MP RGB camera. The Pico G2 4K S is now available through enterprise channels for 375 USD while the Pico G2 4K Enterprise will be coming in Q3 2020 for 450 USD.

Oculus Discontinues the Content Consumption Focused Oculus Go headset

Since we launched Oculus Go two years ago, VR technology has improved at an incredible pace. Oculus Go's success first proved that the all-in-one form factor can deliver highly immersive experiences. A year later, Oculus Quest redefined the category, with full head and hand movement powered by our Insight tracking system. Quest enabled incredible VR games like Beat Saber, Dance Central, and The Climb with the freedom of an untethered experience, plus access to high-powered PC games like Asgard's Wrath and Stormland through Oculus Link. Just past the one-year anniversary of Quest, we're humbled by its continued success. The community response has been overwhelmingly positive, and you've told us loud and clear that 6DOF feels like the future of VR. That's why we're going all-in, and we won't be shipping any more 3DOF VR products. We'll end sales of Oculus Go headsets this year as we double down on improving our offerings for Quest and Rift.

HTC Vive & Qualcomm Technologies Work Together to Help Accelerate XR and 5G Experiences

Here at HTC Vive, we have long partnered with Qualcomm Technologies to bring amazing immersive mobile experiences to consumers and businesses. Throughout our history of making smartphones at HTC to creating VR headsets like Focus Plus, we leverage the latest and greatest processing power from Qualcomm Snapdragon mobile platform. Today we're furthering our commitment through an agreement to pre-integrate and optimize Vive's WAVE development platform for devices powered by Snapdragon including the Snapdragon 855, Snapdragon 865, Snapdragon XR1, and Snapdragon XR2 Platforms.

Starting now, the Vive Wave runtime will be made available to all Snapdragon customers on these chipsets. In addition, HTC engineers will offer testing and support for new deployments of the Wave platform as part of the agreement.

EA, Motive and Lucasfilm Announce Star Wars: Squadrons

Calling all pilots! Electronic Arts Inc., Motive Studios and Lucasfilm today announced Star Wars : Squadrons, an immersive, first-person space dogfighting experience set in the beloved Star Wars galaxy. Star Wars: Squadrons will feature thrilling 5v5 multiplayer dogfights, monumental fleet battles, and an original story set during the final days of the Galactic Empire and the rise of the New Republic after the events of Star Wars: Return of the Jedi. The game will launch October 2, 2020 on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC via Origin, Steam and the Epic Games Store, and will be playable via Virtual Reality (VR) on PlayStation 4 and PC with cross-play support. Tune into EA Play Live on June 18 at 4:00pm PT for the gameplay reveal of Star Wars:Squadrons.

Update Jun 18th: EA has confirmed that the game will fully support joysticks and HOTAS joysticks. They have also published the minimum and recommended system requirements which can be viewed down below.

HTC Vive Launches VIVE XR Suite

HTC VIVE, a global leader in innovative technology, today officially announces it will enter the cloud software business with the VIVE XR Suite offering at its hybrid event, "Journey into the Next Normal", which took place physically in Shanghai and online through the Engage virtual events platform. Comprised of five separate applications covering remote collaboration, productivity, events, social and culture, the VIVE XR Suite gives users the tools they need to overcome the new challenges faced while working and living in a socially distant world. The VIVE XR Suite is targeted to launch in Q3 2020 in China, with additional regions to follow throughout the year.

The VIVE XR Suite is comprised of 5 major applications (VIVE Sync, VIVE Sessions, VIVE Campus, VIVE Social, and VIVE Museum) to meet the daily needs of the users to overcome the new challenges faced by users around the world who are working, learning and living remotely. Although it is called an XR Suite, it is important to note that this software is not dependent on VR/AR devices to function. All the applications will function on existing PCs/laptops and some apps will even support modern smartphones, but for a superior immersive experience, PC VR or standalone VR devices would be recommended. Users will be able to login to all apps in the suite using a single account and across various devices they own. This integrated application bundle which is created in partnership with the leading software companies in their respective areas will provide a seamless experience for the consumer and business user. The CEO's of all the software partners in the VIVE XR Suite (Immersive VR Education, VirBELA, VRChat, and Museum of Other Realities) attended the event live via video and within VR in avatar form.

Lenovo Announces Mirage VR S3 Standalone Headset with ThinkReality

Today, during the VR/AR Global Summit Online Conference, Lenovo announced the latest addition to its portfolio of commercial virtual reality (VR) solutions - the Lenovo Mirage VR S3 headset with ThinkReality. The new VR solution for enterprise was unveiled during the keynote speech by Nathan Pettyjohn, Commercial AR/VR Lead, Intelligent Devices Group, Lenovo.

The Lenovo Mirage VR S3 is an all-in-one headset developed in conjunction with Pico Interactive, a global technology company that develops innovative VR and enterprise solutions. Specifically designed for enterprise, the Lenovo Mirage VR S3 features a 4K display for clearer visuals, hands-free control for utilization with or without the provided controller, and an easy to clean, hygienic face plate suitable for mass use. Built with integrated audio and up to three hours of battery life, the new VR headset is rugged, light weight and ready to scale within the enterprise.

HP Announces the Reverb G2 VR Headset Co-designed by Valve and Microsoft

Today, HP Inc. unveiled its latest virtual reality (VR) headset, the HP Reverb G2, in collaboration with industry leaders Valve and Microsoft. The HP Reverb G2 is the world's highest resolution VR headset among major vendorsi, delivering cutting-edge optics, inside-out tracking, spatial 3D audio, natural gestures, long-wearing comfort, and plug and play support for Windows Mixed Reality and SteamVR.

"The power of collaboration is on full display with the HP Reverb G2, and alongside Valve and Microsoft, we engineered a no-compromises VR headset that's immersive, comfortable, and compatible across Windows Mixed Reality and SteamVR," said Spike Huang, vice president and global lead of VR, HP Inc. "The time is now for VR and the HP Reverb G2 brings high-quality VR to the masses with more immersion for gamers, interactive experiences for creators, increased engagement for collaboration, and higher retention rates for education and training."

Pico Interactive Launches Standalone Neo 2 and Neo 2 Eye Virtual Reality Headsets

Pico Interactive, a global tech company that develops innovative virtual reality (VR) and enterprise solutions, today announces the availability of its highly anticipated headsets from the Pico Neo line - the Neo 2 and Neo 2 Eye, both of which deliver key VR solutions to the enterprise.

Both models were built with business in mind, featuring best-in-class 4K resolution, enterprise functionality, six degrees of freedom (6DoF) and spatial stereo speakers. The headsets feature the comfort and hygienic design of an all-PU facial interface, unique counterbalanced design for easy and extended wear, and have plenty of room for prescription glasses. Using the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 Mobile Platform with Boundless XR, the Neo 2 allows content streaming from a VR Ready PC and select existing PC VR platforms.

NVIDIA Announces Quadro Experience

Experience matters. And with NVIDIA Quadro Experience—a new application for Quadro GPUs—professionals across industries can boost their creativity and increase their productivity like never before.

Quadro Experience, available now, helps professionals simplify time-consuming tasks, streamline workflows and ensure your favorite applications always have the latest updates. NVIDIA Quadro Experience makes sharing content easier by providing screen capture and desktop recording in 4K, so teams can easily upload content and even broadcast their work directly from their desktop or laptop.
NVIDIA Quadro Experience NVIDIA Quadro Experience NVIDIA Quadro Experience
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