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Tag Archives: Virtual Reality

Sony May Kick The Oculus Rift In The Gonads

morpheusss

Virtual reality made an early attempt at adoption in the mid 90′s; those of you old enough will remember the clunky helmets, the terrible lag and awful resolution. No wonder it failed. Now with the work being done on the Oculus Rift, there’s hope that the second wave of that tech will catch on. But as awesome as the Oculus Rift is, there are still many obstacles in the way of its mainstream adoption. Sony may have put yet another roadblock in the form of its Project Morpheus. This is going to be Sony’s own attempt at one-upping the Oculus. Whether the device itself is superior in the end doesn’t really matter, since the fact that Sony’s peripheral will be native to the console means it’s much more likely that developers will code around it over the Oculus. Yes, that does mean VR wars are shaping up, but we’re a little worried for Oculus. What does Project Morpheus have in the bag?

    1080p display
    1000Hz motion detection
    Only one headset at a time is supported
    Headset is currently connected to the PS4 by a 5-meter wire
    Positional/rotational head tracking
    Tracking is handled by the same camera that tracks PS4 Move controllers
    It works for people with glasses
    Content pushed to the Morpheus can be mirrored to a TV, but it sounds like it can handle asymmetric gameplay (different things on each screen) as well.
    An “Open air” design prevents the lenses from fogging up. (It’ll be interesting to see how they prevent light leaking in)

As for when this is ready for prime time? At this point it’s anyone’s guess.

[ Techcrunch ] VIA [ GeeksAreSexy ]

Virtual Reality Is Suddenly Cool Again With The Oculus Rift

Those of you old enough might remember the short period in the early 90′s when everyone went crazy over virtual reality. It was the future! Only the future was very heavy, uncomfortable, had terrible lag and eventually fizzled out like so many other futuristic technologies that were supposed to “change the game.” But everything old is new again, and the Oculus Rift is a renewed attempt at bringing virtual reality back. This time around however the technology is nowhere near where it was in the 90′s; processors are faster, screens’ resolutions higher, materials cheaper and lighter. So maybe the Rift stands a chance. It’s a 220g (about 0.5lbs) visor with an immersive, stereoscopic 110 degree diagonal display. This means that you don’t actually see the screen: you’re immersed in the image. Also the sensors for head tracking are advanced enough that latency is ultra low, allowing you to move your head in all six axes and have the image follow in front of your eyes, and not slightly behind.

What’s perhaps better is that this isn’t a quirky project by some dude in his basement. Palmer Luckey, the creator of the Rift, has the backing of several industry big wigs like John Carmak from IdSoftware, Gabe Newell from Valve, Cliff Blezinksi from Epic games and higher ups at Gaikai and Unity. They’ve all tried the prototype and they all got excited and will develop for it. So right now you can pre-order your own Oculus Rift from Kickstarter for $300. It comes with a copy of Doom 3 BFG, the first game developed for it and should ship in December of this year.

Hit the jump for links and a video.

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Guy Fits A Working LED In A Contact Lens, Tries It On

By David Ponce

A few weeks ago we reported on a group of researcher’s successful attempt at putting a single pixel inside a contact lens, fitting it on a rabbit and having the rabbit happily snacking on carrots minutes after the experiment. We saw it as the firstearly prototypes of what we hope will be contact lens VR. But YouTube user Ben Krasnow (username bkraz333) was watching and apparently figured “hey, I can do this! Only with an LED…” In the video below you can see how he coils metal wires, solders them onto an LED, sandwiches them between two soft contact lenses, fuses them together with hot pliers and yes, puts the contraption on his eye. Squirmy viewers shouldn’t look, although nothing bad happens. Matter of fact, it works. There’s a bunch of electrical engineering speak that we can’t quite piece together, but the short of it is he’s using inductive coupling to light up the LED and make it flash a few times a second.

But there’s also interesting talk of the current limitations to such a system, such as the need to focus the light onto the retina and how if ever this were to become a functioning display, each pixel would have to focus individually

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GDC: VirtuSphere Hamsterball VR Gaming

By Evan Ackerman

If you’ve been reading OhGizmo for the last 5 years, you might recognize VirtuSphere from this 2005 post. Since then, not too much is different, besides that VirtuSphere seems to be trying to open up to a new market that’s not the US Army or NASA: gamers.

VirtuSphere is at GDC hoping that someone will step up and port some worthwhile games to their system. Like, you know, Halo 3. Meantime, what they have in the works is a gameshow that (as far as I can tell) involves two people in two VirtuSpheres trying to virtually kill each other or something. If you want to try one of these out, you’ll be able to find it in the Excalibur in Las Vegas in about a month, or if you just can’t wait, expect to pony up about $55,000 for one of your own.

[ VirtuSphere ]

Fish Tank Friday: Canon Mixed Reality Aquarium

By Evan Ackerman

Normally, the fish tanks we write about are isolated things, objects that you can point to and say, “hey look, there’s a fish tank.” Canon’s mixed reality aquarium, on the other hand, makes everywhere a fish tank. With the aid of a VR headset, different species of fish and other marine life are projected into your surroundings, and it appears as though the fish actually interact with your environment, avoiding (or running into) objects. Canon isn’t sure whether or not they’re going to try and make a product out of this, but just try and imagine putting on a pair of glasses and spending the entire day wandering around your own virtual under water world. It would be totally awesome, at least until you get hit by a bus while trying to avoid being eaten by a virtual shark.

VIA [ DigInfo ]

Virtual Girlfriend Cheerfully Squeals At Your Virtual Abuse

By Evan Ackerman

People say that only losers need a virtual girlfriend. Bah! How many girlfriends have you had who dressed up in furry outfits and let you smack them on the ass with a giant paddle with a heart on it? Yeah, only four for me, too. But when none of them are around, you need something to keep you, um, entertained, and that’s what Alice the virtual anime girlfriend is for.

Technically, Alice is “augmented reality” as opposed to “virtual,” the distinction being that she interacts directly with physical objects (like you). She exists inside your computer, but interacts with objects with special patterns on them as you move them around in front of your webcam:

Just so you know, Alice’s birthday is February 14th, and we’ll assume she’s a consenting adult although it’s implied that she’s a high school student. She’s about 5’3″ and weighs 106 pounds, and likes teddy bears and dancing and singing. Oh, yeah, and she’s actually from 2025 but traveled to 2008 through a space-time distortion.

Alice can be all yours for about $100 from Amazon.co.jp.

[ Alice AR Figure (Translated) ] VIA [ Geekologie ]

AstraZeneca’s Heart FXPod Is A Mobile Congestive Heart Failure Simulator

AstraZeneca\'s Heart FXPod (Images courtesy Apple.com)
By Andrew Liszewski

In an effort to help doctors better diagnose patients who are at the beginning stages of congestive heart failure, AstraZeneca created the Heart FXPod which is a 53-foot-long tractor trailer outfitted with 5 virtual reality stations. Each simulator uses a special chair, a set of foot pedals and a pneumatic vest that allows doctors to physically experience the early symptoms of heart failure including chest tightness, fatigue and shortness of breath.

Inside the completed Heart FXPod, seated physicians watch an interactive video featuring Hank, a CHF patient, as he tries to take a walk in the park. As Hank’s condition worsens, he has a harder time walking, and consequently, the physicians have a harder time pedaling. When Hank tires even more, the physicians start feeling the effects of CHF as their pneumatic vests tighten, constricting their breathing. They even experience Hank’s elevated heart rate by way of an audio system built into the chair that is so effective it feels as if their own hearts are racing. “It’s an interesting physiological experience,” says Raymond. “After going through the simulation, many doctors said, ‘Wow, I had no idea it was this intense this early on.’”

The article is actually a case study for the Mac mini on the Apple website, so you have to wade through a bit of ‘Apple is awesome, Windows is not’ crap, but the bottom line is that after experiencing the simulations a doctor will have a better understanding of what heart failure feels like, and will be better equipped to recognize the symptoms at the earliest stages.

[ AstraZeneca - Helping Doctors Have a Change of Heart ] VIA [ Medgadget ]

Treadmill With Virtual Reality Simulates Walking Outside But Without All That Pesky Fresh Air

By Jonathan Kimak

The University of Tsukuba in Japan is creating a treadmill that will help with the rehabilitation of people who have had strokes or other similar illnesses. The immersive dome has a visual range of 270 degrees that will allow the person on the treadmill to feel as if they are in a different environment.

It’s too bad that this is only being developed for use in hospitals as I could see this becoming a hit in the gyms if there were a multitude of environments to choose from. I can think of running alongside marathon runners, or running against olympic athletes or even running through a futuristic society being chased by killer robots as good ideas for this technology.

VIA [ Ubergizmo ]